Academics at Lowell Elementary
At Lowell, we believe that learning should be a challenging and joyful experience. We know that students who are learning academic skills and content at a level that is just right for them will be engaged and enjoy their own visible growth.
Reading and Writing
In English Language Arts, Lowell follows the district adopted curriculum as it was intended to be taught. The Center for Collaborative Curriculum publishes our literacy materials including Making Meaning, Being a Reader, Being a Writer, and SIPPS. CCC is a not-for-profit organization with close ties to research institutions.
The CCC curriculum provides balanced literacy, including the technical aspects of reading, like phonomic awareness, and the rich, meaning laden aspects like comprehension. It includes components for vocabulary, independent reading and writing, and whole and small group instruction in reading and writing.
Teachers make important instructional decisions, and are supported with clear and focused teaching points and questions for discussion. The curriculum has a strong focus on “academic discourse”, which is the kind of discussions about books that help students become better readers and writers.
In Math, we follow a blended curriculum that the district math department recommends, including using Math in Focus along with Engage New York and other online curricula. This scope and sequence ensures that all students learn the important skills and concepts they need to understand for each grade level, and also helps engage students in mathematical thinking every day.
The way brains use logic to understand numerical representations of our world is a language – a different way of thinking than the language of words or pictures or music. When students use their brains in new and different ways it’s not only fun and exciting, it also helps prepare them to look at their world with more ways to understand what’s going on.
We believe strongly that all brains are math brains, and our communities benefit from students who are mathematical thinkers. A new math adoption is planned for the 2022-23 school year.
Science is taught using the Amplify curriculum. These science materials include investigative hands-on experiments and opportunities to practice reading, problem-solving, and math in practical situations.
Our Social Studies curriculum helps students understand social interactions and political movements in developmentally appropriate ways. Social Studies is a place where students can practice thinking critically about why things happen and ways they could be better. We use the WA State Since Time Immemorial curriculum to study the history and cultures of the Northwest Tribes as a way to connect history to the present and to understand the place we live in rich ways.
Lowell has a special relationship to art and music instruction, and we are lucky to benefit from having enthusiastic practitioners to teach every student. We have a full time art and music teacher, and they build new ways of thinking, seeing, and listening to their world. We also have strong partnerships with community organizations such as the Seattle Children’s Theater, who bring additional arts experiences to the school.
We have a robust Physical Education program at Lowell and have a full time PE teacher. We also work with Playworks, a non-profit organization that helps us to purposefully include physical education in our recess times, working on games and activities that allow students to see exercise and teamwork as an enjoyable part of every day.
Social Emotional Learning
We use the RULER Curriculum for teaching emotional regulation skills and Second Step Curriculum for teaching students tools to interacting with others in social situations. We work to improve social and emotional skills in every context at school by using Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports to teach students ways to behave successfully in every part of our building. We use a shared language of behavior so that students know exactly what adults are talking about when we give them little reminders.
This helps us avoid more difficult misbehavior and discipline issues. As a staff, we engage in ongoing professional development in trauma-informed practices collaborate to best support students who have experienced poverty, homelessness, and/or Adverse Childhood Events (ACEs).