In pre first – 5th grade we use the Balanced Literacy approach from Columbia University, a rigorous reading and writing program that is completely individualized. The goal of our reading program is to develop a love of reading in addition to developing skills in decoding, comprehension, listening, critical thinking, and an understanding of story structure. In the primary grades, students build a foundation in phonics while learning how to make meaning and have deeper understanding of what they read. The upper elementary grades learn more complex text analysis while learning how to lead their own book club discussions. Skills and strategies in reading, writing, listening and speaking are emphasized through mini-lessons and independent activities. In the writing workshop, skills are taught to the whole class or in small groups during mini-lessons. Each grade completes an in-depth unit of study in narrative, information, and opinion/persuasive writing. Each and every student progresses on an individual basis through the writing process, learning steps of pre-writing, drafting, conferencing, revising, editing, and publishing.
Students in pre-1st through fifth grade build a solid conceptual understanding of math through the use of manipulative materials and visual models. Our goal is to help students build mastery of number concepts through hands-on activities, learn multiple strategies for effective problem solving, and most importantly, how to communicate their thought process. Houghton-Mifflin mathematics textbooks are supplemented by grade-level appropriate skill-building exercises, manipulative use, enrichment, and challenge assignments in the elementary grades.
The elementary school social studies curriculum provides the students with an academic framework through which they can begin to understand themselves, their environment and history in a broader context. Our unique units of study build upon each other, as students learn about their community, about themselves in relationship to their immediate surroundings, the city of Los Angeles, the State of California, and finally the United States. The curriculum allows students to acquire specific knowledge of history and geography, as well as cultural understandings and critical thinking skills. Social Studies instruction is often project based and integrated with language arts as much as possible.
The elementary school science program offers students the opportunity to discover the world around them through inquiry, experimentation, and observation. In the elementary grades, students receive a broad survey of science topics, including life science, physical science, earth science, and health. The science curriculum encourages student excitement for learning by incorporating stimulating hands-on activities that question or illustrate subject matter.
21st Century Skills:
Emek is also on the forefront of 21st century learning aligning our curriculum to focus on 21st century skills like critical thinking,
creativity, communication and collaboration. In addition, we use cutting edge technology as a tool to enhance and engage our students learning experience. Emek currently uses a blended learning model to support further individualization in the area of math and language arts. In addition, teachers work with Mrs. Natalina Parker, our educational technology coordinator, to create opportunities for technology integration that help increase student achievement in new ways. With two state of the art computer labs and an iPAD cart available, teachers are easily able to create enriched lessons that complement our curriculum.
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