ACADEMICS

ACADEMICS

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Elementary School

Kindergarten

Kindergarten is the first year of most children’s formal education. A lot of time is spent on learning routines and getting used to being in school. It is a big adjustment for many children, and can sometimes be difficult. Syracuse Academy provides a warm, caring environment where all children can feel welcome and comfortable. 

Kindergarten is a time when children learn many of the skills and concepts that they will need throughout their education. They will learn the basics of phonics, writing, reading, and reading comprehension as well as mathematical concepts. English Language Arts, Mathematics, Social Studies, and Science are all part of our daily schedule. They are essential components of our curriculum and are often interrelated. 

In addition to academics, kindergarten students have three specials classes: Art, Music, and Physical Education. Each afternoon, kindergarteners recess and snack time. Play is an important part of the day for young children and we make sure to set aside some time for play each day. It provides them with an opportunity to form strong social relationships, engage in dramatic play, and explore new materials. Our four rules are Be Responsible, Be Kind, Be Respectful, and Be Safe. Our students are expected to follow these four rules and to treat each other as they would want to be treated themselves. Students are encouraged to take an active role in the creation of a learning environment that is caring, welcoming, respectful, and diverse.

Students will learn about themselves as individuals and part of a group; about their families and community and about the world around them. All kindergarteners participate in two field trips a month. This is a very exciting time for our Little Atoms, as they have the opportunity to complement class learnings with hands-on, real-life experience. 

So much happens in kindergarten! Because of this, parents as well as children may have some apprehensions about what will happen. It is extremely important to keep in mind that we all build on small successes. Each child will progress at his/her own rate, acquiring skills as he/she is developmentally ready. Maintaining each child's self-esteem and building a secure foundation for future growth will always remain a priority in our class. 

Some ways that you can help make your child's year a success are:

  • Celebrate your child's success, no matter how small it may seem. This will keep your child enthusiastic about learning and proud of their work! This will also help your child to continue to try his/her best in all areas of learning.
  • Read to and with your child everyday. The more your child is exposed to language, the easier it will be for him/her to incorporate new skills in reading and writing in the classroom.
  • Check your child's folder every day for important notes and help them with their homework. This will show your child that you are interested in what he/she is doing in school and that homework is also an important part of learning.
  • Keep open communication with your child, your child's teacher, and the school. Any questions or concerns can only be addressed when we talk openly.

First Grade

Welcome to first Grade! We work rigorously on the four basic components of education, including Common Core English Language Arts (ELA), Common Core Math, Science, and Social Studies. 

In first grade we have 5 rules that we follow in our classrooms.  They include: Keeping our hands to ourselves, Being kind and polite to all, remembering to raise our polite hands, always handling problems is a calm manner and having fun while being safe! 

In English Language Arts, there is a strong emphasis on developing reading strategies, such as: chunking, blending, fluent reading and reading with expression. First graders work on the importance of parts of a story, such as setting, main idea, characters, and plot. Additionally, first graders analyze a variety of texts in order to create an understanding of how different pieces relate to one another. They also begin to work on finding spelling patterns, while becoming familiar with blends and digraphs. 

In math, students make sense of problems and persevere in solving them! They work on adding and subtracting within 100 and becoming fluent in adding or subtracting ten from any number.  Additionally, students will understand that a 2 digit number represents a certain number of tens and ones.  First graders learn to distinguish shapes based on attributes and how to create new shapes from a composite shape. Lastly, in first grade students begin to learn about money and time. 

During social studies, students focus a great deal on character traits and becoming positive, well- mannered citizens within our community. They have numerous opportunities to work with peers and further develop their social skills.

During science, students focus on inquiry and observations. They learn about these two ideas through a variety of topics including: technology, animals, plants, habitats, weather, and energy. Students are developing into inquisitive scientists within our classrooms!

Throughout the year, students have different specials during the day including Physical Education, Music, and Art. We have a daily dedicated time for recess and snack as well. There are multiple opportunities for field trips throughout the school year at our school! The first grade team plans two per month! 


Second Grade

Second grade is an exciting year in elementary education! It is the year that students begin to master all of the skills they learned in previous grades.

English Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies are all a part of our daily schedule. In English Language Arts, second grade students are beginning to read more complicated texts, become fluent readers at their own levels and begin to write more complex sentences and paragraphs. In Math, second grade students are exploring numbers through place value, addition, and subtraction. By the end of the year, our students will be working on measurements, geometry, and fractions! Throughout the school year, second graders will learn about their communities, government and character traits in Social Studies, while studying the world around them in Science. A cross-curriculum approach is emphasized in an effort to support student learning as we move through each subject area.

In addition to our core curriculum, second graders have one or two special classes each day. These include Art, Music, Physical Education, and Computer. We also set aside time for recess each day so that our students may continue to build social relationships with their classmates, engage in new materials and simply let their bodies move!

Our school expectations are:

  • Follow directions the first time
  • Keeps hands, feet, and objects to yourself
  • Use positive language such as "please", "thank you", excuse me"
  • Walk in the class and school
  • Raise your hand to be called on.

Second grade students are held to a high standard but are also rewarded with various forms of positive reinforcement in each classroom. Students will be engaged in learning in a fun, safe and respectful environment!

We look forward to seeing our second graders learn and grow!


Third Grade

In third grade, children start putting the learning pieces together to take on more complicated assignments. As they continue to apply the basic skills they learned in first and second grade, they begin to do some work more independently than in previous years. The third-grade curriculum focuses on learning about the world around us and becoming experts on different topics in the curriculum. 

Language & Literacy: Third graders learn what it takes to be a good reader. They have a better handle on what to do when they don’t understand a word or passage, like looking at pictures in a book for clues. They’ll often discuss books in small groups and ask questions about what they’re reading. They’ll summarize and use graphs to organize their thoughts about the books they read. Their teacher will introduce many literary genres and a variety of print forms, such as newspapers, magazines, and Websites. Third graders also learn organizational methods that help them prepare for more complex writing assignments. They’ll create maps, webs, and Venn diagrams to plan their work. They’ll write reports, creative fiction, and personal narratives. They’ll also be asked to take more responsibility for the writing process, including revising, editing, and proofreading. A major change that happens in third grade is the shift from learning to read, to reading to learn. This means that students are using a variety of texts in order to gain an understanding of different topics. Students also learn to become experts through research on different topics such as frogs, wolves, and other exciting things.

Math: Math becomes much more challenging in third grade. Students work with larger whole numbers, multiplication, division, and with fractions. They’ll look at odd and even numbers, and patterns that involve those numbers. They’ll solve and explain addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division word problems. Students are asked to do more math work on paper and in their heads, instead of with physical materials. There are many new and challenging concepts that students are introduced to and they have the chance to practice them in our classroom and during our math intervention time. During this time, the students work with teachers across the grade to get help in the areas that they need it most and use computer programs to get extra practice.

Science: Science investigations become much more detailed in third grade and the students begin to learn a lot more about the scientific method. Students explore more complex topics, such as living systems, like the food chain, the water cycle, and how to conduct an experiment.. They’ll learn about landmasses and bodies of water, and how to identify them on a globe or map. They’ll begin to investigate different states of matter such as solids, liquids, and gases.

Social Studies: Third grade social studies lessons begin to expand children’s view of the world. Students learn about communities around the world and their cultures. They will also learn about federal, state, and local government and what each one is responsible for. They'll study how methods of travel and communication have changed throughout time, and in different regions. 

Students in third grade can expect to learn a lot, be challenged every day, and work hard. We also go on a lot of fun field trips and explore exciting concepts in the classroom. Students at this level focus on peer relationships, how to maintain them, and how to respectfully communicate with each other. Students are expected to consistently show respect to everyone in the school, including students and teachers. This helps students learn to be responsible for their own actions and understand both the positive and negative consequences of their actions.


Fourth Grade

Welcome Fourth Graders to Syracuse Academy of Science! At our school, we provide a safe, healthy, and enjoyable learning experience for all students. Fourth grade students will be challenged academically in all core subject areas, where they will begin to develop individual organization skills. They will be held accountable for completing all assignments as to prepare for their transition to middle school. Students will also be held accountable behaviorally and socially, developing their skills as citizens within their classrooms and communities, and focusing on making positive decisions with themselves and their peers.

Language & Literacy: The fourth grade literacy program focuses closely on reading and listening to primary and secondary sources to gather specific details and determine central ideas. Using listening and writing skills, students will reinforce their reading fluency using paragraph and essay writing. Students will read fiction and nonfiction literature to develop an understanding of setting, characterization, theme, and informational writing. With an emphasis on making inferences, summarizing informational text, and basic research (note-taking and pulling together information from a variety of texts), the literacy program will foster students’ abilities to synthesize information from multiple sources and integrate research into their writing. 

Math: The fourth grade math program provides an in depth coverage of a variety of topics. Students will begin the year studying number sense (place value, math fluency, and basic computation skills, including word problems). Then, students will explore measurement, and multiplying and dividing multi-digit numbers. Students will also explore geometry in classifying shapes, finding the perimeter and area of geometric shapes, and identifying different types of angles. Fractions will be a very in-depth unit, as students will focus closely on finding equivalent fractions, adding and subtracting fractions, as well as multiplying fractions and looking at line plots. Students will end the year looking at decimals as fractions, as well as using multiplication through measurement.

Writing: During our writing block we will be focusing on the six plus one traits of writing: ideas, organization, word choice, sentence fluency, conventions, voice and presentation. We will work through the writing process to write pieces from each mode of writing: Narrative, Persuasive, and Explanatory. Student will be assessed according to the leveled New York State Writing Evaluation Rubric. Students will critique their work during the revision process, as well as focus on peer development in their writing within their classrooms.

Science: Fourth grade science includes a more in depth study of living things through observation and investigation of plants and animals. Students investigate earth science, the solar system, and physical science. Students explore ways in which energy can be created and used. Throughout each unit of study, students explore scientific methods and experimental design. Students will work independently, in small groups, and engage in classroom discussions on these topics.

Social Studies: This year in Social Studies students will learn all about New York. They will start the year learning about the geography of the United States and New York. Students will explore the history and culture of the Iroquois Nation and study about the encounters between the Europeans and the native people of this area. Next, we will delve into the history of colonial New York and investigate the events of the American Revolution and its effects on New York. Students will also learn about New York State’s capital, Albany, and examine how our state government works. Apart from the fascinating facts the students will study throughout the year, they will also develop skills in reading primary sources and interpreting the information. Students will also participate in a fun learning centered project where social studies will come to life!


Specials:

Physical Education: Physical education is an essential part of any K-4 curriculum. Our students are exposed to a wide variety of activities and games that will help promote lifelong physical activity. They are also taught how to display good sportsmanship. In our K-4 physical education program, there is an emphasis placed on effort and attitude rather than winning and losing. K-2 students are exposed to basic motor skills as well as the basic skills needed to play different activities. 3rd and 4th graders are taught more complex skills with an emphasis on teamwork, cooperation, and communication. 

Art: The Syracuse Academy of Science Elementary visual arts curriculum helps students understand how media, technique, and process are used to create works of art, and how artworks are structured. The goal of each project is to introduce students to the basic elements of art. Each project discovers: how to identify, analyze, and select subject matter, how symbols are used for personal and cultural expression, and how historical and cultural contexts provide meaning for works of art.


Support Services:

Special Education: Special Education is not a place, it is a service. The goal is to provide all students with a disability the services necessary for success in the least restrictive classroom environment. Special Education teachers provide accommodations and modifications to the grade level curriculum to help all students be successful. Special Education Teachers push-into classrooms to provide services. They also pull students out for resource groups that target specific skills and behaviors. 

ENL - English as a New Language Program: The goal of the English as a New Language Program is to ensure English Language Learners acquire and develop English proficiency through rigorous curriculum, research-based teaching strategies, and social/emotional support. Languages and cultures of ELLs are respected and valued while learning about and becoming part of American culture.

Title 1 Reading and Math Intervention: The reading and math intervention team consists of specialized teachers in literacy and mathematics. They provide academic support for all classrooms in the school. This may include both small group instruction and additional integrated instruction. Syracuse Academy of Science Elementary uses Accelerated Math, Leveled Literacy Intervention Program, and STAR assessments to help fill in any gaps students may have.  Our goal is to challenge students to overcome their learning obstacles and help each student feel empowered and capable in their education.

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