Boston Public Schools has adopted Scott Foresman’s “Reading Street” series for K2-5th grade and the Open the World of Learning (OWL) curriculum for our K0/K1 students. Philbrick teachers utilize the workshop model for both reading and writing. In Reader’s Workshop, teachers focus on teaching students reading comprehension strategies and checking for students’ understanding within and beyond the text. The workshop begins with a mini-lesson that focuses on a reading skill or strategy. Students then break into small groups to do center or independent work. During this time the teacher takes small groups of students who are reading at the same level for small group guided reading instruction. Teachers aim to produce independent readers who can comprehend and appreciate a variety of genres. Writer’s Workshop is designed to teach students to write independently in a variety of genres. The workshop includes a mini-lesson, independent writing, conferring, and group sharing. Units of study vary by grade level, but generally include poetry, fiction, personal narrative/memoir, nonfiction, and informational writing (directions, recipes, letters, research papers, etc.). Teachers regularly hold publishing parties and invite families to celebrate students’ writing accomplishments.
In K0/K1 we use the Building Blocks curriculum and in K2-5th grade we use TERC “Investigations” mathematics. Both curricula offer a conceptual way to learn and think mathematically. Investigations engages students in mathematical content as they develop number sense, learn to visualize and describe geometric relationships, and collect and analyze data. Students work together, use a variety of concrete materials and appropriate technology, and express their mathematical thinking through talking, drawing, and writing. There is a large emphasis on students attempting multiple strategies as well as explaining their mathematical thinking, and connecting mathematical concepts to other content areas.
Drumlin Farm The science curriculum uses Foss kits, which allow students to engage in hands on activities. The curriculum is inquiry based and students explore a variety of topics in life, physical, and earth sciences. We have a science specialty teacher who is responsible for teaching the majority of the curriculum. Our partnership with the Boston Nature Center, provides us with a naturalist who works very closely with our school and students with integrated literacy and science units. Students take a number of field trips throughout the year to support their classroom learning. The culminating science trip is for 5th grade students to travel to Ferry Beach Ecology School in Maine for a week of hands-on and classroom learning in a breathtaking setting.
Social studies is taught by classroom teachers who develop relevant lessons on local and world history topics in accordance with the social standards for their grade level.
Students are introduced to choral music, woodworking, and visual arts while at the Philbrick School.
Students are instructed in a skills-based physical fitness and activity program, which includes health and nutrition.
We have two resource room teachers who provide both push-in and pull-out supports for students on Individualized Education Plans. They meet frequently with the regular education teachers to plan cohesive lessons and provide accommodations, according to state requirements, to maximize student learning. We also provide Reading Recovery to our first grade students who may need extra support with literacy skills.
English as a Second Language (ESL)
Approximately 17% of our student population are English Language Learners. We have one ESL teacher who provides support with students’ listening, speaking, reading, and writing of English. In addition, teachers have been trained in providing support and utilizing important ESL strategies during regular education instruction as well.