At St. Anne, we consider the transition from kindergarten to first grade an exciting milestone for every child! As the day becomes more structured and the academics become more rigorous, one of the most important lessons of life is applied and begins to have meaning for these young students — responsibility. Each year in grades one through five, students become more responsible. Through class assignments and appropriate homework, our elementary age students develop pride, confidence, and a sense of accomplishment in their ability to succeed. Each teacher creates a curriculum map for the school year according to The Diocese of Charleston Curriculum.
Language Arts — The Language Arts program in the elementary school integrates reading, spelling, grammar and writing. As students are learning to read in the primary grades (kindergarten through second in grades one th) great emphasis is put on phonemic awareness and phonics. Phonemic awareness is the ability to notice, think about and work with sounds in words. Phonics involves the relationship between words and sounds and helping children recognize there are relationships between written letters and spoken words. As a continuation of what is taught during the preschool years, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension skills are developed as our students become confident readers. A variety of instructional strategies are used such as shared reading with big books, guided reading with decodable individual leveled readers, and many manipulatives for pre-reading activities such as blending sounds. Students are exposed to a variety of genres in reading including both fiction and nonfiction texts. The children also begin using the Accelerated Reader program second semester of first grade and continue with our most competitive “school sport” through the eighth grade year. As our students enter the intermediate elementary school years at St. Anne Catholic School, the reading curriculum provides more challenge. Novel studies are introduced in the third grade through which vocabulary and comprehension skills are strengthened. Students develop an appreciation of literature through interaction with a variety of works including fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama. They learn to interpret, analyze, and evaluate what is read to become life-long readers. Students are required to set and meet Accelerated Reader goals, and truly develop a love of reading through the amount of time they spend engaged in books throughout the school day. As we believe in the importance of balance in learning, we continue to put a strong emphasis on spelling. Students are expected to study a weekly list of words which become more challenging over the elementary years. Spelling is taught by recognizing common spelling patterns. Starting in fourth grade, the spelling instruction is integrated with vocabulary study where students learn to apply the foundational skills learned in the earlier years. As with spelling, Standard American English and formal handwriting instruction receive great attention in first through third grades. We use the Writing Our Catholic Faith series to teach basic handwriting skills, starting with proper pencil grip and correct letter formation in grade one. Students learn cursive in the third grade and are expected to use in in fourth grade and beyond at St. Anne Catholic School. Students are held accountable for using appropriate grammar, proper handwriting, and correct spelling throughout all areas of the curriculum. All teachers follow a consistent rubric developed to assess these skills. When our students leave St. Anne School, we are often told they have developed grounded skills in grammar and composition. Effective communication skills are necessary for success in the 21st century. The St. Anne School writing curriculum is informed by the Trait Based Model of writing. Beginning in kindergarten and carried through to grade eight, students will be guided through the traits of ideas, organization, word choice, sentence fluency, voice, conventions, and presentation to help them successfully write for a variety of purposes and audiences. Grammar, spelling, and vocabulary are taught both as subjects and through integration with the writing curriculum. Starting in first grade, students learn the writing process: pre-writing, brainstorming, rough draft, proof reading, and final draft. They continue to use these steps as they progress thorough their years at St. Anne starting with developing simple sentences, moving into paragraph formation, and eventually writing essays. Students produce many different writing samples including, but not limited to class books, personal narratives, stories, research reports, poetry, and plays. Walk down on our hallways, and you will find many of these masterpieces on display for your enjoyment.
Math-The Diocese of Charleston recognizes the importance of problem solving skills in the 21st century. During the 2015-16 school year, a team of administrators and teachers are working intensely on the development of a math curriculum that emphasizes the State Standards while maintaining a focus on Catholic Identity. This project is under the direction of the University of Notre Dame. As a diocese we believe in developing our own curriculum, and therefore we will not adopt the Common Core. In the early elementary years, our students develop a solid foundation in the language and basic concepts of mathematics. A multi-sensory approach is used to teach and build on previous learning. Each lesson is accompanied by in-class guided practice and independent homework practice which mirrors the problems completed in class. Our first graders benefit from the structure of the My Math program and focus on addition and subtraction facts through 20 while developing problem solving skills in all strands of mathematics. For grades 2 through six, St. Anne uses the McGraw Hill “My Math” program, which was ranked the # 1 math series in the state of South Carolina. Lessons are developed according to our curriculum, and the instruction progresses at a pace that allows children to develop competence and confidence. We maintain a strong emphasis on basic math concepts, incorporating competitions to motivate students to master multiplication and basic division facts. Mathematical strands are integrated throughout the year and mathematical vocabulary, higher order thinking skills references, and extension and enrichment activities are available in each lesson.
Science — In order to meet the needs of 21st century learners, our teachers balance the reading of literature with the reading of informational texts, including texts in social studies and science. In science, students are given the opportunity to engage in hands-on experiences that allow them to fulfill their curiosity, as they begin to develop an understanding of science. Religious values of respecting life and God’s creation and stewardship are enveloped into lessons as students begin to develop scientific knowledge in all areas of science including but not limited to Life Science, Earth Science, Physical Science, and the Human body.
Social Studies — As with science, the time students spend engaged in social studies informational texts is balanced with their time spent reading literature. The study of social studies enables students to understand, participate in, and make informed decisions about their world. At St. Anne, we believe it should be meaningful, integrated, value-based, and lessons should challenge students as they interact with information about their past, the present, and the future. In first and second grades, students learn about many themes, develop a cultural understanding, and study real globes and maps. They learn about their community, state, and nation. The third grade social studies curriculum at St. Anne School focus on the history of South Carolina. In fourth grade, the curriculum focuses on the early development of the United States. Students look forward to the projects in fourth and fifth grades. They have the opportunity to create a power point, scrapbook, or written report about the European Explorers. They also have a choice of either a diorama or a written report to complete for the Colonial period in history. Since American history is the focus in the fifth grade, each student conducts in depth research on one president and develops a project to present to the class. Concepts in geography, economics, and culture are integrated with the study of the United States from the Pre- Civil War years, through World War II, and the post war years.