NSS MATH, SCIENCE & GIFTED Curriculum
News Springs Middle School is a public charter school and the curriculum at school is aligned with Florida Sunshine State Standards.
New Springs School Science Curriculum
FAST (Foundational Approaches in Science Teaching)
Developed by University of Hawaii
Hands-on science. In order to implement the school science curriculum, NSS will adopt the proven instructional science curricula Foundational Approaches in Science Teaching (FAST). By employing the Foundational Approaches in Science Teaching (FAST), hands-on science will be offered to the students. The students will be directly involved in forming ideas, asking questions, making observations, and conducting experiments. Students will be up and about in the lab and actively working with other students to discover new ideas. A guiding premise of this program assumes that all students regardless of age, sex, or ethnicity- can enjoy success in science. Students will question the workings of their world and find answers in active reading, listening, discussion, and hands-on learning. The students will grapple with scientific principles as they learn how to appreciate a less-than-intuitive universe, and they will come to value those things we take for granted in our daily lives.
New Springs Middle School Math Curriculum
CPM (College Preparatory Math)
CMP (Connected Math Project) developed by University of Michigan
In math, the school will provide a problem-centered curriculum and is organized into units that address ideas through a series of investigations. Each investigation contains problems for teachers and students to explore. As students explore a series of connected problems, they develop a profound understanding of important mathematical concepts that are embedded within the problems. The math curriculum uses a variety of teaching methodologies, including lecture, class discussions, manipulatives (including hands-on and computer-based manipulatives), and structured study teams. During class, students will be actively working on guided investigations, much like math labs, to develop mathematical concepts and problem solving skills. The program strategies emphasize active learning and group work; students are introduced to problem solving, communication, and reasoning through laboratory experiments and real-world applications. Concepts are developed through guided instruction, individual and teamwork, tactile and kinesthetic activities, data collection, class work, and homework. Students are encouraged to develop a positive attitude toward mathematics, to become more aware of their own thinking about problems, and to describe their efforts, both orally and in writing.
New Springs Middle School Reading Curriculum
In Read XL, each weeks lesson begins with background building activities called create interest, build a mental model, and unlock text structure. These activities guide students to make predictions about the text, visualize the setting, and understand the organization of the lessons genre. Frequent teacher-directed questions embedded throughout the text encourage students to monitor understanding. Specific strategies such as character analysis, sequence, fact/conclusion, main idea, summary, compare/contrast, and story grammar are introduced in a lesson and then applied as appropriate in subsequent lessons. A final wrap up of the reading activity provides literal and inferential questions for class discussion. Unique to Read XL is an activity following each lesson called real-world reading which includes authentic text presentations of maps, movie reviews, medicine bottle labels, menus, pie charts, bar graphs and other relevant and meaningful examples. The instructional routines built in to Read XL are consistent and teacher friendly, and include direct instruction, modeling, guided practice, student practice, and application with feedback.
NSES Curriculum Outline by Grade
Reading/Language Arts: In kindergarten, we use a cross curricular approach to establish a strong foundation for all subjects. Reading instruction covers a variety of reading and writing behaviors. Shared reading materials include: children’s literature, charted songs and poems, sound stories, and stories shared through various technology components. Shared reading materials incorporate phonics, word analysis, critical thinking, decoding, reasoning, and comprehension. With all of these tools and resources, our students will also develop a true joy of reading.
Writing: Children learn writing skills through true life adaptations and engagement in their world. Picture drawing, left-right directionality, labeling, list making and use of inventive spelling are all important steps towards writing creatively and confidently. The correct formation of letters is taught, encouraged, and expected as we instill good habits in each young student. Various gross and small motor activities provide opportunities and exposure to our beginning writers.
Math: Number concepts and skills are taught through manipulatives, hands-on activities, and active experiences. Critical thinking, problem solving, and application skills are taught as well as number theory, patterns, estimation, the hundreds chart, money, estimation, and mental math.
Science: The Kindergarten Science Curriculum explores subjects such as: the body, life science, physical science, and earth science. Through active engagement with our environment and exploration of nonfiction literature, we will learn and practice important life skills like observing, classifying, identifying, and predicting. We integrate our science units in a cross curricular manner.
Social Studies: Social Studies is integrated through literature and yearly events (holidays) and times of the year (seasons/months). Areas such as basic geography/history, holidays, and civic responsibilities (citizenship) are included. In kindergarten, much of the focus is on self awareness and appreciation.
First grade at NSES is a key year for students; they are bridging the gap from their first school experience as Kindergartners to becoming independent thinkers and learners. To ensure all first graders are given the proper tools for learning, NSES uses the most elite curricular materials to foster this goal; for example, Imagine it, Everyday Math, My World, and Harcourt Science are tools utilized to ensure mastery of all Common Core skills.
Reading: Our teachers focus on phonics, phonemic awareness, vocabulary, fluency and comprehension. This is achieved through both independent discoveries as well as through teacher guided reading groups. Students are expected to read every night at home as well to promote independence, reading for meaning, and to develop a love for reading. Accelerated Reader or AR tests may be taken afterward to assess comprehension and encourage students to read more.
Language Arts: Each week our students will be assigned 12-15 spelling words per week depending on the teacher; spelling will be assessed every Friday. Not only does becoming a good speller complement reading skills; in fact ,it ameliorates writing skills. Furthermore, students will gain knowledge of “core writing skills “and later execute their own narratives, friendly letters, biographies, and persuasive and expository essays. In addition, students will keep a writing journal to show improvements in their writing throughout the year.
Math: In First grade, our students focus on eight key areas as required in the Common
Core: Number and Numeration, Operations and Computation, Data and Chance,
Measurement, Geometry, Patterns, Functions, and Algebra are all taught throughout the year and are assessed frequently to ensure all benchmarks are mastered.
Science: Taught primarily by a “hands on approach,” students learn through discovery; students experiment with their peers and gain a better understanding of the world around them.
Social Studies: This subject asks students to examine the world in which they reside. By analyzing their community, school, and world traditions, students evaluate the historical significance of their past in order to understand their place in the present, yet, enrich future perspectives. To disseminate knowledge and stimulate critical thinking skills in gifted classes, the Social Studies curriculum employs noteworthy executions such as: Scholastic News and Weekly Reader magazines for students to coddle.
The Reading and Language Arts: This course utilizes decodable stories to help students recognize spelling patterns and reinforce phonics skills. Students read weekly selection stories to familiarize themselves with new vocabulary and adjust reading rates based on purpose and text difficulty. Furthermore, the selection stories offer students the opportunity to compare and contrast different stories and identify various reading themes across literary genres like fiction and nonfiction stories. At times, Science and Social Studies disciplines are entwined within the text selection process, encouraging cross-curricular implementation and offering an enriched literacy experience; selection stories primarily focus on comprehension, predictions, critical thinking, author’s purpose, and main idea and supporting details. Finally, reading instruction most often engages students through current advances in technological software, making learning enjoyable and memorable.
Writing: The Second Grade curriculum comprises an array of core elements necessary for life-long success in the global environment. With this in mind, students learn to demonstrate legible printing skills and read and write legible cursive sentences. In order to master the art of writing, students begin the writing process by brainstorming a variety of topics with bubble maps. Students are continually trying to master the concept of editing for correct use of conventional spellings and punctuation. Furthermore, students use rough drafts to help maintain focus, and develop the supporting details of their writing piece. Lastly, final drafts add descriptive words and vivid detail in sentences. As students gain excellent academic writing skills through reading other works, they need to be exposed to a variety of literature including: rhyming poems, folktales, narratives, acrostic poems, essays and book reports.
Math: In second grade, using the Everyday Math curriculum, students are challenged on a daily basis. Every lesson is differentiated based on individual student needs through “Readiness”, “Enrichment”, “Extra Practice”, and “ELL Support” options. Everyday Math is a cyclical curriculum, meaning children see the same topics many times throughout the year, with each exposure being more difficult and more in-depth than the last. Everyday Math incorporates games throughout the units which help the students practice new concepts and review older ones. Second grade covers numbers and routines, addition and subtraction facts, place value, money, time, shapes, number operations and stories, patterns and rules, fractions, and measurement.
Science: Students learn the Harcourt science series in second grade at Orlando Science Elementary School, covering many different units including “Living Things Grow and Change”, “Homes for Living Things”, “Exploring Earth’s Surface”, “Space and Weather”, “Exploring Matter”, and “Energy in Motion”. The science text has many experiments that can be included with each lesson throughout the units. In second grade we incorporate projects that supplement many of our science units.
Social Studies: The second graders at Orlando Science Elementary School use the My World series by Pearson for Social Studies: an interactive textbook where students stop, answer questions, draw pictures, and make connections .This allows for the student to check for comprehension and have a more personal experience with the text which leads to permanent content retention.
Students will conquer the dynamics of algebra, geometry, measurement, and numbers and operations in third grade.
Numbers and Operations
We will focus on the following reading standards in third grade:
Students will read, interpret, make predictions, summarize, comprehend, analyze and apply the skills of
- Main Idea and Details, Compare/Contrast, Cause/Effect, Sequence of Events, Description and Problem/Solution through a variety of genres, texts (Fiction and Non-Fiction), and Poetry.
Students will also understand Text Features and Text Elements, Multiple-Meaning Words, Figurative Language, Context Clues, Dictionary/Thesaurus skills and how to apply these skills to make sense to the reading.
Students will be assessed informally and formally in Comprehension, Fluency, Phonics, Short responses, Oral and Written Presentations.
Students will research, conduct and experiment science inquiry and the scientific method through labs, experiments and science fair.
Life and Environmental Science: Understand the ecosystem, habitats and conservation of plants and animals.
Earth and Space Science: Explore the Solar System, Planets and Phases of the Moon. Understand the effects weathering and erosion has on the Earth’s crust, changes of the Earth and the Rock Cycle.
Physical and Chemical: Students will learn about the different types of Energy (Chemical, Nuclear, Solar, and Thermal), the States of Matter (Liquid, Solid, Gas) and Force and Motion.
Student will learn the process of writing: Brainstorming, Planning, Pre-Writing, Editing, Conventions, and Spelling.
Students will write Poetry, Short stories, Biographies, Expository and Narrative Essays. Students will be formally assessed in Expository and Narrative Writing (Orange Writes and FCAT).
Students will begin to explore Florida (People, Places, Animals, Landscape, Landmarks, Climate and Culture) through: History (St. Augustine, Explorers, Native Tribes); Science/Technology (Kennedy Space Center); Geography (Everglades); Culture (Miami, Cuban and Carribean influence); Citizenship (Voting); Government (Tallahassee); Florida Symbols (flag, gemstone, mammal, fish, agriculture); and Wars (Seminole and Civil War).
Compare, estimate, add/subtract, multiply and divide Whole Numbers.
Read and write numbers in Expanded Notation, through Billions Place Value and estimate differences.
Add, subtract, multiply, compare, order and reduce Fractions.
Measure, classify, name, describe, and draw Angles.
Describe characteristics of line segments, lines and rays.
Understand and solve multiplication and division problems through a variety of methods (Arrays, Models, Distributive, Traditional and Lattice Methods).
Collect and interpret Data.
Make a (Tally, Bar, Double Bar, Line) graph to find Mean, Mode and Medium.
Describe relationships in U.S. Customary and Metric units of length, weight and capacity.
Identify, use and understand Patterns in Algebraic Expressions.
Calculate perimeter, area and volume of a 3-d shape.
Define and describe the Properties of Polygons (regular, convex and non convex).
Fifth grade curriculum encourages and challenges students to learn in an environment which inspires a harmonious relationship between productivity and creativity. Hands-on curriculum generates a student that attains all skills necessary to master 5th grade and be fully prepared for middle school.
The Reading curriculum involves a mixture of literature circles, centers, project-based learning, and essential test taking skills. Our Treasures Reading Series provides students with reading comprehension strategies such as: comparison contrast, concept mapping, author’s purpose, similarities and differences, making inferences, and more. Through our engaging stories and skill based reading assignments, students are able to learn about a plethora of subjects while adding to their reading abilities.
Language Arts is where students are inspired to build upon their written word through real-world inspirations. For example, this school year students involved the presidential election into our studies and the students built upon research based skills, held debates, and wrote comparison-contrast essays on the political candidates while watching the live elections at home. We even held a mock election in the classroom. The language arts curriculum teaches students linguistic abilities such as differentiating between antonyms and synonyms, homophones and homographs, deciphering the connotation and denotation of vocabulary plus utilizing context clues to create meanings for unfamiliar words. These skills are applied to all subject areas and motivate students to express themselves through persuasive text, expository, narrative, poetic, and other creative venues.
Mathematics is problem-based and a cross-subject method is used to relate important skills to everyday life. For example, while conducting experiments, students will gather personal data, graph it, and analyze the results through appropriate mean, median, and mode strategies as well develop an understanding of what these results mean. We also provide an emphasis on solving fractions, geometry, integers, numbers and operations, and area in our curriculum. Students will find ways to apply it to the world around them through our fun math problem solving and engaging lessons incorporating math relays, labs, and online assignments.
Science is a major part of the curriculum and we complete fun experiments on a weekly basis. Science Fair was a major accomplishment this year, and that was one of the many times students were able to engage in the scientific process. Through experimentation and the Interactive Science Workbooks students were able to not only read about Science, but become Scientists by inquiring, gathering data, creating experiments, and analyzing and making conclusions. We cover Water Cycle, Energy, Force and Motion, Interdisciplinary, Earth Cycles, Disasters, the Human Body, and Weather through exciting presentations from OUC, doctors and nurses that visit, and our fun curriculum.
Social Studies takes a look at the history of the United States of America from it’s beginning stages on to Colonial America and the American Revolution toward the Western Expansion and more taking students through Civil Rights, World War II and beyond. The students are challenged to relate their nation’s past to its current state of being and develop an understanding of how what we have experienced as a country, affect our behaviors and regulations today.
Overall, we provide a positive learning environment that welcomes inquisitive minds to explore their interests, develop themselves, and cater to their educational needs while inspiring them to invest in themselves as young adults. We welcome you to Orlando Science Elementary School.
Students in grades K-5 benefit from differentiated instruction in five areas at NSES.
Content: Students will understand and master Florida’s benchmarks by being exposed to a variety of resource materials and challenging texts. Content can be centered on problems and challenges, the level of complexity is more in depth and pacing is sometimes accelerated. The areas of study are cross-curriculum, where there is a seamless approach with the concepts.
Process: The various learning styles of the student are taken and nurtured to best suit his/her needs. The approach focuses on the multiple intelligences, flexible grouping and problem solving tasks. It encompasses creative and productive thinking, an attitude of inquiry and creates opportunities to share meaningful research.
Product: Students choose to illustrate and demonstrate their understanding of the content and process. Products reflect the individual students’ talents and curiosities; be an actual product, presentation, performance, independent study, exhibition, essay or work of art.
Environment: The learning atmosphere is challenging and differentiated. Students can become a mentor; work with mentors and/or set reasonable goals with the teacher. Flexible time limits are considered. Students chose from a variety of after school clubs to attend (Science Olympiad, Math Olympiad, Junior FLL, Art Club, Drama Club, Newspaper and National Honor Society).
Assessment: Students adhere to the state and county formal assessments in the areas of Reading, Mathematics, Science and Writing. Students also demonstrate their understanding of mastery through teacher created rubrics, independent study and research projects and student portfolios.