Programs of Study
The Elementary program offers instruction in the subject areas of Reading/Literature, English, Math, Science, and Social Studies. A study skills curriculum parallels the core curriculum integrating the practice of skills with subject content. Art, Music, Drama, Physical Education, and Technology round out the student educational experience.
Reading / Literature
Major emphasis is placed on reading comprehension, phonics, and vocabulary development. Students learn to read a variety of texts, both fiction and non-fiction, for various purposes and audiences. Students who struggle with reading may benefit by participating in the specialized reading program such as Wilson Reading and Stars Comprehension.
The Math program provides students with a strong foundation in computational skills. Students build a concrete understanding of mathematical concepts using hands-on activities and strategies. The curriculum is designed to provide students with daily opportunities to practice what they have learned. Review and reinforcement lessons help each student master key concepts and acquire critical thinking skills. The program supports math literacy by developing mathematical language and communication.
Students learn basic grammar skills such as parts of speech, punctuation, capitalization, and subject and verb agreement. They practice correct usage in their Creative Writing compositions and daily journaling activities.
Students are taught the necessary skills to have knowledge in the structure of language and understand the relationship between the written and spoken word. With daily journal entries, creative writing stories, and expository compositions the students are able to integrate components of language arts into their own writing. Students learn to write a variety of texts, both fiction and non-fiction, for various purposes and audiences. These tools are necessary to help them be life-long learners.
The social studies program is designed to increase a student’s knowledge of the world and promote awareness of its diverse ethnic and cultural elements. Students are taught to understand the relationship between people, places, and environments. The lessons are designed to teach students to become wholesome citizens who successfully participate in a democratic society. Students are provided with learning experiences that enable them to integrate facts, make generalizations, and understand concepts from history and geography.
Contents in the science curriculum include: Characteristics of Science, Earth and Space Science, Physical Science, and Life Science. Students are taught to utilize the skills of observation, classification, communication, measurement, prediction, and inference. There is a strong emphasis on reading in the content area, organizing thoughts and ideas, and writing across the curriculum. As a vehicle for learning, a wide variety of hands-on experimentation activities take place in the Science Lab.
Structure, organization and process are the hallmarks of Saint Francis’ mission, which provides our students with skills necessary to be successful in school. Significant emphasis is placed on developing strong writing skills, good organizational habits and study techniques as well as problem solving and critical thinking skills. The study skills curriculum parallels the core curriculum integrating the practice of skills with subject content. Students learn to break material down into smaller increments that are more manageable for study and retention.
Elementary students use a variety of techniques for building vocabulary. Checklists are used to monitor practice in pronunciation and recognition of words that are needed for reading (sight words, Dolch list, etc.). Index cards are used to make flashcards for studying vocabulary related to specific subject matter. Students are trained to use the cards to help them in determining what they “don’t know” from what they “do know,” thereby spending more time on words they find more difficult.
Saint Francis students use a multi-modal approach to note taking. The Cornell Method of note taking is a system where students read the text, write main ideas and details in a listing method, and then review using recall questioning. Elementary students are introduced to this method in 4th and 5th grade with teacher assistance.
Different forms of writing are practiced in all subject areas, known as “writing across the curriculum.” Students follow a very structured process of planning, writing, editing, and rewriting. Elementary students practice their written expression in journal writing, creative writing and later in research and report writing.
Students record homework assignments and maintain a calendar of upcoming quizzes, tests, and projects in a school issued assignment book. Students with the assistance of their teachers practice good time management skills and work habits by learning to break down larger projects and assignments into more manageable pieces.
Students organize their materials needed for class and home in a trapper keeper. Subject folders and zip pockets help students organize and keep materials handy for use when needed