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Charter

The Emerson Charter was approved by the Board on June 10th, 2014.  Emerson was awarded LAUSD Affiliated Charter status for 5 years.  The school community looks forward to implementing innovative instructional practices, increasing parent involvement, and developing the Whole Child.

Methodologies

Emerson Community Charter School has six main teaching methodologies that will guide instruction and daily life at the school.  All of the research-based effective instructional methodologies work together, and build upon one another, to promote successful learning.

Common Core Focus Strategies

Emerson will teach the State and District mandated Common Core Standards.  In particular, the Common Core Focus Strategies will guide teacher’s methods for instructing the standards.  The Focus Strategies are writing across the content, active reading, academic conversations, persuasive argumentation, and using information to support an argument.

Marzano’s Strategies

Marzano (2003) has identified nine instructional strategies for effective teaching that will be utilized at Emerson.

  • Identifying similarities and differences- This skill allows students to understand and solve complex problems through analysis.  Students will be engaged in comparing, contrasting, and classifying. 
  • Summarizing and Note Taking- These skills promote greater comprehension by allowing students to analyze a subject and to develop an awareness of the basic structure of the information presented.
  • Reinforcing Effort and Providing Recognition- Teachers will help students to see the connection between effort and achievement, and will foster students’ intrinsic (internal) motivation through various positive reinforcement techniques.
  • Home work and Practice- Homework will help students by providing opportunities to practice learned skills and to extend their learning.
  • Nonlinguistic Representations- Knowledge is stored in a variety of ways.  Emerson teachers will teach using auditory, visual, and kinesthetic techniques. 
  • Cooperative Learning- Research shows that organizing students into cooperative groups yields a positive effect on overall learning. 
  • Setting Objectives and Providing Feedback- Setting objectives gives students direction for their learning.  Goals/objectives should often be SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Reasonable, and Timely).
  • Generating and Testing Hypothesis- This strategy will be used not only in science, but in all subjects, to help students develop their deductive reasoning skills.
  • Cues, Questions, and Advance Organizers- These tools help students build upon their prior knowledge.  This scaffolding will help teachers to check for understanding, and will ensure that all students understand a concept at each stage of increasing complexity.

Bloom’s Taxonomy

            In Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy (Anderson & Krathwohl, 2001) there is a knowledge dimension and a cognitive process dimension.  Both will guide instruction at Emerson.  Students will be expected to acquire or construct four types of knowledge ranging from concrete to abstract.  They are:

  • Factual- terminology, specific details and events
  • Conceptual- Knowledge of classifications, categories, principles, generalizations, theories, models, and structures
  • Procedural- Knowledge of subject-specific skills, algorithms, techniques, methods, and procedures
  • Metacognitive- Strategic knowledge about cognitive tasks, including self-knowledge, contextual, and conditional knowledge. 

The cognitive process dimension increases in complexity from lower order to higher order thinking skills.There are six main categories, with knowledge skills embedded, which also increase in difficulty.

1. Remember- list, recognize, recall, identify

2. Understand- summarize, classify, clarify, predict

3. Apply- respond, provide, carry out, use

4. Analyze- select, differentiate, integrate, deconstruct

5. Evaluate- check, determine, judge, reflect

6. Create- generate, assemble, design, create

 

Constructivism

            Learning in a Constructivist classroom is constructed, active, reflective, collaborative, inquiry-based, and evolving.  Constructivism taps into and triggers the students’ innate curiosity about the world and how things work while encouraging them to be actively engaged and learning. 

Some specific examples of this occurring at Emerson are:

  • Students being prompted to formulate their own questions (inquiry)
  • Multiple interpretations and expressions of learning (multiple intelligences) encouraged
  • Group work and the use of peers as resources (collaborative learning) utilized

Project-Based Learning

            In Project Based Learning, students go through an extended process of inquiry in response to a complex question, problem, or challenge.  Rigorous projects help students learn key academic content and practice 21st Century Skills such as collaboration, communication and critical thinking.  While allowing for some degree of student "voice and choice," students gain a deeper understanding of the concepts and standards at the heart of a project. Projects also build vital workplace skills and lifelong habits of learning and can allow students to address community issues, explore careers, interact with adult mentors, use technology, and present their work to audiences beyond the classroom (www.p21.org). 

Differentiation and Other Research-Based Effective Instructional Strategies

            One such strategy is differentiation.  Differentiated Instruction (DI) is defined by Tomlinson et al. (2003) as “an approach to teaching in which teachers proactively modify curricula, teaching methods, resources, learning activities, and students’ products to address the diverse needs of individual students and small groups of students to maximize the learning opportunity for each student in the classroom” (p.  121).

            Another effective form of instruction that helps ELLs is Specially Designed Academic Instruction in English (SDAIE), also known as Sheltered Instruction.  SDAIE strategies address the issue of teaching academic content to English learners while they are still learning the English language (Echevarria et al., 2006).  The purpose of SDAIE is to make learning content areas such as social studies and science understandable to English learners.  During SDAIE, teachers will use the core curriculum, but will provide English learners with scaffolds and strategies to make the content assessable.