Elementary Curriculum

Elementary Curriculum

Much effort has been put forth in analyzing our student data, setting goals and creating action plans to meet those goals. We consider a wide range of student achievement data to determine changes needed in curriculum and instructional delivery. With this data, we are better able to understand the strengths and weakness of our curriculum and make adaptations to meet the various needs of our student population.

      • Our K-12 math curriculum has been aligned to the Pennsylvania Common Core Academic Standards, assessment anchors and eligible content, National Council for Teachers of Mathematics Focal Points, and BCIU Benchmarks. Our core program, which was implemented during the 2010-2011 school year, is Everyday Mathematics. This program was developed by the University of Chicago School Mathematics Project and is based on research about how students learn and develop mathematical power. It emphasizes a problem-solving approach based on everyday situations, an instructional approach that revisits concepts regularly and frequently practices these basic skills, lessons, and incorporates lessons that are based on activities and games. The instructional programs at OJR from K through grade 6 should enable more students to access algebra earlier and prepare students better for the rigors of secondary mathematics.
      • English Language Arts (ELA) K-12 continues to expand into a Balanced Literacy Program that develops strong readers and strong writers. Word study, vocabulary, shared reading and writing, independent reading, and guided reading through the use of flexible grouping are all components, or strands of a balanced program. Using data from various assessments, student instructional levels are determined and instruction planned accordingly. In addition, handwriting is explicitly taught and practiced in grade kindergarten through second while cursive is taught beginning in third grade.
      • Science is taught through the use of investigation kits that focus on different areas for the various grade levels. The sixth grade science curriculum will also integrate the use of “Science Explorers” textbooks by Prentice Hall. Science will also be an area of focus this year. A Science Task Force reviewed our curriculum and made recommendations to enhance science instruction through the elementary grades due to the new state science standards and Science PSSA administered in grades 4, 8 and 11.
      • The elementary Social Studies curriculum addresses the State Standards through the use of leveled non-fiction text, textbooks in grades 4-6, Rand McNally Classroom electronic resources and supporting materials.
      • Specials are an integral part of our students’ school day and students will all experience art, music, and physical education instruction weekly. Library instruction is offered in grades K-5 and Guidance instruction is offered in grades K-3. Health is taught in grades 4, 5, and 6 for a semester at each level. Chorus is available in grades 4, 5, and 6. Students in grade 6 will experience an introduction to World Languages in lieu of library instruction.
      • In conjunction with accompanying online resources for some adopted textbooks, technology is also integrated into the curriculum via web-based tools (some subscription-based, some at no cost). These tools provide good support for different learning styles and enrich the current curriculum. Keyboarding skills are introduced in grade 3 and reinforced through grade 6. Students also have access to laptop computers for research activities, and creating projects online.
      • We have various co-curricular activities that are available to students. These include but are not limited to Odyssey of the Mind, Reading Olympics, K-Kids, science fair, and spelling bee.

As a parent/guardian the most important activity you can do with your child is read! Your schools are wonderful resources for suggestions on books and other activities.

Student Supply Lists

Student supply lists are available on your school’s website. If you have any questions regarding parental/guardian supply responsibilities, please contact your building office.

Health & Physical Education

Students in grades kindergarten through six have physical education weekly. Emphasis at the elementary level is placed on many varied motor activities. Special emphasis is placed on visual perception, spatial awareness, and gross motor activities. Students learn leadership through games of low and high organization. Participation, rather than high achievement, is stressed at all levels. Students in grades four through six participate in weekly health lessons in addition to physical education class. A portion of the health classes will focus on fitness as part of the curriculum.

Parental Notification of Third Grade Health Lesson on AIDS

Schools are required under Pennsylvania Public Law to provide AIDS education. An introductory lesson on the topic of AIDS is presented to third grade students in the latter part of the school year. Basic, age-appropriate information about AIDS is provided through an educational video/program. It is designed to alleviate children's fears of the AIDS epidemic and of becoming infected. There is no mention of sexual contact.

Parents/guardians who would like to preview the video and materials may do so by contacting their school's principal. Parents/guardians who would prefer that their child not participate in the AIDS lesson should notify the building principal, in writing, by May 1 of each school year.


      • Music classes occur one time per 5 day cycle for kindergarten through sixth grade students. In the music classroom, students develop listening skills, rhythmic skills, notation skills, instrumental skills, and vocal skills. Beginning in third grade, students are given the opportunity to learn a string instrument (violin, viola, cello or bass). Beginning in fourth grade, students also have the opportunity to learn a band instrument (oboe, flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, French horn, trombone, baritone, and percussion). Group lessons are provided once weekly for one half hour. Opportunities to rent string and band instruments are provided to all parents.
      • Please discuss with your child the responsibility connected with electing instrumental music lessons. When students are assigned to a lesson time, they are responsible to quietly get themselves to the lesson. They are also responsible for bringing their instruments to school and taking them home at night. Classrooms do not afford space to store instruments left behind. Students are discouraged from using the office phones to call home for forgotten instruments, so please help them learn self-reliance in being responsible for their own transporting of instruments. Each student taking instrument lessons and their parents will receive and sign an Instrument Lesson Agreement acknowledging the attendance expectations.
      • Students can participate in band and orchestra. Rehearsals are held either before or after school with parents/guardians providing transportation. If students have more than four unexcused absences from lessons, they will not be prepared for the concert and therefore will not be able to participate in their school’s orchestra or band.
      • Chorus is open to all students in the fourth grade through sixth grade and meets once weekly. There is also a district-wide chorus that rehearses after school with parents/guardians providing transportation. This group is by audition only. Finally, some of our elementary schools also have a hand-bell choir.


The program is designed to aid the students in achieving a command of basic communication and perception skills, a disciplined use of their intellectual and motor abilities, an increased understanding of themselves and their value in society, and an understanding of man's accomplishments in the arts.

The Art Curriculum enhances child development in three areas: sensory motor skills, visual perception skills, and cognitive skills. Planned experiences in textiles, carving, modeling and construction, printmaking, paper techniques, drawing and painting are part of the curriculum.


      • The library provides an atmosphere for the growth of each student. It is not only a provider of materials, but it is also an instructional extension to the classroom and the elementary curriculum. All students are encouraged to visit the library daily to browse, select books, and explore the library. Elementary books may be borrowed for a period of one week with the option to renew the book. Students will be charged for lost books or those damaged beyond use or repair.
      • Materials available in the library are selected to support and enrich the curriculum, in addition to providing knowledge, growth, aesthetic values, ethical standards, and recreational outlets. Your help will be greatly appreciated in helping us establish good student borrowing habits. Children will enjoy sharing their books with you. Reading and books will become much more significant to them if you are part of the experience. It is the hope of the library staff that students find the library an informative, interesting place to visit, and that they enthusiastically request to visit there often.
      • Additional information regarding your school library can be found on the Library Link on your school’s website.

Introduction to World Language

Students in grade 6 will be introduced to a different foreign language each quarter. Languages will include; Spanish, German, French and Latin.

Technology in the Elementary Classroom

The Owen J. Roberts School District encourages the integration of technology into the instruction of all children. This enables teachers and students to use technology to enhance the learning experience.