Second Grade Spotlight!
Blog Post Written By: Ms. Heidi Donner, Second Grade Teacher
A second grader's day at MELA is filled with love, learning, and lifelong skills. This year has focused on relationship building and giving our scholars the tools to be successful throughout their education. Not only has our learning been about academics, but it has also focused on relationships and how to navigate disagreements in a healthy way.
At MELA, we recognize and follow the expectations of being mindful, empathetic, leaders, and accountable. Here are a few of the ways we address and celebrate social-emotional learning:
**Calm Connect our mindfulness program, is a patented system used around the world that contains dozens of short digital sequences designed to calm the nervous system and build a bridge to the social world quickly and effectively.
**Mindfulness with Justme is a series of seven mindfulness videos that are able to be applied to real-world situations. The skills our second graders learn have helped them during stressful times.
**Celebrate Student of the Month and Most Improved every month. The Student of the Month and Most Improved students get to sit at a special table in the lunchroom to celebrate!
**Students can earn MELA Tickets by showing mindfulness, empathy, leadership, or accountability. One MELA ticket winner each month gets an ice cream treat and celebrates with the class!
Students acquire a wide range of phonics skills in the Groves Literacy Framework through explicit phonemic awareness, letter-sound, and formation instruction. This curriculum was developed at Groves Academy, uses an Orton-Gillingham-based curriculum, and is rooted in decades of literacy and brain research. Most importantly, our instruction is culturally relevant; students can see themselves in the stories we read and the activities we do. Second grade is the first time our scholars get to dive into cursive! Not only is it important for students to be able to decode cursive, it also provides practice for fine motor skills.
Bridges in Mathematics
Students gain a deep understanding of concepts, proficiency with key skills, and the ability to solve complex problems. The curriculum is composed of three distinct but integrated components: Problems & Investigations, Workplaces, and Number Corner. Students practice the skills they learn in math lessons during the math workplace games that they play during centers. In addition to Bridges, we have tailored small group lessons to help target students learning individually. We believe learning should be tailored to each student to provide the best instruction possible.
Using the knowledge they acquire from our Literacy Instruction, second graders plan, write, and edit their writing. Second graders are focusing on using more complex language in their writing and learning about different writing structures to deepen their understanding.
Welcome to First Grade!
Blog Post Written by: Nichole Moretine (1st Grade Teacher) and Paula Barros (School Principal)
Welcome to 1st Grade!
After a wonderful time in Pre-K and Kindergarten, learning how to be a student at MELA, our 1st graders continue to learn more foundational skills, but now they are more independent and they make deeper connections in their academic life.
You will notice that your child will become a much more confident reader and writer. In 1st grade, we continue to use the Groves Method for phonics practice, and now that they are more used to this curriculum, they make great progress being able to sound out more complex words.They will also start using complete sentences and spelling words with increasing accuracy. Additionally in literacy, students will ponder about what they read, and talk about story elements, like the main ideas of stories.
In Math, we continue to use the curriculum Bridges in Mathematics. During this year, students focus intensively on the four critical areas specified by the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics in Grade One:
What are Students Doing Currently in 1st grade?
January's thematic focus is “Clouds and the Water Cycle”! Students have been reading and discussing the book Clouds by Erin Edison. The young scholars are identifying and applying “Question Words” such as Who, Where, What, When, and Why throughout their literacy unit. Students have enjoyed creating clouds with cotton balls, creating snow people by cutting and gluing shapes, acting out the water cycle, watching “Weather” in Brainpop, Jr., and playing with friends in the snow. Our next steps will be identifying the four types of clouds with descriptions, as well as creating stories about individual adventures in the snow! We are especially excited about reading our stories to one another in our class “Speaker Chair” and having a “Gallery Walk” with our illustrations.
We can't wait for your child to join MELA and share our excitement and enjoyment in our learning!
Kindergarten: Achieving our Goals
Written By: Ms. Kat Waltz and Ms. Erika Finanger, Kindergarten Teachers
Students acquire a wide range of phonics skills in the Groves Literacy Framework through explicit phonemic awareness, letter sound, and formation instruction. This curriculum was developed at Groves Academy, uses an Orton-Gillingham based curriculum and is rooted in decades of literacy and brain research. Most importantly, our instruction is culturally-relevant; students can see themselves in the stories we read and the activities we do.
Bridges in Mathematics
Students gain a deep understanding of concepts, proficiency with key skills, and the ability to solve complex problems. The curriculum is composed of three distinct but integrated components: Problems & Investigations, Workplaces, and Number Corner. Students practice the skills they learn in math lessons during the math workplace games that they play during centers.
Using the knowledge they acquire from our Literacy Instruction, kindergarteners plan and write complete sentences. Then, they draw a picture and add details to match the sentence. In kindergarten, we explore fiction, nonfiction and opinion writing.
Smithsonian Science Curriculum
Inquiry-based learning where students get to observe and experiment with materials that deepen their learning through lesson-by-lesson progressions. Students also engage in hands-on science activities and STEM bins to deepen their thinking skills.
Blog Post Written By Paula Barros (School Director) and Emily Edland (PreK Teacher)
Free Pre-Kindergarten. All Day Program. Tablets for Every Student. High Quality Emotional, Social, and Academic Education.
“It takes a village to raise a child” -here at MELA we take this proverb seriously when talking about all of our children, but especially when talking about the youngest of our scholars. Pre-Kindergarten is a wonderful time, full of discoveries, friendships, happiness, and new learnings, but it can also be overwhelming as it is the first time the children are in an Elementary School. To ensure that the children have the best time in their new setting, we establish partnerships with the families, and we work hard to create an environment full of love, respect, and deep connections to ensure that our students feel like they are at home away from home.
As we are a small school, it is possible for the children to establish wonderful connections with our wonderful school staff as well as the older grade students that are often available to model to our Pre-K students how to be a student at MELA; showing our expectations and importance to be mindful, empathetic, leaders, and accountable. As some of the older students have been at MELA since they were Pre-K students themselves, the sense that “it takes a village to raise a child” has a full meaning of belonging in a community that feels like a family, where everyone looks after one another.
We praise ourselves for taking care of our students' well-being, social, and emotional learning. But Pre-K is not only a time for playing. We have an outstanding academic curriculum that focuses on deep learning and student success.
In the Pre-Kindergarten classroom, we use:
The students also have access to top quality educational apps like Dreambox, Lexia, as well as many other programs, as all of our students utilize 1:1 technology.
Our 4 year olds love to play and learn with each other. Additionally, we have designated times for singing songs, reading stories, playing and working in small groups! During the past few weeks the kids have enjoyed playing outside in the snow! Check out some pictures of some of their adventures below!