with Ms. Craig
The beginning of the day is the time for our classroom family to greet one another and to share the important news that bonds us together as a learning community. It is a valuable time that sets the tone for our day together. I greet each child as he or she enters the classroom, and once routines are established, children begin their first steps towards independence by putting away their things and getting settled for the day. We begin with a morning circle time, during which we sing songs and participate in a variety of greeting activities that get us up and moving, inspired for the learning ahead of us. The class morning message is read, and children participate in calendar routines that reinforce many of the important math skills we are learning. We set goals for the day, celebrate the successful learning from the previous day, and venture forth into a new day of learning and growing together!
with Ms. Craig
The goal of reading instruction in the PreK/Kindergarten classroom is to build a community of readers and to instill a life long love of reading. The cornerstone of reading instruction is the daily Reading Workshop, which has at its core a variety of developmentally appropriate opportunities to build skills in reading, writing, speaking, and listening. We nurture a love of great literature and authors, an appreciation for the spoken word, and an admiration for illustrations during the shared reading portion of the day, during which quality children’s literature is read aloud. Children’s individual learning needs are met during guided reading time, when individuals and small groups meet with the teacher to work on specific skills and strategies for reading. Time is made every day for independent reading, during which children self-select books that they read by themselves or with a partner. We learn that there are three ways to read a book: read the pictures, read the words, and retell the story. New and important ideas relating to phonics, phonological awareness, vocabulary, and language are introduced during the word study portion of the Reading Workshop. At every stage, children’s reading levels are nurtured and supported, and they are given the specific opportunities and instruction that they need to move forward in their reading journeys.
with Mr. Guzman
Math, like reading, is a way through which children can come to understand the world around them. I like to expose students to problems that need solving. I like to establish a need for learning, and carefully curate the experience so that the students construct their own understanding of a new concept. Developing and growing a child’s number sense is what it’s all about. I want to make sure that a child develops fluency with numbers and simple operations, while also developing problem-solving skills and the confidence to make conjectures without fear of failure. I want math to be fun and to always be a great combination of listening, speaking, and doing!
with Mr. Guzman
Your child’s second grade classroom will be a home away from home and a second family. I truly believe that for a child to fulfill his or her full academic potential, he or she must be thriving socially. We will spend some of each day building community and sharing. We will assess our work and our relationships, making sure that we are doing our best to do our best! We will learn about the world in which we live, we will learn about our thriving city, and we will learn about each other! Your child’s second grade classroom will be a dynamic place, where one might see whole group instruction, student-lead discussion, partnerships, small groups, and independent work throughout the day. You’ll see thinking faces and smiling faces. You’ll see still bodies reading and writing, and bodies moving to music or playing a game. You’ll hear opinions, you’ll hear questions, helpful advice, the sharing of work, constructive criticism, and appreciation. A typical day in second grade will have all of the above!
with Mr. Dozier
Music, for me, has always been much more than just the making of sounds. It is a means to inspire, to shape society, and organize community. It represents one of the most direct routes to social bonding and has always carried tremendous educative power as well. I have always seen music as a social force…a tool to be employed to shape society and inspire nobility. It helps children to realize the power inherent in the group voice to shape our collective identity. Through music in general and group singing in particular, we are able to put our learning and creativity to work in the world by modeling cooperation and togetherness. As children bring themselves into new relationships with others for the first time in school communities, it is essential that they quickly understand the imperative to work together. The group song provides an environment and tool, both immediate and powerful, to accomplish this.
with Mrs. Boyd
At Episcopal, our daily children’s chapel will be 20-30 minutes long. During that time we will follow an abbreviated order of worship that includes songs, a prayer, and a short message or activity related to the month’s theme. Over the course of the year, children will come to know several songs by heart, and will have the opportunity to learn important pieces of a typical Christian worship service, such as the Lord’s Prayer. Once a month, Episcopal Eucharist (communion) will be celebrated with a visiting volunteer Episcopal Priest. All children are welcome to participate in communion, according to the preference of their individual family. Within the daily chapel structure, children will have the opportunity to share classroom work, we will celebrate children’s accomplishments and birthdays, and make music together. Chapel will become the heart of our school day, when our community comes together to celebrate, reflect, sing and pray.”
with Mrs. Boyd
Broadly, valuing place-based learning (PBL) means that our teachers will seek opportunities to bring local resources into the classroom and design collaborative learning experiences for students around resources and experiences found in our local community and place. PBL also means teachers will give students opportunities to take an active role in their own community, even at the earliest grade levels.
One example could be that in the Kindergarten unit of exploring community helpers, the K class researches where the fire stations in our zip code are located and writes a collaborative letter to invite the firefighters from the closest station to visit the school. With the teacher’s guidance, they then plan the visit, from generating the questions for the firefighter, to being the ambassadors for the school who host our special guests. Relationships are always two-way streets, so while the firefighters are our community helpers, the students also should take active roles in getting to know the firefighters and represent our school to them.
For a larger integrated science and social studies unit at a higher grade, students in one class may focus on the Cumberland River, located just blocks from our urban campus. We can learn about numerous aspects of the river– the history of the river’s role in our city, the many ways Nashvillians use the river now, and the unique ecology of the river. Local resources would be explored throughout the unit to add to students’ knowledge—a field trip to Centennial Park, inviting collaboration of local organizations, such as a river conservation group, to visit class to discuss historical uses and current issues with the river, and a field trip with volunteer Tennessee Naturalist to explore and learn about the ecology and animals thriving in the river are a few examples. Collaborative projects that bring together the many things students have learned throughout a unit are often a hallmark of PBL.
Throughout the river unit, students will undoubtedly learn that all drinking water in their city comes from the Cumberland and citizen use and waste of water is a continuing issue. After exploring all the ways water is used in their school (especially in the garden!), in their homes, and in their local neighborhoods, students can brainstorm a list of helpful tips for being a good steward of water and the Cumberland River. Then in small groups, students would create a product to educate an audience that they identify. One group could create a short public service announcement to be published on the school’s YouTube channel. Another group could design a flyer to be put up in Nashville community centers. Or, a group could prepare an educational skit to share during chapel. Each of these experiences gives students the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned to an authentic audience all while practicing literacy and math skills appropriate to the benchmarks of their own development and grade levels.