The curricula at Alden School are engaging, rigorous, and directly tied to the Massachusetts Curriculum Standards. Please reach out to me if you have any questions relating to curriculum, assessment, and technology at Alden. Below is some basic overview information, and you can find more detail under the "Departments" heading of the Alden website.
Literacy instruction is differentiated and personalized based on student needs and interests. We employ a structured literacy approach and the readers' workshop model for teaching fiction and non fiction reading strategies and skills. Through a structured literacy model we explicitly teach phonics, phonemic awareness, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. Phonics and phonemic awareness are taught through the Fundations program in grade 3 as well as Heggarty Phonemic Awareness. We also use the Lucy Calkins units and Reading Strategies for teaching fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. Students receive explicit reading instruction through targeted minilessons, strategy group work, and individual reading conferences with the teacher. They self-select their independent reading texts and have time every day to read independently and apply their skills and strategies to authentic literature. We also support non-fiction reading instruction with Heinemann's Comprehension Toolkit. Our writing units have been developed by teachers in consultation with the Teaching and Learning Alliance and draw from resources such as Empowering Writers and Lucy Calkins Units for Writing. Cursive writing is formally taught in grade 3 and digital literacy skills are taught throughout all grades. Keyboarding is formally taught at Alden, beginning in grade 3.
Mathematics: We use the Savvas enVisionmath 2020 program. Instruction utilizes whole class and small group instruction and is differentiated to meet student needs.
Science: We use Savvas Elevate Science - a hands-on, minds-on, inquiry based science program. We also have a wonderful Makerspace to which teachers bring their classes to tinker, invent, and engineer solutions to real-world problems. Teachers can also visit the Duxburrow Outdoor Learning Area behind our school with their classes, as well.
Social Studies: Social Studies instruction is tied to the MA 2018 History and Social Science Framework. Our texts and resources support this instruction. Grades 3 and 5 use the Nystrom Young Citizens program to support the civics standards. Grade 3 also uses Massachusetts, Our Home to support history standards.
In addition to the above core curricula, Alden students also have Spanish, Library, Music, and Art once each week, and Physical Education twice each week.
Across all classes and subjects, the practices and approaches of differentiation, engagement, personalized learning, inquiry, and project based learning are highly valued. We strive to instill the Social Emotional Learning values of a growth mindset, perseverence, collaborative problem-solving, and being a sensitive, valued, productive member of a team. Students' social and emotional health and well-being are at the heart of all we do daily and we also spend time teaching students how to pay attention to their own feelings and thoughts, and those of their peers, and how to be a kind person and keep themselves feeling calm and happy.
Ritamarie Benoit, Curriculum Supervisor