Elementary School Curriculum Overview
The ACS Elementary School plays an important role in developing students who model the qualities described in the ACS Mission, Profile of Graduates, and Core Values documents.
We pride ourselves on designing and delivering an aligned standards-based curriculum that honors the student as the center for instructional and programmatic decision-making.
The elementary core curricular programs are purposefully spiraled and vertically aligned to provide students with a clear progression of concepts, content and skills. Subjects are aligned to nationally recognized standards and benchmarks and feature programs that are research-based and proven to be effective in meeting our students’ needs. In addition to daily literacy, numeracy, and Arabic instruction, students explore social studies and science topics as well as attend art, music, and physical education classes that are offered on a rotating three-day schedule. Technology and library skills are integrated into grade-specific curricular topics.
The language arts curriculum is modeled around a balanced literacy approach and utilizes the workshop model to teach reading and writing. Based on the work of the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, the daily workshops aim to empower students with models, materials, and processes that create avid and skilled readers and writers. Grammar and mechanics are taught in context within the workshop, and spelling, handwriting, and word study lessons are targeted to meet individual student needs, using a variety of methods and instructional resources.
Elementary mathematics instruction makes use of the University of Chicago’s Mathematics Project – Everyday Mathematics series as a primary resource. This program is a research-based, field-tested curriculum that emphasizes life-long mathematical understanding. Teachers provide differentiated lessons to build and reinforce computational and problem-solving skills, and extend mathematical understanding through hands-on activities, games and projects. Digital resources offer additional reinforcement of mathematical skills.
All students in grades KG2 – grade 5 take daily Arabic language classes, in either a Native/Heritage track or a non-native Arabic track. KG1 students participate in Arabic oral language development and interactive read-aloud. Beginning in the 2014-2015 school year, the KG2 – Grade 5 native and non-native Arabic language programs will utilize the Qisas & Hiwaraat programs, a student-centered, standards-based approach to teaching Arabic, developed by ISS-World Language Initiative.
The elementary science curriculum aims to promote an interest in scientific topics and hands-on scientific exploration related to thematic study. Students are engaged in activities that develop skills and interest in the areas of life, physical and earth sciences. Social studies themes allow students to view themselves and their place in the world through an ever-broadening approach. Beginning with a KG1 study of “myself” and building toward a culminating grade 5 focus on world migration, students consider who they are, how they share the planet, and how the world is organized.
Art, music, and physical education classes allow for opportunities to build essential skills, conceptual understanding, and increased interest in areas that promote ACS’s mission for excellence. Student performances in these areas are showcased through participation in art exhibits, musical concerts and sports-related activities.