The Blue Room Curriculum
The Blue Room is the CVIS name for our intermediate classroom, a name inherited from the original intermediate classroom of nineteen years ago. When you enter our classroom, you’ll experience a vibrant, interactive place of learning.
Each school day at CVIS starts at 8:30 with a morning meeting for kindergarten through fifth grade students. We join together to say our school pledge, led by one of the students. Our morning meeting is a time to discuss the calendar, historical events and/or people of this day in history, learn more about our current theme, participate in a science experiment, do a lesson on art appreciation, tell about a book we particularly enjoyed, review math skills, practice a scene from our play, share something special and/or discuss kudos or something we need to work on. Attendance is taken at the meeting and then everyone goes to their homerooms.
In our homerooms, we start each morning preparing our brains for learning by doing Brain Gym and Focus activities. Brain Gym techniques increase integration of the left and right hemispheres of the brain to help make learning easier and to coordinate brain-body function.
We end each day with all students and teachers shaking hands and connecting one last time for the day.
First and foremost, the teacher’s role in the classroom is as a facilitator of learning, whether that be via a group mini-lesson, an individual conference, or a small group targeted tutorial. The goal is that every student is consistently highly engaged in educational activities. Therefore, careful instruction and guidance is given to each child with consideration for learning style, academic abilities, developmental levels, social skills, motivation and interests, and any other extenuating circumstance.
While the Blue Room classroom is the “home base” for third through fifth graders, students from other classrooms may join the class at various points of the day to join in on a lesson that is academically appropriate for that student. In a similar manner, students from the Blue Room may go to other classrooms for math, spelling or another subject lesson. Transitions into other classrooms are routine and acceptable at CVIS and students are comfortable in any of the environments here. Students don’t feel conspicuous, but rather, each student enjoys being appropriately challenged without feeling overwhelmed.
Some students are working at an advanced math level and receive math instruction at the middle school level using Connected Math. The rest of the kindergarten through fifth grade students use the Bridges in Mathematics curriculum, which is designed to meet the standards established by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and is solidly aligned with the latest Washington state math standards. It has been given a top rating by state curriculum reviewers. The goal of the Bridges curriculum is to provide students with the skills necessary for mathematical fluency and confident problem solving.
Reading Instruction: Students are assessed and instructed as needed in all five basic components of reading: Phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency and comprehension.
Calkins Reading Curriculum: First published in 2010, our literature-based reading program is filled with fabulous lessons to help students comprehend various genres and complexities of text. Organized within a carefully crafted spiraling curriculum, sequential units of study teach students how to read with increasing sophistication and personal engagement.
Lucy Calkins Writing Instruction: Students are taught to think and act like a writer through the observation and discussion of good writing in stories and literature. Writing Lessons include mini-lessons where strategies, concepts or skills are taught and modeled; active engagement where the students apply knowledge learned; and most importantly, lots of time to write! Student-teacher conferencing takes place during writing, and emphasis at this time is placed on content and expression, not on spelling and conventions. One of the highlights of the writing lesson is sharing of student work; students love to read their pieces out loud and hear positive feedback from their peers. Students learn to write personal narratives, realistic fiction, essays and literary essays. Students also apply the complete writing process, taking a piece from rough draft through revision, editing and publishing. Revision and editing are especially emphasized at this level, as students learn to critically reread their writing.
Handwriting: Students learn to write neatly and legibly in cursive with the program Handwriting Without Tears, in which cursive handwriting is presented in its simplest form.
Spelling: We use the Rebecca Sitton spelling curriculum, which uses a research-based instructional design to build skills that help students learn to spell correctly in their everyday writing. Words targeted for mastery are researched. High-frequency, writing words are introduced in frequency-of-use order. All words and skills are then continuously spiraled to help build mastery.
Speaking and listening are skills that students achieve through practice in class discussions and in presenting and listening to oral reports. Students also give and receive positive feedback and constructive criticism on oral presentations.
Each semester, a central theme is woven throughout the kindergarten through fifth grade curriculum. The theme is a rotation of “Communities,” “Energy, Machines and Inventions,” “The Ancients” and “Life on Earth” and is used to teach our social studies and science curricula. Themes are semester long and are generally ordered in a social science/natural science pairing. Examples of what might be included during a theme study are as follows:
Energy, Machines and Inventions
- Hot Air Balloons
- Roller Coasters
- Mousetrap Invention
- Frisbee Golf
- Inventor Reports
- Invention Timelines
- History of Machines Reports
- Mapping the World by Heart
- Cooking Around the World
- World’s Fair
- Civil Rights
- American Revolution
- The Holocaust
- United States Expansion
- Washington State
- The Election Process
- Our City, Chelan
- The Human Body
- Insect and Animal Communities
- Ancient Egypt or Ancient Greece
- Chicken Mummification
- Archaeological Dig
- Stars and Constellations
- Planets of the Milky Way Galaxy
- Gods and Goddesses
Life on Earth
- Missoula Flood
Blue Room students learn basic Spanish vocabulary, such as days of the week, months of the year, colors, numbers, food, animals and body parts using the Subé curriculum. Subé is a thematic curriculum based on multisensory materials and activities that incorporate successful and research-based teaching strategies. The Subé methodology is a balanced curriculum that provides opportunities to develop comprehension, speaking, reading and writing skills simultaneously in each unit.
Students learn keyboarding skills, using the Typing Instructor program. Typing skills and rates consistently improve with the use of drills and games.
Art is a very important part of the CVIS curriculum. Blue Room students receive an hour art lesson each week, with additional art time available throughout the week. After school work time is arranged periodically for special projects and student initiated curriculum follow-ups.
Art curriculum is based on current Washington State standards, and includes a variety of activities: hand-built pottery, fiber arts, painting, drawing free form, and guided step-by-step, teacher led activities.
Students participate in P.E. activities for an hour each week. They learn to play various sports and leisure time activities and learn skills in basic health and fitness.