What are the broad curriculum goals in each content area?
The Botelle School visual arts program develops students’ individual powers of expression through the acquisition of basic art skills and techniques through a variety of media. Skills build in complexity and are presented within a cultural and historical context that fosters an appreciation for the richness of the world around us. Students explore original ideas and create a variety of projects that provides each artist the opportunity to achieve according to their abilities and strengths. Students learn content specific vocabulary and the corresponding applications for producing, describing, and analyzing works of art. Through the arts, students learn to think critically, employ imagination, and become creatively confident in their work and ideas.
Library & Technology
The Botelle School library and technology program enables students to become independent, information literate, life-long learners. Early primary (PreK, K) and primary (1, 2) students have scheduled library periods in which they learn how to use the library and to make good book choices. Students in the intermediate grades (3-6) use the Library Media Center to exchange books and use library resources. Computer instruction is integrated into classroom curriculum and students use iPads and Chromebooks to access various digital tools and resources when researching. Students develop digital citizenship as they learn how technology impacts their lives, learning, and future. Additionally, our MakerSpace Lab provides our students with opportunities to embrace science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics concepts as they collaborate to design and create STEAM projects.
The Botelle School mathematics program is designed to develop mathematically proficient students who understand concepts and procedures, communicate reasoning and solve problems. Units of study for mathematics are organized by topics and align to the Connecticut State Math Standards. Students learn various strategies to develop deep conceptual understanding. Instructional tasks provide students with learning experiences that are concrete (manipulatives, objects), then representational (drawings, models, graphs) and finally abstract (equations). Fluency, accuracy and efficiency are developed throughout the grades as students learn more effective strategies to solve problems and represent their thinking.
The Botelle School music program develops students’ appreciation for music so they experience the joy that music brings to our lives. Students learn the elements of music including beat, rhythm, melody and harmony and are also exposed to famous composers and their music. Primary students’ learn songs and participate in activities that teach them to sing on pitch and keep a steady beat. They are also introduced to written symbols. In the intermediate grades, students build on these skills and apply them to more complex songs and music. Students learn the recorder and can sing in the chorus. They are also able to play an instrument which starts them on the road to reading music and performing in band.
The Botelle School physical education program is designed to create physically literate individuals who seek to pursue a healthy lifestyle with lifelong physical activity. The curriculum is aligned to the National Standards for Physical Education. Students will develop the knowledge and skills to achieve and maintain a health-enhancing level of physical activity and exhibit responsible personal and social behavior that respects self and others. Instruction develops competency in a variety of motor skills and movement patterns, not just games and sports, because competent movers are far more likely to enjoy physical activity and choose to engage in it more often. The value of physical activity for health, enjoyment, challenge, self expression, and social interaction is one that is promoted through our program.
The Botelle School reading program is designed to develop the skills, strategies, interests and habits of a life-long reader. Students participate in Reading Workshop and are explicitly taught how to decode unknown words, read with fluency, and comprehend new vocabulary, figurative language and whole texts at the literal and inferential levels. Units of study are aligned to the Connecticut Core Literacy Standards and address foundational reading skills as well as the skills needed to effectively understand informational text and literature. Whole class read alouds are used to develop comprehension and speaking and listening skills through discussions with the whole class and partners. Students also write about their reading and thinking in the intermediate grades, using text evidence to make inferences and draw conclusions. In all grades, students learn to choose text, with the guidance of their teachers, that are of personal interest and appropriately accessible.
The Botelle School science program has been developed in collaboration with CREC and the other region 7 elementary schools. Students engage in inquiry based instruction across four domains of science: Physical Science, Life Science, Earth and Space Science and Engineering Design. Units of study focus on a scientific phenomenon or real-world problem to be solved. Students learn scientific content through communication, collaboration, and multiple investigations driven by students’ questions that have a range of possible outcomes. Students use evidence gathered from investigations and research to generate claims and develop a deep understanding of scientific ideas.
Social and Emotional
The Botelle School social and emotional program is based on Yale’s Emotional Intelligence approach, RULER. RULER teaches the skills of emotional intelligence — those associated with recognizing, understanding, labeling, expressing, and regulating emotion. Students participate in core routines and learn tools to develop emotional intelligence. These include a class charter, the mood meter, the meta-moment and the blueprint which are built on the foundational understanding that emotions matter. When implemented regularly, these practices will enhance a schoolwide culture of emotional safety. All Northwestern feeder schools are implementing this approach, which is also implemented at the middle and high school. This comprehensive approach provides students with shared experiences, language and skills to build upon at Northwestern.
The Botelle School social studies program is based on the Connecticut Social Studies Frameworks and the national College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework. Students use literacy and inquiry skills to effectively understand history, geography, civics, and economics. Units of study address these domains of social studies in developmentally appropriate ways and concepts and content build in complexity. Instruction throughout the grade levels emphasizes skills and practices that prepare students for informed and engaged participation in civic life.
The Botelle School writing program addresses three main types of writing- narrative, informational and opinion. Students learn how to generate ideas, plan, draft, edit, revise and publish original stories, essays, and poems that reflect their own experiences, ideas and opinions. Units of study align to the CT Core Literacy Standards and instruction within each unit focuses on the skills and strategies needed to write with organization, fluency, elaboration and application of conventions (spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc.). Students participate in Writing Workshop receive explicit instruction in the skills, strategies, and habits of writers. Instruction is differentiated through individual and small group conferences. Students write for authentic audiences and purposes in order to understand the impact the written word can have on others.