Academics

The Normal Park Way is our unique instructional approach which focuses on each student's individual academic needs, encouraging them to become lifelong learners.
 
Understanding by Design/Modules
Engaging modules are written using a backward design approach in order to provide the students with a clear goal and purpose for their learning. A different module is planned for each quarter with hands on activities and real world experiences through area museums and community resources.
 
Interactive Notebooks
Interactive Notebooks are used in science, math and writing so that students can express their understanding in meaningful ways. They provide students with the opportunity to reflect on their learning, while receiving valuable teacher input about their thoughts. These become valuable resources as the students use them to reference previously learned material and to prepare for tests.
 
Travel Journals
Travel Journals are student-created "text books" documenting their learning throughout each module. These allow students to creatively represent their understanding of the curriculum and become part of their quarterly exhibit.
 
Writer's Workshop
Writer's Workshop encourages each student to discover his or her voice as a writer through mini-lessons, conferencing and goal setting. The program teaches the writing process, word choice, writing structure, conventions and so much more. Students are able to edit and publish their favorite pieces so they may be celebrated as writers.
 
Singapore Math
Singapore Math involves daily model drawing so that students may learn to think critically about problem solving. Daily model drawing provides students with a problem solving structure that may be transferred into real world situations.
 
Guided Reading
Guided Reading allows teachers to instruct students on their individual reading levels in a small group setting. Teachers guide students towards the use of specific decoding, comprehension and fluency strategies, helping them progress as readers.
 
Reader's Workshop
Reader's Workshop fosters the love of reading in students through the use of self-selected books, conferences and reflections. Teachers model strategies of strong readers and encourage students to adopt these into their own reading habits.
 
Weekly Science Labs
Weekly science labs encourage the students to discover their learning through interactive and hands on activities that are aligned with the classroom curriculum. Students develop a stronger understanding of the content when they experience it for themselves and create their own conclusions.
 
Writing Across the Curriculum
Students are encouraged to explain their learning through writing in all subject areas. This may occur through interactive notebooks, travel journals and exhibit labels. Students explain their understandings and exhibit projects through cross-curricular writing.
 
Rich Academic Vocabulary in all Content Areas
Students are encouraged to incorporate academic vocabulary into their dialogue each day. Helping students to use academic vocabulary frequently and correctly will prepare them for higher learning and increase their professional opportunities.
 
End of Unit & Year Math Assessments
Teacher-created end of unit math assessments enable teachers to plan the following unit of instruction based on each student's needs. These assessments also provide teachers with a tool for reflection as they plan their instruction. The end of year math assessments provide documentation of each student's learning and are sent to the teacher in the following grade so that each student's strengths and weaknesses may be better understood. This enables teachers to plan units based on the students' needs.
 
Collaboration
A spirit of collaboration contributes to Normal Park's success as teachers collaborate to plan meaningful instruction, students collaborate to develop exhibits and parents work together to assure the school will continue to succeed. We believe that working together towards a common goal is a key contributor to our strong academic program.
 
Organization
Teachers model organization through well-structured plans, quality schedules and appealing classrooms. Uncertainty about expectations is alleviated as each teacher clearly posts goals and expectations for learning each day. Students are guided to keep their learning organized through the use of agendas and well-planned binders.