Academics Elementary School

  • Team A Kindergarten

    Challenge kindergarten students learn lifelong skills and strategies that serve as a foundation for social-emotional learning throughout our year together. We use Second Step Elementary Lessons to teach skills for learning, empathy, emotion management, and problem solving. Students learn through modeling, role-playing, discussing, and using skills during authentic situations such as recess, class time, and purposeful play. Students are celebrated for their unique personalities, abilities, and strengths within a safe, supportive classroom community.

    Kindergarten literacy includes fun phonological awareness activities using books, games, practice, our morning messages, and more. We use the FUNdations program for phonics instruction which is a systematic, sequential whole-group phonics program that addresses the science of reading and aids in decoding and learning spelling patterns based on phonics. Students learn handwriting and develop their fine motor skills as part of this program. We use Houghton Mifflin’s Into Reading curriculum along with supplemental lessons to teach reading skills and strategies within a Reading Workshop model. Whole-group lessons focus on reading skills and comprehension strategies. The teacher models application of strategies and skills for the students during read-alouds, shared reading, and interactive reading while facilitating class discussions. Small-group and individual instruction target the specific needs of each student. While the teacher is meeting with groups or individuals, other students are engaging in independent and instructional level books, “choice” books,  partner reading, working on personal goals, and/or completing reading-skill related activities. Students are exposed to many types of genres within fiction and nonfiction so they can start to build their identities as readers.

    Writing instruction is also done within a workshop model. Students learn that they are authors with wonderful information and stories to tell as they work through the writing process and learn grammar and mechanics. They learn to write in different genres such as:
    Narrative – Personal Narrative
    Nonfiction – How To and Descriptive Writing
    Nonfiction Research 
    Persuasive – Opinion supported with reasons
    Response to Reading – Using the student’s Into Reading “My Books” to respond to the weekly reading focus books

    We use the Bridges math program along with enrichment and extension lessons and activities to differentiate the needs of the students. Some examples include using analogies and problem-solving activities. Our goal is to cultivate a strong mathematical foundation with deep conceptual understanding of skills, critical thinking and application, and procedural skill fluency. This foundation is developed through Number Corner (a calendar math lesson each day), direct instruction, class activities, and partner activities and games. We use hands-on manipulatives as we work, and we spend time sharing the strategies used, with a focus on understanding that one problem can have multiple ways of solving and can even have multiple answers. Students practice skills and apply strategies during Workplace Stations as the teacher observes and checks in with groups to extend, reteach, and help as needed. Students are introduced to the Standards of Mathematical Practice which are woven throughout all math lessons. This foundation is critical to students’ success as mathematicians.

    Social Studies & Science
    Our Social Studies curriculum is Inquiry Journeys and our three units are: (1) Navigating School, (2) My Team and Self, and (3) Past, Present, and Future. Our Science curriculum is PhD Science which is aligned with Next Generation Science Standards. Our three units are: Module 1: Weather - How did the cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde protect people from the weather?; Module 2: Pushes and Pulls -  How do cargo ships move cargo ships through a harbor?; and Module 3: Environments - Why are gopher tortoises disappearing?

    We believe that all children can learn, achieve, and succeed. We invite children to create goals with our guidance, so they can begin to take ownership of their own learning and understand themselves as learners. Students are taught, supported, and encouraged in an environment that models and supports respect, empathy, collaboration, flexibility, resilience, perseverance, and kindness. Most of all, we want children to experience the joy of learning and become life-long learners.


    Team B First and Second Grades

    Team B students will spend their day immersed in literacy, math, science and social studies. Across disciplines, we teach the students to use a variety of tools to think more critically and with more depth using the Colorado Academic Standards.


    In our literacy block, we will use the Into Reading curriculum to guide our mini-lessons, and a reader's and writer's workshop model to provide independent and small group opportunities for learners to strengthen their writing, reading fluency, and comprehension skills. This approach allows students to have collaborative and independent working experiences. This also allows the teacher to differentiate in the classroom in order to met with students in small groups and 1:1 conferences to provide skill-based and individual support. We use both fiction and nonfiction texts to practice our reading. We will write in three genres: opinion, informational, and fiction. We will also write poetry, respond to our reading, and learn grammar. We strive to promote a lifelong passion for reading and writing among our students.


    In Math, we promote mathematical thinking by teaching students to represent math problems using models, sketches, expressions, and equations. We use tools, pictures, and models to represent problems and explain ideas clearly. Students describe features and compare objects, shapes and numbers. They look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning. They will make sense of problems and persevere in solving them, and reason abstractly and quantitatively. Lastly, students construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others. 

    Science/Social Studies

    Team B uses PhD SCIENCE program and uses Inquiry Journeys for social studies. Each subject has 3 units of study throughout the year. 2nd Grade Science Unit: Matter, Biomes, and Earth Changes. 2nd Grade Social Studies Units: Meeting Needs and Wants, Our Changing Landscape and Innovation. 1st Grade Science Units: Survival, Light, and sky. 1st Grade Social Studies Units: Families Near and Far, Our Special Location, Civic Engagement.

    Beyond the Academics

    Together we will help our students develop social and emotional skills to foster relationships and build community. We will work to create strong work habits, encourage positive behavior, achieve academic success, and become college and career ready. Furthermore, we will expand their growth mindset in areas such as empathy, resilience, optimism, and persistence. 


    Team C Third Grade

    Students begin their day in Connections, which is a morning meeting for character education, study hall and social-emotional learning. The rest of the day is organized around blocks for literacy, math, science, and social studies, ending with mini-course. Curriculum is designed around Colorado State Standard, Cherry Creek Innovative Standards, 21st Century Skills and relevant subject matter. Team C students rotate through six EnCore Classes. 

    Language Arts includes Reading and Writing workshop everyday. Homework includes reading for thirty minutes a night and there is a long-term reading project. In science, we study Life Science, Physical Science and Earth Science. In Social Studies, we study History, Geography, Civics and Economics.

    Team C Fourth Grade

    Students begin their day in Connections, which is a morning meeting for character education, study hall and vocabulary development. The rest of the day is organized around blocks for literacy, math, science, and social studies, ending with Mini Course. Curriculum is designed around Colorado State Standards, Cherry Cherry Innovative Standards, 21st Century Skills and Relevant subject matter. Team C students rotate through EnCore Classes.


    Units of Study:

    Language Arts: Into Reading Curriculum

    Science: How Important Are Our Eyes, How Does Our Land Change? How Can We Use Energy?

    Social Studies: Global Connections geography, Colorado History, Civics and Economics