Açı Primary School academic curriculum is a 4 year structure which is vertically and horizontally linked to the pre-school and secondary school, and complemented with learning experiences. Besides the academic curriculum, it consists of social responsibility projects, rotational activities, learning experiences derived from school and class routines all of which aim at smooth transition of students from pre-school to primary school and then preparation for secondary school.
Academic curriculum consists of high-level literacy, mathematics in life, understanding of our world and English. National Education curriculum is the basis for learning attainments; it is extended and supported by additional studies according to the students, accumulation, potential and needs.
It is crucial to examine the academic curriculums’ purpose and attainments, explained in these pages, from two intersecting axis; to understand the program as a whole and its consistency. These two axes are the targeted attainments of all courses as a whole in each grade and the attainments of students in a single specific course over 8 years of education. The first 3 years of primary school consists of mainly a thematic approach to learning experiences. Subsequently, the lessons gradually become more independent of one another and thus provide a learning experience which is more in depth and has a larger context specific to their own fields.
The academic program, with all its methods used in education, its learning environment and the activities taking place both inside and outside of the classroom, its evaluation processes and applications, has an overall integrity across all grades.
The Turkish language curriculum aims at promoting sound reading and writing habits. The students are given the opportunities to develop their reading and understanding skills via the texts selected from Turkish and world literature and improve their interpretation and writing abilities as well.
Grammar and writing rules are presented to students within a curriculum integrated with the reading texts. This integrated curriculum, which also uses texts from distinguished writers of Turkish and world literature, provides students with basic knowledge on language use as well as detailed knowledge on written expression.
Apart from these, students can use their mother tongue verbally and in writing in an accurate and effective way; learn about the authors and read works from different genres and write genre-specific articles.
A 10 minute book reading time each morning, at least 1 book analyisis per week, whole school reading hour per month , analysis of class reading books during in-class activities; are some of the methods used to support the curriculum.
The aim of Mathematics course is; to improve students’ reasoning and problem-solving skills necessary for their lives, and to enable them to use Mathematics in their daily lives.
In order to achieve this, all of our courses are structured by considering the need for using mathematical concepts. During the lessons, use of concrete materials and experiences close to real life are put at forefront to generate the students’ intuition about mathematical concepts. As a result of these experiences, students learn how to make conclusions and generalizations on their own. In addition, they are given many problems that reuire higher order thinking skills rather then similarly repeated ones both in classroom and homework tasks.
This system ensures that the students develop life long skills like decision-making, forecasting, responsibility taking and scientific thinking and helps them become thinking , inquiring and self-confident individuals.
Our curriculum is based on the attainments of the British National Curriculum and these attainments are tailored to the needs of Açı students. The curriculum deals with 4 main skills (speaking, listening, reading and writing) and the lessons are planned to include all these skills supporting each other and with equal importance. The curriculum, in which the skills gained in pre-school are developed further, aims to develop literacy skills as well as verbal skills and to provide students with high literacy skills.
Our curriculum uses “Oxford Reading Tree”, an internationally accepted reading series. It is designed to enhance the joy of reading and enrich students’ English language acquisition, thus, it is used as weekend homework tasks and also class work.
Grammar is not taught as a lecture on its own, but rather taught more effectively by placing it in a context, so it is involved in both reading and writing and also speaking and listening exercises.
Students in 1st and 2nd grades become familiar with the grammatical topics required, while getting trained on 4 skills. In our 3rd year; the students, who have learned grammar so far within the scope of reading and listening activities, begin to develop grammar skills by learning the rules of grammar and they deepen this knowledge in the 4th grade. We try to stay away from mechanical techniques while giving our students this skill, and aim at using language structures in accordance with content, subject and situation.
In addition to the baseline asessments, the progress of the students is evaluated at the end of each semester and necessary changes and plans are made according to the results. After the needs of the students are determined, classroom and home studies are planned taking into account the individual differences.
With all the work done, we aim that our students enjoy learning English, study in an engaging way, develop their language skills while taking responsibility for their own learning from a young age and develop their research, group work and high-level thinking skills.
General Purpose and Objectives of Music Curriculum:
Açı Music Curriculum aims at having students who
- understand various music types in the historical, cultural and social contexts and have respect for them,
- can express the feelings, thoughts and images created by music with correct terminology,
- have the opportunity to experience music individually and collectively.
According to the schedule carried out at primary school students will become familiar with classical music, jazz, new age, rock’n roll, contemporary popular music, Turkish folk music, Classical Turkish music, Mehter, world music and alternative music types as well as gaining knowledge about fifty musicians’ life stories. Beside these studies, they will learn nearly eighty terms of music terminology. The knowledge gained through listening and performance studies are supported by musical samples. They are actively involved in music through singing and instrumental practices. Students find application opportunities of the musical knowledge they learned by using their own voice and rhythm instruments. Towards this goal, studies are carried out with students to teach them the historical development of all music types from classical to jazz, from Turkish folk music to rock ‘n’ roll.
Secondary school art curriculum aims at growing up individuals who include art in their daily lives both as audience and as practitioners. Although being an artist is not targeted, they would understand art, enjoy watching and joining art activities, as well as establish the habit of going to art exhibitions. These goals can be grouped under three main headings.
- Production of Art
- Observing art in everyday life
- Recognition and appreciation of art
Recognition and appreciation of art are the major differences that Açı art program creates. Love of art develops only with acquiring the necessary knowledge to appreciate art. Açı Schools takes the first fifteen minutes of every art class to look at and discuss a piece of art. This visual presentation is not independent of the activity being performed. On the contrary, it makes the activity performed a more meaningful experience. Visits to art galleries and museums are an important tool in the realization of this goal.
Physical Education Curriculum aims to create the cultural and physical environment which helps the students to reach the level of consciousness required to maintain their physical and mental health.
Lessons consist of physical fitness and healthy eating habits, track and field, throw-catch, basketball, gymnastics, rope jumping, handball, badminton and volleyball activities. The curriculum can be grouped under the headings of technical skills, healthy living and eating habits, sports culture and attitude & behavior.
The students’ physiological developments are followed up with periodic controls. The body composition values , physical-motor features and the development of these features over time are measured and controlled.
The program targets that the students like sports, participate in sports as spectators and athletes, as well as incorporate sports into their daily lives. We aim to raise our students as individuals who like sports culture and who enjoy taking part in sports activities.
The first three years of primary school provides “Social Studies” course under the heading of “life science”. The Life Science curriculum aims to educate individuals with basic life skills and the required personal qualities as well as enabling them to reach the information they can use in their lives. Life Science course consists of three main themes. These three main themes are “”School Excitement”, “My Unique Home”, “Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow”.
The knowledge and skills they acquire in the life science course continue to develop in the 4th grade under the name of Social Studies course. The purpose of this course is to get the students to know about himself, his family, his country and the world; to understand the cultural life of our city, Istanbul, to see the pros and cons of it by comparing it with different cultures; to become a sensitive and questioning individual.
The excursions and interviews, planned according to the course objectives and age group characteristics also play a crucial role in reinforcing their learning. The research projects are carried out once a year and help our students develop their research skills.
The primary goal of the Science and Technology course in Açı Primary School is to get the students acquainted with science and technology. Observation, inspection, experimenting and research methods support “scientific curiosity” and “learning by doing” approach. In this curriculum a variety of teaching methods are applied to provide the students with critical thinking, decision making and problem solving skills. It targets to enable students to associate their knowledge and skills to their daily lives.
Classes are designed to make students feel at ease and at the same time meet their learning needs. All classes have a reading corner. This corner is enriched by the reading and text books that the students and the teachers bring. Students who finish their work early can spend time by reading in these corners. According to the students’ interest, science, art, plants and animals some other corners are prepared. The idea here is to meet the needs of students with different interests.
The display boards in the classrooms are also used as a teaching material. There is a display board for each course in each class. Information about the subject under discussion, images, maps, etc. are displayed on these boards. The goal is to ensure that students perceive the subject visually as well.
Regarding the attainments in all courses at Açı Primary School, to materialize the learning objectives and to make the learning of the students more permanent, different learning materials are prepared. Booklets containing topics and exercises together serve the function of both the book and the notebook together. Worksheets help students to comprehend and to reinforce the targeted knowledge and skills. Posters and flash cards are utilized to create a visual learning environment as well as informing and motivating students.
From the very initial phases, we help the students learn how to take responsibility for their own learning. In this context, students are expected to complete a given work, in an appropriate format, in line with their knowledge and skills, at a set time. Students reinforce what they have learned through the work done outside of school to make it permanent. In addition, homework provides significant opportunities for the student to extend the limits of his knowledge, to apply it in different areas and to perform new learning. 60% of the homework in Açı School consists of questions to review what they have learned, 20% of them aim a higher level of attainment and the remaining 20% improve higher-order thinking skills; which are the type of questions that will make them interpret and generate.
Performance studies are short-term studies that enable the monitoring of mental processes such as researching, organizing, using, analyzing and synthesizing information. During the specified weeks, performance studies are carried out at all grade levels, in the classrooms, at home or both at home and at school in a parallel way. These studies can be carried out as a group work, as well. When the studies are completed, the students present their work to their friends and they are displayed in specific areas.
Project work, is a long term work, carried out in all grades for a whole semester. Students conduct research according to their grade levels and on issues determined in accordance with the academic curriculum. In addition to the research done, students prepare one of the activities such as an experiment, observation, excursion, modeling, survey, interview or a photo album with the support of a teacher in charge of the project. Students present their projects to their friends and families when they complete it.
Observations and Experiments
Observation technique is used especially for acquiring attainments of many of the science and social studies courses. Students observe a situation or experiment they have created and arrive at a result by preparing a relevant report. They make inferences through experimentation and observation.
Effort and Success
All measurement tools are used to encourage learning and motivation of students. The aims of evaluations are showing them their strengths and weaknesses, the improvemnet made they make in a specific time frame and the targets they can work on as a next step. At the same time, evaluations are used to measure the performance of the education program and the teacher.
At Açı Primary School, success and effort are evaluated separately. Effort and success criteria are determined for each course and age group. All measuring tools used in the 1st -3rd grades do not use numbers to evaluate. In 1st-3rd grade, there are no success grades but just effort grades. In the 4th grade, Açı reports include both success and effort grades. Ministry of National Education’s criteria are considered when calculating success grades. On the other hand, for calculating the effort grades, studies such as homework, class work and performance studies are taken into account.
Our main focus of measurement and evaluation approach is to assess effort along with success. Açı Schools do not only focus on evaluating the result but at the same time takes into account the processes and efforts as the basis of measurement and evaluation.
Students’ achievements are measured with various measurement tools and their performance is assessed according to each of them. The variety of measurement tools serves for the differences in learning. Written evaluations are not the only measurement tool and the numerical listings of the results will not show exactly what the students know. For this reason, to assess the measurement processes and evaluating the results, it is crucial to follow up what each student does in terms of homework, in-class works, projects, excursion reports, worksheets and booklets.
Açı Primary School teachers use the follow-up lists on a daily basis to track all the works students do regarding academic curriculum, both in and outside of the school and take necessary notes. Based on the grades and written notes in the follow-up lists, the teacher determines both the needs of the class and the individual student and plans the next learning activity. At the end of the semester, during the phase of grading academic performance, the teachers take into account the follow-up lists of the students and evaluate effort concretely along with success.
Student Development Assessments
In 1st, 2nd and 3rd grades, in Turkish, English, Math and Life Science courses, the students are evaluated individually on the attainments studied during the first four weeks of each semester. Student Development Assessments are announced on the specified weeks of the academic calendar through AVBS (Açı Parent Information System). The purpose is to inform the parents and the students about the academic status of each student.
In Açı Primary School, reports are given in November, January, April and June. Açı reports evaluate students based on target attainments and specify what they know and what they should learn regarding the current situation. In the reports given in January and June, the branch courses are also evaluated.
In 1st-3rd grade, students are evaluated only on effort whereas from 4th grade onwards there is both effort and success grades shown in the reports. Açı reports assess attainments by focusing on how much effort the students show rather than what they cannot achieve.