Enrichment 4-6

World Languages. The goal of the upper elementary World Language Pro­gram is to develop strong comprehension skills using TPRS (Teaching Pro­ficiency through Reading and Storytelling). Students are exposed to com­prehensible input for 75 - 90 minutes a week through storytelling and read­ing. Mini novels and the Cuéntame/Raconte-moi curricula are used to provide repetition of high frequency vocabulary and introduce culture. As students become confident in the target language, guided writing is used to introduce and improve their writing skills. The expectation of student oral production increases at this level and varies greatly.

Technology. The upper grade technology program switches its focus to Digital Literacy and Citizen­ship. All grade levels work through an engaging and thought-provoking curriculum, introducing them to concepts such as digital footprint and reputation, cyberbullying, internet safety, self-image and identity, communications, information literacy, and creative credit. All of this occurs while students develop key skills that are integrated into their daily class work: creating presentations, website development, word pro­cessing, video creation and editing, and simple coding. Key skills of communication, collaboration, prob­lem solving, and creativity are developed, as well as a greater awareness of purpose and intention for their work, both for themselves and the wider community.

Library. In the upper grades, the children transition from the storytime rug to the library tables where they learn vital research and information literacy skills, enjoy read-alouds and take full advantage of everything our library has to offer. They continue to be an important part of our library community, adopt­ing shelves and frequently visiting during recess. In fourth grade, students learn about the Dewey Decimal System, literary awards, book categories, and the importance of choosing age-appropriate books. They enjoy lively read-alouds and hands-on library organization games such as our “call number scavenger hunt.” In fifth grade, read-alouds continue and students learn about the features of nonfiction books. They also learn about literary awards, types of reference books, how to discern reliable websites and effectively utilize our many e-resources. A raucous Newbery Award trivia game is always a highlight. Fifth graders move on to sixth grade and beyond with fond memories of their time in the library, a desire to come back often, a confidence in their research skills, a love of literature, and a deep understanding of the value and wonder of a library.

Vocal Music. Students begin using standard music vocabulary to talk about music, including music common to specific historical periods, genres, cultures, and styles. Dynamics, tempo, standardized nota­tion, and musical form lessons continue, adding ostinato, partner songs or descant to broaden the students’ experience with harmony. Students practice listening and concentration by listening to live and recorded performances; they use these skills to acquire greater endurance as audience members. Song literature is selected from diverse cultures, and instruments related to the selections are illustrated with recordings and videos. In fourth grade, the students learn about and perform their first memorized vocal solo, The Star Spangled Banner. In fifth grade, critical analysis and response to works of music, performances, and per­formers is emphasized.

Instrumental Music. Instrumental music is all about learning to play a musical instrument individually and in ensemble, and to appreciate the challenging but exhilarating journey. Beginning in fourth grade, all students are taught how to read music and play the re­corder. Students are allowed time in class to play solos or perform in small groups, to demonstrate their skills. Both classes are combined for a special performance for the entire school. Toward the end of the year, in preparation for fifth grade, all students are given the opportunity to try out instruments for the up­coming year. Each student is allowed to try the flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet and trombone during class. In fifth grade, each student selects a brass or woodwind instrument, on which to learn. Using the tools and skills learned in fourth grade as a foundation, we begin the exciting journey of learning to per­form with a band. Now students will be challenged to grow musically as they are asked to perform more complicated music, and to discover how their individual part works in tandem with the whole ensemble. Sixth graders are given the opportunity to continue their education on their chosen instrument. The diffi­culty of music increases as the expectation to grow as a musician intensifies, as well. Both sixth grade clas­ses are eventually combined for a school-wide performance.

Art. The upper elementary curriculum begins with a system of review units that further instill the understanding and application of the elements and principles of design. The 4th grade year unit structure generally focuses on re-enforcing techniques and concepts introduced in the lower elementary curriculum. An emphasis is placed on portraiture, color theory and abstraction, as inspired by historically significant or contemporary artists. Starting in 5th grade, students are taken through a series of drawing units which focus on value, contour, volume, space and linear perspective. The application of color and color theory are utilized to enhance composition work. As the year progresses, sculpture is introduced into the curriculum through the use of ceramic clay, plaster, wire and various rigid material. 

Physical Education. Physical education in fourth grade is a combina­tion of continuing stretching and running disciplines, plus skill prac­tice with scope and sequence according to the specific unit of the master physical education calendar for the year. This is the second year that the students participate in the President’s Fitness Tests. Physical education in fifth and sixth grade continues the stretching and running disciplines and is the first year the students dress out for physical education and follow the schedule of the middle school sports seasons.