Conceptual Understanding & Creative Problem-Solving
Upon entering the 6/7s, the 6s each have a foundation for whole group discussion and inquiry-based learning. They are able to enter the curriculum with great enthusiasm and excitement as their literacy and math skills are now advancing quickly. Word Work is introduced in small groups and incorporated into reading, writing, science, and social studies. Explicit reading and writing instruction continues at the point where the student left off at the end of the Kindergarten year, to ensure a smooth continuum of learning. Grade-level math instruction, which continues with the math workshop model, allows teachers to differentiate students’ varied learning needs and abilities, while maintaining the supportive aspect of group learning and the benefits of peer modeling and sharing strategies. Social studies investigations provide students with an understanding of the concept of community and take the children out of the immediate school neighborhood and into the New York City metropolitan area. Homework begins and is designed to extend and reinforce classroom work, as well as provide practice with organization, time-management, and basic study skills, which are essential for success in the upper grades. Technology, music, art, and physical education are areas where the children continue to build skills and solve problems creatively.
The 7s take on an extraordinary leadership role as peer mentors to the 6s. Having had several experiences of being mentored by their peers, they are able to embrace this opportunity with enthusiasm. The 7s begin to take real ownership of their learning and a higher level independence is nurtured and supported. Literacy instruction continues, as reading groups and Word Work get more complex and children read more difficult texts, develop oral and written comprehension, and vocabulary studies begin. Grade-level math continues and the children delve into place value, double and triple digit addition and subtraction, geometry, early multiplication. 7s also begin to weave technology, social studies and literacy together in creating multimedia presentations and projects with the technology teacher.
Collaboration & Learning from the Past
The upper grades is an experience that is unique to Corlears. The 8s are welcomed to the group at the beginning of each year by the 9s, and the peer mentoring model continues. Social studies inquiries remain at the core of the program. Small classes ensure that deeper exploration and differentiation can continue even as the demands of the academics increases. Social studies themes explored by the 8/9s are the Eastern Woodlands and the people who inhabited the area - the Lenape Native Americans. They study Henry Hudson and the history of the Hudson River, late 19th and early 20th century immigration, and the history of New York City. Writing is done in half groups, which allows teachers to work more closely with each student in order to create individual goals to develop each student’s writing more fully. With the support of 1:1 Chromebooks, teachers can also work on the craft of writing along with mechanics and spelling. The added layer of word processing and an emphasis on revising and editing help children learn to integrate all of these aspects of writing to create a more comprehensive approach and understanding. The 8/9s year is also a rite of passage as each fall they embark on an outdoor overnight experience, to Clearpool, where science, nature and team-building programs are emphasized.
Leadership, Service Learning & Preparing for Next Steps
The 10s is the culminating experience at Corlears as the children prepare to move on to middle school. However, we also want them to enjoy an extremely memorable and robust year of learning and leadership. The Humanities program for the 10s encompasses reading, writing, spelling and social studies. The high level of integration at this level provides academic rigor along with critical thinking and highly developed skills in collaboration and communication. The overarching Humanities focus goes further back in time to explore ancient Greece, the seeds of democracy, and Greek mythology. Grade level math instruction continues to utilize the math workshop model, but also cross references the content needed to prepare for the Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE) in the fall. The 10s develop and hone their skills around organization, independence and collaboration. The many writing and research projects they engage in, along with the many hands-on art and engineering projects, expand their ability to actively apply acquired skills and demonstrate conceptual knowledge more readily. The 10s take on many leadership roles within the school community from classroom buddies, weekly assembly hosts, offering peer advice in their weekly community skits from “Just Ask the Crew,” to their annual partnership in service learning with The Co-Ed School for Eagles in Haiti. Each spring the 10s’ year culminates in an overnight trip to Ramapo. This trip is a celebration of their journey and their time together, focused on team-building and making lasting memories together. Graduates of Corlears are vibrant, intelligent and compassionate young critical thinkers. They are always poised and ready to take the next steps into middle school.