Sally Borden Program Curriculum

The language arts program in third grade focuses on three main components: building phonetic understanding in order to bolster decoding and encoding skills, teaching and practicing reading comprehension strategies, and developing the skills of written expression. The literature we read is a balance between independent choice, class novels used for literature circles and group discussion, books which generally have curricular ties to Social Studies themes, and read-­‐alouds chosen to model and strengthen comprehension skills. Past titles include:The Minstrel in the Tower, Santiago’s Silver Mine, and Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes.

Reading instruction is guided by a student’s individual needs and learning profile. Differentiated instruction may include:

Decoding & Encoding

Fluency

Comprehension

Students in third grade are exposed to a variety of writing styles, strengthened by two programs;Being a Writer and Framing Your Thoughts.

3rd grade students learn about the structure of sentence writing, parts of speech, and paragraph writing. They write personal narratives, poetry, creative fiction, and research papers. 

The reading program in fourth grade encompasses decoding and word attack, fluency and comprehension. The literature we read is a balance between independent choice, class novels used for literature circles and group discussion, books with curricular ties to Social Studies themes and read-alouds chosen to strengthen comprehension. Past titles include stories from the Hank Zipzer series (to facilitate a discussion on learning differences) as well as a version of Moby Dick, The Liberation of Gabriel King and Little House on the Prairie (linked with Social Studies).

Reading instruction is guided by a student’s individual needs and learning profile. Differentiated instruction may include: 

Decoding & Encoding

Fluency

• Read Naturally 

Comprehension

Students in fourth grade are exposed to a variety of writing styles, strengthened by two programs; Being a Writer and Framing Your Thoughts.

4th grade students write personal narratives, 3-paragraph research papers, tall tales, diary entries in the persona of a whaler and weekly functional writing assignments of their choosing (procedural paragraphs, movie reviews, etc.) to be posted on our classroom website.

During Language Arts, fifth graders work on their reading and writing through a workshop approach. Using research-based curricula, students are exposed to a variety of genres, and opportunities to develop reading strategies, which are key to sound comprehension of text. The books we read echo the values we strive to instill in our students, and inspire conversations around topics we are studying in other content areas. Fifth grade places an emphasis on developing a love for reading and building reading stamina. Our program is multi-layered, encompassing decoding and word attack, fluency and comprehension.

Reading instruction is guided by a student’s individual needs and learning profile. Differentiated instruction may include:

Decoding & Encoding

Comprehension

Our writing evolves from the basis of sentence and paragraph structure to a more complex system of introductory, supporting, and concluding paragraphs. Students apply these skills to a variety of genres, including research papers, letter writing, persuasive writing, descriptive pieces, fiction stories and poetry.

Programs used for writing include:

  • Framing Your Thoughts
  • Being a Writer
  • Framing Your Thoughts: Applied Writing

Past Highlights include:

  • Literature circle studies
  • Author study and Author’s Tea event
  • Integrated book groups
  • Class novels explored have included: Everything for a Dog, Tuck Everlasting, Caesar’s Story, The Journal of William Thomas Emerson 

The essential questions that guide the SBP sixth grade class are:

  • How can I express thoughts thoroughly with detail and proper grammar?
  • Can I express feelings thoroughly with written language?
  • Where can I find courage, teamwork, justice and perseverance in literature and integrate it into my live?

Sally Borden School students participate in reading instruction during Literature classes. In the past, examples of books read during literature classes have included The Tale of Desperaux, The City of Ember, and The Lightning Thief.

In writer’s workshop, the skill of summarizing will be emphasized throughout the year. Study skill techniques will be instructed and practiced in Social Studies classes as well.

In April, students present a poem  to an audience of families and student at Arts and Poetry Night.

The primary objectives in sixth grade English class are:

  • Development of comprehension skills including literal, inferential, and critical analysis of literature.An introduction of plot structure and basic story elements, such as plot, mood, character, setting and theme.
  • An introduction to literary techniques, such as drawing conclusions, predicting outcomes, and foreshadowing.
  • A review of grammar, sentence, and paragraph structure
  • Journal writing, poetry, essays, research papers and the development of oral presentations.
  • Highlighting main ideas, paraphrasing, proofreading, editing, and summarizing
  • The production of a mini-research paper
  • An introduction to working outlines
  • The creation of bibliographies
  • The establishment of note-taking format
  • The development of highlighting, brainstorming and outlining techniques

Students have time each week allotted for Orton-Gillingham lessons and Read Naturally Live. Other programs available to students if needed are Lindamood-Bell’s LiPS program, Seeing Stars. and Visualizing and Verbalizing for Language Comprehension.

These essential questions guide the SBP seventh grade curriculum:

  • How do you express your thoughts on paper so that others know exactly what you’re thinking?
  • How do you creatively show a book’s plot and themes without telling?
  • What do Shakespeare and contemporary rap have in common? How do you learn, understand, and speak Shakespearean English?
  • How do you develop descriptive language?

Students hone their reading skills with analytical reading for plot, structure, themes, character, and metaphors/similes through a number of books: A Long Walk to Water, Romeo and Juliet (graphic novel), The Circuit, and The Outsiders. Deep comprehension is practiced through different strategies that help students extract meaning.

Students begin the year by writing a script and producing Public Service Announcement video. In a Writer’s Workshop format, students review the basics of brainstorming, organizing thoughts, editing and proofing and using transition words and phrases and build towards a five paragraph essay.  Throughout the year, students write persuasive essays, creative pieces, rap, poetry and practice giving and receiving constructive criticism. In April, students present a poem  to an audience of families and student at Arts and Poetry Night.

Students have time each week allotted for Orton-Gillingham lessons and Read Naturally Live. Other programs available to students if needed are Lindamood-Bell’s LiPS program, Seeing Stars. and Visualizing and Verbalizing for Language Comprehension.

The SBP 8th grade language arts curriculum is guided by these essential questions:

  • How does Literature tell our stories?
  • How do stories tell the history of social change?
  • Where does social injustice come from? (understanding our past)
  • How do we begin to think for ourselves?
  • What is “my” personal journey?

Students continue to hone their reading skills with analytical reading for plot, structure, themes, character, and metaphors/similes through a number of books: Of Mice and Men, March, and Midsummer Night’s Dream. Deep comprehension is practiced through different strategies that help students extract meaning.

In a Writer’s Workshop format, students explore expository writing through essay responses to secondary application questions. They learn how to write grab-ins, create outlines, write introductory and conclusion paragraphs, and how to highlight salient features.  They learn how to create a thesis statement, develop a plan to follow the thesis and finish with editing and proofreading.

Throughout the year, students write expository and persuasive essays, creative pieces, poetry and research reports. In April, students present a poem to an audience of families and student at Arts and Poetry Night.

Students have time each week allotted for Orton-Gillingham lessons and Read Naturally Live. Other programs available to students if needed are Lindamood-Bell’s LiPS program, Seeing Stars. and Visualizing and Verbalizing for Language Comprehension.

Students work individually and collaboratively to solve problems and share ideas as they work through theCarroll Math curriculum. This tri-­‐component curriculum usesMath in Focus, cognitive activities, and Symphony Math software. Concepts covered include:

  • Place value
  • Addition and subtraction, with and without regrouping
  • Beginning multiplication and division
  • Money
  • Time
  • Graphing
  • Fractions
  • Geometry

Our pedagogical approach begins with concrete learning, and moves to pictorial representation of learned concepts, and finally abstract thinking. Our students develop cognitive flexibility through activities and games. 

Students in fourth grade utilize a tri-component curriculum using Math in Focus, cognitive activities and Symphony Math software. Concepts covered include:

  • Place value to 100,000
  • Estimation and number theory
  • Multiplication and division by one and two digit numbers
  • Graphing
  • Fractions and Mixed Numbers
  • Geometry

Our pedagogical approach begins with concrete learning, and moves to pictorial representation of learned concepts, and finally abstract thinking. Our students develop cognitive flexibility through activities and games. 

In fifth grade, emphasis is placed on problem solving, critical thinking, and strategy development. Our pedagogical approach begins with concrete learning, moving to pictorial representations of learned concepts, and finally abstract thinking. Our students develop cognitive flexibility through activities and games. Students work individually and collaboratively to solve problems and share ideas as we work through our Carroll Math Curriculum. This tri-component curriculum comprises Math In Focus, Symphony Math software and Cognitive Activities. Concepts covered in fifth grade include:

  • Place value to 10,000,000
  • Review of long multiplication and division by one and two digit numbers
  • Adding, subtracting fractions with like and unlike denominators
  • Introduction to multiplying and dividing fractions
  • Algebra
  • Introduction to decimals
  • Geometry

The Sally Borden School Math Program incorporates a blend of hands- on manipulatives and real-world applications that are used to deliver a concrete sense of the use of numbers. Pearson AGS Basic Math, IXL and teacher made materials are incorporated.

Topics include:

  • Number Theory
  • Multiplication, division, addition and subtraction review
  • Order of Operations
  • Fractions, mixed numbers
  • Decimals/operations with decimals
  • Percents
  • Statistics
  • Graphing
  • Exponents

The following essential questions guide “The Design Your Life” inquiry-based program.

  • Who do you want to be at age 25 and what do you want to do?
  • What education and skills do you need to achieve those goals?
  • What numbers can we work with?  What are the basic laws of working with numbers?

Math during this year is centered around the Design Your Life program.

Throughout the year, students plan for their life at the age of 25. Students set goals, explore careers, find out exactly what is needed to achieve them, and how much they will have to pay.  They write a resume, apply and interview for a job and wait to hear if they obtain it. Throughout this year-long project, math is incorporated every step of the way.

Student research living expenses, how to pay for college loans and create a Google sheet of monthly expenses. These expenses are totalled each week and then monthly. Trips to the grocery store, cooking, figuring out car payments and creating budgets are built into the curriculum. This blend of hands‐on math and real­‐world applications are used to deliver a concrete sense of the use of numbers.

Math included:

  • Proportion
  • Associative, commutative and distributive properties
  • Data analysis and probability
  • Decimals, fractions, integers
  • Ratios, percents
  • Unit Rates
  • Geometry
  • Problem solving techniques
  • PEMDAS

Introduction to Algebra seeks to develop each student’s algebraic and spatial reasoning at the pace and level of abstraction appropriate to the individual. Students are exposed to many topics not typically covered until high school but in a way that is accessible to twelve and thirteen year olds.

Models are used throughout the course in order to create a smooth transition from the concrete to the abstraction required for mastery of algebra material. With a focus on depth of understanding and non-­‐routine problem solving, students establish skill in linear equations, percents, functions, volume, ratio, fractions, exponents, and integers.

  • Algebra manipulatives and geometry
  • PEMDAS
  • Number theory
  • Integers and Rationals
  • Area Perimeter and Volume
  • Motion and Graphing
  • Probability
  • Exponents
  • Percents
  • Ratios

Two books are used: Globe Fearon – Pre-Algebra and Algebra textbooks, which are designed for students with learning differences. Students alse use IXL – an online mathematics program to practise and reinforce math skills.

Investigating plant structures and adaptations by:

  • Closely observing seeds collected around FA campus
  • Learning about seed dispersal mechanisms and then sorting seeds by their adaptations for dispersal
  • Inventing a new seed dispersal mechanism
  • Dissecting flowers to observe pollination mechanisms
  • Inventing a plant with adaptations to a specific environment

Experimenting to confirm needs of plants by:

  • Learning to design a fair test
  • Questioning, predicting and testing conditions for seed germination and seedling growth

Experimenting to understand erosion and soil formation by:

  • Designing an experiment to test the compost-ability of materials, and analyzing the results
  • Investigating the effects of moving water on the FA campus

Investigating properties of sound by:

  • Testing multiple materials to understand the relationship between length and pitch
  • Learning how the ear works and how to protect hearing from loud sounds

Investigating properties of water as a connection to classroom unit on whales by:

  • Investigating surface tension
  • Testing materials for sinking (negative buoyancy) or floating (positive buoyancy)
  • Applying knowledge to creating a “flinker” (an item with neutral buoyancy)

Exploring Electricity and Circuits by:

  • Meeting hands-on challenges : building a simple circuit from one bulb, one battery and one wire; making a circuit that can make a filament glow, adding a switch to a circuit, figuring out the wiring patterns in “black box” mystery circuits and building series and parallel circuits
  • Designing and building a simple flashlight (portable light with on-off switch)designing the circuits and wiring a cardboard “house” with lights and switches

Investigating Geology focusing on the composition of Earth materials by:

  • Dissecting “mock rocks” to understand the difference between rocks and minerals
  • Separating rock components by shaking with water and letting contents settle into layers of sediments
  • Testing and identifying minerals through hardness tests and reactions to vinegar
  • Observing crystal growth as vinegar and water evaporate and model how
  • Safely cracking open rocks to examine the interiors

Building Ecosystems models to learn about interdependence by:

  • Differentiating between living and non-living components of ecosystems, especially a riverbank ecosystem
  • Building small terraria and aquaria, adding plants and observing growth
  • Role playing interactions between sun, plants, oxygen and carbon dioxide
  • Adding small invertebrate animals to terraria and aquaria and observing their effects on the systems, while learning about producers and consumers, and food chains
  • Connecting the land and water ecosystems to see how they affect each other
  • Testing the effects of human pollutants- salt, fertilizer and acid rain on plant-only ecosystems applying understanding to the variety of ecosystems on the Friends Academy campus, including river, field, vernal pool and forest

Fifth Grade students will harness their creativity and further develop the exploratory investigation of the world around them. Focus during the year is on weather, climate, biomes, simple machines, energy, energy transformation, and energy resources. Students will also be exposed to the fun and wacky world of Rube Goldberg as they engineer and create a Rube Goldberg Machine. These projects will be presented to peers, faculty, friends and family as a culmination of their studies of simple machines. Focus is on:

  • Exploratory investigations
  • Systems thinking
  • Communication
  • Cooperation and collaboration

The essential questions that guide the SBP science curriculum are:

  • How do I use science to communicate and solve problems?               
  • How am I related to the Earth and how do I take care of it?                  
  • What do living things have in common and why are they different?
  • What living things share this place?

Built into the curriculum are executive functioning supports and reinforcement of habits of mind that support students with language-based learning differences.

Students explore the following topics through a variety of inquiry-based projects and activities:

Tree Study: Students gather data for the Harvard University Forest “Buds, Leaves and Global Warming” while learning about tree identification through the use of a dichotomous key. Students learn the importance of and practice accurate sketching/drawing techniques from their “sit spots” on campus.

Birds –  Adaptations and Classification: Students participate in Project Feederwatch through the Cornell Lab where they gather data about the number and kind of birds that they observe at their feeders and interpret the data. Skills that students learn are how to classify organisms, measure depth and temperature, record and organize data, calculate biodiversity and biomass, and identify adaptations.

Vernal Pools – Using the on campus vernal pool, students study invertebrates, amphibians, protists and the life cycles of the vernal pool organisms. Students collect invertebrates, measure depth and temperature of the pool; record, organize and interpret gathered data; Identify trophic levels; and Identify feeding relationships. Students study evolution through a variety of labs.

These essential questions guide the 7th grade SBP curriculum.

  • How do I use science to communicate and solve problems?               
  • How am I related to the Earth and how do I take care of it?                  
  • What are the Earth’s systems and how do they interact?

Built into the curriculum are executive functioning supports and reinforcement of habits of mind that support students with language-based learning differences.

As students enter seventh grade they will begin to solidify the skills they have attained thus far. For most, the foundation was established in sixth grade, and now the students will be expected to utilize their skills to demonstrate a deeper understanding of the material they will be studying.  Specific skills such as highlighting, note taking, and calendar planning will be interwoven during all reading and writing instruction.

Students explore the essential questions through a variety of long-term projects, labs and activities.

Mapping – in this unit, students learn to identify earth’s spheres and parts of a map. They learn about topography, how to use latitude and longitude,draw maps and use the compass rose. They apply what they learn with “playground latitude and longitude.”

Watershed Students apply their mapping skills to watersheds, specifically the Friends’ watershed – the Paskamansett River..  They explore the health of this watershed and its stream discharge by taking field measurements and collecting data on the Paskamansett River throughout the year.

Weather – Students are introduced to instruments that measure weather, record local data, and learn how to read weather maps.  They examine all aspects of weather in preparation for their Extreme Weather Project.

Global Voices – As an integrated project with social studies, students study an assigned country from around the globe and choose a major natural disaster common there (earthquakes or flooding due to hurricanes, tsunami, monsoon, etc.). Staying within a budget calculated based on the GDP/capita of their country, they construct a building designed to withstand that disaster. They log their progress, tests, and redesigns, and display their buildings at the Science Expo. Global Voices culminates in the Global Summit, a strategy-style game simulation of trade and policy-making that tests their ability to increase their country’s GDP/capita while reducing carbon emissions.

Climate Change/Erosion/Rock Cycle: Through a series of labs, videos, books, and articles students explore the many facets and perspectives of climate change.

The essential questions that guide the Sally Borden Program science curriculum are:

  • How do I use science to communicate and solve problems?              
  • How am I related to the Earth and how do I take care of it?                  
  • What is stuff made of and how is it put together?

Built into the curriculum are executive functioning supports and reinforcement of habits of mind that support students with language-based learning differences.

Throughout the year, students build understanding and knowledge through a series of lab based experiments that explore:

  • Volume and Mass
  • Water quality
  • Conservation of Mass
  • Measurement of Mass
  • Separation of Mixtures
  • Compounds & Elements
  • Density
  • Characteristic Properties
  • Compounds and elements
  • Boiling and melting points

Long Term Project: Students identify a topic of interest that they want to explore in January.  This process of research, experimentation, data collection, conclusion and writing of a research paper culminates in March with the presentation of findings in the 7th and 8th Grade Science Expo.

Final assessment: SLUDGE

Students work in teams to separate an unknown “industrial” mixture, purify and identify its fractions, and determine whether the fractions could be reused for “industrial purposes.”

THIRD GRADE OVERARCHING GOALS:

  • What is Geography?
  • What is Culture?
  • How are other cultures similar to, and different from, my culture?
  • What does it mean to be a caring world citizen?

Our curriculum focuses on the world cultures. Students learn the differences between, city, state, country and continent. They learn to identify the world’s continents on a map, and are exposed to several in-­‐depth country studies. Past countries of study include Mexico, Japan, and Egypt.

Past highlights from these units include field trips to the Boston Children’s Museum Japanese Home exhibit, and the Museum of Fine Arts Egyptian exhibit.

FOURTH GRADE OVERARCHING GOALS:

  • How did important events specific to each region have a powerful influence on it?
  • How can we learn from the U.S. past in order to become better stewards of our country now and in the future?
  • How does the geography of the United States shape the history, culture, daily practices, industry, and agriculture?

Our curriculum focuses on the regions of the United States. By the end of the year, students hopefully will know the location of all 50 states, and their capitals! The content of the course includes:

  • Regions of the United States
  • Explorers
  • Whaling (Northeast)
  • Civil Rights (South)
  • Gold Rush (West)
  • Pioneers (Midwest)

Past highlights from these units include our 4th grade Whaling Days event, a field trip to the Charles W. Morgan whaling ship in Mystic, CT, Prairie Days event and a field trip to Hornbine School: an authentic one-room schoolhouse in Rehoboth, MA.

FIFTH GRADE OVERARCHING GOALS:

  • Perspective: How can examining something from multiple perspectives deepen our understanding?
  • Conflict: How does conflict, and resistance to conflict, play a role in the stories we hear and tell?

Our study of history is taught in a multi-sensory fashion commencing with the settlement of Jamestown, moving to an examination of early Colonial America, the French and Indian War, the American Revolution, and the creation of the American Constitution. Basing our understanding of government in the evolution of early America helps students understand the structure set up in the country we live in today. Throughout these units, students are provided opportunities for experiential learning, such as our Wax Museum: Unheard Voices of the American Revolution. We work with material in varied ways, allowing for repetition of key concepts and incorporate development of Executive Functioning skills. These include:

  • note-taking techniques
  • planning methods for long-term projects
  • determining important information
  • synthesizing information
  • organization of materials and ideas

Essential questions that guide student learning are:

  • How are citizens today shaped by decisions and events in history?
  • How do people affect change?  Why do they attempt to make change?
  • How does change impact societies?

In social studies class students study American history from the Civil War to WW II. They are asked to make cross-curricular connections with reading in Language Arts class. Specific skill instruction includes SQ3R, a strategy for use with textbooks, test preparation, test taking, oral presentations, note taking and vocabulary development. Additionally, students are asked to regularly complete journal entries written from the point of view of the subject currently being studied.

“The History of Our Nation” by AGS is a resource for students as are primary documents, videos, various websites and field trips. Students complete a variety of inquiry-based and creative projects.

These essential questions drive the SBP 7th grade social studies curriculum:

  • What is culture?  How does culture impact the morality and ethics of its people?
  • How do you identify  and express your culture?
  • How does a country’s natural life impact its cultural life?
  • How does a country’s GDP affect its carbon footprint?

Students begin the year with a study of cultures.  Using The Ancient World, students explore ancient Egypt and begin to answer some of the essential questions.

In their interdisciplinary Global Voices unit, each student is assigned a country and conducts research regarding its natural, economic, and cultural life. Students create and present projects in both science and social studies.  It culminates in the Global Voices game – an experiential, interactive morning of international challenge where each country tries to raise its GDP while lowering its carbon footprint to prevent the global temperature from rising past 1.5 degrees.

Study skill techniques continue to be instructed and practiced in social studies classes. Techniques such two-column notes and locating specific information in text and other strategies will continue as well.  Additionally, students will learn how to create study guides independently in preparation for tests.They continue to develop and strengthen their skills in critical reading, analytical writing, research, and individualized reflection.

These essential questions drive the 8th grade SBP social studies curriculum:

  • How do we define culture and how does it change? What are the elements of culture? What does it mean to be human?
  • What is a right? What is a universal right?
  • What is the relationship between our stories and our identity?
  • To what extent are we all witnesses to history and messengers to humanity?

The eighth graders utilize the book, World Cultures for their studies in world history and geography. Additionally, students are asked to make cross-curricular connections with reading in Language Arts class. Specific study skill instruction includes SQ3R, a strategy for use with textbooks, test preparation, test taking, oral presentations, and note taking. Students learn how to create study guides and do this throughout the year. Additionally, topics related to current events articles will be discussed regularly.

Students begin the year examining the components of culture and how it changes.  These questions are explored, “Who are we as individuals? What are our civil and human rights?” Students immerse themselves in an inquiry-based autobiography project that culminates in writing a memory book.

Students delve deeply into civil and human rights through study of Freedom Riders, church bombing and reading March in literature class. They study the Holocaust, and human rights/social justice. In an integrated unit with FA 8th graders, students visit several places of worship in New Bedford and Providence and reflect on their experiences.  This comparative religion unit  is also tied to current events.