Literacy: At PS 9 we utilize a balanced approach to teaching literacy. Through a daily combination of various reading, writing, and word study opportunities teachers support students in becoming lifelong readers and writers. Please see this link which describes all of the components of balanced literacy which we include daily.
Mathematics: We use a similarly balanced approach in mathematics daily. By engaging students in several different opportunities to develop high-level thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills, students will develop the necessary strategies to become proficient and fluent mathematicians. Components of balanced mathematics include:
Whole Class Investigations (conceptual understanding)
Usually involves a real-life context that is used to introduce new content. At times, investigations do not rely on real-life contexts, but still require students to engage in complex, open-ended, and challenging mathematical tasks. Investigations are whole class and span several days.
Routines (counting/quantifying and practice)
K-1,2 - Routines that are based on the calendar, attendance, days in school, and the weather help younger children develop mathematical models (such as rekenrek, bead string, 100 charts, or 10 frames) that later become tools for students to think with. Routines take place in the morning and are differentiated based on student needs and evolve over the school year as the overall knowledge of the math community grows.
2-5 - Routines shift in the upper grades. Mental math becomes more about computation. Routines also include telling time, decomposing numbers, recording data, and counting.
“Just Right” Math Games (procedural fluency and strategic competence)
Playing games that help students practice skills and develop big ideas and strategies are just right for them. Students are matched with partners who have similar needs and who work well with each other. The games that students place specifically match their needs and change as students grow mathematically.
Math Review and Practice (procedural fluency and strategic competence)
This daily, quick practice is a time for students to review prior content. In all grades, students routinely solve story problems. In lower grades, numeral writing is something that is practiced. In upper grades, the math review can include a short, whole class discussion of one review problem that may contain “test-like” language or format.
Mini Lessons (subitizing, procedural fluency, and strategic competence)
A mini-lesson is where fluency and reasoning skills are developed in the areas of counting, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. They are most often taught in small, targeted groups and are differentiated to meet individual student needs. Types of mini-lessons include quick images, strings, and more unscaffolded computation practice. The teacher uses a variety of mathematical models rekenrek, bead string, pen number line, double number line, ratio table, array) to illustrate the strategies and ideas that students are developing.
Fact Fluency (procedural fluency)
Students need to be fluent with the basic facts that are relevant to their grade level and previous grade levels if not already mastered. Fact fluency is developed in targeted groups and practiced through strategy-based mini lessons and just right math games. Here, models are incredibly important so that students develop a sense of magnitude for the facts by way of owning a mental model. Students that develop strong mental models can derive unknown facts based on relationships they already know.
Social Studies: PS 9 utilizes Passports to Social Studies, which is aligned to the New York City K-8 Scope and Sequence. Units of study focus on essential questions, key ideas, conceptual understandings, and the six social studies practices. Through the integration of Literacy and field trips, students are challenged to think like historians, raise questions, think critically, consider many perspectives and gather evidence in support of their interpretations.
Science: PS 9 utilizes Amplify Science, which is aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards. Each unit of Amplify Science engages students in a relevant, real-world problem where they investigate scientific phenomena, engage in collaboration and discussion, and develop models or explanations to arrive at solutions.
Physical Education: Our program is led by our certified physical education and elementary education teacher, Mr. Ericson, and is designed to engage students in fun ways to develop their fine and gross motor development through a skill-based progression of units that are based on the New York State Learning Standards for Physical Education and National Association for Sports and Physical Education Standards. In addition, our physical education program supports students in building a healthy, active lifestyle. As often as possible, Mr. Ericson designs his units of study to connect to the core subject areas of reading, writing, and math, as well as the arts.
Musical Theatre: Our program is led by Mr. Immiti, and is a form of theatrical performance that combines songs, spoken dialogue, acting, and movement. The story and emotional content are communicated through the words, music, movement, and technical aspects of the entertainment as an integrated whole. Children will learn about musical elements such as pitch, rhythm, and singing to create and perform musical masterpieces throughout the school year. As the students progress through the program, a Fourth Grade Musical Theatre Production which is an original piece developed for the students will be performed. Students will find their specialties as performers as they act, sing, dance, design sets and props, and work theater tech. Following the production, from fourth to the middle of fifth grade, students will learn how to perform with band instruments. All of these experiences help children develop basic physical skills in self-control and provide an understanding of the relationship between their body and the space around them, and appropriate and imaginative use of voices.
Visual Arts: Our program is led by Ms. Rizzo, our resident visual artist. Art making is a way in which we form a visual communication for our thoughts, feelings, and imagination. Art provides challenges, choices, and the opportunity for children to express themselves and think outside of the box. The visual arts program at PS 9 will include an exploration of various art materials and techniques that are developmentally appropriate, standards-based, and integrated with musical theatre, dance, and the academic curriculum.
Dance: Our program is led by Ms. Molinari, our certified dance teacher. Dance is a kinesthetic art that uses set movement, improvised steps, and/or gestures rhythmically and to music to create sequences and choreography. PS 9 is excited to offer a dance program to all students. Our program focuses on learning the Elements of Dance, body, action, space, time, and energy, to compose and perform the movement. As young children are inquisitive and active learners, movement is integral to their learning process. Dance provides an avenue to engage in physical explorations and express their feelings. Structured dance experiences, as part of a process-based curriculum, will help the children to develop physically, socially/affectively, cognitively, aesthetically, and meta-cognitively
Social Emotional Learning
Through the implementation of the Positive Behavioral Intervention & Supports (PBIS) approach, a safe, inclusive environment has been established for all students, staff, and families. PBIS is a school-wide initiative that addresses social, emotional, and behavioral competence to ensure an academic achievement. We have an established PBIS team and program with well-known school-wide expectations and support for helping all students achieve important social and learning goals around our school’s guiding principles of Safety, Teamwork, Actions, and Respect (STAR). There is a common language for staff and students and parents, goals and themes, as well as modeled expectations that are defined in all areas of the school building. Within the classrooms and at school assemblies, these expectations are taught through monthly themes aligned to our Core Values, school-wide read-aloud, and specific activities throughout the year. Students have had the opportunity to go beyond the school community through the PBIS themes and philanthropic projects. PBIS allows consistent consequences and positive reinforcement resulting in students enjoying a safer school environment. When students are acting as a STAR, this behavior is positively reinforced through a token card system. Token cards add up and students shop for tangible and non-tangible incentives and rewards.
Through our partnership with the Transition and College Access Center, we have deepened our understanding of the Career Development Occupational Studies (CDOS) Standards. The Transition and College Access Center works directly with our PBIS team to create activities that support career development, academic and personal behaviors, and integrated learning.
Teachers College Reading and Writing Project
Transition & College Access Center