The Innovative School of Temple Beth Sholom is a progressive Elementary School designed to encourage and develop our understandings and practices within the social-constructivist approach to learning regarding the whole child. We are guided by the Reggio Emilia approach to learning. We foster academic achievement and 21st-century skills including empowering children and fostering a sense of agency.
At The Innovative School of Temple Beth Sholom, our goal is for children to love learning. Our curriculum is anchored in meaningful experiences, providing learning opportunities that promote collaboration, critical thinking, and inquiry. With a child-directed approach always at the forefront, teaching and learning are authentic, and we intentionally design our learning experiences to foster inquiry, communication, and creative expression. Through ongoing observation and assessment of the learning process, our educators mindfully plan curriculum. Learning standards and goals undergird these experiences and processes.
Our goal is for learners to read and write independently and fluently. We help learners gain the appropriate skills and strategies needed to develop a true joy for reading and writing. Learners develop their literacy concepts and skills through whole class, small group, and one-on-one instruction. Teachers College Reading and Writing Workshops and Fundations Word Study are used to support literacy learning.
Kindergarten literacy curriculum builds upon the learners’ prior knowledge gained in pre-school, continuing with the immersion in a language-rich environment, while focusing on the building of alphabetic knowledge and phonemic awareness skills.
Literacy experiences are play-based, interactive and hands-on. Read alouds, shared reading and perusing books in the classroom library are core pieces to the kindergarten literacy program. The writing process encourages the expression of language. Children share their stories, thoughts, and wonderings, enabling them to develop their own “voice” as they grow as readers and writers. Learners continue to gain comfort with writing tools and letter formation. Kindergartners enjoy sharing their writing and thoughts about stories with their peers — they experience first-hand the need for and joy of sharing stories and working collaboratively with others to generate writing projects.
First Grade reading, writing, and word study skills and concepts are taught explicitly and practiced each day. Using a balanced literacy model, learners will develop appropriate skills and strategies needed to read, spell, and write texts of various genres and for different purposes. It is a goal for children to feel that what they learn as readers and writers has meaningful and practical application in school and beyond.
Second Grade reading, writing, and word study skills and concepts are taught explicitly and practiced each day. In second grade, the emphasis shifts to more complex decoding skills and more sophisticated comprehension skills. The books evolve to take on more nuanced characters/traits and situations and exciting plots.
Third Grade reading, writing, and word study skills and concepts are taught explicitly and practiced each day. In third grade, children are transitioning from learning-to-read to reading-to-learn. Learners immerse themselves in ‘just right’ fiction books and expository non-fiction. Vocabulary development, envisionment, ascertaining main ideas, recognizing text infrastructure, and thinking deeply are some skills directly taught and practiced.
Fourth Grade learners progress with the essentials of quality reading instruction (the framework that informs mini lessons, one-on-one conferences and small group strategy lessons) continue to be the backbone of Reading Workshop. Learners begin to refer to relevant details and/or examples from sources to back up their thinking and demonstrate authentic understanding of a text. At this stage in a young reader’s life, a main teaching goal is to empower learners to develop their own ideas and interpretations about complex characters and themes.
Learners use math in real-world situations. They think logically about math, write about math, and understand numbers through games and manipulatives. Learners engage in meaningful mathematical problem-solving strategies and become critical thinkers. We use TERC Math Investigations to support this learning.
Kindergarten counting is a central focus in the kindergarten curriculum. As learners develop accurate counting strategies, they also build an understanding of how numbers in the counting sequence are related.
First Grade learners build on the work of composing and decomposing numbers to further support number sense and develop strategies for understanding the basic principles of addition and subtraction.
Second Grade second graders begin the year reviewing counting big numbers and number sequence. They learn to recognize and identify coins and their values. Learners will review place value, focusing on how written numerals are representations of a base-ten number system.
Third Grade focuses on understanding the meaning of multiplication and grasping the inverse relationship between multiplication and division. They develop fluency with the multiplication facts and find factors of numbers up to 100 while examining the relationship between multiplication and division. Learners solve multiplication and division problems, multiplying by multiples of 10, and learning the remaining multiplication facts to 10 × 10.
They also develop strategies for adding and subtracting two-digit and three-digit numbers with sums and differences to 400. Learners add multiples of 10 and 100 to, and subtract them from, three-digit numbers. They learn to use multiples of 100 as landmarks as they solve addition and subtraction problems with three-digit numbers, including problems that involve liquid volume and mass. Third graders understand and extend knowledge of place value and the number system to 1,000, and add and subtract accurately and efficiently. Students use a place value to represent numbers as hundreds, tens, and ones, and find equivalent ways to use hundreds, tens, and ones to represent a given number. Learners use bar graphs, pictographs, and line plots to represent, describe, and compare data. They solve one- and two-step “how many more” and “how many less” problems using information presented in the graphs. Learners also generate measurement data in inches, half-inches, feet, and yards. They focus on classifying 2-D figures and understanding and finding perimeter and area using standard units of measurement. Third graders study the meaning of fractions as numbers and as equal parts of a whole; reasoning about equivalent fractions; comparing fractions; and using notation to model fractions and fraction relationships.
Fourth Grade learners in Fourth Grade grow in their understanding and fluency of addition and subtraction up to one million. In addition, they become efficient problem solvers with multi-digit multiplication and division with multi-digit dividends. Learners develop strategies and skills around equivalence, addition, subtraction and multiplication of fractions and mixed numbers.
Learning how to live and become a morally conscious member of a community is a central concept for our children. Our learners engage in meaningful studies around civics, history, economics, and geography where they use their problem solving, critical thinking, collaboration, inquiry, and perspective-taking skills. The children feel empowered that their voice makes a difference and begin to understand that others have similar or differing perspectives. Learning to respect these differences helps develop empathy, and children become equipped to constructively respond to and understand differences. They begin to make powerful connections between past and future and begin to develop a better understanding of the world around them.
Kindergarten engages in deep studies around the social studies arc “Who Am I?” As learners study themselves, their family, and their school, they experience many social skills, including problem solving and collaboration.
First Grade learners engage in deep studies around the social studies arc “Where We Live.” As learners study our school neighborhood, Miami Beach, they develop many social skills, including problem solving and collaboration.
Second Grade learners engage in deep studies around the social studies arc “Florida, the Geography and its Wildlife.” As learners study different ecosystems in Florida, they develop many social skills, including discussion, problem solving and collaboration.
Third Grade learners engage in research-based, collaborative studies around the Social Studies arc, “Powerful Floridians, Then and Now.” As learners study the history, cultures, and human impact of Floridians over time, they gain perspective on Florida today. Learners are guided by the essential questions: “How do individuals represent history, cultures, and human relationships? How can we compare and contrast issues of long ago with issues of today?” “How does history affect our lives today?”
Fourth Grade learners engage more deeply in demonstrating an understanding of the physical geographic features that define places and regions of Florida. As learners research, discuss, and write to describe the social, political, cultural and economic life among Floridians (historically), they will build upon such anchored knowledge and understanding to the structures, functions, and powers of the local, state and federal governments as described in the U.S. Constitution.
Children are naturally curious. Because we embrace this, our science experiences are inquiry-based. We explore four disciplinary science core ideas (science arcs): Earth and space science; life science; physical science; and engineering, technology, and applications of science. The learners are given the time and space to investigate, manipulate, analyze, discuss, record, and predict based on their observations and questions to create theories of understanding.
Kindergarten learners create theories of understanding during deep studies around the essential question “Who Am I?”, they gain an awareness and curiosity of their immediate school environment including:
First Grade learners create theories of understanding during studies around the arc “Where We Live,” they experience how to observe and manipulate sound and light; study patterns and cycles of space systems; gain an awareness of the structure and function of plants and animals (including humans); explore the ocean; and learn about engineering and design.
Second Grade learners create theories of understanding during deep studies around the arc “Florida – the Geography and its Wildlife ,” they study the structure and properties of matter; explore interdependent relationships of plants and animals (including humans) in ecosystems; discover processes that shape the Earth, including the role of water; and learn about engineering and design.
Third Grade learners create theories of understanding during Deep Studies around the learning arc, “Powerful Floridians, Then and Now”, third graders explore weather patterns and how the impact of weather-related hazards can be reduced. Learners study organisms’ traits, compare and contrast plants, animals and environments of Florida’s past and present.
Fourth Grade as much as possible, science investigation is integrated into and supported by the social studies, year-long, classroom deep studies. Science studies are connected with a community action or service learning component, either inside the school or in the larger community. Fourth grade learners ask questions, develop and use models, plan and carry out investigations, analyze and interpret data, construct explanations and design solutions, engage in argument from evidence, and obtain, evaluate, and communicate information.