MCS students thrive spiritually through the development of a Love for Christ and God’s Word and academically through a progressive instructional program designed for the individual.
Our team of professionals is committed to excellence in four distinct areas: Love for Christ, Exemplary Academics, Whole Child Focus, Connected Community, Culture of Innovation. The elementary team strives to provide a culture of innovation through exemplary academics while fostering a deep love for Christ.
How We Achieve Our Goals
Through highly engaging learning experiences, students are challenged to think creatively, use problem-solving processes, and make connections to their learning in meaningful ways. Our goal is to nurture the creative confidence in all students while instilling a passion for learning in their hearts.
Mariners Christian School (MCS) offers a wonderful foundational start to a child’s elementary education. Our program is standards based and includes the following:
- Bible: The TK-Kindergarten curriculum focuses on who God is, developing a love for Christ and the Fruits of the Spirit. Teachers utilize the Deep Roots curriculum for 1st-4th grade students. The 5th grade curriculum incorporates Old Testament development and beginning Apologetics instruction as a transition to the Middle School Bible Program.
- Language Arts: MCS utilizes a Balanced Literacy approach that capitalizes on Read Alouds, Mini-lessons, One to One Conferring, Strategy Groups, Independent Reading and Writing, and Word Study to develop passionate readers and engaged writers. Curriculum is based upon the Units of Study developed by Lucy Calkins and her team of developers at The Teachers College Reading and Writing Project.
- Math: The TK-2nd grade team utilizes supplemental resources to develop unit based teaching to small groups of students while the 3rd-5th grade team utilizes supplemental resources to facilitate a Pathway system through all grade level standards taught through Mini-lessons but individualized through pacing, choice and mastery.
The Workshop Philosophy
Kindergarten (Page 2 of 5) Level M books. This does not mean s/he is a Level M. The student is a reader. The level merely helps the child and the teacher know how best to support the reading work being done at this stage in their development. Assessment: Reading Assessment-driven instruction guides our practice at MCS. We use both formal and informal assessments to determine best next learning steps for students. Formal Reading Assessment: Fountas & Pinnell Irene Fountas (professor at Lesley University) and Gay Su Pinnell (Professor Emeritus in the School of Teaching and Learning at The Ohio State University) have devoted their lives to literacy learning and developing teacher expertise in it through extensive research and classroom work. Their Benchmark Assessment Systems 1 and 2 are widely adopted and accepted as the staple in measuring student reading proficiency. NOTE: These assessments are given at least three times a year to not only determine where a student currently is in his or her reading but to inform next learning steps for the student. Informal Reading Assessment: Conferring Notes As teachers meet with individual students in one-on-one conferences as well as in small groups, they are recording notes on what the student is doing well and what the next learning steps are. Progress is monitored over time using these notes and helps to determine instruction. Observations A lot goes on in a classroom on any given day. The day-to-day occurrences form general observations that teachers are able to make about students over the course of time. These observations also serve to guide next instructional steps.
The workshop approach to literacy is built on the premise that students are active learners with many choices and decisions to make. Their work is front and center in combination with teacher modeling and one-on-one and small-group guidance. This approach, as spearheaded by Lucy Calkins (Founding Director of the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University), grows out of a pedagogical theory aligned with natural literacy development. It espouses teaching readers and writers, not the reading and writing. This means equipping students with the strategies, not just the skills, needed to be proficient, lifelong readers and writers. Independence and choice are fundamental characteristics of this approach to literacy. Teachers inform and guide students and their work. This equips and empowers students with the skills and strategies needed to navigate their own literacy, not just at school, but in their lives. The 60-minute workshop structure is consistent across grade levels and disciplines.
It begins with a 10- minute-mini/lesson, where a new concept or expansion on an existing one is taught. This is followed up with 30+ minutes of independent work time, where the student is in charge of his or her work. Students are supported and their instruction individualized through one-on-one conferences with the teacher and/or strategic small group work. A 2-3 minute mid-workshop interruption offers an additional teaching point or reminder to support student work. Sharing time concludes the workshop.
Reading Workshop emphasizes the interaction between readers and texts. Its goal is to maximize student learning through purposeful, planned instruction aligned to the Common Core State Standards. For example, students learn to ask questions, make connections with prior knowledge and previously read texts, and ask questions to clarify recognized faulty comprehension. Students are encouraged to record their thinking on sticky notes or in their notebooks. This documentation enables them to chart their progress and continually update their goals, perpetually moving toward deeper levels of comprehension and higher-level thinking work. Students work on a variety of strategies to strengthen their thinking within a text, about a text, and beyond a text. Their thinking within the text involves solving words, monitoring and correcting themselves as they read, searching for and using information, summarizing, reading fluently, and making needed adjustments as they read. Their thinking about the text requires them to critique and analyze what they are reading. Their thinking beyond the text expects them to infer, synthesize, make connections, and predict. Classroom libraries can be organized by reading level bands, topics, series, or even genres. Students are guided to read within their instructional reading band each week to practice and shore up the strategies they are working on. While alphabetic letter levels are a tool we use to help identify the strategies students are working on, we do not identify students by them. In other words, a child might be reading.
Writing Workshop follows the same structure as Reading Workshop. It provides explicit, sequenced instruction that equips students to progress purposefully in their writing. This approach is responsive, developmentally appropriate, and result oriented. Students are given extensive opportunities to explore ideas, techniques, and write. They build their writing fluency, while also setting goals and critiquing their own work. Feedback, both positive and critical, are at the heart of developing proficient writers. This feedback is not only given by the teacher but students are taught how to give it to one another. Assessment: Writing Assessment-driven instruction guides our practice at MCS. We use both formal and informal assessments to determine best next learning steps for students. In writing, there are three learning progressions, one for each text structure (opinion, information, and narrative) as well as grade- The Workshop Philosophy-Kindergarten (Page 3 of 5) by-grade checklists, grade-specific rubrics, three benchmark texts illustrating at-standards-level, and on-demand opinion, information, and narrative writing.
- Formal Writing Assessment: On-Demand Writing Before instruction begins on a new text structure, students are assessed. They spend forty-five minutes writing an on-demand text that teachers then score and use to determine the best, most efficient, and effective instructional pathway to take. At the end of the unit, students are reassessed in this same manner to determine level of mastery.
- Informal Writing Assessment: Conferring Notes As teachers meet with individual students in one-on-one conferences as well as in small groups, they are recording notes on what the student is doing well and what the next learning steps are. Progress is monitored over time using these notes and helps to determine instruction.
- Observations: A lot goes on in a classroom on any given day. The day-to-day occurrences form general observations that teachers are able to make about students over the course of time. These observations also serve to guide next instructional steps.