PS 748 has adopted an interdisciplinary approach to teaching. We utilize project-based learning in all grades, Kindergarten through Grade 5, to demonstrate the relationship and connection between content areas. Since the school's inception in 2010, we pride ourselves in writing our own curriculum that is derived from essential questions that guide units of study that are aligned to New York's Next Generation Standards.
All lessons are taught through the workshop model where teachers begin with a high level of support and then gradually release the responsibility to students through guided lessons with independence as the goal. In all early childhood classrooms, students are immersed in a 150 minute literacy block. During this time, students engage in shared reading and writing, guided reading and writing, independent reading and writing and word study. A balanced literacy approach is at the core of our curriculum where we engage all students including students with disabilities and English Native Language learners in daily reading, writing, listening and speaking activities. Our literacy curriculum uses the Common Core Standards to guide us in selecting best practice from programs such as Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, Month by Month Phonics and through research based literature such as Spelling K-8 by Diane Snowball and Reading with Meaning by Debbie Miller with content specific units of study including historical fiction, biography and social issues.
School-Wide Enrichment Model
As part of our vision to educate the "whole child", we employ the School-Wide Enrichment Model (SEM) for students in grades K-3. The SEM is designed to expose students to "new interests" to prepare them for an ever-changing world while allowing them to express themselves in unique ways. The enrichment program is offered in cycles throughout the school year. Each student is given a preference sheet where they can choose a program. Our programs are selected based on the varying interests and talents of our staff as well as student interest. Our SEM has evolved into Academies in grades 4 & 5 which includes a rigorous enrichment curriculum with courses such as Forensic Detectives, Future Engineers Academy, and Family and Consumer Sciences. Over the last two years, we have purchased and implemented a Lego Robotics program. Students in grades 2-5 create, build and power simple machines. This enrichment is open to all students and has become an integral part of our instructional program.
Developing Global Citizens
Teachers plan around three essential questions for the year, which set high standards and develop critical thinking skills around topics such as developing empathy toward others and deepening the understanding of world communities to become better global citizens. We also study testing as a genre and pull resources from Engage NY to support the development of test taking skills and strategies in our curriculum. Civic learning and nurturing global citizens is at the forefront of education at PS 748, The Brooklyn School for Global Scholars. Each year, every grade is expected to perform at least one community outreach initiative. We have established relationships with Reaching Out Community Services, a neighborhood food pantry, where we host several food drives a year. We host a coat and gift giving drive in partnership with the CAMBA women and children's shelter. Our largest civic learning project is with Relay for Life where we come together as a school community, which is launched at our dance festival fund raiser and culminates at a borough-wide celebration to raise money for the American Cancer Society.
All students benefit from our licensed Physical Education instructor who services students in our Fitness Center. The Fitness Center is five years new to PS 748 and was secured through a grant through School Facilities because our school building did not have a gymnasium. Staff members at PS 748 understand the value of movement and physical education and implement exercises into daily instruction using "Move to Improve" and Gonoodle.com. Students are instructed in health and nutrition by both their classroom teachers and the Physical Education Teacher. In addition, we implement the BIC (Breakfast in Classrooms) program and were selected as an Ambassador School, which models best practices in providing students with a healthy breakfast while finding creative ways to utilize this instructional time.
Together with our teachers, we have developed a standards-based curriculum that is rooted in investigation. As a resource we have selected the best practices from researched based programs such as TERC Investigations in Numbers, Data and Space and experts in the field such as Marilyn Burns to offer students a creative and rigorous mathematics education. The goal of our math curriculum is to develop a repertoire of problem solving strategies, using the Common Core Learning Standards as its foundation.
Similarly with Science, teachers design a curriculum that is standards based and encompass scientific inquiry and engineering design. Programs such as Engineering is Elementary and LEGO robotics lead students to engage in projects such as designing hand pollinators, windmills and marvelous machines.
PS 748 believes that children learn best when explicit connections are made between content area instruction and the arts. Our Visual Arts Teacher supports our curriculum by providing Arts instruction that is connected to the content.