Elementary School Curriculum
ADOPTED CURRICULUM: Benchmark Advance 2022
Benchmark Advance is a comprehensive literacy program that offers teachers all elements of reading instruction. This program allows teachers to differentiate effectively and assess student growth throughout the year.
Components of Benchmark Advance:
READING RESOURCES FOR PARENTS:
- Whole Group Reading: Supporting deep, analytical thinkers while building concepts via knowledge strands.
- Small-Group Reading: Meeting all students where they are as they practice standards from the whole group in a small group setting. This can focus on leveled comprehension, fluency, vocabulary, knowledge development, etc.
- Phonics: Teach phonics through sequential, fast-paced routines that develop foundational skills for proficient reading.
- Word Recognition/Study: Cover foundational and language standards for proficient reading and writing, teaching conventions of standard grammar usage and complete word analysis.
- Writing: Developing analytical and strategic writers, communicating ideas clearly and purposefully.
- Speaking & Listening and Language: Supporting language development throughout the literacy block with thoughtful meaningful conversations. Oral language explicit instruction embedded within lessons and small groups.
- MISD tips for reading at home
- Reading Rockets
- U.S. Dept. of Education
- American Academy of Pediatrics
- Literacy Central
- Parenting a struggling reader. New York. Broadway Books. Hall, S. & Moats, L.C. (2002)
- Straight Talk about Reading. Hall, S.L. & Moats, L.C. (1999) Chicago, Ill. Contemporary Books
- Starting out right: A guide to promoting children's reading success. National Research Council. (1999). Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
- Put reading first: Helping your child learn to read: A parent guide: Preschool through grade 3. The Partnership for Reading. (2000). MD: National Institute for Literacy.
- 7 keys to comprehension: How to help your kids read it and get it! Zimmermann, S., & Hutchings, C., (2003). New York: Three Rivers Press.
Adopted Curriculum: iReady Classroom Mathematics
Mercer Island School District adopted iReady Classroom Mathematics in 2023 as our core K-5 curriculum in math. Teachers in grades 3-5 began using the tool in 2022-2023 and K-2 teachers began using the tool in 2023-2024.
iReady Classroom Mathematics, is a subscription, which means that we use the most up to date version of the tool, regardless of when we adopted it.
Math Expressions is a comprehensive mathematics program that:
- Develops mathematical concepts deeply and also develops skills through the use of research-based instructional strategies and learning paths, with daily investigative activities using objects, drawings, and real-world situations to help students make sense of the math and practice activities including facts fluency plans at grades 3–5.
- Provides rich resources in the Teacher Edition for hands-on activities with manipulatives and conceptual supports such as secret code cards, visual activities with MathBoards proof pictures, learning center activities, and Math Talk experiences, helping students explain and justify their thinking and develop their reasoning.
- Includes rich problem-solving and reasoning opportunities that focus on word problem types and structures, similar to the approaches in cognitively guided instruction (CGI).
- Relates research-based accessible algorithms to common algorithms, providing bridges from concrete, to pictorial, to abstract fluency.
- Focuses on students being able to apply and discuss mathematics, to demonstrate deep knowledge of content.
Adopted Curriculum: Center for the Collaborative Classroom’s Being a Writer and Guided Spelling
Center for the Collaborative Classroom is a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to providing continuous professional learning for teachers and curricula that support the academic, ethical, and social development of children.
Being a Writer: The Being a Writer program provides a writing-process approach to teaching writing that interweaves academic and social-emotional learning for K–5 students.
Using authentic children’s literature, the program provides support for creating a Collaborative Classroom environment where teachers facilitate student discussion, provide a model for the respectful exchange of ideas, and help students develop their own voice.
Intentional Blending of Social and Academic Learning: Research has proven that when students feel connected to their school and peers, they perform better academically, are more motivated to achieve, and exhibit helpful behaviors toward others. Being a Writer’s daily routines are based on cooperative work and caring, respectful relationships. The program helps teachers take deliberate steps to create a classroom writing community where students feel empowered, supported in taking risks, and responsible to themselves and to the group.
Guided Spelling: The Guided Spelling program is a yearlong curriculum for grades 1–5 that is based on recognized research in spelling and expands on what our students learn in Mondo’s Phonics. During a Guided Spelling session, the teacher guides students before and as they spell words, which helps develop proficient, metacognizant spellers who are deliberate in anticipating the pitfalls of the English language and who know which spelling approaches to use when writing.
Information is taken from: "Being a Writer." Center for the Collaborative Classroom. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Aug. 2017.
Writing Resources for Parents:
Adopted Screening Tool: iReady
Mercer Island School District adopted iReady Assessment tools in math in 2022-2023, and for reading in 2023-2024. We also use a connected resource called MyPath, which is a personalized instruction portal that gives students brief content support that goes along with more robust classroom instruction.
iReady Assessment, is a comprehensive tool that includes a diganostic for both math and reading, as well as literacy tasks; similar to those in our previously used tool AimswebPlus.
- Students take the diagnostic for math three times a year. This tool provides a glimpse at the predictable outcomes of students, at the moment in time it was taken. It is not comprehensive, and is therefore used as a screening tool to determine next instructional steps.
- Students take the diagnostic for reading three times a year. This tool provides a glimpse at the predictable outcomes of students, at the moment in time it was taken. It is not comprehensive, and is therefore used as a screening tool to determine next instructional steps.
- Students are also administered iReady literacy tasks, to provide additional information around foundational reading skills. This is part of the robust protocol for assessment that we use in order to determine if a student has areas of weakness associated with dyslexia or other reading difficulties.
MyPath, is an instructional tool that students have access to after they take their first diagnostic. Students are placed on a path that will help support their needs, alongside the instruction that is happening in class. This tool is NOT meant to replace or even be the bulk of what students do. Students are only expected to spend around 30 minutes a week on these tasks.
For more information around the iReady tools for assessment, we encourage you to consider visiting the iReady Family Center site.