Cascades Academy Independent School PK-12
It's Revolutionary!
It's Revolutionary!

In Storyline, our students are learning about protest through history. Through the events leading up to the American Revolution students are beginning to understand the impact that a group of peoples' ideas can have on the world. In the late 1700s British colonists in the Americas opposed taxation and banded together to gain their independence. Students learned that the colonists had to be of one mind. A single person cannot change the world by themselves you need to rally others to your cause with well reasoned arguments and a charismatic presentation. Through storyline we are exploring these feelings of frustration as our colonist characters experience taxation and unfair treatment from the British.

Fourth and fifth graders today learn about this issue so that they can take respectful, purposeful steps toward changing the world and supporting causes they care about. We encourage children to reflect on their feelings and the issues at hand. We support them in rallying their peers and gaining more voices toward their passions. We will experience the manifestation of their passions in the modern world through our independent project study as well as our upcoming opinion writing pieces in the spring. Students will pursue their passions and present their findings to their classmates.

~Ms. Elkins, 4th/5th Grade Teacher

Spanish in the 4th and 5th Grade Classroom

The learning rhythm of 4th and 5th grade Spanish flows in such a way as to engage various learning styles and to meet students with varying levels of challenge. Each day begins with a discussion of a familiar topic, the calendar. Students are asked to identify the day of the week, the date including the year, the season, the weather, and the time. Then, students are asked a rotating conversation question, which they answer in our daily conversation circle. As students learn new vocabulary, new questions are added to the rotation. When it is time to learn new vocabulary, students explore new vocabulary with simple reading activities in which the vocabulary is integrated into the context. Comprehension is supported by visual cues. These readings are done aloud as a group with students following along. Reading aloud allows the students to link what they are processing visually with correct pronunciation. Reading together is followed by writing activities, which serve to reinforce new vocabulary engage muscle memory as a tool to aid retention.

The following few classes, we play kinesthetic movement games that engage playful competition to encourage excitement for and memorization of the material. For students who are highly visual, I have incorporated into the rotation digital games that are rich with imagery as well as handheld card games that link in the student's mind an image that conveys meaning with the associated word or phrase in Spanish. Once students have become fairly proficient with the new vocabulary, we again do reading and writing activities. At this point, the focus of the writing activities is to deepen and confirm comprehension of the text as a whole rather than encourage acquisition of specific vocabulary, because now students are able to understand the new vocabulary in context and can focus instead on the overall meaning of the text as a whole. Because students work at different paces, we have been incorporating the use of a learning app called duolingo into the classroom. Students who finish earlier can work independently with duolingo, which is able to use real-time data analysis to assess a student's individual level and meet them with an appropriate level of challenge. This allows every student to have ample time to complete their activities and also ensures that every student stays engaged and challenged.

-Ms. Newman, Lower School Spanish Teacher

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