- ART, LIBRARY, MUSIC, PHYSICAL EDUCATION
- LITERACY AT WES
- MATH AT WES
- SOCIAL STUDIES
- EXTENDED & CO-CURRICULAR PROGRAMS
All students at Williamstown Elementary attend specialist classes taught by highly qualified elementary educators certified in their specialties. Children participate in once weekly art, library, and vocal music classes, as well as twice weekly physical education classes. Children in grades 3-6 may also choose to participate in instrumental music.
Art: In addition to the extensive community arts experiences described in About Us, students at WES experience a rich in-house art program that enables them to work with various media through the grades. Instruction includes art history as well as artwork projects and production. An all-school Art Show is held in June.
Library: The cornerstone of Williamstown Elementary School is its beautiful, well-stocked library. Students receive instruction in library science and research methods. Whether it is listening to a story or doing research the library is a foundation to all curriculum areas.
Music: Weekly vocal music classes expose children to elements of rhythm and song with a strong emphasis on confidence, poise and performance.
WES offers instrumental lessons and ensemble experiences for children in grades 3-6. Beginning in third grade, students are able to begin to learn a stringed instrument. In fourth grade, children may choose to play band instruments. All our ensembles, the orchestra, fourth grade band, fifth grade band, and sixth grade band perform several concerts for the community each year.
P.E.: Students participate in physical education through the lens of life long sports and wellness. Children walk/run, snow shoe and engage in games that encourage cooperation and teamwork.
In 2021 we launched our new comprehensive ELA program, Wit and Wisdom. By providing a framework for inquiry, Wit & Wisdom helps students build rich layers of knowledge. It inspires teachers and students to experience complex texts and ideas on a deeper level by fostering the questioning spirit that will shape the next generation of great writers, thinkers, and leaders. In addition, the district has been assessing students in the area of reading using the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Literacy Skills Next (DIBELS Next). These brief assessments are given minimally three times per year and provide important information for teachers about each student’s progress in the components of reading.
Reading “Team Time,” a common block of time for teaching reading at each grade level, enables teachers to differentiate instruction by sharing staff and designing instruction that is individualized. The core reading program is offered to all students in classrooms with whole-group and station instruction. Reading in the content areas of science and social studies is emphasized at all grade levels.
Additional reading instruction is organized in a Response to Intervention (RtI) model based upon student’s needs and interests. Students receive additional instruction in small groups, designed to improve or extend student fluency and comprehension. RtI reading support includes small group activities in and out of the classroom setting and may involve instruction from Title I staff, our Reading Specialist, or other school specialist teachers (art, music, library, technology). Computer technology enhances this aspect of our reading curriculum. Programs such as Lexia, IXL, or Raz Kids can be prescribed for individuals or groups of students. Computers are carefully supervised and maintained by the classroom teacher to assess student progress.
Teachers meet regularly at each grade level to examine assessment data and share strategies and materials to reach all learners. Teachers also participate in on-going professional development to learn about new approaches for teaching students to read. The ultimate goal is to have ALL students reading at or above grade level by the end of Grade 3.
Our children love to read. It is not uncommon to see our upper grade students in primary classrooms with their “reading buddies” sharing a good book and a light moment.
Williamstown Elementary School provides a broad-based math program for children. Using the Everyday Math program for grades K-6 allows teachers to provide continuity of instruction from grade to grade. The program provides embedded assessments that allow teachers to monitor student growth in math skills and provide for individual differences. Our upper grade “math buddies” are often seen working with our younger students on special math projects.
In grades 5-6 teachers differentiate instruction by teaching math at the same time each day and grouping students according to current skill level and fluency. This common block of time enables teachers to provide for individual differences by sharing staff and students. In grade 4 students are assessed at each unit interval, allowing teachers to design instruction based upon student’s strengths. This flexibility allows children to progress at their own rate and experience a challenging math curriculum.
Computer technology enhances our math instruction, enabling a child’s math program to be further individualized. Programs such as IXL are used to monitor student progress in math facts and concepts, as well as to challenge students beyond the regular curriculum.
Williamstown Elementary School is fortunate to partner with Williams College to enhance our science curriculum. Through the “Williams College Science Initiative” our school has an equipped Science Lab and support for our science curriculum through a science coordinator and a paraprofessional to maintain the lab.
We have spent the past two years transitioning to a new K-6 science curriculum aligned with the Massachusetts Next Generation Science Standards. K-5 is using Mystery Science as a complement to the curriculum. Each lesson contains a central mystery, discussion questions, supplemental reading, and a hands-on activity. The 6th grade is using Discovery Education's Techbooks to support the new curriculum.
Williamstown Elementary School celebrates this country’s diversity through our social studies curriculum. From learning about families in the primary grades, to world cultures in the 6th, our students develop an appreciation and sensitivity to the world around them. Key concepts of citizenship and civility are taught school-wide.
Extended Programming: Music, Art, Library, Language
- PROGRAM GOALS: To provide extended learning and enrichment opportunities to promote thinking processes, intellectual curiosity, creative expressions, performance, real world problem solving, etc. in music, library, and art.
- STRUCTURE: 1 to 2 periods per week during the school day
- TARGET POPULATION: Students in kindergarten through sixth grade with advanced academic skills and/or interest-based passions.
- SELECTION PROCESS: Flexible based upon identification by teachers. Selection includes information from classroom assessments and observations. Maturity and ability to work independently are considerations.
- STAFFING: Specialists credentialed in the areas of music, art, library and literacy.
- THEMES/TOPICS: Topics are extensions of core curriculum related to student interest. Topics in music may include songwriting, music composition, jazz and vocal performance. Art experiences may include mythology, origami, bookmaking, fairy tales, etc, all infused with artistic expression. Library programming promotes advanced literacy skills and creative multimedia in the areas of research, comprehension, fluency, expression, and writing.
- COMMUNICATION: The classroom teacher notifies parents that students are participants in the extended programming.
Co-Curricular School-Sponsored Programming
- PROGRAM GOALS: Promote student leadership and interpersonal skills that enhance the school community.
- STRUCTURE: During the school day during non-instructional time (recess) or after school.
- TARGET POPULATION: Self-selection for children in kindergarten through sixth grade who demonstrate maturity, independence and specific interests.
- BUDDIES PROGRAM: Fosters leadership for students in grades 4-6 who volunteer as teaching assistants, 1:1 buddies, and coaches in physical education classes for younger students.
- SPIRIT COMMITTEE: Promotes leadership and sense of community by having 6th grade students work with teachers and staff to plan weekly and monthly school spirit activities.
- LEGO ROBOTICS: After school club where 6th grade students work in teams to design and program their robots to solve challenges.
- MATH CLUB: Once per week after school, November through March, Math Club brings together children in 4th – 6th grade who love math, engineering challenges, and creative problem solving.
- ADVENTURES IN LEARNING: An after-school enrichment program offering mini-courses on a wide variety of topics to students in grades K – 6. Courses are taught by Williams College students, staff, and parents and meet through the month of January.