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Gillispie School / Our Programs / Grades 3-6

Grades 3, 4, 5 & 6

Grade 3

Children in Grade 3 often begin the year with a sense that they can accomplish anything, and teachers provide an appropriately challenging environment to meet that attitude. Open to new experiences, third graders take pleasure in mastering new skills across the curriculum. The Singapore Math approach introduces them to more complex math concepts which include larger numbers and challenge students to build upon the skills learned in previous grades. Through Lucy Calkins’ Reading and Writing Workshop, children become adept at the strategies necessary for analyzing both fiction and non-fiction texts, while varied writing assignments embrace the children’s increasing ability to revise and improve their work. The focus on our local environment expands to include all of San Diego County, past and present. Third grade students have their own laptop computers for classroom use, employing Google Classroom and a variety of online websites for research and enrichment.  Emphasis is placed on proper keyboarding, research skills, usage, and maintenance. Each week, students also attend classes in science, art, media literacy, music, Spanish, and physical education, so that they may develop an awareness of a wide range of content and practice as well as build essential skills. Teachers of all the classes listed above plan and develop materials with a mind towards helping children discover the connections among all of the subjects and often engage students in cross-disciplinary project-based activities.

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Grade 4

Grade 4 students tend to be more responsible, independent workers, but thrive in group interactions. To take advantage of that and to account for a range of intellectual development, differentiated instruction is delivered in a variety of small group, whole group, and individual activities. The Lucy Calkins’ Reading and Writing Workshop focuses on reading to learn with novels that cover a variety of themes and issues, allowing opportunities for in-depth discussions, which often tie into our study of California history. Students write in multiple genres and receive individualized feedback to strengthen and support the writing process. In math, equal emphasis is placed on conceptual understanding and fluency with skills. Through the Singapore Math approach’s concrete-pictorial-abstract representations, students strengthen their problem solving and mental math skills. A yearlong study of California history is enhanced when the children attend their first overnight field trip to Mission San Juan Capistrano and the Lazy W Ranch. This hands-on field trip allows students to explore several cultures that have played a role in the development of California. The weekly News Team and in-class presentations provide students with opportunities to develop the skills of clear communication and active listening. Fourth grade students have their own laptop computers for classroom use, employing Google Classroom and a variety of online websites for research and enrichment. Each week, students attend classes in science, art, media literacy, music, Spanish, and physical education, so that they may develop an awareness of a wide range of content and practice as well as build essential skills. Teachers of all the classes listed above plan and develop materials with a mind towards helping children discover the connections among all of the subjects and often engage students in cross-disciplinary project-based activities.

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Grade 5

Students experience significant cognitive, social, and emotional growth in Grade 5. This is a key year for advancing student independence and learning in a variety of novel ways. Classrooms are designed to facilitate group collaboration, partner activities, and individual efforts. Teachers promote authentic and engaged reading and writing through Lucy Calkins’ Reading and Writing Workshop with extensive classroom libraries, shared novels, and meaningful conversations about craft. The focus using the Singapore Math approach is on computational fluency with deep understanding as the basis of all problem-solving. Students immerse themselves in early United States history through interactive classroom experiences, research projects, and an overnight field trip aboard The Californian in the San Diego harbor. Fifth grade students have their own laptop computers for classroom use. Emphasis is placed on digital creation, research skills, and collaboration. Each week, students also attend classes in science, art, music, Spanish, media literacy, and physical education, so that they may develop an awareness of a wide range of content and practice as well as build essential skills. Teachers of all the classes listed above plan and develop materials with a mind towards helping children discover the connections among all of the subjects and often engage students in cross-disciplinary project-based activities.

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Grade 6

Students in Grade 6 at Gillispie receive a middle-school education in a nurturing, small-by-choice elementary school setting. Students engage in purposeful work that develops critical thinking and analytical skills. By employing Socratic seminars, bringing history alive through interactive classroom experiences, and writing authentically in a workshop setting, teachers infuse joy and excitement into an academically rigorous curriculum that asks students to think deeply and independently.  Pre-algebra, geometry, and data studies are the focus of mathematics, as students prepare for the requirements of seventh-grade work. Special field trips may include the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, which caps a long-term focus on civil rights issues, a beginning-of-the-year team-building overnight camping trip, and a spring retreat to Astrocamp. Grade 6 students have their own laptop computers for classroom use. Emphasis is placed on digital creation, research skills, and collaboration. Each week, students also attend classes in science, art, music, Spanish, media literacy, and physical education, so that they may develop an awareness of a wide range of content and practice as well as build essential skills. Teachers of all the classes listed above plan and develop materials with a mind towards helping children discover the connections among all of the subjects and often engage students in cross-disciplinary project-based activities.

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Upper Elementary at a glance

Educational Philosophy:
Social-constructivist inspired

Class Sizes:
14:1 average

Schedule:
Full-day program  8:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Extended Care (optional):
7:30-8 a.m. and 3:30-5:30 p.m.

2019/20 Tuition*:

Grades 3-5: $2,328 per month | Grade 6: $2,405 per month

*Learn more about affording a Gillispie education through financial assistance.

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