Catharine Blaine K-8

Catharine Blaine
Advanced Learning

Advanced Learning Opportunity School Plan

Catharine Blaine K-8 Advanced Learning Overview

K – 5th Grades: Differentiation/Acceleration within the Regular Classroom


  • Guided Reading – Using leveled text for both fiction and nonfiction; Guided Reading is a supported system where the teacher reads with a small group of students. The teacher introduces reading strategies, tailoring instruction to the needs of the students. When the students read, the teacher provides praise and encouragement as well as support when needed. Students are grouped by skill levels to capture the appropriate challenge levels.
  • Literature Circles –Student interest surveys guide independent learning and Literature Circles. Students choose their own reading materials based on interest and meet in small, temporary groups with other students who are reading the same book. The teacher acts a facilitator and students lead the discussion groups.
  • Learning Centers and Reading Stations – Using flexible grouping classroom teachers and specialists group on ability levels. Groups are flexible and change often throughout the year.
  • Collaborative Literacy – the Center for the Collaborative Classroom curriculum, adopted by Seattle Public Schools in 2017, supports students in developing reading and writing skills with an emphasis on learning as a reading community.


  • All K – 5 classes use the Math In Focus curriculum which has built in lessons for both advanced learners and student in need of support to master foundational conceptual and procedural skills. Teachers use supplemental materials to augment and extend the content of the standard curriculum.
  • Our 6th – 8th grade math classes use enVisionmath2.0, adopted in 2018. The enVision curriculum contains built-in differentiation strategies and questions within every lesson.
  • 8th graders enrolled in Algebra I use the Discovering Algebra textbook. Students engage in real-world problem solving through short- and long-term projects throughout the year. Note: Students who complete Algebra I at Catharine Blaine may apply for high school credit through their high school counselor.

Advanced Learning Instructional Strategies

  • Commitment to Rigor:
    • Complexity – interacting and overlapping ideas
    • Provocativeness – conceptually challenging, deals with dilemmas, engages students in identifying problems, conducting inquiry, taking positions
    • Emotion – arouses strong or unfamiliar feelings
    • Ambiguity – has multiple meanings to be sorted into patterns of significance, rich in symbols, images and multiple meanings
    • Inquiry – involves students in posing questions, forming and testing hypotheses, and using evidence to support their findings and conclusions
    • Knowledge acquisition – engaging students in acquiring and organizing information around concepts central to the topic
    • Problem solving – students concern themselves with pressing or problematic issues and use creative thinking to generate solutions
    • Communication – providing students opportunities to speak, write and elaborate on what they have learned
    • Reflection – students think about and reflect on their own learning
  • Common Core State Standards – Teachers use the continuum of standards to best meet the academic needs of each student. The Common Core State Standards include recommendations for acceleration and extension.
  • Higher Level Thinking Questions – Open ended questioning using Blooms Taxonomy and overarching questions such as focus questions in inquiry science.
  • Flexible Groupings – Groups are built based on student ability and vary as students grow and change and from subject to subject.

Enrichment Opportunities

  • Writer’s Workshop – An individualized, process oriented approach to the craft of writing, incorporating mini-lessons focused on effective writing. Students write daily, across genres, with opportunities for prompted and free choice writing.
  • Inquiry Science – Teachers use the Full Option Science System (FOSS). Guiding questions start students on investigations appropriate for their developmental levels. Units are based on Life, Earth and Physical sciences. Technology Integration – Classroom teachers work closely with specialists to integrate technology into the curricula. Computers are used for research, as presentation tools, and to develop reading skills in both skill study and comprehension.
  • Global Reading Challenge- The Global Reading Challenge is a Battle of the Books program for 4th and 5th graders enrolled in Seattle Public Schools. The program encourages children to have fun and enjoy the sport of reading. After reading 10 books, children take part in a “Quiz Bowl” game to determine the winner for the city of Seattle. The winning Seattle team takes home the Global Reading Challenge traveling trophy and goes on to a videoconference challenge between Seattle, Kalamazoo, Michigan and Fraser Valley and Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada. 
  • Chess Club
  • 7th and 8th Grade Science Fair
  • Debate