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Note:  If you would like detailed information regarding math and literacy curriculum, please refer to the Handbook section of this website, under K-4 Math and Literacy Outcomes.



Achieving Literacy Success

Houghton Mifflin Reading:  The Nation's Choice is built on a solid foundation of scientific-based research.  Explicit, systematic instruction and a variety of recourses ensure success for all students.  This new comprehensive program provides:

  • Explicit, systematic instruction
  • Beginning reading success with thorough development of oral language, phonemic awareness, letter recognition, phonics and blending skills, and a high-frequency vocabulary recognition.
  • Early reading fluency with hundreds of selections of engaging decodable text in Grades K-2
  • Independence an confidence in readers with a gradual transition from decodable text to trade literature
  • Consistent development of comprehension strategies and skills, starting in kindergarten and increasing in emphasis as students move into the intermediate grades.
  • A comprehensive assessment system to diagnose, inform and document student progress
  • Extensive support to reinforce and extend instruction in response to the needs of all students

A comprehensive collection of literature resources to meet the independent reading and fluency development needs of all students.  

For more information, visit the Nation's Choice page of the Houghton Mifflin website.

Social Curriculum

Responsive Classroom®

The Responsive Classroom® is an approach to teaching and learning that fosters safe, challenging, and joyful classrooms and schools, kindergarten through eighth grade.  Developed by classroom teachers, it consists of practical strategies for bringing together social and academic learning throughout the school day.

Since 1981, thousands of classroom teachers and hundreds of schools and school districts have used the Responsive Classroom® approach to help create learning environments where children thrive academically, socially, and emotionally. In urban, rural, and suburban settings nationwide, educators using these strategies report increases in student investment, responsibility, and learning, and decreases in problem behaviors.

Guiding Principles

The Responsive Classroom® approach is informed by the work of many great educational theorists as well as the experiences of exemplary classroom teachers. There are seven basic principles underlying this approach:

  • The social curriculum is as important as the academic curriculum.
  • How children learn is as important as what they learn: process and content go hand in hand.
  • The greatest cognitive growth occurs through social interaction.
  • There is a set of social skills children need in order to be successful academically and socially: cooperation, assertion, responsibility, empathy, and self-control.
  • Knowing the children we teach-individually, culturally, and developmentally–is as important as knowing the content we teach.
  • Knowing the families of the children we teach and inviting their participation is essential to children's education.
  • How the adults at school work together is as important as individual competence: Lasting change begins with the adult community.

Teaching Practices

Responsive Classroom® approach includes the following main teaching strategies and elements

  • Morning Meeting: A daily routine that builds community, creates a positive climate for learning, and reinforces academic and social skills.
  • Rules and Logical Consequences: A clear and consistent approach to discipline that fosters responsibility and self-control. 
  • Guided Discovery: A format for introducing materials that encourages inquiry, heightens interest, and teaches care of the school environment.
  • Academic Choice: An approach to giving children choices in their learning that helps them become invested, self-motivated learners.
  • Classroom Organization: Strategies for arranging materials, furniture, and displays to encourage independence, promote caring, and maximize learning.
  • Family Communication Strategies: Ideas for involving families as true partners in their children's education.

For more information, please visit www.responsiveclassroom.org


About Everyday Mathematics

Everyday Mathematics is a research-based curriculum developed by the   University of Chicago School Mathematics Project . UCSMP was founded in 1983 during a time of growing consensus that our nation was failing to provide its students with an adequate mathematical education. The goal of this on-going project is to significantly improve the mathematics curriculum and instruction for all school children in the U.S.

Development of Everyday Mathematics began with a research phase. During this phase, the authors of the curriculum reviewed a rich body of existing research on children's mathematical thinking and on curriculum and instruction. They also interviewed hundreds of K-3 children and surveyed instructional practices in other countries. Based on their findings, the authors established several basic principles that have guided the development of Everyday Mathematics. These principles are:

  • Students acquire knowledge and skills, and develop an understanding of mathematics from their own experience. Mathematics is more meaningful when it is rooted in real life contexts and situations, and when children are given the opportunity to become actively involved in learning. Teachers and other adults play a very important role in providing children with rich and meaningful mathematical experiences.
  • Children begin school with more mathematical knowledge and intuition than previously believed. A K-6 curriculum should build on this intuitive and concrete foundation, gradually helping children gain an understanding of the abstract and symbolic.
  • Teachers, and their ability to provide excellent instruction, are the key factors in the success of any program. Previous efforts to reform mathematics instruction failed because they did not adequately consider the working lives of teachers.

The authors of Everyday Mathematics believe that it is crucial to begin laying the groundwork for mathematical literacy at an earlier age than offered in traditional programs. Based on their own research, and other supporting research, the authors also firmly believe that children are capable of learning a great deal more than previously expected. For this reason the scope of the K-6 Everyday Mathematics curriculum includes the following mathematical strands:

  • Algebra and Uses of Variables
  • Data and Chance
  • Geometry and Spatial Sense
  • Measures and Measurement
  • Numeration and Order
  • Patterns, Functions, and Sequences
  • Operations
  • Reference Frames

By developing the curriculum one grade level at a time, the authors were able to carefully map out a sequence of instruction that interweaves concepts from each of these content strands throughout the curriculum. Because very few people learn a new concept or skill the first time they experience it, the curriculum is structured to provide multiple exposures to topics, and frequent opportunities to review and practice skills. A concept or skill that is informally introduced in kindergarten, for example, will be revisited, developed and extended numerous times, and in a variety of contexts, throughout the year and into later grades.

Curriculum Features

There are a number of features that distinguish the Everyday Mathematics curriculum. These include:

Real-life Problem Solving
Everyday Mathematics emphasizes the application of mathematics to real world situations. Numbers, skills and mathematical concepts are not presented in isolation, but are linked to situations and contexts that are relevant to everyday lives. The curriculum also provides numerous suggestions for incorporating mathematics into daily classroom routines and other subject areas.

Balanced Instruction
Each Everyday Mathematics lesson includes time for whole-group instruction as well as small group, partner, or individual activities. These activities balance teacher-directed instruction with opportunities for open-ended, hands-on explorations, long-term projects and on-going practice.

Multiple Methods for Basic Skills Practice
Everyday Mathematics provides numerous methods for basic skills practice and review. These include written and choral fact drills, mental math routines, practice with fact triangles (flash cards of fact families), daily sets of review problems called math boxes, homework, timed tests and a wide variety of math games.

Emphasis on Communication
Throughout the Everyday Mathematics curriculum students are encouraged to explain and discuss their mathematical thinking, in their own words. Opportunities to verbalize their thoughts and strategies give children the chance to clarify their thinking and gain insights from others.

Enhanced Home/School Partnerships
For grades 1-3, daily Home Links provide opportunities for family members to participate in the students' mathematical learning. Study Links are provided for most lessons in grades 4-6, and all grades include periodic letters to help keep parents informed about their children's experience with Everyday Mathematics

Appropriate Use of Technology
Everyday Mathematics teaches students how to use technology appropriately. The curriculum includes many activities in which learning is extended and enhanced through the use of calculators. At the same time, all activities in which calculators would function simply as crutches for basic computation are clearly marked with a "no calculator" sign.

For more information, please visit http://everydaymath.uchicago.edu/about.shtml  


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