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All students at Williamstown Elementary attend specialist classes taught by highly qualified elementary educators certified in their specialties. Children participate in once weekly art, library, and vocal music classes, as well as twice weekly physical education classes. Children in grades 3-6 may also choose to participate in instrumental music.
Art: In addition to the extensive community arts experiences described in About Us, students at WES experience a rich in-house art program that enables them to work with various media through the grades. Instruction includes art history as well as artwork projects and production. An all-school Art Show is held in June.
Library: The cornerstone of Williamstown Elementary School is its beautiful, well-stocked library. Students receive instruction in library science and research methods. Whether it is listening to a story or doing research the library is a foundation to all curriculum areas.
Music: Weekly vocal music classes expose children to elements of rhythm and song with a strong emphasis on confidence, poise and performance.
WES offers instrumental lessons and ensemble experiences for children in grades 3-6. Beginning in third grade, students are able to begin to learn a stringed instrument. In fourth grade, children may choose to play band instruments. All our ensembles, the orchestra, fourth grade band, fifth grade band, and sixth grade band perform several concerts for the community each year.P.E.
: Students participate in physical education through the lens of life long sports and wellness. Children walk/run, snow shoe and engage in games that encourage cooperation and teamwork.
After a full year of study, in 2005 the Williamstown Elementary School began its journey to implement a Core Reading Model of instruction in Grades K-3. In the fall of 2006, the district purchased the Scott Foresman reading series. This program is designed to address the learning needs for all students, and the staff has worked hard to successfully implement its many components. In addition, the district has been assessing students in the area of reading using the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Literacy Skills Next (DIBELS Next). These brief assessments are given minimally three times per year and provide important information for teachers about each student’s progress in the components of reading.
Reading “Team Time”, a common block of time for teaching reading at each grade level, enables teachers to differentiate instruction by sharing staff and designing instruction that is individualized. The core reading program is offered to all students in classrooms with whole-group and station instruction. Reading in the content areas of science and social studies is emphasized at all grade levels. The Scott Foresman Reading Program contains sections of non-fiction that closely relate to our lower grades’ content area curriculum. Upper grades’ studies use content area texts as well as computer technology to enhance their science and social studies curriculum.Additional reading instruction is organized in a Response to Intervention (RtI) model based upon student’s needs and interests. Students receive additional instruction in small groups, designed to improve or extend student fluency and comprehension. RtI reading support includes small group activities in and out of the classroom setting and may involve instruction from Title I staff, our Reading Specialist, or other school specialist teachers (art, music, library, technology). Computer technology enhances this aspect of our reading curriculum. Programs such as Read Naturally, Lexia, or Accelerated Reader can be prescribed for individuals or groups of students. Computers are carefully supervised and maintained by the classroom teacher to assess student progress.
Teachers meet regularly at each grade level to examine assessment data and share strategies and materials to reach all learners. Teachers also participate in on-going professional development to learn about new approaches for teaching students to read. The ultimate goal is to have ALL students reading at or above grade level by the end of Grade 3.
Our children love to read. It is not uncommon to see our upper grade students in primary classrooms with their “reading buddies” sharing a good book and a light moment.
Williamstown Elementary School provides a broad-based math program for children. Using the Everyday Math program for grades K-6 allows teachers to provide continuity of instruction from grade to grade. The program provides embedded assessments that allow teachers to monitor student growth in math skills and provide for individual differences. Our upper grade “math buddies” are often seen working with our younger students on special math projects.
In grades 4-6 teachers differentiate instruction by teaching math at the same time each day and grouping students according to current skill level and fluency. This common block of time enables teachers to provide for individual differences by sharing staff and students. In grade 4 students are assessed at each unit interval, allowing teachers to design instruction based upon student’s strengths. Teachers in grades 5-6 work together instructing math at the same time. This flexibility allows children to progress at their own rate and experience a challenging math curriculum.
Computer technology enhances our math instruction, enabling a child’s math program to be further individualized. Programs such as Math Facts In a Flash and IXL (which is accessible at home) are integral parts of our math program in K-6. Programs are used to monitor student progress in math facts and concepts, as well as to challenge students beyond the regular curriculum.
During the 2013 and 2014 school years, in our ongoing effort to align our math offerings to the Massachusetts Common Core State Standards, Williamstown Elementary is working with Looney Math Consultants (LMC) to desgin and implement math lessons to supplement student learning and understanding of the rigorous new standards.
Williamstown Elementary School is fortunate to partner with Williams College to enhance our science curriculum. Through the “Williams College Science Initiative” our school has an equipped Science Lab and support for our science curriculum through a science coordinator and a paraprofessional to maintain the lab.
Williamstown Elementary School celebrates this country’s diversity through our social studies curriculum. From learning about families in the primary grades, to world cultures in the 6th, our students develop an appreciation and sensitivity to the world around them. Key concepts of citizenship and civility are taught school wide. Activities such as our Martin Luther King Day and Earth Day Celebrations, as well as our All School Assemblies, champion respect, citizenship, and community service and enhance each grade level’s projects.
Extended Programming: Music, Art, Library, Language
- PROGRAM GOALS: To provide extended learning and enrichment opportunities to promote thinking processes, intellectual curiosity, creative expressions, performance, real world problem solving, etc. in music, library, and art.
- STRUCTURE: 1 to 2 periods per week during the school day
- TARGET POPULATION: Students in kindergarten through sixth grade with advanced academic skills and/or interest-based passions.
- SELECTION PROCESS: Flexible based upon identification by teachers. Selection includes information from classroom assessments and observations. Maturity and ability to work independently are considerations.
- STAFFING: Specialists credentialed in the areas of music, art, library and literacy.
- THEMES/TOPICS: Topics are extensions of core curriculum related to student interest. Topics in music may include: songwriting, music composition, jazz and vocal performance. Art experiences may include: mythology, origami, book making, fairy tales, etc, all infused with artistic expression. Library programming promotes advanced literacy skills and creative multimedia in the areas of research, comprehension, fluency, expression, and writing.
- COMMUNICATION: The classroom teacher notifies parents that students are participants in the extended programming.
Co-Curricular School-Sponsored Programming
- PROGRAM GOALS: Promote student leadership and interpersonal skills that enhance the school community.
- STRUCTURE: During the school day during non-instructional time (recess) or after school.
- TARGET POPULATION: Self-selection for children in kindergarten through sixth grade who demonstrate maturity, independence and specific interests.
- BUDDIES PROGRAM: Fosters leadership for students in grades 4-6 who volunteer as teaching assistants, 1:1 buddies, and coaches in physical education classes for younger students.
- SIXTH GRADE RECESS COMMITTEE: Encourages leadership for students in 6th grade who volunteer to be shepherds of recess equipment for the entire school. Members make recommendations about recess matters to the principal.
- SPIRIT COMMITTEE: Promotes leadership and sense of community by having 6th grade students work with teachers and staff to plan weekly and monthly school spirit activities.
- LEGO ROBOTICS: After school club where 5th and 6th grade students work in teams to design and program their robots to solve challenges.
- MATH CLUB: Once per week after school, September through March, brings together children in 4th – 6th grade who love math and promotes creative problem solving and group process. Mini Math Club gives children in 1st – 3rd grades extended math opportunities once weekly after school for four weeks.
- MINECRAFT CLUB: Funded by a WESE grant, two six-week sessions offer children in either K-3rd grades or 4th – 6th grades the opportunity to come together in both the real and virtual world to explore problem solving, coding, engineering, and adventure in the Minecraft gaming platform.
- ADVENTURES IN LEARNING: An after school enrichment program offering mini-courses on a wide variety of topics to students in grades K – 6. Courses are taught by Williams College students, staff, and parents and meet through the month of January.