Elementary Curriculum Update

April 2017

Penn Class - 1st and 2nd Grades

In Reading Studio, the strategies of visualizing and using sensory images were introduced. Fireflies by Julie Brinkloe, The Train Song by Diane Siebert and a variety of poems were used in crafting sessions. The students began with talking about what they see and then practiced using their others senses to help enhance their mental images while they read. Through discussion of the sensory images, the students were able to examine the language and literary devices used.

In Writing Workshop, students practiced using inference in their realistic fiction stories. During the revision step of the writing process, they each chose one part where they could change the words to allow the reader to draw an inference. Once their stories were typed up and ready for final illustrations, they worked on adding details to their pictures to further allow the reader to draw an inference. Once their stories were complete, they read them aloud in an Author’s Chair.

The Penn Class completed their class book project. Using the Quaker practice of consensus, the students were able to agree on a title—We Love Ourselves. The class packaged up the finalized pages and mailed it to the publisher. We are looking forward to receiving it in the mail in May.

In 1st grade math, the students strengthened their understanding of number relations through learning about fact families, with the use of fact triangles. They worked on building fact power through a variety of games including one titled The Fact Power Game. The students also explored a variety of ways to solve addition and subtraction problems. Quarters were integrated into the coin games, Coin Exchange and Coin Grab, a new version of Top-It was played using coin cards.

In 2nd grade math, students have been working with fractions as parts of sets and as parts of whole shapes. Playing Fraction Cards Top It has reinforced understanding of equivalent fractions. Betsy led a fun fraction activity involving toast and jam! We have completed Chapter 8 of the Everyday Math Journal.

After much excitement and intrigue from the model train during our electricity unit, the Penn Class has begun to study trains. The students created a list of everything they know about trains and then compiled a list of things they wanted to know. Reading Locomotive by Brian Floca allowed the students to gain an understanding of the railroad long ago, steam engines and the jobs involved with the railroad. The students conducted a science experiment to gain a better understanding of how a steam engine works. In their science journals, they labeled the parts of a steam engine. The students took a field trip to the New Hope & Ivyland Railroad where they were able to experience riding a steam locomotive and build on their knowledge gained from books, video and experiments.

Fox Class - 3rd and 4th Grades


After studying the classics, the Fox Class practiced fluency by reading the script for “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by William Shakespeare. We are also applying fluency skills as we read our individual books; watching for accuracy, expression and volume, pace, phrasing and smoothness. We went to a local university to see the performance of Peter Pan.


Students worked on writing essays in response to a query that they chose about diversity. Next, we began a unit on poetry by listening to poems and reading poems. We did a choral reading of William Wordsworth’s poem, “I Wander Lonely as a Cloud" and learned about figurative language in poetry. We learned about similes and metaphors, then incorporated them into our poetry. We learned how to use a thesaurus to add more descriptive language to our poems.

3rd grade math

Third grade math students finished the unit on geometry. They used K’nex to make line segments, lines, rays, angles, polygons, and 3 dimensional figures. We learned the names and features of 3 dimensional shapes such as pyramids, prisms and cylinders. Students experimented with mirrors to decide if a figure was symmetrical. Students explored fact extensions in multiplication and how to multiply two digit by two digit numbers using the partial products method. They learned how to use parentheses in a number sentence.

4th grade math

In 4th grade math, students have completed the seventh unit - Fractions and Their Uses, Chance and Probability. In this unit, we learned about fractional sets, equivalent fractions, adding and subtracting fractions, comparing fractions, relating fractions to decimals, and probability. We are now in the eighth unit, Perimeter and Area. Students will learn how to find the perimeter of polygons and how to find the area of rectangles, parallelograms, and triangles. We continue to reinforce these concepts through various games and puzzles and students continue to practice problem-solving strategies using Problem Solvers.


We learned about Simple Machines. The students built and experimented with inclined planes, levers, wheels and axles, pulleys and screws.

The 2nd and 3rd grade students attended Environmental Day at DeSales University. We talked about global warming and how it is affecting the various regions of the United States. We saved all our individual trash for four days to see how much we generated as a class. We generated 7.5 pounds of trash! Then we talked about ways that we could reduce the amount. Some ideas were: use hankies, let our desks air dry, use recyclable containers for snack and lunch, let your hands drip dry, composting, and microwave in containers instead of on paper plates. We celebrated Earth Day by reading current articles about global warming and recycling and read the book, The Great Kapok Tree, by Lynne Cherry. We went to the local creek to learn about its current environmental issues and read Listening to Crickets, a biography about Rachel Carson, the environmentalist.

Social Studies

We continued our Native Peoples studies by reading about the Aztecs.

Most of the 3rd and 4th grade students attended Diversity Day at Goshen Friends where they participated in activities related to diversity.