Studies at PS 150 are centered on social studies and science core curricula. Through rich thematic units, students develop skills such as inquiry-based research, nonfiction writing, oral communication, and artistic expression and appreciation. Enrichment programs in art, computer, music, dance, library and science support the classroom thematic studies as well. In each grade, students typically engage in two major studies a year. Our integrated approach is based on the tenet that people learn best when they have a meaningful context to help them see the purpose of—and be invested in—related reading, writing, mathematics, art and research of all kinds. At TLC, learning in all subjects is enriched by relevance to a topic that occupies a central place in the life of the class.
Elementary school age children have a natural curiosity to understand the world in which they live. When given an opportunity to explore that world through the organization of an integrated curriculum, children are able to build on what they know as they learn through meaningful interactions with their environment. By studying human and natural organizations throughout elementary school, children develop a respect for and appreciation of diverse ways of working and living together.
English Language Arts
PS 150 classrooms are child-centered and rich with language and print. We are a Teachers College (Columbia University) Reading and Writing Project school (TCRWP). Our literacy program is based on a workshop approach to teaching reading and writing. This structure includes components such as read aloud, shared reading, guided reading, independent reading, phonemic awareness and word study, book-clubs, and writer’s workshop. We focus on teaching children strategies to become thoughtful readers and writers who are able to comprehend a wide range of literary genres and make connections to themselves, other texts, and the larger world.
Kindergarten through Fifth Grade classrooms use the mathematics curriculum Math in Focus as their core mathematics program. Through inquiries, skills activities and games, and the use of manipulative materials, children develop skills, and learn to reason and communicate mathematically.
In addition, teachers provide instruction and practice to ensure students learn basic facts and efficient and accurate computation strategies.
Our music program has four components:
- Music theory— reading pitches in treble clef, rhythms in simple and compound meters, understanding key signatures and basic chord construction. This also includes ear training and sight singing, melodic and rhythm dictation. Students use keyboards to explore musical concepts.
- Music appreciation—listening to recordings and live performances of stylistically diverse music, as well as understanding the process of composition and improvisation.
- Singing—this includes the art of singing with expression as soloists, and in unison, two, and three-part arrangements. Students are taught to blend with other voices and to be aware of articulation and dynamics.
- Instrumental education—Students in the 2nd through 5th grades learn to play the recorder.
Our music education program is designed to give students the following skills by the time they graduate from PS 150:
- to be able to recognize different elements of music–melody, pitch, pulse, and rhythm in simple and compound meters
- to be able to read music with fluency
- to be able to identify and notate melodies in major and minor modes
- to be aware of other instruments/voices in the ensemble/chorus
- to be able to sing two and three-part choral arrangements
- to be able to recognize various styles of music and to recognize the specific characteristics of each style
- to be able to identify instruments of the orchestra aurally and visually
- to be familiar with various musical forms such as sonata form, rondo, 32-bar AABA song form
to understand the elements of improvisation and in some cases to be improvising themselves
- to have a basic understanding of what it takes to succeed on a musical instrument in terms of practice, commitment, care and maintenance
Physical education provides TLC students with the opportunity for physical cardiovascular exertion. We try to get our students to exercise hard and get their blood pumping, to introduce games and sports in a way that allows students the opportunity to try them out in an organized fashion, and to learn about winning and losing, team play, and basic sports skills and strategy.
The DOE’s fitnessgram physical education assessment is administered to all students at our school. This initiative includes height and weight measurement for all students as well as five other assessments for forth and fifth graders that measure aerobic fitness, muscular strength and fitness.
Science and Technology
At TLC all students are scientists. The science program at TLC is a “hands on” inquiry-based program that taps into the curiosity that all children have about the natural world. Technology instruction is integrated with the science curriculum and is used as a tool to support science discovery and learning. Each grade has dedicated science/technology time in our science class every week. Students in first grade and up have at least two periods per week. In addition to classroom experiences, most science units include integrated field trips to museums and nature centers where museum educators further elaborate and explore the subject matter that is being studied. At TLC we follow the New York State science standards as well as the New York City Scope and Sequence. These standards focus on two main strands; The Living Environment and The Physical Setting. In the lower grades the year consists of three units of study, two that focus on the Living Environment and the other on the Physical Setting. In the upper grades there are four distinct units of study, which are equally divided between the two strands. Where practical our units of study are coordinated with thematic studies in the different grades as well as with music and art instruction.
In June TLC conducts a science day fair at the school. At this culminating activity third – fifth grade prepare and present experiments and /or presentations on what they have learned during the year. The entire school is given an opportunity to observe all of the experiments and presentations. The fair is also open to parents and friends on the morning and afternoon of science day.
At TLC, technology is not taught as a stand-alone subject but as a tool to support the curriculum and the classroom experience. When students leave TLC, we expect that they will be comfortable with the computer, possess a working knowledge of a word processing program, be capable of using the Internet as a tool for research, and know how to use a spreadsheet and design a presentation.
The Tribeca Learning Center art program supports active learning. Children gain knowledge of materials while using them to represent their experiences. Through participation in TLC’s art program students:
- create works of art that explore different kinds of subject matter, topics and themes;
- use a variety of art materials, processes, mediums, and techniques for creating visual art works;
- understand and use the elements and principles of art (line, color, texture, shape) in order to communicate their ideas;
- learn about cultural institutions and community opportunities for looking at and making art;
- create art work in individual and collaborative experiences;
- reflect, interpret, evaluate, and exhibit works of art; and
- explore art from various historical periods and cultures, creating work that shows the influence of that particular culture.
The focus of the TLC art program is on individual interests and needs. By making choices and engaging in challenging experiences in making art, students learn to apply previously acquired skills to subsequent grade levels. In the process of making art, children develop skills and understanding that extend to all areas of learning.