Boulder Elementary School has the unique ability to teach students in a multiage learning environment, meaning students of different ages learn together in one class, not separated by grade level. Multiage classrooms foster instruction driven by individual objectives, allowing students to thrive and be challenged based on their specific needs.
Multiage learning reflects the natural groupings found in the world around us and offers opportunities for children to exchange ideas, follow modeled behavior, and develop leadership and social skills. Attention to the education of the whole child, integrated curriculum, and child-centered learning are vital principles in multiage learning.
The Responsive Classroom approach is the foundation of Boulder Elementary School’s philosophy and teaching, focusing on engaging academics, positive community, effective management, and developmental awareness. The students begin their day with Morning Meeting and end with a Closing Circle, reinforcing these principles.
Grade levels do not identify the students. The following typically divides our students: Preschool (ages three and four), Primary (kindergarten through second grade), and Intermediate (third through sixth grade). If a further division is needed, we will group as Kindergarten, Lower (first and second grade), Middle (third and fourth), and Upper (fifth and sixth grade).
Boulder Elementary School uses mentor texts, literature that serves as the focus of standards in reading, writing, grammar, social studies, and science. This curriculum delivery supports content integration. They lend to enriched discussions regardless of a student’s reading level, teaching and reinforcing reading comprehension skills and strategies.
A mentor sentence is chosen from the text, clearly illustrating a grammar rule or figurative language element. In upper elementary, mentor sentences allow students to notice and imitate grammar and craft well-written sentences. Therefore, students are not taught grammar in isolation. Instead, teaching mechanics, grammar, and craft together. Merging these encourage students to try new strategies and formats and to take risks and to improve their writing, fostering highly effective or above proficient work.
In the lower grades, mentor sentences allow students the opportunity to read, learn vocabulary, and grammar skills. They will imitate grammar and craft in well-written sentences. By using this balanced literacy approach, students will make the reading and writing connection.
Additionally, we implement Guided Reading, individual or small group instruction designed to provide differentiated teaching that supports students in developing pre-reading and reading proficiency. The small group model allows focusing on each student’s specific needs, accelerating their progress.
Students have Word Work daily, taught using the Words Their Way curriculum. Words Their Way is a teacher-directed, student-centered approach to vocabulary growth and spelling development, whereby students engage in a variety of sound, pattern and meaning activities, sorting pictures and words. It allows for differentiated learning in the classroom, rather than a one-size-fits-all solution.
Students also have guided writing as part of their daily instruction. All grade levels incorporate the writing process each week, comprised of five distinct stages, pre-writing, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing. Using these steps, students can break writing into manageable chunks and focus on creating quality writing. Students who can write proficiently can articulate their thoughts, respond to reading, and communicate effectively.
Go Math! is a comprehensive kindergarten through sixth grade mathematics curriculum implemented at Boulder Elementary School, as well as throughout Garfield County School District. The program emphasizes essential questions and big ideas with a depth of understanding as a goal. Interactive lessons utilize research-based instructional approaches and differentiated instructional resources to ensure success for all students.
Boulder Elementary School emphasizes on Fluency in Mathematics. The students in students in kindergarten through sixth grade have a strong foundation of number sense. They can compose and decompose numbers, and therefore can solve problems with flexibility and efficiency.
The students participate in fluency games and puzzles, number talks, and use Mastering Math Facts, Rocket Math. Rocket Math is a paper and pencil, worksheet-based math facts supplemental curriculum. Individual goals are set and reevaluated throughout the year as students master writing numerals and fact fluency in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, as well as master skip counting, factors, integers, and equivalent fractions.
In addition to daily Mathematics and English Language Arts, the students have cross-curricular guided instruction in Social Studies, Science, Technology, Engineering, Performing and Visual Arts, and Applied Mathematics.
Boulder Elementary School has half-day Fridays. Fridays have an emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM). Activities and projects differ week to week, and are often open to the community to participate, including our monthly community prompts and monthly student presentations.
Fridays are also an opportunity to evaluate student growth and success as learners through tracking and maintaining their learning portfolios. The weekly assessments demonstrate Boulder Elementary School’s commitment to creating an environment that fosters a growth mindset.