Learning

Reading

K-6 grade teachers have agreed to a 90 minute reading block.

Curriculum and Assessments Used

  • The Next Steps for Guided Reading by Jan Richardson
  • Literacy Framework
    • Guided Reading, Independent Reading, Partner Reading, Comprehension, Accuracy and Fluency
  • Fountas and Pinnell Leveled Literacy for Intervention
  • iReady
  • DIBELS Next

Important at Stone Mountain

  1. Teach essential skills and strategies.
    Effective reading teachers teach skills, strategies, and concepts.
  2. Provide differentiated instruction based on assessment results and adapt instruction to meet students' needs.
    Effective teachers recognize that one size doesn't fit all and are ready to adapt instruction-both content and methods.
  3. Provide explicit and systematic instruction with lots of practice-with and without teacher support and feedback, including cumulative practice over time.
    Students should not have to infer what they are supposed to learn.
  4. Provide opportunities to apply skills and strategies in reading and writing meaningful text with teacher support.
    Students need to be taught what to do when they get to a "hard word."
  5. Don't just "cover" critical content; be sure students learn it-monitor student progress regularly and reteach as necessary.
    Effective teachers adjust their teaching accordingly to try to accelerate student progress.

Writing

K-6 grade teachers have agreed to a 60 minute writing block.

Curriculum and Assessments Used

  • The Write Tools
  • Rubrics for Assessment

Important at Stone Mountain

  1. Instruction is tailored to meet individual needs
  2. Systematic and Explicit Instruction
  3. Progress Monitoring for growth
  4. Authentic Projects and Assessments

Math

K-6 grade teachers have agreed to a 90 minute math block.

Curriculum and Assessments Used

  • Everyday Math
  • iReady
  • CML (Continental Math League)

Important at Stone Mountain

  1. Use of concrete, real-life examples that are meaningful and memorable as an introduction to key mathematical concepts.
  2. Repeated exposures to mathematical concepts and skills to develop children's ability to recall knowledge from long-term memory.
  3. Frequent practice of basic computation skills to build mastery of procedures and quick recall of facts, often through games and verbal exercises.
  4. Use of multiple methods and problem-solving strategies to foster true proficiency and accommodate different learning styles.

Science/Social Studies

K-4: Science and social studies are integrated into the literacy block where students are able to use real world experiences and content knowledge to build a strong foundation of all science and social studies standards.

5-6: Due to departmentalization, science and social studies are taught in a specific 80 minute class per day.

Curriculum and Assessments Used

  • FOSS kits

Important at Stone Mountain

  1. Authentic Experiences for students
  2. Connection to 21st Century Skills
  3. Hands-on experiences
  4. Inquiry based

Differentiation

Differentiation is at the heart of what we believe at Stone Mountain. It ensures that all of our students receive the best education possible.

What is differentiation at SME?

Differentiation is how each and every one of our teachers meets the needs of ALL of our students. Every child is greeted with teachers who believe in helping each child to reach their fullest potential through instruction that is tailored to each student's need. Every child at Stone Mountain is expected to show at least a year's growth. Every teacher embraces each child and their current level of instruction and plans specific and individualized lessons to match and enrich the current level. This process helps all of our students to be successful, show growth and mastery, and set goals for improvement.

What does differentiation look like at Stone Mountain?

Differentiation begins at the very beginning of the school year. In order to meet the need of every child at Stone Mountain, teachers use a variety of assessments to determine both current strengths and areas for growth. We use a variety of assessments to accurately identify each student's needs.

  • Literacy includes iReady, DIBELS NEXT, Comprehension Strategy Assessment, Write Tools, DRA, Every Child a Writer, and other classroom assessments.
  • Mathematics include pre and post testing for units of instruction, as well as iReady in the intermediate grades.

Once the assessments have been scored and strengths and areas for growth are identified, our teachers and students go to work. Our teachers work collaboratively together and with our students to create pathways for learning that are purposeful and meaningful to each individual. At SME, students are a part of the process.

How do we differentiate?

  • Small group instruction based on students' needs- These groups are flexible and change throughout the year as students progress through their own learning pathway. Once a skill or concept is mastered, students move on to the next skill in their learning pathway. This occurs in literacy and mathematics.
  • Conferring- Throughout the reading and writing processes in the classrooms, our teachers meet with kids individually. This process allows for the teacher to give direct instruction to every child with concepts that are needed at that given point in time. This allows the teacher to give meaningful instruction to each student with lessons that are specific to the child.
  • Blended Services- Part of our weekly instruction involves interpreting student data so that teachers can determine areas for growth and areas for enrichment/extension. Teachers collaboratively plan lessons to target these specific areas. Students will rotate with groups of students with similar needs to get the extra support or enrichment that is needed. These groups and lessons change as students are ready to progress.
  • RTI- We also have two RTI specialists. They collaboratively work with teachers to provide extra support in literacy and math for students who have this as a need.
  • GT- In addition the regular classroom instruction, we also have a .75 GT teacher who works collaboratively with teachers to extend the curriculum and challenge our learners who fall under the Gifted and Talented criteria. In addition to meeting the needs of our GT students, she works with teachers to provide small group instruction for students who need to go beyond the grade level curriculum.
  • Pre and Post Testing- teachers at SME utilize pre-tests to determine which skills/lessons are already known by each student in the class. Teachers can then group kids for instruction based on their needs. Students may be given extra support or enriched and extended based upon the pre-tests. Post-tests help our students to see the growth and progress that has been made within a unit of instruction.
  • Goal Setting: Students are a part of differentiation at SME. They work with their teachers to set goals for their learning based upon their assessments and daily work. They also work in a variety of ways to track their progress towards their goals.

Differentiation for our students helps each child to reach their fullest potential. It is best practice in instruction. We strive to meet all of our kids' needs in these meaningful and purposeful lessons and units of instruction.

Specials

Art

I am so pleased to be your child's art teacher this year. Your child will get the opportunity to explore many types of art and materials this year and create meaningful pieces of art and twice as often as they did last year!

Some of the media we will be exploring this year are clay and glaze, acrylic paint, india ink, oil pastels, pastels, wire yarn and fabric, wood, and embellishments such as feathers, nails, tissue paper, buttons, sparkles, glitter and too many others to list.

Cavenwarts is going strong! What's that? We have divided the table groups into houses, much like the infamous “Hogwarts” in Harry Potter. Each house has 1st-6th grades earning points for the whole house total score. Our house names are Picasso, Matisse, Da Vinci and Van Gogh. We even have a house cup that the winning house will get their photo taken with their whole house! Kids are really excited about it.

Thank you for supporting the arts and for the awesome children you send everyday!

Jill Caven
jill.caven@dcsdk12.org

Music

Hello From the Music Room!

This year is off to such a great start! My main philosophy of music education is to prepare every student with the basic music skills to be successful in music for the rest of his/her life through activities that instill a love of music and learning. Listed below is the main focus for each grade level and a sampling of songs/activities. Please ask your kiddo to share with you what we are doing in music class!

Kindergarten: The main focus is finding and using a good singing voice with proper singing technique. We do lots of vocal exploration and simple songs to accomplish this. We also work on moving appropriately to music with an emphasis on finding the steady beat. Songs/Activities: Frog in the Meadow, Pitter Patter, Oh My No More Pie

1st Grade: This is the ultimate age to master singing in tune and matching pitch. Research shows, after the age of 7, developing the ability to match pitch is very difficult. We sing lots of simple songs, echo songs, repetitive songs, etc to focus in on using proper head voices to match pitch. Also, we work on practicing the steady beat of songs. Songs/Activities: Peep Squirrel, In the Evening Moonlight, Here's A Pumpkin

2nd Grade: Hopefully by now kiddos are matching pitch well, so we can expand the difficulty of songs. We work on coordination, rhythm, beat, artistry. By the end of the year, we move on to learning simple rhythms. Songs/Activities: Wake Up You Lazy Bones, Epo I Tai Tai E, Long Legged Sailor

3rd Grade: We expand our singing to include folk songs from different countries, in different languages, and singing in rounds. Simple rhythms lead to more complex rhythm reading and pitch reading on a music staff to prepare kiddos for recorders the second half of 3rd grade. This is to prepare all students for the option of band/orchestra in 4th grade. Songs/Activities: Are You Sleeping, 4 White Horses, Littles Worm

4th Grade: With such a great foundation of basic skills, I am able to introduce part singing with 3-4 part rounds, partner songs, and multiple part songs. We add instruments to accompany our singing and work on complex arrangements and chord progressions. Songs/Activities: Kookaburra, One Bottle of Pop

5th Grade: We expand part singing and instrument parts from 5th grade and introduce Solfege (syllables connected to pitches) to really train students' ears and prepare them for middle school choir. Songs/Activities: Sarasponda, So-La-Mi, Bim Bum

6th Grade: We work on application of music- analyzing music, music in movies, listening maps, creating our own ringtones, etc. Before 6th graders leave for middle school, I want them to understand and appreciate music as more than just singing songs but as an essential part of life. Songs/Activities: Dum Dum Song, Analyzing music, Bim Bum

Choir is before school on Fridays for students in 4th-6th grades. Our first concert is November 17th. Stay tuned for news of spring semester choir and District Honor Choir (open to 6th graders in choir, by audition only).

Johannah Diedrich
johannah.diedrich@dcsdk12.org

PE

In physical education this year we are working on not only growing and improving our motor skills through various sports and activities but also on creating an atmosphere of good sportsmanship, kindness and treating each other with respect. Our goal is to understand the importance of staying active by exploring different ways in which to accomplish this. The students will be participating in several different sports such as basketball, soccer and volleyball as well as cup stacking, team building and cooperative activities.

Kristy Heckman
kristy.heckman@dcsdk12.org

STEAM

Welcome to the STEAM Workshop! My name is Mr. Ryan Stanevich. I'm excited to get the 2017-2018 school year started. The STEAM workshop class is going to give the students an opportunity to challenge themselves by using their imagination, critical thinking skills, and ability to work as a team to explore different ways of learning and thinking about the designs and projects throughout the year.

A Little About Me...

I was born and raised in Colorado, and have lived almost my entire life in Highlands Ranch. I've always enjoyed exploring the amazing natural scenic views that Colorado has to offer by either hiking, playing sports, or just driving through the mountains. Even though I was born and raised here, I'm a die hard Chicago Bears, Cubs, and Blackhawks fan. I graduated from the University of Northern Colorado with a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies concentrated on Elementary Education, and a minor in Multicultural Anthropology. This will be my first year teaching, and I'm looking forward to meeting all of the great kids at Stone Mountain Elementary!

What the Year Will Look Like...

Each student at Stone Mountain Elementary will visit STEAM for 45 minutes for one week, 9 times throughout the school year. We will be exploring a variety of math and science topics while practicing our engineering skills to build confident thinkers in and out of the classroom. All of our students will also have the opportunity to help build and contribute to a new STEAM stream to decorate our school with. We're going to have a blast together this year, see you all soon!

Ryan Stanevich
ryan.stanevich@dcsdk12.org