Our unique “Specials” rotation allows us to achieve an important two-fold purpose.
First, all students have weekly specialized instruction in a rotating two-hour block including Visual And Performing Arts (VAPA), Computer Lab, Science Lab and Library. Instruction during Specials focuses on hands-on, interactive enrichment and supports learning in the regular classroom setting in a particularly engaging manner and has extended opportunities not typically available in other public elementary schools due to budgetary constraints.
Second, while students rotate through Specials, teachers meet together in Professional Learning Communities (PLC’s) to work together in areas that advance student achievement such as curriculum and lesson design, assessment data analysis and strengthening understanding and instructional techniques tied to the new state standards. This dual opportunity would not be possible at Silver Strand Elementary without the direct support of the Coronado Schools Foundation (CSF), whose contributions via the community through CSF directly funds three of our Specials.
More specific information regarding each Special follows:
Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA)
Students receive instruction in visual art, vocal music, drama and dance. Annual performances such as our Winter Musical Program are also coordinated by our VAPA teacher.
Provides instruction tied to 21st Century Learning technology skills such as keyboarding, creating and editing documents, PowerPoint, animation/design and exposure to a wide variety of individualized educational software programs.
Tied to our district’s commitment to advancing STEM instruction and focuses on teaching the scientific method and conducting lab-type experiments such as dissecting owl pellets and growing and observing crystals. Additionally, our Science Lab teachers are in the process of developing engineering units of study for all grade levels that involve exposure to activities tied to demonstration of small navy submersibles known as SeaPerches and building bridges out of straws.
Acquisition of library skills, such as learning about sections of the library and how to use the electronic card catalog are enhanced, and a love of reading encouraged during instruction provided by our library tech who also works closely with teachers to support literacy instruction ongoing in the classroom. Read alouds and check-out time for students are also a regular feature of this Special, and our library tech also coordinates our intermediate grade technology based independent reading program.
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