ACADEMIC OVERVIEW

Science

Wonder! Explore! Observe! Connect! Build! Be Curious!  At Banneker these are words that are embedded and guide our instruction in Science in all grades K thru 6. These are also some of the practices used by Benjamin Banneker the first African American Scientist, after whom our school is named.

Our goal in Science is to motivate students to develop a positive attitude and interest in science; to foster the love for and of learning: to prepare them for middle and high school, and even careers in science.

We aim to help students develop greater understanding of science concepts, as well as their natural world.  We also want them to understand the role of science in their everyday lives. Guided by these aims, science instruction is centered mainly on experiential and co-cooperative learning activities as well as conceptual understanding.

 

English Language Arts

The foundation of Banneker’s literacy program is Literacy Collaborative, a research-based program that is language-based, student-centered, and both process and outcome oriented. 
This program includes the Language Literacy Framework, which is comprised of three components: Reading Workshop, Writing Workshop, and Word Study. These activities provide students with collaborative learning opportunities in whole groups, small groups as well as individual learning time. Throughout the day students have many opportunities to explore the intricacies of language across multiple genres. They also investigate the meaning and structure of words, and the conventions and forms of the written language. 

Across all grades students engage in daily reading workshop, writing workshop, word study, guided reading and book talks. Additionally, grades K1-1 students use a visual work board that not only integrates curriculum but that also fosters cooperative learning and independence. During this time, teachers meet daily with small-guided reading groups to support students at their instructional reading levels. 

 

Mathematics

At the Banneker, we believe and expect all students to be engaged and successful mathematicians and work towards building confidence and a love of math. We encourage our students to take risks in their learning and embrace mistakes as learning opportunities.  We support the principle that “mistakes are expected, inspected and respected” and allow our students to respectfully analyse each other's mistakes. Our math program is closely aligned with the Massachusetts State Standards and Practices and aims to ensure that all students develop solid quantitative reasoning, collaborative work habits, creative problem solving and math fact fluency.  In order to meet the needs of all our students we have developed a curriculum using a variety of resources and materials. 

  • Each classroom has two math periods per day, one in which we introduce a new math topic and the second where we provide intervention or enrichment depending on the child’s needs. 
  • We use assessments, conferences and observations to keep track of student progress and have interventions to address student needs when necessary. 
  • We use a variety of implementation tools such as think alouds, where the teacher models his/her thinking, accountable talks, which are student led discussions around specific math topics, journaling and think, pair, shares to help students explore and verbalize their thinking and ask questions.
  •  Enrichment and support opportunities are provided to complement the development and learning styles of all learners.