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    Academics

    Reading and Writing


    Van Asselt has adopted Readers and Writers Workshops.

    Readers Workshop is centered around students reading their "just right books". During Readers Workshop, students are involved in a mini-lesson teaching a specific skill, spend approximately 30 minutes reading their "just right books" and then share how they applied the mini lesson to their reading. Students are exposed to a wide variety of children’s literature and nonfiction writing. Phonics instruction and comprehension and higher level thinking skills are built into our literacy program in all our grades. Van Asselt is dedicated to ensuring that students’ learning needs are met. To that end, we also offer extra academic support to students. English language learners also benefit from additional tutoring and support in English and literacy skills. Our "Reading Buddy" program pairs kindergarten students with fourth and fifth graders, boosting self-esteem and building community. In addition, we participate in the Global Reading Challenge and the Million Word Reading Program.

    Writers Workshop is centered around students writing. Again, students are involved in a mini lesson where they learn a specific writing skills, they independently write for at least 20 minutes and then have time to share their writing.

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    Math

    Ensuring all students attain math proficiency also receives high priority at Van Asselt. Students receive a balanced program of instruction in computation skills and problem solving. We use the Everyday Mathematics curriculum along with number sense and problem solving strategies from Singapore Math.  Progress is monitored frequently through classroom observation and written tests as well as the MAP test. 

    We differentiate for all students' needs.  Bilingual teachers support math vocabulary and processes.  Students who need extra help receive small group instruction from support teachers or instructional assistants.  Advanced students in grades 2-5 participate in the Online Math League and Math Olympiad.  Enrichment activities like our after school math and chess clubs give students an opportunity to explore mathematical concepts in a fun, hands-on way. Our school-wide Explorations in Math puzzle challenges are another way that we encourage math problem solving.

    Our Math Coach works with teachers to refine instructional strategies as well as taking small groups for differentiation or individual assessments. 

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    Science


    Vision: All students become scientifically literate.

    Mission: All students are able to investigate scientifically in order to construct and acquire conceptual understanding of their world, develop positive scientific attitudes, and become scientifically literate. This is accomplished through a collaborative, interactive, rigorous science program responsive to the needs of diverse learners.

    Our teachers have continual training in "hands-on," inquiry-based science education. Our students explore a wide variety of topics from organisms, weather, sound, electrical circuitry and food chemistry to ecosystems (including raising baby salmon!). Students also get a chance to explore local, urban nature on our own school grounds in the Finding Urban Nature program.

    Click HERE for the science kits that your student will be learning with!

    For 2011-2012, we have received a grant from NEA to strengthen the connections between science and math.  We will work with outside "Mathemeticians in Residence" and purchase more materials to help students use math and science together.

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    Physical Education

    Under Construction

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    Theater

    As I begin my fourth year at Van Asselt, I’m especially excited because this is the first year that I will teach only Theater. I hope that every student leaves my class a little more confident to speak in front of a crowd, a bit more skilled at problem-solving within a group, and better off for having expressed her/himself creatively. We start each class with a warm-up called the Brain Dance and a few theater games. Students will start with Tableau work, and move into individual presentation skills and group scene work. Every student at VA will have a chance to contribute to the school musical (this year we’re producing The Aristocats) in building and painting the scenery.
    -Kevin Finney

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    Music

    Under Construction

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