R. K. Mellon Elementary School » Learning

Learning

The goal of R.K.Mellon Elementary is to facilitate a personalized approach to learning for each individual, every hour of every day. Our learning progressions are designed to meet the individual learner exactly where they are developmentally. To facilitate this process, learners are assessed and instruction is designed to maximize the learner's potential. In some instances, multi-age grouping is used to provide the flexibility needed for personalized learning opportunities. An example may be a 6-year-old learner may participate in reading with 8-year-old learners. Instruction is provided to the individual when they need it developmentally, not at a level that is predetermined by their age. The core curriculum consists of English/Language Arts (ELA), Mathematics, Science and Social Studies. The learners also participate in physical education, music, art, library and STEAM classes. These specialty area classes are offered on a six-day rotation basis.  

 

Laurel Valley Elementary offers a full range of services for learners with special needs. Speech and language support, occupational or physical therapy, learning support, and English as a Second Language services are available depending on the learner's need.  Please contact Mr. Edward Moran or Mr. Wayne Waugh for more information. 

 

Parents may keep track of their child’s progress through Powerschool, a learner information system. It allows you to check your child’s academic information as well as a cafeteria bill update. A password and directions will be sent to you through our central office. If you need assistance logging into this site, please contact Mrs. Rebecca Shafron at (724)238-5696.

 

English/Language Art (ELA)

 

ELA Reading - Learners are exposed to and continue to master reading strategies including visualization, questioning, making inferences, synthesizing and summarizing. They implement these strategies to comprehend a variety of genre. As learners move further through the ELA progression, they develop skills essential for analyzing and interpreting complex literary works. Learners read short stories, articles, novels, and poetry to help develop these skills. More specifically, learners examine the structure and purpose of literary works with emphasis on close reading strategies.  Each learner is assessed using the Fountas and Pinell screening tool. This allows the teacher to provide ELA instruction at the developmental level of each learner. Learners move through the reading progression at a pace that is appropriate for their learning level.  
  • Reading Workshop is a powerful way to structure a reading classroom. Using this model involves guiding your students to choose their own books as well as providing significant amounts of time for them to read independently. Reading workshop includes read alouds, shared reading, guided reading, independent reading and literacy centers.
  • Read-aloud is an instructional practice where teachers, parents, and caregivers read texts aloud to children. The reader incorporates variations in pitch, tone, pace, volume, pauses, eye contact, questions, and comments to produce a fluent and enjoyable delivery.
  • Shared reading is an interactive reading experience that occurs when learners join in or share the reading of a book or other text with guidance and support from a teacher. The teacher explicitly models the skills of proficient readers, including reading with fluency and expression.
  • Guided reading is an instructional approach that involves a teacher working with a small group of learners who demonstrate similar reading behaviors and can read similar levels of texts. The text is easy enough for learners to read with skillful support from the teacher. Typically a guided reading group will have four or five students of mixed ages, who are working at the same developmental level. 
  • Independent reading is a learner's reading of text — such as books, magazines, and newspapers — on their own, with minimal to no assistance from adults. It can consist of reading done in or out of school, including voluntary reading for enjoyment or assigned reading to help develop the learner's use of comprehension strategies.  
  • Literacy centers are physical areas (or stations) designated for specific learning purposes. They are designed to provide appropriate materials to help learners work independently or collaboratively (with partners or in small groups) to meet literacy goals. A literacy center can be portable, temporary or permanent. The integration of literacy centers can support improvement in reading comprehension, language, social, and writing development. Literacy centers facilitate problem-solving because students are able to explore, invent, discover, and create alone or with others at centers (Stone, 1996).
 
Writing workshop is a student-centered framework for teaching writing that is based on the idea that learners learn to write best when they write frequently, for extended periods of time, on topics of their own choosing. ELA writing is aligned to the PA Common Core Standards and encompasses the following genres of writing: narrative, descriptive, argumentative, and expository. The progression is designed to enhance the learner’s ability to communicate through writing, as well as speaking and listening. Writers' Workshop starts in K4 and continues throughout the learner's academic career.
  • Narrative writing is characterized by a main character in a setting who engages with a problem or event in a significant way. This type of writing follows the same format as that in a piece of fictional text.  
  • Descriptive writing is used to describe a person, place or thing in such a way that a picture is formed in the reader's mind. Capturing an event through descriptive writing involves paying close attention to the details by using all of your five senses. This type of writing also develops the reading comprehension strategy of visualization.  
  • Argumentative writing is a genre of writing that requires the learner to investigate a topic; collect, generate, and evaluate evidence; and establish a position on the topic in a concise manner. This type of writing also develops the reading comprehension strategies of making inferences, summarizing and synthesizing.
  • Expository writing is used to convey factual information (as opposed to creative writing, such as fiction). It is the language of learning and understanding the world around us. If you've ever read an encyclopedia entry, a how-to article on a website, or a chapter in a textbook, then you've encountered examples of expository writing. Expository writing is everywhere in everyday life, not just academic settings. It is present anytime there is information to be conveyed. It can take the form of an academic paper, an article for a newspaper, a report for a business, or even book-length nonfiction. It explains, informs, and describes. This writing process also enhances a learner's ability to synthesize the most important information from non-fiction literature. Expository writing is the vehicle through which we introduce learners to science and social studies concepts.  
 
Mathematics
The mathematics progression is aligned to the PA Common Core Standards. Topics include numbers and operations, time, money, probability and statistics, data analysis, ratios, rates, and proportions. Introductory algebraic skills are emphasized as well and incorporated into geometry concepts. Learners engage in problem-solving applications and integration of skills and concepts. Multi-age learning groups are used to provide personalized instruction to each learner.  
 
Special Areas
The special areas for elementary learners include STEAM, Physical Education, Computers, Art, Music, and Library. These classes are offered on a six-day rotation basis. Each learner starting in K4 will have these learning opportunities. 
  • STEAM is an interdisciplinary approach to learning where rigorous academic concepts are coupled with real-world lessons as students apply science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in contexts that make connections between school, community, work, and real life problems. Learners are exposed to basic programming, robotics, maker space experiences and much more.  
  • Physical Education aims to develop learners' physical competence and knowledge of movement and safety, and their ability to use these to perform in a wide range of activities associated with the development of an active and healthy lifestyle.
  • Computer instruction develops fundamental keyboarding and word processing skills, and internet research and safety. As learners move further along the progression, they acquire skills to create spreadsheets and graphic presentations. 
  • Art instruction introduces learners to the visual arts progression. Learners are introduced to a variety of media through the production of art. Using a discipline-based approach, learners consider aesthetics, arts heritage, and criticism to develop their visual literacy skills. 
  • Music education is a field of study associated with the teaching and learning of music. Music training from preschool through post-secondary education is common in most nations because involvement with music is considered a fundamental component of human culture and behavior.
  • Library education is an opportunity for learners to develop their love for reading. This class provides choice for learners where they can select books on topics of which they have an interest. It develops their literacy and comprehension skills while allowing them to find topics that they are passionate about.  
 

L.E.A.P. (Learners Empowered to Access Passions)

During the 2019 – 2010 school year, our learners will have an opportunity to select extra time in a specials area based on their interests and passions. These learning opportunities are NOT “extra special time” to continue what they are doing as a class. This will be a designated period of time for learners to explore their interests, talents, passions and aspirations. Learner profiles will be completed on each learner. From these profiles, we will better understand the learner’s key strengths, challenges, preferences, and needs along with their interests, talents, and aspirations.

 

“School is about finding information on something prescribed for you. Learning is about exploring your passions and interests." ~George Couros, The Innovator’s Mindset