It is a pleasure to share our Curriculum in A Nutshell, a brief overview of all areas of the Kindergarten through Grade 5 West Hartford Curriculum. This brochure outlines the curriculum for your child’s respective grade in school. West Hartford’s comprehensive program is based on the Connecticut Core Standards and provides instruction on the essential literacy and mathematics skills and understandings necessary for success on both district and state assessments. The West Hartford curriculum also includes integration of visual and performing arts, science, social studies, physical education, world language (grades 3-5) and library media services.
This curriculum comes alive in the hands of our talented teachers who are committed to ensuring that our students reach their highest potential. We are dedicated to accommodating children’s diverse needs, the way they learn, their experiences and interests, and to facilitating continuous educational growth. If you should have any questions about your child’s curriculum, your classroom teacher is the best source of information.
No single document can fully explain the rich and complex nature of the school curriculum and instructional goals. We know that learning is optimized in a partnership with families, teachers, and schools. Working together, we can use your experiences as a family and our work in the classroom to create a respectful climate of academic success and joy for lifelong learning.
Paul W. Vicinus, Jr.
Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment
- Language Arts
- Social Studies
- Visual Arts
- Physical Education
- Library Media Services
This year your child will be working to develop his or her understanding and mastery of Grade 2 Common Core Standards for English-Language Arts. These standards integrate all aspects of Language Arts development and are categorized under Reading, Writing, Speaking & Listening, and Language. Your child’s teacher will use a wide variety of instructional strategies and formats to help your child learn and progress toward mastery of these standards by the end of the school year.
- Apply Phonics and Word Recognition Skills
- Know and apply grade level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words.
- Know spelling sound correspondence (e.g. ,mop, back, drip).
- Decode regularly spelled one syllable words (e.g., ship, went, cold, cart).
- Know final -e and common vowel team conventions for representing long vowel sounds (e.g., note and cape as well as words that contain the vowel teams: /oa/, /ay/, /ai/, / oe/, /ee/, /ae/.
- Use knowledge that every syllable must have a vowel sound (e.g., o/ pen, kick/ing, mar/ket, moth/er, clo/set).
- Decode two-syllable words following basic patterns (e.g., open syllable words such as: began, human, tiger and closed syllable words such as submit, insect, kitten).
- Read words with inflectional endings (e.g., looks, looked, looking, longer, longest).
- Read with Fluency
- Read on level text with appropriate accuracy, rate and expression.
- Read on level text with appropriate accuracy, rate and expression.
- Identify Key Ideas and Details
- Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding with literature and informational texts.
- Recount stories and determine central message, lesson or moral.
- Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges.
- Identify main topic in an informational text.
- Describe the connection between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures.
- Understand the Structure of Texts
- Describe how words and phrases supply rhythm and meaning in a story, poem or song.
- Describe the overall structure of a story and acknowledge differences in points of view of characters.
- Determine the meaning of words and phrases in an informational text.
- Know and use various text features (captions, bold print, glossaries, etc.) to locate key facts.
- Identify the main purpose of a text including what the author wants to answer, explain or describe.
- Integrate Knowledge and Ideas Within and Across Texts
- Use illustrations and text to understand character, setting and plot.
- Compare and contrast two or more versions of the same story.
- Explain how specific images (diagram, etc.) clarify an informational text.
- Describe how the author supports points in an informational text.
- Compare and contrast the most important points presented by two informational texts on the same topic.
- Read and Comprehend a Range of Texts with Appropriate Grade Level Complexity
- Proficiently read and comprehend a variety of texts in the grade 2-3 text complexity range.
- Demonstrate Command of Conventions of Standard English
- Apply parts of speech correctly when writing and speaking.
- Produce, expand, and rearrange complete simple and compound sentences. (e.g., The boy watched the movie; The little boy watched the movie; The action movie was watched by the little boy).
- Apply capitalization, punctuation and spelling when writing.
- Use Knowledge of Language
- Apply formal and informal uses of English.
- Understand and Use Grade Appropriate Vocabulary
- Determine and clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases using a variety of strategies.
- Demonstrate an understanding of word relationships and nuances in word meanings.
- Apply words and phrases acquired through conversations, reading and responding to texts.
Speaking And Listening
- Participate in Collaborative Conversations with Understanding
- Build on others talk and conversations with diverse partners, follow agreed upon rules for discussions and ask for clarification and further explanation as needed.
- Recount or describe key ideas and details from a read aloud or oral presentation.
- Ask and answer questions about what a speaker says in order to clarify comprehension, gather information or deepen understanding of a topic or issue.
- Present Knowledge and Ideas Clearly
- Tell a story or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant descriptive details, speaking audibly in coherent sentences.
- Create audio recordings of stories or poems; add drawings or other visual displays to stories or recounts of experiences when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts and feelings.
- Produce complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation in order to provide requested detail or clarification.
Teachers use the Writers’ Workshop model to plan the following narrative, information, and opinion writing units:
Narrative: Lessons from the Masters
Information: A How-To Guide to Nonfiction Writing
Opinion: Writing About Reading
Each writing block includes a short mini-lesson focusing on the writing process, writing conventions, and/or craft. Students then work on assigned or self-selected writing pieces as teachers confer with students either individually or in small groups. The workshop lesson closes with sharing time during which students celebrate and reflect on their writing and the writing process.
Work toward mastery of upper- and lower-case Zaner Bloser print alphabet.
The second grade Keyboarding Without Tears program introduces foundational letter and keyboarding skills. Muscle memory of the keyboard is developed with frequently used letter combinations. Students learn to type words and sentences. Students practice these skills with engaging and changing themes: Start the Music, Water, Water! and Math Mix. Spot Checks within the program are used to gauge student understanding of specific skills. Each Spot Check measures speed and accuracy. The end of Grade 2 keyboarding benchmark expectation is five words per minute (wpm) with 90% accuracy. Proper technique and posture are emphasized at all grade levels. All students in Grades 2-5 have access to the Keyboarding Without Tears (KWT) program for keyboarding practice at home and school. Information on home access will be provided by your child’s classroom teacher and school LibraryMedia Specialist during the first month of school.
Our mathematics curriculum is based on the Connecticut Core Standards for Mathematics (CCSS-M) that define what students should understand and be able to do by the end of the year at each grade level. The Connecticut Core Standards for Mathematics have two key components:
- Standards for Mathematical Practice – eight practices in which students engage at all grade levels
- Standards for Mathematical Content – conceptual understandings and procedural knowledge and skills
The Content Standards at each grade level are grouped into domains (e.g. Geometry) and clusters within each domain.
The Content Standards at each grade level are grouped into domains (e.g. Geometry) and clusters within each domain. Our instructional focus in Grade 2 is on four critical areas: (1) extending understanding of base 10 notation; (2) building fluency with addition and subtraction; (3) using standard units of measure; and (4) describing and analyzing shapes. To provide you with an understanding of your child’s mathematics learning, we have highlighted domains and clusters of standards for Grade 2 below. A comprehensive description of the Connecticut Core Standards for Mathematics is available at http://www.corestandards.org/.
- Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
- Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
- Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
- Model with mathematics.
- Use appropriate tools strategically.
- Attend to precision.
- Look for and make use of structure.
- Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning.
- Add/subtract within 20, knowing from memory all sums of two one-digit numbers.
- Add and subtract within 100, using strategies based on place value, properties of operations, and/or the relationship between addition and subtraction.
Operations and Algebraic Thinking
- Represent and solve problems involving addition and subtraction.
- Use addition and subtraction within 100 to solve one and two-step problems involving adding to, taking from, putting together, taking apart and comparing.
- Solve for the unknown in all positions (e.g., by using drawing and equations with a symbol for the unknown number to represent the problem).
- Add and subtract within 20.
- Work with equal groups of objects to gain foundations for multiplication.
- Determine whether a group of objects (up to 20) has an odd or even number of members; write an equation to express an even number as a sum of two equal addends.
- Use addition to find the total number of objects arranged in rectangular arrays with up to 5 rows and 5 columns; write an equation to express the total as a sum of equal addends.
Number and Operations in Base Ten
- Understand place value.
- Understand three-digit numbers as representing amounts of hundreds, tens, and ones.
- Count, read, and write numbers within 1000. Skip count by 5s, 10s, 100s.
- Compare three-digit numbers and use >, <, = symbols to record comparisons.
- Use place value understanding and properties of operations to add and subtract
- Add and subtract within 1000, using concrete models or drawings and strategies based on place value, properties of operations, and/or the relationship between addition and subtraction.
- Add up to four two-digit numbers using strategies based on place value and properties of operations.
- Mentally add or subtract 10 or 100 to or from a given number 100-900.
- Explain why addition and subtraction strategies work, using place value and the properties of operations.
Measurement and Data
- Measure and estimate lengths in standard units.
- Measure length of an object by selecting and using appropriate tools (e.g., ruler) and estimate lengths using standards units (inches, feet, centimeters, meters)
- Measure to determine how much longer one unit is than another
- Relate addition and subtraction to length
- Solve word problems involving lengths that are given in the same units and represent whole number lengths on a number line diagram.
- Work with time and money.
- Tell and write time from analog and digital clocks to the nearest five minutes, using a.m. and p.m.
- Solve word problems involving dollar bills, quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies using $ and ¢ symbols appropriately.
- Represent and interpret data.
- Generate measurement data by measuring length of several objects to nearest whole or repeated measurements of the same object and show measurements in a line plot.
- Draw a picture graph and bar graph to represent and solve problems with a data set with up to four categories.
- Reason with shapes and their attributes.
- Recognize and draw shapes having specific attributes.
- Partition shapes into the same size parts/equal shares and describe the shares (e.g., halves) and the whole as two halves, three thirds, four fourths using words.
- Recognize that equal shares of identical wholes need not have the same shape.
The Social Studies curriculum was developed with guidance from the Connecticut Social Studies Framework passed by the State Board of Education in February 2015. This Connecticut framework provides a foundation for teaching history, civics and government, geography, and economics in all grade levels. A summary of the Civics and Geography skills studied in Grade 2 are below:
Develop an understanding of self, social standards and rules, along with the rights and responsibilities of citizens.
Develop a positive self-concept.
Develop an understanding of rules and responsibilities within communities.
Determine ways one can address problems individually and collectively to improve the communities to which we belong.
Identify, understand, and regulate emotions of self and others.
Develop positive interpersonal relationships.
Instruction about Religion: Introduction of religious leaders who have made a difference in their community, country, or world.
Explore maps and their purpose.
Identify where one lives and locate important places on current and historical maps.
Use maps to identify important information using symbols, legends, and keys.
Give and follow directions.
Create a variety of maps.
In addition, as part of the English/Language Arts curriculum, students will participate in two Social Studies units. Students will explore the question How do the stories we read inspire us to make a difference? by reading a variety of books with fictional characters that make a difference in big and small ways. Students consider how just like the characters they read about, they can also make a difference in the lives of others. Students also explore the question, How do the action of people in the past influence us today? by studying children and adults in history whose actions have impacted people living today.
- Asking questions and defining problems
- Developing and using models
- Planning and carrying out investigations
- Analyzing and interpreting data
- Using mathematics and computational thinking
- Constructing explanations and designing solutions
- Engaging in argument from evidence
- Obtaining, evaluating and communicating information
The Visual Arts Department promotes artistic development, fosters development of visual literacy, critical thinking skills, intellectual risktaking and lifelong learning. The curriculum is currently being revised using the National Core Arts Standards (NCAS) as a foundation. The program is grounded in developing student-centered experiences that promote meaningful discourse.
Understanding The Creative Process through the Visual Arts
Connecting / Exploring Culture through Concept and Skill
- Learn about portraits and self-portraits; creating space
- Learn about the elements and principles of art such as shape, line and color as well as color theory and line directionality
- Explore author/illustrator, connecting to literacy and images
- Learn about landscape, still life and creating space ( foreground, middleground, background)
- Exploration of a wide variety of cultures drawing from art history as well as current artists
- Discover connections to other subject matters such as science, math, history
- Exploration of a variety of mediums in creative expression
- Drawing: a variety of techniques introduced in use of crayon, oil pastel, and watercolor pencils
- Painting: possible exploration of resist, watercolor, acrylic, tempera
- Three dimensional art: introduction of techniques used in sculpture such as relief, paper sculpture, found objects and clay
Responding / Critique and Aesthetic Discourse
- Participate in collaborative discussion about art using appropriate vocabulary; develop opinions and judgments about art
- Develop Visual Literacy skills about art and process in written artist’s intent, journal, or creative writing (poetry, story)
Singing is the foundation of all music skills in the elementary vocal music curriculum. Music skills are sequentially taught and divided into five content areas: melody, rhythm, reading and writing, part work and form, using grade appropriate songs, singing games and rounds.
- Sing in tune, clearly, alone and with others.
- Sing simple two-part songs, e.g., rhythmic and melodic ostinati.
- Perform simple rhythmic and melodic patterns, alone and with others.
- Move to and keep a steady beat while singing.
- Read and write simple rhythmic and melodic patterns, e.g., half notes; do, re, mi, la.
- Identify simple form, e.g., repeat sign.
- Listen to music with focused attention.
- Respond to music with movement.
- Use terminology in describing music, e.g., repeat, variant.
- Identify ways in which other disciplines are interrelated with music.
- Sing songs and play games that explore cultural diversity, e.g., Japan.
- Put music into a cultural and historical context.
The Elementary Physical Education department strives to create physically literate students. At the elementary level, we ensure that students are exposed to foundational skills that they will build upon throughout their Physical Education experience in West Hartford Public Schools. Our curriculum is aligned to SHAPE AMERICA’s National Standards. Concepts that students will be engaged in are:
- Demonstrate efficiency and good body control when performing locomotor and non-locomotor skills through partner activities, group games, and movement tasks.
- Demonstrate developmentally appropriate manipulative skills (e.g., striking) using a variety of implements and different body parts.
- Combine locomotor and non-locomotor skills with manipulative activities.
- Apply movement concepts (e.g., space, speed, force) to movements.
- Perform simple rhythmic patterns involving creative or cultural dance movement.
- Participate in a variety of moderate to vigorous physical activities that promote fitness.
- Perform movement tasks (both on the floor as well as on the apparatus) that require creative or critical thinking.
- Demonstrate effective interpersonal skills to participate in cooperative adventure and group activities.
The library media program in the elementary school provides the foundation skills for students to become critical users of information, and readers for lifelong learning. Standards for the 21st-Century Learner published by the American Association of School Librarians provides the framework for instruction. By the end of grade 5 students will:
Standard 1—Inquire, think critically, and gain knowledge.
Find, evaluate, and select appropriate sources to answer questions.
Read, view, and listen for information presented in any format (e.g., textual, visual, media, digital) in order to make inferences and gather meaning.
- Make sense of information gathered from diverse sources by identifying misconceptions, main and supporting ideas, conflicting information and point of view or bias.
- Demonstrate mastery of technology tools to access information and pursue inquiry.
Standard 2—Draw conclusions, make informed decisions, apply knowledge to new situations, and create new knowledge.
- Continue an inquiry-based research process by applying critical thinking skills (analysis, synthesis, evaluation, organization) to information and knowledge in order to construct new understandings, draw conclusions, and create new knowledge.
- Use technology and other information tools to analyze and organize information.
- Use the writing process, media and visual literacy, and technology skills to create products that express new understandings.
Standard 3—Share knowledge and participate ethically and productively as members of our democratic society.
- Conclude an inquiry-based research process by sharing new understandings and reflecting on the learning.
- Use information and technology ethically and responsibly.
- Contribute to the exchange of ideas within and beyond the learning community
Standard 4—Pursue personal and aesthetic growth.
- Respond to literature and creative expressions of ideas in various formats and genres.
- Show an appreciation for literature by electing to read for pleasure and expressing interest in various literary genres.
- Define and practice good personal hygiene to promote healthy living.
- Make healthy eating choices, including eating a variety of foods daily.
- Recognize feelings and are able to sort them by small, medium and large.
- Practice effective communication skills, including verbalizing feelings and assuming others’ perspectives.
- Demonstrate self-regulation techniques.
- Discuss how to use the Internet safely with an emphasis on privacy.
- Name trusted adults who can help them.
- Explain safe practices when taking medicines.
- Explain potential dangers of touching, playing with, ingesting, smelling or inhaling any substance.
West Hartford Community Relations police officers assist in teaching some of these objectives.