Director of Curriculum and Instruction - Humanities, K-12Dr. Andrew KuhnLocation: Administrative BuildingEmail: firstname.lastname@example.orgDesk: 610.205.6425Cell: 610.291.1763Administrative AssistantMrs. Brenda RodriguezEmail: email@example.comPhone: 610.205.6418
Hello Upper Merion Area School District,
In this new era of distance learning required by us in response to COVID-19, I want to welcome you in a new way to teaching and learning in our district. Starting Monday, March 30, we are officially launching our distance learning school program. You will be getting an overview of the week and daily access to your student's teacher.
A few words of recommendation: look to establish a regular location for your student to complete their assignments while working from home during distance learning. You will have access to your teacher by email and through Schoology in grades 5-12. Students should aim to frame their academic efforts in distance learning to emphasize effort, organization, and reflection (with integration with prior knowledge). Be patient with yourself and with your teachers. Distance learning is new for all of us but together we will get in stride as we learn to teach and learn while practicing social distancing.
For my part, I wanted to provide a brief overview of the Humanities -- the curricular areas that I direct -- to help students and parents see how parts of learning fit together in a bigger picture. To capture that I made a 9-minute video to share the broad view of how English Language Arts, Social Studies, Art, Music, and World Language progress from Kindergarten through twelfth grade.
Here is the gist of that video by content area:
English Language Arts -- K-2 focus is on phonics skills, learning what letter combinations work to generate the 44 phonemes of the English language. When students develop strong word-attack skills through phonics, they are well positioned to grow as readers and learners. Grade 3-5 greatest emphasis is on "The Reading Principle:" The more you read, the better you read. Strong students read at least 25 books each calendar year. In Grades 6-8, we stress literary analysis in both non-fiction (particularly text features) and fiction (plot mountain). Students are expected to read short texts more than once with a different purpose during each read and cite textual evidence to establish their claims. In High School, students develop both their voice in writing and their choices in reading selections as they continue to build literary skills expressively in both speaking and writing.
Social Studies -- K-2 emphasis is close-to-home focusing on "me, my family, my school, my community" while learning basic civics and major holidays. In Grades 3-5, we begin to integrate geography, history, and government with special attention to Pennsylvania and regions within the United States. Middle School Grades 6-8 is developed through a complex study of world geography and American History, with 8th grade featuring "deep dives" in the Constitution, Civil War and Reconstruction, World War II, and Civil Rights. The High School sequence begins with a course called Humanities, which is integrated with the English department, moves to Western Civ, and completes with our capstone American Cultures course in 11th grade. African American and Women's History is embedded throughout our social studies courses. In senior year, students study Government and Economics.
Art -- has expanded in instructional minutes and emphasis in our elementary schools over the past two years. Beginning with basic ideas of shape, color, and composition, students develop through to High School courses in drawing, painting, photography, and ceramics. We also ensure that students view seminal works of art history over the course of their studies in visual arts, which then informs their own artistic production.
Music -- has also expanded in our elementary schools over the past two years. General music emphasizes beat, rhythm, and singing. We make use MusicPlay, an online curricular resource, that will valuable in distance learning. Strings instruction is available beginning in Grade 3 and band instrumental instruction is available beginning in Grade 4. Our general music, choir, strings and band instruction continues through Middle School. In High School, students can join one or all: choir, orchestra, marching band, and jazz band.
World Language -- following exploratory of languages in Grade 6, students can choose between Spanish, French, and German beginning in Grade 7 and progressing through Advanced Placement courses in Grade 12. We use EMC Passport and Flipgrid to increase students' opportunities to increase listenting to native speakers and speaking in the target language.
I am proud to work in Upper Merion with a very talented and dedicated faculty. If you have any questions related to curriculum and instruction in Humanities, please send me an email and we will schedule a conversation. Thank you, students for your hard work, and parents, for your partnership in teaching and learning.