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
- World Language
- Visual Arts
- Physical Education
- Library Media Services
This year your child will be working to develop his or her understanding and mastery of Grade 3 Connecticut 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.
- Identify and know the meaning of common prefixes and derivational suffixes (e.g., re-, pre-, -er, -ing).
- Decode multisyllable words (e.g., deliberate, flexible).
- Decode words with common Latin suffixes ( e.g., -able, -ible, -ence).
- Read grade appropriate irregularly spelled words.
- Read with Fluency
- Read on level text with appropriate text, prose and poetry with appropriate accuracy, rate and expression.
- Read on level text with appropriate text, prose and poetry with appropriate accuracy, rate and expression.
- Identify Key Ideas and Details
- Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of literature and informational text; refer explicitly to the text as the basis for answers.
- Recount stories, determine the central message, lesson or moral and explain how it is conveyed through key ideas in the text.
- Determine main idea of a text, recount key details and explain how they support the main idea.
- Describe characters in a story and explain how their actions contribute to the sequence of events.
- Describe the relationship between a series of historical events, scientific concepts or steps in technical procedures in a text using appropriate time, sequence or cause/effect language.
- Understand the Structure of Texts
- Determine the meaning of words and phrases distinguishing literal from nonliteral language.
- Refer to parts of stories, dramas and poems using terms such as chapter, scene and stanza; describe how successive parts build upon earlier sections.
- Distinguish your point of view from that of the narrator or a character in the story or the author of a text.
- Determine the meaning of grade appropriate words and phrases in informational text.
- Use text features and search tools (e.g., key words, sidebars, hyperlinks) to efficiently locate information relevant to a given topic.
- Integrate Knowledge and Ideas Within and Across Texts
- Explain how specific aspects of an illustration contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story or text.
- Compare and contrast the themes, settings, and plots of stories written by the same author about the same or similar characters.
- Describe the connection between sentences and paragraphs in a text (e.g., comparison, cause/effect, first/second/third in a sequence).
- Compare and contrast the most important points and key details presented in two texts on the same topic.
- Read and Comprehend a Range of Texts with Appropriate Grade Level Complexity
- Proficiently and independently 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 simple, compound and complex sentences.
- Apply capitalization, punctuation and spelling when writing.
- Use Knowledge of Language
- Choose words and phrases for effect.
- Apply formal and informal uses of English.
- Understand and Use Grade Appropriate Vocabulary
- Determine or 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.
- Acquire and accurately use conversational, academic and domain-specific words and phrases.
Speaking And Listening
- Participate in Collaborative Conversations with Understanding
- Come to discussions prepared, follow agreed upon rules for discussion, ask questions to check understanding and explain understanding of the topic under discussion.
- Determine main idea and supporting details of a text or information presented in diverse media and formats.
- Ask and answer questions about information from a speaker, offering appropriate elaboration and detail.
- Present Knowledge and Ideas Clearly
- Report on a topic, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant details speaking clearly at an understandable pace.
- Create engaging audio recordings that demonstrate fluid reading at an understandable pace and add visual displays when appropriate.
- Speak in complete sentences when appropriate to the situation in order to provide requested detail and clarification.
Teachers use the Writers’ Workshop model to plan the following narrative, information, and opinion writing units:
Narrative: Crafting True Stories
Information: The Art of Information Writing
Opinion: Changing the World
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.
- Is introduced to Zaner Bloser cursive alphabet in fall.
- Learn, review and practice Zaner Bloser cursive alphabet.
The third grade Keyboarding Without Tears program uses activities to sharpen accuracy and fluency skills. With basic keyboarding well in hand, students practice frequently rotating themes including Sing & Play, Famous Faces, Greek & Latin, and Great Grammar. 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 3 keyboarding benchmark expectation is 10 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 Library Media 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 1,000 using strategies and algorithms based on place value, properties of operations, and/or the relationship between addition and subtraction.
- Multiply/divide within 100 using strategies and algorithms based on the relationship between multiplication and division or properties of operations.
- Know from memory all products of two one-digit numbers.
Operations and Algebraic Thinking
- Represent and solve problems involving multiplication and division.
- Understand properties of multiplication and the relationship between multiplication and division.
- Multiply and divide within 100.
- Solve problems involving the four operations, and identify and explain patterns in arithmetic.
Number and Operations in Base Ten
- Use place value understanding and properties of operations to perform multi-digit arithmetic.
Number and Operations – Fractions
- Develop understanding of fractions as numbers.
Measurement and Data
- Solve problems involving measurement and estimation of intervals of time to nearest minute, liquid and volumes, and masses of objects.
- Represent and interpret data.
- Geometric measurement: understand concepts of area and relate area to multiplication and to addition.
- Geometric measurement: recognize perimeter as an attribute of plane figures and distinguish between linear and area measures.
- Reason with shapes and their attributes.
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 3 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: An introduction to Native American storytelling and folk literature, aligned to Connecticut Core Standards.
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. In the first unit, students will explore the question, Why do people tell stories? Third graders will both listen to and read Native American folktales in order to recount stories and share them with others. In another unit, students will study the regions of the United States by considering the question, How does where you live impact how you live? Students will learn about each region’s landforms, climate, natural resources, and people.
Aiken, Braeburn, Bugbee, Charter Oak, Duffy, Morley, Smith, Webster Hill, Whiting Lane and Wolcott-Spanish; Norfeldt - French; Charter Oak - Chinese
Learn to communicate in French, Spanish or Chinese through oral expression
Learn the correct pronunciation of specific French, Spanish or Chinese vocabulary
Develop listening comprehension skills in French, Spanish or Chinese
Learn the nuances of verbal / nonverbal communication in French, Spanish or Chinese
Develop cultural awareness and cultural knowledge.
A theme referencing the French/Spanish/Chinese speaking world is explored through colors, geometric shapes, greetings, classroom language, basic classroom objects, days, months, alphabet, weather, season, clothing and fruits. The cultural focus centers on French/Spanish-speaking Caribbean countries and China.
- 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 guide. 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 autobiographical art, 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
- Learn about styles of art such as Abstraction and Post Impressionism
- Learn about landscape, still life and creating space (foreground, middleground, background)
- Explore meaning and symbolism related to a variety of art, art forms and cultures
- 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, 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, clay, mobile/stabile
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 songs independently; in tune, accurately, including partner songs and rounds.
- Sing expressively, with the appropriate dynamics, phrasing and interpretation.
- Perform expressively a varied repertoire.
- Demonstrate part-work, e.g., simple rounds.
- Read and write simple rhythmic and melodic patterns, e.g., sixteenth notes, pentatonic scale.
- Identify symbols and traditional terms referring to dynamics, tempo and articulation.
- Identify simple form, e.g., first and second ending.
- Listen to and recognize simple forms and styles.
- Use terminology in describing and analyzing music, e.g., round.
- Identify ways in which other disciplines are interrelated with music.
- Sing songs and play games that explore cultural diversity, e.g., Native American and West Indies.
- 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:
- Efficiently perform more complex locomotor and non-locomotor skills and combinations while maintaining good body control.
- Demonstrate more complex combinations of manipulative skills (e.g., striking) using a variety of implements and different body parts.
- Apply movement concepts (e.g., flow, force) to movements.
- Perform rhythmic patterns through creative or cultural dance movement, as well as through movement activities using manipulatives.
- Participate in a variety of moderate to vigorous physical activities that promote fitness and an understanding of the components as defined by the Connecticut Physical Fitness Assessments.
- Participate in movement tasks (both on the floor and on the apparatus) that require creative or critical thinking.
- Participate in cooperative adventure and group activities that require teamwork to achieve success.
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.
- Make healthy eating choices, including eating a variety of foods that are lower in added sugar, fat and sodium.
- Explain safe practices of using medicines, including over the counter medicines and prescriptions.
- Identify similarities and differences between one’s thinking, actions, appearance and lifestyles and those of others.
- Develop conflict resolution strategies.
- Practice effective communication skills, including how to make conversations and ways to use assertive strategies when necessary.
- Practice using problem-solving strategies in social situations, such as resisting peer pressure and resisting the impulse to steal or lie.
- Demonstrate self-regulation techniques in a variety of situations, including times when they are stressed.
- Identify ways to access help or support when needed from trusted adults, including if on the Internet.
- Practice using the Internet safely with an emphasis on netiquette.
West Hartford Community Relations police officers assist in teaching some of these objectives.