Reading and Writing Workshop:
Arts in Action believes that the building blocks of literacy are not only made up of a set of skills, but that these skills in isolation will not help students become competent readers, writer's speakers and listeners. Students must become critical thinkers as they read and write, and be able to become readers and writers. In the workshop model students truly "learn by doing." Children build individual identities as readers by reading books at their "just right" level. Students spend extensive time actually reading each day (not talking about reading or answering questions about reading.) Students develop fluency through guided reading, individual conferencing, and small group instruction. Similarly, students build identities as writers by writing on a daily basis. Daily writing is not corrected and inventive spelling is encouraged, however, students are guided in revising and adding to their writing pieces. Spelling is taught through the developmental word study program, Words their Way.
Arts in Action's math curriculum will develop conceptual understanding and thinking skills students need to apply mathematical skills to real world contexts. The math curriculum will also help students develop logical thinking, problem-solving capabilities, the ability to monitor their thinking, and a sense of intellectual confidence in math. One of Singapore Math's key strengths is that it is set up to help teachers enact learning at a higher level of cognitive demand. Singapore Math's framework develops mathematical problem solving through the following phases--concrete, pictorial, abstract, and model-drawing. Singapore Math textbooks cover less mathematical concepts in one year, but each concept is taught at greater depth than traditional math textbooks. This increases students' ability to obtain mastery of concepts taught.
Students in all grade levels have two core teachers. One teacher teaches ELA and History and another one teaches Math and Science. Teachers receive extensive training in the their area of specialty and are responsible for the students' achievement in that curricular area. This model allows teachers to become masters in one or two subject areas; thus, students receive more rigorous and effective instruction versus having one teacher who teaches all subjects. Teachers are carefully selected based on their experience and knowledge of their selected content area, and teachers team teach to ensure interdisciplinary integration of concepts.