Curriculum

Lower School boys utilize the Oak Hill Makerspace

Lower School

Grade 1

Developmental Stages and Transitions

Children make significant progression between kindergarten and first grade. Six and seven year olds have the ability to reason and see others’ point of view. They are receptive to new learning and are overwhelmingly enthusiastic. First graders enjoy working, having homework, and are inquisitive about the world around them. They love routine and structure and enjoy having a relationship with their teachers. Over the course of first grade, six and seven year olds grow in their ability to work independently, take appropriate risks, and relate to others and the greater world. First grade at Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill strives to promote community as a Christian value and personal growth as appropriate for their developmental stage.

Curriculum Highlights

The first grade curriculum involves a variety of projects and presentation opportunities. Some examples include Great American projects and presentations, habitat box projects, and holiday projects. The students develop their presentation skills through participation in the Mass, reading to a younger student, and performing in the spring musical. Field trips bring studies to life with the Florissant Civic Center literature play and connect science or social studies with a field trip in the spring, which is to be determined.

Curriculum Overview

Language Arts

  • Fountas and Pinnell Leveled Reading
  • Benchmark Education-Phonics/spelling
  • Step Up to Writing Program-Voyager Sopris Learning

The first grade reading curriculum focuses on teaching children to read with understanding through an interactive process. Each day children are actively engaged in five daily centers which include reading to self, reading to someone, working on writing, working with words, and listening to reading while teachers work with individual guided reading groups. Students are taught to apply specific phonics skills in order to sound out and read new words. Students learn to integrate prior knowledge as well as use context clues in the text in order to read or decode unfamiliar words. Our first grade reading program consists of literature and non-fiction-based selections as well as many hands-on activities to make reading more meaningful. Students participate in a variety of comprehension activities to further develop their comprehension skills. While analyzing texts, students must identify the value of the author’s and illustrator's techniques and purposes. Plot, setting, and characters are also identified and related to personal experiences. The program stresses literature, vocabulary, comprehension, phonics skills, and the development of study skills. Children are encouraged to use higher level thinking skills when responding to literature and take their oral responses to the next level, thinking beyond the text.

Writing

  • Step Up To Writing

The first grade writing program is based on the nationally-recognized, research-based Step Up to Writing program. Students learn to systematically create a strong first grade sentence containing a capital letter, proper ending punctuation, a complete subject and a complete predicate. Later with the help of graphic organizers and teacher guidance, students learn to generate topic sentences and create well organized paragraphs with proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Students also participate in regular journaling throughout the curriculum.

Mathematics

  • Math in Focus Singapore Math

The first grade mathematics curriculum is designed to help children build a firm foundation in number sense and problem solving. The curriculum focuses on numbers up to 120, counting, ordering, comparing, grouping in tens and ones, using number bonds to show relationships between numbers, adding, subtracting, money, time, geometry, and measurement. Children are taught key vocabulary and problem solving strategies that will carry over into future units and later grades. Throughout the year children develop mathematical skills as they engage in critical thinking, problem solving, and data analysis activities. The students explore math concepts using materials and manipulatives, build models of mathematical situations, work with peers, utilize tools of technology appropriately, rely on their own thinking, and learn from the thinking of others. Students are continually encouraged to prove their thinking and explain their work with words.

Religion

  • Sadlier-We Believe God Loves Us
  • Promise Magazine-Pflaum
  • Joy Joy the Mass-Our Sunday Visitor
  • Helping Hearts: The Hardin Center

The first grade religion curriculum centers on building an active faith in God in relation to the Sacred Heart Goals and Criteria (Goal I). Students use daily prayer, a student activity book, various art activities, weekly Promise Magazines and parts of the Mass workbook to know God’s love for us and share that love with others. Students learn about the Blessed Trinity, Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection, the Liturgical Year, Jesus’s followers, saints, the Church, Church leaders, the many roles the Church plays in our lives, and the Mass. Toward the end of the year, students collect new and gently used items for the Hardin Center as part of our Helping Hearts program.

Science

  • Scott Foresman-Science

The first grade science curriculum focuses on the introduction and development of scientific concepts and skills needed for students to investigate, discover, and understand their world. The major themes include physical science, earth science, and life science. Students learn about plants and animals, their characteristics and needs, and explore various habitats. Students compare living and non-living things, explore movement and machines, as well as weather and seasons. The students learn and discover that they are part of a universe that has moving objects and that they share the planet with many living things that have similar needs, characteristics, and functions. Students begin to develop an understanding of their world and respect for all life on the planet.

Social Studies

  • Macmillan-McGraw Hill- People and Places

The first grade social studies curriculum focuses on family life, past and present, to engage students in the study of government, history, geography, culture, economics, and service. Children gain an understanding of Great Americans, United States history, and cultural traditions in our own and other lands. Students build on the knowledge of their community as they are introduced to the cultural geography of their state, country, and world. Students explore the economic concepts of goods and services, producers and consumers, and use basic map and globe skills. Throughout the year, the children think, read, write, speak, listen, discuss, research, and utilize technological skills.

Art

The first grade art curriculum features an in-depth study of texture, both actual and simulated. Students compare visual textural effects achieved by rubbing, painting, and drawing. Using clay, they learn the pinch pot technique and create a variety of actual textures. First graders examine the construction and function of masks from various cultures. In an architectural drawing, students construct a building from shapes adding details to create a feeling. Art history studies include the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist styles of Monet and Van Gogh while cultural studies include the arts of Japan and India. The elements and principles of texture, color, shape, balance and proportion are incorporated into projects.

French

  • Symtalk Language Systems-Flashcards
  • Joyeux Noël: Judy Mahoney

First grade French students learn polite greetings that they can exchange with each other as well as the teacher. Students learn to count to twenty and build on the repertoire of vocabulary words for animals and foods. Singing songs and playing LOTO (French bingo) are fun ways we reinforce new vocabulary. French culture and holidays are also topics they enjoy learning about throughout the school year. First grade students begin learning to say the Hail Mary prayer in French as a way to recognize our Sacred Heart heritage.

Performing Arts

Students are challenged to think and converse about music through the perspectives of global cultures, math, science, and emotion. The first grade students experience and learn music through active listening, singing, chanting, creative movement, choreographed dancing, and playing rhythm and melodic rhythm instruments. The singers learn solfege to ear train and understand the architecture of music.

The first graders will hone their performance skills and develop their confidence through dramatic play, storytelling, readers theatre, and musical theatre. Weekly, the students practice articulation, projection, inflection, spatial awareness, energy work, and being a respectful actor and audience member. Through preparing for a theatrical performance, the students learn stage direction, line memorization, monologue/dialogue delivery, blocking, countering, choreography, and microphone technique. The first grade students have their own theatrical performance.

Physical Education

In first grade the students begin sport specific units, including soccer, jump rope, dance, gymnastics, tee-ball, track and field, and pillow hockey, among other shorter units. The students apply the skills they have learned in kindergarten to help them find success in these sports. In addition, they learn the rules and strategies of these sports in order to successfully play regulation games.

Instructional Strategies

The first grade curriculum is filled with engaging learning strategies. Weekly center work in math and reading (including the use of manipulatives), small group and partner work, individualized learning and instruction, and interactive learning using a variety of technology is used in the classroom. In addition, students are able to work one on one with the teachers on a regular basis and are encouraged to use higher level thinking skills and communication skills to verbalize and explain their thinking.

Assessment

The teachers in first grade use a variety of ways to assess the students’ learning throughout the year. Techniques such as observation, standardized testing, unit tests, weekly writing assignments, story comprehension activities, informal assessments, and homework (Weekly word lists, reading, and weekly spelling lists) are used frequently and throughout the school year. Parents will have the opportunity to speak with teachers twice a year about their student’s progress at parent-teacher conferences as well as view weekly assignments in Thursday folders. In addition, first grade students receive progress indicators on their grade cards rather than a letter grade.

Technology Integration

First grade uses a variety of technology tools (iPads, SMART Board, SMART Table, and computers) to access higher level thinking skills. Books and experiences are brought to life using Photo Story videos.

Homework Expectations

First grade is the first year at Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill School that children are expected to complete homework. Homework begins in early September and gradually increases to include, weekly spelling tests and a weekly reading log which requires students to read a total of 75 minutes a week. In addition to skill review, homework promotes student responsibility and accountability.

Classroom Routines

First grade students are expected to be respectful to one another and their teachers, raise their hand to be called upon, use good manners, keep their hands and feet to themselves, and clean up after themselves. Homeroom teachers use various incentives such as reward coupons and treasure box items to encourage good behavior and student progress. Students are given praise and encouragement throughout the school day, gentle reminders when needed, and opportunities to problem solve during grade level meetings and class discussions.

Communication

Teachers communicate weekly through their individual class websites. Websites contain a weekly blog, monthly curriculum highlights, and an updated class and school calendar. Nightly ‘Go Home’ folders are used to send home notes and important information. Teachers also communicate through individual and group email messages and reminders. Thursday folders come home every week and contain graded papers and other work from the week.

Grade 2

Developmental Stages and Transitions

Children in second grade are at an age in which they are driven by curiosity and a strong desire to discover and invent. They begin to feel a sense of competence with skills. Second graders are engrossed in activities and love to socialize at the same time. They love the routine and structure of school and appreciate their relationship with their teacher. Friendship groups often include more children. They love to work cooperatively. The second grade at Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill School strives to promote community as a Christian value and personal growth as appropriate for their developmental stage.

Curriculum Highlights

The second grade curriculum involves a variety of project and presentation opportunities. Some examples include being the special person of the week, Flat Stanley, president reports, Johnny Appleseed Day, Colonial Craft Day, the One Hundredth Day of School, and weekly poem recitations. The students attend a field trip to the Magic House to learn about American symbols and government. In addition, we have a partnership with Litzsinger Road Ecology Center that allows our students to further their knowledge of outdoor education. This partnership provides the students with opportunities to extend their learning beyond the school campus while making connections with others in the community. The children take a field trip to the World Bird Sanctuary to learn more about raptors, which ties into our outdoor education program. The most special highlights of second grade include receiving the Sacraments of Reconciliation and First Holy Communion.

Curriculum Overview

Language Arts

  • Macmillan-McGraw Hill-Reading
  • Leveled Literature Sets
  • Fountas and Pinnell
  • Benchmark Education Phonics Houghton Mifflin-Spelling and Vocabulary
  • Step Up To Writing Program-Voyager Sopris Learning

The second grade language arts curriculum helps students develop proficiency in reading, writing, speaking, vocabulary, phonics, and oral communication. Reading strategies are presented through both small and large group instruction. Children often begin reading at different levels, and it is important for each child to be reading books that are at the appropriate reading level. Students are assessed in reading using the Fountas & Pinnell Benchmark assessment system. This program provides teachers with an assessment tool which accurately assesses each student’s reading level, ensuring that each student is reading text which are neither too easy nor too difficult. The McGraw-Hill series is used for scope and sequence of skills. Students are exposed to a variety of genres. Students are engaged in rich activities including author studies, readers’ theatre, and book clubs. In addition, second graders use iPads to read books on Raz-Kids. Students are engaged in weekly guided lessons that enable them to identify main idea, character traits, point of view, plot, and setting.

Students learn necessary grammar skills to enhance and enrich their writing. These topics include knowing different types of nouns, verbs, and adjectives. Students learn how to edit sentences and paragraphs. Grammar skills are taught through hands-on activities and skills are incorporated into writing projects across the curriculum. Writing skills are taught using the nationally-recognized, research-based Step Up to Writing program. The spelling curriculum is differentiated to meet the needs of individual students. Word lists are organized by sound, pattern, and word parts. Students will leave second grade with the knowledge and skills that are required for third grade.

Mathematics

  • Singapore Math by Marshall Cavendish
  • Dreambox
  • Lego Math

The second grade mathematics curriculum helps students build a solid conceptual understanding through a focus on problem solving. The goal is to enable students to become strategic mathematical problem solvers and persevere in solving problems. The curriculum consistently employs a concrete-pictorial-abstract progression. Clear and engaging visuals that present concepts and model solutions allow all students to gain a strong conceptual understanding. Second graders will focus on building problem-solving skills and strategies, counting, comparing, and writing numbers to 1,000, adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing using bar models, measuring length, math, and volume in metric units, telling time, recognizing bills and coins, classifying lines and surfaces.

Religion

  • God’s Gift Reconciliation- Loyola Press
  • God’s Gift Eucharist- Loyola Press
  • Sadlier-Jesus Shares God’s Life
  • Helping Hearts: Sacred Heart School in Uganda

Jesus nourishes and strengthens God's life of grace within us through the Sacraments and the Mass. Students learn the Church’s teachings and Scripture. The curriculum will include the Church’s teachings, such as, in God, there are three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, known as the Trinity. Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus suffered and died for us on the cross to save us from our sins. He rose from the dead (Resurrection) to bring us new life. The Bible consists of the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament is about people before the birth of Jesus. The New Testament tells about the life and teachings of Jesus. The children learn the value of social awareness as they participate in our Helping Hearts project. The central focus of second grade religion is learning about Reconciliation and the meaning of the Eucharist.

Science

  • Scott Foresman-Science

In second grade scientific investigation focuses on students’ questioning, observation, and communication skills. Students need time to examine different ideas, ask questions, observe patterns, make predictions, use simple equipment and tools, and discuss what they see with others. In physical science, second grade students learn about forces (pushes and pulls) and matter. In life science, they learn about the relationships between plants and animals in their natural habitats, anatomy and physiology of plants, and analyze the needs for plant growth. In earth science, students learn that rocks are composed of different combinations of minerals, that smaller rocks and soil are made from the breakage and weathering of larger rocks, and that soil also contains organic materials.

Social Studies

  • Macmillan-McGraw Hill- We Live Together

The second grade social studies curriculum is designed to reinforce the social studies concepts of history, geography, economics, government, citizenship, culture, science technology and society, and social studies skills. The children learn geography by identifying the continents, oceans, and various landforms. The economic concepts of needs, wants, goods, and services are introduced. History and culture are addressed as children discover the reason people came to America and the contributions those people made to our society. Students complete an in-depth study of United States Presidents and are introduced to the concept of citizenship. Children participate in a service-learning project in order to understand how to become active citizens. Throughout the year, students apply the skills of social science inquiry by thinking, reading, writing, speaking, listening, discussing, researching, and utilizing technological skills.

Art

The second grade art curriculum introduces students to the different genres of painting while exploring the elements and principles of color, value, space, and rhythm. Students examine the art of Africa and Native Americans during lessons on printmaking and weaving. While constructing blessing cups for First Communion, students add the techniques of coil, slab, score, and slip to their ceramic skills. Students explore the various art careers of the painter, ceramicist, illustrator, and weaver. At this level, students are challenged to use Cubist techniques to abstract a face and choose subject matter and media to illustrate a poem. Fine artists studied include Picasso, Ringgold, and Cezanne.

French

  • Symtalk Language Systems-Mes Copains et moi Level 2

In second grade, French students continue to build, practice and use their vocabulary of colors, numbers, animals and polite expressions. They begin to learn proper French sentence structure as they “read” and create sentences, including correct placement of color names with nouns. Students learn to count to 40 and identify the day, date, and weather for the day. Their vocabulary continues to grow, learning some everyday objects as well as some words for classroom objects, foods and basic clothing items. Second graders also have the opportunity to connect with their Sacred Heart (French) Heritage when they learn and recite the Sign of the Cross and the Hail Mary prayer in French. French culture and holidays are also part of their curriculum.

Performing Arts

Students are challenged to think and converse about music through the perspectives of global cultures, math, science, and emotion. The second grade students learn to recognize: notes on the treble clef from middle C to G; whole, half, and quarter notes and rests. They demonstrate their understanding by playing simple melodies on the pitched Orff instruments. The singers use solfege to ear train and understand the architecture of music.

The second graders hone their performance skills and develop their confidence through dramatic play, storytelling, readers’ theatre, and musical theatre. Weekly, the students practice articulation, projection, inflection, spatial awareness, energy work, and being a respectful actor and audience member. Through preparing for a theatrical performance, the students learn stage direction, line memorization, monologue/dialogue delivery, blocking, countering, choreography, and microphone technique. The second grade students have their own theatrical performance.

Physical Education

Second grade students continue to work on the sports they began in first grade. These include: soccer, jump rope, dance, gymnastics, tee-ball, track and field, and pillow hockey, among other shorter units. Instructors further develop the students’ skills and strategies in each sport by adding new drills and adapting drills learned previously to a more complex level. In addition, this is the first year students begin the swimming unit in which they work on the different strokes and water skills. Water safety is also discussed.

Instructional Strategies

A wide variety of instructional strategies are incorporated into each school day. Students are given opportunities to develop their ability to work within cooperative learning groups when completing science investigations, reading in book clubs, and completing center work in math and language arts. In math and science, students work with manipulatives in order to understand abstract concepts. Students develop their ability to listen and participate in whole class instruction as well as work independently. Across the curriculum, differentiated instruction is implemented. Students are provided with project choices that meet their individual learning styles.

Assessment

A variety of assessments are used throughout the curriculum. Assessments such as observation, in-class projects, unit tests, weekly writing assignments, story comprehension activities, informal assessments, and homework are used frequently and throughout the school year. One-on-one teacher/student conferencing is used in reading, writing and math on a weekly basis. Parent-teacher conferences are held twice a year in October and March.

Technology Integration

Technology is infused throughout the curriculum in all subjects. SMART Board activities and lessons engage students in the learning process. Students use iPads to read eBooks, conduct research, and play educational games that reinforce grade level objectives. They work to complete Google Slides presentations, and use internet resources. In addition, they use OSMO to learn coding, language and math skills.

Homework Expectations

Students are taught how to write their weekly homework assignments using an assignment sheet. This assignment sheet comes home every Monday in their “home” folders. Most homework will consist of nightly math review, studying for weekly spelling tests, memorizing a poem each week, semester book reports, and weekly edits. Students are required to read fifteen minutes nightly and turn in a reading log each Friday. We encourage parents to be active participants with their child’s homework. This may include reviewing for spelling tests, helping with poem memorization, and checking math assignments and weekly edits.

Classroom Routines

Second grade students start each day with prayer, sharing special intentions, and reciting the pledge. Morning work is given daily. Students are given the responsibility to use the restroom and get a drink as needed. We pray before lunch and at the end of each school day. Second graders attend Mass every week. Throughout the day, students earn tickets for positive behavior. At the end of the day, one ticket is drawn and that child gets to go to the treasure box.

Communication

Teachers’ web pages communicate class activities, upcoming events, homework and resources. In addition, Class Dojo is used to communicate weekly updates and share photographs of daily learning and community building activities. Emails and phone calls home are used as needed. Thursday envelopes contain the children’s written work from the week. Papers and envelopes should be returned on Friday with the envelope signed. All papers will be returned to parents at the end of the quarter. Open communication between teachers and parents is valued as we work together on behalf of our students.

Grade 3

Developmental Stages and Transitions

Children at this age often love to work both independently and with their peers, depending on the type of activity. At this age children begin to think more concretely. Organization and turning in work that is completed neatly are both encouraged as the children take more ownership of their work. Fairness and competition become more prevalent in third grade. Competition in PE class, at recess, and within the curriculum are presented with a sense of fun, lightness, and humor. It is common for children at this age to need reminders to “just have fun” during situations that involve competition. Third graders are self-aware, outgoing, and receptive. They are growing in social awareness and are able to work cooperatively on projects. They are curious, imaginative, and able to express their ideas in creative ways.

Curriculum Highlights

The third grade curriculum has many highlights throughout the year. There are two main field trips. Students visit the zoo in the fall in support of their studies of the food chain unit in science. The students enjoy learning about the food chain in a classroom activity at the zoo and then visit the animal exhibits. In the fall and in the spring, the third grade visits the Litzsinger Road Ecology Center to learn about Missouri habitats. In the spring, the third grade students visit Faust Park where they learn first-hand what life was like in the 1820’s. They participate in many activities they would have experienced if they were a child during this era. Students also learn about Missouri’s second governor, Frederick Bates. This is truly an unforgettable educational field trip. Students leave commenting on how much fun they had and asking when they can return. In the spring, the third grade students participate in many other special activities. Star Night is an exciting event in which students learn more about the sun, moon, stars, and planets while participating in hands-on activities. Market Day enhances students’ critical thinking skills. Each student designs their own product and provides enough items to sell to their classmates. In addition to selling their own products, they have the opportunity to buy items from their peers. This activity serves as a tool to teach economics and provides the basis for the students’ “how to” story writing. Third grade students have the opportunity to become pen pals with the Sacred Heart School in Nova Scotia. This is a wonderful opportunity for the children to share their experience at Oak Hill School as well as learn about a school in a different country.

Curriculum Overview

Language Arts

  • Zaner-Bloser-Handwriting
  • Houghton Mifflin-English
  • Houghton Mifflin- Spelling
  • Novel Units
  • Fountas & Pinnell- Reading
  • Step Up to Writing-Voyager Sopris
  • LearningBenchmark Education – Word Study
  • Vocabulary

The third grade language arts program includes skills in the following content areas: vocabulary, comprehension, oral fluency, speaking and listening, writing, phonics, spelling, and grammar. An emphasis is placed on learning vocabulary, reading text with fluency and expression, and learning comprehension strategies. Children often begin reading at different levels, and it is important for each child to be reading books that are at the appropriate reading level. Students are assessed in reading using the Fountas & Pinnell Benchmark assessment system. This program provides teachers with an assessment tool which accurately assesses each student’s reading level, ensuring that each student is reading text which are neither too easy nor too difficult. This process creates a learning experience for each student in which they are able to grow as a learner by both developing word attack and comprehension skills. Time in the library is one way to help ensure students are selecting appropriate books. The students read a variety of fiction and nonfiction texts which relate to all components of the curriculum. Reading comprehension strategies are incorporated within mathematics, science, social studies, and religion. The language arts program promotes oral and written communication. The program is based on the writing process which includes grammar, usage, and mechanics. Spelling skills are introduced, practiced, and reviewed in the context of writing. Writing skills are taught using the nationally recognized, research-based Step Up to Writing program. Development of skills are implemented through pre-writing, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing activities while using a color-coded system to write sentences and paragraphs. Daily formal and informal speaking opportunities develop oral language and listening skills. Handwriting skills are practiced with an emphasis on legibility and consistency of letter formation and spacing. Students complete the transition from manuscript to cursive writing during third grade.

Mathematics

  • Math in Focus- Singapore Math

The third grade math curriculum is divided into several topics. Students investigate numbers and operations, data, geometric and algebraic relationships, and measurement. To aid in the mastery of basic facts, students are exposed to multiple strategies to solve computational problems. In the study of mathematics students work in whole class instruction, cooperative groups, and individually, using a variety of hands on strategies and materials to help develop their mathematical understanding by gaining the ability to explain strategies through verbal and written expressions. The main focus is to meet the needs of all students and to connect mathematics to their daily lives.

Religion

  • Sadlier-We Are the Church
  • Helping Hearts: St. Patrick’s Center

The religion curriculum focuses on the early Church, what it means to be a member of the Church, worshipping at Mass through the Sacraments, and acting as a disciple. In addition, during the month of October, students make rosaries in honor of Mary. The Helping Hearts for third grade is supporting St. Patrick’s Center.

Science

  • Scott Foresman-Science

In science, an emphasis is placed on the inquiry process, developing investigative skills, and understanding the nature of science. Lessons focus on plants and animals, relationships of animals in food chains, states of matter, and patterns in the sky made by the planets, moon, sun, and stars. An emphasis is placed on lab inquiry and building exploratory skills as the students become familiar with an introductory laboratory setting.

Social Studies

  • Macmillan-McGraw Hill-Our Communities

The third grade social studies curriculum focuses on the geography of communities and the cultural development of the people who inhabit them. Students study relationships between natural resources and other geographic characteristics in a community. Studies also include how the unique characteristics of an area influence where and how communities develop and how they adapt to change.

Art

The third grade art curriculum introduces students to more realistic drawing techniques with an emphasis on facial proportions and 3-D objects. Students begin to see how math relates to art through using a compass, ruler, and protractor to draw designs and through drawing a variety of solid geometric forms. Cultural emphasis focuses on the art of Germany, Austria, and folk art of the Southeast while fine art comparisons are made between Anselm Kiefer, Gustav Klimt, and Albrecht Durer. Third grade students analyze human anatomy by accurately drawing skeletons and painting action figures. Using assemblage techniques, they create a theme based found object sculpture.

French

  • Symtalk Language Systems-Mon Monde Beginning
  • French Level 3

In third grade French class, students continue building their vocabulary with sports, clothing, and entertainment words while learning to use pronouns, the singular present tense of verbs, and being introduced to the conjugation of verbs. Songs and games are fun ways in which students practice and reinforce their new knowledge. Holidays and French culture are also interesting areas of discovery and learning. Third grade students learn to recite the Sign of the Cross and I am a Child of the Sacred Heart (Je suis un Enfant du Sacré Coeur) prayer in French in honor of our Sacred Heart heritage.

Performing Arts

Students are challenged to think and converse about music through the perspectives of global cultures, math, science, and emotion. The third grade students learn to recognize: 2/4, 3/4, and 4/4 time signature; notes on the treble clef from middle C to F5; whole, dotted half, half, quarter, and eighth notes and rests. The young musicians begin recorder in third grade.

The third graders hone their performance skills and develop their confidence through dramatic play, storytelling, readers’ theatre, and musical theatre. Weekly, the students practice articulation, projection, inflection, spatial awareness, energy work, and being a respectful actor and audience member. Through preparing for a theatrical performance, the students learn stage direction, line memorization, monologue/dialogue delivery, blocking, countering, choreography, and microphone technique. The third grade students have their own theatrical performance.

Physical Education

In third grade, students continue to refine and further develop skills learned in the previous grade level’s sports units. These include: soccer, jump rope, gymnastics, tee-ball, track and field, swimming, and pillow hockey as well as other shorter units. The students work on mastery of the basic skills of these sports and on the complete knowledge of the rules and procedures of the sports. Instructors strive to have the students conduct a game on their own. Students learn when to call a foul or out of bounds and to play well while still playing fairly.

Instructional Strategies

In third grade, a variety of strategies are implemented to meet the students’ needs: whole group instruction, one-on-one, small groups, and pairing with partners. iPads are used for various research projects: Native American tribes, constellations, endangered animals, and planets, etc. The iPads also have apps on them to enhance student learning. They are used for math, spelling, grammar, and reading. Throughout the school year students complete and share four different types of book reports. The SMART Board is used for various academic games and activities in all subject areas. Students love sharing their work on the SMART Board, as itis a great interactive tool.

Assessment

Students are assessed in a variety of ways. Tests and quizzes are given with advance notice for preparation. Study guides and student-made notecards are also helpful when preparing for tests along with the printed materials. Accommodations are made to meet the needs of each child when necessary. Grades are posted online for assignments and lessons.. Percentages are used to calculate the final grade. In the third grade, the grading scale moves to letter grades based on scores received on assignments and tests. Tests are sent home for parent signature. In addition, students are assessed daily through their work and classroom participation. Project-based learning is another method used to assess student achievement. Thursday folders contain classwork from the week. Parents are asked to look over the papers, sign the folder, and send it back the next day.

Technology Integration

School iPads are used for research. The iPad apps enhance the learning process. Students also use the SMART Board for daily learning, review, practice, and interactive content oriented games and activities.

Homework Expectations

Students have homework each night with the exception of weekends. Homework is typically due the next day. At the end of the day, students write their assignments in a homework organizer. Homework each evening usually takes approximately 30-40 minutes and is turned in the following day. Homework serves as a reflection of what the students have learned at school during the day. In addition, students write story starters using the Step Up to Writing program. Some stories are written in class, while others are completed for homework. It is important to have daily conversations about what homework the students should complete independently. Homework is designed to review and reinforce what was taught during the school day.

Classroom Routines

Third grade daily classroom routines center around respect for others and living out the five Goals of the Sacred Heart. Each day students arrive in the classroom ready to learn by turning in homework assignments and beginning the morning procedures written on the board. They also use their morning time to organize themselves for the day. Students often learn by working with others in cooperative groups, which helps them use their gifts and talents while learning how to accept others’ differences and perspectives. Daily class discussion also helps students solve problems, learn from each other, and foster creative and critical thinking in all subject areas.

Communication

Teachers’ web pages communicate class activities, blog entries, upcoming tests, quizzes, projects, special events, and summaries of what the students are learning. A monthly overview displayed on the classroom web page shows what the students are learning in each subject throughout the month. Homework is posted daily on the class calendar for students and parents to check. Thursday folders come home each week to show the students’ assessments, as well as information about school opportunities.

Grade 4

Developmental Stages and Transitions

Fourth grade is a year of transition - academically, emotionally, and socially for children and parents. Throughout this year you will see many changes. The end result is positive, but the road to get there can be bumpy. While junior kindergarten through third grade is typically a time when students learn basic factual information and foundational skills, such as, the alphabet, sounds, math facts, etc., fourth grade brings a new way of learning. Now, rather than learning to read, our program emphasizes reading to learn. Fourth graders have to juggle more books, learning, social situations, independent work, and responsibilities. Their thinking will be stretched – no longer will they just memorize, but they will begin to learn the skills necessary to understand and analyze content, concepts, and situations. With that comes new expectations, challenges, and opportunities for your children.

The best way we can help the students grow spiritually, creatively, and personally is by working together to help them become self-reliant, self-confident learners. To do that, they will experience mistakes, but we will be there to help learn from them with encouragement. At this age, everything becomes magnified – positively or negatively. Fourth graders, developmentally, are at a stage where they are able to begin to understand that there is a viewpoint other than their own. As a result, it’s important for all of us to encourage students to learn the skills of problem solving and perception to help them view situations from another person’s point of view.

Rather than attempting to solve problems for students, we work to teach them how to problem solve. Empathizing and restating their feelings using words is the first step. This will empower students to become self-reliant learners. It is important to encourage students to try new things. Expectations regarding organization, responsibility, studying, and working independently will be significantly different than third grade because developmentally, fourth graders are ready to “learn how to learn.” This is a shift in thinking for them and providing them with the encouragement and the “I can” attitude is essential!

We must remember, they are only in fourth grade. Mistakes will happen – this is part of the learning process and the best way for students to learn. Making mistakes and learning from these mistakes leads to success. We are here to provide developmental support for your child’s greatest success.

Curriculum Highlights

Fourth grade has many highlights throughout the year. The most memorable is the celebration of the All Saints’ Mass. Students research a saint, write a report, and compose a speech that is presented at the All Saints’ Mass. Students in fourth grade spend the last quarter of the year focusing on Missouri. Besides learning information about our state, students are able to take part in the Show Me Missouri Competition at UMSL. Science classes cover many topics, however one of their favorite topics is the weather unit. Students create an iMovie on the iPad that is shared with the other students. Reading classes include guided reading as well as book clubs that allow students to read books and share their thoughts and impressions with others in their group. Many of the activities that the students in fourth grade participate in involve the use of iPads and Chrome Books. These are used daily in various subject areas.

Curriculum Overview

Language Arts

  • Sadlier-Vocabulary
  • Step Up to Writing-Voyager Sopris Learning
  • Houghton Mifflin-Spelling
  • Houghton Mifflin-English
  • Fountas and Pinnell-Guided Reading
  • Reading Plus

The fourth grade curriculum covers the areas of reading, writing, listening, speaking, and standard language conventions. Students will know and apply the foundations of informational levels, and it is important for each child to be reading books that are at the appropriate reading level. Students are assessed in reading using the Fountas & Pinnell Benchmark assessment system. This program provides teachers with an assessment tool which accurately assesses each student’s reading level, ensuring that each student is reading text which are neither too easy nor too difficult. Students will develop written topics with supporting points based in fact and opinion. They will develop skills to work collaboratively and to present ideas based on research. Also emphasized, is being able to demonstrate command of the conventions of Standard English both in writing and speaking. To enable students to have a broader understanding of how reading, writing, and English language are in every part of their daily lives, language arts skills will be taught across the curriculum. Our goal is to help students connect language arts skills to their everyday lives.

Mathematics

  • Math in Focus Singapore Math
  • ALEKS-web based Assessment and Learning

The fourth grade mathematics curriculum covers the areas of operations, whole numbers, place value, estimation, multiplication, division, graphs, fractions, decimals, geometry, and measurement. Students will know and apply the properties associated with the four basic operations to master their math facts through twelve. Students will be able to analyze patterns to find missing information using algebraic reasoning and identify two and three dimensional shapes and figures. They will be able to interpret and apply measurements of time, length, capacity, and weight, using both standard and metric units. In order to compare, order, and find equivalent fractions, students will be able to recognize the relationship between parts of a whole. Students will be able to describe the relationship between a fraction and a decimal while comparing and ordering them. To enable students to have procedural knowledge and conceptual understanding, mathematics will be taught using practice and standards, appropriate mathematics tools (manipulatives), and technology. The ultimate goal is to help students connect mathematics to their daily lives.

Religion

  • Sadlier-God’s Laws Guide Us
  • Break Through Catholic Bible
  • Helping Hearts: Sunshine Ministries

The fourth grade religion curriculum focuses on the Beatitudes, the Saints, and the Ten Commandments. The students learn about each of the Ten Commandments and how they can be applied to daily life. In the month of October, students research a chosen saint and write a report on him or her in anticipation for our All Saints’ Day Mass. The Helping Hearts program for grade four collects Oak Hill recycling on a weekly basis and Sunshine Ministries. It is through this work of service that the students will continue to serve as stewards of the Earth.

Science

  • Scott Foresman

The fourth grade curriculum covers the topics of waves and energy, Earth’s systems, external and internal plant and animal systems, scientific inquiry and technology, and human activity. Students identify and apply changes in matter. The students will be able to understand and describe how plants and animals use their adaptations to interact with each other and interact within their ecosystems. Developing an understanding of the common processes of the Earth’s systems, including weather and Earth’s cycles, and how energy is transferred through waves is emphasized. Students develop testable questions that are fair and justifiable based on evidence. The goal is to provide students with a knowledge base to understand the world in which they live while understanding how their interactions with the world can affect all organisms and structures in our world.

Social Studies

  • Macmillan-McGraw Hill-Our Country’s Regions
  • Macmillan-McGraw Hill-Missouri

The fourth grade curriculum covers the regions of the United States, the state of Missouri, as well as map and geography skills. Students learn the historical and economical importance of each of the regions. Students name and identify all states and capitals and understand the history of our country from the discovery of the new world to the present day. Students describe the relationships between the branches of our government and focus on historical events and the economy specific to Missouri. The students understand the interdependence between states and the role Missouri plays in our country. The goal is for our students to have an understanding of the rich history of each of the regions, major events, and economics of each state as well as the importance of Missouri in today’s world.

Art

The fourth grade art curriculum encourages students to make connections between the art of the U.S. and Asian art. Throughout the year, students are provided with opportunities to explore art techniques from Taiwan while creating scroll paintings, puppets, and calligraphy. This year, they will add the art of the Philippines to their studies. Students develop their figure drawing skills and acquire a repertoire of watercolor techniques to have at their disposal. Students analyze how jazz was reflected in art of the Harlem Renaissance and how Missouri artists reflected everyday life in their paintings. The fourth grade curriculum focuses on the elements and principles of form, space, contrast and proportion. These projects are shared within our global community through The International Children’s Art Exchange and during video conferencing sessions.

French

  • Symtalk Language Systems-Gérard et ses copains! Book D

Fourth grade students add to their vocabulary base learning about places and transportation. Adjectives are added as well as subject and object pronouns. Many new verbs are introduced and students begin making their own verb dictionary with present tense verb conjugations. There are plenty of games and fun activities to reinforce all of this new information. Fourth graders also learn to recite the Sign of the Cross and the I am a Child of the Sacred Heart (Je suis un enfant du Sacré Coeur) prayer in French providing another connection with our Sacred Heart heritage.

Spanish

Students are introduced to Spanish in fourth grade. Lessons are instructed primarily in Spanish. Each class period begins with the Sign of the Cross and a greeting to Mater Admirabilis in Spanish. Students learn common phrases, such as please, and thank you. In addition, they learn the use of singular pronouns, simple verbs, and vocabulary. Vocabulary focuses on numbers, days of the week, months, colors, body parts, clothing, seasons, family members, animals, and Spanish speaking countries. A special emphasis is placed on proper pronunciation of vowels and consonants, differing from English consonants. The goal is for children to read any text in Spanish, and decipher the meaning due to the similarities with French and common Latin and Greek roots. Lessons are dynamic, keeping the children engaged in learning through songs, games, writing, listening and dialogue.

Performing Arts

Students are challenged to think and converse about music through the perspectives of global cultures, math, science, and emotion. The fourth grade students continue developing their musicianship on recorder as they begin to study jazz music. The students will recognize and play: 2/4, 3/4, 4/4 time signature, notes on the treble clef from middle C to F5; and whole, dotted half, half, quarter, eighth, and sixteenth notes and rests.

The fourth graders hone their performance skills and developing their confidence through dramatic play, storytelling, readers theatre, and musical theatre. Weekly, the students practice articulation, projection, inflection, spatial awareness, energy work, and being a respectful actor and audience member. Through preparing for a theatrical performance, the students learn stage direction, line memorization, monologue/dialogue delivery, blocking, countering, choreography, and microphone technique. The fourth grade students have their own theatrical performance.

Physical Education

In fourth grade the students begin many new units. These units include: volleyball, circuit training, basketball, lacrosse, pickleball, square dancing, and tinikling. These are more complex units that are more challenging for students to master at a younger age. However, their skills have developed to a level where the students are able to have competitive games in PE classes. The students enjoy being challenged by new skills.

Instructional Strategies

Fourth grade instructional strategies come in many forms. These include direct and whole class instruction when new information is presented. As students master concepts at different rates and in different ways, small group instruction and individualized learning is used to reinforce or enrich the learning of each student. Throughout the year, discussion groups, peer partner learning, jigsaws, research projects, SMART Board instruction, and class projects are used to engage students and to encourage questioning and problem solving. Students are pretested in mathematics allowing for the needs of the individual learners.

Assessment

Fourth grade students will be assessed in many ways. These include formal assessments that may be teacher created or tests that accompany the textbook series. The tests may be short answer, fill in the blank, multiple choice, or true and false. Other types of assessments may include informal questioning, observations, projects, oral presentations, written responses, student products, and self-evaluations. Accommodations are made to assess students in ways that reflect their mastery of information and concepts. Grades are posted online, and parents are to view grades throughout each quarter.

Technology Integration

Fourth grade students use technology daily. Each student is assigned an iPad and Chrome Book at the beginning of the year. Students use iPads and Chrome Books daily in class for research, dictionary usage, spelling tests and review, educational games, independent study, the Makerspace, and ALEKS. Apps are changed periodically to correlate with the topics that are being studied. The iPad tools are used to assess students through the class email and iMovies. SMART Boards are used for learning, review, practice, and interactive educational games. Typing Agent is used as a tool to help students develop their keyboarding skills.

Homework Expectations

Homework will be one hour or less each day. This includes written work, studying, independent reading, and long term projects. Homework should be completed neatly and turned in on the assigned date. Points will be deducted for late work. Based upon the assignment, homework will be graded or used as a tool for review. We ask parents to review homework nightly and review with his/her child for tests. All homework assignments will be posted daily on the class calendar. There is generally no homework on the weekends unless there is a long-term project to be completed.

Classroom Routines

Fourth grade routines center around respect for others and living out the five Sacred Heart Goals. These include daily prayer and learning to live and learn in a classroom community. Students learn to work in cooperative groups that accept differences and value the intellectual input from others. Each day we work to foster inquisitive minds and instill a love of learning in each child. The fourth grade gathers for periodic discussions as to how to problem solve both in and outside of the classroom.

Communication

Fourth grade teachers communicate with parents weekly. Blog entries alert parents to upcoming events, tests, special activities, and summaries of what the students are learning. Blogs are posted every weekend so parents are aware of the following week’s events. Homework is posted daily on the class calendar. Parents can check assignments after 4 p.m. each day. Important information, upcoming events, pictures, and stories are posted on Class DoJo as well. Thursday folders include student work as well as information about additional school opportunities. Thursday folders should be signed and returned on Friday or Monday. Papers should be returned with the folder. Fourth grade teachers ca

Grade 5

Developmental Stages and Transitions

Fifth graders will be challenged academically more than any other time in their elementary school career. There are a number of cognitive skills that are important for a fifth grader to have in order to navigate this new territory, including the abilities to use deductive reasoning and to think more abstractly. Fifth graders will gain poise as well as become more alert. They will also develop the capability to look at multiple viewpoints and outcomes before starting a problem. Fifth graders will begin to show more curiosity as well as to progress into more abstract thinking. Fifth graders are generally happy children who are cooperative and competitive. They like to express themselves which makes them talkative. Fifth graders change classes as well as teachers. They learn to be more organized and prepared for class.

Curriculum Highlights

Fifth grade students participate in Junior Achievement, take a field trip to Springfield, IL, to visit Lincoln’s home and the Lincoln Museum, visit the Mary Ryder Home for the meet and greet in the fall and join our pen pals again at the annual Christmas party in December. The students also work in the Makerspace using Robotics and a 3-D printer.

Curriculum Overview

Language Arts

  • Houghton Mifflin-English
  • Fountas & Pinnell Guided Reading
  • Sadlier-Vocabulary
  • Houghton Mifflin-Spelling

The fifth grade language arts program provides the students with the continuing development of technical reading skills, with versatility in word attack methods, and with practice in understanding context clues. Students also continue to develop these comprehension skills through exercises in paragraph writing and interpretations, in making inferences, predictions, and drawing conclusions. Students are assessed in reading using the Fountas & Pinnell Benchmark assessment system. This program provides teachers with an assessment tool which accurately assesses each student’s reading level, ensuring that each student is reading texts which are neither too easy nor too difficult. This process creates a learning experience for each student in which they are able to grow as a learner by both developing word attack and comprehension skills. Students are encouraged to read for pleasure. This is supported by visits to the library, monthly book reports, and reading for enjoyment. Grammar, spelling, and vocabulary are developed for effective writing. Students are taught how to write several kinds of sentences and practice developing paragraphs. The writing of personal narratives, book reports, descriptive paragraphs, short stories, and social letters are further developed. Continued work is done with skills for listening and speaking.

Mathematics

  • Prentice Hall Mathematics-Middle School Course 1
  • ALEKS web-based Assessment and Learning in Knowledge Spaces

In fifth grade mathematics, students begin to build the bridge between arithmetic and constants to the world of the abstract. We provide a mathematically rich program while integrating the values and teachings of the Sacred Heart. We focus not only on the process but also on the “why” behind the math. We enrich the textbook work with ALEKS, a web-based, artificially intelligent math program. This allows students to individually work on whole numbers, fractions, decimals and percents, measurement, data, probability, algebra, and geometry.

Religion Sadlier We Believe

Helping Hearts: Mary Ryder Home

The fifth grade religion curriculum focuses on the Seven Sacraments and the Mass. The students learn about each of the seven sacraments, the roots of each sacrament in Scripture, and the way each is celebrated in the Church today. In addition, the students study the symbols and rituals used in the celebration of each of the sacraments. The fifth grade students will also learn that in each sacrament we encounter Jesus Christ and receive the grace to do what is right. Students deepen their experience of prayer and learn about Catholic devotions and the use of sacramentals. The fifth grade students also develop a deeper understanding and appreciation of the Eucharist. The Helping Hearts program for grade five is the Mary Ryder Home. It is through this work of service that the students continue to love and serve as Jesus did and to invite others to follow Jesus as he/she witness to him with their words and deeds.

Science

  • Scott Foresman-Science

Fifth grade students gain new knowledge in life, earth, and physical science, as well as the study of space. By using a science notebook, and introducing the scientific method, students grow as scientists in a hands-on, project-based approach. In life science the students explore plants, biomes, animal classification, adaptations, and predator vs. prey. In earth science, the students study the Earth’s layers, including the crust, mantle, and core. In physical science the students master the elements of an atom including protons, neutrons, and electrons.

Social Studies

  • Macmillan-McGraw Hill-Our Nation

The fifth grade curriculum focuses on the settlement, early history, and the formation of the United States. Students learn why explorers came to North America and why each colony was established. Students learn how different cultures shaped our nation. In addition, they study the struggle for independence and the formation of our government. The course work then focuses on slavery, the division of our country, and the Civil War. At the conclusion of the course, the children learn how the nation dealt with the effects of the Civil War and the reconstruction of our country.

Art

The fifth grade art curriculum is designed to be a comparative study of the American, French, and cultures of Great Britain. Students discover parallel symbolism in Medieval Gothic art and our own religious art and experiment with new drawing and painting techniques inspired by Impressionism and/or Post-Impressionism. We push our clay building skills to include coil, pinch and slab techniques and our painting skills with acrylic on canvas, emphasizing the elements and principles of space, color and proportion. Students are introduced to subtractive linoleum printmaking and challenged to express a social conscience through graffiti art. Artists studied this year include: Basquiat, Van Gogh, Seurat, and Cezanne. These projects are shared within our global community through The International Children’s Art Exchange.

French

  • Symtalk Language Systems Gérard et ses copains Book D

In fifth grade, students continue building their verb dictionary as more verbs are introduced. Students learn about possessive pronouns, school objects, days of the week and modes of transportation. Various aspects of French culture and traditions are also explored during the school year. Fifth graders learn about some of France’s famous people and places along with a bit of French history. Games and projects provide great opportunities to reinforce their learning throughout the year.

Spanish

This year fifth grade students were introduced to Spanish. Lessons are instructed primarily in Spanish. Each class period begins with the Sign of the Cross and a greeting to Mater Admirabilis in Spanish. Students learn common phrases, such as please, and thank you. In addition, they learn the use of singular pronouns, simple verbs, and vocabulary. Vocabulary focuses on numbers, days of the week, months, colors, body parts, clothing, seasons, family members, animals, and Spanish speaking countries. A special emphasis is placed on proper pronunciation of vowels and consonants, differing from English consonants. The goal is for children to read any text in Spanish, and decipher the meaning due to the similarities with French and common Latin and Greek roots. Lessons are dynamic, keeping the children engaged in learning through songs, games, writing, listening and dialogue.

Performing Arts

Students are challenged to think and converse about music through the perspectives of global cultures, math, science, and emotion. The fifth grade students notate simple melodies that they create on recorder and pitched instruments. The musicians learn the chromatic scale. They study the history of jazz music.

The fifth graders hone their performance skills and develop their confidence through dramatic play, storytelling, readers’ theatre, and musical theatre. Weekly, the students practice articulation, projection, inflection, spatial awareness, energy work, and being a respectful actor and audience member. Through preparing for a theatrical performance, the students learn stage direction, line memorization, monologue/dialogue delivery, blocking, countering, choreography, and microphone technique. The fifth grade students have their own theatrical performance.

Physical Education

In fifth grade the students participate in more complex sports that are often more difficult to teach and to master at a younger level. An example would be a sport such as lacrosse. Younger students find it challenging to participate in an actual game of lacrosse due to their developmental level. With the older students, instructors are able to teach these units with more success as the students are able to grasp more complex skills. Instructors also revisit several units that the students have had in the past but teach more complex strategies. An example of this would be the soccer unit. The students have had this unit since first grade, but since they have mastered the basic skills and strategies, instructors are able to move on to more complex strategies, rules, and skills.

Explore Block

This academic elective block is on a quarterly rotation. Students in 5th and 6th grade have the chance to expand on material taught in their core subject areas as they are exposed to more global initiatives and perspectives and problem based learning. The students spend one quarter in each of the following: World Cultures, Study Skills, Introductory Spanish, and Makerspace.

Instructional Strategies

A variety of instructional strategies are used in fifth grade. Some of these include: collaborative group work, independent work, hands-on learning, discussion-based teaching, technology integration, global projects, and long-term projects.

Assessment

Students are assessed in various ways, including: teacher-generated tests and quizzes, book tests, periodic ALEKS assessments, monthly book reports, skits, book talks, literature circles, writing portfolios, and power points. Grades are available online for parents to view. We also discuss students’ progress at parent-teacher conferences in October and March. Each Thursday students bring home their Thursday envelopes with their graded work. Papers need to be returned the next day.

Technology Integration

Students as well as teachers, use SMART boards, iPads, laptop carts, Chromebooks, the Makerspace, a 3-D printer, and Studio OH.

Homework Expectations

All homework is meaningful to the individual child and relevant to the curriculum. Fifth grade students should expect about five hours of homework per week. They are encouraged to complete their work independently. Parents are encouraged to work with their child toward this independence. If students have questions about an assignment, they are welcome to set up a time to work one on one with the teacher. Homework serves several functions: it is the content around which important independent study habits are formed, it is an appropriate time to reinforce skills, it is a precursor to or follow-up on major class work, it provides for utilizing independent research skills, and it may become a natural consequence when class time is unproductive and work is not completed. All late assignments will receive a 10% per day deduction.

Classroom Routines

Students in fifth grade are to be dropped off at the Duchesne Building or the Activities Building. They will go to recess down below at 7:30. At 7:45, they will be dismissed from recess to come up to the classrooms. Students in fifth grade do not have a snack time. They may bring a water bottle to keep with them throughout the day. If a student brings a cell phone to school, they must turn it into the Oak Hill office in the morning and pick it up at the end of the day. If any communication needs to occur, please go through the Oak Hill office. Students are expected to spend their day as respectful and active learners.

Communication

Teachers communicate with parents on a regular basis. Open communication is a vital part of a child’s educational career. Types of communication include: weekly blogs, Thursday folders, monthly curriculum updates, and emails. Parents are invited to communicate questions via email.

Grade 6

Developmental Stages and Transitions

Sixth grade students will be challenged academically as they progress through their last year of Oak Hill. There are a number of cognitive skills that are important for a sixth grade student to have in order to navigate this new territory, including the abilities to use deductive reasoning, work within a group, manage time as well as long term assignments, and to think more abstractly. Students will gain poise and confidence in public speaking and leadership roles. They will also develop the capability to look at multiple viewpoints and outcomes before solving a problem. This is a time when students will continue to display more curiosity as well as progress into more abstract thinking.

Sixth grade students are generally happy children, cooperative, and competitive. They like to express themselves both formally and informally. The students in sixth grade are already accustomed to changing classes for each subject. They learn the importance of organizing their belongings, homework, and calendars. Students are given a login with website access to the student portal to view homework, calendars, course resources, and faculty blogs. As sixth grade students, they are guided to become their own advocate with regards to assignment questions for teachers and be better organized and prepared for class.

Curriculum Highlights

Sixth grade students participate in the following curriculum related projects and field trips: sixth grade camp, visit to the Shrine of St. Rose Philippine Duchesne and Old St. Ferdinand, The Greater St. Louis Science Fair, Mary Ryder Home letter writing and visits, pen pal letter writing, Tom Sawyer literature activity and trip to Hannibal, student council officer positions, House activities, and Bellarmine Speech.

Curriculum Overview

Language Arts

  • Houghton Mifflin-English
  • Purpose in Literature
  • Fountas & Pinnell Guided Reading
  • Sadlier-Vocabulary

Language arts in sixth grade consists of four different sections of our programs: writing, literature, grammar, and vocabulary. We use the nationally-recognized, research-based Step Up to Writing to fine tune writing skills and experience different types of writing such as informational, persuasive, descriptive, and narrative. Students work diligently to understand writing and the organizational process that goes into planning a piece of writing. We talk about writing paragraphs using topic sentences that guide what the paragraph should be about. We also work on writing an essay using a thesis statement to guide the body of the essay. Students complete their research by using different informational sources. Students take informational resources and draft an essay using their organizational strategies including topic sentences and transitions that they have learned throughout the year.

The literature curriculum consists of reading and analyzing short stories and novels. We begin the year looking at story elements (they are presented as the ingredients needed to make a whole story-you can’t make a cake without all of the ingredients, the same goes for a story). We use short stories in our sixth grade textbooks to find and understand the different story elements. The story elements are an important characteristic of literature that we touch on throughout our novel units as well. We spend the majority of the year focusing on reading novels as a class and in literature circles. We read the novels, Tuck Everlasting and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, together so that the children can experience reading strategies together. They use these comprehension strategies when reading literature circle books in small groups. We also read The Adventures of Ulysses as a class as part of our Greek mythology unit to connect with the social studies study of ancient Greece.

Grammar in sixth grade focuses on the parts of speech: nouns, verbs, modifiers, interjections, and conjunctions. We also spend a lot of time on sentence structure and mechanics. Students take notes on each topic in the chapters to help learn how to pick out important information when learning a new concept. They also learn the importance of editing and rereading anything that they write to find grammatical mistakes. These grammar skills are transferred and applied to their writing.

Students are assessed in reading using the Fountas & Pinnell Benchmark assessment system. This program provides teachers with an assessment tool which accurately assesses each student’s reading level, ensuring that each student is reading texts which are neither too easy nor too difficult. This process creates a learning experience for each student in which they are able to grow as a learner by both developing word attack and comprehension skills.

The sixth grade vocabulary curriculum presents twenty new vocabulary words for each unit and requires that the students learn the word, definition, pronunciation (stressed syllable), spelling, synonyms, antonyms, and its use in a sentence. After three units in the book, students are responsible for reviewing all of the previous units. This ensures that after one unit is finished, the words are never forgotten because they will come up later in the year. As a supplemental vocabulary curriculum, we use vocabulary from the novels that we read. It is important to develop speaking and writing vocabulary as well as understanding the vocabulary that students read about in their age appropriate books.

Mathematics

  • Prentice Hall Mathematics-Middle School Course 2
  • ALEKS web based Assessment and Learning in Knowledge Spaces

In sixth grade mathematics, we continue to bridge the concrete world of constants to the abstract study of variables. We provide a mathematically rich program while integrating the values and teachings of the Sacred Heart. We focus not only on the process but also on “why” behind the math processes. As our ability to handle complex equations increases, we strive to simplify. Particular emphasis is to proportional reasoning, rates, and ratios using symbolic, graphical, and numerical representations. Students connect arithmetic to geometry, probability, and statistics through real-world applications. We enrich the textbook work with ALEKS, a web-based, artificially intelligent math program. This allows students to individually work on whole numbers, fractions, decimals and percents, measurement, data, probability, algebra, and geometry.

Religion

  • Sadlier-We Are God’s People
  • Helping Hearts: Mary Ryder Home

The sixth grade religion curriculum focuses on the Old Testament. The students learn how the love of God for his people is woven throughout history and in our world today. The sixth grade students study the different ways the people of the Old Testament gave witness to their faith and led the way to the coming of Jesus. In addition, the sixth grade students research and write about different aspects of Sacred Heart education each month. The Helping Hearts program for grade six is the Mary Ryder Home. It is through this work of service that the students continue to love and serve as Jesus did and to invite others to follow Jesus as they witness to him with their words and deeds.

Science

  • Scott Foresman-Science

In sixth grade science, our focus of study is earth and space science. The students build on their previous knowledge to enhance ideas and skills to develop their appreciation of science interdisciplinary relationships. Students understand and analyze the Earth’s place in the universe by studying the universe and its stars, the Earth, and the solar system, and the history of planet Earth. Additionally, the students study the Earth on a microscopic scale by looking at individual earth systems, plate tectonics, biogeology, natural resources and hazards, and how humans impact the Earth’s systems. Throughout the year, the students are asked to demonstrate their knowledge through written work, presentations, practicals, and laboratory work.

Social Studies

  • Macmillan-McGraw Hill-Our World

The sixth grade curriculum focuses on the migration, settlement, and development of ancient cultures. In addition, students learn how the earliest people survived and subsequently, how civilizations developed and expanded. Students understand how each culture used ideas from the one before to advance. Students learn why civilizations are located in certain areas. Map skills are taught in each unit to identify the locations of ancient cultures. Learning about the people, inventions, and achievements from ancient cultures that shape the world we live in today is an integral part of our social studies program.

Art

The sixth grade art curriculum is designed to give students a varied and rich experience with various art media and techniques. Sixth grade focuses on the art of cultures studied in the social studies curriculum (Egyptian, Roman, and Greek) and art of the Renaissance. Throughout the sixth grade year, students explore these different cultures as they further their knowledge of the elements and principles of line, texture, space, and proportion. At this level, students work to express feelings, use symbolism in their work, and make connections between history, art, and other disciplines. Sixth grade studies of Greece for the International Festival as well as the bicentennial of St Philippine will figure prominently into their work this year. These projects will be shared within our global community through the International Children’s Art Exchange.

French

  • Symtalk Language Systems- Gérard et ses copains Book D
  • S.O.S. Prononciation! By: Jane Franchi
  • Discovering Languages French Amsco Publishing
  • Le Mag Hachette Publishing
  • Bistro Escargot 1 & 2 by Tralco-Lingo Fun

Pronunciation and basic conversation skills practice are important components of sixth grade French class. Students learn about French culture and traditions. Writing and performing their own French skits are a fun way to demonstrate their understanding. Students also learn about some of France’s famous cities and sites as well as a little bit of French history. Researching, creating, and presenting this information to their peers provides a great learning experience for everyone. Students also learn vocabulary for family and home. They also compare and contrast traditional French houses with their own. In acknowledgement of our Sacred Heart heritage, the sixth grade students learn to recite the Sign of the Cross and the Lord’s Prayer in French.

Spanish

This year sixth grade students were introduced to Spanish. Lessons are instructed primarily in Spanish. Each class period begins with the Sign of the Cross and a greeting to Mater Admirabilis in Spanish. Students learn common phrases, such as please, and thank you. In addition, they learn the use of singular pronouns, simple verbs, and vocabulary. Vocabulary focuses on numbers, days of the week, months, colors, body parts, clothing, seasons, family members, animals, and Spanish speaking countries. A special emphasis is placed on proper pronunciation of vowels and consonants, differing from English consonants. The goal is for children to read any text in Spanish, and decipher the meaning due to the similarities with French and common Latin and Greek roots. Lessons are dynamic, keeping the children engaged in learning through songs, games, writing, listening and dialogue.

Latin

  • Ecce Romani IA

This course serves as an introduction to not only the Latin language but also the rich history and culture of the Romans. Students learn basic introductory Latin grammar and vocabulary with a focus on connections to English to broaden their vocabulary and to develop strong grammar and writing skills. Students learn to read, write, and speak Latin over the length of the course. In their learning of Roman history and culture, many hands-on projects are taken on during class to promote better understanding of the material, such as building aqueducts, modeling a coliseum, making and wearing a Roman toga, and playing real ancient Roman games.

Performing Arts

Students are challenged to think and converse about music through the perspectives of global cultures, math, science, and emotion. Each sixth grade student writes lyrics and composes an original song to perform in class. The students study the history of Broadway. They culminate the year with a Cabaret.

The sixth graders hone their performance skills and develop their confidence through dramatic play, storytelling, readers’ theatre, and musical theatre. Weekly, the students practice articulation, projection, inflection, spatial awareness, energy work, and being a respectful actor and audience member. Through preparing for a theatrical performance, the students learn stage direction, line memorization, monologue/dialogue delivery, blocking, countering, choreography, and microphone technique.

Physical Education

In sixth grade the students participate in more complex sports that are often more difficult to teach and to master at a younger level. An example would be a sport such as lacrosse. Younger students find it challenging to participate in an actual game of lacrosse due to their developmental level. With the older students instructors are able to teach these units with more success as the students are able to grasp more complex skills. Instructors also revisit several units that the students have had in the past but teach more complex strategies. An example of this would be the soccer unit. The students have had this unit since first grade, but since they have mastered the basic skills and strategies, instructors are able to move on to more complex strategies, rules, and skills.

Explore Block

This academic elective block is on a quarterly rotation. Students in 5th and 6th grade have the chance to expand on material taught in their core subject areas as they are exposed to more global initiatives and perspectives, and problem based learning. The students spend one quarter in each of the following: World Cultures, Study Skills, Introductory Spanish, and Makerspace.

Instructional Strategies

A variety of instructional strategies are used in sixth grade. Some of these include; collaborative group work, independent work, hands-on learning, discussion-based teaching, technology integration, global projects, and long-term projects.

Assessment

Students are assessed in various ways, including: teacher-generated tests and quizzes, book tests, periodic ALEKS assessments, reader’s workshop, literature circles, a variety of essay writing using the Step-Up to Writing process, projects (some group projects and some individual projects), presentations, and power points. Grades are available online for parents to view. We also discuss students’ progress at parent-teacher conferences in October and March. Each Thursday students bring home their Thursday envelopes with their graded work. Papers need to be returned the next day.

Technology Integration

Students, as well as teachers, use SMART boards, calculators, iPads, laptops, Skype, and the Makerspace to enhance learning. Teachers incorporate technology into lessons when appropriate.

Homework Expectations

All homework is meaningful to the individual student and relevant to the curriculum. Sixth grade students should expect five to six hours of homework a week. They are required to complete their work independently. Parents are encouraged to work with their child toward this independence. If students have questions about an assignment, they are welcome to set up a time to work one on one with the teacher. Homework serves several functions: it is the content around which important independent study habits are formed, it is an appropriate time to reinforce skills, it is a precursor to or follow-up on major class work, it provides for utilizing independent research skills, and it becomes necessary when class time is unproductive and work is not completed. All late assignments will receive a 10% per day deduction.

Classroom Routines

Students in sixth grade are dropped off at the Duchesne Building or the lower campus. They go to recess on our lower campus at 7:30 and are dismissed to their classrooms at 7:45. Students in sixth grade do not have a snack time. They may bring a water bottle to keep with them throughout the day. If a student brings a cell phone to school, they must turn it into the Oak Hill office in the morning and pick it up at the end of the day. If any communication needs to occur, please go through the teacher or the Oak Hill office. Students are expected to spend their day as respectful and active learners.

Communication

Teachers communicate with parents on a regular basis. Open communication is a vital part of a child’s educational career. Types of communication include weekly blogs, Thursday folders, monthly curriculum updates, and emails. Parents are invited to communicate questions, concerns, ideas, etc. either by email or a call.