All About Academics: K-8

October Updates from Academic Curriculum Coordinators

Welcome to our first installment of All About Academics for the 2022-2023 School Year!

We have included information about ELA, Social Studies, Math, Science, FLES, World Language, Arts and ALP.


English Language Arts



Reading: Emergent Reading: Looking closely at familiar texts

Writing: Completing the Launch of Writers Workshop

Fundations: Letter & sound recognition (a-z/short vowels), letter formation, phonemic awareness (beginning and ending sounds), print/word awareness, rhyming.

Grade 1:

Reading: Word Detectives: Strategies for decoding and high-frequency words

Writing: Writing How-To Books

Fundations: Blending and reading three sound short vowel words, segmenting and spelling three sound short vowel words, phoneme segmentation, Introduction of digraphs (wh, ch, sh, th, ck), practice of high frequency trick words, and sentence dictation.

Grade 2:

Reading: Becoming Experts at Reading Non-Fiction

Writing: How to Guide for Non-Fiction Writing

Fundations: Blending and reading words with glued sounds (ie: all, am, an ild, ind, old), segmenting and spelling words with glued sounds, fluent passage reading, practice of high frequency trick words, and story retelling.

Grade 3:

Reading: Reading to Learn: Grasping Main Ideas and Text Structures

Writing: The Art of Informational Writing

Fundations: Review of vowel-consonant-e syllables and spelling rule, review of division of multi-syllabic words, spelling multi-syllabic words, lowercase cursive letter formation

Grade 4:

Reading: Nonfiction: Reading the Weather, Reading the World

Writing: Writing Boxes and Bullets: Personal and Persuasive Essay

Sadlier Vocabulary Workshop: Defining words, work with synonyms and antonyms, sentence completion, word associations, work with Latin/Greek roots, words in context

Grade 5:

Reading: Tackling Complexity: Moving up Levels of Nonfiction

Writing: Journalism Writing

Sadlier Vocabulary Workshop: Defining words, work with synonyms and antonyms, sentence completion, word associations, work with Latin/Greek roots, words in context

Middle School:

Grade 6:

Reading: Deep Study of Character

Writing: Personal Narrative: Crafting Powerful Life Stories

Grade 7:

Reading: Essential Research Skills: Argument

Writing: Investigative Journalism

Grade 8:

Reading: Exploring Non-Fiction

Writing: Position Papers, Research and Argument

Want to learn more about what your child is learning in English Language Arts?

Contact Kim Paladino:, head to our website, or click on the banner below.

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Social Studies

Social Studies learning standards help students to effectively study and critically think about how people process and document the human experience. Students then garner a capacity for communication, empathy, and citizenship through critical thinking, reflection, and appreciation of diverse viewpoints.

GPS students study contemporary and historical writers and thinkers to develop their abilities to critically read, write, speak, and think, ultimately preparing them to excel in today’s global society. Together, these areas of study prepare students for success in college and career while also ensuring students are informed, engaged participants in civic life. In addition, students study other writers and thinkers, contemporary and historical, to develop their abilities to read, write, speak, and think critically and globally.

In the grades listed below, students are working on topics related to:


  • Kindergarten: My Communities and Me
  • Grade 1: Citizenship in Our Community + Writing How-To Books
  • Grade 2: Rights and Responsibilities of Citizens
  • Grade 3: Geography and Economy
  • Grade 4: Environment & Climate
  • Grade 5: Indigenous People and Early European Settlers

Middle School:

  • Grade 6: East Asia (China, Japan, North, and South Korea)
  • Grade 7: Subcontinental Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan)
  • Grade 8: Revolutionary America

Want to learn more about what your child is learning in Elementary Social Studies? Contact Marc D'Amico: Marc_D' Want to learn more about what your child is learning in Middle School Social Studies? Contact Gordon Beinstein:, head to our website, or click on the banner below.

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Elementary: At this point, students are well into Big Ideas Math and are enjoying both the paper and digital components of the program. Please be on the lookout for the Family Letter that comes home before each chapter. These letters provide you with context, learning targets, and success criteria for the chapter.

Kindergarten: Count and write numbers between 0-10.

Grade 1: Fluency strategies within 10 and addition and subtraction situations.

Grade 2: Fluency within 20 and addition strategies within 100.

Grade 3: Multiplication facts and strategies.

Grade 4: Add and subtract multi-digit numbers.

Grade 5: Numerical expressions and add/subtract decimals.

Middle School: Middle schoolers started the year with launch units to support prerequisite skills for each course and, in most cases, have now moved into the Big Ideas program.

Course 6: Numerical expressions and factors and fractions and decimals.

Course 6A: Numerical expressions and factors and fractions and decimals.

Course 7: Add/subtract/multiply/divide rational numbers and expressions.

Pre-Algebra 6 & 7: Equations and transformations.

Algebra: Solving linear equations and inequalities.

Geometry: Reasoning and Proofs.

Want to learn more about what your child is learning in math?

Contact Mike Reid:, head to our website, or click the banner below.

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Elementary: Students' science notebooks K-5 are filled with models, data, evidence, and discovery. Be sure to ask your child: How have you used your science notebook this week? Currently, students in the K-5 classroom are on their second unit of the school year. Students engage in scientific explanations based on evidence.

In the grades listed below, students are working on topics related to:

  • Kindergarten: Properties of Matter
  • Grade 1: Force and Motion
  • Grade 2: Light and Sound
  • Grade 3: Applied Chemistry
  • Grade 4: Force and Motion
  • Grade 5: Waves

Middle School: Phenomena, modeling, and projects! Oh my! You may have heard your students talking about models or projects in class. Each unit in middle school science allows students to make their thinking visible, grapple with real-world phenomena, and engage in individual and team projects. Currently, students in the middle school classroom are on their fist unit of the school year. Students engage in scientific explanations based on evidence.

  • Grade 6: Movement and Energy Transfer
  • Grade 7: Chemical Reactions
  • Grade 8: Forces and Motion

Want to learn more about what your child is learning in science?

Contact Tara Fogel:, head to our website, or click on the banner below.

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K-8 ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages):

We are happy to welcome approximately 90 new students in K-8 to our District. Languages spoken by our new arrivals, include Cantonese, Danish, Dutch, Filipino, Gujarati, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Lithuanian, Mandarin, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Turkish, and Ukrainian. While we are still screening newly enrolled multilingual learners, our students and their teachers are off to a wonderful start.

At the elementary level, we reinforce good reading habits while exploring survival vocabulary for our newcomers and autumn-themed vocabulary for our intermediate and advanced multilingual speakers. With the support of Lexia, students are working on reading skills such as summarizing and using cognates to help acquire and understand key character traits. ESOL specialists have been supporting the acquisition of academic vocabulary in content areas such as science and social studies, particularly in the upper elementary grade levels.

At the middle school level, newcomers are getting to know each other and learning how to describe themselves orally and in writing. Our intermediate and advanced multilingual learners are navigating non-fiction texts, more specifically identifying text structures, using context clues, identifying main ideas, and using evidence to support them.

K-8 Foreign Language in Elementary Schools (FLES) and World Language (WL):

In grades K-2 FLES, students are learning how to identify themselves, colors, numbers, days of the week, months of the year and places around town in the target language.

In grades 3-5 FLES, students are actively engaged in describing themselves, their families, Connecticut geography, sports, and flags of Spanish and French-speaking countries, while they continue to use the target language to introduce themselves and get to know each other.

In grades 3-5 Native Spanish Language Arts, students are learning how make predictions when reading literature, to write short narratives, and to understand the purpose of a text.

In Middle School, both Spanish and French students are beginning with preliminary units of study, students continue to reinforce and improve their reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills in the context of the thematic units such as school life, describing self and family, recreational activities, and health.

Our Middle School Spanish Native Language Arts students are building on their previously developed foundational oral and literacy skills in order to explore themes associated with Hispanic Heritage month, travel, and legends.

Want to learn more about what your child is learning in English for Speakers of Other Languages and World Language?

Contact Geoffrey Schenker, head to our ESOL or FLES websites, or click on the banner below.

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K-8 Arts: Visual Arts & Music

The fall season is always an exciting time for the Arts as our subject areas allow us to celebrate the changing of the leaves and all the holiday music that sets the mood for the season!

Music: Your child may be coming home singing songs about pumpkins, some patriotic classics, and even some songs about snowmen as the Core Music curriculum utilizes our winter weather and holiday calendar as a way to connect music content to the world around them. Students continue working on vocal explorations where they are to demonstrate high and low sounds with their singing voices, soft and quiet sounds, and keeping a steady beat while decoding familiar rhythmic patterns, that include quarter and eighth note patterns. Students are using holiday themed choice boards and listening maps to respond to music and personalize the learning in the classroom. These activities include creating rhythmic patterns, using mallet instruments to play three note songs, and learning how these three notes, do, re, and mi, look in the music staff.

Instrumental music students are continuing to refine their basics regarding hand position, playing skills and music reading. Teachers are focusing on music literacy to ensure that our young musicians develop the skills that foster independent musicianship by learning how to read music and decode familiar and unfamiliar rhythms.

Students are also learning the important traits that a musician needs to play in an ensemble. These skills will be critical when we start to resume band and orchestra rehearsals this year. Technical skills, such as their D Major scale in orchestra, and the Concert Bb Major scale in band, are reinforced throughout their small group lessons to prepare them for playing in the large group.

Concert performances are also popping up around our schools, so please keep an eye out for your building newsletters regarding any events or performances that our music team has put together. GHS just had their first concert of their Fall concert series, featuring all the bands at the high school. It was an amazing performance that showcased the many skills they’ve learned and refined in the first few weeks of school

You can find the most current list of district musical performances here, in our 2022-23 Arts Performance Calendar

Visual Arts: Warm and cool colors set the tone for this time of year as the leaves begin to change and the winter landscapes start to move in. Students are experimenting with paints as they explore the Elements of Art. Line and Shape are two essential elements that students in our elementary schools frequently incorporate and focus on when creating their artwork.

Several schools have opted to celebrate International Dot Day, which occurred on September 15. International Dot Day takes the time to celebrate students' creativity and encourage students to reach their creative potential. Students read The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds, about a caring teacher who dares a doubting student to trust in her abilities by being brave enough to “make her mark”. A dot on a small piece of paper becomes a vehicle for confidence and bravery as it inspires the young artist on a journey of self-discovery and sharing. This book and its message continues to inspire children and adults around the globe. Here are a few examples of the work our young artists at Glenville School created to “make their mark.”

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Advanced Learning Program (ALP)

Reminders from the Summer Curriculum Institute:

Reading and Writing

The 90-minute Elementary ALP Humanities time now consists of Reading and Writing. Students will join their homeroom classmates for social studies instruction. All ALP curriculum documents, instructional materials, and lesson plans have been updated to reflect the removal of social studies from the humanities block.

Middle School ALP English consists of a parallel course of study to the general education class with a deeper investigation of the content. The new grades 6-8 general education reading lessons and instructional materials were updated to bolster the ALP teaching and learning


This year, Elementary Science instruction has a dedicated 30-minute block three times a week. In the summer of 2022, curricular extensions were created that elaborate on current ALP Science lessons. Students in ALP Science will participate in hands-on engineering lab challenges and projects. ALP Science enrichments and assessments are specifically designed to support student success on Grade 5 NGSS test as well as prepare students for Grade 6 Advanced Science.

During the 2022-2023 school year, middle-level advanced students are taught in a separate section from their on-level peers. To accommodate this return to pre-COVID norm, during the summer of 2022, student guides and assessments for on-level and advanced students were delineated. Furthermore, as directed by the Board, and promised during the January 2022 K-8 STEM report, students have one additional STEM Experience unit in Grade 6, and two additional STEM Experience units in Grade 7. Eighth-grade advanced science students work to gain mastery of six additional high school level performance expectations.

Grade 2: Enrichment Placement Information Sessions

Save the date! There will be a virtual meeting to discuss placement process for Advanced Studies for Grade 2 Enrichment. More information, including links, is forthcoming. To better accommodate parent schedules, we will present the information twice. You will be invited to attend one session.

  • November 15 at 9:30 AM and 7:00 PM

Want to learn more about Advanced Learning? Get in touch with our team at, head to our website, or click on the banner below.

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Academic Curriculum Coordinators

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