It's Not Just About Texas' Independence!
While most 4th graders in the city are sure to be studying Texas history, our take on this grade level expectation includes so much more. Going beyond memorizing just the facts, our students are immersed in recreating the history of Texas, understanding the vastness of the topography, recognizing the natural resources of our state, examining the literature, art, and music; everything that makes Texas great. Through this learning, our 4th graders’ independence is growing by leaps and bounds. Learning to collaborate in large and small groups, choosing a Texas topic to research independently, and finally bringing their topic to life in the culminating 4th Grade Texas Museum allows our students to stretch their minds and demonstrate their learning all by themselves. What an accomplishment!
More than just a catchy name, these highly interactive classes develop student ability to plan and manage tasks, organize and discuss ideas, set and achieve goals, identify and solve problems which in turn cultivates passion and develops collaboration and conceptual reasoning skills. The PS Think.Make.Talk paradigm is our authentic and research-based approach to challenge students to THINK deeply about problems, ideas, projects, and research; creatively MAKE real-world applications that flow out of that thinking; and TALK to members of our community about what they’ve made and how to make it even better.
A Double Dip of Academic Support
While each student at PS has a dedicated master teacher providing support and extension throughout the day, teachers also have access to a team of specialists trained in a diverse array of pedagogies who support and enrich instruction as needed. The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) assist with assessments, monitor the development of foundational literacy and math skills, and join with the classroom teachers to further support academic development and foster critical and creative thinking. We lovingly call this extra bonus opportunity the Double Dip!
Kids Need to Move!
When was the last time you had to sit still for a long time? Hard, isn’t it? At PS we believe students should have many opportunities to move throughout the long school day, so we make PE and recess a part of every day. Brain research tell us that these breaks in the day are necessary for optimizing a child’s social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development. Where else can you build on fine and gross motor skills, learn patience waiting for a turn, negotiate rule interpretations, discover a new bug, or get lost in your own thoughts? PE and recess, it's not just about the fun.
See Specialists Every Day
It's not all just reading, writing and arithmetic. At PS, our team of specialists help our students to grow creatively, spiritually, and physically in Art, Chapel, Learning Commons, Music, and PE. By reaching their hearts and minds through chapel once a week, our students develop an understanding of what it truly means to reflect God's love into the world. Whether it's molding clay into original sculpture, blending their voices in song, or discovering a new author during the weekly instruction with our specialists, our students are challenged outside of their comfort zones to recognize just how much they can accomplish.
Navigating Social Well-Being
Young children, big emotions! At PS, we believe that we not only educate the mind but the heart as well. Teaching our students how to treat one another with respect, how to agreeably disagree, and how to show empathy and compassion is as important to us as the ABC’s. If a child makes a mistake, they are always reminded that tomorrow is a clean slate and another opportunity to make better choices. Focusing on the PS Core Values of Reflecting God's Love, Respect, Perserverance, Compassion, Courage, Integrity and Gratitude is what guides us as we grow young hearts and minds every day.
It's Not Just About the Test
We know that children learn by doing and that it is in the process where students learn the most. Going beyond the standard paper/pencil test, students are invited to demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways. Students can be found building structures, writing plays, designing obstacle courses, giving a speech, writing lyrics, or debating a point all in an effort to share their learning. Learning is more than just supplying rote answers, it is about thinking deeply and creatively and then sharing that learning with others.
Learning from the Community
Who doesn’t love a field trip? Climbing on a big yellow bus and taking off on an adventure is exciting at all grade levels. Whether it is 5th Grade jumping on Mr. McKinney's Historic Houston Bus tour or 2nd grade going to Dewberry Farm, all of our students expand their learning outside of the classroom walls. Students can just walk two blocks to get on the Metro Rail to head to the Medical Center or Downtown or walk across the street to visit the Museum of Fine Arts Houston or the Glassell School of Art. Walking to the Miller Outdoor Theater, Houston Zoo or the Museum of Natural Science is no problem either!
On Exhibit: 4th Grade Texas Museum
Houston is home to one of the largest museum districts in the nation and PS is located right in the heart of it. Our goal is to one day be featured as an official Museum of Learning in the Houston Museum District but until that happens, we will continue to create our own Presbyterian School Museums. Each year every grade in the School determines a focus, completes research, learns from local experts, and then designs, creates, and installs their own grade level museum on campus.
4th grade students focus on a year-long study of Texas history, beginning their studies in the Paleoamerican time period and continuing to current day events in their home state. Students pick individual research topics about a person, place, or event that helped shape Texas. They learn the steps of researching, taking notes, outlining, and writing a research paper. Students also create an accompanying visual representation of their choice.
Drawing upon the experience of museum experts, including faculty and staff from the Glassell School and Museum of Fine Arts, students learn how to put together and install their own museum to showcase their visual projects. From determining the layout and design of their museum to serving as docents, 4th grade students create a true Texan experience through and through complete with a special Texas program for parents.