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We use a balanced literacy approach to teaching reading and writing. Teachers College, Lucy Calkins’ Units of Study serves as the primary curriculum for literacy instruction. Every PS 133 student takes ownership of their own learning by setting goals and creating an action plan towards mastering reading and writing skills. Teachers provide personalized and precise instruction so that children are matched to their individual levels—this allows teachers to monitor every child. For example, a teacher might read a story to the whole class and have a class discussion where students learn active listening skills and share thoughts and reactions about the story, or a teacher might work with a small group of students while the rest of the class reads books of their choice.
Choice is also a major theme in the writing process; students write about what is important to them rather than a prompted topic. The teacher facilitates a lesson around the main idea in order to teach a writing strategy, but students ultimately write about what is interesting to them and follow a structured process that includes brainstorming, drafting, revising, editing, and finally celebrating, when parents are invited monthly to come to school for reading and writing celebrations. Student work is displayed throughout the building so that children and parents can walk around the school and take in all of the different writing pieces and art exhibits. Parents can also come and read with their children at that time.
Our library, which houses over 9,000 books, also plays a role in fostering students’ independent reading habits and love of books. Classes are able to visit the library as part of the technology class, as well as with their classroom teachers, to borrow books and engage in computer-based research.
Engage New York serves as our primary mathematics curriculum. We approach math with a hands-on, realistic perspective that encourages students to look at how mathematics–numbers, measurements, data, algebra, problem-solving, and geometry are all around us every day. Students look around within their environment exploring everyday situations at home, in stores, on a basketball court, at a newsstand, or on the subway in order to study when and where numbers are used. We use that to capitalize their interest in math. Engage New York is supplemented with EXEMPLARS performance materials. EXEMPLARS open-ended material engages students and helps them to develop critical thinking and reasoning skills to solve real-world problems.
Our math program builds skills on a continuum by introducing new concepts, studying and using new skills, and then re-visiting the concepts for reinforcement of key ideas. Every Friday students play math games as a way to reinforce new skills and learn that playing with numbers can be fun!
Beginning in PreK, students at P. S. 133 learn music through song, percussion instruments, and movement. From Kindergarten through second grade, students learn to play the piano through the Music and the Brain program. They develop keyboarding skills through music concepts, ear training, practice, and performance. By the third grade, students are ready for Recorder Karate which emphasizes, musical concepts and technique. Students learn the value of giving and receiving effective feedback in order to perfect their playing. Our fourth graders learn the joys and challenges of being in a band. They play both the drums and acoustic guitar. In fifth grade students synthesize everything they’ve learned beginning with chorus. By the end of the year, they intertwine piano, drums, guitars, and violins in order to put together a show for graduation.
Students at PS 133 receive science both in their regular classrooms and from our science teachers in the school science lab. We encourage students to experience science by exploring the world around them, introducing concepts through experiments, and sometimes even just taking walks around the schoolyard and neighborhood. We make science a hands-on learning experience by teaching and encouraging students to approach science by asking questions, making thoughtful observations, testing hypotheses, and defending their research with evidence. Classes take trips to parks and museums to study specific science concepts in more depth.
The Garden of Wonder at PS 133 is fully integrated into the science curriculum.
Our students begin studying social studies by first studying themselves and their neighborhood, and then year by year expand their studies to other cultures, parts of the country and countries of the world. We use the immediate surroundings of New York City as a classroom where students learn about people and cultures directly around them. Upper-grade students learn to use primary sources such as photographs, maps, narratives, and personal accounts in order to make specific historical events come to life. All of our social studies lessons and projects integrate reading and writing themes from the English Language Arts curriculum.
See the Social Studies Curriculum here.
All grades will learn about the safe and appropriate use of the internet. Our younger students will be learning their way around the computer, while our older students will be enhancing the skills they have learned previously. We will also be doing some work on coding.
Art Education | STUDIO in a SCHOOL
PS 133 has been accepted into The STUDIO in a SCHOOL’s Long-Term Art Program. Now art will be an integral part of every child’s education. The STUDIO classroom becomes a dedicated art studio where the students are encouraged to experiment and classroom teachers learn how to extend art into their classroom. Drawing, painting, printmaking, collage, sculpture, 2-D applied design, and media tech are linked to other classroom subjects.
BOKS a FREE and fun early morning program where students (in grades 1-5) participate in fitness-based activities, play fun, non-competitive games and learn the benefits of good nutrition. It is run by Mr. Blatt (our PE teacher) from 7:30 AM to 8:15 AM Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. You may download the registration form or reach out to Coach Blatt (firstname.lastname@example.org). The kids will meet in the lobby and then head to the gym or the schoolyard when the weather is nice.
Chess is open to all skill levels. Students will have the opportunity to learn a game that can be enjoyed their entire life as well as make some new friends.
Based on the Schoolwide Enrichment Model, research shows that learning is more meaningful and enjoyable when content is real. Hence, our students at PS 133 are engaged in self-selected project-based activities during Enrichment Clusters and Clubs. These activities take place each Friday. Students take a student interest survey which will identify their personal interests, learning styles, and preferred expression styles.
At the end of each cycle, students showcase their learning. Teachers lead the programs, but parent volunteers are encouraged to participate.
Regular physical activity is important for healthy growth, development, and well-being of kids and teens. Students focus on 6-week units in a variety of sports.
PS 133 offers playlab133, an after-school enrichment program run by the PTA, and University Settlement and Kids Orbit. Learn more here.
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