Cooper K-8 Elementary is committed to delivering a solid education for all students in high-performing urban classrooms. With a commitment to engaging every student learner, the curriculum emphasizes mastery of basic skills through active instruction with technology applied to reinforce lessons. Word processing, spreadsheet graphing, Internet research and PowerPoint work are some of the software applications used in concert with lessons in the fully networked schools. Click to learn more about our academic programs in the following subject areas:
The curriculum at Cooper K-8 Elementary School is based on the Common Core State Standards. The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a state-led effort coordinated by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). The standards were developed in collaboration with teachers, school administrators, and experts, to provide a clear and consistent framework to prepare our children for college and the workforce.
The standards are informed by the highest, most effective models from states across the country and countries around the world, and provide teachers and parents with a common understanding of what students are expected to learn. Consistent standards will provide appropriate benchmarks for all students, regardless of where they live.
These standards define the knowledge and skills students should have within their K-12 education careers so that they will graduate high school able to succeed in entry-level, credit-bearing academic college courses and in workforce training programs. The standards:
- Are aligned with college and work expectations;
- Are clear, understandable and consistent;
- Include rigorous content and application of knowledge through high-order skills;
- Build upon strengths and lessons of current state standards;
- Are informed by other top performing countries, so that all students are prepared to succeed in our global economy and society; and
- Are evidence-based.
Communication skills are critical to success and Cooper teaches both effective and creative competence in writing, vocabulary, verbal and non-verbal work, flyer development and group presentations. In grade 1, children learn about words and how to express themselves using spoken and written language. Students talk about media messages. In grades 2–3, students continue to express themselves in writing while improving key listening and oral communication skills. Children study a variety of writing selections and apply correct grammar and spelling. Computers are used for research and children share their findings with the class. Composing a well-organized writing assignment, complete with details, effective word choice and correct sentence structure is the goal in grade 4. Grade 5 students build on these language skills with class presentations from individually selected research topics. In Grade 6, teachers guide students in how to take notes from reading and listening. Students complete a research paper that lists resources and summarizes facts. As they near graduation, students use technology to write a complete research paper. Class presentations enhance speaking skills with students learning to use resources to defend their ideas. Teachers guide students to make informed judgments about media and products.
Cooper follows the Houghton Mifflin-Journeys reading series in kindergarten through grade 5 and the McDougall Little series from grade 6 through graduation. In grade 1, children expand skills required in the beginning stages of reading while continuing to explore relationships between different letters and sounds and gain meaning from stories. By grade 2, children continue to learn the fundamentals of reading. As students transition to grades 3–4, they continue to challenge themselves in higher levels of reading material and most children become fluent readers and are able to read simple chapter books. Teachers focus on guiding children to use reading materials and other resources as sources of information through a variety of reading strategies. In grade 5, the goal is to analyze data, interpret information and make connections between what is read and real life. Students read for meaning and explore themes in grade 6. They evaluate a variety of texts in grade 7 and learn how to be critical readers. In grade 8, students apply reading strategies to variety of texts and evaluate material for accuracy and value.
Math expertise is an ongoing focus at Cooper K–8 Elementary. The Daily Oral Math system is used in Cooper classrooms. Students in grade 1 practice the basic processes of addition and subtraction. They identify shapes, recognize patterns and develop ideas in data. In grades 2–3, learners increase their knowledge of geometrical shapes and use measurement tools. Multiplication and division is taught in grade 3. These skills are reinforced in grade 4 through additional work with fractions and decimals. By grade 5, students learn more about using mathematical data to solve problems, including how to estimate and measure and how to predict outcomes. In the middle grades, children apply basic skills in a range of application problems and use these skills to solve problems and predict results. Students expand their ability to reason and draw conclusions by focusing on understanding processes and finding solutions. In their last year, students explore all strands of mathematics justifying their strategies and using the appropriate vocabulary of mathematics as they prepare for high-level mathematics in high school.
Cooper K–8 Elementary science instruction is delivered with a hands-on approach utilizing scientific tools as well as community and corporate resources. Designated as a Weathernet Station, students monitor local forecasts using live weather equipment. With this real-world learning, students begin to ask and answer questions using scientific methods and vocabulary.
In grade 1–2, teachers guide children to use their own curiosity to discover and observe the world around them. Grade 3 classes lead to deeper understanding of scientific principles while grade 4 instruction is geared at observation and interpretation of what children see around them. Children begin to group and classify living and nonliving things. By grade 5, children are taught the basic facts that provide the foundation for in-depth study of particular areas of science. Children continue to gather information on specific scientific themes in grade 6. Grade 7 brings more science instruction, reading and experimentation while grade 8 work focuses on the evaluation of scientific ideas and the application of facts.
With the world becoming increasingly inter-related, Social Studies, including Geography, History, Civics, Economics and Behavioral Sciences, is a critical area for learning. Students in grade 1 explore how families and social studies are related. Diversity in neighborhoods is covered in grade 2 with grade 3 students learning about the larger world and connecting it to their lives in Milwaukee. Grade 4 teaching and learning centers on states and regions including the state of Wisconsin. The focus turns to the United States in grade 5. Students learn about ancient and
medieval civilizations in grade 6. The modern world is studied in grade 7. In grade 8, the United States is examined in greater detail.
Cooper students learn team sports, cooperation and healthy living habits in the Physical Education program with an overall goal for K5 through grade 8 students to develop an awareness of the importance of physical activity. As children grow and increase their physical acumen, Physical Education teaches them not only how to participate in athletic activities within groups, but to develop lifelong interest in both team and individual sports.
In grade 1, children begin playing physical games together. Classes for grade 2 children encourage them to stretch themselves and meet new physical challenges. Grade 3 students learn good sportsmanship and teachers guide children to challenge themselves in different physical activities. Group activities are part of grade 4 curriculum and students improve their individual skills. By the end of grade 5, children learn how their bodies work and apply this knowledge in athletic and aerobic activities. The middle grades focus on a child’s ability to assess and monitor his or her own physical regime and development of personal skills. Grade 8 work continues to expand physical skills both individually and cooperatively.
As an area of study, art education includes understanding how things are presented visually, knowing what makes beautiful art and solving problems creatively. Cooper students are exposed to art through school performances, special projects with artists-in-residence and schoolwide field trips to local cultural centers. In grades 1–2, children learn words to describe art and work with a variety of art media. Curriculum in grade 3 continues to explore different types of art with more design lessons using art materials in grade 4. Visual work encompasses experimentation with perspectives in grade 5 and students see different viewpoints in which art is created and viewed. The middle grades employ a plethora of art materials for a variety of projects and students deepen their understanding of the role of art in society.
Health education for Cooper K5 through grade 8 students includes both a personal and community approach to fitness and healthy choices. Grade 1 children explore health and safety topics and grade 2 learners connect their own actions and health habits with others in the community. They learn how diseases can be passed from one person to the next. Classes in grade 3 look at messages the community gives and receives about health. The human reproductive system is studied in grade 4 and students make the connection between health and personal habits in grade 5. Healthy relationships and self-respect is taught in grade 6. In grades 7–8, the focus is on community responsibilities and, decisions regarding healthy alternatives and health issues students may soon encounter. A community service project is part of the curriculum.
Cooper K–8 Music curriculum for kindergarten through grade 8 students provides children with musical understanding at a beginning to intermediate level. In grade 1, children increase their understanding of music and the arts while learning to evaluate and appreciate musical performance. Grade 2 children work with song and are taught basic music notation. Children explore different instruments and find out about rhythm, melody and harmony. By grade 4, children can read basic music and they begin to listen to and identify different musical styles. In grade 5, students play instruments in the classroom and participate in choir. In the middle grades, classes advance students’ understanding of musical elements and train the children in the basics of a musical instrument. Students may elect to perform together in choir and band. In grade 8, students attain greater skills in using instruments and voice and as well as participating in musical forms such as ensembles. They are also taught to identify elements of music and use music vocabulary.