BRWI
Bringing back the joy of reading & writing

Academic Upper Elementary

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Upper Elementary for Academic Year

CURRICULUM

 

Our classes for our upper elementary students for 4th & 5th graders are two hours long.  Students come in once a week.  The maximum number of students per class is generally 9.  These classes are categorized as enrichment classes.  Enrichment classes are for students who are at or above grade level and want to go above and beyond what they are learning in their regular school classes. 

Our Upper Elementary Reading and Writing Program is broken up into two semesters.  However, a new student can begin our program at any time and does not have to wait for the next unit to begin.

1st Semester : August 26, 2019 to January 17, 2020

NARRATIVE WRITING

READING. During the fall semester, we will introduce the intrigue of the narrative genre. Covering an array of high-interest stories, students will read historical fiction, folk tales, memoirs, and contemporary fiction. While each story we will read is written by our favorite authors who have their own unique style of writing, all will have unique plot lines, multi-dimensional characters, and complex themes. We have hand-picked, reviewed, and read each story to ensure they are challenging enough to be above grade level and will prompt students to think, respond, and analyze what they read.

Out students will:

  • identify the essential parts of the story map (setting, protagonist, antagonist, conflict, resolution)

  • trim down the story to its basic beginning, middle, and end to quickly summarize the core story

  • learn about the important technical elements of a story such as point-of-view, narration, dialogue, interior monologue, sensory description, foreshadow, symbolism, and irony

  • use close-reading strategies to slow down the reading process to hunt for, record, and analyze both the directly-stated and indirectly-stated details used to develop the characters, setting, plot (conflict, climax, and resolution)

  • determine the themes of the story from details in the text and how they effectively influence the characters, settings, and plot

  • determine the narrator's or speaker's point of view and its influence on how events are described

  • make and prove inferences with textual evidence

  • identify unfamiliar vocabulary words and use context clues to aid in determining the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text

  • identify the different types of literary devices and their purpose within text (simile, metaphor, personification, hyperbole, and alliteration)

  • analyze the impact of a specific word choice on meaning and tone, including figurative and connotative meanings

  • practice the language and critical thinking skills required for literary analysis and digging deeper to articulate author’s message, purpose, and tone

WRITING. Through the fall semester, our students will practice using the full writing process (prewriting, organizing, drafting, revising, editing) to write three-paragraph narratives, each with a clear beginning, middle, and end to tell a story. Through the writing process, our students will develop essential writing habits and a growth mindset when putting words on paper. Our goal is to show students that you can not just write something and be done with it. Good writers plan out their writing in detail before drafting it out. And, writers find greater satisfaction when taking the time to revise and edit their writing into a finalized piece that is better than when they first started.

Our students will:

  • write about firsthand experiences in their life or write to prompts asking for creative fictionalized stories. For both, they will learn to use effective technique, descriptive details

  • establish a situation and introduce a narrator and/or characters; organize a story in a clear sequence of events that unfolds naturally

  • maintain organization so that a central idea is continued throughout the story and the focus and sense of unity is clear

  • use dialogue and detail descriptions of actions, thoughts, and feelings to develop experiences and events or to show the response of characters to situations

  • use a variety of transitional words and phrases to manage the sequence of events

  • use concrete words and phrases, sensory details, and figurative language (similes, personification, hyperbole, alliteration) to convey experiences and events precisely

  • provide a conclusion that gives a solid sense of closure

  • use a thorough but quick prewriting process that helps students to outline, organize, and think deeply about the details of each story element (characters, setting, plot sequence) before writing anything down

  • take ownership during the drafting phase of writing by writing intentionally, thoughtfully, neatly, and with proper mechanics and spelling

  • learn valuable revising tools to improve their drafts (incorporate Bridges writing rules to elevate language, sentence fluency, elaboration of detail)

  • learn standard editing tools to independently find their own mechanical (punctuation, capitalization, tensing), spelling, and formatting errors

2nd Semester : January 20, 2020 to May 29, 2020

ARGUMENTATIVE WRITING THROUGH NON-FICTION TEXT

READING. During the spring semester, students will read a variety of non-fiction texts such as newspaper articles, journal editorials, essays, and speeches to learn the important value of opinion and the art of persuasion. Students will learn to navigate through the text, first making sure to read for understanding. They will get an opportunity to understand objective and biased points of views, and they will become aware of the effective tools writers use to state a claim and convince the reader to think more deeply about the issue presented. What is the writer arguing? Why is it a good argument? What is the author’s purpose? What is the flipside? Is this argument credible? A necessary skill when decoding reading, our students will feel more confident tackling non-fiction texts of all kinds.

Our students will:

  • identify the difference between an objective point of view (purely informational) and a biased point of view (opinion/argumentative)

  • determine the author’s central idea of a non-fiction text and provide a summary of the author's neutral or biased point of view

  • infer the author’s underlying purpose of a text and what the author has set out to accomplish

  • explain how the author presents an opinion or argument; evaluate the author’s use of reasons and the variety of writing tools (emotion, logic, ethics) used to support particular points in a text

  • evaluate which reasons and evidence adequately support which point(s); determine whether the reasoning is sound, or if the evidence is relevant and sufficient, or if irrelevant evidence is introduced

  • analyze how an author's ideas or claims are developed and refined by particular sentences, paragraphs, or larger portions of a text

  • analyze author’s choice of words and language with an awareness that word choice is intended to persuade; understand under-the-surface connotations built into word choice

  • form a personal opinion as to whether the author was successful and credible

WRITING. What is the most important trait that describes a true friend? What is a skill every child should learn? Who would be an ideal role model for kids today? Where would you argue is the best class trip? Is technology helping or hurting our schools? Should schools start later in the day? Is talent or hard work more important? Should kids be reading the news every day? These are some of the possible opinion and argumentative topics that students will be able to choose to write about this semester.

During this unit, our second and third grade students will practice writing opinion paragraphs and our fourth through eighth grade student will write argumentative essays. After formulating their own opinion about a given topic, students will use personal reasoning and/or collect sourced data from the articles provided to back up their own claim. Beginning with a solid topic sentence stating their opinion, students will include reasons to back up their claim, along with supporting evidence.

Our students will:

  • choose from a variety of topics to determine what opinion/argument is of interest

  • determine the pros and cons for each topic chosen

  • formulate an opinion (topic sentence/thesis sentence) that can be backed up with three solid reasons and evidence

  • learn how to quickly and effectively brainstorm reasons and evidence using true-to-life experiences, statistics, quotes from the provided text, and facts that support their opinion

  • use other resources for additional research (if needed)

  • think through and provide a counter-argument to give credit to the opposing point of view

  • create a detailed outline that follows the paragraph or essay format, including an introduction, two reasons, one counter-argument, and a conclusion

  • develop strong and effective voice through word choice and other persuasive writing tools

  • build strong body paragraphs with additional detailed elaboration that digs deeper into each reason presented

  • take ownership during the drafting phase of writing by writing intentionally, thoughtfully, neatly, and with proper mechanics and spelling

  • learn valuable revising tools to improve their drafts (incorporate Bridges writing rules to elevate language, sentence fluency, elaboration of detail

  • learn standard editing tools to independently find their own mechanical (punctuation, capitalization, tensing), spelling, and formatting errors


Schedule

Our Academic Year Program is broken up into two semesters.  However, a new student can begin our program at any time and does not have to wait for the next semester to begin.  Students come in once a week.  Please choose from one of the following classes:

  • Tuesday - 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

  • Wednesday - 2:15 to 4:15 p.m.

  • Wednesday - 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

  • Thursday - 3:20 to 5:20 p.m.

  • Thursday - 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

  • Friday - 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.


HOLIDAYS

Thanksgiving Holiday : November 25, 2019 to November 29, 2019

Winter Break : December 23, 2019 to January 3, 2020

Spring Break : March 30, 2020 to April 3, 2020


Fees, Information & Policies

 
  1. How much does it cost? $50 per hour. Our classes are 2 hours per week for a total of $100 per week. Please note that our fees have increased this year (after 8 years of staying the same) due to increased expenses.

  2. What do I need to pay when I register? To register, you will need to pay a one-time registration fee of $45 on Eventbrite. Upon registration, you will also be charged for the number of weeks that your child will attend until the next regular billing cycle. For example, if your child will attend one week before the next regular billing cycle, then you will be charged $100. After this initial pro-rata charge, you will be billed every 4 sessions.

  3. How do I register? There are 2 simple steps to the registration process:

    • $45 Registration Fee. Please register online by clicking on the “Register” button to reserve your child’s spot in the class and pay the $45 registration fee. The registration fee is nonrefundable. After you pay the registration fee on Eventbrite, you will automatically be directed to the Registration Form.

    • Complete the Registration Form. After you pay the registration fee, the registration system will automatically direct you to the Registration Form. The Registration Form will require parent’s contact information, student information, and the credit card authorization for the recurring 4-session payments. Your registration will not be accepted until the Registration Form is completed and submitted. Upon registration, you will also be charged for the number of weeks that your child will attend until the next regular billing cycle. For example, if your child will attend one week before the next regular billing cycle, then you will be charged $100. After this initial pro-rata charge, you will be billed every 4 sessions.

    • After you pay the registration fee and complete the registration form, we will send a Welcome Email within 2 to 3 days to confirm your child’s enrollment in our program.

  4. What are the terms of service? When you register you must agree to our Instructional Agreement. Please review it carefully. You may also download a pdf copy of the Instructional Agreement.

  5. How do I pay for the fees? Our billing cycle is every 4 sessions (not every four weeks). You will not be billed for holiday weeks. Every 4-session period, we will automatically bill your credit card for the next 4 sessions.

  6. Do I have to pay by credit card? Yes, and we do require a credit card to be kept on file for automatic billing. The online credit card form is secured by SSL protocol and data encryption through Formstack.

  7. Do you offer sibling discounts? Yes. For students with siblings in our program, the hourly rate is $45 for the additional sibling. For example, if there are 2 children from one family, one child will be at $50 per hour and the sibling will be at the reduced rate of $45 per hour.

  8. What is the class size? Up to 8 or 9 students. However, some classes could be larger.

  9. How do I get on the waitlist if the class is full? To be put on a waitlist for any of our classes, please submit a waitlist request and provide the requested information. During the beginning of the academic year, we are always adding new classes so please submit a waitlist request. We will pull students off the waitlist first when we open new classes.

  10. Is there a minimum contract period? There is no minimum contract period. We do not obligate you to any long term contract, but you must give 30 days prior written notice to withdraw from classes.

  11. What is your absence policy? There are NO REFUNDS for absences. However, you may email us at info@brwi.org to request a make-up class for another day during the same week. Make-up classes are not guaranteed and are subject to availability.

  12. What if I am late to pickup my child? As stated in our Instructional Agreement, if the student in not picked up within 15 minutes after the end of class, there will be a $25 fee for each occurrence.

  13. Is there homework? Students at Bridges will not receive any homework. All work is done at Bridges.

  14. How many times a week does my child have class at Bridges? Students come to Bridges once a week.

  15. Can my child bring a snack to Bridges? In consideration of some of our students that have severe food allergies that could be life-threatening, we have a strict NO SNACK policy.

  16. Do you require an assessment prior to registration? No, an assessment is not required prior to registration. It is only necessary for students with reading & writing skills significantly below grade level. If you have any questions, or would like to discuss your child’s reading & writing skills, we offer free consultations with our education director. Please submit a request by click on the Questions tab on the bottom of the page.