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.