“Maximizing the full potential of each child by supporting the heart and challenging the mind” is the vision statement of the District #37 school community in Ingleside, Illinois, and a well-developed curriculum is one of the most fundamental ingredients for every child’s educational success. District #37 focuses on meeting the needs of the whole child, and it is the curriculum that melds into one of the most current educational trends, the philosophy of education of the school district, and the desires of each and every parent and guardian to have his or her child reach the optimum of success. Education is global and addresses current as well as past events, offering students opportunities to make real world connections across every curricular area. In preparing students for the 21st century, classroom instruction prepares them with the skills necessary to access and connect information in a rapidly changing world.
PARCC stands for “Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers”, and is a consortium of eight states, the District of Columbia, and the Breau of Indian Education, that came together to create a standard for K-12 assessment in English and Mathematics. In the state of Illinois, it’s currently used for grades 3-8.
The PARCC is an end-of-year assessment given to grade 3-8 students that replaced ISAT test starting in the 2014-2015 school year.
PARCC is an entirely different test than ISAT. PARCC emphasizes a student’s ability to think critically, is given on the computer, has much longer testing sessions, and the standards for meeting and exceeding grade level expectations are much higher.
It’s based on Common Core Standards. Read more here—>
Materials used for reading instruction in literature, informational text, and foundational skills for the Kindergarten through fifth grade students are based upon the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Journeys program and student magazine subscriptions and articles. In grades 6-8, teachers use literature circles, novel studies based upon themes and genres, student magazine subscriptions and articles, and informational text passages as integrated units of instruction.
Close reading, which is used across all classrooms in grades K-8, is an instructional strategy that involves an intensive analysis of a text in order to come to terms with what it says, how it says it, and what it means. Teacher teams in District #37 are studying the work of several experts in close reading including Dr. Nancy Frey, Dr. Douglas Fisher, and Dr. Sunday Cummins. A local author of the ELA CCSS, Dr. Timothy Shanahan’s model of close reading is creating a common language; this strategy increases student growth and achievement in reading.
Foundational skills (K-5 only) are directed toward fostering students’ understanding and working knowledge of concepts of print, the alphabetic principle, and reading fluency. Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate individual sounds-phonemes–in spoken words. These skills are emphasized in kindergarten and first grade through the daily use of Dr. Michael Heggerty’s Phonemic Awareness materials.
Important components of an effective, comprehensive reading program are designed to develop proficient readers with the capacity to comprehend texts across a range of types and disciplines. Instruction should be differentiated, and in grades K-5 a variety of supplemental texts are used for guided reading instruction. Guided reading occurs in a small group setting of four to six students who are working with the teacher to process increasingly challenging texts with understanding and fluency. The teacher selects and introduces instructional level texts to readers, supports them while reading the text, engages the readers in discussion, performing mini-lessons during and after the reading.
To build a foundation for literacy, students must gain control over many conventions of standard English grammar, usage, and mechanics as well as learn other ways to use language to convey meaning effectively. Language standards include instruction on the conventions of standard English, on knowledge of language
and expand their vocabulary in the course of studying content.
Spelling or word study activities are an integral part of the reading and content area curriculum providing students explicit instruction in orthographic skills such as examining word parts for common vowel patterns, identifying word families, identifying Latin or Greek roots, and identifying base words in order to utilize this information to problem-solve words encountered in text.
Vocabulary instruction in kindergarten through fifth grade is based upon the words introduced throughout the Journeys stories and the Words Their Way spelling program (K-1); these words form the basis for specific word study instruction. Whole and small group instruction is often encountered in daily lessons thus creating an opportunity for new learning and guided practice.
Grammar instruction is introduced through the Journeys program in grades K-5, and grades 6-8 integrates grammar instruction through writing.
Speaking and Listening
As District #37 prepares students for a global society, teaching the core content subjects is enhanced by incorporating critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity (4 C’s). Teachers integrate speaking and listening skills throughout English Language Arts and all content subjects, reporting on these important skills each trimester.
District #37’s students need to learn to use writing as a way of offering and supporting opinions, demonstrating understanding of the subjects they are studying, and conveying real and imagined experiences and events. They learn to appreciate that a key purpose of writing is to communicate clearly to an external, sometimes unfamiliar audience, and they begin to adapt the form and content of their writing to accomplish a particular task and purpose. They develop the capacity to build knowledge on a subject through research projects and to respond analytically to literary and informational sources. To meet these goals, students devote significant time and effort to writing, focusing on narrative, informative/explanatory, persuasive/argumentation, and research genres through close reading selections that connect reading to writing by producing numerous pieces over short and extended time frames throughout the year. There is a strong and growing across-the-curriculum emphasis on students writing arguments and informative/explanatory texts.
The Handwriting Without Tears kindergarten program incorporates hands-on activities and good handwriting habits to develop strong writers. The program engages students with music, movement, fine motor activities, and child-friendly language. They learn capital and lowercase letter and number formation and how to print using hands-on materials and developmentally appropriate activities. Fine motor work prepares students for pencil and paper success in the student workbook.
In first through third grades, students continue their handwriting practices through the Zaner Bloser Handwriting program. In grade 1, the focus is on the progression of print through simple and effective techniques for letter formation. Throughout grade 2, there is an emphasis on review and mastery to achieve print fluency. In grade 3, students are introduced to cursive handwriting with expectations for proficiency in letter formation.
Activities incorporating language arts skills, practice on different styles of lines, and differing writing prompts are an integrated component of the handwriting program.
Art teachers for students in grades kindergarten-4 teach students visual arts instruction once per five-day cycle. Students in grades 5-8 receive art instruction in one trimester. Visual arts balances art production with concepts of design, appreciation and history, studying art masters from around the world.
The library media center is a place where students learn and use a variety of resources. The Library Media Aide shapes the student’s concept of how to find information by teaching him or her to inquire, think critically and gain knowledge. District #37’s library aides support grade level literacy learning targets as aligned to the American Association of School librarians standards. These include an emphasis on literature, informational text, and research topics.
Beginning in kindergarten, students participate in a progressive music curriculum through eighth grade. Students enjoy music with a music teacher weekly, in kindergarten through fourth grades. Music includes singing, playing instruments, listening, movement and note reading. Fifth through eighth grade students participate in music education with a music teacher during one trimester, and they may also pursue Band and/or Choir.
Technology is integrated into the classroom and curriculum at every level. It strengthens and supports meaningful, engaged learning for all students. The goal is to produce and encourage the growth of technologically literate students. Students will have regular opportunities to use technologies to develop skills that encourage personal productivity, creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration in the classroom and in daily life. In addition to daily classroom experiences, students in grades K-4 spend time weekly in the computer lab, learning how to navigate various computer programs. Students in grades 5-8 take Technology during one trimester each year.
The way students communicate has expanded and changed due to the technology available today. District #37 values the educational benefits of access to online resources and collaboration and provides instruction in the areas of Internet Safety and Digital Citizenship no matter where a student may access the Internet. In alignment with NETS-S, District #37 adopted the National Education Technology Standards (NETS-S) and Performance Indicators for Students.
All classrooms are equipped with whiteboards that allow teachers to quickly project visual images from the computer to assist with instruction. Students also have access to classroom computers and other devices such as iPads or tablets. During the 2017-2018 school year, a 1:1 pilot in specific classrooms will be studied to determine its effect upon classroom instruction. Teachers will create interactive lessons, draw from a wealth of pre-screened and pre-approved learning tools, and keep students engaged and interested in learning.
In addition to the Fine Arts rotations, teachers at Gavin South Middle School have created Enrichment courses for students in grades 6-8. These courses include the following:
As a result of the Math Common Core implementation, our curriculum has shifted to become more rigorous and focused K-8. Rigor includes fluency, application and deep understanding of the mathematics. Focus allows teachers the opportunity to help students develop a deep understanding of the concepts. With the shifts it is most important that children master the grade level curriculum. It is equally important that children are exposed to another major shift: a shift in student mathematical practices. Kindergarten through eighth grade classrooms across District #37 are implementing mathematical practice standards through tasks and projects, which include the following:
1. Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them
2. Reason abstractly and quantitatively
3. Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others
4. Model with mathematics
5. Use appropriate tools strategically
6. Attend to precision
7. Look for and make use of structure
8. Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning
Mathematicians in kindergarten through fifth grade focus on operations and algebraic thinking, numbers and operations in base ten, geometry, and measurement and data, in addition to the mathematical practices. Materials used for math instruction for kindergarten through fifth grade are based upon the unit math targets. The following domains are the focus of the content.
Operations and Algebraic Thinking
The progression in Operations and Algebraic Thinking deals with the basic operations—the kinds of quantitative relationships they model and consequently the kinds of problems they can be used to solve as well as their mathematical properties and relationships. Primary students develop meanings for addition and subtraction as they encounter problem situations in kindergarten, and they extend these meanings as they encounter increasingly difficult problem situations in grade 1. They represent these problems in increasingly sophisticated ways. And they learn and use increasingly sophisticated computation methods to find answers. By grade 3 students focus on understanding the meaning and properties of multiplication and division and on finding products of single-digit multiplying and related quotients. Fourth graders extend problem solving to multi-step word problems using the four operations posed with whole numbers. As preparation for the Expressions and Equations Progression in the middle grades, students in grade 5 begin working more formally with expressions.
Number and Operations in Base Ten
Students’ work in the base-ten system is intertwined with their work on counting and cardinality, and with the meanings and properties of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Work in the base-ten system relies on these meanings and properties, but also contributes to deepening students’ understanding of them. Work with computation begins with use of strategies and “efficient, accurate, and generalizable methods.” In Kindergarten, teachers help children lay the foundation for understanding the base-ten system by drawing special attention to 10. In first grade, students learn to view ten ones as a unit called a ten. At grade 2, students extend their base-ten understanding to hundreds. At grade 3, the major focus is multiplication, so students’ work with addition and subtraction is limited to maintenance of fluency within 1000 for some students and building fluency to within 1000 for others. At grade 4, students extend their work in the base-ten system; they use standard algorithms to fluently add and subtract. In grade 5, students extend their understanding of the base-ten system to decimals to the thousandths place, building on their grade 4 work with tenths and hundredths. They become fluent with the standard multiplication algorithm with multi-digit whole numbers. They reason about dividing whole numbers with two-digit divisors, and reason about adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing decimals to hundredths.
Fractions (grades 3-5)
In grades 1 and 2, students use fraction language to describe partitions of shapes into equal shares. In grade 3 they start to develop the idea of a fraction more formally, building on the idea of partitioning a whole into equal parts. The whole can be a shape such as a circle or rectangle, a line segment, or any one finite entity susceptible to subdivision and measurement. In grade 4, this is extended to include wholes that are collections of objects. grade 4 students learn a fundamental property of equivalent fractions: multiplying the numerator and denominator of a fraction by the same non-zero whole number results in a fraction that represents the same number as the original fraction. This forms the basis for much of their other work in grade 4, including the comparison, addition, and subtraction of fractions and the introduction of finite decimals. In grade 4, students have some experience calculating sums of fractions with different denominators in their work with decimals, and grade 5 students extend this reasoning to situations where it is necessary to re-express both fractions in terms of a new denominator.
Students in kindergarten, grade 1, and grade 2 focus on three major aspects of geometry. Students build understandings of shapes and their properties, becoming able to do and discuss increasingly elaborate compositions, decompositions, and iterations of the two, as well as spatial structures and relations. In
grade 2, students begin the formal study of measure, learning to use units of length and use and understand rulers. Measurement of angles and parallelism are a focus in grades 3, 4, and 5. At grade 3, students begin to consider relationships of shape categories, considering two levels of subcategories (e.g., rectangles are parallelograms and squares are rectangles). They complete this categorization in grade 5 with all necessary levels of categories and with the understanding that any property of a category also applies to all shapes
in any of its subcategories. They understand that some categories overlap (e.g., not all parallelograms are rectangles) and some are disjoint (e.g., no square is a triangle), and they connect these with their understanding of categories and subcategories. Spatial structuring for two- and three-dimensional regions is used to understand what it means to measure area and volume of the simplest shapes in those dimensions: rectangles at grade 3 and right rectangular prisms at grade 5.
Measurement and Data
As students work with data in grades K-5, they strengthen and apply what they are learning in arithmetic. Kindergarten work with data involves counting and order relations. First- and second-graders solve addition and subtraction problems in a data context. In grades 3–5, work with data is closely related to the number line, fraction concepts, fraction arithmetic, and solving problems that involve the four operations. In geometric measurement, second graders learn to measure length with a variety of tools, such as rulers, meter sticks, and measuring tapes. Second graders also learn the concept of the inverse relationship between the size of the unit of length and the number of units required to cover a specific length or distance. Third graders focus on solving real-world and mathematical problems involving perimeters of polygons. Students in grade 3 learn to solve a variety of problems involving measurement and such attributes as length and area, liquid volume, mass, and time. In grade 4, students build on competencies in measurement and in understanding units that they have developed in number, geometry, and geometric measurement. Students also combine competencies from different domains as they solve measurement problems using all four arithmetic operations, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. In grade 5, students extend their abilities from grade 4 to express measurements in larger or smaller units within a measurement system. Grade 5 students also learn and use such conversions in solving multi-step, real world problems.
Mathematicians in fifth through eighth grade focus on units specific to course placement in addition to the mathematical practices. Materials used for math instruction for fifth through eighth grade are based upon the unit math targets.
Mathematicians in fifth through eighth grade focus on units specific to course placement in addition to the mathematical practices. Materials used for math instruction for fifth through eighth grade are based upon the unit math targets.
Students working with the grades 6-8 learning targets in Grades 6-8 Math focus on the following general domains: Ratio and Proportional Relationships; the Number System; Expressions and Equations; Geometry; and, Statistics and Probability. Grades 7 and 8 Algebra content and units include the Number System; Expressions and Equations; Geometry; Statistics and Probability as well as an introduction to Functions. The general descriptions about these domains are described below. Grade 8 Geometry content and units include Circles; Congruence; Geometric Measurement and Dimension; Expressing Geometric Properties with Equations; Modeling with Geometry; and Similarity, Right Triangles, and Trigonometry.
Ratio and Proportional Relationships
The study of ratios and proportional relationships extends students’ work in measurement and in multiplication and division in the elementary grades. Students in grade 6 focus on understanding the concept of a ratio and use ratio language to describe a ratio relationship between two quantities. They also build an understanding of the concept of a unit rate associated with a ratio and use rate language in the context of a ratio relationship.
In grade 7, students extend their reasoning about ratios and proportional relationships in several ways. Students use ratios in cases that involve pairs of rational number entries, and they compute associated unit rates. They identify these unit rates in representations of proportional relationships. They work with equations in two variables to represent and analyze proportional relationships. They also solve multi-step ratio and percent problems, such as problems involving percent increase and decrease.
The Number System
Within the grades 6-8 learning targets, students build on two important conceptions which have developed throughout K–5, in order to understand the rational numbers as a number system. The first is the representation of whole numbers and fractions as points on the number line, and the second is a firm understanding of the properties of operations on whole numbers and fractions. As grade 6 begins, students have a firm understanding of place value and the properties of operations. On this foundation they are ready to start using the properties of operations as tools of exploration, deploying them confidently to build new understandings of operations with fractions and negative numbers. They are also ready to complete their growing fluency with algorithms for the four operations. In grade 6 students learned to locate rational numbers on the number line; in grade 7 they extend their understanding of operations with fractions to operations with rational numbers. Students must rely increasingly on the properties of operations to build the necessary bridges from their previous understandings to situations where one or more of the numbers might be negative. In grade 7 students encountered infinitely repeating decimals, and in grade 8 they understand why this phenomenon occurs, a good exercise in expressing regularity in repeated reasoning. In addition, they glimpse the existence of irrational numbers.
Expressions and Equations
In grades 6-8, students start to use properties of operations to manipulate algebraic expressions and produce different but equivalent expressions for different purposes. This work builds on their extensive experience in K–5 working with the properties of operations in the context of operations with whole numbers, decimals and fractions. In grade 6 they begin to work systematically with algebraic expressions, and they start to incorporate whole number exponents into numerical expressions. In grade 7 students start to simplify general linear expressions with rational coefficients. Building on work in grade 6, where students used conventions about the order of operations to parse, and properties of operations to transform, simple expressions, students now encounter linear expressions with more operations and whose transformation may require an understanding of the rules for multiplying negative numbers. In grade 8 students add the properties of integer exponents to their repertoire of rules for transforming expressions. They prepare in grade 8 by starting to work systematically with the square root and cube root symbols. They begin to understand the idea of a function. Students in grade 8 also start to solve problems that lead to simultaneous equations.
Students working through the grade 6 learning targets work with problems involving areas and volumes to extend previous work and to provide a context for developing and using equations. Students’ competencies in shape composition and decomposition, especially with spatial structuring of rectangular arrays should be highly developed. These competencies form a foundation for understanding multiplication, formulas for area and volume, and the coordinate plane. Using the shape composition and decomposition skills acquired in earlier grades, students learn to develop area formulas for parallelograms, then triangles. They learn how to address three different cases for triangles: a height that is a side of a right angle, a height that “lies over the base” and a height that is outside the triangle.
Composition and decomposition of shapes are used throughout geometry from grade 6 to high school and beyond. Compositions and decompositions of regions continues to be important for solving a wide variety of area problems, including justifications of formulas and solving real world problems that involve complex shapes. Decompositions are often indicated in geometric diagrams by an auxiliary line, and using the strategy of drawing an auxiliary line to solve a problem are part of looking for and making use of structure. Recognizing the significance of an existing line in a figure is also part of looking for and making use of structure. This may involve identifying the length of an associated line segment, which in turn may rely on students’ abilities to identify relationships of line segments and angles in the figure. These abilities become more sophisticated as students gain more experience in geometry. In grade 7, this experience includes making scale drawings of geometric figures and solving problems involving angle measure, surface area, and volume.
Statistics and Probability
Through the grade 6 learning targets, students build on the knowledge and experiences in data analysis developed in earlier grades. Students working through the grade 7 standards move from concentrating on analysis of data to production of data, understanding that good answers to statistical questions depend upon a good plan for collecting data relevant to the questions of interest. The grade 8 mathematics standards have students apply their experience with the coordinate plane and linear functions in the study of association between two variables related to a question of interest.
Before they learn the term “function,” students begin to gain experience with functions in elementary grades. In kindergarten, they use patterns with numbers to learn particular additions and subtractions. A trickle of pattern standards in grades 4 and 5 continues the preparation for functions where a rule is explicitly given. The grades 4–5 pattern standards expand to the domain of Ratios and Proportional Relationships in grades 6–7. In grade 6, as they work with collections of equivalent ratios, students gain experience with tables and graphs, and correspondences between them. In grade 7, students recognize and represent an important type of regularity in these numerical tables—the multiplicative relationship between each pair of values—by equations of the form y = cx , identifying c as the constant of proportionality in equations and other representations. The notion of a function is formally introduced in Grade 8 Math. Linear functions are a major focus, but students are also expected to give examples of functions that are not linear.
Grades 7 and 8 Algebra is a combination of domains of the Grade 8 Algebra content and High School domains, and these include the following: Geometry; Statistics & Probability; Seeing Structure in Expressions; Creating Equations; Reasoning with Equations & Inequalities; Building Functions; Interpreting Functions; Quantities; Interpreting Categorical & Quantitative Data; Linear, Quadratic, & Exponential Models; Arithmetic with Polynomials & Rational Expressions; and, the Real Number System.
Grade 8 Geometry is a combination of the following High School domains: Circles; Congruence; Geometric Measurement and Dimension; Expressing Geometric Properties with Equations; Modeling with Geometry; and Similarity, Right Triangles, and Trigonometry.
The Math Learning Targets will be posted during the 2017-2018 school year. Please review the targets that are the focus of instruction at each grade level during each trimester.
Our District #37 health curriculum teaches students skills to increase physical, mental and social health. The overarching standards include the following: Health Promotion and Prevention; Human Body Systems and Development; and, Health Communication and Decision-Making. Students in grades K-5 are taught health education through physical education classes. In grades 6-8, students participate in health as a part of the Specials rotation which meets during one trimester, and the Health teachers align their instruction to clear learning targets to introduce these important goals.
Physical education class in grades K-4 (four times per week) teaches the importance of regular physical activity and life-long teamwork and fitness skills. Students in grades 5-8 participate in daily physical education. Physical education courses focus on movement skills, physical fitness, and team building. Using the Fitnessgram program, students set personal goals to improve physical fitness.
The Next Generation Science Standards are the basis for science units and instruction in kindergarten through eighth grade. There are three dimensions that are combined to form each standard:
Dimension 1: Practices
The practices describe behaviors that scientists engage in as they investigate and build models and theories about the natural world and the key set of engineering practices that engineers use as they design and build models and systems. Participation in the below practices helps students form an understanding of the crosscutting concepts and disciplinary ideas of science and engineering; moreover, it makes students’ knowledge more meaningful and embeds it more deeply into their worldview:
1. Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering)
2. Developing and using models
3. Planning and carrying out investigations
4. Analyzing and interpreting data
5. Using mathematics and computational thinking
6. Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering)
7. Engaging in argument from evidence
8. Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information
Dimension 2: Crosscutting Concepts
Crosscutting concepts have application across all domains of science. As such, they are a way of linking the different domains of science. These seven crosscutting concepts bridge disciplinary boundaries, uniting core ideas throughout the fields of science and engineering. Their purpose is to help students deepen their understanding of the disciplinary core ideas, and develop a coherent and scientifically based view of the world. The seven crosscutting concepts are as follows:
1. Patterns. Observed patterns of forms and events guide organization and classification, and they prompt questions about relationships and the factors that influence them.
2. Cause and effect: Mechanism and explanation. Events have causes, sometimes simple, sometimes multifaceted. A major activity of science is investigating and explaining causal relationships and the mechanisms by which they are mediated. Such mechanisms can then be tested across given contexts and used to predict and explain events in new contexts.
3. Scale, proportion, and quantity. In considering phenomena, it is critical to recognize what is relevant at different measures of size, time, and energy and to recognize how changes in scale, proportion, or quantity affect a system’s structure or performance.
4. Systems and system models. Defining the system under study—specifying its boundaries and making explicit a model of that system—provides tools for understanding and testing ideas that are applicable throughout science and engineering.
5. Energy and matter: Flows, cycles, and conservation. Tracking fluxes of energy and matter into, out of, and within systems helps one understand the systems’ possibilities and limitations.
6. Structure and function. The way in which an object or living thing is shaped and its substructure determine many of its properties and functions.
7. Stability and change. For natural and built systems alike, conditions of stability and determinants of rates of change or evolution of a system are critical elements of study.
Dimension 3: Disciplinary Core Ideas
Disciplinary core ideas focus our kindergarten through eighth grade science curriculum, instruction and assessments on the most important aspects of science. Disciplinary ideas are grouped in four domains:
Physical sciences (Matter and Its Interactions; Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions; Energy);
Life sciences (From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes; Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics; Heredity: Inheritance and Variation of Traits; Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity)
Earth and Space sciences (Earth’s Place in the Universe; Earth’s Systems; Earth and Human Activity)
Engineering, Technology and Applications of science (Engineering Design; Links Among Engineering, Technology, Science, and Society).
District # 37 will be revisiting and revising unit alignment to the NGSS science standards during the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 school years.
The District #37 curricular resource for social emotional learning is based upon the Second Step program (grades K-4) and school – based PBIS – aligned activities (grades 5-8) that target social emotional learning goals. Instruction related to Erin’s Law is provided to all students through the social workers and the Zacharias Institute.
Recently approved by the State of Illinois, new learning standards that are aligned with the national College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework will become part of the Social Studies curriculum. The C3 framework focuses on practices that allow students to engage more deeply in Social Studies learning through having teachers provide opportunities for students to craft own questions that matter, to establish a collaborative and individual context for inquiry, to integrate content and skills meaningfully, to articulate disciplinary literacy practices and outcomes, and to provide tangible opportunities for taking informed action.
During the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 school years, District #37 teachers will be learning about the new practices and new standards so students can continue to see topics and content through the eyes of a political scientist, a historian, an economist, and a geographer.