Illustrative Mathematics (IM) is a problem-based mathematics curriculum in which students learn by doing math. We believe that humans learn best through experience and that math is not a spectator sport. With a problem-based approach, students spend the majority of instructional time engaged in carefully designed exploratory tasks, making sense of problems and trying different strategies. Open-ended, exploratory learning allows students to demonstrate their mathematical thinking and ideas in ways that make the most sense to them, honoring students’ diverse learning styles, talents, and preferred means of expression.
All IM lessons follow the same sequence:
1) Warm-Up: Lessons start with a warm-up to either help students get ready for the day’s lesson or to strengthen their number sense or procedural fluency.
2) Exploration Activities: The activities are the heart of the mathematical experience and make up the majority of the time spent in class. Students are engaged in exploration with hands-on problems and math games. Thoughtful representations, visuals, and concrete manipulatives are harnessed both as tools for students to use in problem-solving an
d tools for making sense of math concepts.
3) Synthesis: During synthesis, students take time to incorporate new insights gained during the exploration activities into their big-picture understanding. Through discourse with others, students collaboratively make sense of their experiences and findings to grow their math understandings. Teachers guide discussions in ways that highlight mathematical relationships, generalizations, and patterns to ensure mathematical takeaways are clear to all. Students communicate their own mathematical ideas and listen to the reasoning of others to build their own understandings.
4) Cool-Down: Each lesson ends with a closing task or discussion question. This serves as a check-in to determine whether students understood the lesson. Student responses during the cool-down are used to inform future instruction.
Exploratory mathematics provides exposure to rigorous learning opportunities for all, while also ensuring multiple access points and differentiation for those who need it. We believe that this approach cultivates the knowledge and 21st-century skills students need to empower learners and incites wonder.
English Language Arts
It is our mission at PS 307 to inspire and nurture the next generation of Readers and Writers. Books take us on adventures, spark our curiosity and provide windows and mirrors, so that we may see ourselves in texts, and also receive glimpses into the lives of others. As Writers, our students are taught to amplify their voices through telling the stories of their lives, persuading, teaching, and using their writing as a vehicle for change. PS 307 values and appreciates the impact of Balanced Literacy and uses Into Reading for our Reading and Writing Curriculum. Into Reading is a differentiated, research-based literacy program that supports teachers in developing a culture of learning and helps all learners develop a growth mindset.
At PS 307 science is an important part of the school community. We aim to incorporate science into each school day. Scholars learn to research and question the world around them.
The curriculum that is currently used as a resource is Amplify Science.
Across each grade is a STEAM corner where inquiry-based science work is showcased. The school also has dedicated science learning spaces called Maker Space.
Mandarin as a Foreign Language
Mandarin is offered as a foreign language program to students in P.S. 307 and is taught from Pre-K to 2nd grade weekly. The Mandarin program is designed with the goal of language proficiency and aligned with the common core standards and national standards set by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. Students focus on the four key areas of world language study: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Students are actively engaged in a variety of activities, practices, tasks, and assessments. Cultural information relevant to Chinese-speaking communities and robust cross-cultural reflections are infused throughout the materials from beginning to end.
There are two “Music and the Brain” keyboard labs and a wide assortment of classroom instruments as part of the general music curriculum at P.S. 307. Every class at P.S. 307 has music at least once a week in a dedicated music classroom. Pre-K classes learn movement, rhythmic notation, and begin to learn to play a variety of different instruments. Kindergarten through Grade 2 builds on those instrumentation skills, with a primary focus on the keyboard. Grades 3-5 begin to introduce guitar and percussion while allowing students the opportunity to showcase their accumulated hands-on skills by auditioning for after-school performance ensembles. Cumulatively, a student who has completed the Pre-K through Grade 5 Music Program Experience, will be capable of playing a number of instruments, have a firm grasp on rhythmic notation concepts, and have gained performance experience.
The Physical Education program engages Pre-K-5th grade students in physical activity as well as health lessons and math and science infused lessons taught by two physical education teachers. Annual physical activities include (but are not limited to,) basics in golf, volleyball, base games, dance, bicycling, parachute activities, obstacle course, tumbling, and catching and throwing. Some of the health-related activities include self-care, healthy eating, social-emotional development, and personal safety. Math and Science infused activities include skip counting, food grouping, measurement (length), weather, and simple laboratory lessons such as constructing paper airplanes, making bouncy balls, and making toy parachutes.
The visual art program at P.S. 307 gives students the opportunity to explore various art media and methods, and to learn about art traditions and artists from diverse cultures and time periods. Instruction stays appropriate to artistic development in children. Instruction is designed to push them further to use their knowledge of materials and methods to explore experiences and ideas through art-making and visually communicate to the viewer. The art curriculum is extremely varied in terms of media and method with students exploring media such as pencil, charcoal, oil pastels, paint, paper, cardboard, wood, fabric, clay, and found objects, and methods such as drawing, painting, 3D construction, sculpting, collage, mosaics, and printmaking. Art instruction at P.S. 307 strives to teach students that they are all highly creative and capable of making great artwork; it is effort, open-minded thinking, and creative risk-taking that are required to do well in art class.