Rockwood Preparatory Academy

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Our Approach » DI Curriculum

DI Curriculum

Read about our DI curricula below

Reading

Reading Mastery is a reading program that uses the Direct Instruction method to help students master essential decoding and comprehension skills. The program places particular emphasis on teaching thinking skills and helping students acquire background knowledge. Program materials include fully scripted lessons to guide teachers through carefully constructed instructional steps - modeling new content, providing guided practice, offering individualized practice and applying skills. Signals and group responses are used to keep students involved, help them stay on task and help with lesson pacing. Teachers assess student performance throughout the program, and struggling students receive practice through remedial exercises. Each level of the program typically spans one academic year. A typical lesson includes seven to nine short activities encompassing multiple strands of content including:

  • Phonemic Awareness
  • Letter-Sound Correspondence
  • Sounding Out of Words
  • Word Recognition
  • Vocabulary
  • Oral Reading Fluency
  • Comprehension
 

English Language Arts
RPA students receive reading and language instruction in small, skill-based groups using the Direct Instruction Reading Mastery curriculum. This research-based curriculum emphasizes well-developed and carefully planned lessons designed around sequenced learning increments and clearly defined lessons. Students also build their skills in English Language Arts (including reading, writing, research, listening, and speaking) through standards-based lessons directly aligned to the Common Core State Standards.

Mathematics
RPA students learn using the Direct Instruction (DI), RocketMath, and Connecting Math Concepts curriculum to drive their higher level thinking skills. Grades K-2 utilize the Direct Instruction curriculum. DI uses explicit, systematic instruction that is based on lesson plans which focus on teaching prerequisite skills to mastery before more complex skills are taught in order to bring students to mastery as quickly as possible. Grades 3-7 utilize the Engage NY curriculum. This rigorous program helps our students to master their basic math facts, gain an understanding of mathematical concepts, and build confidence in their problem solving skills. All grades utilize the Rocket Math curriculum. Rocket Math is a worksheet based, supplemental, math facts practice curriculum which uses worksheets, oral practice, and timed assessments for sequential practice and mastery of facts.

Spelling

Spelling Mastery is a six-level Direct Instruction series that teaches students dependable spelling skills by blending three approaches: the phonemic approach, the whole word approach and the morphemic approach.The whole word approach focuses on memorization. The phonemic approach is used for letter-sound correspondences that are predicable.The morphemic approach is used for combing the roots, bases, prefixes and suffixes into words.

Writing

The Expressive Writing Program is composed of two levels, Expressive Writing 1 and Expressive Writing 2.

Expressive Writing 1 is designed for students who haven’t mastered foundational writing skills. Students learn to construct simple sentences by reporting on what a picture shows. They learn that a sentence has two parts, the part that names and the part that tells more. Students learn to identify sentences and edit short paragraphs, indicating the part of a sentence that names and the part that tells more. Students write sentences by naming a person or thing and telling what that person or thing did. As the program develops, students learn to tell the main thing a person did and to construct paragraphs for a sequence of pictures. A process though which students first discuss a writing assignment, then write, then systematically edit for specific points becomes an integral part of the program. At the end of Expressive Writing 1, students can write a paragraph that describes a sequence of related actions using simple declarative sentences, punctuate sentences correctly,  write consistently in the simple past tense,  and write paragraphs that include sufficient detail and stay on topic.

Expressive Writing 2 is designed for students who can construct a basic paragraph, but who have problems with clarity, are unable to punctuate quotes and other sentence types correctly, and use a narrow variety of sentence forms. Writing exercises begin with simple one-paragraph assignments, then increase gradually to two, three and more paragraphs. Students learn to infer important detail that must have happened between pictures in a sequence. By the end of Expressive Writing 2, students can write a multi-paragraph narrative that is: written clearly (using clear pronoun referents and including details necessary for clarity) uses a variety of sentence types, and includes correctly punctuated direct quotes.