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Thematic Teaching

"A developmentally appropriate curriculum would be most effectively implemented through the design and teaching of interdisciplinary thematic units."

(Alexander and George)

Assessment

WVMS students keep collections of their work throughout the year with the use of porfolios. Each student has a working portfolio that holds work that may be in progress and completed projects from throughout the year. Formative assessments occur twice a year. Each student will have samples in reading/literature, writing, science inquiry, math problem solving, art, and speaking and listening. Students are scored according to state scoring guides and standards.

WVMS Curriculum
The curriculum is written and implemented everyday striving to meet the interests, and academic, social, emotional and physical needs of all children at WVMS. Curriculum is integrated; the application of multiple intelligence's, literature, differentiated learning, Orff instruction, constructivism, writing process, math/science process, inquiry, speaking and listening, research Wellness, fitness, learner characteristics, self directed learning, learning extensions, and hands on projects are used. Music, technology and the Arts are used as vehicles to promote and enhance learning. Students read and write though out the day every day.

The Core Curriculum
Literacy is our first and foremost goal. When we use the term "literacy", we mean literacy in all subject areas. Students are exposed to many different forms of literature and concepts that are usually connected to the themes and are encouraged to respond to literature and concepts in a variety of ways. Research and inquiry are used to connect real life, world issues and literacy acquisition.

Exploration, inquiry, problem solving, dialogue, collecting, analyzing and evaluating data are processes and tools used to learn Math/Science. Students construct meaning by investigating questions of scientific and mathematical nature. We read, write, think, talk, and create throughout the day.

A Thematics instruction integrates all traditional subject areas and exposes students to multiple points of view socially, historically and politically. Students, staff and families become active participants listeners, doers, readers, writers, artist, scientist and thinkers. Mini lessons and dialogue focus around broad rotating themes, Mysteries, Heritage, and Global Issues. Art, music and technology are used as vehicles to explore, research, and express one self, understand the world, and its diverse cultures, and discover who we are and what we can contribute. Service learning is incorporated into many concepts taught and applied in student performance tasks.

The community has opportunities to learn about and practice healthy, sustainable and fit lifestyles. Learning Extensions connect and go beyond, giving students opportunities to explore and apply skills and concepts in the real world. Students have opportunities to participate in outside field experiences, Exploratories, Adventure Learning and after school programs that will extend learning opportunities in all curriculum areas. Learning Extensions will go beyond, apply, review and connect to the basic curriculum. They may take place off campus or after regular school hours.

There are Key Focus Areas: the Core Curriculum (Reading, Writing, Math, Science, technology, Wellness, Fitness, Spanish, Service Learning, and the Arts), the integration of all which is Thematics, Adventure Learning, Learning Extensions, Exploratories, and Village Community which is building students success and relationships.

These key focuses use tools, processes, flexible grouping, authentic dialogue, mentoring, and teams that help direct the learning. Many are interrelated and integrated. I.e. the garden and café builds community while engaging students in practicing reading and writing and math and science skills. An Adventure learning trip builds community and creates stronger relationships while engaging in environmental science, service learning, journaling and wellness.

The focus on mini lessons, projects and activities during core curriculum time engage and activate students inquiry or put them in a sate of disequilibrium that moves them forward in understanding basic skills or higher level thinking. The opportunities available to them through Adventure, Exploratories, Learning Extensions reviews, applies, extends what they are learning during core time.

Staff is assigned a focus responsibility be it Project Facilitator (responsible for learning extensions, enhancement and support for follow through of the core curriculum, Adventure Learning, Exploratories, Thematic Projects, Fitness…) or Core Facilitator (responsible for the core curriculum implementation, criteria's and performance tasks lead instruction, feedback, assessment and follow through.)

Questions about Core Curriculum e-mail Lisa Peterson or Wendy Winchel, questions about Adventure Learning and Learning Extensions e-mail Patrick Bluhm, and questions about thematic projects e-mail Greg Bueker.

Family and outside community involvement is encouraged and welcome during Core Learning, Adventures, Exploratories, or Learning Extension Opportunities. Please e-mail Felicia Anderson.

A Day in the Life of a Westside Village Student

Writing and Literature
Literacy is our first and foremost goal.† The development of reading is facilitated through a conference approach to literature.† A variety of strategies are used to teach reading, including decoding and phonics.† Students are exposed to many different forms of literature and are encouraged to respond to literature in a variety of ways.† The writing process is developed through a student's own written language.† Essential reading and writing skills are taught and reinforced through mini-lessons.† A student's published work is celebrated.

Math/Science

Children learn math and science by exploration, inquiry, problem solving, collecting, analyzing and displaying data, computation and application.† Students understand and apply the math/science process and concepts by using manipulatives to construct meaning by investigating questions of scientific nature.† Writing, reading and thinking are integrated into the math/science process.

Technology
Technology is integrated daily throughout the program by using current technology to process information and produce high quality products.† Students use computers, the Internet, word processing, graphic and design technology for these projects.† Students learn to select appropriate material and tools to access information.

Thematics
All traditional subject areas including the Fine Arts, Performing Arts, Second Languages and Physical Education are integrated throughout a structured day.† The themes of Mysteries, Global Issues and Our Heritage rotate on a three year cycle.† Mini lessons are taught frequently, emphasizing the essential skills and concepts.† Students are active participants, listeners, readers, scientists, writers, thinkers and doers.† Art is used as a vehicle to express oneself, understand the world and its diverse cultures and discover who we are and what we can contribute.† Activities centered around the multiple intelligences are emphasized and authentic literature is used to support†the theme.† Field experiences and Exploratories are an integral part of learning.† Students have daily opportunities to learn about health and fitness in†a non competitive environment.

Most schools segregate by age, by ability, by classroom and by subject. But segregation does not work in our society, so why should we use it in our schools?

For children, learning is a social endeavor, not an individual effort. WVMS recognizes that and integrates everything together into a learning environment that celebrates diversity of all kinds. Assignments integrate math, writing, science and many other subjects, so learning has a relevant, real-world context. This yearís lessons are integrated into last yearís learning so itís a continual, cumulative process.

Parents are integrated into the learning and evaluation process. For instance, in conferences they work with their kids rather than just talk about them.

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