Our literacy program uses the Orton-based Slingerland method (www.slingerland.org), which enables two lead teachers and two TA’s to move cohorts of 15-20 students together, so we can get good results while charging modest fees. Beth Slingerland studied with Anna Gillingham and Bessie Stillman in the 1930s, adapting their 1-on-1 techniques to classroom settings.
We’ve developed four remedial literacy courses of 20 classes each. The first three are about phonology, plus the most important Anglo-Saxon suffix morphology. The fourth course is an introduction to Latin morphology.
• 1st The Short Vowel Course
• 2nd The Long Vowel Course
• 3rd The Neither-Short-nor-Long Course
• 4th The Latin Roots and Affixes Course
Our math program is game-oriented. We use playing cards, ten-sided dice, octagonal tops, and game boards more than pencil and paper. The games focus first on counting fluency, both up and down, starting and stopping at carefully planned intervals. Then we want to be sure that all kids have a firm grasp of place value. Then we march at a dignified pace through the addition and subtraction facts, before moving on to the multiplication facts (3rd-4th graders only).
After the core curriculum is covered in the morning, students enjoy a messy science lab, a messy art lab, a sports hour, a dance hour, and a drama class (which is a second literacy hour in disguise; don’t tell the kids because we don’t want them to know they’re learning in the afternoon). The seven daily classes are strategically punctuated by five 30-minute recesses. Snacks are served at 10:30 and 3:00; lunch is a noon.
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