Core skills classes at Greenwood School focus on the following subject areas:
Language Arts Tutorial
Greenwood’s language arts program offers students training in a full spectrum of skills, from remedial to advanced. Based on comprehensive diagnostic evaluation, we design a program for each student based on his particular needs. Areas of focus include:
- Reading: decoding, fluency, and comprehension
- Morphology, including Latin and Greek roots and affixes
- Organizational and study skills
- Reasoning and analysis
- Literature study
Tutors regularly test students to monitor their progress and to determine how well the student’s individualized program is working. Tutors also keep careful records of each student’s mastery of specific skills and write comprehensive, highly-detailed reports three times a year.
Students needing extensive remedial support receive direct, explicit, multi-sensory instruction — using Orton-Gillingham and LiPS techniques — focused on phonological awareness, word attack and spelling strategies including recognition of common patterns, syllables and morphemes, and sight word automaticity. Students are exposed to literature with a focus on comprehending basic plot and character motivation. Vocabulary work includes word study and support with terms introduced in content classes. Students also receive instruction in handwriting and organizational skills.
At this level we reinforce phonological skills, including perception of accent and accent shift. Students work with more complex vocabulary and build their reading fluency (both rate and prosody). Other areas of focus include strategies for active text comprehension, more advanced morphology, reasoning and study skills, increased independent reading, and appreciation for literature.
Students with proficient literacy skills study literature in a range of genres, including world literature, drama (including Shakespeare), modern literature and poetry. Class discussions promote the give and take of different opinions, while written response to literature promotes the development of advanced writing skills. Core aspects of narrative structure are emphasized as are high-level critical thinking skills.
A student who has difficulty in acquiring language skills is generally at his greatest disadvantage when required to express himself in writing. Based on a comprehensive evaluation using both formal and informal assessment tools, we develop goals for each student. Students work on writing sentences, paragraphs, essays, reports, description, personal narrative and poetry, as well as research and information literacy. Assistive technology is particularly important in this domain, and is embedded in the curriculum. Progress is carefully monitored and explicit, sequential and multi-sensory instruction is provided.
At this level we focus on building simple sentences and paragraphs. We also work on basic mechanics and grammar. Keyboarding practice follows the Diana King method.
Complex sentence and paragraph structure are the focus at this level, including basic essay structure and the organization of thoughts in a logical sequence. Particular emphasis is placed on planning, composing, editing and restructuring. Students receive continued instruction in mechanics, grammar and keyboarding.
At the Advanced Level, students are responsible for greater independence, productivity and diversity in their writing. In addition to achieving proficiency in 3- and 5-paragraph essay forms, students work with figurative language, narrative elements, paraphrasing and citation. Students practice as needed to become facile in using fundamental mechanics, grammar and keyboarding.
Many Greenwood students face learning issues in the area of mathematics. Much as a student with dyslexia struggles to develop language skills, dyscalculia results in difficulties with number conceptualization, basic operations and numerical relationships. These students are taught remedial math using a multi-sensory, hands-on approach focused on recognizing, extending, creating and generalizing patterns. Manipulatives and games help illustrate concepts; hands-on exploration, where students get a physical representation of an idea, increases understanding and retention. Instruction is individualized to a great extent so that students have the freedom to progress at their own pace.
Many other students at Greenwood are strong in math. Because instruction at Greenwood is based on diagnostic, prescriptive principles, more advanced students are placed in challenging classes that reflect their readiness rather than chronological age or grade level.
Level I: Number sense, number conceptualization and spatial sense; basic operations; basic measurement; math facts development
Level II: Multi-digit operations; introduction to fractions; facts mastery; basic 2D geometry; basic data interpretation
Level III: Pre-Algebra; fractions mastery; operations with decimals; percent, ratio and proportion; data analysis; basic 3D geometry; Pythagorean Theorem; positive and negative integers
Level IV: Algebra I; plane geometry; data analysis and probability
Level V: Algebra II; basic trigonometry; properties and relationships of circles, spheres and solids; deviations and regressions
Level VI and VII: Higher-level math topics