The Elisabeth Morrow School CURRICULUM GUIDE
OUR MISSION The Elisabeth Morrow School pursues the highest educational standards in a supportive, creative environment. We challenge our studentsâ€™ intellects, promote academic excellence, encourage independent thinking and cultivate individual talents. Our dedicated, experienced faculty fosters moral growth and social responsibility. Within our diverse community, we value tradition, innovation and the joy of lifelong learning.
CONTENTS EARLY CHILDHOOD 5. Threes and Fours LOWER SCHOOL 8. Kindergarten 10. First Grade 12. Second Grade 14. Third Grade 16. Fourth Grade MIDDLE SCHOOL 20. Fifth Grade 22. Sixth Grade 26. Seventh Grade 28. Eighth Grade
ABOUT THE SCHOOL At The Elisabeth Morrow School, we are dedicated to educating children throughout all stages of childhood. We design our comprehensive curriculum to honor our students’ developmental needs and capabilities. Our dedicated and experienced faculty and staff create a rich learning environment utilizing our beautiful campus in which each child feels respected and known by many caring adults. Students understand that our school will challenge and support them in equal measure, helping them to achieve their goals and become their best selves every day. We do this by providing a superior academic foundation, with an abundance of visual and performing arts and physical activity at all grade levels. As importantly, we provide the character education necessary to nurture students’ moral wellbeing with our core values of the 4 C’s — courtesy, consideration, cooperation and compassion — as the guideposts that govern behavior in our community. An EMS classroom is a place where learning comes to life and instruction and textbooks are only the starting point for the robust acquisition of knowledge. The school environment is engineered to build confidence and self-awareness in our students so that they can become thinkers and leaders in an increasingly interconnected global community. We want our students to put what they learn to use, develop a deep sense of themselves and discover passions that will become the underpinning of a successful life. Students at The Elisabeth Morrow School investigate challenging concepts and construct meaning by engaging in experiential and integrated learning at every level, as can be seen in the planning, research and creativity involved in mounting a circus in kindergarten, a Maker Day in elementary school or Greek Olympics in middle school. While involved in these large-scale interdisciplinary projects, students gain a deeper understanding of and engagement with the subject matter that they are studying, increase their capacity for creativity and collaboration and, most importantly, gain a lifelong love of learning. In addition, our unique music program, in which children receive instrumental lessons as part of the regular school day starting in third grade and perform in a variety of orchestras and ensembles, enhances students’ academic abilities as well as provides an important creative outlet that bonds the entire community.
THE 4 C’S The 4 C’s follow the stages of a child’s personal character development. The day begins with a simple act of courtesy: a handshake between a student and a teacher or administrator. This sets the tone for the consideration that will be shown in the classrooms, hallways and playgrounds. As the child grows, courtesy and consideration make possible the cooperation necessary for advanced learning. And finally, a child who truly embraces courtesy, consideration and cooperation becomes a young adult prepared to live a life of compassion.
OUR HISTORY Elisabeth Morrow, the daughter of Elizabeth Cutter Morrow and Dwight Morrow, financier and Ambassador to Mexico, was passionate about education. Upon completion of her education at Smith College and along with classmate Constance Chilton, she founded The Little School, located in a home on Linden Avenue in Englewood, in 1930. In 1936, the school moved into its current site at 435 Lydecker Street in Englewood. Renamed for its founder in 1948, the school maintains a 14-acre campus that employs state-of-the-art technology and includes science labs, gymnasiums and libraries as well as an athletic field, nature trails, working gardens and playgrounds. 1
CURRICULUM OVERSIGHT The instructional administrators collectively ensure a positive and
challenging experience for each
EARLY CHILDHOOD Threes, Fours
Threes Option 1 Option 2 Option 3
Monday – Friday Monday – Wednesday Thursday – Friday Monday – Friday
8:45 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. 8:45 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. 8:45 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. 8:45 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Fours Option 1 Option 2 Option 3
Monday – Wednesday Thursday – Friday Monday – Friday Monday – Friday
8:45 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. 8:45 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. 8:45 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. 8:45 a.m. – 3:15 p.m.
student, work with faculty, provide professional development and implement the curriculum. Head of School Aaron Cooper Middle School Head Paul Baly
MIDDLE SCHOOL Fifth – Eighth grade
ENROLLMENT 420 students 52% students of color
Kindergarten Monday – Friday
8:45 a.m. – 2:45 p.m.
First & Second Grade Monday – Friday
8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Third & Fourth Grade Monday – Friday
8:00 a.m. – 3:15 p.m.
Threes 14 – 15 students with 2 teachers in each class
Fifth & Sixth Grade Monday – Friday
8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Director of Technology Sarah Rolle
Fours 15 – 16 students with 2 teachers in each class
Director of Special Learning Services Allison Egert, Ed.D.
Kindergarten 16 – 18 students with 2 teachers in each class
Seventh & Eighth Grade Monday & Friday Tuesday – Thursday (includes sports practices)
First – Fourth Grade 16 – 18 students with 1 teacher in each class
Chilton House: Threes, fours and kindergarten
Fifth Grade 14 – 18 students per homeroom
Little School: First through fourth grades
Sixth – Eighth Grade 8 – 9 students per advisory, average 15 students per class (departmentalized)
Lower School Head Beth Brennan
OVERALL STUDENT-TOTEACHER RATIO
Early Childhood Director Tricia Eickelberg
Director of Curriculum and Secondary School Placement Michele Bower
Morrow House: Fifth through eighth grades
LOWER SCHOOL Kindergarten – Fourth grade
CORE SUBJECTS English/Language Arts History/Social Studies Mathematics Science World Language (Latin, Spanish)
8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
MUSICAL PERFORMANCE GROUPS
EARLY CHILDHOOD Gardening Library Visits Physical Education (Movement) Music World Language (Spanish)
14-acre wooded campus Nature Trails Athletic Field 3 Libraries 3 Playgrounds 3 Science Labs 2 Art Studios 2 Technology/Makerspaces 2 Community Gardens 2 Gymnasiums 2 Music Studios Lower School Innovation Center, including Art Studio, Technology/Makerspace, Reading Room and Science Lab
LOWER SCHOOL Little School Band Little School Cello Ensemble Little School Symphony Orchestra Little School Violin Ensemble
LOWER SCHOOL Art Gardening (first through third grade) Instrumental Music (third and fourth grade) Library Story Time (kindergarten) Library Science and Media Studies (first through fourth grade) Music Physical Education Technology (integrated into all subject areas) MIDDLE SCHOOL Advisory Electives Instrumental Music Library Performing Arts Physical Education and Health Technology (instruction in fifth and sixth grades, integrated into all subject areas) Visual Arts
Threes through eighth grade travel on day trips that support areas of study at each grade level.
Sixth Grade: Nature’s Classroom, Ivoryton, CT Seventh Grade: YMCA Camp, Claryville, NY Eighth Grade: Washington, D.C.
All-School Buddy Program Assemblies (grade, division and all-school) Service projects in lower and middle school
TECHNOLOGY AND LIBRARY MEDIA
• iPads, laptops and Mac desktops used extensively in lower school classes and special subjects • 1:1 Bring Your Own Laptop program throughout middle school as well as Mac desktops in select locations, including the Technology/Makerspace • Literacy in research and technology integrated in all areas of curriculum, including STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) • Makerspaces, labs and library spaces in both Little School and Morrow House, with an additional library in Chilton House • Regular class time in library/technology spaces for kindergarten through fifth grade • Technology electives offered in middle school • Research librarians and technologists support learning in all areas • Age-appropriate fiction and nonfiction texts and online resources available at all levels • Character education emphasizes a love of literature, respect for technology, digital citizenship and critical inquiry into all media
MIDDLE SCHOOL Chamber Orchestra Chorus Concert Band Jazz Ensemble Morrow House Symphony Orchestra Rock Band Stage Band Stomp Percussion Ensemble Superchamber Orchestra Superchamber Soloists
INTERSCHOLASTIC SPORTS SIXTH – EIGHTH GRADE Fall Sports: Boys and Girls Cross Country, Boys and Girls Soccer, Co-ed Flag Football, Girls Tennis, Girls Volleyball Winter Sports: Boys and Girls Basketball, Co-ed Ice Hockey Spring Sports: Boys Tennis, Boys and Girls Lacrosse, Girls Softball
CHILDCARE Daily from 7:30 a.m. until the start of the school day and from the end of the school day until 6 p.m. The library is available for older students and enrichment classes in many subjects are offered after school for students in kindergarten through fifth grade. Childcare is also provided on parent/ teacher conference days and a mini-camp is offered for one week of Spring Break. For updated curriculum information, go to www.elisabethmorrow.org. 3
The early years of a studentâ€™s education are among the most crucial, because they set the stage for future success. The Elisabeth Morrow School educates its youngest students with a developmentally appropriate curriculum incorporating extensive literacy and mathematics activities as well as social studies, science, music, art and physical education. Our programs for three- and fouryear-olds open young childrenâ€™s minds to learning possibilities every day.
Threes and Fours Active participation in meaningful and engaging experiences is the cornerstone of the early childhood program. In an age-appropriate and nurturing environment, children develop their social-emotional, intellectual, language and physical abilities in creative and thoughtful ways. Children are exposed to cross-curricular learning through purposeful play in hands-on experiences in an integrated center-based environment. Communication skills, conflict resolution and problem solving are all developed and practiced following the tenets of Responsive Classroom, a research-based approach to education that promotes social-emotional competencies in children. Our early childhood program recognizes that all children will develop at their own pace and their rate of growth is respected and honored. Activities are adapted to the needs of each group. The transition to a school environment is guided by strong collaboration between families and the school, which includes frequent communication and parent education. Language Arts The language arts curriculum in our early childhood division helps students create a solid foundation upon which to begin their educational journey. Students acquire literacy skills and a love of reading through meaningful experiences with oral language, quality literature, comprehension and self-expression. • Increase vocabulary and language • Enhance listening and communication skills • Build phonological awareness • Increase reading comprehension: sequencing, story recall and story elements • Begin to learn reading skills: rhyming, syllabication, phoneme identification and deletion • Develop letter recognition • Expand knowledge of print and print awareness • Develop the ability to write letters and words • Begin use of Handwriting Without Tears Mathematics Students explore basic mathematical concepts such as numbers, quantities, shapes and dimensions through building, counting, adding and subtracting, in concrete, hands-on ways. Students are encouraged to examine
their environment mathematically by comparing, measuring, counting, grading, making patterns, sequencing and problem solving. • Develop an understanding of numbers and quantity • Experience linear counting and one-to-one correspondence • Begin to recognize and create patterns • Develop an understanding of the concepts of addition, subtraction and sets • Develop an understanding of the concept of place value • Develop an understanding of parts of a whole • Begin to learn basic geometric shapes • Develop an understanding of the relationship between various unit blocks • Experience spatial relationships, rotation and reversal of materials • Begin to learn concepts of relativity and relationship: greater than, less than, equal to and estimation • Relate mathematical concepts to everyday classroom experiences • Use measurement techniques (measuring height, weight, distance)
• Begin to understand sequencing, sorting and graphing • Begin to experiment and innovate with design and construction Science Our early childhood science program inspires wonder in the children. Students develop an understanding and appreciation for the natural and physical world around them — on our campus and in our classrooms. • Explore weight, shape, size, color and temperature • Formulate questions • Make hypotheses and predictions • Interact with and care for the environment • Learn to interact with and care for living things • Examine and test observations • Explore air, water and the Earth • Use the five senses to learn about the world • Explore the concept of change (seasons, cooking, life cycle, physical self) • Explore form and function • Develop classification skills • Explore concepts of physics through age-appropriate materials such as ramps, slides, vehicles and found objects • Begin to experiment and innovate with design and construction Social Studies In early childhood, social studies focuses on learning about self, others and being a part of our community. It includes both social and emotional areas in child development. Through a variety of themes, students’ sense of self and belonging are nurtured and explored. In all classroom areas, students begin to identify and practice the basics of the 4 C’s. As their facility with language increases, students are given more autonomy to work through social conflicts. The teachers empower the students to resolve difficulties on their own using the tenets of Responsive Classroom through direct 5
ThreesGrade and Fours Third Early Childhood Special Subjects and Activities instruction and modeling. Experiential learning and collaborative work help the students develop the ability to empathize with the feelings of others and to show growth in dependent and independent interactions. Ultimately, the goal is to develop emotional competence and to learn to recognize, articulate and label emotions without adult intervention. • Engage in cooperative and collaborative play • Participate in Morning Meeting • Develop positive social interaction and reading of social cues • Develop an understanding of self and family • Develop an understanding of the diversity of the classroom, school community and larger world • Develop an appreciation for the various customs and cultures in our community • Utilize conflict resolution strategies • Increase appropriate risk-taking • Enhance independence and self-help skills • Develop self-regulation and self-awareness in order to be available to learn • Increase articulation and understanding of feelings of self and others • Gain understanding of logical consequences • Begin to foster connections with students in the elementary and middle school through the All-School assemblies and the Buddy Day programs
Arts (Visual and Performing) In the early childhood arts program, students will be introduced to a variety of performing and visual art genres, techniques and media and will be encouraged to share thoughts or feelings about their own work or the work of others. Each classroom, on a daily basis, exposes the children to a variety of materials and activities to foster process-based creative experiences. • Explore creative expression through a variety of two- and three-dimensional media, including painting, printmaking, drawing, sculpting, making patterns and collages • Experiment with design, size, weight, symmetry and balance through block building and other open-ended materials in the classroom Music is incorporated into the daily routine in every classroom, with songs, finger plays and movement activities. The basic elements of music, such as beat, tempo, dynamics and timbre, are taught in music class. Students have the opportunity to explore a variety of different musical instruments and learn how to care for them. Chilton House students participate in a weekly sing-along led by the music teacher. • Engage in a variety of singing activities • Explore basic elements of music
Evaluation and Grading In February and June, a detailed written evaluation of students’ progress in all subject areas will be available to parents online through our password-protected Learning Management System. Through Bright Beginning conferences and the November and March parent/ teacher conferences, families have the opportunity to meet and discuss their child. The teachers encourage open communication with families and are always available for additional conferences if requested.
choose and care for books to bring to their classroom or home. Parents are invited to volunteer to read to the children throughout the year and cocoa parties with the librarian are a treasured EMS tradition.
Gardening All early childhood classes explore our beautiful campus, looking for seasonal changes in the environment. The children learn about and actively engage in activities that support the concept of sustainability. In addition, they experience a variety of simple gardening activities in the school’s vegetable garden. The gardening program occurs in the fall and the spring. • Plant and care for seasonal vegetables, flowers and bulbs • Learn about respect for the Earth and the environment • Learn about the harvest
Physical Education (Movement) Physical education in early childhood focuses on students’ achievement of gross and fine motor control. Gross motor control includes balance and control such as running, jumping, hopping, galloping and skipping and physical manipulations such as throwing, kicking and catching. Fine motor control activities and materials increase students’ ability to use and coordinate the small muscles in the hands and wrists with dexterity. In addition to physical education classes and their playground time, students utilize patios attached to each classroom for motor play.
Library Visits Children in the early childhood division have the opportunity to visit the child-friendly and developmentally appropriate library within Chilton House daily. This fosters a love of literature and a strong sense of independence as they
• Build, deliver and stack • Climb • Pedal • Develop locomotor skills • Develop upper and lower body • Gain small muscle strength and control
• Engage in puppet play • Tell stories with flannel board • Explore bookmaking • Enhance listening skills through story time • Introduce basic concepts of research and basic library skills • Learn to care for library materials
upon the knowledge and Support Within the classroom environment, the teachers are aware of the differing developmental needs of their students and adapt their teaching styles accordingly. When necessary, the Director of Special Learning Services will assist the teachers by observing students and making appropriate recommendations to faculty and parents. While the school does not provide occupational or speech-language therapy, we might recommend these services and they can be incorporated into a child’s day in the early childhood division through outside support. World Language (Spanish) Children in the early childhood program begin to explore sounds and words in spoken Spanish as the teacher works with the students while they explore in classroom centers or during Morning Meeting. Building upon the natural curiosity and readiness of young children to embrace language acquisition, the teacher joins the class and balances immersion with introductory language lessons. At this age, this offers exposure to the language to all of the early childhood classes. • Begin to understand simple words and expressions through introductory context-driven units • Introduce essential vocabulary such as greetings, colors, family members and farm animals • Begin to develop appreciation for the Spanish language and culture
habits of mind gained in students’ early years, increasingly challenging children to be active problem solvers, creative thinkers and innovative learners. Small class sizes
The lower school builds
and experienced faculty ensure that learning is personalized to both challenge and support students, allowing them to achieve their greatest potential. We focus on building core academic skills while integrating multiple subject areas whenever appropriate. Our character education philosophy of the 4 C’s is reinforced in this division through service projects that capitalize on young students’ capacity for empathy and leadership.
Kindergarten Our kindergarten classrooms are in Chilton House, ensuring appropriate curricular continuity with our early childhood program. In addition to two head teachers who provide differentiated instruction in most subjects, students have access to learning specialists for small group instruction in language arts as necessary. Students make use of the science lab in the Little School building and also use our 14-acre campus as a classroom for environmental science. Spanish, art, music and physical education are also key components of the curriculum. Integrated technology, utilizing a wide range of tools, supports learning and creativity at all levels while students are introduced to basic design, programming and computing practices. Field trips are offered to support the curriculum and students participate in weekly gatherings to strengthen community and character and build upon the 4 C’s — courtesy, consideration, cooperation and compassion — that are keystone values of our school. Our elementary program follows the tenets of Responsive Classroom, a research-based approach to teaching that promotes academic and socialemotional competencies in children. Language Arts Direct and indirect instruction as well as a print- and conversation-rich environment enhances kindergartners’ ability to develop strong foundational reading skills. Teachers provide direct instruction with a multisensory approach to teaching reading that enhances phonemic awareness, phonics, word recognition, visual memory and story comprehension. They explore language through stories, songs, games, cooking, dramatic play and group discussions. Kindergarten students engage in independent and collaborative writing experiences during Writing Workshop throughout the week. Children practice proper pencil grip and letter formation through the Handwriting Without Tears curriculum. Presentation skills are also built through Morning Meeting, sharing time and group discussions.
• Recognize and recall capital letters • Develop letter/sound association • Distinguish sound/symbol correspondence for beginning and ending consonants • Participate in phonemic awareness activities: rhyming, counting words, syllables, segmenting words and blending words • Build meaningful sight word vocabulary
• Identify parts of a book • Narrate a story • Make predictions • Sequence events • Identify elements of a story such as character, setting and plot • Develop reading comprehension skills such as story-tostory connections and personal connections • Identify facts and ideas • Engage in appropriate use of technology to enhance literacy • Develop public speaking skills • Use a proper pencil grip • Practice forming uppercase letters • Use developmental spelling in written work • Express an idea to create a story in writing Mathematics In kindergarten math, activities are woven throughout the curriculum to develop number sense. Technology is used to develop computational thinking, reasoning and logic. Students are encouraged to share their problemsolving strategies with the group. They begin
to reason mathematically, compute with accuracy and understand that there are many ways to approach a problem. A hands-on environment fosters exploration, inquiry and experiential learning by engaging students in many ways to approach and solve a problem. The use of simple robots offers children hands-on experiences in sequencing and estimation. • Recognize, write and work with numbers one to 20 • Use one-to-one correspondence to count to 20 • Count and order quantities by groups of fives and 10s • Count to 100 • Develop measurement vocabulary such as short, long and tall • Develop an understanding of symmetry • Recognize and create patterns • Explore addition and subtraction concretely by using manipulative materials to solve problems • Introduce sequencing through basic programming • Develop estimation and graphing strategies • Sort and classify items by shape, size, color and common attributes • Develop spatial reasoning using robotics
• Understand concepts and groupings of ones, 10s and 100s • Read calendars Science In kindergarten science, students explore the natural world both in the lower school science lab and outside on our campus. Students are engaged in measuring, counting, observing and recording their experiences. Hands-on experiments, demonstrations and design challenges enable students to build science skills and understanding of concepts. • Observe living organisms, including lady bugs, bean plants, mammals and hatching chicken eggs • Identify steps of various life cycles • Observe how organisms cope with seasonal changes • Connect basic astronomy topics like day and night and Earth’s seasons to living organisms • Measure length and temperature using the metric system • Build with classroom materials within specific constraints of the design process Social Studies Within the theme of community, students begin to develop a deeper understanding of what structures need to be in place to have a productive community and what individuals bring to a community through their differences and similarities. Students and their families are welcomed in the classroom to share their customs and traditions. By interacting appropriately and respectfully with classmates in cooperative groups, students develop skills to be productive and thoughtful citizens. • Identify concepts of self, family and community • Participate in service learning projects • Become familiar with research • Practice resolving conflict, compromising and negotiating • Share holidays and traditions
• Understand differences and similarities between people and cultures • Gain an understanding that each person is unique • Participate in special events, including Kindergarten Circus, Post Office, Flashlight Picnic and Thanksgiving Feast World Language (Spanish) Spanish in kindergarten exposes children to the sounds of the language and introduces beginning vocabulary through storytelling, songs and rhymes, puppets and games. Children explore topics they already know and understand in their native language as they begin to develop listening and speaking skills. They engage in fun-filled activities to gain insights into the cultures of Spanish-speaking countries. • Interact using simple greetings and farewells • Develop awareness of distinctive sounds of the Spanish language • Recognize and count numbers one to 30 • Identify immediate family members and basic apparel • Name primary colors • Identify and label various farm and jungle animals • Recognize simple weather expressions • Use simple phrases to ask for food • Listen to and appreciate authentic songs • Celebrate holidays, including Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah • Understand and follow basic commands and expressions of politeness such as “please” and “thank you” • Develop basic vocabulary that reference kindergarten activities such as a zoo trip, circus and post office
First Grade First graders are ready for more advanced work and engage in a multiplicity of literacy and numeracy experiences across the curriculum. Literature is taught daily through a combination of phonics and language-rich experiences. Daily writing experiences increase as students expand sentence structure and content and begin to focus on punctuation and spelling. Technology is woven into all subject areas as appropriate to augment learning and demonstrate knowledge, giving students the opportunity to learn new interfaces, create, design and access information in new, digitally enhanced ways. English/Language Arts First grade students continue to be engaged in a balanced approach to literacy instruction. A multisensory reading approach emphasizing word accuracy and fluency along with promoting a literature-rich environment are important elements of the first grade language arts program. Participation in shared reading experiences facilitates vocabulary acquisition and models the appropriate use of language. Guided reading groups develop the comprehension skills necessary for
students to enjoy, interpret and compare a variety of literature genres as well as build stamina and fluency in reading. Students are introduced to the mechanics of writing sentences, supporting their ability to use writing as a tool for self-expression. • Engage in daily reading instruction in small groups • Learn spelling rules and patterns • Develop decoding and word recognition skills and comprehension strategies • Develop an understanding of word and sentence structure • Develop phonemic awareness skills • Participate in group discussions of a text to promote critical thinking skills • Create written responses to literature using story webs, story maps, Venn diagrams and other organizational devices • Develop research skills through categorization and asking questions • Enhance understanding of story structure by identifying problems and solutions and sequencing skills • Develop public speaking skills through performance such as plays, assemblies and concerts • Hone handwriting skills through practice with lowercase letter formation and proper spacing • Practice oral and listening skills through formal and informal presentations
Mathematics First grade students move through a balanced instructional approach designed to develop computational skills and procedures and conceptual thinking and problem-solving strategies. Through exploration, direct instruction, centers and projects, students are given opportunities to explore place value, compare and contrast numbers and add and subtract them. Math vocabulary and literacy are developed through practice with word problems. Mathematical activities are woven throughout the curriculum, and technology is used to develop computational thinking, reasoning and logic. Activities with and without technology support developing computer science skills and offer hands-on experience to introduce logical thinking and reasoning. • Expand understanding of numeracy and computations • Explore concepts through math • Demonstrate an understanding of whole number place value (ones and 10s) • Identify and write numbers through 100 • Count and perform simple computations with coins • Develop proficiency and memorize basic addition and subtraction number facts for combinations up through 12 • Identify unit fractions (½, ⅓, ¼) • Determine reasonableness of an answer by estimating and making predictions • Tell time to the hour and half-hour • Build upon calendar and patterning skills • Understand length, width and weight • Create graphs, charts and tables to organize data • Develop geometry skills and vocabulary • Expand understanding of spatial reasoning, patterning, measurement, estimation and prediction through experiences with block programming and robotics
Science First graders continue to explore and observe the natural world in science class. This year, they connect their observations to bigger science concepts such as adaptations, properties of matter and planetary exploration. Students are engaged in measuring, counting, observing and recording their experiences. Hands-on activities, experiments and design challenges enable students to build science skills and understanding of concepts. • Identify adaptations that allow organisms to be more successful • Explore properties of matter using the five senses and scientific tools • Discover how scientists use both senses and tools to explore our Solar System • Develop investigation, observation, questioning and prediction skills • Measure length and temperature and record data • Engage in collaborative work during labs and the design process Social Studies Students in first grade begin to make meaningful connections between each other, their school and their neighborhood. Using their classroom as a model, they work together, solve problems and incorporate the 4 C’s of courtesy, consideration, cooperation and compassion into their everyday lives, learning how to be good community members. • Further refine concepts of culture and community • Gain a deeper awareness of diversity and traditions within a community • Understand the structure and function of a community • Begin to identify the rights and needs of others • Gain deeper knowledge of parts of the school and local community
• Demonstrate respect for others in a community • Compare past and present communities • Apply independent social skills • Develop planning and organizational skills • Develop speaking, listening and writing skills while interviewing school and neighborhood workers • Participate in community service projects • Participate in special events, including Kidtown, a culminating project in which students design and create a community, and the Apple Bake Sale World Language (Spanish) Spanish in first grade reinforces and expands basic vocabulary that children already know in English and emphasizes the progression of listening and speaking skills. Students engage actively in the language through songs, repetition, games and conversations. They develop pronunciation naturally from exposure to authentic language sounds. Class celebrations and collaborative activities are used to deepen an understanding of Hispanic culture. • Interact using greetings, farewells and introductions • Count to 40 in Spanish • Identify and recite the days of the week • Develop basic vocabulary related to school materials, family and pets, clothing and body parts, transportation, food and shopping • Identify Spain, Mexico and South America on a map • Role-play songs and rhymes from thematic units • Demonstrate comprehension of simple classroom commands • Ask and respond to simple questions using words and short phrases from vocabulary sets • Celebrate Mexican holidays Cinco de Mayo and La Navidad • Show awareness of cultures of people from Mexico
Second Grade Second graders build on the skills they have acquired in first grade to become truly independent learners. Firmly cemented literacy and numeracy skills allow for more in-depth exploration of materials, including a more conceptual understanding of mathematics and the comprehension of sophisticated material in language arts. Small group instruction further solidifies successful decoding, fluency, spelling and written expression and comprehension strategies. Technology continues to be woven into all subject areas. Projects are augmented and enhanced with multimedia design, crafting, collaborating and accessing resources beyond the classroom. English/Language Arts Continuing with a multisensory approach to reading instruction, second graders learn to apply phonic, syllabication and spelling rules to decode words while reinforcing oral fluency and teaching vocabulary. Students study a variety of genres, including biographies, poetry, nonfiction, fiction and folktales. They read literature both independently and in guided reading groups, relating ideas and personal experiences to develop meaning. Students learn to respond to literature using complete, well-constructed sentences by learning how to organize and express their thoughts clearly and concisely. Manuscript and cursive writing are introduced and practiced using the Handwriting Without Tears method. They begin to publish their work using the standard writing process of drafting, editing, revising and publishing. • Engage in daily reading instruction in individual, small group and whole group read-aloud settings • Engage in direct spelling instruction • Improve decoding skills • Increase fluency • Develop comprehension strategies • Strengthen techniques used to create written responses to literature • Develop skills in creative, narrative and expository writing • Integrate conventions of writing • Learn and practice grammatical forms 12
• Practice oral presentations in classroom setting and at school events • Develop and practice research skills • Learn and practice cursive handwriting Mathematics Second grade students move through a balanced instructional approach designed to develop computational skills and procedures and conceptual thinking and problem-solving strategies. Mathematical thinking is expanded through concrete work with plane and solid geometric figures. Multiplication is introduced and students build models, which they then relate to division. They learn to measure length, width, perimeter and area and collect and organize data as well as tell time to the minute and add coins and make change. Geometry is explored through the concepts of quilt design. Activities with and without technology support developing computer science skills and offer hands-on experiences to introduce logical thinking and reasoning. • Develop an understanding of place value to 1,000 • Master and memorize basic addition and subtraction facts through 18 using a variety of strategies • Use efficient and accurate paper-and-pencil procedures for computation of two-digit addition and subtraction • Practice two-digit addition and subtraction with and without regrouping • Practice and expand upon problem-solving, reasoning, graphing and deduction skills
• Develop an understanding of money using coins and bills • Recognize sides, vertices and faces of shapes • Recognize non-unit fractions • Tell time to the hour, half-hour and quarter-hour • Explore the meanings of multiplication and division by modeling and discussing problems • Practice solving word problems using pictorial representations • Develop spatial reasoning, patterning, estimation and prediction through basic computer science experiences Science Employing their developing skills, second graders become experts in several specific areas of scientific knowledge. Able to learn scientific terms and concepts, students apply these to their data and observations. They are more independent in the lab with experimenting, measuring and recording. Students continue to practice their design skills, though the design challenges rely on science concepts learned through previous activities.
• Study plants in order to investigate structure and function, photosynthesis and food for humans • Extend the language arts research project on spiders to learning about structure and function and modeling web building • Identify and classify rocks within the rock cycle • Experiment with matter, physical and chemical change and acid/base chemistry • Apply concepts of forces and motion by building and programming Lego WeDos • Measure length, temperature and mass and record data • Follow procedures in the lab • Engage in collaborative work during labs and the design process Social Studies The second grade social studies concentration on personal family and cultural history sparks students’ interest in their own lives, the lives of their ancestors and the world beyond. Students’ reading is focused on cultural stories, fiction and nonfiction while theme-based projects foster research skills and multicultural awareness. • Further explore self, family and culture • Create timelines and write personal narratives • Research family history • Research American culture • Research personal cultural heritage • Develop an awareness of a variety of cultures • Study American folk art, including quilting • Practice organizational skills • Practice presentation skills through a variety of projects
activities and holiday celebrations to stimulate cultural understanding and appreciation of Hispanic cultures. • Interact using greetings, farewells and introductions • Use expressions of politeness such as “please,” “thank you” and “you’re welcome” in common social interactions • Use colors and size to describe jungle animals • Count numbers one to 50 • Identify and express colors and shapes, days of the week and months of the year • Identify and categorize clothing according to season • Express personal information, including name, age and birthday • Use basic expressions to order food • Identify and match vocabulary visuals with words • Develop listening skills and pronunciation • Dramatize simple rhymes and poems • Memorize thematic songs • Demonstrate comprehension of questions related to stories by giving simple answers • Identify the location of various Spanish-speaking countries on map • Participate in communicative activities using contentrelated vocabulary • Celebrate traditional family holidays
World Language (Spanish) Spanish in second grade expands on communicative topics and activities to deepen understanding and comprehension of oral language. As students gain confidence in oral language, reading and writing are introduced. Students engage in collaborative 13
Third Grade Third grade students can work independently and consistently on the strategies and skills necessary for a more sophisticated understanding of their academic subjects. Individual lessons, small group instruction and whole class groupings occur daily. Reading and writing are integral parts of all curricular studies, and instruction guides students to more inferential reading skills. Students’ written expression includes both expository and creative writing as well as factual writing related to research projects. Teachers introduce daily lessons to the entire class, and students practice the application of skills, individually or in small groups, with a teacher’s guidance. Students share written work, research and discoveries with the larger group and rely on technology to support all areas of the curriculum. Activities include conducting research, collaborating with peers in real time, crafting sophisticated reports, designing and programming with professional programs and engaging in opportunities to develop empathy and applying the 4 C’s in digital spaces. English/Language Arts In third grade, students move from learning to read to reading to learn and writing with intention. Students analyze, synthesize and interpret fiction and nonfiction text, with a focus on answering the questions of who, what, where, when, why and how. They participate in a variety of writing experiences, including personal narratives, responses to literature, reflections, poetry, creative writing and research. Graphic organizers, outlines and notes are used to organize and construct individual and group writing assignments. Students publish their work using the writing process of drafting, revising and editing. Students continue to develop and increase their knowledge of decoding words through word study and guided practice. Grammar and spelling are taught through direct instruction and guided practice.
• Engage in daily reading instruction to increase fluency, enhance oral expression, develop reading comprehension and increase vocabulary • Engage in word study, including prefixes and suffixes • Practice correct spelling, grammar and mechanics in daily writing assignments • Practice cursive writing • Employ word processing software for written assignments • Understand how to use text to locate answers to questions
• Use highlighting and note-taking to study text • Participate in writing projects related to the social studies curriculum, including Native American name stories and legends, Colonial letters, scripts, posters, journal entries, book reports and digital presentations • Collaborate with classmates on projects • Engage in research projects on subjects including the Lenape, European explorers, Colonial trades and environmental issues • Employ visual literacy skills • Practice public speaking skills through classroom presentations and assembly presentations to peers and parents Mathematics Students sharpen their ability to mentally calculate simple problems as they refine addition and subtraction skills with regrouping and learn multiplication and division facts. They are introduced to two-digit multiplication, division with remainders, proper and improper fractions and the relationship of fractions to time, division and measurement. Multiple strategies and algorithms are demonstrated, discussed and applied in order to solve problems, including making lists, charts, tables and drawings. Children develop age-appropriate reasoning and logic skills. Third graders construct and build new knowledge through online and multimodal interactive math learning environments.
• Demonstrate an understanding of whole number place value (to the hundred thousands) to compare and order numbers • Explore the extension of place value to money and decimals • Master fact families in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division • Compare and order fractions • Add and subtract fractions • Begin to recognize equivalent fractions • Tell time to the minute • Use a ruler to measure to the nearest ¼-inch • Use graphs and tables to organize information in order to solve problems • Identify lines, line segments, rays and angles and how they relate to shapes and graphing • Understand and use a variety of strategies to solve problems • Apply knowledge of patterns and relationships to problem solving Science Third graders continue to develop expertise and science skills. Gaining mastery of scientific terms and concepts, students discuss and describe their data and observations in greater depth. Students relate their lab experiences to real-world applications such as compass navigation, weather reporting and maglev trains. Students continue to develop independence in the lab as they experiment, measure and record. Long-term, collaborative data collection is emphasized. Students continue to practice their design skills, incorporating both science and social studies concepts. • Explore states of matter and apply this to the water cycle • Investigate weather, weather patterns and use tools to gather weather data • Identify properties of magnets • Navigate using a compass • Develop an understanding of magnetism as it relates to electricity
• Explore the relationship of cause and effect of static electricity on various materials • Build and diagram open and closed electronic circuits • Use our brook to explore how humans impact the environment • Measure length, temperature, wind speed and mass, record and graph data • Follow procedures in the lab and outside on campus • Engage in collaborative work for labs and the design process Social Studies Social studies in third grade explores how the environment affects the way people live. Students answer how and why people form beliefs in order to function in society while beginning to understand and appreciate what life was like before and during the Colonial period in what is now New Jersey. Moving forward to the present day, the environment of New Jersey is also examined, with a focus on the importance of water and environmental responsibility. Integral to these studies are experiential trips to a recreated Lenape village at Waterloo Village, a Colonial schoolhouse at the Newark Museum, a Colonial farm and business at Philipsburg Manor and a river excursion through the Meadowlands with the Hackensack Riverkeeper. Minecraft, a virtual environment, is used to augment the social studies curriculum as students experience what it is like to survive in a colony. • Investigate how different cultures meet their needs with the resources at hand • Understand how people change their environments • Utilize prior knowledge to put historical information in context • Sequence historical events • Analyze information • Summarize information • Continue to develop and practice organizational skills • Employ research skills, including taking notes and citing sources
• Use maps and images for information • Present findings to a variety of audiences using a variety of media • Participate in community service projects • Participate in special events, including a Lenape clan naming celebration, Colonial Day and Colonial Fair World Language (Spanish) In third grade, students continue to build upon the vocabulary learned in earlier years and gain the ability to conduct simple conversations. They work on all four areas of language acquisition: listening, speaking, reading and writing. Active participation through collaborative work is stressed in this learning phase to support effective progression of speaking skills. Children participate in various Total Physical Response (TPR) activities to stimulate further language engagement through physical movement. • Interact using expanded greetings and introductions • Identify and describe vocabulary visuals • Develop simple writing through vocabulary exercises • Use adjectives to describe people and classroom objects • Describe common weather conditions • Use expressions with verbs ser and estar (to be) and tener (to have) to express basic personal needs • Use verbs comprar (to shop) and ir (to go) in expressions related to shopping and ordering food at a restaurant • Use correct adjective/noun placement in simple descriptions • Recognize the use of gender in nouns and adjectives • Practice conversing in Spanish with classmates and through puppet shows • Locate various Spanish-speaking countries on map • Understand key facts of the Aztec culture and connections to Mexican history • Understand historic significance of Cinco de Mayo • Gain deeper understanding of cultural traditions of Hispanic countries
Fourth Grade Fourth graders are at the end of their elementary school lives at The Elisabeth Morrow School and, thus, ready to take on their roles as leaders in the Little School. A challenging curriculum ensures that they will be ready for the demands of middle school in all areas, including research, computation and writing skills. Daily reading instruction includes factual and inferential reading skills and written responses to literature. Students engage in complex uses of technology which continue to develop many necessary literacies under our lens of empathy and digital citizenship within all curricular subjects. The uses of technology include, but are not limited to, an emphasis on social media literacy, research and design skills, media production, app or game development as well as personalized technology learning goals. These areas continue to offer opportunities to develop empathy and apply the 4 C’s in digital spaces. English/Language Arts Students continue to develop skills in clarifying word, sentence and paragraph meaning in addition to polishing more sophisticated vocabulary and grammar skills. They make predictions, state opinions, summarize, develop an understanding of cause and effect, recognize figurative language and draw conclusions. Literature studies include a variety of genres: nonfiction, novels, legends, newspapers, magazines, poetry, plays and biographies. Fourth graders practice their writing through a variety of assignments and activities — personal journals, research, poetry, dramatic scripts, essays, expository writing, interviews, friendly letters and mathematical word problems. Correct usage and mechanics are expected in their written work. • Engage in daily reading instruction in whole class, small group, independent reading and through read-alouds • Develop more sophisticated decoding and fluency abilities in order to tackle challenging texts in nonfiction and novels • Identify the structure of different texts such as stanzas, paragraphs, essays and reports • Identify the elements of a novel • Explore the use of literary devices and sensory language 16
• Develop new vocabulary from literature content area, nonfiction reading and literature • Understand nonfiction text supports: headings, indices, captions and maps • Practice citing sources in a bibliography • Develop writing skills, including how to vary sentence structure • Engage in various writing genres, including journals, research-based writing, creative and expository writing • Master and apply grammar and composition skills • Create introductions and conclusions for written work • Introduce parts of speech • Apply oral expression and listening skills in class discussions and presentations, including oral reports, division and all-school assemblies Mathematics Fourth grade students can communicate mathematical thinking and compute with accuracy and speed. They are introduced to two-digit divisors and perform simple computation, including fractions with unlike denominators. Geometry study extends to rays, segments, lines, angles, congruent figures and construction of geometric patterns. Students use graphs and calculators to solve problems. Statistics is taught at this grade level, when students begin to recognize patterns and relationships in numbers up to one million. Expansion of problem-solving strategies include the use of models,
patterns, illustrations and tables. Using computer-based mathematical simulations, children continue to develop age-appropriate reasoning and logic skills. • Recognize patterns and relationships in mathematical settings • Demonstrate an understanding of whole number place value to the millions • Write numbers in standard, expanded and word form • Master addition and subtraction of six-digit numbers • Review and practice multiplication and division computations using algorithms: multiplication with two-digit multipliers and division of three-digit numbers by two-digit divisors • Count money and make change • Calculate elapsed time • Increase understanding of geometry terms • Use formulas to find perimeter, area and volume • Add and subtract fractions with like and unlike denominators • Express fractions in simplest form • Use concrete and pictorial models to relate whole numbers, commonly used fractions and decimals to each other and to represent equivalent forms of the same number • Practice estimation and prediction • Apply a variety of problem-solving techniques Science In their culminating year of lower school science, fourth graders draw on previously learned skills and knowledge. Students continue to relate their lab experiences to real-world applications such as invasive species removal, space exploration and human health. Students are given the opportunity to develop their own methods of investigating a given topic and encouraged to use mathematical patterns to draw conclusions. Students continue to practice their design challenge skills, incorporating science and engineering concepts.
• Identify and map the native and invasive species on our campus • Classify species by kingdom and role in the food chain • Investigate forces, motion and gravity using toy cars and model rockets • Apply Solar System knowledge to design a space mission • Investigate structure and function relationships in human body systems through dissection and models • Explore the importance of healthy choices to these body systems • Investigate the mathematical relationship between force, distance and work that allows simple machines to help humans do tasks • Measure length, temperature, force and mass, record and graph data • Follow procedures in the lab and outside • Engage in collaborative work during labs and the design process Social Studies In social studies, fourth graders begin to think and reason in more abstract ways within their studies of Ancient Egypt, immigration, geography and New Jersey. Students further develop their research skills — locating information, taking notes, organizing data and paraphrasing — while learning to appreciate other cultures. They study how cultures change and adapt when people of different traditions settle together. Geography and map skills are reinforced. Students share their research experiences through written reports, art projects and oral and multimedia presentations. This curriculum is supported by various field trips to the Newark Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, Ellis Island and Thomas Edison National Historical Park. • Develop an understanding of archaeology and archaeological methods • Read and create historical timelines
• Examine and appreciate an ancient culture and its religious beliefs • Compare life under a government led by a pharaoh to the U.S. government • Identify the architectural feats of pyramids and monuments • Evaluate hieroglyphics by comparing it to our own systems of written communication • Recognize the U.S. as a nation built and populated by immigrants • Compare and contrast regions of the U.S. • Summarize reasons that various groups immigrated to New Jersey and the U.S., both voluntarily and involuntarily • Identify patterns of major waves of immigration in U.S. history • Develop an understanding of the immigrant experience • Label U.S. states, regions, rivers and mountains during mapping exercises • Learn about New Jersey’s geography, resources and economy • Study New Jersey history and government • Continue to develop and practice organizational skills • Participate in community service projects
• Count from one to 100 • Understand the international date format to discuss the calendar and important dates • Tell time to the hour and every five minutes • Describe seasons and coordinating weather conditions locally and in various Spanish-speaking countries • Describe personal characteristics using adjectives and forms of the verb ser (to be) • Write and speak in complete sentences about self, school subjects, classes and classmates • Describe family and parts of the house using forms of the verb tener (to have) • Ask and respond to simple questions in Spanish relating to self, basic personal needs, daily activities, home and school schedules • List and locate on the map countries that speak Spanish and describe their nationalities • Understand key facts about Mayan civilization and connection to Mexican history • Recognize important cultural symbols and traditions of various Hispanic countries • Discuss traditional family celebrations in Spanishspeaking countries and the United States
World Language (Spanish) In fourth grade, students continue to advance in all four areas of Spanish language acquisition: listening, speaking, reading and writing. Vocabulary development and key language structures, such as gender differentiation and plurality, are emphasized at this grade level. Conversational skills are practiced through paired and group tasks, Total Physical Response (TPR) activities, skits and book exercises. Students become more insightful about the language and its culture and demonstrate readiness to embark on new language experiences in the middle school years. • Interact using common greetings, introductions and polite expressions
Lower School Special Subjects and Activities “Challenge by Choice” Activities Students are offered the opportunity to participate in academic competitions in areas such as math, spelling or geography. Character Education/Service Learning In recognition of the 4 C’s and the importance of character education at The Elisabeth Morrow School, each lower school class performs acts of community service. Examples have included bake sales to benefit the Special Olympics, holiday concerts for senior citizens and food drives. The fourth grade organizes and performs in a talent show and selects a cause to which to donate the proceeds. Evaluation and Grading In February and June, a detailed written evaluation of students’ progress in all subject areas will be available to
parents online through our password-protected Learning Management System. In November and March, parents have individual conferences with their child’s teacher. Gardening Students in Lower School learn about nature and gardening through hands-on experiences. They study the biodiversity that makes up our 14-acre campus in a way that integrates other areas of their grade level curricula. Students work in the garden to plan, prepare, plant and harvest vegetables and flowers that are specifically grown to connect to areas of study at their grade level. Homework The purpose of homework is to reinforce skills and teach the importance of organization and preparation. Starting in third grade, student homework assignments are generally available online.
• Kindergarten: Daily reading with parent • First grade: 15 minutes of independent reading per night, with homework in core subjects beginning in October • Second grade: 20 minutes of independent reading per night, with homework in core subjects • Third grade: 20 minutes of independent reading per night, with homework in core subjects. Students generally have several long-term assignments per year • Fourth grade: 30 minutes of independent reading per night, with homework in core subjects. Students generally have several long-term assignments per year Instrumental Music Instrumental music is part of the curriculum starting in third grade. The program includes group lesson instruction four times per week, ensemble work and a full symphony orchestra experience. Instrumental classes are offered in strings, brass, woodwinds and percussion. Students study the rudiments of music theory, sightreading and notation through their lesson programs. Students have the opportunity to perform in several ensembles, including the Little School Concert Band, the Cello Ensemble and the Violin Ensemble. All of these ensembles work separately at the beginning of the semester. They come together at the end of each semester in a culminating performance as “The Little School Symphony.” Library Science and Media Studies The lower school library science and media studies program provides a robust interdisciplinary curriculum that challenges and encourages students. Topics of study connect with and support regular classroom units.
• Foster efficient and effective online and print research • Understand organization of information and how to access it • Identify relevant and reputable information resources • Create independent readers through age-appropriate materials
• Expose students to a wide variety of genres and informational texts • Nurture a lifelong love of independent reading Music Students experience music through a combination of the Kodály, Orff and Dalcroze techniques at an age-appropriate level. The music curriculum is designed to foster a love of music, introduce musical skills and develop performance skills, with a focus on singing and vocal technique, eurythmics and creative movement and vocal and instrumental improvisation. Orff instruments, such as drums and metallophones, are used for accompaniment and to internalize rhythm. Second graders participate in Musical Explorers and third and fourth grade students participate in the Link Up program, both at Carnegie Hall. Students in Link Up participate both from the audience as well as onstage with a professional orchestra. They explore world music by listening to and analyzing the repertoire provided by Carnegie Hall’s Education program. • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Gain knowledge of orchestra instruments Study music history and prominent composers Analyze musical excerpts Follow a “listening map” Sing in head voice and chest voice Explore music theory Sight-read basic melodies and simple scores Write on a music staff: notes and time signatures Learn music terminology: dynamics, tempo, timbre and instrumentation Sing with others and alone Practice creative dance and movement Explore improvisation techniques Perform with confidence
Physical Education The physical education program promotes physical literacy, a healthy lifestyle through fitness, movement skills, sport skills and rhythmic activities. The focus is to improve cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, muscular strength, muscular endurance and brain function. The program includes a learning readiness program for third grade, structured recess in third and fourth grade and health classes in fourth grade. • Practice sportsmanship, cooperation, conflict resolution and safety • Increase spatial awareness • Enhance locomotor skills • Develop ball handling skills • Learn sport-specific skills • Learn aerobic and rhythmic dance skills • Promote the enjoyment of lifetime fitness and being physically active • Incorporate brain exercises (juggling, cross-lateral exercises) to improve concentrating and focus Standardized Testing In third and fourth grade, students take the CTP 4. This standardized test published by the Educational Records Bureau (ERB) is designed to provide instructionally useful information about student performance and as a benchmark for curricular assessment. Results are shared with families. Support The Director of Special Learning Services, along with classroom teachers, the school psychologist and division head, helps identify students in need of support. Areas of assessment include academic, language, social and emotional functioning. A trained reading specialist and/or learning specialist provide services to students. EMS initiated an innovative multisensory reading program for students in first through fourth grade. Specialists engage in evidence-based direct instruction in order to remediate and help children learn effectively
and efficiently. Differentiated instruction fosters a commitment to understanding students’ learning styles and accommodating learning differences. Visual Arts The elementary visual arts curriculum helps to promote visual awareness, foster creative expression and develop imaginative thinking. The program is designed to introduce students to a variety of art media, techniques and processes. The curriculum incorporates the elements of art and the principles of design. Art projects are often interdisciplinary in nature, enhancing the learning process and other curricular areas. • Build observational skills • Develop and strengthen fine motor skills and technical skills needed to use materials in the art studio • Experience the art-making process • Utilize art tools and materials safely • Communicate ideas visually to express ideas and feelings • Learn to select subject matter, symbols and ideas for personal and cultural expression • Develop a visual arts vocabulary and gain confidence in discussing art and the art of others • Learn how media, techniques and processes are used to create works of art • Promote creativity, innovation, critical thinking and problem-solving skills • Explore self-portraits, collaging, mixed media, community painting, printmaking, modeling materials and sculpting • Incorporate quilt as part of a study on family • Learn weaving and pottery as part of a study on Colonial crafts • Explore color mixing, watercolors and pastels • Study influential artists and the great masters • Engage in STEAM challenges where students may become builders, designers, explorers and testers in various problem-solving activities
Middle school students are encouraged to be partners in guiding their own education. In addition to core academic subjects (including, for many students, two languages), children choose electives to explore areas of particular interest. In middle school, students play on sports teams, explore their creativity through music, drama or visual arts and explore leadership opportunities that prepare them for rigorous secondary school experiences.
Fifth Grade As the first year of middle school, fifth grade is structured to provide a bridge between our lower school and our departmentalized middle school program, which starts in the sixth grade. Students continue with a homeroom teacher who provides instruction in language arts and social studies. They travel as a homeroom class to science, art, music, Spanish, physical education, technology and library. In math, students are grouped based on performance criteria. Technology is integrated into the curriculum in all areas as appropriate and all students participate in a Bring Your Own Laptop program. Optional after-school sports are available in an intramural program. English/Language Arts Students deepen their analysis of literature and engage in book discussions that allow them to support their ideas with examples from the text. In writing, they are expected to compose effective, well-constructed paragraphs and essays, with an emphasis on proper form, grammar, usage, mechanics, style and sophisticated vocabulary. Study skills are reinforced with the introduction of two-column note-taking and time management and test-taking strategies. Working in conjunction with the focus of study in history, students engage in research projects on the Revolutionary War and Westward Expansion. • Reinforce comprehension, prediction, comparing and contrasting through the use of fiction and nonfiction text • Introduce and reinforce use of literary terms and figurative language • Reinforce inferential thinking by analyzing themes and symbols found in literature • Develop new vocabulary • Reinforce writing paragraphs with topic sentences, supporting details and conclusions • Develop writing through different genres: descriptive, expository, narrative and poetry • Enhance correct grammar, usage and mechanics • Introduce the research process • Introduce outlining
• Introduce two-column note-taking • Literature may include The Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman, Toliver’s Secret, Fever 1793 and Streams to the River, River to the Sea History In fifth grade, students gain a working knowledge of the historical narrative of the United States from the Colonial Era through the Revolution, continuing through the Constitution, Bill of Rights and Westward Expansion. Students explore current events, which continues throughout middle school. In order to be able to make informed decisions about the fundamental rights of American citizens, students develop the ability to comprehend how the history of the United States helped shape the current government. Trips and projects support the units of study. • Explain the formation of the 13 colonies • Discuss African enslavement by Europeans • Recognize the European struggle for control of America • Identify causes of the American Revolution • Demonstrate an understanding of the formation of the United States government • Trace the drafting of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights • Develop awareness of the effect of these documents on the current government • Determine the impact of Westward Expansion, with a focus on the Lewis and Clark Expedition • Special projects include research projects on the Revolutionary War and Westward Expansion Mathematics Students in fifth grade will strengthen their computational skills, develop strategies to solve problems, recognize patterns and communicate effectively. Fifth grade students comprehend the relationship between fractions, decimals and percentages and use number sense to determine reasonableness of answers. Students will also study basic geometry. Students are expected to understand and use a wide variety of problem-solving strategies.
Students are grouped based on performance criteria in order to provide challenge for those at all levels of understanding and to emphasize mastery of material. • Understand place value system, expanded form, standard form and exponential notation • Work with whole numbers to billions • Perform operations with decimals and fractions • Understand order of operations • Simplify numerical expressions • Use mental math to expedite problem solving • Apply the commutative, associative and distributive properties to computation • Identify and use compatible numbers • Write equations and solve multi-step problems • Understand and solve using exponents • Translate word problems into mathematical symbols • Apply measurement to solve problems • Explore the foundations of geometry and polygons Science In fifth grade, students investigate the questions, “How does the EMS campus change over the school year?” and “What causes these changes?” Using both qualitative and quantitative data collection, students document longterm changes in a particular spot on campus and explore connections to underlying physical science concepts. Students engage in the engineering design process through the collaborative bird feeder design challenge in which they plan, build, test and optimize feeders to hang outside their classroom. • Measure using the metric system both in and out of the classroom • Use technology for long-term data collection, organization, analysis and sharing • Use evidence to draw conclusions • Set measurable design goals and collect data to determine if goals are met • Document and investigate water cycle and change of state
• Investigate energy transfer both in the lab and on campus • Document seasonal changes, learn about our Solar System and investigate why we have seasons • Read and discuss relevant science articles • Work collaboratively with peers in a variety of activities, including discussions and lab investigations World Language (Spanish) In fifth grade, students begin the four-year sequence of the middle school Spanish program. Language instruction emphasizes communication, integrating interpretive, interpersonal and presentational skills. The curriculum facilitates incremental learning of vocabulary topics and key language structures to reinforce and build on the skills acquired in fourth grade. Students gain more confidence in reading, writing and speaking while expanding understanding of Hispanic cultures and people. • Interact using greetings and various classroom expressions • Develop pronunciation and listening skills • Respond to questions orally and in writing about familiar topics • Answer questions and exchange information about school subjects, classroom routines, schedules, family structure, types of dwellings and rooms of the house • Use adjectives to describe self, others, personality traits and nationalities • Study nouns, adjectives, definite and indefinite articles and possessive adjectives • Develop sentence structure observing spelling, basic agreement rules and punctuation • Develop and apply conjugation patterns of common verbs in present tense • Use level-appropriate cultural readings to engage in cultural discussions and connect to other disciplines • Research, compare and share facts about Hispanic countries, people and cultures
Sixth Grade Sixth grade follows a departmentalized middle school model. Students meet in small advisory groups and travel to history, English, science and art in heterogeneous groups comprised of students from each advisory. In math, students are grouped based on performance criteria. Most students continue to study Spanish as their world language, and an advanced-level Spanish class is available. Learning support is offered as needed and technology is integrated into the curriculum in all areas as appropriate. All students participate in a Bring Your Own Laptop program. Sixth graders have the option of joining interscholastic sports teams in addition to physical education classes. English/Language Arts The sixth grade English program integrates literature and social studies, with students reading creation stories from around the world, Greek mythology, epic poetry and Greek tragedies with an emphasis on literal comprehension and an introduction to critical analysis. Connections to medieval times are made through historical novels, primary source documents and excerpts from medieval literature. Using classic short stories and poetry, students further develop their inferential skills, review literary terms and note figurative language. They are taught to express and develop ideas creatively within the specific forms of expository, persuasive, narrative and descriptive writing. • Identify and evaluate supporting evidence by quoting the text • Identify underlying themes and make connections between past and present • Create outlines for paragraphs and essays • Practice paraphrasing and summarizing skills • Construct solid paragraphs and begin to write fiveparagraph essays with teacher-directed structure and guidance • Expand working vocabulary • Employ correct grammar, usage and mechanics • Write creatively using the texts as starting points • Review literary terms and figurative language • Practice good material and time management skills 22
• Literature may include Heroes, Gods and Monsters of the Greek Myths; Dateline: Troy; The Adventures of Ulysses; Catherine, Called Birdy; A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver; Crispin; Beowulf and The Canterbury Tales History (Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome and the European Middle Ages) Sixth graders explore the history and development of ancient civilizations in the Mediterranean region, including the Minoans, Mycenaeans, Greeks and Romans, as well as the history and development of Europe in the Middle Ages. Information is presented in text (primary and secondary sources), maps, graphs, art and music. Students continue to study current events. Field trips to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Cloisters and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine support the curriculum. • Comprehend, paraphrase and summarize information • Begin to evaluate and analyze information • Identify and evaluate supporting evidence • Make inferences • Deepen understanding of causality • Quote text to support generalizations • Compare and contrast ancient civilizations • Organize historical topics and themes according to era or civilization • Identify underlying themes and make connections between past and present • Identify people and places in the news
• Practice good material and time management • Apply all writing skills learned in English class • Projects include a research paper comparing life in Athens and Sparta, a Roman history museum project and a medieval pilgrimage viewbook Mathematics In sixth grade math, students practice skills and operations with whole numbers, decimals and fractions. More advanced concepts are developed in number theory such as writing, interpreting and using expressions and equations. Students begin to work with rational numbers. Multiple problem-solving strategies are explored. Students are grouped based on performance criteria in order to provide challenge for those at all levels of understanding and to emphasize mastery of material. • Understand ratio and proportion • Analyze and apply statistical models and graphs, and perform probability experiments • Solve for area and volume • Apply complex percent calculations • Explore properties of plane and space figures • Develop an understanding of the metric system • Compare and order integers • Solve complex problems and simplify expressions with decimals, fractions and integers • Solve multi-step equations and problems • Master number theory concepts such as properties, factors, multiples, prime numbers and divisibility Science (Earth Science) In sixth grade science, students investigate our home planet. They investigate Earth as part of the Solar System, its geology and its atmosphere. Lab safety, proper use of lab equipment and the scientific method are stressed, with all units including hands-on and inquiry-based activities. Students develop the skills of observation, inference, measurement, accurate recording of data and forming conclusions. Students engage in the engineering
design process when they design, build, test and optimize wind turbine blades with the goal of maximizing electric output. • Measure using the metric system • Use technology for data collection, organization, analysis and sharing • Use evidence to draw conclusions • Observe and document the moon over the course of a month • Model how Earth’s movement and position produce day and night, seasons and phases of the moon • Investigate plate tectonics and its relationship to geological processes, including volcanoes • Explore how underlying physical science concepts including gravity, density, heat transfer and energy impact the dynamic processes of our planet • Compare renewable and non-renewable energy resources • Investigate causes, effects and prevention of climate change • Work collaboratively with peers in a variety of activities, including discussions and lab investigations • Extend use of Spanish outside the classroom through special assignments • Use supplemental reading to connect learning to other disciplines • Investigate, compare and contrast aspects of Hispanic and U.S. culture World Language (Spanish) Sixth grade Spanish builds on the four language skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing. Students concentrate on expanding vocabulary topics and grammatical structures integrating interpersonal, interpretive and presentational skills. Through communicative task-based assignments, students advance in conversational skills and study culture within the context of vocabulary topics while developing insights into the relationship between language and culture.
• Develop comprehension and speaking skills • Communicate in interactions such as classroom routines, school life, meals at home and at a restaurant, team sports and sporting events • Expand use of expressions of likes and dislikes in questions and answers • Recognize and apply grammatical concepts that include regular and irregular verb conjugations, contractions, expressions with the infinitive, prepositions, nounadjective agreement, subject-verb agreement, introduction to irregular verbs and stem-changing verbs in present tense • Develop sentence structure observing spelling, punctuation, word order and grammar • Use level-appropriate readings to gain cultural understanding and access to other disciplines • Research profiles of famous Hispanics to enrich cultural understanding Spanish – Advanced Level Language students will have the opportunity to take Advanced Spanish beginning in sixth grade. The program is designed to advance learners’ outcomes in the four skills of listening, reading, writing and speaking while developing deeper connections to Hispanic cultures. Placement will be determined by academic performance in fifth grade and teacher recommendation, and a high level of performance must be maintained to remain at the advanced level in seventh grade. • Expand knowledge of vocabulary topics for increased competency • Refine pronunciation, reading and writing ability • Study grammatical concepts in more depth • Develop proficiency in comprehension and oral expression
Fifth and Sixth Grade Special Subjects and Activities
Adventure Week Bring Your Own Laptop Program In September, fifth grade students go on single-day trips All middle school students bring their own laptops to to the United States Military Academy at West Point school every day and use them as a key academic tool. and other local educational sites. Sixth grade students The school uses Google Apps for Education as its main go on a two-day overnight trip to Nature’s Classroom platform, allowing students to communicate, collaborate, in Ivoryton, CT, to complement both their science and access information and submit their work. their history study. “Challenge by Choice” Activities Advisory Some middle school students choose to compete in Advisory forms the heart of the middle school program. academic competitions in areas such as writing, math In a middle school environment, where students assume and art. The school makes a variety of these opportunities increasing personal responsibility and independence, it available to students throughout the year. is important to have adult advocates at school looking Character Education/Service Learning after students’ best interests. Students are introduced to advisory in homeroom groups in fifth grade. Beginning in In recognition of the 4 C’s and the importance of sixth grade, advisory groups are composed of about eight character education at The Elisabeth Morrow School, each middle school class commits to a yearly service students. All students begin each day in their advisories. endeavor. Examples have included weekly trips to local In addition, during one long period during the week, elementary schools to read to students, knitting dolls for students meet in advisory and develop organizational orphaned children and collecting food and assembling skills, self-advocacy, team building, character education, snack packs for a social service agency. Students peer relations and community service. frequently suggest and execute their own service projects. Advisors maintain consistent contact with parents and In recent years, individual students have conceptualized collaborate with them as partners. Advisors facilitate and led initiatives to collect food and donations for parent-teacher conferences and manage the progress Hurricane Sandy relief and organize a book drive for report process, including writing an advisory comment teachers serving underprivileged communities. summarizing students’ strengths and challenges as well as observations regarding social interactions. In seventh and Chorus eighth grade, students lead the advisor-parent conference. All fifth and sixth grade students perform in the EMS Middle School Chorus. Students learn about tone, voice Additionally, eighth grade advisors assist students in inflection and two- and three-part harmony. The chorus managing the secondary school application process. performs at both the Holiday Concert and the Festival Assembly of the Arts as well as many outreach concerts in our Each Friday, all Morrow House students and teachers community. Our students have performed at Bergen gather for assembly. Students come to school dressed Family Center, The Lillian Booth Actors Home and in business attire (“Assembly Dress”) to bring a sense the Southeast Senior Center. They also participate in of importance to the event. At assembly, students share American Young Voices at the Prudential Center, in a successes, solidify community values and celebrate concert with 7,000 other middle school students. our students’ many talents. Assemblies are studentElectives centered and frequently involve student performance, a Students have opportunities to explore their interests presentation of curriculum or a celebration of student and passions through our fifth and sixth grade electives success. Periodically, the entire school meets in an program. Electives are offered on a semester basis and All-School Assembly in order to unite the community.
fall into one of four categories: fine arts, performing arts, technology and community service. While electives change each semester based on student interest and resources available, examples of electives include the following: improvisational acting, robotics, game making, drawing and painting, newspaper and community outreach. Evaluation and Grading In January and June, detailed reports of students’ progress in all subject areas are available to parents online through our password-protected Learning Management System. These reports include general course guidelines, individual skills assessments via a standards checkbox and an individual written narrative about each student’s performance. Sixth, seventh and eighth grade students also receive a letter grade for all academic subjects. Fifth grade students do not receive letter grades. In October and March, parents meet with teachers in conferences to learn about their child’s performance and progress. In seventh and eighth grade, students lead their own conferences. The student-led conference structure allows students to be directly accountable for reflecting on and communicating their own progress and can be an active part of developing strategies and setting goals for themselves. Fifth and Sixth Grade Musical Theater Fifth and sixth grade students can perform in a musical theater elective. Students learn how to read and analyze a script, use stage direction, blocking and choreography. The performance includes lighting, sound, costumes and sets. The class culminates in a fully-staged performance for classmates, family and friends. Homework The purpose of homework is to reinforce skills taught in school. It teaches students the importance of organization and preparation, especially for long-term projects. Homework is updated on the learning portal daily, and students can access a test and major assessments calendar for planning purposes. Approximate amount
of homework varies by grade level, course load and of stamina, strength, endurance, aerobic capacity and individual student work habits; however, teachers aim for flexibility. Sixth grade students also have the option to one hour to 90 minutes total per evening in fifth and sixth participate on interscholastic athletics teams with seventh grade and two hours total per evening in seventh and and eighth grade students. eighth grade. For several days each year, students learn about substance abuse through an organization called Freedom from Instrumental Music Chemical Dependency. They gain a deep understanding Children in fifth and sixth grade all study orchestral of the science of addictive substances, role-play scenarios instruments in lesson groups, sectionals and large where they may come into contact with addictive ensembles. Fifth and sixth graders begin their large substances and receive a firsthand account of the ensemble experience in the Orchestra. The students consequences from a recovering substance abuser. experience age-appropriate arrangements of classical music as well as jazz, rock and music by contemporary composers. They also have an opportunity to perform in the Superchamber Orchestra, Stage Band, Jazz Ensemble and Rock Band. Our students have been featured at Carnegie Hall, Radio City Music Hall, BergenPAC and New Jersey Performing Arts Center.
Library Media Within the Library Media Program, students continue to improve upon their information literacy skills as they learn to use the Morrow House Research Process. They hone their skills to locate trustworthy, subject-specific print and electronic sources for their individual research. Students learn the importance of citing their work and following MLA guidelines. Learning note-taking skills helps students discern relevant information that pertains to their research topics. These skills are developed through varied library resources that directly support their studies. With a continued focus on independent reading, they develop a love of literature and grow to become efficient, effective and ethical researchers. Physical Education In fifth and sixth grade physical education, students grow and develop physically, cognitively and socially to the fullest of their abilities. Movement skills, athletic techniques and health-related fitness are taught using a variety of activities, with a focus on group participation, teamwork and sportsmanship throughout every task and challenge. Students are tested at least twice a year to evaluate their individual fitness level in the form
Standardized Testing In fifth and sixth grade, students take the CTP 4, which is a standardized test published by the Educational Records Bureau (ERB) designed to provide instructionally useful information about student performance in the key areas of school achievement and as a benchmark for curricular assessment. Results are shared with families.
digital literacies and online safety. Students explore, design and create, using multiple software and hardware tools, with the ultimate goal being the ability to navigate, adapt and be successful in a rapidly changing world. Activities include using various multimedia tools, 3D modeling, designing games, programming, image editing and imaging technologies. Visual Arts Fifth graders learn about colors, design, balance, proportion, abstract and critical thinking, using lines to create texture and positive and negative space. There is an emphasis on manipulating art materials in new and unexpected ways. Many projects are integrated into the fifth grade study of colonial America. Projects include:
• Self-portraits — students measure body proportions • Abstract art — students learn to think in terms of color and design • Scrimshaw — an art form created by whalers. Students Support study the creatures of the sea as they do their art project As children develop throughout their middle school years, the level and kind of support services vary according • Silhouettes — working with positive/negative areas to student needs and individual schedules. As in the • Masks — students create the look/feel of fur, feathers or lower school, differentiated instruction is facilitated scales of an animal they select through discussion, assessment and planning with the In connection with the sixth grade humanities Director of Special Learning Services and the learning curriculum, students are introduced to Ancient Greek specialist. Recommendations and accommodations and medieval styles, including lettering, symbols, are made on an as-needed basis. The learning specialist mosaics and stained glass. Eye/hand coordination, visual helps the classroom teachers integrate recommendations perception, small motor coordination, creative thinking, and accommodations into course curriculum. Students problem-solving and time management skills are used in who require consistent and frequent curriculum-based every project. support meet with the learning specialist for specific class Projects include: periods. A reduced student-to-teacher ratio for children who have difficulty with executive functioning or require • Greek lettering — Students learn about symbols of ancient Greece and Greek lettering minimal support is available during guided study and other study hall times with classroom teachers and the • Greek mosaics — Works on eye/hand coordination learning specialist. • Medieval banner — Students again work with lettering, design and symbols to create a banner Technology • Stained glass — Students work with color transparenUsing a vast array of tools and resources, fifth and sixth cies, how colors change when one color is overlapping grade technology classes focus on key technology skills, another
Seventh Grade Students in seventh grade study a rich, challenging academic curriculum that is enhanced by experiences in visual and performing arts and sports. In addition to their class responsibilities, students choose from a variety of electives in technology, visual arts, performing arts and service learning. Students take five or six academic classes: English, history, math, science and language (some students take two languages). Technology is integrated into the curriculum in all areas as appropriate and all students participate in a Bring Your Own Laptop program. Students also participate in an extended overnight Adventure Week field trip. English/Language Arts In seventh grade, students continue to increase their capacity to understand and appreciate enduring literature. Students question complex literary texts, articulating their factual and interpretive understanding in both Socratic discussions and the drafting of literary analysis papers. Seventh grade students master the five-paragraph literary essay, focusing on argumentation skills and the conventions of formal writing. Additionally, seventh grade students undertake a rigorous grammar and vocabulary curriculum. • Continue to refine reading comprehension skills by learning to investigate text with factual, interpretive and evaluative questions • Respond to readings with specific focus or lens such as theme and genre • Support claims in response to interpretive reading by offering textual evidence • Identify and analyze effectiveness of literary and rhetorical devices • Write with analytical focus and support thesis-driven writing with textual evidence • Analyze grammatical structure and parse sentences
• Expand vocabulary in both oral and written expression • Literature may include The Pearl, Of Mice and Men, Fahrenheit 451 and A Midsummer Night’s Dream as well as selected short stories and poetry History (Identities and Change in Asia and the Middle East) Seventh grade students investigate the history, politics, cultures and religions of Asia. One of the most critical and complex regions of the world, students study East Asia, South Asia and Southeast/Southwest Asia and Central Asia to develop an understanding of the region’s importance in world politics and to gain an awareness of the interconnectedness of the world. Continued focus on the research process and writing through an analytical paper on a controversial 20th-century political leader in Asia furthers students’ ability to locate, discriminate and apply varied sources of information. • Identify location, physical characteristics, land use, climate and natural resources • Examine how natural resources determine a country’s wealth and status in the world economic system, determining its political influence • Analyze political and economic systems • Compare and contrast communism and capitalism • Examine the role of tradition and history in shaping the region • Investigate the main tenets of the major religions • Appraise the role of European colonization within the region
• Explore the causes and effects of conflicts within the region • Evaluate the region’s critical importance to world politics • Discuss current events to promote informed citizenship and to raise awareness of global issues Mathematics (Pre-Algebra and Algebra I) In seventh grade, a strong emphasis is placed on word problems to accompany each topic as students begin to translate sentences into variable expressions, equations and inequalities. Students also learn how to solve and graph these equations and inequalities. Students are grouped based on performance criteria in order to provide challenge for those at all levels of understanding and to emphasize mastery of material. • Perform operations with monomials and polynomials • Explore a variety of problem-solving techniques individually and collaboratively • Solve equations and inequalities with rational numbers, including both positive and negative fractions and decimals • Gain mastery of rates, ratios and proportions • Understand similarity, scale drawings and probability • Solve problems that include direct and inverse variation • Explore various geometry topics, including Pythagorean theorem, area, volume and surface area • Learn functions, including graphing equations and inequalities • Develop proficiency in coordinate geometry Science (Physical Science) In seventh grade, students investigate the principles of chemistry and physics and use them to explain aspects of their everyday lives. Lab safety, proper use of lab equipment and the scientific method are stressed, as all units include hands-on or inquiry-based activities. The skills of observation, inference, measurement, accurate recording of data and making conclusions are further developed.
• Design controlled experiments to answer testable questions • Investigate physical and chemical properties of matter and states of matter • Investigate the periodic table, its organization and use • Explore how atomic structure determines the physical and chemical properties of elements and the compounds they form • Investigate atomic bonding and practice balancing chemical equations • Identify, compare and contrast physical and chemical changes in matter • Investigate and perform chemical reactions • Investigate waves and the electromagnetic spectrum and their modern uses • Work collaboratively with peers in a variety of activities, including discussions and lab investigations World Language (Latin, Spanish) There are two language tracks beginning in seventh grade. Students have the option to focus on the study of only one language or to take two languages concurrently. Seventh grade students participate in the National Spanish and Latin Exams each March and exhibit their deep cultural understandings in a World Language assembly. Latin In seventh grade Latin, students build vocabulary, study grammar and develop reading skills while learning about Roman history and culture. Students will read Latin from the very start, following the lives of a Roman family of the patrician class through various adventures and rites of passage experienced by the children. Throughout their readings, students will examine Rome’s multicultural and class-stratified society and study the impact of slavery on the ancient economy. Students will also study the foundation myths from Aeneas to Romulus, forms of Roman government and politics, as well as classical architecture and the engineering of the city.
• Comprehend, translate and evaluate Latin stories through the history and culture of the ancient Roman world • Discuss and argue the cultural relevance of Roman culture and history • Develop and expand Latin vocabulary and English derivatives • Identify and decline nouns in the nominative, genitive, dative, accusative and ablative cases of the first three declensions • Recognize, form and translate the present, imperfect, future and perfect tense verbs of all four conjugations • Determine and translate all forms of the irregular verbs volo, nolo and possum along with their complementary infinitives • Recognize and translate first-, second- and thirdperson personal pronouns • Form and use the imperative mood and vocative address • Understand noun-adjective agreement and the formation of positive, comparative and superlative adjectives and adverbs Spanish In seventh grade Spanish, students build upon their sixth grade Spanish knowledge as they develop oral and written communication and promote cultural competence and sensitivity about Hispanic countries and Spanish-speaking people in our community and around the world. The course introduces new vocabulary topics along with supporting grammar, integrating social expression and culture. Students write more complex sentences, enhancing their ability to communicate and perceive language expression more accurately. • Express understanding of written passages and discussions • Communicate in interactions such as various sports, health and wellbeing and medical situations, leisure activities and social celebrations
• Express personal preferences, likes and dislikes, needs and feelings in situational contexts • Recognize and apply grammatical structures such as regular and irregular verbs in present and preterite tense, stem-changing verbs, direct and indirect object pronouns and affirmative and negative constructions • Use proper grammar, spelling and vocabulary in interpersonal and presentational communication • Participate in immersion experiences outside the classroom • Investigate, compare and contrast customs and traditions of Hispanic and American culture Spanish – Advanced Level In seventh grade, Advanced Spanish progresses at an accelerated pace, allowing students to investigate additional material in language and culture. Students continue to advance in the four skills of listening, reading, writing and speaking while developing deeper connections to Hispanic cultures. Placement will be determined by academic performance in sixth grade and teacher recommendation, and a high level of performance must be maintained to remain at the advanced level in eighth grade. • Expand knowledge of vocabulary topics • Evaluate and apply grammatical concepts • Advance proficiency in listening comprehension and writing • Engage in common language situations through taskbased activities • Refine pronunciation and spelling • Extend use of Spanish outside the classroom through special assignments • Access authentic materials to connect learning to other disciplines • Study and discuss selections about Hispanic literature • Investigate, compare and contrast aspects of Hispanic and U.S. culture 27
Eighth Grade Students in their culminating year at The Elisabeth Morrow School study a rich, challenging academic curriculum that is enhanced by experiences in the visual and performing arts and sports. Students take five or six academic classes: English, history, math, science and one or two world languages. Technology is integrated into the curriculum in all areas as appropriate and all students participate in a Bring Your Own Laptop program. Students also participate in Decisions, a signature EMS program that helps students navigate the secondary school admissions process. American History (The Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement) Eighth grade students explore historical perspectives, analyze the importance of who is telling the story and develop an interest in and awareness of politics and current events. They recognize and explain multiple points of view and incorporate that into their discussions. Topics of study include civics and the foundations of government, Supreme Court cases, the Civil War, Reconstruction, immigration and urbanization, the Gilded Age, the Progressive Era, the Civil Rights Movement and current events. Students read and explore significant New York Times articles each day. Eighth graders study major political events like the State of the Union Address and election cycles and analyze them through class discussion and written responses.
• Understand historical perspective and the importance of who is writing the history • Explore use of tools beyond textbooks to interpret the past • Understand how the relationship between conflict and change impacts the ideas of tolerance, pluralism, human dignity, equality and justice in the context of American history • Explore civics and the foundations of government • Master analytical skills, including contextualizing the present in light of the past and weighing conflicting interpretation of events • Employ research skills, including formulating and supporting a thesis, note-taking and evaluating the credibility of sources • Engage in robust discussion and analysis of current events
• Evaluate how civic and political participation of the citizenry ensures democracy • Texts include primary historical sources and major news sources for current events • Special projects include a research paper on a topic about the Civil Rights Movement that allows students to analyze how social activism, legal struggle and legislation during that time promoted change English/Language Arts Students in eighth grade expand on their understanding of and appreciation for enduring literature and deepen their skills and strategies for interpreting and analyzing complex literary texts. They study poetry, short stories and essays. Integrating with themes explored in history, they expand their understanding of the Civil War and slavery with their reading of Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass and a subsequent personal narrative. They also draw parallels between both the American Civil Rights Movement and current events through close reading of To Kill a Mockingbird. • Engage in Socratic discussion of literature • Recognize theme and interpretive content in literary texts • Further develop active reading skills by consistently questioning and interacting with text • Support claims in response to interpretive reading by offering textual evidence • Closely analyze short passages of text by analyzing and evaluating rhetorical technique • Master analytical/argumentative focus in written work • Synthesize multiple literary texts, interpreting and evaluating relationships among them
• Expand beyond the structure of traditional fiveparagraph essay • Literature may include Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, A Raisin in the Sun, To Kill a Mockingbird and Romeo and Juliet as well as short stories and poetry Mathematics (Introduction to Algebra 1, Algebra I and Geometry) Students in eighth grade are grouped based on performance criteria in order to provide challenge for those at all levels of understanding and to emphasize mastery of material. They study a rigorous Algebra I or Geometry curriculum. • Evaluate numerical and algebraic expressions • Solve, graph and write linear, absolute value and polynomial equations • Understand systems of equations and inequalities • Transform literal equations • Understand exponents and exponential functions • Understand polynomials and factoring • Develop formal proof writing skills, including logic • Apply a formula • Make a deductive argument • Analyze errors Science (Biology) In eighth grade, students apply their knowledge of chemistry gained in the seventh grade to the living world. We investigate the big question, “What is life?” Starting small, students learn about cells and the molecules within them. They then investigate big life processes, including photosynthesis, cellular respiration and heredity. Students use this foundation to learn about human body systems and to research and understand a particular human illness or disease of their choice. • Observe and document both plant and animal cells with microscopes • Understand photosynthesis and cellular respiration as examples of energy transfer and conservation of mass • Explore the relationship between structure and function • Investigate forces and motion
• Identify and explain patterns of inheritance • Grow, measure, cross-pollinate and harvest Wisconsin Fast Plants, an organism that illustrates cellular growth, photosynthesis and genetic inheritance • Ask testable questions and design experiments to answer these questions • Collect both quantitative and qualitative data • Use technology for data collection, organization, analysis and sharing • Use evidence to draw conclusions • Read, understand and present current biology articles and make specific connections to concepts studied in class • Work collaboratively with peers in a variety of activities, including discussions and lab investigations World Language (Latin, Spanish) The study of language becomes more complex and rigorous in the culminating year of middle school. Students will continue their study of either one or two languages in eighth grade, studying Spanish in addition to Latin, or Latin alone. Eighth grade students participate in the National Spanish and Latin Exams each March and exhibit their deep cultural understandings in a World Language assembly. Latin Eighth grade coursework further develops and refines reading skills begun in seventh grade. Students develop and gain a greater command of vocabulary, derivatives and grammar. The readings and cultural studies in eighth grade Latin focus on the empires of the Mediterranean and the impact of the Punic Wars. Students learn about the heroes of the Republic, the rise of Caesar and Octavian and the shift from Republic to Empire. Students will also have exposure to authentic texts in the form of inscriptions and selected poetry of Martial and Catullus. Upon successful completion of the course, students are expected to be able to place into Latin II in secondary school.
• Comprehend, translate, summarize and evaluate Latin stories through the history and culture of the ancient Roman world • Discuss and argue about the cultural relevance of Roman history and culture • Develop and expand Latin vocabulary and English derivatives • Identify and parse nouns in all five declensions and in all forms of the nominative, genitive, dative, accusative and ablative cases, including specialized uses of the ablative case • Recognize, form and translate pluperfect and future perfect indicative verb tenses • Form and translate the passive voice of all verb tenses • Identify and translate relative, demonstrative, indefinite and interrogative pronouns and adjectives • Form and interpret passive infinitives • Differentiate present, perfect passive and future participles and their uses • Begin the study of the subjunctive mood verbs in the active voice Spanish The goal of the Spanish curriculum in eighth grade is to reinforce and refine linguistic and cultural proficiency. Students enhance written and oral communication as they continue to acquire more sophisticated vocabulary and supporting grammar within the context of culture. Emphasis is placed on writing more complex sentences at paragraph level while extending reading, listening and speaking skills. Students complete at minimum the equivalent of the Spanish I curriculum and are expected to be able to place into Spanish II or beyond in secondary school upon successful completion of this course. • Express understanding of passages and conversations • Communicate in interactions related to Hispanic art and music, vacation and travel, commerce and technology, food and dining experiences, celebrations and holidays
• Recognize and apply grammatical concepts such as regular and irregular verbs in present, preterite and imperfect tense, present progressive, reflexive verbs, the passive voice, informal commands, introduction to the future and present perfect tense • Master key language agreement rules • Continue to practice speaking skills leading to social participation with native Spanish speakers locally and globally • Participate in immersion experiences outside the classroom • Access and evaluate authentic texts to discuss current events, culture and interdisciplinary topics Spanish – Advanced Level In eighth grade, Advanced Spanish continues to progress at an accelerated pace with the goal of refining students’ listening, reading, writing and speaking skills while developing deeper connections to Hispanic cultures. Conversation is emphasized, aiming to stimulate spontaneous speech in common language interactions. Students are encouraged to express opinions orally and in writing about appropriately chosen current events from local and international news. Placement will be determined by academic performance in seventh grade and teacher recommendation. The more intensive approach to language acquisition facilitates higher placement expectations in high school. • Expand usage of vocabulary topics • Extend application of grammatical functions • Advance proficiency in listening comprehension and oral expression • Extend use of Spanish outside the classroom through special assignments • Access authentic materials to connect learning to current events and other disciplines • Research, write about and discuss historic events and contributions of prominent Hispanic figures • Investigate, compare and contrast aspects of Hispanic and U.S. culture
Third Grade Seventh and Eighth Grade Special Subjects and Activities
Adventure Week Seventh and eighth grade students take part in two-day “challenge-by-choice,” overnight outdoor education experiences. Seventh grade students travel to a YMCA camp, where they engage in high and low ropes, team-building activities, canoeing, orienteering and adventure-related activities. Eighth graders begin preparing for their role as leaders in the school and in the secondary school process in a retreat format with their advisors.
Athletics (Physical Education) Students in seventh and eighth grade fulfill their physical education expectation through interscholastic athletics and/or the intramural program. All students participate in at least one team sport per year, with many students playing multiple seasons. In addition to team sports such as flag football, tennis, soccer, basketball, hockey and lacrosse, physical education offerings include Pilates, yoga and intramurals.
Advisory Advisory forms the heart of the middle school program. In a middle school environment, where students assume increasing personal responsibility and independence, it is important to have adult advocates at school looking after students’ best interests. Students are introduced to advisory in homeroom groups in fifth grade. Beginning in sixth grade, advisory groups are composed of about eight students. All students begin each day in their advisories. In addition, during one long period during the week, students meet in advisory and develop organization, self-advocacy, team building, character education, peer relations and community service.
Students also engage in health education, where they develop an understanding and perspectives on human reproduction, healthy decision-making and relationships. The school engages Planned Parenthood to lead these sessions and students are grouped by gender and in mixed classes to provide the optimal context for learning.
Advisors maintain consistent contact with parents and collaborate with them as partners. Advisors facilitate parent-teacher conferences and manage the progress report process, including writing an advisory comment, summarizing students’ strengths and challenges as well as observations regarding social interactions. In seventh and eighth grade, students lead the advisor-parent conference.
Bring Your Own Laptop Program All middle school students bring their own laptops to school every day and use them as a key academic tool. The school uses Google Apps for Education as its main platform, allowing students to communicate, collaborate, access information and submit their work.
Assembly Each Friday, all Morrow House students and teachers gather for assembly. Students come to school dressed in business attire (“Assembly Dress”) to bring a sense of importance to the event. At assembly, students share successes, solidify community values and celebrate our students’ many talents. Assemblies are student-centered and frequently involve student performance, a presentation of curriculum or a celebration of student success. Periodically, the entire school community meets in an All-School Assembly in order to unite the community.
For several days each year, students learn about substance abuse through an organization called Freedom from Chemical Dependency. They gain a deep understanding of the science of addictive substances, role-play reallife scenarios where they may come into contact with addictive substances and receive a firsthand account of the consequences from a recovering substance abuser.
“Challenge by Choice” Activities Some middle school students choose to compete in academic competitions in areas such as writing, math and art. The school makes a variety of these opportunities available to students throughout the year. Character Education/Service Learning In recognition of the 4 C’s and the importance of character education at The Elisabeth Morrow School, each middle school class commits to a yearly service endeavor. Examples have included weekly trips to local elementary schools to read to students, knitting dolls for orphaned children and collecting food and assembling snack packs
for a social service agency. Students frequently suggest and execute their own service projects. In recent years, individual students have conceptualized and led initiatives to collect food and donations for Hurricane Sandy relief and organize a book drive for teachers serving underprivileged communities. Electives Technology-specific classes, visual and performing arts and service-learning classes are taught through the elective offerings in seventh and eighth grade. Students are provided with choices so that they may pursue their passions and interests deeply. Electives meet for one full hour on four days of a six-day schedule rotation. Students will take two, three or four different electives each semester, depending on whether their chosen electives meet once or twice per six-day rotation. Electives are offered on a semester basis and fall into one of four categories: fine arts, performing arts, technology and community service. Students are expected to complete at least one elective in each category over the course of their seventh and eighth grade years. While electives change each semester based on student interest and resources available, examples of electives include the following: the seventh/eighth grade musical, chorus, Stomp, play/musical writing, Poetry Out Loud, creative writing, robotics, coding, drawing and painting, ceramics, art portfolio creation (for competitions or for secondary school applications), newspaper, yearbook and community outreach. Ensemble Instrumental Music Students in seventh and eighth grade study music through the development of their artistic passions. As an electivebased program, students explore the subject as active participants in the creative process. Students have the opportunity to sing in a chorus as well as perform in the large orchestra (which frequently represents more than three-quarters of the middle school student body), the advanced chamber orchestra called “Superchamber,” the Jazz Ensemble and the Rock Band. Through the study of Western art music and contemporary music, students
also integrate music theory and music history into their studies while developing a deep connection to the middle school’s music community. These experiences enable them to understand the significance of personal expression through ensemble music performance. Evaluation and Grading In January and June, detailed reports of students’ progress are available to parents online through our passwordprotected Learning Management System. These reports include general course guidelines, individual skills assessments via a standards checkbox and an individual written narrative about each student’s performance. Sixth, seventh and eighth grade students also receive a letter grade for all academic subjects. In October and March, parents meet with teachers in conferences to learn about their child’s performance and progress. In seventh and eighth grade, students lead their own conferences. The student-led conference structure allows students to be directly accountable for reflecting on and communicating their own progress and can be an active part of developing strategies and setting goals for themselves. Homework The purpose of homework is to reinforce skills taught in school. It teaches students the importance of organization and preparation, especially for long-term projects. Homework is updated on the learning portal daily, and students can access a test and major assessments calendar for planning purposes. Approximate amount of homework varies by grade level, course load and individual student work habits; however, teachers aim for two hours total per evening in seventh and eighth grade. Library Media Students continue to apply research skills, developed over time, that are part of the Morrow House Research Process. By evaluating online resources, utilizing subjectspecific print sources and honing note-taking skills, students recognize relevant information to support their research projects. They continue to develop sophisticated
search strategies to solve information problems and meet their informational needs. Students review MLA bibliographic format and copyright guidelines in order to avoid plagiarism. Our robust collection, always available, continues to encourage students to explore a variety of literature. Secondary School Placement The highly personalized placement process begins in the spring of seventh grade with an orientation for parents and evening panel discussions with former EMS parents and directors of admissions. The school also hosts a Secondary School Fair with representatives of over 40 day and boarding schools present, and students participate in Decisions regular meetings that focus on the application and interview process. Test prep is offered at school in the fall of eighth grade and both the Secondary School Admission Test (SSAT) and the Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE) are offered at school for students’ comfort and convenience. Seventh and Eighth Grade Chamber Choir Chorus in the middle school is designed to expose students to a variety of singing techniques and styles. From folk songs to musicals to choral works, students sing repertoire that is appropriate for middle school voices. More emphasis is placed on singing songs with two-, threeand four-part harmonies. In addition, students work on musicianship through blending tone and focus on phrasing and breathing. In the past, the Chamber Choir has performed in the High Note Festival, Hershey Park and the WorldStrides Heritage Festival in Annapolis, MD. Seventh and Eighth Grade Musical/Play Seventh and eighth grade students can choose to perform in a musical as a part of the electives program. They perform a different musical each year. The repertoire is drawn from the standard Broadway Jr. literature. Students learn how to read and analyze a script, use stage direction, blocking and choreography. The performance includes lighting, sound, costumes and sets. The class culminates in a fully staged performance for classmates, family and friends.
Seventh and Eighth Grade Performance Groups All seventh and eighth grade students are expected to perform at both the Holiday Concert in December and the Festival of the Arts in May. Students may choose to be members of one or several of the different performance offerings. Performance groups include ensemble instrumental music offerings, chorus and Stomp. Standardized Testing Requirements In seventh and eighth grade, students take the CTP 4, which is a standardized test published by the Educational Records Bureau (ERB). It is designed to provide instructionally useful information about student performance in the key areas of school achievement and as a benchmark for curricular assessment. Results are shared with families. Stomp Stomp students study, practice and perform music through rhythm using everyday household objects. A variety of rhythmic styles are introduced and utilized, along with observation of how each pattern functions when combined with other instruments and performers. Student contribution of creative material is encouraged. Support As children develop throughout their middle school years, the level and kind of support services vary according to student needs and individual schedules. As in the lower school, differentiated instruction is facilitated through discussion, assessment and planning with the Director of Special Learning Services. Recommendations and accommodations are made on an as-needed basis. Students who require consistent and frequent curriculumbased support meet with a learning specialist for specific class periods. A reduced student-to-teacher ratio for children who have difficulty with executive functioning or require minimal support is available during guided study and other study hall times with classroom teachers and the learning specialist. 31
Activity Day: A tradition for more than 25 years, this on-campus event gives first through fourth graders an opportunity for fun and fitness outdoors. Adventure Week: At the beginning of the school year, middle school students take part in “Challenge by Choice” outdoor educational experiences. Fifth grade students take day trips as well as familiarize themselves with the Morrow House building while sixth, seventh and eighth grade students travel on three-day, two-night trips to explore the outdoors. Apple Bake Sale: This Little School Special Olympics fundraiser was started in the 1990s by beloved teacher Grace Muller to bring awareness to students with special needs. Apple Tree Song: All students learn the school song and sing it together at assemblies and other celebrations. The song unifies students, faculty and alumni and
promotes the ideal that our students develop strong roots while at EMS, and that they grow in unique and beautiful directions when they leave. Assembly: Little School (first through fourth grade) and Morrow House (fifth through eighth grade) meet weekly in Assembly to share successes, solidify community values and celebrate students’ many talents. Middle school students wear business attire (Assembly Dress) in acknowledgment of the importance of the event. Periodically, the entire school meets in an All-School Assembly in order to unite the community. Book Fair: is a spectacular multi-day event for all grade levels that includes presentations by visiting authors, a café and other activities and allows families to purchase books for themselves and to donate to our libraries. Buddies: Approximately once a month, students from different grade levels meet as buddies to engage
in activities. Older students serve as mentors to their younger buddies while younger students enjoy the opportunity to share their enthusiasm. Cocoa Party: Susan Graham, one of the first kindergarten teachers hired when the school opened its doors in 1930, began the Cocoa Party tradition. The Chilton House librarian invites small groups of students from each of the classrooms to a party in the library. The table is set with a china tea set, cloth napkins, tablecloth, special snacks and, of course, hot cocoa. For each of their years in Chilton House, students listen to a story, have a quiet conversation and enjoy their special time together. Concert for the Chicks: A tradition for more than 20 years, this concert captures the interdisciplinary nature of an EMS education. Originally started as a way for young students to combat self-consciousness by practicing the violin for chicks that are part of their science studies, it is now a performance for friends and family that alumni remember for years to come. Festival of the Arts: The final major performance of the school year includes a student art show, poetry reading and music by bands, orchestras, ensembles and choral groups. Field Day: Field Day is a coveted tradition for EMS middle school students during which they demonstrate athletic skills and sportsmanship, develop solidarity among their peers and have fun. Founder’s Day Carnival: The Middle School Student Council sponsors a fundraising carnival in honor of the school’s founder, Elisabeth Morrow. Greek Olympics: Sixth grade students write original myths, perform Greek tragedies, participate in sports of the ancient Olympics and other activities as the culmination of their study of ancient Greece. Handshake: Each day, all students are greeted with a handshake from a school administrator or teacher. The handshake signifies the notion that each student is unique and known by caring adults in school, and that each day has purpose.
Kindergarten Circus: Started in 1934, the Kindergarten Circus is a culminating, developmentally appropriate rite of passage for the kindergartners as they say farewell to Chilton House. The students choose their roles, develop their acts and collaborate. Alumni remember their roles in the Circus for years to come. Kindergarten Flashlight Picnic: The event is a way of welcoming the parents and the students to participate collectively as a community in the EMS Book Fair. Families are invited to eat picnic style in the kindergarten classrooms, after which students use flashlights to illuminate the pathways up to the Peter Lawrence Gymkhana, where the annual Book Fair is held. Kindergarten Post Office: Set up in the hallways of Chilton House during February, the Post Office allows children to bring a real-world profession to life by collecting, sorting, stamping and delivering mail in the
building and throughout the school. Along with hands-on experience, the students visit the Englewood Post Office. Little School Holiday Program: The Holiday Program, a musical celebration of holidays throughout the world, is held every year before Winter Break. Mary Hawkins Fair: Using simple ideas and materials, children in the early childhood division transform a playground into a fun-filled carnival. The event is named after a long-tenured EMS teacher who was a passionate advocate for the importance of play in childrenâ€™s lives. Medieval Day: Sixth grade students dress, eat, dance, sing and perform to cap their study of Medieval Europe. Morrow House Holiday Concert: This concert, held before Winter Break, celebrates holidays throughout the world. Peter Rabbit Assembly: The Peter Rabbit Assembly started in the 1970s with a former teacher who integrated
music about the beloved Beatrix Potter character into what has now become a first grade cross-curricular study and exciting performance for families and students alike. Sing-along: Weekly sing-alongs have been part of the Chilton House experience for many years and are one of the first community-building experiences our youngest students experience. Violin Playdown: The only concert involving every violin student at The Elisabeth Morrow School, the Playdown builds with each piece played by more violinists, and ends with a finale where the eighth graders partner with the beginners. Watermelon Picnic: The Picnic is an end-of-the-year celebration for students in Chilton House. The children gather together with the entire building to celebrate their achievements and enjoy this delicious summer treat.
The Elisabeth Morrow School 435 Lydecker Street, Englewood, NJ 07631 201.568.5566 x7212