The elementary curriculum and instruction focuses on basic skills taught in conjunction with integrated, interdisciplinary units. The student experience is enhanced at all elementary grade levels with coursework in Spanish, art, music, physical education, library technology, and sign language.
Reading and Writing:At University Schools Elementary, we use the Benchmark Workshop Literacy Curriculum. The Curriculum helps our teachers facilitate Phonics/Word Study, Reading and Writing all through a workshop model.What is a readers' workshop?Readers’ workshop is a daily routine that focuses on individual needs of students while keeping a collaborative classroom environment. This type of environment involves a variety of teaching methods, including skill-based or phonics instruction. Skill-based instruction involves direct teaching and practice of skills necessary for reading, including phonemic awareness, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension.What is a writers' workshop?The process of writing tends to be more important than the product of writing. Writing workshop is a student-centered framework for teaching writing that is based on the idea that students learn to write best when they write frequently, for extended periods of time, on topics of their own choosing.
To develop skills as a writer, students need three things:
- ownership of their own writing,
- guidance from an experienced writer,
- support from a community of fellow learners.
The writing workshop framework meets these needs and streamlines instruction in order to meet the most important objective: giving kids time to write. The workshop setting supports children in taking their writing seriously and viewing themselves as writers.
Are the Workshops the same?The elements of the workshop model are similar for both reading and writing:
- focused mini lesson
- Independent reading/writing work, small-group instruction, and conferring
Phonics/Word Study, Reading and Writing Workshops are deliberately designed to offer a simple and predictable environment so that the teacher can focus on the complex work of observing students' progress and teaching to their needs.
We utilize Stepping Stones, a math program that is an innovative new program from ORIGO Education that combines rigorous problem-solving activities and interactive digital games with engaging print materials to enhance students' thinking and reasoning skills.
Social Studies and Science:
University Schools instructs students in programs developed to incorporate units of study to meet the Common Core State Standards. We also schedule field trips to enhance units of study.
Handwriting and Spelling:
We utilize various spelling strategies and the Universal Handwriting Program to help students develop these critical language skills.
We offer our elementary students courses in art, physical education, music, sign language, library technology, and Spanish following the Colorado State Standards. In addition, US students have the opportunity to participate in the following programs:
- Art Club
- Battle of the Books
- Chess Club
- Homework Help
- Outdoor Club
- Running Club
- Sign Club
- Ukulele Club
- Young Chautauqua
- Zoo Club