Grades 1-8 Curriculum

Religion

The main focus of religious instruction is not only to impart the knowledge of our faith, but also to motivate our students to incorporate this knowledge into their daily living. By following the example of our patroness, Saint Theresa of the Child Jesus, we are led to see how “little ways” can make a difference. The students are encouraged to reach out to others in the parish community, their neighborhood, and their world through our outreach program.

Our kindergarten students are introduced to topics such as creation, types of families, Jesus our friend, and how we can be friends with each other. In grade one the children are introduced to Jesus as our Savior. Students in grade two prepare for the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist. In grade three the children are introduced to the basic beliefs of the Catholic Church. The Commandments and Beatitudes are the focus of instruction in grade four. In grade five the focus of the curriculum is on the Sacraments and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The focus in grade six is on the Old Testament. The concentration is seventh grade is on the New Testament and Jesus as the Way, the Truth and the Light. The students in grade eight learn about the history of the Church. Eighth grade also prepares for the Sacrament of Confirmation.

Reading

Appreciating literature is a primary goal in all grade levels. Flexible grouping is utilized to supply remedial support for developing skills and extension activities to develop advanced readers. A reading portfolio is maintained on every child to provide consistency in instruction throughout the grades.

Reading Readiness begins in kindergarten with letter recognition and letter sounds. Basic sight vocabulary is introduced and begins to be developed in the second semester of kindergarten and is built upon at each grade level through grade six. Strong emphasis is placed on phonics in grades one through three as well as word recognition, basic skill development, improving comprehension skills, and responding to literature.

While continuing skill development, the intermediate grades’ focus moves from learning to read to reading to learn. The middle grades use literature series to support skill development and mastery of reading strategies as well as story structure and writing techniques.

Math

The mathematics program nurtures and develops skills from the math readiness level through the algebra program. Problem solving, reasoning, estimation, measurement, and critical thinking skills are emphasized in all grade levels. All skills are introduced using manipulatives then are developed, maintained and expanded upon. A math portfolio is maintained on every child to provide consistency in problem solving skills.

In kindergarten, first and second grade basic mathematical skills and concepts are introduced where the major focus is on number recognition and place value, the addition and subtraction of whole numbers, creating graphs, and estimating.

In third, fourth and fifth grade skills are sharpened through oral drills, written practice, and problem solving. The major emphasis is on multiplication, division and fractions.

In sixth, seventh and eighth grade students are grouped based on mathematical ability. The major focus at this level is decimals, probability, and pre-algebra development. Students showing a strong aptitude are given the opportunity to participate in an enrichment course. Pre-Algebra I and II are offered in grades six and seven followed by Algebra in grade eight. Depending on the high school, students in our mathematics program may be eligible to test into advanced math classes in high school.

Language Arts

The Language Arts program teaches the techniques necessary for good written and oral communication, while fostering creative expression. The curriculum helps students acquire a command of English grammar, while developing critical thinking and oral communication skills. A writing portfolio is maintained from kindergarten through eighth grade. This portfolio contains samples of the various writings that are emphasized in each grade level.

The Language Arts program has adopted the English Language Arts Common Core Curriculum guidelines for writing. Students write for different purposes and audiences. Students learn to write clear and focused text that conveys a well-defined perspective and appropriate content. Semi-annual diocesan assessments are administered in grades three to eight to insure proper implementation of the English Language Arts Common Core Guidelines.

In the primary grades basic skills in grammar, usage, mechanics, thinking skills, writing skills, vocabulary and dictionary skills and response to literature are emphasized. Writing skills are developed through the use of journals and creative writing.

In the intermediate grades basic skills are expanded upon with an emphasis on the writing process across the curriculum. Through writing, the students further engage in higher level thinking skills, such as analyzing comparing and making judgments.

Handwriting is emphasized at all grades. Proper writing position, size, slant, spacing, letter formation, and neatness are taught. The students begin to learn cursive writing in second grade.

Social Studies

The social studies program introduces and fortifies concepts that aim to shape our students to have strong perceptions of self and others as children of God. Key among our objectives is to provide current event study as well as the development of map skills. The goal is to educate our students to become highly aware and socially conscious citizens, who will strive for stability of the family, protection of the environment, and assurance of a just government for all.

In the primary grades lessons integrate the social sciences. The focus shifts from self and the family to the community and the world.

In the intermediate grades the curriculum begins with the study of different types of communities. The program then proceeds to regions of the United States with a concentration on Pennsylvania history, geography, culture, and economics. The program then includes studies of early American history and our neighbor to the north Canada.

In the middle grades the curriculum focuses on the ancient world, its peoples, customs, innovations, and beliefs. Students also embark on geographic exploration of the modern world. The curriculum then includes an examination of the United States history from America’s first settlers through the Reconstruction Era. An in-depth study of current and world events is also linked to each area of the program.

Science

The Science Curriculum Committee for the Diocese of Allentown has referenced and incorporated the National Science Educational standards into our Science Standards. This committee also incorporated the Next Generation Science Standards, the Core Curriculum for Reading and Writing in Science, and the Academic Standards for Science and Technology and Engineering Education by the State of Pennsylvania.

The primary grades focus on life-cycles and the basic needs of plants and animals. Seasonal changes and adaptations are explored. The human body systems and behaviors are covered along with their influence on environmental conditions. Physical properties of objects such as hot/cold, mass/weight, measurement, and capacity are observed. Other topics include heat, sound energy, physical properties, and weather features. Utilizing the Scientific Method, students plan, create, and execute experiments.

The intermediate grades build and expand on the concepts covered in the primary grades as well as focus on the Earth's systems of water, land, weather, carbon and nitrogen cycles, and their interactions.The solar system of planets and other bodies that orbit the Sun in predictable paths are observed. Experiments with force, motion, gravity, friction, energy, and different types of matter are planned. The Scientific Method is practiced through hands-on experiments as well as through the use of live web cast experiments.

Sixth grade science curriculum includes both physical and chemical sciences. The major topic areas include: atoms, elements and the periodic table of elements, compounds, molecules, acids/bases, electricity, heat transfer and simple,e machines. Seventh grade includes life science topics. Major topics include: characteristics and needs of living things, classification of life, microscopes, cells, systems of the human body, genetics, geological history and evolution. Eighth grade includes both earth and space sciences. The major topics include: the universe, galaxies, stars, the sun, the earth, moons, space history, astronomers, minerals, rocks, earthquakes, plate tectonics and volcanoes.

Information Technology

Computer:-- Technology integration through STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Arts, and Math) activities into all areas of the curriculum is the primary focus of the Information Technology and Literacy skills curriculum. All classrooms are equipped with wired computer systems, projectors, document cameras, interactive whiteboards, and other technology tools. Multiple wireless mobile computer labs are available for all grade levels and include a variety of tablet and other mobile computing devices along with wireless and wired network printing. Mastering Operating System Concepts, software application operations, media content creation skills, Digital Literacy, Digital Citizenship, Internet Safety, effective information research and information curation for all grade levels are core activities within this curriculum. New in 2013 is 3D printing for the middle school students.

Music

Concepts and skills are taught through a consistent learning sequence from kindergarten through grade eight. The goal is that enjoyment of music class will lead to an appreciation and love for music. As part of this program, all students participate in a Christmas concert and a spring recital. In grades four students learn how to play the recorder. Beginning in grade four students may also have the opportunity to participate in an instrumental program. The students receive weekly group instruction and may participate in a band recital twice a year. There is a fee for the instrumental program.

Physical Education

The students are introduced to age-appropriate games and sports. Physical education in the primary grades emphasizes gross motor skills, introduces rules of team games, and basic skills of ball handling. In the intermediate and middle grades the students refine their skills in team sport activities. Developing healthy lifestyle habits and good sportsmanship and respect for teammates are reinforced at every level.

Art

Art is a way for students to learn about and interact with different ideas, art forms, and materials. Students receive instruction in art theory, art history, and are exposed to art from other cultures. Creativity is encouraged, along with skill development. Using a variety of mediums, students explore ideas together, and react to learn from each other. They are challenged to develop their artistic abilities and create meaningful artworks.

Spanish

Children study the language and culture of Mexico and Spain. They learn fundamental vocabulary, grammar, and conversational phrases. Through songs, games, and plays they acquire the language of Spanish speaking countries.

Library

Our library has a large selection of literature suitable for students at every level. Students are exposed to all genres of literature to provide a foundation for lifelong love of reading. Non-fiction books and other resource materials, both in print and on-line, are available to reinforce, supplement, and enrich classroom curriculum topics. Following the Diocesan Library Standards, students learn about library organization, research techniques, and study skills.

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