Our teachers collaborate and in consult with the county curriculum specialists to ensure that our curriculum materials cover the Florida Sunshine State Standards. Whenever possible, we incorporate the arts into the basic curriculum, and teachers have the freedom to develop and expand units to meet the needs of their students.
Language Arts: Expressions selected Journeys (HMH), an Alachua county board-approved textbook series as the comprehensive English language arts program. In addition, classroom teachers add novel studies, literature circles, and independent reading projects to the reading instructional block. These ‘extra’ reading instructional sources allow arts infusion, such as informal Reader’s Theatre performances. Our focus on writing as a way to communicate begins in the lower grades, and culminates with powerful essay and creative writing from our oldest students.
Math: Our Pearson MyMath texts are heavily enriched with hands-on learning, additional practice sessions, and creative ways to get our students engaged in understanding math found in the world around them.
Science: Science Weekly is the basic building block for our Science program. We add in frequent hands-on lessons, field trips to the Cade Museum, and classroom visits from UF’s Science Ambassadors to strengthen our scientific knowledge.
Social Studies: Social Studies Weekly is also used as a foundation for our social studies units. Our teachers add units on our community, the environment, Florida history, civics and government, caring for our neighbors, and our nation’s history.
Drama: Our drama program is the cornerstone of our Character Education curriculum. It requires firm commitment from our students, parents, and staff. Our yearly school-wide production involving collaboration between classes, development of production skills, and application of drama techniques. This production showcases our fifth grade class, who share major roles and responsibilities associated with the play. Past plays have included Willie Wonka and The Chocolate Factory, Carnival of the Animals, and Annie. Our individual class productions allow each grade to independently perform a short theatre piece to the school and their parents. Works range from student-written material to excerpts from Macbeth. In both productions, attitude, commitment, cooperation, willingness to support others, and individual student interests determine the level of participation. We have found that as the the year evolves, the children set their own high expectations, and meet them every time! An after-school drama club is available to first through fifth graders who wish to expand their drama studies.
Music: All of our students have formal music classes twice a week. In addition to singing, learning music theory, and studying music history, all of our first, second, and third graders learn to successfully play recorders. Our fourth and fifth graders spend their formal music classes in band, where they perform music from traditional holiday songs to current pop pieces arranged by our band teacher. Classroom teachers include music to enhance social studies skills and literature units by involving students as listeners and participants, and an after-school chorus club is offered to students in grades 1 through 5.
Dance: Dance instruction provided at Expressions provides opportunities to develop physical skills and memory enhancement. Social skills and cooperation are developed in student collaboration. All areas of dance are covered, including the ever popular tap and hip-hop units. Our school-wide and class productions include significant choreography and often highlight specific dance numbers. Our teachers and students love to move, and might just throw an impromptu dance party to brighten uo a lesson!
Visual Arts: Our teachers incorporate visual art into the core curriculum whenever possible. In particular, social studies units contain many opportunities for the students to produce drawings, paintings, sculpture, pottery, and to build architectural models. Twice a week, students participate in a formal art class, which includes art techniques and art history.
Physical Education/Health: Essentially, our dance program is our physical education program. In addition, all classes participate daily in the We Count! walking program which uses pedometers to track student participation and progress. Health topics are covered in P.E. and in classroom science units.
Spanish: All children participate in a weekly Spanish Exposure class. These classes are an exciting mix of games, songs, conversation, and fun in Spanish. These classes are supplemented by other teachers who have many Spanish resources that they may incorporate into other units. Some examples are Spanish songs, Spanish calendars and Spanish versions of literature used in language arts units.