English Language Arts
The materials and class discussions are designed to move the students from comprehension to analysis. In reading fiction, students learn to identify figurative language and to examine its meaning in the larger context of the story. Students are introduced to the Document Based Question and the skills for expository writing. They learn to distinguish among the modes of writing: persuasion, narration, description, explanation.
The students look at the interconnection of geography, economics, culture, government, technology, and history. The course emphasizes the social studies skills of critical reading as they consider the idea of citizenship and identity. Students study the rise of civilizations and the cultures of North and South America prior to European contact. They then examine the arrival of the colonists, colonial settlement and European economic influence on early America. In particular, students look at the development of the waterways in New York State.
The course focuses on Ecology and Environmental Science. Students study native insects, amphibians, mammals, and trees. They collect samples and data, and make labeled scientific drawings. They begin to observe natural connections by studying the interaction of living things by studying food webs, photosynthesis and the water cycle. Students continue to develop important scientific skills that are introduced in the earlier grades including: collecting data accurately, making scientific drawings, using the scientific method to make and test hypothesis, and writing lab reports.
Students begin the year by reviewing place-value and the rounding of numbers. The students then use the bulk of the year studying the math operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division and their use with whole numbers, decimal numbers, and fractions. Students continue to apply the four-step problem solving process.
The Fine Arts
Students begin the study of classical drawing by maintaining a sketchbook of weekly assignments. Students keep the same sketchbook through grades five to eight. Native American arts are the focus. Aligned with the Native American studies, students create a variety of decorative and fine arts projects while studying the relevant art history of each.