HGP: Grade 2–5 Subjects
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Reading instruction is an integral component of the Hope Graham Program. Each child's learning profile provides the basis for informed decisions to plan and individualize instruction. Our program supports the five essential foundational pillars of reading:
- Phonemic Awareness
Components of our literacy curriculum include:
A systematic, sequential, multi-sensory approach to the teaching of reading, spelling, and writing, Orton-Gillingham provides the foundation of the curriculum at HGP. This approach is diagnostic, prescriptive, and phonetically based, individualizing language skills for each child. Students move step-by-step from simple to more complex skills in a structured and logical method to improve reading and writing. A language-based approach to learning is provided in all areas of the curriculum throughout a student's day.
In the reading workshop model, students receive assistance in choosing authentic literature at their individual level. Students build reading automaticity, stamina, and fluency, and learn to become engaged, strategic readers. Reading workshop builds active reading strategies (questions, connections, predictions, inferences, fix-up strategies) and incorporates story structure and sequencing through shared read-alouds, mentor texts, and modeling. Students in HGP select "just right" books to develop and reinforce skills. Our goal is to foster a love of reading. We teach comprehension strategies to develop thoughtful readers. Additional individualized practice is provided with such programs as Read Naturally, Lindamood Phoneme Sequencing (LiPS)® and Lindamood Bell Visualizing and Verbalizing®.
Reading and writing skills develop in tandem. Approaches such as Framing Your Thoughts, EmPOWER and Orton-Gillingham provide the framework for teaching to help students become better writers, thinkers, and learners. We use a common language to provide continuity across grade levels and subjects. Because students with language-based learning differences often struggle with written instructions, these approaches utilize oral language, planning, organizational structure, graphic organizers, and mechanics.
Recognizing that students with language-based learning differences often face challenges in short-term, visual, auditory, and working memory, mathematics instruction in the HGP is addressed through a multifaceted approach that includes concrete, hands-on learning and assistive technology, to allow students to develop their skills and understanding of concepts, and to achieve mastery.
Math In Focus: Singapore Math is at the core of HGP mathematics curriculum. It draws on best practices and highlights problem solving as the focus of mathematical learning. It affords learners the opportunity to engage in model drawing experiences, which tap into their visual-spatial and reasoning strengths. Math In Focus: Singapore Math supports a deeper level of understanding and eases the journey into higher levels of math. The program is designed to help learners develop a positive attitude toward math, build the confidence to persevere, and develop the ability to monitor their own thinking.
The Central Subject (CS) curriculum is an interdisciplinary study of local and global cultures and historical time periods. It is a study of a people, a period of history, an idea, and exploration. It encompasses history, geography, and language arts. It includes experiential learning through immersion, and draws from other academic areas including art, music, and drama.
The reading and research aspects of the CS curriculum will take place in the HGP classes, while certain projects, activities, and field trips will be integrated with the Lower or Middle School companion classes.
Science classes meet in the Lower School science lab for activities in the three strands of science: life science, physical science, and earth and space science. Students also explore an engineering project at each grade level.
Science instruction is experiential and based in inquiry. Activities are designed to meet the developing needs of each age level, and to serve as a foundation for more advanced ideas. Students pose questions, investigate, experiment, gather data, organize results, and draw conclusions as they develop good lab technique and practice scientific ways of thinking.
Computer Skills classes meet in our state-of-the-art technology lab. Computer instruction provides child-centered learning activities designed to increase students’ knowledge and comfort with keyboarding, online skills and safety, software applications, and computer programming.
The curriculum supports and complements classroom learning. It includes the opportunity to work with LEGO Robotics, digital photography, stop-motion video, and other hands-on projects that allow students to express their creativity and demonstrate their intuitive problem-solving skills. The goal of the computer skills curriculum is to build a solid foundation for a lifelong facility with technology.
Students with language-based learning differences require not only remediation but also accommodation. Assistive technology is an important component of HGP to support and supplement the development of reading and writing. To access reading material above their level, students may listen to books on Bookshare or Learning Ally, or utilize text-to-speech applications. For writing, students may use assistive speech-to-text technology and other appropriate applications on iPads and Mac devices.
The art program consists of a variety of art projects designed to develop creative thinking skills as well as fine motor skills. The goal of the program is to create an environment where art-making is fun, self-expression is encouraged, and the basic elements of art are taught in a nonjudgmental way.
Field trips to the Worcester Art Museum, Fitchburg Art Museum, and Boston's Museum of Fine Arts support the curriculum. Art history is incorporated into each grade level to help the students develop an appreciation for the arts, and to develop their arts vocabulary. This program culminates in an Art Show in the spring of each year. All students are included in the show, and parents, family, and friends are invited to come and support our young artists.
Music is very much a part of life at Bancroft, with whole-school songs, and student performances at assemblies, 4th and 5th Grade music ensembles, and cross-curricular projects that connect music to central subjects, French, Drama, and Physical Education.
The children's musical experiences are designed to be emotional community encounters, in which they sing the music of many traditions and gain new perspectives on what it means to be human. And since listening is the key to learning in all subjects, our quest is always for active musical listening: What sounds can we imagine with our "inner ear"? What sounds can we create, combine, organize, and arrange artistically?
This program offers a mix of drama games, skit-work, readers' theater, and improvisation that lets all students develop confidence and ease speaking before a group. These games are times to practice quick thinking, teamwork, self-control, leadership, ability to let others lead, and patience. The program is geared to stretch the imagination. Drama also provides a venue in which bold declarations and bashful remarks are welcome, valued, and practiced by all.
Library classes are held in the Prouty Library and are filled with new discoveries. Students discover friends through books that are shared, discussions, and the reading programs in which they participate. Research skills are taught using both print and electronic media. All students locate and check out their own materials using the online catalog.
The library curriculum often integrates classroom units, and complements activities and projects from other Specials. The activities are organic and foster an integration of central subjects.