Upper Elementary (Grades 4, 5 and 6)
In 4th grade, as our students move from the 1st/2nd/3rd grade classroom, our transition away from the Montessori materials is complete. In the Upper Elementary classroom, while we follow a more traditional curricular structure, we remain committed to experiential learning, giving the students appropriate choice and responsibility, and ensuring that learning is relevant and personalized.
Beginning in 4th grade, we expect much more individual responsibility on the part of our students. They now manage their nightly homework assignments with assignment journals and keep track of tasks required by multiple subject teachers. We guide them as they learn to master this additional responsibility by supporting strong home-school communications and helping students determine effective ways to address their own organizational challenges. With responsibility comes student independence, so classroom parents are seen less frequently outside of special projects or field trips. We continue to expect our students to maintain and care for their own belongings, to dress appropriately, and to bring any homework in independently. We believe that we most effectively build meaningful self-esteem and confidence in your child by not doing tasks for him/her that he/she can do independently (and they can do more for themselves each year!).
Because Language Arts and Social Studies are so intricately connected, we combine these subject areas into one block of instruction time by a single teacher. Our three-year history curriculum begins with ancient civilizations in 4th grade, moving sequentially through time until students complete studies of U.S. government in 6th grade. Writing instruction continues to be based on the 6-Trait Writing Program that students commence in 2nd grade. Literature units are the foundation of our reading curriculum and frequently link Language Arts and Social Studies. In addition, spelling, grammar, vocabulary, critical thinking, editing, and reading comprehension are addressed both individually and within the broader context of advancing student writing.
Our mathematics instruction in Upper Elementary allows students to both master the mathematical concepts that they will need for secondary school and to be individually challenged at a level most appropriate for them. We focus on their mastery of math operations and help them explore critical thinking challenges through hands-on activities that broaden their abilities in both problem creation and problem solving.
In Grades 4, 5 and 6, Science is formally separated from Cultural studies, but it maintains the hands-on emphasis that is found in Montessori classrooms. Students explore units ranging from Missouri ecology to the systems of the human body, but always in a way that they can physically experiment with the concepts that they are studying. 5th and 6th grade students are expected to complete Science Fair projects, teaching them long-term planning and scheduling as well as a real-life exploration of the scientific method.
Students in Grades 4, 5 and 6 receive grades for the first time. Nightly homework continues, managed through assignment journals, and students are still expected to read nightly as well. Homework assignments will become more extensive and expand across subject areas, and they are structured to be meaningful supplements to our classroom curriculum that can be managed by the students themselves. Teachers are available upon student request outside of class time to answer questions or provide additional individual assistance.
Want to see how engaged our students are in the Upper Elementary classrooms at The Fulton School? Click here to schedule a tour today.