Phonemic Awareness and Phonics
Fundations is the phonics curriculum we use for k-2. It makes learning to read fun while laying the groundwork for life-long literacy. The instruction is aligned to state standards. Students receive a systematic program including critical foundational skills, emphasizing:
- Phonemic awareness
- Phonics/ word study
- High frequency word study
- Reading fluency
- Comprehension strategies
The Fundations Virtual Resource Hub provides digital access to phonics learning where teachers can facilitate learning for students at home with interactivities that include virtual letter boards (with echo puppet!), sound cards, video demonstrations, video-based home tutorials, and assessments.
Heggerty Phonemic Awareness: Each level of the Heggerty Phonemic Awareness Curriculum taught in English (Spanish where needed) provides 35 weeks of daily lessons, focusing on eight phonemic awareness skills, along with two additional activities to develop letter and sound recognition, and language awareness. Lessons take 10-12 minutes.
In a Phonemic Awareness Lesson:
- Main focus is on the phonemes (sounds)
- Deals with spoken language
- Activities are auditory
- Students work with manipulating sounds & sounds in words
Another portion of our English Language Arts (ELA) curriculum helps students to become thoughtful, purposeful readers who are able to make meaning from texts across a range of genres. During the Literacy period, students have dedicated time to read books of their choosing independently. While they are reading, teachers are meeting with students individually to gain an understanding of the reader’s identity and provide targeted support.
The Literacy period is centered around an F&P Reading Mini-Lesson that is a targeted, short lesson on reading skills and strategies that may be taught whole-class, in small groups, or one-on-one, and are based on needs that surfaced from meeting with students individually and is also available digitally. The Literacy Period may also include other elements, such as:
- Read aloud: Teachers model reading skills and strategies that students are able to practice.
- Shared reading: An interactive reading experience where students share in the reading of a text and are guided and supported by the teacher.
- Small-group instruction: Students are grouped based on need and are taught a series of lessons to help instill a love for reading by providing access to texts of their interest and academic need.
Digital curriculum is also supplemented with Scholastic Literacy Pro. Literacy Pro provides libraries in both English and Spanish and provides remote access to reading assessments for students learning at home.
There are Dual Language classes in Chinese, Mandarin as well as Spanish in Kindergarten through 4th grade. Students experience Dual Language through Reading, Writing, in the Content areas, Native Language Arts, and math.
For Spanish, students learn Phonics through Palabras a Su Paso and Phonemic Awareness through Heggerty. Students also have access to Spanish libraries through Scholastic Literacy Pro and Epic!. Eureka Math is taught in Spanish and all students are given student books in Spanish.
For Chinese native language arts, students use Chinese Made Easy. Chinese instruction begins with simplified characters and then progresses to Pinyin and exposure to traditional characters in the upper grades. To supplement with digital support, students will also gain access to Joy Reader that has various authentic Chinese reading materials that cater to their reading levels, interests, and preferences. Eureka Math is taught in simplified Chinese and all students are given student books in Chinese.
We provide, when possible, support for students who are struggling with reading and writing using a range of programs:
Fountas & Pinnell Leveled Literacy Intervention (LLI) provides intensive, small-group, supplementary literacy intervention for students who find reading and writing difficult. The goal of LLI is to lift the literacy achievement of students who are not achieving grade-level expectations in reading. Here are more information about LLI.
Just Words is a decoding and spelling program for students in grades 4 and up who have gaps in their decoding and spelling proficiency. Read here for more information about Just Words.
Reading Recovery is a short-term intervention for first graders having extreme difficulty with early reading and writing. A specially trained teacher works individually with students in daily 30-minute lessons lasting 12 to 20 weeks. Here are more information about Reading Recover.
Reading Rescue is a short-term intervention for lower grades students who are struggling with early reading and writing. A Reading Rescue tutor works individually with students for 30 minutes a day for about 18 weeks. Follow this link for more information on Reading Rescue.
Reading and Writing in the Content Areas
A portion of our English Language Arts (ELA) curriculum centers around students studying social studies and science content and using their understanding of that content to read, write, and complete projects and presentations related to that content. In 2nd grade, for instance, students learn about immigration to the United States — the push and pull factors that cause people to immigrate, as well as the challenges that immigrants face when moving to a new place — by reading primary source documents, watching instructional videos, and conducting additional research. Using this information, they construct an understanding of why people immigrate and whether their adopted homeland lives up to what immigrants anticipated. Students write informational, opinion, and narrative pieces, as well as create projects based on all that they’ve learned about immigration.
What students learn is aligned with the New York City Social Studies and Science scope and sequence, as well as the Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS) for each grade. Where applicable, grades have adopted the NYCDOE’s Passport to Social Studies curriculum and Amplify Science curriculum. A grade-by-grade breakdown of what students learn about during their Reading and Writing in the Content Areas block is as follows:
- Social Studies: Me and My Family, School Community Workers, Neighborhoods
- Science: Year long study on the weather
- First grade:
- Social Studies: Families, Communities, and Community Economics
- Science: Animals and habitats
- Second grade:
- Social Studies: Immigration
- Science: Plants and Bees
- Third grade:
- Social Studies: World Geography, Asia, South America & Central America
- Science: Frogs--plant and animal adaptations
- Fourth grades:
- Social Studies: Native Americans, Colonial Times, Federal, State and Local Government
- Science: Living and Non-living things, measurement, water cycle, simple machines
In fifth grade classes that are departmentalized, the units of study are as follows:
- Social Studies: Geography and early societies of the western hemisphere, European exploration, Mexico, the United States of America, the western hemisphere today
- Science: patterns of Earth and sky, modeling matter, the Earth system, ecosystem restoration
Students learn content deeply and progress towards learning deeply across a range of topics. We also believe that students need to express and share their learning in authentic ways. Every grade has Choice Time multiple times a week, during which students create projects of their own design to express what they’ve learned during each Reading and Writing in the Content Areas unit of study. Classes have culminating museums or presentations when students can share their work with an audience — their family members, other students, teachers, administrators, and community members.
Responsive Classroom provides our framework for social-emotional learning. Responsive Classroom is a research-based approach to K-8 teaching that focuses on the strong link between academic success and social-emotional skills. It is based in the belief that a high-quality education for every child is built on the foundation of a safe and joyful learning community. For more information visit the Responsive Classroom website.
Morningside 4Rs-The 4Rs curriculum (Reading, Writing, Respect & Resolution) engages the imagination and creativity of children in grades PreK-5 to help develop critical skills including empathy, community building, and conflict resolution. The 4Rs curriculum opens the door for children to look more closely at their own experiences, and gives them clear tools for handling difficult emotions and resolving conflict with their peers. Meanwhile, teachers learn strategies they can use throughout the day to create a higher quality classroom experience in which students are focused, settled, and poised to learn.
Emotionally Responsive Practices- Our Kindergarten and first grade students experience the Teddy Bear Curriculum (originally designed by Lesley Koplow and the Center for Emotionally Responsive Practice at Bank Street College).
At Sunset Park School, we use Eureka Math (Great Minds, formally known as EngageNY) across K–5. Our math curriculum is aligned with NY State Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS) for each grade. A breakdown for each grade is below:
- Numbers to 10
- 2D & 3D Shapes
- Comparison of Length, Weight, Capacity, & Numbers to 10
- Number Pairs, Addition, & Subtraction to 10
- Numbers 10-20; Count to 100 by Ones & Tens
- Analyzing, Comparing & Composing Shapes
- Add and subtract Small Numbers
- Meet Place Value
- Measure Length
- Add & Subtract Bigger Numbers
- Work with Shapes
- Add & Subtract to 100
- Add & Subtract Friendly Numbers
- Explore Length
- Counting & Place Value
- Add, Subtract, & Solve
- Add & Subtract Big numbers
- Equal Groups
- Length, Money, & Data
- Shapes, Time, & Fractions
- Multiply & Divide Friendly Numbers
- Measure it
- Multiply & Divide Tricky Numbers
- Find the Area
- Fractions as Numbers
- Display Data
- Shapes & Measurement
- Add, Subtract & Round
- Measurement & Solve
- Multiply & Divide Big Numbers
- Construct LInes, Angles, & Shapes
- Equivalent Fractions
- Decimal Fractions
- Multiply & Measure
- Place Value with Decimal Fractions
- Based Ten Operations
- Add & Subtract Fractions
- Multiply and Divide Fractions & Decimals
- Volume, Area, & Shapes
- The coordinate Plane
In addition, students will experience digital curriculum Zearn and through Happy Numbers in English (Spanish where needed) to access math curriculum while learning at home. Through Happy Numbers:
- Each student starts off at the right point in the curriculum thanks to built-in Quantile-based assessments
- Students progress at their own pace through our pedagogy-rich math story, supported by instant, individualized feedback and scaffolding
- Teachers get actionable insights from Happy Numbers to inform their differentiation strategy.