Core Curriculum: Grades 1-5

Language Arts at EDS:

EDS offers a holistic approach to reading. We believe that students must have many opportunities to peruse books, read books, and be read to by adults daily in order to build their reading skills. Teachers use Spalding Phonics and Guided Reading experiences in the lower grades and Guided Reading and novel studies in the upper grades. Spalding Phonics provides instruction across the early grades in phonics, focusing on the 72 phonograms of the English language. The program is explicit, systematic, interactive, diagnostic, and multisensory. Students learn phonemic awareness, phonics with handwriting, spelling rules, and how to write using high-sequence vocabulary. The series, English (Houghton Mifflin), is used in grades 3-5 for instruction in grammar. The Accelerated Reader (AR) program is also used to support student reading goals. Accelerated Reader is a software tool that assesses a student’s reading level, suggests titles of books at that level, and then assesses how well a student has completed reading the book by asking a series of questions about it.

Writing experiences are provided across the curriculum. To help students learn to organize their thoughts and ideas for writing, EDS students are taught to use Thinking Maps. The Thinking Maps concept employs eight visual patterns (graphic organizers), each based on a fundamental thought process (i.e. comparing/contrasting, defining, sequencing). These patterns are used individually, and in combination, across every grade level and curriculum area as an integrated set of tools.

Math at EDS:

Saxon Math program is based on the teaching principles of incremental development, continual practice and review, and cumulative, ongoing assessment.

A distinguishing feature of Saxon Math is its use of a distributed approach—spreading practice and instruction for any single math content strand across the course of the entire instructional year—as opposed to a chapter-based approach for instruction and assessment. The program is built on the premise that students learn best when instruction is incremental and explicit, previously learned concepts are continually reviewed, and assessment is frequent and cumulative. At each grade level, math concepts are introduced, reviewed, and practiced over time in order to move students from understanding to fluency. EDS also subscribes to IXL, a supplementary online math program. IXL provides comprehensive, standards-aligned math and language arts practice for K–12. Each student has his or her own password and works at his or her level of learning. Teachers in third through fifth grades also use Sunshine Math and Math Superstars to enrich the math program. These math programs are designed to promote higher math skills and provide an extra challenge to keep students motivated and help to create self-directed learners.

Science at EDS:

Science: A Closer Look, offers students exciting and accessible standards-based lessons. Engaging activities promote curiosity and foster the development of science inquiry skills.  Through a consistent and structured learning cycle, students confidently build upon their experiences to develop a lifelong understanding of science concepts. In first grade, the units of study include plants, animals, the Earth, weather, matter, and energy. In second grade, the units of study include animals and habitats, weather, sounds, and matter. In third grade, the units of study include the scientific method, living things, animals and their parts, the muscular and skeletal systems, the sun, Earth, and stars, simple machines, plants and
their parts, the ecosystem, and creating a science fair project. In fourth grade, the units of study include are animal behaviors & adaptation, biomes & ecosystems, rocks & minerals, magnetism & electricity, and nutrition in the body. In fifth grade, the units of study include sound to sea studies, water ecosystems, force & motion, weather, and landforms.

Observations and hands-on activities are a large part of the science program. Many of the units are enhanced by the use of children’s literature. 

Social Studies at EDS:

We the People: The Citizen & the Constitution curriculum enhances understanding of communities for our younger elementary students .

First grade skills and units of study include: map skills, holidays, famous Americans, Native Americans, and Pilgrims and Black History. They also complete a year-long study of the history of eight well-known patriotic songs that are learned each month.

Second grade skills and units of study include: communities and map skills, Native Americans, goods, services, and manufacturing, citizenship, landforms, and traditions and holidays.

Third grade skills and units of study include: understanding our community and the world community, governing ourselves, celebrations and festivals, earning a living, getting along in a community, celebrations in our community, country projects, and a wax museum biography project.

The fourth grade focus is North Carolina culture and history. Units of study include: North Carolina’s place in the world, the land we call home, North Carolina regions, the first people, to start a colony, a meeting of cultures, creating a state, a nation divided, into a new century, and government for all of us.

Fifth grade skills and units of study include:  westward expansion, Civil War & reconstruction, Industrial Revolution, immigration, World War I, The Great Depression, Dust Bowl, World War II, and civil rights.

Field trips and community involvement help to enrich social experiences for our students.