The following links list an overview of the topics taught in each subject at each grade level. Please keep in mind that the scope and sequence is subject to change depending on the needs of the students, teacher sharing of available materials, etc.
A Note on Spelling
There are two different research views of how students learn to spell. One view is phonetic – that students learn to spell by learning the patterns that appear in words and finding and using these different patterns and sounds to take apart words and put them back together. A second view is visual – students learn words in visual patterns and memorize words by picturing them, writing them, saying them, etc. By combining these two methods of learning spelling words, students at Aspen Academy will have a higher rate of success in learning and retaining words.
Based on that key research, spelling lists are now divided into two distinct categories. The first category is sight words. These are words that the student should learn how to read and spell using visual cues. The words are chosen from the list of Fry Sight Words by matching student grade level and sight word level. These are words that the student should know when they are reading as well as know how to spell and write the words correctly throughout their classwork. Ways to practice these words include reading them out loud, spelling them out loud, writing them over and over in different media, etc.
The second category is phonetic based words. These are words that are based on the lists phonetic skills and spelling patterns that students should learn. These lists come from the research done by Fountas and Pinnell, whose Guided Reading program Aspen Academy implements. Words, that fit these skills and spelling patterns, were found using the resource of Words Their Way. When working with these words, students look for patterns that they can use to understand the word and its sound and practice applying that information to new words. Ways to practice these words is to find other words that fit the pattern and playing rhyming games. These words are not to be memorized, they are used to learn the important pattern and see that pattern throughout the world. Knowing and applying the pattern will allow them to tackle all kinds of unknown readers – something good readers always do.
Each week students take a pretest on Monday. This pretest previews the list of sight words and the phonetic pattern. Students who can already spell all five sight words are given five different sight words to work with until Friday. All students practice the same phonetic pattern – learning about how the pattern works through direct instruction from the teacher. On Friday, they will apply the pattern by spelling five different words that fit the pattern as well as being tested on five sight words. Students also, during their Friday test, write sentences that are dictated to them by the teachers. These sentences allow students to apply sight word and phonetic word knowledge in a real situation as well as practice key grammar skills of capitals, periods, question marks and more.
The overall goal of the spelling program is to build students with the skills that allow them to apply correct spelling in a variety of situations. It also assist them in increasing their knowledge of words when reading and giving them tools that allow them to tackle unknown words. All of these goals fit within the Mission and Vision of Aspen Academy – creating students who are prepared for a global society.
All Minnesota districts are required to have a literacy plan in place to ensure students are reading well by third grade. Click the button below to view the literacy plan approved by the Aspen Academy School Board and submitted to the MN Department of Education.