PS 154 has established a curriculum for its students that strives to help each student reach his/her full learning potential.
English Language Arts
PS 154 teachers use a balanced literacy approach to teach the English language arts. The components of this approach include reading aloud with accountable talk, shared reading, reading workshop (with independent/paired reading, book clubs, guided reading and reading strategy groups), and teacher/student writing conferences. The mini-lessons taught as part of the reading and writing workshops follow a sequence of monthly units of study developed by Teacher’s College, Columbia University. The balanced literacy approach supports the uniform citywide literacy program, and is being implemented during a daily 120 minute literacy block for grades K-5. Classroom libraries, small class sizes, academic support personnel (including paraprofessionals), and the assignment of a literacy consultant further support the instruction.
Grades K-4 are using GoMath, which has been selected as the uniform citywide program for mathematics. This program is being implemented for 60 minutes a day for grades K-2 and 75 minutes a day for grades 3-5. Illustrative Mathematics is being used as a supplement to GoMath. (https://achievethecore.org/coherence-map/)
In 5th Grade, math is departmentalized. We use the Engage New York curriculum, and we supplement it with rich tasks taken from Illustrative Mathematics, Contexts for Learning, and other sources. 5th grade mathematicians practice being collaborative, curious, reflective problem-solvers and pattern-makers inside and outside of the classroom.
Elementary social studies is made up of inquiry-based, in-depth studies of history, geography, economics, government, and culture. Units of study are planned around essential questions of large, over-arching concepts. Students are engaged in active learning through independent inquiry and cooperative group work in order to make the concepts of social studies meaningful. Students explore inquiries through authentic research and an integration of reading, writing, observation, discussion, and debate. They are guided through an examination of multiple perspectives using primary and secondary resources, interviews, and field trips.
The Arts are a valued part of PS 154′s curriculum. We have a full-time visual arts teacher who provides our Pre-K-5 classes with an enriched art program in which our students explore painting, drawing, printmaking, collage, and sculpture.
The theater arts curriculum at PS 154 is designed to give students a broad understanding of the world of theater as well as performance opportunities to put their learning into action. Students begin their study with story drama and theater games in grades K and 1, learning the rules and culture of the stage. Second graders begin performance work with physical theater and devise an original performance at the end of the year. Third grade students study world drama and theater forms from Japanese Kabuki to Elizabethan Drama. Fourth graders begin their year with a production of a Shakespearean play, and end with a wide-ranging unit on technical theater. Fourth graders study play-writing, and as a capstone to their six year curriculum, write and produce their own five-minute plays.
We want to ensure that our children are provided with engaging and hands-on science experiences. This year, our teachers will be covering the science curriculum utilizing a program called Amplify. Each classroom will have a dedicated science center for students to explore in addition to their scheduled experiments in our lab. Our partnership with The Tiny Scientist will provide further opportunities to enrich our curriculum for all classes, as will our explorations in Prospect Park and other field trip venues.
Technology is infused into all curricular areas through the use of in-classroom computers, mobile laptop labs, and an upgraded computer lab. Students have multiple opportunities to use technology to demonstrate and support their learning. The school has a technology lab that will be utilized as both a resource center for students to use mac desktops but also a new makerspace.
The rate of technological advancement exceeds our ability to make accurate predictions about future opportunities. How can we best prepare our children when there is so much unknown? Take a look at this video. It’s both amazing and frightening:
While, with the speed of technological advancement, we may not know what the jobs of the future are, we know that every innovation in that video was created by people who collaborate creatively to solve problems and remain resilient in the face of obstacles. These lifelong skills can be taught to even our youngest students. Our children will begin to experience the design thinking process right away in kindergarten through blocks, legos and the imagination playground. As our students develop more sophisticated design skills they will utilize our new maker-space lab to engage in monthly problems.
Here are two great resources that explore the design thinking process:
The physical education classes in grades K through 5th grade are using the Physical Best curriculum. This comprehensive health-related fitness program enables students to learn why activity is important, and how it benefits them today and for a lifetime. Emphasizing participation in a wide variety of enjoyable physical activities (traditional sports, non-traditional sports, and various fitness activities). Physical Best promotes individual choice and making connections to real opportunities to remain active for lifelong health and wellness.
Homework can be part of a meaningful instructional plan for children. When provided, the intention is to support independent practice of learned skills or to push students to think deeply about a topic. Homework provides students the opportunity to solve problems at their own pace and to develop time-management skills. Parents can support at-home assignments by asking children to explain their work. Please discuss any homework questions or concerns with your child’s teacher.
In coordination with our administration and determined through parent and teacher surveys done every spring, enrichments to academic work are tailored to each grade level.
We want our children to feel safe and supported in their learning in order to encourage intellectual and interpersonal risk taking. We will foster an environment that prioritizes relationships through dialogue, social skills practice and collaborative problem solving. The framework for our approach is provided by the Responsive Classroom program and will be enhanced by the creation of a school-wide behavior program. Our focus will be to guide children towards a deeper understanding of what it means to be caring, curious and courageous.