In any given week, you'll find Museum School students...
- Learning basic literacy, math, science and social skills
- Immediately applying those skills in ocean science, drama, news investigation, community service, global connections and nutrition/cooking "departments"
- Working with artists on various art and community service projects
- Doing research in our school library or in our school's computer lab Cooking with organic foods
- Publishing personal and creative stories
- Exercising in Balboa Park and downtown parks
- Sewing clothes, canvas bags, and creative items
- Practicing Balinese dance, gamelan, or kung fu
- Presenting department projects to the entire school community
- Working with seniors or toddlers from a homeless shelter
- Attending democratic school meetings to discuss the successes and challenges of the school, and provide suggestions for improvement
- Through all of the above, learning to become independent thinkers, self-directed learners, problem solvers, creative healthy individuals, productive workers, and responsible citizens!
Jump to program:
Museum School offers a literature-based reading program with developmentally appropriate language arts skills, including phonics, comprehension, and fluency. We emphasize the joy and richness of the language and written word through a variety of genres. We stress the importance of reading to and with children and integrating reading in all subject areas. We recognize that learning to read is a skill that involves order and progression to master. In the primary grades the reading program is comprised of a variety of resources and student materials such as the Open Court reading series, anthologies, novel units, teacher-created materials, and teacher resource books. Children will be instructed through The Balanced Reading Program. This program incorporates seven basic processes that involve both independent and interactive reading and writing experiences:
- Reading Aloud to Children.
- Shared Reading
- Guided Reading
- Paired Reading
- Independent Reading
- Language Exploration
- Writing and Reading: The Balanced Writing Program.
The writing curriculum combines five major elements: handwriting, language patterns, grammar, composition and creative writing and journal writing. Learning correct and appropriate language patterns gives the student the skills needed for communicating. Composition skills develop as students are taught the process of writing. This process is integrated into all subject areas at each developmental level. These skills may be used creatively in the student's original work in story writing, poetry, and other artistic forms. Journal writing |then provides the tool to present this work effectively; it enables students to experience their own growth in eloquence with language and see graphically the results of their work.
Listening and speaking form the basis upon which communication is built. Listening skills fall into four categories: informational, analytical, appreciative, and judgmental. Students practice and perfect their skills in each area. Speaking for the purpose of self-expression helps students grow into effective communicators. Conversational skills, group discussion skills, self-expression techniques, and speech presentation are integral to the oral communication curriculum that students learn across the subject areas.
It is our intent to meet the individual needs of our students through careful, formal assessment and continuous observation.. Our program meets the multilevels of our students while remaining more self-contained in nature. However, children may rotate to another classroom for a language arts group which best meets his/her needs.
Back to Top
Upper Grade Program
The upper grade (3-6) language arts program at the Museum School addresses students developmentally. During the year, students are grouped in multi-age settings in order to receive instruction appropriate to their developmental level in language arts reading & writing. Rather than only considering grade level placement, this organization of materials and instructions allows us to scaffold for students and their needs. As a team, the teachers collaborate to bring students to a "proficient" level in their language arts skills as defined by the California Standards in 6th grade and on our Museum School report card. It is a long-term goal for students as they continue their education at the Museum School, and approached as a destination along a continuum in language arts development.
Students are initially evaluated by their reading level on a standardized assessment tool (ARI), and the San Diego Quicklist. As students progress through the reading groups and language arts program, teachers make recommendations for placement based on reading & writing skills, production, maturity, and grade level.
There are four level groups. The first group, addresses the needs of many of our incoming third graders providing more highly scaffolded instruction in phonemic awareness, foundation building in the basic rules of grammar and mechanics, developing core skills in reading, etc. building comprehension and knowledge.
The next three level groups focus on reinforcing those basic skills and build upon our students abilities to refine those areas of applied understanding, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation in reading and writing. The Creative Writing Workshop is paired with the Expository & Persuasive Writing Workshop and the Reading Workshop. Students are grouped by developmental reading level so instruction can place more emphasis on various level skills. The groups rotate through the writing and reading workshops through six sessions.
The last session of the year focuses on the Personal Learning Project (PLP) where students research, write a project paper, and present their learning and a creative project connected to their topic of interest to the rest of the student body.
Language Arts is also supported in the Departments where students will use their reading and writing skills to gather information and work on a project to share what they've learned. Students read recipes and instructions, they read for information about various body systems, biomes, famous historical events and figures, they write plays, songs, and reports. They read out loud and practice their oral presentation skills. The Departments models "learning how to learn" so that students can approach their PLP with many ways of research and presentation.
Language Arts with Tanya
The goal of this Language Arts group is to build a strong foundation of reading and writing skills. In homeroom and the first few minutes of Language Arts we will be working on word study, which will include building a word wall, minispelling, phonics and grammar lessons.
The first half of Language Arts each day will focus on building reading skills. The students will experience a Reader's Workshop, which will include:
- Read Alouds ï¿½ Building listening and comprehension skills
- Shared Reading ï¿½ Reading as a whole group/building comprehension
- Guided Reading ï¿½ Small reading groups (teacher guided) where the students will practice reading with fluency while developing their word recognition, literary response and comprehension skills
- Independent Reading ï¿½ Students will practice reading strategies while reading independently
The second half of Language Arts each day will focus on building writing skills. The students will experience a Writer's Workshop, in which they will be required to be active learners. Every day the workshop will begin with a whole group mini-lesson (strategies on how to choose writing topic, qualities of good writing, editing skills, etc.) Then the students will write independently on a topic of their choice. The workshop will also include sharing times, when students will be able to share their writing with the whole class and one on one editing times with the teacher.
The goals of Writer's Workshop are:
- To promote a love for writing
- To practice writing effective paragraphs, and short stories in a variety of different genres
- To learn the writing process: prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, publishing
Independent Work (Homework) will change weekly depending on students needs. A weekly packet will go home on Mondays and be due on Fridays and will include:
- Reading comprehension activities
- Journal writing
- Grammar activity worksheets
- Word study activities
Expository Writing with Emily
During the Expository Writing rotation, students will begin by defining the difference between expository and narrative text. They will practice using a variety of graphic organizers and outlines to organize their writing. Some of the genres of writing we will cover in this rotation include summaries, sequence /demonstration, compare/contrast, and persuasive essay writing. Finally, we will focus on including quality topic sentences, transition statements and conclusions in each piece of writing. Students will follow the writing process as they write rough drafts, participate in peer editing/revising and create a final draft.
Language Arts with Gingerlily
This quarter (and continuing in the spring) your child will be working in our "Writer's Workshop" developing themselves as observers and critical thinkers, using the writing process. It should be an exciting process for them, and one that I hope they will continue after our rotation is over.
Students will be introduced to some wonderful writers and their work, examining various forms of journalism and literature. We will celebrate and analyze mentor pieces for craft, style, and content, as well as the "rules" of grammar and style. You can help your young writer at home as well by making sure students are reading rich pieces of literature every evening. Spend time to talk to your child about their ideas, thoughts, and observations. Share your family stories orally. Tell them about when you were a child, and memories of when they were younger. These experiences will enrich their writer's minds and give them more fodder to produce good work.
Students have a "writer's notebook" to record their thoughts and ideas on a daily basis. Although this notebook is for "personal" writing, unlike a diary it is not for "private" writing. Students will regularly share their work with each other in class. These notebooks must be brought to school EVERY DAY. Please make sure that your child has a special place for this book so they won't forget it the next morning.
When you have a relaxed moment I encourage you to sit down with your writer and ask them to share pieces from their notebook with you. These will not be final published pieces. They are only drafts and your writer may decide not to publish a good majority of the work. However, this sharing will give you a better sense of how your child is developing as a writer, and what kinds of things they are working on. You may help them further by discussing the pieces, offering insights, helping with remembering, etc. Later in the year, as students begin to choose pieces that they wish to publish, you may also help in encouraging your writer to add detail, revise their work, and later help them edit their pieces. After our weeks together in the "Writer's Workshop," they will be assigned to continue working in their writer's notebook on their own as they move on to their next language arts rotation. These entries and notebooks should be full of good material that they can draw on when we meet again in the Winter/Spring quarter.
The Museum School uses the Everyday Math Program, designed by the University of Chicago. It uses a hands-on approach in the exploration of number sense, allowing for a multi-faceted approach of looking at the way numbers work. On any given day, the students may be using manipulatives to discover the natural tendencies of formulae and develop deeper understanding of the relationships that occur in mathematics. The program introduces new ways of computing algorithms (step by step procedures for solving problems), while consistently reviewing what has been previously learned. Students will work out of their Student Journals, Teaching masters, and class projects, and will have access to a Student Reference Book (SRB). Students may access the student reference books and play Everyday Math games online. Log in to www.everydaymathonline.com , then use your child's password to gain access. Parents and students can then look up the corresponding pages if they have any difficulty in understanding the assignment. Further, at the beginning of each unit, families will receive a letter describing the upcoming unit. This letter will contain a glossary of terms, samples of problems and the answers to all homework assignments. Parents can refer to these answers as well as the SRB to aide students in the completion of their work. Homework assignments generally do not take much time as the program focuses more on accuracy and understanding as opposed to volume of work.
Project Based Learning - 'Departments'
As part of the Museum School's regular curriculum, all upper grade (3-6) students engage, for six hours per week, in project-based departments. Each student is a member of a multi-aged team that works together for 30 weeks out of the school year. The team rotates through six different departments, working in each department for a consecutive five-week period. Each year, to match the needs of the students, and to most efficiently make use of resources available, the departments may change focus. For the past year the focus was on "Connections" and our departments consisted of: Diving into Marine Science, Kitchen Science, Community Service, Global Connections, Drama, and News from Our Views. This year's focus is Evolution and Change Over Time. For the 2008-2009 school year the departments will be: Kitchen Science, Community Service, San Diego Time Machine, Human Evolution, Interact with Ancient Civilizations, National Park Tour. For the 2009-2010 school year we are planning on: Photography, Engineering, Travel, Zoology, Community Service, Kitchen Science.
The department teams work with a facilitator/teacher in constructing a goal for themselves. The team works on developing the goal, conducting research and exploratory activities to synthesize what they have discovered. The five-week period ends with a culminating activity in which the team presents what they have learned in their course of study in the form of speeches, photo-essays, videos, skits or feasts to the entire school community. We invite you to attend Department Presentations. Please see the Calendar section for dates and times.
Community Service Department
The community service department focuses on service learning and gets the children involved in activities to benefit the community. The students will engage in art activities with senior citizens at St. Paul's Community Center, and will take a field trip to the UNICEF building in Balboa Park to learn more about children in other parts of the world. As a fundraising effort this year, our school will participate in "Trick or Treat for UNICEF" to raise money for our world community. Students will learn about ways to help our local community through food and blanket drives. They will further extend their sense of being responsible members of the community by becoming stewards of nature, learning about human impact on our environment simple means by which we can be more careful in our daily lives. We will learn about the Pacific Garbage Patch and design a series of silk screened advertising posters for our school wide awareness campaign. We will also make sturdy canvas shopping bags to encourage reusable bags instead of plastic bags. Finally, we will make art out of recycled materials and display some finished pieces in public spaces. These projects will allow students to contribute to their community, share their talents and energy with others, raise awareness of important issues, and inspire a life-long relationship with volunteerism.
San Diego Time Machine
San Diego Time Machine will take a look at our city in the past, present and future. Each section of this department will focus on a different time period; the first group will study the Kumeyaay and the last group will cover the year 2050. Students in each section will create a presentation for their fellow classmates to teach about the time period they have studied.
Interact with Ancient Civilizations!
This department with explore three great ancient civilizations-Greece, Rome, and the Mayan culture. Students will experience what it was like to live in the ancient world, and discover that the roots of our way of life can be found in ancient history. Through this journey we will examine daily life, architecture, art, and government, culminating in the creation of a museum which will showcase our understanding of the relationship between ancient civilization and our own!
The Evolution of our National Parks
In this department students will be exploring the National Parks of America. They will experience an in-depth study of the history of the National Park Service as well as the geological, natural, and human history of several of the parks. Students will be using investigation and experimentation as a means to gain scientific knowledge in these areas. They will also be using technology to deepen their understanding (nps.gov - the National Parks website is an incredible resource for kids and adults!) Field trips might include a visit to the Museum of Man to learn about Native Americans, the Natural History Museum to learn about animals and geology, and a walk to the Cacti Garden in Balboa Park to experience a desert environment.
Kitchen Science Department
In this department, students will work hands on in a home-style kitchen. The focus in this class will be on: states of matter, the science behind food, how substances interact with each other, chemical reactions, the importance of water, nutrition and digestion. Students will also explore agriculture and plant life. In the fifth week of this department, students will create a group presentation of some of the information and knowledge they have acquired. They will then present this information to parents and friends. Students will also have the opportunity to prepare and serve up an agreed upon dish to the whole school community. Yummmmm.
Anthropology and the study of Human Evolution
Evolution means change over time. In this department we will study biological evolution with a particular emphasis on our human journey. Humans have evolved on this planet for more than four million years. Changes over time in the genes, the environment, and cultural developments have shaped human bodies and behavior. This department will incorporate reading, writing, math, art, and social science into the scientific framework of activities. We will visit the Museum of Natural History and the Museum of Man in our search for understanding what makes us human.
What does "theory" mean in science?
Who was Charles Darwin?
How do we know evolution happens?
How does evolution really work?
Did humans evolve?
Why does evolution matter now?
Why is evolution controversial?
Through this department, students will gain a greater understanding andappreciation for the extraordinary impact the evolutionary process has had on our understanding of the world around us, where we came from, and where we are going.
Primary Enrichment Classes
Our primary grade students (K-2) will receive enrichment classes throughout the week including:
Sewing/Fabric Art ï¿½ Students will work with Krystina Grammatica using fabrics to create a variety of items while developing fine motor skills and a sense of design techniques.
Movement/Tap Dance ï¿½ Students will work with parent volunteer, Rachel Keener, to develop a sense of rhythm, and gross motor skills while learning fun dance steps.
Music ï¿½ Students will work with ethnomusicologist, Alex Khalil, in developing musical rhythm through solfege, learning songs in foreign languages, and using simple instruments.
Art ï¿½ Students will work on a variety of projects throughout the year with artists Erin Pennel & Omar Lomes. Students will enjoy a wide range of art classes involving many types of media, including printmaking, painting, sculpture and the exploration of arts from many cultures. The process of making art shall be emphasized above the product, but each child will be able to make many works of art throughout the year.
Back to Top
Upper Grade Rotations (3-6)
Each Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, our upper grade students have the opportunity to attend six different classes (two per day). They include:
Spanish ï¿½ Spanish class will be taught at a beginning level and will focus on conversation. Students who are already fluent in Spanish will be engaged in reading and writing activities.
Spark in the Park - Spark in the Park will keep your child moving and excited about exercising! Tanya and Emily begin each class by either walking to the park or warming the students up in the courtyard. Following a round of stretches, the class will participate in group games encouraging team building, cooperation, and fun! Please make sure your child wears comfortable clothes and appropriate shoes on their Spark in the Park day.
Movement ï¿½ Students will engage in a variety of movement activities including yoga/stretching, calisthenics, dance, jogging, and organized games.
Computer Lab ï¿½ Students will work on research and writing skills, as well as having time to work on typing skills, and other projects.
Art ï¿½ Students will enjoy a wide range of art classes involving many types of media, including printmaking, painting, sculpture and the exploration of arts from many cultures. The process of making art shall be emphasized above the product, but each child will be able to make many works of art throughout the year.
Sewing ï¿½ Students will enjoy creating useful items out of recycled materials while developing useful, fine motor skills that promote creativity and practicality.
Wednesday/Friday Mornings- 30 minutes
Music (World Music) ï¿½ Each student will receive an in-depth course in the study of Indonesian gamelan with Alex Khalil through a partnership grant with the Center for World Music from the California Arts Council.
Back to Top