Lower School Agreements

The Lower School uses a variety of resources as tools to meet our learning targets based on AERO standards.


Words Their Way is a developmental spelling, phonics, and vocabulary program that supports  AERO’s Reading Foundational Skills and Language Standards in Grades K–5.  While the focus is word study, it is integrated with reading and writing as part of a balanced literacy program at Graded.  This developmental approach begins with a spelling inventory that is given to determine where to begin instruction. Based on assessment results, students are given words to study in order to discover the common attributes.  In this manner, students are actively constructing their own knowledge of spelling patterns.  Students learn features by completing activities such as word sorting, word hunts, games and drawing and labeling.  Students work individually, with partners, and in small groups to encourage cooperative learning and individual responsibility.


The Units of Study in Opinion/Argument, Information, and Narrative Writing are grade-by-grade plans for teaching writing workshops that help students meet and exceed the AERO standards for writing.  These units were developed, based on research and best practices, by Lucy Calkins and her colleagues at the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University.  As part of a balanced literacy program, this resource empowers students to develop themselves as authors, thinkers, researchers, scientists, persuaders, and storytellers.   Students are led through the full writing process of idea generation, drafting, revising, publishing, and sharing.  The structure allows for integration with both social studies and science content, and includes min-lessons based on explicit teaching points, peer sharing & feedback, conferring, and writing celebrations.

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