New School Preparatory uses a literature-based program with a focus on reading for meaning and a
reflection on the "big ideas" behind the written word. The Language Arts curriculum
stresses literacy, writing, and the study of literature. The instructional
program draws on literature from many genres, time periods, and cultures.
Novel and author study begin to expose students to different styles of
writing. Students read a variety of fiction and non-fiction related to
their studies as well as recreational books for pleasure. They learn to
use reference books, dictionaries, and computer sources to gather information.
Competency in reading and writing require knowledge of the basics. New School Preparatory
emphasizes mastery of phonics, grammar, and spelling instruction at all
Communication, both oral and written, is an integral part of the program.
Fluency in written and oral expression is fostered through learning experiences
designed for small group and whole class situations.
Writing is a daily requirement that helps students develop and communicate
ideas in persuasive, expository, literary, and expressive discourse. Instruction
in touch-typing enables the editing process to be explored more easily.
Students learn that different purposes require different styles of writing.
They learn to write letters, poetry, short stories, essays, and newspaper
Each year, a Shakespearean play is selected, studied in its entirety in
the original language, and then transformed for the stage through drama,
music, and dance. Middle school students participate as actors. Students
in Grade 3 and Grade 4 learn the story of the play and participate as dancers
and musicians in the production.
The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics guidelines and a problem solving approach to mathematics form the basis of the mathematics program at New School.
Conceptual understanding is critical to a strong mathematics foundation. Concrete materials help the students explore ideas and concepts. Students learn to reason mathematically moving from the concrete to the abstract. They learn how to measure, manipulate data, and graph to present information.
Math learning is progressive. Students should fully understand one step before they progress to the next. Math drills are emphasized to ensure mastery, while problem solving encourages students to use math to solve real-world problems.
At New School, each student works at his/her own pace. This allows advanced students to learn concepts and skills beyond grade level placement.
Mathematics Guidelines for Grade Four
Number and Operations
- Understand the place-value structure of the base-ten number system and be able to represent and compare whole numbers and decimals
- Recognize equivalent representations for the same number and generate them by decomposing and composing numbers
- Use models, benchmarks, and equivalent forms to judge the size of fractions
- Recognize and generate equivalent forms of commonly used fractions, decimals, and (in Grade 7 Curriculum Focal Points) percents
- Understand the effects of multiplying and dividing whole numbers
- Identify and use relationships between operations, such as division as the inverse of multiplication, to solve problems
- Understand and use properties of operations, such as the distributivity of multiplication over addition
- Develop fluency with basic number combinations for multiplication and division and use these combinations to mentally compute related problems, such as 30 × 50
- Develop fluency in adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing whole numbers
- Develop and use strategies to estimate the results of whole-number computations and to judge the reasonableness of such results
- Select appropriate methods and tools for computing with whole numbers from among mental computation, estimation, calculators, and paper and pencil according to the context and nature of the computation and use the selected method or tool
- Describe, extend, and make generalizations about geometric and numeric patterns
- Represent and analyze patterns and functions, using words, tables, and graphs
- Identify such properties as commutativity, associativity, and distributivity and use them to compute with whole numbers
- Express mathematical relationships using equations
- Model problem situations with objects and use representations such as graphs, tables, and equations to draw conclusions
- Identify, compare, and analyze attributes of two- and three-dimensional shapes and develop vocabulary to describe the attributes
- Investigate, describe, and reason about the results of subdividing, combining, and transforming shapes
- Explore congruence and similarity
- Describe location and movement using common language and geometric vocabulary
- Predict and describe the results of sliding, flipping, and turning two-dimensional shapes
- Describe a motion or a series of motions that will show that two shapes are congruent
- Identify and describe line and rotational symmetry in two- and three-dimensional shapes and designs
- Use geometric models to solve problems in other areas of mathematics, such as number and measurement
- Recognize geometric ideas and relationships and apply them to other disciplines and to problems that arise in the classroom or in everyday life
- Understand such attributes as length, area, weight, volume, and size of angle and select the appropriate type of unit for measuring each attribute
- Understand the need for measuring with standard units and become familiar with standard units in the customary and metric systems
- Carry out simple unit conversions, such as from centimeters to meters, within a system of measurement
- Explore what happens to measurements of a two-dimensional shape such as its perimeter and area when the shape is changed in some way
- Develop strategies for estimating the perimeters, areas, and volumes of irregular shapes
- Select and apply appropriate standard units and tools to measure length, area, volume, weight, time, temperature, and the size of angles (measuring time and temperature is not identified as a focal point or connection)
- Select and use benchmarks to estimate measurements
- Develop, understand, and use formulas to find the area of rectangles and related triangles and parallelograms
Data Analysis and Probability
- Design investigations to address a question and consider how data-collection methods affect the nature of the data set
- Collect data using observations, surveys, and experiments
- Represent data using tables and graphs such as line plots, bar graphs, and line graphs
- Describe the shape and important features of a set of data and compare related data sets, with an emphasis on how the data are distributed
- Compare different representations of the same data and evaluate how well each representation shows important aspects of the data
- Propose and justify conclusions and predictions that are based on data and design studies to further investigate the conclusions or predictions
Science has an integral relationship with mathematics. Both stress logic, conceptual
thinking, and problem-solving. Science skills build on students' curiosity and intuition. Students learn
to observe, make predictions, and work with variables as they formulate
and test hypotheses.
The science program at New School Preparatory is inquiry based and follows the standards and position statement of the National Science Teachers Association (www.nsta.org) and the National Science Education Standards as abstracted [here].
At New School the science program provides opportunities for students to develop understandings and skills necessary to function productively as problem solvers in a scientific and technological world. First hand exploration and investigation and inquiry/process skills are nurtured.
The social studies curriculum is designed to help develop the children's understanding of themselves as individuals, as members of various groups within society, and as members of a global community. The curriculum helps students develop an appreciation for diversity and enables them to acquire the cultural fluency necessary for successfully engaging within the larger world.
The curriculum is based on the ten thematic strands that form the basis of the social studies standards of the National Council of Social Studies (NCSS) described [here].
The increasingly bilingual nature of the United States and our pluralistic society mean that it is more important than ever for today's students to speak a second language.
All New School Preparatory students receive daily Spanish instruction from a second language specialist as part of the school's standard curricula. The curriculum follows the philosophy and standards of the American Council of Teachers of Foreign Language. [Click to see standards]