Associate Facilitator: Sonya El Debssi
Students connect learning with life in an active, language rich learning environment. We integrate reading, writing, math, science, social studies and art through mixed-age thematic studies that challenge and encourage students to be insightful, engaged and kind. Our indoor and outdoor classrooms provide the space to learn, the opportunity to discover and the guidance to succeed. Concepts and skills are applied toward collaborative inquiry and thematic studies through relevant, integrated units.
Phoenix Rising’s academic program is intended to provide each student with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in each subject. We are guided by the Common Core standards, but retain the flexibility to include both student interest and differentiated instruction that meets children at their own level.
Writing is based on Lucy Calkins’ Writers Workshop where children write authentic pieces of work and are guided through various strategies for poetry, how-to books, non-fiction and fiction. For phonics and word-building, we use word building strategies based on Patricia Cunningham’s expertise. The children use actual letters to manipulate the words, using small words into bigger word using from five words up to eight, ten and twelve words.
Spelling As students get older we use Rebecca Sitton’s spelling for 3rd and 4th.
Reading We have a reading workshop based on the Fountas & Pinnell Leveled Book System. The children learn how to do their own “Just Right” books. As soon as they are able to they are put into small novels at their particular level we use partner reading and independent reading, silent reading and guided reading groups according to Fountas & Pinnell.
Social Studies The 1st and 2nd grades work with maps and understanding geography skills. We’re doing units based around events, holidays and special days of the year in different parts of the world.
For science, the students use hands-on FOSS kits. FOSS is a research-based science curriculum for grades K–8 developed at the Lawrence Hall of Science, University of California at Berkeley. FOSS is also an ongoing research project dedicated to improving the learning and teaching of science. To view some of the different FOSS kits available at the elementary school level, CLICK HERE.
Math is taught based on the concept that children learn through discovery and by doing. Students enjoy hands-on experiences with a variety of materials and manipulatives and are encouraged to learn from each other as well as the teacher. Megan primarily uses curriculum developed by math pioneer Marilyn Burns of Math Solutions as well as Box It and Bag It, a math program for K-2 teachers who want to surround children with a language-enriched, activity-centered learning environment. Children are encouraged to connect math to every day life, exploring the environment around them. For example, children might go on a pattern hunt in nature, or practice measuring by making a map of the playground. Making math relevant, fun, and explorative helps students see the value of math thus inspiring them to explore math on their own, in their every day surroundings.
Weekly Workshops are designed to enhance our core curriculum and support the development of right brain thinking skills, including creativity, big picture thinking, synthesis, pattern recognition, innovation and strategic awareness. Workshops may include, but are not limited to:
- Visual Arts – fine arts, painting, drawing, sculpting, crafts
- Performing Arts – Acting, Dance, Theater
- Music – Band, Musical Instruments, Singing
- Mindful Engagement Activities – CREATE, Healing
- Innovative Applied Science – Hands on science, Woodshop, Computer Science, Anime, Gaming
- Environmental Sciences – Ecology, Horticulture, Sustainable Living
- School Clubs – School Newspaper, Leadership
- Strategic Thinking Activities – Chess, Critical Thinking Games
- Physical Activities – Team Sports, Physical Fitness