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Learning Approach

Magnolia Learning Approach

Español – Learning Approach

Our intent is to open Magnolia Elementary as a learning community grounded in a culture of belonging, inclusivity and perspective validation. Our goal will be to:

  • Intentionally teach the social and emotional competencies our students need to be significant, contributing members of their communities using positive discipline curriculum and classroom leadership strategies
  • Deliver strong, standards aligned academic instruction through an engaging real-world lens 
  • Expect and support collaboration that allows learners to work with students and teachers from other classes and grade levels to build a schoolwide learning community
  • Provide learning opportunities where students apply their learning through engaging and meaningful projects, making positive contributions toward a more just and humane world

For more information, click a topic below.

Rigorous and Engaging Academics for All

Our overall learning program will be differentiated to meet both the academic and social & emotional needs of all learners. We believe our job is to develop all of our children to rigorous standards of academic proficiency and strong character. We define development as getting better, stronger andsmarter at anything you choose to do.

Our goal is to make greater access to grade appropriate assignments an urgent priority for all students, no matter their race, income level, orcurrent performance level. We will strive to give all of our students, especially those who are behind grade level, access to instruction that asks them tothink and engage deeply with challenging material.

Academically, we plan to offer rich, complex learning opportunities aligned with the Common Core Student Standards (CCSS) and provide the instructional support for all students to access this learning. We believe that often, school experiences offered to students do not attend to the rigor andcomplexity of grade level standards or only involve the acquisition of procedural skills, causing students who acquire these skills quickly to feel “done” or “bored” and drive a perceived need for acceleration. Our learning opportunities will be designed so that students can acquire procedural skills as well as deepen their conceptual understanding, enabling them to apply their knowledge to real-word problems.

We plan to use engaging and relevant instructional strategies (such as Project-Based Learning) with all of our students that will deepen the academic and social and emotional learning skills and concepts we teach. Magnolia staff will use the Sustainable Development Goals identified by the United Nations to frame this work. All students will be engaging in meaningful projects, making positive contributions toward a more just and humane world.

We believe that learning in diverse groups exposes all learners to a variety of perspectives and allows them to develop a social awareness of their strengths and the strengths of others. We will teach students to view learning as a continual process where you “think you can, work hard and get smart” using failure and difficulty as feedback. This approach is intended to foster internal motivation and growth mindset in all of our students.

Social and Emotional Learning

We believe all people, young and old, are hardwired for connection and want to feel a sense of significance and belonging. As humans, we are continually making decisions based on how our world is perceived. Our Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) approach combines trauma-informed, brain-based research and culturally responsive instructional strategies to effectively engage young people and teach them the social skills necessary to contribute in useful ways. We believe that adults can have the most influence on the behavior of our students when we have an ongoing relationship founded on mutual respect (each person equally worthy of dignity and respect) and we teach into mistakes after all parties are calm. The most powerful tools for adults to use in this work are empathy, understanding the perspective of the student, encouragement, collaborative problem solving, and kind and firm follow through.

We believe effective discipline…

  • Helps children feel a sense of connection (belonging and significance) 
  • Is mutually respectful and encouraging (firm and kind at the same time) 
  • Is effective long-term (considers what the child is thinking, feeling, learning and deciding about himself and his world – and what to do in the future to survive and thrive)
  • Teaches important social and life skills (respect, concern for others, problem solving, and cooperation as well as the skills to contribute to the home, school or larger community) 
  • Invites children to discover how capable they are. (encourages the constructive use of personal power and autonomy)

The Positive Discipline approach models for students the Social and Emotional Competencies we want them to grow. In addition to modeling, Magnolia Elementary will be using CASEL’s integrated Social and Emotional Learning Competencies Framework to teach the skills, attitudes, and behaviors to deal effectively and ethically with daily tasks and challenges.

The five core competencies:

1. Self Awareness – The ability to accurately recognize one’s own emotions, thoughts, and values and how they influence behavior. The ability to accurately assess one’s strengths and limitations, with a well-grounded sense of confidence, optimism, and a “growth mindset.”

  • Identifying emotions
  • Accurate self-perception
  • Recognizing strengths
  • Self-Efficacy

2. Self Management – The ability to successfully regulate one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in different situations — effectively managing stress, controlling impulses, and motivating oneself. The ability to set and work toward personal and academic goals.

  • Impulse control
  • Stress Management
  • Self-discipline
  • Self-motivation
  • Goal Setting
  • Organizational Skills

3. Social Awareness – The ability to take the perspectives of and empathize with others, including those from diverse backgrounds and cultures. The ability to understand social and ethical norms for behavior and to recognize family, school, and community resources and supports.

  • Perspective-taking
  • Empathy
  • Appreciating diversity
  • Respect for others

4. Relationship Skills – The ability to establish and maintain healthy and rewarding relationships with diverse individuals and groups. The ability to communicate clearly, listen well, cooperate with others, resist inappropriate social pressure, negotiate conflict constructively, and seed and offer help when needed.

  • Communication
  • Social engagement
  • Relationship-building
  • Teamwork
  • Ethical responsibility

5. Relationship Decision Making – The ability to make constructive choices about personal behavior and social interactions based on ethical standards, safety concerns, and social norms. The realistic evaluation of consequences of various actions, and a consideration of the well-being of oneself and others.

  • Identifying problems
  • Analyzing situations
  • Solving problems
  • Evaluating
  • Reflecting

Literacy

We believe in an integrated approach to literacy instruction that develops every student’s capacity to read and comprehend complex text independently and proficiently while finding the joy in reading.

This approach will include:

  • Solid grounding in foundational reading skills
  • Coherent development of academic language
  • Experiences that lead students to use comprehension strategies within and beyond texts they can access independently
  • Steady growth of social studies and science content knowledge that develops each students’ own lens of the world
  • The ability to clearly express one’s thoughts and learning through speaking and writing
  • The motivation to sustain a volume of engaged reading
  • Building students’ social emotional competencies through literacy

Math

Our math program will be designed to: 

  • Provide math classrooms that are intellectually and socially safe for learning. This includes coaching every student in developing a growth mindset that allows them to believe in their ability to learn math and understand the value of mistakes as opportunities to learn.
  • Narrow and deepen the way time and energy are spent in the math classroom, focusing on the major work of each grade so students can gain strong foundations: solid conceptual understanding, procedural skill and fluency and the ability to apply the math they know to solve problems inside and outside the math classroom. This will require teachers to be aware of and focused on unfinished learning, productive struggle and alternate solution paths.
  • Provide all students with opportunities to exhibit mathematical practices while engaging in content learning.
  • Help all students get to a deeper understanding of mathematical concepts and be able to access concepts from multiple solution paths using real-life applications. This is the collaborative, hands on work that allows students to see math as important knowledge that empowers them to think quantitatively to solve problems in their work and lives. This understanding is demonstrated by students applying mathematical concepts to new situations as well as writing and speaking about their understanding.

Science

In May 2018, Seattle Publics Schools initiated an adoption process for instructional materials to support science in grades K – 5. The School Board will decide which material will be adopted this spring. Magnolia Elementary will implement the new materials beginning in the 2019-20 school year. SPS is committed to providing all science classrooms with a common NGSS-aligned core scope and sequence that is engaging, authentic, culturally relevant, rigorous, and technology-based to be college and/or career ready. Our goal is that all our students will be scientifically literate. This is accomplished through a collaborative, interactive, rigorous science program responsive to the needs of diverse learners. Learn more about the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) that were adopted by WA state in 2013.

Technology

Seattle Public Schools is providing Magnolia Elementary with ipads at a 2:1 ratio for students in K-2 and laptops at a 2:1 ratio for grades 3-5. We will be using the OSPI Educational Technology Learning Standards to guide us in teaching students how to responsibly use technology to enhance their learning.

OSPI Educational Technology Learning Standards 2018

Empowered learners  who can leverage technology to take an active role in choosing, achieving and demonstrating competency in their learning goals.

Digital citizens  who recognize the rights, responsibilities and opportunities of living, learning and working in an interconnected digital world and act and model in ways that are safe, legal and ethical.

Knowledge constructors  who critically curate a variety of resources using digital tools to construct knowledge, produce creative artifacts and make meaningful learning experiences for themselves and others.

Innovative designers  who use a variety of technologies within a design process to identify and solve problems by creating new, useful or imaginative solutions.

Computational thinkers  who develop and employ strategies for understanding and solving problems in ways that leverage the power of technological methods to develop and test solutions.

Creative communicators  who communicate clearly an express themselves creatively for a variety of purposes using the platforms, tools, styles, formats and digital media appropriate to their goals.

Global collaborators  who use digital tools to broaden their perspectives and enrich their learning by collaborating with others and working effectively in teams locally and globally.

Advanced Learning Opportunities

Our overall learning program will be differentiated to meet both the academic and social & emotional needs of all learners. We believe our job is to develop all of our children to rigorous standards of academic proficiency and strong character. We define development as getting better, stronger and smarter at anything you choose to do.

Our goal is to make greater access to grade-appropriate assignments an urgent priority for all students, no matter their race, income level, or current performance level. We will strive to give all of our students, especially those who are behind grade level, access to instruction that asks them to think and engage deeply with challenging material.

Academically, we plan to offer rich, complex learning opportunities aligned with the Common Core State Standards and provide the instructional support for all students to access this learning. We believe that often, the school experiences offered to students do not attend to the rigor and complexity of grade level standards or only involve the acquisition of procedural skills, causing students who acquire these skills quickly to feel “done” or “bored” and drive a perceived need for acceleration. Our learning opportunities will be designed so that students can acquire procedural skills as well as deepen their conceptual understanding, enabling them to apply their knowledge to real-word problems.

We plan to use engaging and relevant instructional strategies (such as Project-Based Learning) with all of our students that will deepen the academic and social and emotional learning skills and concepts we teach Magnolia staff will use the Sustainable Development Goals identified by the United Nations to frame this work. All students will be engaging in meaningful projects, making positive contributions toward a more just and humane world.

We believe that learning in diverse groups exposes all learners to a variety of perspectives and allows them to develop a social awareness of their strengths and the strengths of others. We will teach students to view learning as a continual process where you “think you can, work hard and get smart” using failure and difficulty as feedback. This approach is intended to foster internal motivation and growth mindset in all of our students.