Core Knowledge Curriculum
The Chattanooga Charter School of Excellence uses the Core Knowledge curriculum in grades K-6 (K-8 by the 2017-18 school year). We have selected this curriculum to provide content standards, which will guide coherent instruction from grade to grade, encouraging steady academic progress as children build their knowledge and skills from one year to the next. Specific content covers a broad, liberal arts spectrum that is integrated throughout the daily schedule in creative, intentional ways. The Core Knowledge sequence is a detailed outline of specific content to be taught in language arts, history, geography, mathematics, science and the fine arts. Spanish is also required at both our campuses. These content standards form the core of our curriculum and provide a solid, coherent foundation of learning.
Core Knowledge provides a research-based, teacher-tested curriculum that engages students in diverse historical, scientific, and cultural content. The curriculum is carefully organized so that topics across subject areas build on one another to broaden and deepen students’ knowledge and skills. This wide array of subject matter enables strong reading comprehension and critical thinking – the keys to educational success.
Core Knowledge is based on the work of E.D. Hirsch, Jr. He has explained his research and ideas in several widely acclaimed books. Core Knowledge is carefully organized and systematic, yet it leaves room for teacher and student creativity. Grade by grade, our approach prevents the repetition or omission of important content, and creates a foundation for interdisciplinary explorations.
Although current events and technology change constantly, there is a body of lasting knowledge and skills that is essential for advanced studies. We teach that content in a coherent, logically ordered manner to maximize learning and make it enjoyable. The more children know, the faster they learn.
Core Knowledge Language Arts Program
Core Knowledge Language Arts (CKLA) is a comprehensive, preschool through fifth grade program for teaching reading, writing, listening, and speaking while also building students’ vocabulary and knowledge across essential domains in literature, global and American history, and the sciences. In the early grades, CKLA focuses on oral language development through carefully sequenced read-alouds as well as systematic instruction in reading and writing skills. In later grades, CKLA continues to advance students’ knowledge and vocabulary through read-alouds and in-depth discussions while also immersing students in complex texts and advanced writing assignments that draw on the academic content they’ve been engaged in since kindergarten.
CKLA K–3 is broken into two strands — a Skills strand and a Listening & Learning strand so that children can master sounds and letters for fluent decoding and encoding during one part of the day and then have additional time to build the knowledge, language, and vocabulary that are essential for strong reading comprehension.
CKLA 4–5 draws on students’ mastery of the basics as they tackle advanced grammar, morphology, spelling, and vocabulary while also being immersed in academic texts and engaged in rigorous writing across multiple genres.
Guided reading is an instructional approach that involves a teacher working with a small group of students who demonstrate similar reading behaviors and can all read similar levels of texts. Texts offer challenges and opportunities for problem solving, but are easy enough for students to read with fluency. Teachers choose selections based upon monitoring student reading levels.
Teachers select books that students can read with about 90% accuracy. This allows students to understand and enjoy reading through utilizing their own strategies, supported by teacher instruction. Students focus on meaning but use problem-solving techniques to figure out words they don’t know, deal with difficult sentence structure and understand concepts or ideas they have never before encountered in print.
Saxon Math is designed to support the long-term mastery and applications that will make a difference during testing and in students’ future education and careers. No matter how well students initially learn a concept, if they are not able to retain their learning, connect it to other concepts, and apply it in problem-solving situations, they have not reached mastery. Saxon Math is designed to support the long-term mastery and applications that will make a difference during testing and in students’ future education and careers. Incremental Concepts are taught in small, approachable progressions. Distributed increments are spread throughout the year, building in complexity, so that by the end of the year students have reached deep understanding and fluency. Cumulative practice and assessments include concepts from the most recent lessons as well as from earlier in the year, ensuring students retain all concepts and can make connections between them.