Latin School of Chicago

Latin Lower School Curriculum Guide 22-23

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Lower School CURRICULUM MAP Reading and writing is taught through a workshop approach in which large and targeted small group instruction is utilized. Children are exposed to a variety of genres and authors throughout the year. Speaking, listening, word study (spelling), grammar and handwriting are an integral part of our students' literacy development. These skills are taught explicitly as well as integrated into the daily context of their reading and writing. JUNIOR KINDERG ARTEN Reading: Alphabet recognition and letter-sound correspondence, recognition of environmental print, recognizing rhyme, making inferences and predictions about books read aloud, sequencing and retelling main events of a story or book. Writing: Names, capital and lowercase letters; label and explain illustrations, begin experimenting with inventive spelling. Speaking: Perform for each other and families through poetry, songs, movement and storytelling, show-and-tell. Listening: Stories, conversations, group discussions, songs, rhymes, poems; understand and interpret the spoken word. SENIOR KINDERG ARTEN Reading: Reading Workshop focuses on developing identities and habits of readers, foundational skills, (concepts of print, phonemic awareness, phonics), and monitoring for understanding while reading fiction and non-fiction texts. Writing: Writing Workshop focuses on teaching that writers start with something to say and then do everything they can to put that meaning onto a page (through pictures and words). Experiences consist of shared writing, interactive writing, independent writing and letter and number formation. Speaking: Small and large group conversations around developmentally appropriate topics, following agreed upon rules such as, listening to others and taking turns speaking about group's topic. Listening: Students develop and practice "whole body listening" skills (look toward the speaker, both ears ready to hear, wait for your turn to speak, quiet hands and feet). 1 S T GR ADE Reading: Consists of small and large group instruction, independent practice, student/teacher conferring, strategy groups, phonics and word study and interactive read alouds. Units Include: Building Good Reading Habits, Fluency, Phonics and Comprehension, Reading Nonfiction. Writing: Consists of small and large group instruction, independent practice, student/ teacher conferring, strategy groups, shared writing, handwriting, mechanics and grammar instruction. Units include: Writing Fiction Series, Writing with Focus, Detail, and Dialogue, Nonfiction Chapter Books, Writing Reviews, Story Elements. Speaking: Small and large group presentations, express and clarify ideas, ask questions and engage in social conversation, present at a lower school assembly. Listening: Students develop and practice "whole body listening" skills. The lower school social studies program is dedicated to providing a sound understanding of the world in which we live and an appreciation for the rich diversity of humankind. The curriculum reflects an age-appropriate, multidimensional, project-based approach to the study of people and the land. The goal is to give students a sense of others and the context of their place in the larger world. Specific units of study integrate literature, music, art, social studies and, where appropriate, math and science. JUNIOR KINDERG ARTEN Units: First Six Weeks, Caring for me and my Community, Peace, Art and Design. Research: Read and create books based on ongoing observations and accumulation of facts. Explore what it means to become a peacemaker. Hands-on study and exploration of various artists, architects and artistic styles and traditions. SENIOR KINDERG ARTEN Units: First Six Weeks of School (including Creating Safety and Belonging, Building a Community); Identity (Understanding You and Me). Research: Personal identity, family history. 1 S T GR ADE Units: First Six Weeks/School Community, Personal Communities, Peace, Family Stories. Research: Personal identity, family history. JK and SK have collaborated with the Erikson Institute's Early Math Collaborative to put into practice the Big Ideas of Early Mathematics. First through fourth grades are using the Singapore math program, which teaches significantly fewer topics per grade level, but in greater depth. There are two lower school math specialists who provide weekly support and resources to teachers and students in a whole class setting or in small groups. For additional challenges, students in grades 2–4 have the option to attend a weekly challenge word problem session before school. JUNIOR KINDERG ARTEN Number sense, counting collections, 2D and 3D shapes, patterns, sets and sorting, introduction to number operations, data analysis and measurement. Mathematical concepts and understanding will be explored through intentional hands-on experiences and purposeful play. SENIOR KINDERG ARTEN Sort, compare, and order sets; quantify and number sets up to 100, with a particular emphasis on 10 (compose/ decompose); see/tell number stories and create/solve early operation problems; identify, extend, create and name patterns; explore and compare shapes and their attributes; measure and compare objects using non-standard measurement tools; collect, represent and analyze data. 1 S T GR ADE Numbers to 120; add and subtract within 20; intro to multiplication and division concepts; fractions with halves and fourths; time to the hour and half hour; measuring with non-standard units and the concept of a ruler; basic 2D and 3D shapes; recognize coins and their values and count a collection of coins. Science in the lower school encourages students to explore the world around them while introducing them to science concepts and vocabulary. In JK, science is integrated into daily activities and thematic units. In grades SK–4, science takes place in a stand-alone classroom. Students develop observational and record-keeping skills by collecting and recording data, taking notes and making written observations. Process skills are developed through hands-on activities and investigations. Some of the most important skills for students are observing, collecting and recording data, and developing and using models and diagrams. Through cooperative activities, students construct explanations based on evidence and design solutions. They engage in discussions and learn to communicate their ideas to others. Often, technology is integrated into the science curriculum. Students use iPads to explore concepts in depth, research and use creative applications to present information. Engineering and design challenges take place in the context of the curriculum at every grade level. JUNIOR KINDERG ARTEN Topics of study: Live cycle, animal observations, caring for our earth, conservation, seasonal changes, data analysis through hands-on activities that develop science investigation, exploration, observation and critical thinking. SENIOR KINDERG ARTEN Topics of study: Animal observations, force and motion, simple machines, magnetism, buoyancy. 1 S T GR ADE Topics of study: Vertebrates and invertebrates, skeletal system, life cycles, properties of matter, rock cycle, sun, earth and moon system, water cycle. Latin's language program seeks to encourage students to become motivated language learners and global thinkers, connecting to the school's mission of providing students with an educational program that embraces diversity of people, cultures and ideas. Latin has implemented a best practices program that stresses proficiency in language acquisition. The primary goal of the program is to build a vocabulary base that fosters communication and creates a degree of comfort with the language. An interactive approach to teaching through music, movement, and playful engagement enhances student learning and provides cultural connections in a meaningful, student-centered way. JUNIOR KINDERG ARTEN Spanish: During the JK and SK years, students focus on developing a confident, enthusiastic approach towards learning a world language and acquiring an early foundation of language learning skills. Through music, movement and play-based activities the children build their vocabulary and comprehension of basic topics such as greetings and goodbyes, personal introductions, and naming, counting and describing items using colors, shapes and sizes. SENIOR KINDERG ARTEN Spanish: Students continue building their language learning confidence and foundation of skills. Through music, movement and play-based activities the children expand their vocabulary and hone their comprehension of topics such as greetings and goodbyes, introducing and describing oneself, family, and friends, and naming school activities. A second semester storytelling unit incorporates a review of the JK and SK topics and encourages students to demonstrate both receptive and expressive language skills. 1 S T GR ADE Spanish: Students develop conversational language skills by exploring the essential question: What are my routines... at school? home? ...and in my free time? Language goals include describing a typical school day, comparing morning and night routines, and exchanging information related to personal free time interests. Our comprehensive physical development and health program is designed to help students learn to identify and work toward short- and long-term goals, to utilize fitness technology, to persevere in solving problems, to follow directions responsibly and to work both independently and cooperatively with others. The program seeks to help students achieve active and healthy lives. JUNIOR KINDERG ARTEN Participation in age/developmentally appropriate games and activities that support gross motor development, body and spatial awareness. SENIOR KINDERG ARTEN–1 ST GR ADE Skill-building in games and sports begins with the premise that every child has athletic potential is to be developed and celebrated. Physical education in the lower school emphasizes fine and gross motor skills through games, activities and sports that contribute to the growth, development and social attitudes of each student. The physical education program includes basic body management, skill development and improvement, visual-motor integration and spatial awareness. The program stresses civility and good sportsmanship for all. Low-level activities include golf, field hockey, soccer, floor hockey, bowling, scooter activities, tumbling, math games, yoga and Baggo. Multi-level activities include swimming, rock climbing and rope jumping. High-level activities include lacrosse, volleyball, softball, flag football, tee ball, softball and racket sports. Physical education teachers will coach during free choice to help with fair play and game skills. Music The performing arts program in the lower school is represented by a predominantly Orff based general music program in grades JK–4, band in fourth grade, and dance/movement activities in JK and SK. The LS music curriculum is a stand-alone curriculum that aligns with the National Performing Arts Standards and integrates elements from the language arts, mathematics, science, art, computer science and social studies curricula. In the Orff Schulwerk classroom, children begin with what they do instinctively: play! Imitation, experimentation and personal expression occur naturally as students become confident, life-long musicians and creative problem solvers. The Orff approach to teaching is a model for optimal learning in the 21st century classrooms. It facilitates curiosity and provides the space to explore and to be challenged. Music is treated as a holistic subject integrating content from mathematics, logic, science, language, social studies as well as developing skills and strategies for learning and citizenship. Orff Schulwerk music and movement pedagogy contributes to the development of the individual far beyond specific skills and understandings in the arts. The program in grades 1–4 familiarizes students with how art functions in different cultures and increases students' understanding of artists and how they use art to communicate about the world. Students learn about the elements and principles of art through a wide range of media and techniques. JUNIOR KINDERG ARTEN Unit: Art and Design The Junior Kindergarteners will be exposed to art and artists of different cultures, backgrounds, and abilities. This unit aims to develop students' sense of creativity and appreciation of art. At the end of this unit, the Junior Kindergarteners will host a self led conference via the "JK Art Museum." SENIOR KINDERG ARTEN Regular participation in art activities and exploration of materials and media, including collage, construction, printmaking, painting and drawing; opportunities to reflect on process and discuss work with the group. 1 S T GR ADE Students develop fine motor skills and practice a variety of lines, recognize shapes, learn the color wheel, explore texture, construct a balanced and stable three- dimensional form, model a form in clay, learn about a range of artists and styles from different cultures. Computer science in the lower school immerses students in activities aligned with the national CSTA Standards. Students are engaged in activities that are both unplugged and plugged STEAM activities as they build their understanding of computational thinking. Block-based coding apps, programs and robots are used, including Scratch Jr, Scratch and Dash robots, to expose students to a variety of tools that can grow their interest in computer science. Students work collaboratively on developmentally appropriate projects to better understand the core concepts and practices of computer science. JUNIOR KINDERG ARTEN Hello Ruby: Computational Thinking and What is a Computer? Storytelling Coding Project with Scratch Jr. SENIOR KINDERG ARTEN Dash Robot/ Engineering Project Using Scratch Jr, Creating Math Story Programs with Scratch Jr. 1 S T GR ADE Building Blocks Computational Thinking Unit, Inputs and Outputs with LittleBits. The lower school counseling program provides a range of prevention and intervention services to support the social and emotional wellbeing of all students. The Roundtable program helps children gain a foundation in the areas of self-awareness, self-management, relationship skills and responsible decision making. Counselors visit each classroom JK–4 to build relationships, lead discussions, and facilitate activities that promote positive mental health and wellbeing of students. In the early grades, the goal is to help children develop a vocabulary to talk about feelings. As they get older, the curriculum shifts to help children think about group dynamics and forming healthy relationships. The library program serves all lower school students. Goals are organized into four curricular areas: accessing information, evaluating information, using and creating information, and appreciating information and literature in all formats. The librarian collaborates with homeroom and special subject teachers to ensure an integrated curriculum. Students, teachers and parents are encouraged to visit the library to select materials for pleasure reading, for assignments and to satisfy natural (and encouraged) curiosity. The lower school learning resources program is designed to work with children who have diagnosed learning differences in collaboration with their teachers and families. Support is provided through individualized remediation, modifications, accommodations and/or consultative services. The primary goal is to meet the unique needs of our youngest students preparing them to be confident and resourceful learners. The lower school reading and math support programs are designed to assist struggling and at-risk students in SK–4. The process begins when a student is referred by their classroom teacher. Services are provided in small groups. Latin employs two full-time registered nurses, one in the lower school and one to serve the middle and upper schools. The nurses provide immediate emergency care, do initial assessments and work with parents and health care providers to help children with chronic conditions remain healthy at school. They also educate students, faculty and parents about health issues and good health practices. JUNIOR KINDERGARTEN SENIOR KINDERGARTEN 1 ST GRADE SCIENCE LANGUAGE HISTORY & SOCIAL STUDIES MATHEMATICS LITERACY PHYSICAL EDUCATION PERFORMING ARTS VISUAL ARTS COMPUTER SCIENCE LIBRARY COUNSELING LEARNING RESOURCES HEALTH SERVICES Questions? Visit, or email us at

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