Our single-grade classrooms (K and 3rd grade) align with developmental stages when children solidify social/emotional and academic awarenesses and skills. Multi-grade classrooms (1st/2nd and 4th/5th) allow children to move naturally between the roles of mentor and learner.
Reading instruction is integrated into various parts of the day. Our goal is to cultivate a life-long love of reading by helping our students become competent and purposeful readers. Students increase their reading and comprehension skills and strategies within a meaningful, balanced literacy program. Regardless of reading level, students are encouraged to infer, analyze, synthesize, and make predictions based on the text through the use of guided reading, independent reading, literature circles, and Reader’s Workshop. Students also gain experience in many cross-cultural genres of literature including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, drama, biography, history, and science texts.
Speaking and Listening
Our curriculum develops students’ appreciation and understanding of the spoken word and enriches their vocabularies through conversational language and formal public speaking opportunities. Students learn to express themselves comfortably and effectively through a range of speaking and listening exercises that include reading aloud, sharing stories, interviewing each other, performing in plays and exchanging perspectives. Students often work in collaborative learning groups with an emphasis on reflection, problem-solving and effective communication with other students and adults. Students gain experience in methods of active listening, which provides them with the tools for respectful listening to (and thoughtful consideration of) the perspectives of others.
The writing program develops students’ ability to communicate effectively. Every K-5 classroom incorporates a writing process workshop that encourages students to develop their writing skills and express their voice through a range of forms that includes autobiography, creative writing, and research-based writing. Students are guided through all of the stages of writing, from brainstorming and generating ideas to drafting, revising, editing, and publishing.
Our framework for math curriculum is draw from the guidelines provided by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). We recognize the five “content” strands of math: number & operations, geometry, measurement, algebra, and data analysis & probability; and five “process” strands of math: problem-solving, reasoning & proof, communication, connections, and representation. Investigations in Numbers, Data, and Space (sometimes called TERC), aligned with the NCTM curriculum guidelines, provides the basic scope and sequence for our curriculum. It is designed to provide math concepts in context, allowing students to share and learn a variety of strategies from and alongside each other.
Our elementary school students learn what it means to think and act like a historian or anthropologist. They’re able to discern their place in history and the importance of history in their lives. In K-2nd grade, we focus on the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, the needs of people throughout time, and human impact on the environment. Students build an appreciation of geologic and historical time and a timeline of life. In 3rd through 5th grade, students are asked to develop skills and knowledge in interpreting and analyzing primary and secondary sources. The curriculum includes the history of the United States of America, state of California, and local region. The roles and perspectives of immigrants, minorities, and ethnic identities are considered alongside (and as alternatives to) dominant historical narratives. Students are guided in studying the cultural identities of their families and their own personal histories.
The primary goals of our Spanish curriculum are to provide skills and understandings that allow students to communicate in Spanish through speaking, listening, reading and writing, and to develop knowledge and understanding of Latin culture within the United States of America and globally. The curriculum is broken down into two complementary strands: declarative knowledge and procedural skills. The primary teaching methodology relies on a combination of project-based learning and Total Physical Response and Storytelling (TPRS).
The music program at TBS is rooted in the Orff-Schulwerk, an approach to music instruction that celebrates children’s inherently playful nature through movement, rhythmic speech, singing, pitched percussion (xylophones, metallophones and glockenspiels), and unpitched percussion (body percussion and drums). Students have the opportunity to sing, dance, play instruments, improvise, and compose every time they come to music class. They explore traditional and contemporary music as well as pieces drawn from the Orff-Schulwerk primary source volumes.
The Physical Education curriculum helps students build awareness, intention and control of their bodies and sense of spatial awareness. Our program develops strength, agility, and balance to concentrate on the six core skills of running, jumping, kicking, striking, throwing, and catching. Key social skills are also developed including teamwork (listening, questioning, persuading, respecting, helping, sharing, and participating) and sportsmanship (honesty, fairness, respect, and graciousness in winning and losing).
In the early grades, student use of technology is linked to project-based work in intellectual disciplines such as math, social studies, or science. Information literacy begins with understanding library behavior, organization, protocols, book selection techniques and the structure of books. A range of research skills, including initial citation skills, website evaluation, differentiation between a database search, search engine query, or site-specific search and familiarization with various electronic resources are given more attention in the 4th and 5th grades.