STEM K-8th Program of Study
Standards-Based Instruction/Standards-Based Grading
Ø Standards are the basis for focused core instruction for all students. Teachers teams will work to know and deeply understand the standards as it relates to the subjects and content area that they teach. We implement a Standards-Based Report Card, here at STEM @ Annie Fisher School for our Kindergarten through 8th Grade students. Students are provided with feedback on a 1 to 4 rating scale for each of the grade level standards. Teacher teams and individual teachers ensure that standards are the central concept around setting up student learning experiences in the classroom. Parents can weekly check the Power-School Parent Portal to stay updated on students' progress toward standards mastery.
Elementary Literacy (K-5) (Daily)
Ø For K-5 elementary literacy, the focus in our classrooms will be on providing students with authentic learning experiences in reading and writing using the CT Core Standards as the basis of our instruction. Everyday students will be immersed in a “Balanced Literacy Approach.” This includes daily Read Aloud, Shared Reading, Guided Reading, and Independent Reading. This learning block will consist of about 2 ½ hours to 3 hours of Literacy Instruction.
Math Instruction (Math Workshop) (K-5) (Daily)
Ø For K-6 Math instruction, the focus in our classrooms is the CT Core Standards in Math for each grade level. In math students are asked to critically analyze math word problems to ensure that they can think critically. A focus on students’ ability to persevere through mastery of the CT Common Core Math Standards. Hands-on learning (using manipulatives, technology, or project based learning) in math is paramount for the success of students in math at this age/grade level group. Building students’ understanding through a more conceptualizing method will ensure that students have mastery specifically within the “major work” for the grade. Teachers will utilize Do the Math, Mathia, and Eureka Math to support students in-depth understanding of the grade level math standards.
Original Science Block (OSi) (K-8) (Daily)
Ø Original Science Instruction (OSi) will take place every day in every classroom at AF-STEM. Science is the bedrock of our STEM Program. At least 50 minutes to 1 hour, will be allocated in each students’ daily class schedule to ensure implementation of the NGSS standards. Teachers can use more inquiry based lessons and project based learning to integrate and make connections across grade level content standards; specifically, Math and Literacy CT Common Core Standards. The key to this block is hands on and minds on instruction. Teachers utilize Schoology and other resources aligned with the A Framework for K-12 Science Education, Big Ideas, DCI’s, and Cross-Cutting Concepts as indicated within the Next Generation Science Standards.
STEM + (Grades 4 through 8th)
Ø In addition to our original science instruction (OSi) block, we implement specialized student clusters around Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. STEM+ is an important element of our successful STEM Program at Annie Fisher STEM. Three STEM+ Cycles are implemented every school year. The specific set of offerings for each grade level for grades 4 through 6 aligns with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and our school's STEM Expeditions. The course offerings areas will be around Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. *Note, STEM+ may not happen every day for each of these grade levels as students will need to be provided with more time in class to focus on preparation toward our school-wide STEM Related events.
8th Grade Capstone Project
Each school year, every 8th grade student participates in our AF-STEM’s 8th Grade Capstone Project. Students will spend the entire Spring Semester to select a research question/topic, create a research question, plan research methods, conduct an investigation of areas around the research topic, connect with community partners for resources, and prepare a presentation at the end of the school year. Students can choose questions and topics they’d like to research that is relevant to them and aligns to their career path. Our Middle School Teacher Team (7th/8th Grade), Administration, and School Counselor lead the 8th Grade Capstone Project Implementation.
Technology Integration/Computer Science
Ø Our teachers integrate technology throughout their daily lessons with students. We are building a Google City via use of Google Classroom to provide more opportunities for students to respond to learning via online and technological ways. We are working to become a one-to-one device school. This means that we have one technological device (iPAD, laptop, Google Chrome Book) for each grade 1-8 student. We will propose a significant amount of money every year to the School Governance Council that can contribute to annual technology upgrades and purchases.