General Information Pre-K to Grade 7
Roanoke Catholic is a college preparatory school. Teachers instruct in a spiral approach that constantly reviews and adds age-appropriate new material. The Lower School comprises both elementary and middle school divisions. K-7 students’ day begins at 8:00 a.m. K-5 Lower School ends at 2:45 p.m., while grades 6-7 dismiss at 3:00 p.m. There are two sections of 16-21 students in each class from pre-K through five. Middle School may have up to three sections of similar size per grade level.
Both pre-kindergarten and kindergarten have full-time aides. In Pre-kindergarten through 1st grade levels, students have a morning snack and a later lunch, which allows for maximum academic time while students are most alert. Afternoons are more relaxed, and the students have less academically demanding classes. Students have recess periods during the day to develop social skills and exercise large muscles.
From second through fifth grade, students are grouped for reading and math based on their ability and performance. All groups are taught by certified teachers. Our goal is to challenge students without overwhelming them. Sixth and seventh grade students attend reading class, but it may not meet every day. These students meet in a literature-based English class each day.
Early grade math allows for small, on-level groups for students who need extra help. Most students are in the average group. Advanced groups are available for students who can master more challenging material.. By fifth grade, some students have progressed to a sixth grade math program. In sixth, students may be in a regular grade six book, a seventh grade text, or in pre-algebra. Seventh graders may be studying regular seventh grade math, pre-algebra, or algebra.
All students, regardless of their faith backgrounds, study religion daily. Classes consist of prayer, Bible study, Catholic teachings, and planning of liturgical celebrations. Students attend Mass or other liturgical celebration about twice a month. Each class takes a turn planning and executing the celebration for the rest of the school. Sacramental preparation is reserved to the parishes.
Each religion class adopts a local social service agency. The students learn about how that agency helps people, and how they, as a class, can help a local service agency in town. Examples of these agencies include Ronald MacDonald House, Madonna House, St. Francis House, RAM House, and the Turning Point Shelter.
Family Life Education is taught as part of religion classes. Students in K-4 discuss the concepts of what it means to be a family, and how parents care for their children. Students in all grades are taught two Safe Touch lessons each year. Beginning in fifth grade, students go into more depth in the Family Life program, and their studies continue into the Upper School, delving into age-appropriate, church-mandated-and-approved curricula.
Students in grades K-5 receive instruction in Spanish, art, music, computer skills, and library each week. All students in K-7 have two physical education classes each week and all students have daily recess. Middle school students rotate their “special” subjects, devoting thirty minutes per day for a quarter each to art, music, and computer skills. The fourth rotation is Study Skills in grade six and Life Skills in grade 7. Middle school students study French and Spanish for one semester each.
Students in the fifth through twelfth grades may take band. Fifth and sixth graders may elect to attend band during the school day as a music option. Sixth graders who take band do not participate in the rotation of special subjects. As seventh graders, they return to the regular rotation. Advanced Band includes 7 -12th graders who attend class daily during a zero period from 7:30-7:55 a.m. daily.
The traditional Pre-K program at Roanoke Catholic runs from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. An optional extended day session is available from 1 p.m. until 2:45 p.m. There are two sections of pre-kindergarten with a certified teacher and a full-time aide during the 8 a.m. to 1.p.m. session. At least two adults are present at the optional sessions. Each class has a maximum of 16 students. The Pre-K program concentrates on the physical, social, and emotional development of the young child. Activities enhance socialization skills, personal independence, physical development, and basic readiness instruction necessary to prepare children for kindergarten. The Pre-K day begins with circle time, which includes daily weather, calendar, the Pledge of Allegiance and prayer.
Religion: Students learn to pray spontaneously and formally. They learn the Sign of the Cross, Grace before meals, the Our Father and the Hail Mary. Bible stories, weekly Chapel as well as the liturgical seasons of Advent, Lent, and Easter are part of the curriculum. Religion emphasizes recognizing that our actions affect others, respecting everyone, and getting along with others.
Language Arts: Students learn both uppercase and lowercase letters through letter books, letter characters, and song. Each week students learn a different letter along with its sound. Students learn to form the letters of their names correctly starting with an uppercase letter followed by lowercase letters. They practice language skills including rhyme, sequencing, and speaking before a group. Reading books is a daily part of the Pre-K curriculum.
Math: Students learn to count to at least 31 during the daily calendar activities. Introducing numbers 1-20, recognizing numbers 1-12, recognizing shapes, counting objects, creating graphs, identifying patterns, and sorting, and classifying objects are all part of the curriculum.
Social Studies/Science: The Pre-K curriculum groups social studies and science information in weekly units. Topics include seasons and holidays as well as space, community helpers, shapes, colors, fire safety, dinosaurs, the ocean, dental health, transportation, families, insects, the five senses, and zoo animals.
Physical Education: Students take physical education classes twice a week with the elementary physical education teacher. Inside and outside play is part of the daily curriculum.
Music: Students meet with the school’s music teacher once a week. Music is an integral part of the Pre-K curriculum. Students learn a variety of songs and fingerplays in music class and in the classroom. They participate in an annual Christmas program.
Library: Pre-K students have a library period each week. During their visit to the library, they explore different types of literature with the school librarian and may check out books.
Art: Art is part of the daily curriculum in Pre-K. Each weekly themed unit includes an art project. Students use different media to complete each project. Cutting, gluing, and painting are among the techniques students practice. They also visit the school’s art teacher once a week.
Foreign language: Pre-K students have a Spanish lesson once a week with a Spanish instructor. During that time, they learn basic vocabulary words.
Field trips: Field trips enhance the Pre-K curriculum. Trips differ each year but have included the fire station, Mill Mountain Theatre, a pumpkin patch, story time at Gainsboro Public Library, Amazement Square, the O. Winston Link Museum, and a bakery.
Kindergarten at Roanoke Catholic is a full day program, beginning at 8:15 a.m. and ending at 2:45 p.m. There are two sections of approximately 20 students with a teacher and a full-time aide in each. The program encompasses both developmental and academic aspects necessary for the successful preparation of children for the first grade. Reading and math readiness activities comprise most of the school day, but time is allotted daily for both inside and outside play. In first semester students have a rest time of about 20 minutes in the afternoon.
Religion: Students learn to pray spontaneously and also learn the Sign of the Cross, Grace before meals, the Our Father, Hail Mary, and the Glory Be. They learn about the liturgical year and take an active role in school liturgies, especially the one they organize. Students learn about Jesus as part of his family and about the importance of their families as part of God’s family. Religion curriculum emphasizes recognizing the need for service, respecting everyone, and learning to get along.
Language Arts Students use a tried and true phonics program of learning the letters, both upper and lower case. Kindergarteners learn to write each letter correctly and learn each letter’s sound. Many of the children are reading by mid-year, and all can read to some extent by the end of the year. They learn to rhyme, to listen attentively, follow directions, speak before a group, and tell a story. They also learn to use the library and learn the parts of a book. Students begin to learn some parts of speech. Kindergarteners begin to develop organizational and higher level thinking skills.
Math: Kindergarteners learn to count and write to at least 31, (and often as high as 100), demonstrate one-to-one correspondence, and recognize simple fractions. They learn to read and write the numbers, collect and classify data, identify and use pictographs and bar graphs. They add and subtract with manipulatives, use calculators, measure, tell time, read a calendar, identify shapes, and use vocabulary that expresses mathematical concepts and relationships.
Social Studies/Science: Social studies and science are presented in units of study based on the seasons of the year, holidays, the family, the plant and animal kingdoms, and the community. Field trips enrich the curriculum and include visits to an apple orchard, the City Market, Camp Bethel’s Kindercamp, and Ronald McDonald House, which is the Kindergarten’s service project each year. Scientific experiments, recording observations, use of magnets, weights, and measures, animal comparison, the environment, the sun and earth, and weather are some of the topics addressed in science. Social Studies concepts include customs and cultures, maps and globes, community helpers, authority figures, voting, human dignity, good citizenship, and conflict resolution.
Physical Education/Health: Students take P.E. classes twice a week and have both an indoor and outdoor recess each day. Students work on physical coordination, sportsmanship, team play, balance, creativity, and dance, among other activities. Students learn the importance of daily exercise and the need for warm-up stretching, and cool down movements. Personal health habits, safety measures, and learning about 911 are part of the curriculum.
Music: Students have music class once each week. They learn a variety of songs with and without choreography, and with and without accompaniment. Students learn to sing alone and in groups. They begin to learn about music appreciation, theory, beat, and different types of music. At Christmas, they participate in a special school program presented to parents.
Technology: Kindergarten students identify the parts of a computer, how to do basic computer functions, keyboarding, drawing and painting. Students use the computer to enhance their academic study of numbers and letters through games and age-appropriate activities. Students learn to turn on a computer, find the appropriate program, produce a product, exit the program and turn off the computer independently.
Art: In art class, with the Art teacher, kindergarteners meet every week and complete an array of projects at their skill level. The students use drawing, painting and sculpture to communicate meaning in their artwork and to see intentions of other artists throughout art history. They are asked to recognize the difference between basic art materials and techniques that build skill and dexterity. The student also learns good citizenship, respect for others and their art,reinforcement of Christian ideals, and self esteem. Art is a well-rounded program that fosters the artistic development of each child.
Library: Students have a library period each week. Library topics reinforce the letter the students are studying that week. During their visit to the library, a wide variety of classical and other quality literature is read to the students. They act out stories, take part in retelling stories, and participate in movement activities that go along with the story or season. As students learn about responsibility, they check out and return books.
Foreign Language: Spanish is taught once a week by a Spanish instructor. Students learn basic vocabulary words.
First Grade Curriculum
In first grade at Roanoke Catholic School, class size is limited to twenty students. There are two first grades and each section has a certified teacher and a part-time aide. The aide helps primarily with organizational needs and helps the teacher work with students in reading and math. The vast majority of the school day is devoted to developing reading and math proficiency.
Religion: First grade students learn about the Bible as the inspired word of God. They focus on Hebrew Scripture stories of Abraham, Noah, and Moses and New Testament stories of Jesus. They pray spontaneously and recite the Our Father, Hail Mary, and the Glory Be. They participate actively in school liturgies including Children’s Liturgy of the Word, Rosary, and Stations of the Cross, and lead in planning one special liturgy or prayer service.The liturgical year, saints and peacemakers, respect toward others, family life, and the sacraments of Baptism, and Eucharist are all part of the program. The first grade emphasizes service to others and students participate in a service project.
Language Arts: The reading program at Roanoke Catholic is an integrated program. The components of the program are reading for comprehension, application of phonics skills, spelling, grammar, and handwriting. By the end of the year, students are expected to write a paragraph using complete sentences, proper capitalization, punctuation, spelling of common words, and a main idea with details. They gain a basic understanding of nouns, verbs, adjectives, characters, setting, plot, fiction, and non-fiction works. Strategies to develop reading comprehension will include word study (compound words, root words, homophones, antonyms, synonyms, use of a dictionary), drawing conclusions, using words in context, making predictions, sequencing, and retelling a story.
Math: In math students use manipulative objects and a number line as they move toward memorization of their basic addition and subtraction facts to 18. By the end of the year they can add and subtract two-digit numbers without regrouping, add three numbers, do mental math, use calculators, estimate and determine the actual amount of money, time, measurements, and sums and differences. They use graphs, sort, classify, count by 2’s, 5’s, and 10’s to 100, and learn the concepts of greater than, less than and equal to.
Social Studies/Science: These two subject areas are often integrated in first grade. Some individuals studied include Columbus, Washington, Lincoln, Johnny Appleseed, and famous scientists. The students study weather, the stars, sun, and earth, living and non-living things, plants and animals, states of matter, the importance of a clean environment, and natural resources. Holidays and patriotic symbols, love and respect for our country, respect for other cultures, geography, goods and services, and the importance of family and our world are all components of the curriculum. The first graders visit the Science Museum and its Planetarium, and the Roanoke Valley History Museum each year to support and reinforce their studies.
Physical Education/Health: Students participate in a variety of games, relays, activities to learn cooperation, getting along in a group, following directions, coordination, and lifetime sports activities. The importance of stretching and warming up before physical exertion and cooling down movement is stressed. Students work on balance, rhythmic movement, jumping rope, parachute activities, and participate in the Presidents’ Physical Fitness test. They are taught about respecting drugs as medicine, each individual’s gifts and uniqueness, respect for feelings, conflict resolution, and healthy habits. Students have two physical education classes each week and recess every day.
Art: Students enjoy art class once each week. They work with different art media. Students begin to appreciate their own artwork as well as the artwork of their classmates.
Music: Students learn to sing a variety of classical, fun, and imaginative songs which support the first-grade curriculum. Many of the songs incorporate choreography. They also learn special music for school liturgies. Students begin to use musical instruments and learn about notes, rhythm, pitch, and meter in simple patterns. Videos and books related to music round out the music curriculum. Students have one music period each week. They sing for their parents at the Lower School Christmas program.
Technology: Students go the computer lab once each week. They learn to turn on the computer, find the appropriate program, produce a product, save it, exit the program and shut down the computer. They begin to keyboard properly and learn how to backspace and delete. Students learn how to care for a computer and to be comfortable with technology.
Spanish: First grade students have the opportunity to learn Spanish. Their instruction includes such topics as the days of the week, months, names, letters, and simple phrases.
Second Grade Curriculum
There are two sections of second grade with approximately 20 students per section. The two teachers teach their own homeroom sections the majority of the day, but there are three groups for reading and math. Students are placed in groups according to proven ability and past performance. Homeroom teachers and an additional teacher from another grade level or a part-time teacher teach the three groups. All teachers hold proper certification.
Religion: In second grade, the religion curriculum focuses on preparing students for receiving the sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist. It is important for parents to note that while this sacramental catechesis is taught, students do not receive these sacraments as part of a school program. Parents must register second graders for sacramental preparation in their home parishes, per Diocesan directives.
In addition to the study of the sacraments mentioned above, the curriculum includes the parts of the Mass, the importance of family, morality, making good choices, sin and forgiveness, individual giftedness, peacemakers, customs and cultures, and the need to help the poor and serve others. The second graders visit clients of Our Lady of the Valley Nursing Home and the Veterans’ Administration Hospital as their service project for the year.
Language Arts: Student in second grade learn more challenging phonetics, including schwa sounds, diphthongs, and digraphs. They begin to write stories with proper main ideas, details, punctuation, and paragraphing. They learn to write cursive, and review manuscript. Students learn to read fluently with expression and to answer comprehension questions on what they have read. They learn spelling and vocabulary words, how to syllabify words, use a dictionary, identify parts of speech and parts of a sentence, and use correct grammar. They also learn to distinguish between fact and opinion, determine cause and effect/ draw conclusions, use a glossary, use the library for research, and develop a love of reading.
Math: Students learn to add and subtract two- and three-digit numbers with regrouping, learn some fractions, use fact families to master their addition and subtraction facts, use calculators, number lines and math manipulatives, interpret and make graphs, begin simple multiplication and division, learn to estimate length, capacity, and volume using standard and metric units, count money to $100, create a calendar, and tell time to the quarter hour. Geometry concepts of area and perimeter and three-dimensional figures are introduced.
Social Studies: In social studies, students learn to compare and contrast communities, learn about our country’s laws, heritage, and the need for responsible citizenship. They learn the difference between needs and wants. Students use time lines, landform maps, globes, calendars, and family trees in their studies. Simple American history including Pilgrims, Native Americans, and The Civil War are part of the curriculum. Students learn patriotic songs and study voting, taxes, banking and simple economic theory.
Science: Science classes stress the importance of ecology, especially the effects of weather and environment on plants, animals and people. Students learn about geology and paleontology, heat, sound, and light, simple machines, magnets, and human biology. Concepts taught include food chains, the water cycle, the scientific process, weathering and erosion, and the need to respect and care for all of God’s creation.
Physical Education/Health: Students have two periods of instruction in physical education each week and recess every day. Students learn the importance of exercise and physical activities through learning how to play “lifetime sports”, and always use proper pre-exercise stretching and post-exercise cool-down techniques. They learn to play a variety of games stressing coordination and teamwork and large and small muscle development. Studentsexplore creative movement and dance, learn simple tumbling moves, jump rope, work onbalance and flexibility, and participate in the President’s Physical Fitness Test. In health, students learn about proper nutrition, drug/medication education, healthy habits, conflict resolution, stress management, and recognizing and dealing with feelings in a healthy way.
Art: Second graders widen their horizons once a week with the skills they have already learned through drawing, painting, sculpture, and craftwork. Students also begin learning the steps in small construction projects, and wise use of composition. The student begins to see what makes for a well-thought-out piece of artwork. By second grade, they should know the difference between basic art materials and begin to use them in a broader sense. Second graders also practice good citizenship, respect for others and their artwork, and Christian ideals. They understand the connection between hard work and self-esteem.
Music: Students have music once a week. They learn a variety of songs including folk songs, fun, classical and liturgical songs. Students begin to read music and to learn names and counts of different notes by clapping rhythms. Students learn to play simple rhythm instruments and learn simple choreography to some songs. They perform at a Christmas program each year.
Technology: Keyboarding is a major part of computer instruction. Students create simple reports and drawings. They can turn on a computer, go to the proper program, create a product, edit it, save it, and exit the program without help. They understand respect for others’ work, and the use of passwords. Students also use technology for instructional support and practice, especially in language arts and math. Second Grade computer classes learn to use Microsoft Word, Excel, and Power Point in daily activities.
Spanish: Students have Spanish class once a week.. They study topics such as the days of the week, months, names, letters, and simple phrases.
Third Grade Curriculum
There are two sections of third grade with approximately 20 students per section. The two teachers teach their own homeroom sections the majority of the day, but students from the two homerooms are separated into three reading and three math groups, according to proven ability and past performance. Two of the groups are taught by the homeroom teachers and an additional teacher, either from another grade level or a part-time teacher, teaches the third group of reading and math.
Religion: Students are introduced to Psalms, memorize the 23rd Psalm, the Apostles Creed, an Act of Contrition, and learn to pray the Rosary. They learn responses during Mass, study the Ten Commandments and laws of the Church, study Pentecost, parts of the Bible, morality, and peace and justice issues. Students learn about missionaries and the need to serve others, recognize the celebrations of other religions, and learn to treat others with respect. Third grade students visit St. Francis House, learn what they can do to help, and hold food drives to help feed the clients of St. Francis House.
Language Arts: The language arts curriculum integrates reading, grammar, written and oral expression, spelling, and cursive handwriting. At this stage of reading, students are mastering phonics and applying those abilities to spelling. They are beginning to “read to learn” as opposed to “learning to read” in previous grades. Therefore, students concentrate on comprehension skills, analyzing text, using context clues, determining cause and effect, comparing and contrasting, and distinguishing between fact and opinion. Students read a variety of literature, styles, and types, and incorporate proper grammar and editing techniques to write a variety of pieces, including letters, creative writing, summarizations, and poetry. They learn to use the library for reference as well as pleasure, work with parts of speech, including adverbs and pronouns, identify subject and predicate and proper verb tenses. Students participate in skits and plays, give oral reports, and learn to survey and interview others. They are required to read a minimum of fifteen minutes each evening and produce a variety of book reports based on their reading.
Math: In math, students learn place value to 100,000, count money using coins and bills, add and subtract to four digits with renaming, tell time to minutes, and figure elapsed time. They practice measuring in metric and U.S. customary units of length, capacity, and temperature, learn multiplication and division facts through 12, learn to multiply up to three digits by one digit and divide three digits by one-digit divisors. Students use data to make charts and graphs, learn about probability, explore plane geometry, and learn about perimeter, area, and some three-dimensional figures. Students use fractions, mixed numbers, and decimals to the hundredths place, with and without whole numbers. Throughout the year, students use their skills to solving word problems in every area of study.
Social Studies: Third grade students study suburban, rural, and urban communities and visit Explore Park to look at a colonial American community. Extensive study of community in third grade culminates in a field trip around the Valley. During the year, they will learn cardinal (north, south, east, west) and intermediate (northwest, southwest, etc.) directions, map keys, continents, islands, hemispheres, the equator, latitude and longitude, and identify the fifty states. They also learn the interdependence of people and their responsibilities as citizens, and the function of national and state governments. Third grade social studies includes the study of important U.S. documents, selected American history, including the colonial period and the American Revolution, immigrants, and local history.
Science: The third grade curriculum includes the study of the solar system, Earth’s landforms, rocks, minerals, food chains, natural resources, ecology, and the needs and habits of plants and animals. Students will recognize the role of God as creator and our role as stewards of the earth. Proper health care and eating and exercise habits are included. Students will demonstrate the scientific method and use scientific instruments. Students investigate oceans, waves, and currents, study simple machines, matter, electricity, friction, and gravity.
Physical Education: Students have two periods of instruction in physical education each week and recess every day. Students learn the importance of exercise and physical activities through learning how to play “lifetime sports”, and practice using proper pre-exercise stretching and post-exercise cool-down techniques. They learn to play games that strengthen coordination and teamwork and large and small muscle development. Students explore creative movement and dance, learn simple tumbling moves, jump rope, work on balance and flexibility, and participate in the President’s Physical Fitness Test. In health, students learn about proper nutrition, drug/medication education, healthy habits, conflict resolution, stress management, and recognizing and dealing with feelings in a healthy way.
Art: Third graders advance their study of art by working on fine art skills such as drawing, painting, sculpture, crafts and small construction, and they also begin learning the elements and principles of art. The elements of line, shape, form, space, color, value and texture are covered along with the principles of rhythm, movement, balance, proportion, variety, emphasis, harmony and unity. The students analyze how these elements and principles make up a good artistic composition. Third graders meet weekly to do an array of projects covering/combining all themes. Third grade art class reinforces the students’ knowledge of art materials and usage along with the idea that art communicates meaning in their own work and throughout art history. Art students practice good citizenship, show respect for others and their artwork, talk about Christian ideals, and understand the importance of self-esteem.
Music: Students have music once per week. They learn a variety of songs including folk songs, fun, classical and liturgical songs. Students begin to read music and to learn the notes and their counts by clapping rhythms. Students play simple instruments and learn choreography for selected songs. They perform at a Christmas program each year.
Technology: Students continue developing fluency in keyboarding skills, learn basic word processing with cutting, pasting, and working between two documents using the “window”. Students understand files and systems, use e-mail to send and receive mail, and explore the use of technology in the world. Third grade computer classes learn to use Microsoft Word, Excel, and Power Point in daily activities.
Library: All third grade students have a library period weekly. Students listen to, or read Accelerated Reader books and test their comprehension. The students also begin to learn about library organization and use of the online catalog. Students have the opportunity to check out books at each visit.
Spanish: Third grade students have the opportunity to learn Spanish. They receive weekly instruction on such topics as the days of the week, months, names, letters, and simple phrases.
Fourth Grade Curriculum
Fourth grade students have classes that range from seventeen to twenty-two students per homeroom class. Both math and reading are divided into three small groups taught by certified teachers. Fourth grade teachers divide science and social studies so that students go to one teacher for social studies and to the other for science. Organizational and study skills are a major part of the curriculum.
Religion: Students deepen their knowledge of Jesus Christ through story, song, drama, priests’ visits, and formal and informal prayer. Students celebrate the liturgical year and are particularly involved in planning the Sacrament of Reconciliation for the Lower School. They learn the Prayer of St. Francis and the Acts of Faith, Hope, and Love along with the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit and the Beatitudes. They recognize and put into practice the Beatitudes by cleaning up the school grounds regularly, writing to overseas troops and being on call to assist the elderly at Our Lady of the Valley. They also study Scripture stories and use Christian principles to guide their decision-making. Students begin to realize their responsibility to share their talents and time with the Church in ways such as serving at the altar or singing in a church choir.
Language Arts and Reading: Students build upon and expand the skills learned in 3rd grade. They learn to express themselves more clearly as they strengthen basic grammar skills such as identifying parts of speech and kinds of sentences. Writing paragraphs with identifiable main ideas and conclusions and basic outlining and note-taking skills are introduced and practiced. Students learn vocabulary in order to maximize interpretation of texts. Teachers use monthly book reports and weekly grammar, vocabulary, and comprehension quizzes to assess student progress.
Social Studies: Students focus on the history and geography of the five regions of Virginia. Their studies encompass the meaning of the democratic process as well as the founding of our country and emphasize the contributions of various individuals, groups, and cultures to our nation. Students roleplay, debate, assess, and articulate the individual’s role in how societies make decisions and solve problems. Students memorize the state capitals. Field trips enhance classroom instruction. In the fall, students visit Old Salem, NC where they participate in colonial crafts. In the spring, they visit Monticello where they identify colonial artifacts in a museum setting. They continue their journey to Ashlawn-Highland to make candles and visit the home of James Monroe. While traveling on the tour bus, they identify and discuss landforms. The activity culminates in students’ written reports about their field trip experiences. Major projects include the opportunity to recreate models of Jamestown structures, Virginia Native American dwellings or Williamsburg buildings. Internet research on selected topics is also encouraged.
Math: Students study place value to the millions and Roman numerals to 100. Students study fractions: mixed, improper, lowest terms, and find equivalent fractions, and they work with decimals. The math curriculum covers multiplying 3 digits by 1 and 2 digits; dividing 4 digits by 1 and 2-digits; finding averages; mastering basic multiplication and division facts to 12; reading grids; rounding; interpreting tables and graphs; measuring with metric and standard units; telling time; making change; classifying angles; identifying radiis; diameters and centers of circles; using perimeter and area formulas; graphing ordered pairs; writing number sentences; establishing patterns; and developing strategies to solve word problems with emphasis on understanding as well as accuracy.
Science: Students study the relationship of the planets in our solar system, as understand the Lunar orbit. They compare and contrast the ecosystems of ponds and oceans, identify animal adaptations, and understand the importance of living and non-living things. Students develop an understanding for the need for water, its states, and its cycle. Students recognize different forms of energy, and why energy helps with work. They learn about matter, its changes, and its properties. Magnetism and electricity, nutrition, health and drugs, scientific discoveries, rocks, and natural resources are all part of their studies.
Spelling: Each week students study a new list of spelling words. Tests on these words are given at the end of each week. Throughout the year students will have words that focus on different skills: sounding out short and long vowels, dividing compound words, using word endings with root words to create word forms, and using contractions as shortened word forms.
Music: Students attend music class once a week. They learn a variety of different songs. Students will learn the basics of how to read and count music. Fourth grade music classes develop note-reading skills through singing and rhythm band instruments. They perform a selection of songs at the Christmas program each year.
Art: Fourth grade students develop their skills in drawing, painting, sculpture, crafts and small construction. The class meets every week and works on projects that expand on the elements and principles of art that were introduced in third grade. The students learn how the elements and principles make up a good composition, and expand theirs knowledge of art materials and techniques. The students understand that art communicates meaning in their work and they also study the major works throughout the history of art. Students must behave as responsible citizens, as well as show respect for others and their artwork..Students practice Christian ideals and the teacher reinforces self-esteem for student success. Please see a more detailed sheet on art from Mrs. Capper-Moody, which is enclosed in your fourth grade folder.
Physical Education: Students have physical education classes twice each week and recess (usually outside) four times a week. They learn the importance of exercise and nutrition for a healthy person. They play a variety of sports, follow directions, work as a team, and follow the rules of the game. Other topics include different types of activities such as stretching, balance and flexibility, dance, and proper exercise technique. Students also participate in the PPFT.
Computer: Students attend weekly computer classes with a technology teacher. Classes include instruction in keyboarding, computer concepts, Windows 2000, Word Processing, e-mail, spreadsheets, databases, and Power Point.
Spanish: Fourth grade students have the opportunity to learn Spanish. Instruction includes such topics as the names of the days of the week, months, individual’s names in Spanish, alphabet, and simple phrases.
Fifth Grade Curriculum
Religion: Fifth grade students recognize and explore the seven sacraments. They recognize prayer types (e.g. praise, thanksgiving, sorrow , petition), and prayer forms, such as intercessions and psalms. They participate in liturgies and plan a class liturgy during the school year. They are introduced to the liturgical church year and special feast day celebrations. Students read and study the structure of the Bible and discuss the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Fifth grade students realize the importance of morality, peace, justice, stewardship and diversity and accept their responsibility for practicing those concepts. Students are taught that prayer is the communication with God and a very important part of their lives. A major part of the fifth grade curriculum is the Family Life Program. Parents will be notified and asked to review the material prior to our classes in the spring.
Language Arts: Students continue to build upon their skills from the previous grades and use rules governing sentence structure and parts of speech. They have access to various multi-media resources (library, internet, etc.). Fifth graders learn to take notes in class. They will use note taking throughout all subject areas as a means to develop better organizational skills. Communication is a vital part of language arts and students plan speeches, organize group discussions and participate in class plays. They use vivid words, detail, dialogue, similes, metaphors and transition words to improve their written communication skills.
Science: In physical science, students define matter, discuss types of motion, identify chemical bonds and learn the make-up of the periodic table. In life science, they study one-celled and many-celled organisms. They compare and contrast vertebrates and invertebrates. They study and compare the six living kingdoms. Students classify and illustrate the different body systems. In earth and space science, students identify fronts and weather systems, and explain the forms of energy. In environmental science, students describe effects of pollution and discuss renewable and non-renewable resources.
Social Studies: Students study American history in fifth grade. They study and recite several historical speeches such as the Preamble to the Constitution, the Gettysburg Address, and Patrick Henry’s Freedom speech and follow a process to develop a historical research report. Students learn the structure of the lawmaking process, and compare and contrast the three branches of government. They explore the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Students identify groups that contributed to the development of the United States. Students understand that knowledge of current events enables citizens to be informed and responsible.
Math: Students are introduced to a variety of new skills including estimation of decimals, fractions, measurements, how to calculate area, perimeter, and circumference. They learn that communication skills are vital to create and interpret graphs and charts. They are introduced to problem solving strategies, and learn to identify patterns, and use reasoning/logic, and probability and statistics. Students apply divisibility rules for 2,3,5,9,10 and compare and order whole numbers, fractions and decimals.
Physical Education/Health: Students learn the fundamentals of a variety of sports. Through their daily activities they learn to value team participation. All students take the annual Presidents’ Physical Fitness test. They study consumer and environmental health and learn the effects of all types of drugs. Most importantly, they learn ways to maintain a functional level of good health habits.
Art: Fifth grade students develop their skills in drawing, painting, sculpture, crafts, small construction and collage. The class meets every week and works on a multitude of projects which expand on the elements and principles of art introduced in the earlier grades. The students analyze how the elements and principles make up a good composition, and expand their knowledge of art materials and techniques. The students understand that art communicates meaning in their own work and in works throughout art history. Good citizenship is a must, as is respect for others and their artwork. The value of Christian ideals is practiced along with teacher reinforcement of self-esteem for student success.
Band/Music: Fifth grade students have the option of choosing band or music. Each meets twice a week all year long. Band students learn to play the instrument of their choice, read simple music, and blend with other musicians to make joyful, recognizable music as a band. The students must be willing to practice each day in order to keep up with the demands of playing in a group. There are two concerts, one in January and another in May. Students who take Music have class two times per week. The students learn to read and compose simple music, clap rhythms, learn time signatures, keys, notes, and to begin sight-reading. Fifth Grade music classes develop note-reading skills through singing and rhythm band instruments. The students sing a variety of songs and learn to appreciate all kinds of music.
Technology: Students attend computer class once a week. They learn keyboarding, computer concepts, Windows 2000, word processing, spreadsheets, databases, and Power Point presentations.
Foreign language: All fifth graders have an introduction to the French language during the second and third quarters of the school year. The students also have the opportunity to learn Spanish. They study such topics as the days of the week, months, names, letters, and simple phrases.
Sixth & Seventh Grade Curriculum
Reading: The grade six and seven reading classes study traditional areas of literature including the novel, short story, non-fiction essay, drama, and poetry. They learn literary structure and terminology through lecture and class discussion and written/artistic projects. The students read books independently of the class and write a selected number of book reports. Teachers strongly emphasize the development and use of composition skills throughout all subject areas of the Middle School curriculum.
English: Sixth and seventh grade students spend five days per week studying English: writing compositions, giving oral presentations, and studying English grammar. Students compose letters and personal narratives; write expository papers and persuasive papers, poetry, fictional stories, and comparative essays. The writing focuses on organization, ideas and content, sentence fluency, and voice. The third quarter project is a research paper using such conventions as footnotes and bibliographies. In addition, students practice creating and giving clear, concise, oral presentations. Grammar focuses on punctuation and capitalization, parts of speech, and other rules of English.
Math: Math classes for sixth and seventh grades have several different levels with each using a different textbook. Entrance testing and teacher recommendation determine a student’s group and textbook. Our goal is to challenge each student in math without making the student work beyond ability or mental readiness. Sixth graders may take Course 1, Course 2, or Pre-Algebra. Seventh graders may take Course 2, Pre-Algebra, or Algebra I.
Course 1 – This is a sixth grade math class that emphasizes the basic operations with fractions and decimals. Measurement, percent, patterns, problem solving, ratios, and geometry are also part of the course. The class briefly explores the use of integers working with variables, and simple graphing on a coordinate plane.
Course 2 – This is a seventh grade level math class. It repeats most of the skills from Course 1, and introduces algebraic concepts. Students continue to work on basic operations with fractions and decimals but focus more on variables. Operations with integers, solving simple algebraic equations, and graphing on a coordinate plane are all large parts of the curriculum. The class emphasizes and practices problem solving throughout the year.
Pre-Algebra – This is an advanced course equivalent to average eighth grade math. Pre-algebra focuses on getting a student ready for Algebra I with emphasis on integers and equation solving. The course covers ratios, powers, and exponents in addition to more extensive coordinate plane graphing. Students practice problem solving throughout the course.
Algebra I – This is an advanced course equivalent to average ninth grade math. Algebra I moves at a fast pace and is taught as a high school-level course, including end-of-semester exams. Students solve, write, and graph both linear and quadratic equations and inequalities. The study of exponents and ratios continues. The course introduces polynomials, factoring, rational expressions, functions, and radicals. Students practice problem solving throughout the course.
Religion: The religion classes for grade 6 encompass prayer and liturgy, the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, its history and traditions, the Sacraments, and an overview of the Bible (New and Old Testament). The fourth quarter of the year students study the Family Life curriculum with emphasis on human sexuality. Each class period begins with gathering in the prayer corner for a reading from the Scriptures, communal prayer highlighting the children’s individual intentions, and a song. This course is interspersed with written/ oral projects and reports, pantomimes, and drawings.
The Religion Course for grade 7 encompasses prayer/liturgy, teachings of the Roman Catholic Church and its faith and traditions, sacraments, peace and justice, morality, and family life. Seventh grade religion emphasizes spiritual development through concentration on prayer. A special segment of the course introduces in-depth understanding of the Mass. Students study Family Life curriculum with emphasis of human sexuality during the fourth quarter of the year. Students must make an autobiographical scrapbook to satisfy a class requirement. The scrapbook provides for enhancement of the student’s sense of self!
Social Studies: The social studies curriculum for sixth grade covers world history. The students study early cultures from Asia, Europe, and Africa through modern European expansion and revolutions. Instruction continually reinforces map, geography and writing skills. The students complete hands-on projects and a research paper on a country or region of their choice. This is a culminating activity done in conjunction with the English class.
Social studies in seventh grade cover the period of time in U.S. history from 1860 to the present day. The use of current events helps students connect with the past as well as understand change in society. Instruction emphasizes correlating and sequencing events, writing and map skills, and reading for comprehension. Students learn outlining skills that they practice throughout the year. The students complete outside projects both individually and in small groups.
Science: Sixth grade includes earth and space science and physical science. Students receive instruction in basic meteorology. Students learn about the earth, its characteristics and place in our solar system, galaxy, and universe. Students study the relationships between Earth and the sun and moon and investigate the possibility that other heavenly bodies may be able to support life. The course reviews scientific discoveries, theories, and scientists in relation to earth and space science. Students complete projects on constellations and are encouraged to observe the nighttime sky as we study astronomy aspects in class. The properties of light are covered as they apply to space travel. The Internet and software programs infuse the astronomy lessons.
Physical science comprises a major section of sixth grade science. Students expand on their concept of atomic structure. Chemistry experiments provide ways to explore various types of mixtures, chemical properties, and physical properties. Students memorize the first 18 elements on the periodic table, including the atomic number and symbol. Students may be required to choose an element and complete an oral and visual report on that element.
Energy is another major unit in sixth grade, and instruction includes the study of methods of energy production. Students take Internet field trips to observe the Hoover Dam and to visit a wind farm. Students learn about nuclear energy, coal mining, and the advantages and disadvantages of fossil fuels. A tour of our school buildings (everything from boilers/radiators to modern technology) lends itself to the discussion of heating and cooling (conduction and convection). Students build solar ovens during the solar energy study. We challenge our students with the question, “What is the best method (other than modern ways) of keeping an ice cube from melting?” Life science comprises all of seventh grade science and therefore is not part of the sixth grade curriculum.
Seventh grade life science focuses on the different forms of life on earth. Instruction in cell theory and genetics includes historical perspectives as well as investigation into more recent discoveries including the basics of cloning and the Human Genome Project. Students study the cell and its organelles and complete a project related to the cell. Microscopes, the Internet, and other types of technology enhance science studies. The majority of the year seventh grade science focuses on the kingdoms, classification and major phyla. Studies include diversity and adaptations of organisms. Students observe species from each kingdom and discuss how they affect humans. The class also covers theories of life science, scientists, and major discoveries.
French/Spanish: In both sixth and seventh grade, students study one semester each of French and Spanish. Instruction in the form of a thematic approach to the language includes studying items such as food, clothing, numbers, family members, colors, school supplies and classes. The instructor conducts the class using present tense verbs and simple grammatical structures. Playing games, singing songs, and doing projects in French and Spanish classes reinforce language learning. The objective is to provide students with an overview of the French/Spanish culture and language so they can make an informed decision when choosing a foreign language to study in Upper School.
Physical Education and Health:Sixth and seventh grade health/physical education classes begin with warm-ups and calisthenics and end with a cool-down period. Students learn basic team sports(volleyball, softball, badminton, basketball, soccer, football, and hockey) and their accompanying skills, always stressing basic safety and sportsmanship. They explore movement, rhythm, dance, and floor exercise, and are responsible for designing a short routine, either individually or in a small group, to perform for the class. Students learn the value of lifetime sports and physical activity, and they take the President’s Physical Fitness Test each year.
The health curriculum for middle school is covered in three subjects: religion, science, and physical education. Students learn about personal and mental wellness as they relate to their self-concept and esteem, nutrition and healthy lifestyles, eating disorders, drug education and peer pressure, disease prevention and control with an emphasis on HIV and AIDS, violence prevention and conflict resolution, safety and first aid, environmental health, and community/consumer health.
Art: In sixth grade, students study art for nine weeks. The class meets 30 minutes daily and the students work extensively on the basic fine art skills of drawing, painting and sculpture. Beginning drawing introduces contour and shading methods, and students monitor their progress by keeping a weekly sketchbook. In color theory, each student designs his/her own color wheel. The class also works on a number of projects designed to strengthen concentration on the principles and elements of art. Instruction adds to their knowledge of art materials and techniques. The students understand that art communicates meaning in their own work as well as works throughout art history. At the end of the nine-week, students take a comprehensive test to evaluate their progress. Students develop good citizenship and respect for others and their artwork. The teacher reinforces student self-esteem and encourages students to practice Christian ideals.
Seventh grade art students meet for thirty minutes five times a week for one quarter. They spend the nine-week period working extensively on refining the fine art skills of drawing, painting, sculpture and collage. Drawing skills expand to include advanced subject matter, such as still life and figure drawing. The class also works on a number of projects to deepen students’ knowledge of the principles and elements of art and reinforces their prior learning of art materials and techniques. The nine-week period culminates with a comprehensive test and an assigned research paper. Students understand that art communicates meaning not only in students’ own works, but works throughout art history. Students develop good citizenship and respect for others and their artwork. The class models Christian ideals and the teacher reinforces students’ behavior.
Music/Band: Students in sixth grade have the option of taking band or music. Student who take band go to class five times a week for the entire school year. They commit to practicing their instruments outside of school and to playing at two concerts. Sixth grade band students do not participate in the rotations of music, computer, art, and study skills, but they have the opportunity to return to the rotation as seventh graders.
Seventh grade band students take band before school each morning from 7:30AM-8:00AM along with the Upper School band students in Advanced Band. These students also play two concerts, several athletic events, and some outside concerts each year. The Advanced Band students must be dedicated to the band program. As Upper School students, they will receive a half-credit per year for their attendance and performance.
The other sixth and seventh graders attend music class for one quarter each year. Students learn music theory and appreciation, how to read notes and time signatures, and count rhythms. They learn to sight-read and sing as a group and listen to other groups perform. Tone and pitch are skills that they can master at this level.
Study Skills/Life Skills: The objective in Study Skills is for sixth graders to learn and improve skills that are vital for academic success. These skills include but are not limited to test preparation, organization, note taking, time management, story reading and writing. Students “learn about learning” and apply these skills more effectively within their 6th grade classes. They continue to use these tools throughout their middle and high school years. Classes are for thirty minutes daily for one quarter.
Seventh grade students explore life skills for one quarter each year. Life Skills introduces students to money matters in everyday life. The students learn how to budget and, perform cost comparisons of products, and how consumers get into financial debt via credit cards. Students then investigate the benefits of interest bearing accounts versus interest charged for home and automobile loans. It is a real eye opener when they discover the actual cost of taking out a home loan!
Technology: In a nine-week period, students learn basic vocabulary related to technology as well as basic operations. Social, ethical, and human issues are introduced to guide students to be responsible users of this technology that opens many doors for them. Students learn to use applications such as Microsoft Power Point, Excel spreadsheet, and Word. Both grade levels are introduced to MLA formatting which will be utilized across the Middle School and High School curriculum. In the sixth grade, Power Point is used to create timelines, a family tree, as well as to do a presentation. We also use spreadsheets to create puzzles, graphs and charts. In the seventh grade, some of the projects include Internet Scavenger Hunts, a Power Point presentation on a European city researched online, a travel brochure, and spreadsheets created from information gathered that also requires chart and graph skills. The Internet is used for the students to find specific material related to a given topic.