Grade 2 Students complete a STEM Science experiment
Written Jamie Brown
South Boston Catholic Academy
has done a great deal of reflection on practice this year in order to ensure that they are providing rigorous, standards aligned instruction through learning experiences that are both authentic and deeply connected to the world around them.
We know that the foundation for learning begins with having strong relationships with teachers and peers. At SBCA, teachers thoughtfully create cohesive classroom communities using the principles of Responsive Classroom. Daily, as a school community, we join together in prayer. Once a week, we come together for a whole school morning meeting where we practice greeting one another, sharing about ourselves, acknowledging the accomplishments of students. We know that this whole school practice, combined with the Responsive Classroom work in the classroom, provides an environment where students are able to work and learn collaboratively.
After the foundation is set and the environment for learning is built, we know how important it is to provide students with learning that is similarly authentic and connected. Our Early Childhood Program, in partnership with the Lynch Early Childhood Project, provides experiences for students to learn through play. Each unit of study includes several center based activities that share a theme or story. For example, in a unit of “Things that Grow” students plant seeds, look closely at seeds and dirt, read books about things that grow and change, and even pretend to operate a Flower Shop! Our Early Childhood program seeks to provide students with opportunities to approach tasks with an inventive and inquisitive nature.
Preschoolers sharing a love for reading with one another.
Preschoolers running their own grocery store.
In grades K2-6, our Literacy Program, in collaboration with Lesley University and The Literacy Collaborative, seeks to establish an authentic love of reading and writing in all of our students. Through workshop model experiences, students explore text in a way that engages them as readers. Students participate in read alouds to make note of text structure, reading groups and book clubs to share and discuss text with peers and independent reading where they can apply their learning. Additionally, students work in writing workshop to practice being authors of their own stories.
In the upper grades, instruction of English/Language Arts and Social Studies, as well as religion, have been rethought to be more integrated and thoughtful in order to promote student understanding. Units of study around the American Revolution and regions of the United States are improved through the use of more primary sources and text versus the traditional textbook.
Study and learning in the sciences and mathematics has been bolstered by shifting our thinking towards more STEM education, and thinking of how we can integrate science, technology, engineering and mathematics in a way that helps students make sense of the world around them. Students in grade 6 recently created a “Christmas Village” that asked students to construct gingerbread houses from nets and then calculate various aspects of their structure, including finding volume as well as calculating surface area. Through our work with Engineering is Elementary and the Museum of Science, students in grade 3 have been learning about technology around them and collaborating to on the design and construction of magnetic levitation trains. SBCA continues to utilizes innovative technology to further student learning, including 3D printers and virtual reality headsets.
Students learning to play the ukulele afterschool.
SBCA continues to acknowledge how important it is for the study of our Catholic faith to be deeply rooted in the world around us as well as build a sense of community. Students study their faith, as well as act out their faith through monthly masses and celebrations of holy days and the liturgical seasons. We continue to root our faith in service and kindness towards others. Students at SBCA continually seek to help the world around them, and has lead several service projects this year including a School Supply Drive for victims of Hurricane Harvey, as well as drives supporting Breast Cancer Awareness, DIPG Awareness and donations to local food pantries at Thanksgiving and The Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless “A Bed for Every Child” at Christmas.
We look forward to highlighting our student learning during Catholic Schools Week, where students will present their Utopian Society projects as well as participate in our annual Science Showcase on January 31st. Our Open House will also be held on January 31st from 9-1. For additional information about South Boston Catholic Academy, please visit their website at www.sbcatholicacademy.org or call 617-268-2326. If you cannot make our Open House, but would like a tour, please join us on “Tour Tuesdays” every Tuesday at 9:00.
Jamie Brown is the Assistant Principal of South Boston Catholic Academy.