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Lower School Curriculum

Kindergarten

The kindergarten has four main objectives:  to develop the student’s ability to hear and recognize sounds and use this knowledge to sound out simple words; to organize thought into logical patterns; to develop motor coordination; and to foster growth of the student’s self-esteem.  Each child deserves a great beginning and this is what the kindergarten program is designed to provide.

The language arts program incorporates the major language skills of handwriting, auditory training, oral language, linguistic skills, and comprehension.  Written work and manipulatives are used to develop visual and fine motor coordination.  Creative writing is introduced through the Calkins writer’s workshop approach.  Children are taught to write about their own experiences by first telling about the pictures they draw and then adding words to make sentences.  Finally, they write stories with a beginning, middle, and an end.

The basic concepts of mathematics and its logical patterns are introduced.  Creative toys, games, and manipulatives are used to teach basic number sense, graphing, patterning, measuring, counting, beginning addition and subtraction, time, and money skills.

The social studies and science programs are coordinated with the language arts program.  The animal kingdom, the universe, fossils, the body, and dinosaurs are among the topics explored.  Hands-on experiments and discovery help students explore natural and physical science.  Weekly experiences in the Exploratorium enrich the science curriculum. Field trips, smartboard activities, cooking experiences, computer programs, film clips, and guest speakers enrich the program.

The children’s experiences in art and creative dramatics are correlated with social studies and language arts.  All kindergarten children have the opportunity to express themselves through dramatic play in the classroom as well as three productions on stage in the theater.  Learning centers are used to strengthen math, science, social studies and language arts.  Our children have three unstructured playtimes to develop their imagination as well as their social skills.  In addition, kindergarten students participate in physical education classes daily.

Basic computer skills are taught, and knowledge learning in the classroom is reinforced through a variety of math, science, and phonics programs.  Each kindergarten classroom is equipped with a five-station computer center, as well as the use of iPads.  Computer lab instruction begins biweekly the second semester of the school year.

Kindergarten through Fourth Grade students receive weekly lessons based around the Positive Action curriculum.  This program develops in students the motivation and skills to be happy and successful in school and in life.  Knowledge and skills to be gained throughout this program in Lower School include physical and intellectual positive actions and social and emotional positive actions for self-management, getting along with others, self-honesty, and self-improvement.

First Grade

Language Arts

The course consists of reading, writing, composition, spelling, phonics, and grammar.  Each subject complements the other.  Students are taught parts of speech, sentence structure, vocabulary development, dictionary skills, inference, and recall, which are later applied to creative writing to encourage the student to express thoughts freely through compositions and poetry.  The spelling program is carefully structured and places strong emphasis on the relationship between sound and symbol.

Mathematics

Students study addition, subtraction, equations, place value, money, fraction, measurement, geometry and the use of technology.  To help develop a better sense of numbers and mathematical operations, manipulatives, games, and small group work are used to teach these concepts and problem-solving.  The idea that mathematical concepts are used every day as a way of describing objects and actions in our world is a perception we work to instill.

Science

Science teaches students to draw conclusions through observation, reasoning, and predictions.  Scientific experiments are part of the course, as well as weekly experiences in the Exploratorium.

Social Studies

Social studies exposes students to knowledge and skills that will help them make informed decisions regarding their community, country, and world.

Physical Education

Development of elementary motor skills and coordination is the major goal.  Play and group games are used as tools to assist skill development and physical fitness.

Art

Children are encouraged to express themselves using line, shape, color, and texture.  They are encouraged to respond to their own art, as well as that of artists throughout history.  Visual discrimination and small motor skills are developed.

Spanish

Spanish is taught with an audio-lingual-visual approach to emphasize the listening and speaking skills.  The students are introduced to Hispanic culture.

Chinese

Students are introduced to Chinese language and culture. The online material is used to emphasize listening and speaking skills. The students also are introduced to the traditional Chinese culture through Chinese crafts, foods, tea, and other cultural activities.

Positive Action

Kindergarten through Fourth Grade students receive weekly lessons based around the Positive Action curriculum.  This program develops in students the motivation and skills to be happy and successful in school and in life.  Knowledge and skills to be gained throughout this program in Lower School include physical and intellectual positive actions and social and emotional positive actions for self-management, getting along with others, self-honesty, and self-improvement.

Second Grade

Language Arts

Whether it is reading a novel or a particular story from our Readers Anthologies, second graders are immersed in gaining a better understanding of communities, different cultures and fiction stories that capture their attention, while they learn about exemplifying positive character traits.  Different types of reading lend themselves to helping our students achieve success when writing poetry, informational articles, and personal narrative stories.  Connecting reading and writing allows for the components of writing mechanics, grammar, spelling, phonics, and cursive to be incorporated. 

Mathematics

Addition, subtraction, place value, geometry, algebra, fractions, measurement, multiplication, division and an understanding of money are taught through active, hands on activities.  Daily word problems continue to challenge our students.   You will often see math manipulatives, a deck of cards or dice being rolled as second graders tackle different concepts. 

Science

Science is taught through various reading materials and technology. Our focus is animals, plants, energy, simple machines, space, earth and our resources. Weekly hands on science experiments are conducted in the Exploratorium, enriching our science curriculum.

Social Studies

This course is integrated in reading and language arts. We teach the following concepts through our reading materials: It teaches an understanding of communities, a comparison of different communities and cultures, an understanding of how to be a good citizen.  

Physical Education

Development of elementary motor skills and coordination is the major goal.  Play and group games are used as tools to assist skill development and physical fitness.

Art

Students learn to distinguish various art forms, as they express themselves through drawing, painting, printmaking, three-dimensional works, and crafts.  Students are encouraged to make choices, apply judgments, and appreciate historical value in art.

Spanish

The foreign language course is an introduction to the Spanish language and Hispanic culture.  An audio-lingual-visual approach is used to emphasize listening and speaking skills.

Chinese

Students are introduced to Chinese language and culture. The online material is used to emphasize listening and speaking skills. The students also are introduced to the traditional Chinese culture through celebrating Chinese traditional festivals, making Chinese crafts, foods, tea and other activities.

Positive Action

Kindergarten through Fourth Grade students receive weekly lessons based around the Positive Action curriculum.  This program develops in students the motivation and skills to be happy and successful in school and in life.  Knowledge and skills to be gained throughout this program in Lower School include physical and intellectual positive actions and social and emotional positive actions for self-management, getting along with others, self-honesty, and self-improvement.

Third Grade

Language Arts

The program includes reading, spelling, writing, and creative writing.  Students learn sentence structure, grammar, parts of speech, punctuation, and research skills.  The Zaner Bloser writing program is taught to extend writing skills.

Mathematics

Addition and subtraction facts are reviewed before multiplication and division are introduced.  Students learn linear and fluid measurements.  They are taught how to set up and solve word problems.  Students study number sense, estimation, geometry, fractions, decimals, time, money, patterns, expressions, and probability.

Science

Students study animal habitats, plants, simple machines, sound, weather, and environment protection.  They regularly perform investigations and experiments, individually and in groups, both in the Exploratorium and in the classroom.

Social Studies

The United States is studied by regions.  Map skills are emphasized throughout the year.

Physical Education

The program builds on the skills developed in the previous years.  The students are given their first school experiences in team sports as lead-up games are developed for the following:  baseball, basketball, football, soccer, volleyball, and field hockey. 

Art

Principles of design are added to the already familiar elements of design.  The children learn to recognize and use pattern, balance, unity, and variety in their work.  They are encouraged to describe ideas, thoughts, and emotions in various media and forms.  Third graders make their own landscape, still life, portraits, and sculptural works.

Music

Music includes rounds, instrumental accompaniment, instrumental composition, descants, and music reading.  Students act out and study the story and music of an opera.  Emphasis is placed on more advanced rhythm studies and includes singing games, folk songs, and dances.  The Trojan Tunes Choir is an after-school option for 3rd and 4th graders, with the purpose of enhancing and enriching the musical experience.  Choir is offered weekly, on Tuesdays, 3:30-4:30, in the Music room.

Spanish

This course develops the Spanish language and Hispanic culture, based on instruction in the previous grades.  An audio-lingual-visual approach is used to emphasize the listening and speaking skills. 

Chinese

Students are introduced to Chinese language and culture. The online material is used to emphasize listening and speaking skills. The students also are introduced to the traditional Chinese culture through celebrating Chinese traditional festivals, making Chinese crafts, foods, tea and other activities.  A brief introduction to reading and writing skills is included.

Positive Action

Kindergarten through Fourth Grade students receive weekly lessons based around the Positive Action curriculum.  This program develops in students the motivation and skills to be happy and successful in school and in life.  Knowledge and skills to be gained throughout this program in Lower School include physical and intellectual positive actions and social and emotional positive actions for self-management, getting along with others, self-honesty, and self-improvement.

Fourth Grade

Art 
Students demonstrate growth in the understanding and use of line, shape, form, texture, value, and color. They learn to use color theory and spatial relationships to produce three-dimensional qualities in two-dimensional works. The study of American artists reinforces the fourth grade American history curriculum. A trip to the Amon Carter Museum allows students to see fine examples of American art.

Chinese
Students learn basic vocabulary and sentence structures in our Chinese classes. Our curriculum is rich in it's introduction to the Chinese language and culture with it's incorporation of songs and short stories. Our students have access to on-line flash lessons (audio and graphics) which increase in complexity by grade level advancement.

Language Arts
The program includes reading, spelling, writing, and grammar. Students learn to appreciate creative writing and poetry.  In grades K - 4, the Palmer Writing Program is taught to improve handwriting skills.

Mathematics
The program perfects the skills of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Geometric expressions, fractions, estimation, and equations are introduced.

Music
Singing, sight reading, creative performing, and listening skills are further developed in fourth grade. Included are many rounds, descants, and two-part songs. Rhythmic and chordal accompaniments are added with percussion instruments, the autoharp, and piano. Dance movements reflect rhythmic structure, form, phrasing, tempo, dynamics, and tone color. Children create melodies, accompaniments, and dances. Choir is an after school option for 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students. They meet on Tuesdays from 3:45-4:45 and the purpose is to enhance and enrich the child's musical experience.

Physical Education
The program at this level incorporates gross and fine motor skills, previously learned in earlier grades, into sports situations. Students participate in the same sports, in a modified manner, that Middle and Upper school teams play in conference. Aerobic-fitness activities are performed on a regular basis, and students' progress is monitored three times per year.

Science
Fourth graders learn science skills and content in the Exploratorium by doing science. They address science questions by observing, inferring, designing and conducting observational and experimental investigations, collecting information, and developing explanations. In addition, fourth graders address engineering problems through designing, testing, and developing workable solutions. Various areas of science may be explored, including matter, energy, reactions, force and motion, the rock cycle, and relationships between living things and the environment.

Social Studies
Students learn American history from the exploration period to the present. They also study the geographical characteristics of certain areas of the United States.

Spanish
An audio-lingual-visual approach is used to emphasize the listening and speaking skills. A brief introduction to reading and writing skills is included.

Positive Action

Kindergarten through Fourth Grade students receive weekly lessons based around the Positive Action curriculum.  This program develops in students the motivation and skills to be happy and successful in school and in life.  Knowledge and skills to be gained throughout this program in Lower School include physical and intellectual positive actions and social and emotional positive actions for self-management, getting along with others, self-honesty, and self-improvement.

Per Aspera Ad Astra   |   © 2012 Trinity Valley School   |   7500 Dutch Branch Road   |   Fort Worth, TX 76132   |   817.321.0100
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