About Sequoia Pathfinder Academy at Eastmark
Our school focuses on science, technology, engineering, arts and math. We have created a three year Strategic Implementation Plan to develop STEAM at our school. Some of the components are:
Students are exposed from kindergarten on to scientific and engineering concepts. Teachers implement science units based on curriculum from the Boston Museum of Science’s Engineering is Elementary curriculum. Each student is expected to document their observations and results from experiments in their science notebooks.
Each class has an engineering special. Students go to our Makers Room where they conduct engineering experiments with a certified teacher who is also an ASU trained electrical engineer. Students are taught to work collaboratively and give constructive feedback to each other. Then, students are expected to use the feedback to make adjustments to their work. This idea of providing valuable feedback, hearing constructive criticism and making revisions to work is a foundational skill in every content area. Students will work on projects with specifications and determine efficiency and effectiveness of their product.
Bonanza Educational: Students participate in 9 week sessions with an instructor from Bonanza Educational. Students work in groups of four with Lego engineering kits to develop skills. In grades 3-6, students will also work on robotics and create stop motion animation movies.
Each classroom beginning in kindergarten, utilizes lap top computers for academic work. Our art teacher works with students to develop presentation skills through a variety of software programs. If students are working on a project, they will be trained to use PowerPoint or movie making programs to present their ideas in creative ways.
Some curriculum programs have online components. Students may also access RAZ kids, an online reading program, both at school or at home for individualized and targeted reading practice. Teachers have access to a program that aligns games and online activities to grade level standards.
In the near future, as part of the three year Strategic Implementation Plan, teachers will use interactive white boards in a variety of classes throughout the day. Through these interactive white boards, students can access lessons independently or in small groups and receive immediate feedback on their work. Teachers can work with one group and still assess the work of students in another group by observing progress on the interactive whiteboard.
Every student participates in math and music classes. Students take art classes with a certified art teacher. They use water colors, clay, and a variety of media while exploring a wide range of art topics, including art movements and famous artists. Ms. Comes also teaches an art technology class to the students in the upper grades. They learn to use movie making software and PowerPoint to create presentations.
We partner with Elements Music to provide 21st Century music instruction. All students learn to read music, understand basic music theory and play a keyboard. Music is differentiated at student ability levels and can be accessed online at home for more practice.
Every student should read or be read to for 30 minutes each evening. Reading is a core skill that impacts all other content areas. Students need to be able to access rigorous material, and that requires strong reading skills. These skills only improve with practice.
Beyond reading, students may have a few math problems or an activity to complete. Often, students will be playing a math game in school and will be asked to teach the math game to family members. After a long day of school, we want our students to have time to participate in other extra- curricular activities such as dance, sports, scouts etc… as well as spend time with their families.