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Curriculum Overview

Curriculum Overview for Solomon Schechter Day School of Las Vegas. What Your Second Grader Will Know When They Finish The Year.

Jewish Studies
We are a school proudly aligned with the Conservative Movement. We adopt the guiding principles of our Movement for our school's curriculum and program. As such we provide learning and experiences that encourage: development of a personal relationship with God; centrality of Mitzvah and Torah Study; valuing and cherishing Jewish plurality and diversity, both within our school and the larger world around us; and identity with Jews in Israel and the world.
As a Conservative Day School, we teach, experience, and celebrate mitzvah. All of the mitzvot are both taught and observed throughout our school program. Much of the Mitzvah curriculum is implicit in all phases of our school program. This applies both to mitzvot we traditionally call “ritual” (mitzvot bein Adam l’Makom) and those we sometimes refer to as “ethical” (mitzvot bein Adam l’chavero). For example, all children give tzedakah each week. So too, Kashrut is strictly observed throughout the school. At the same time, we teach respect for teachers through an emphasis on proper behavior. Children observe the mitzvah of kavod ha Brit through recognition of the differences among our students and teachers. While we recognize the wide range of observances among our families, the school remains committed to the observance of mitzvot for our children and families. The children in Second Grade focus on the mitzvah of Kashrut. They learn about the different categories of kosher food and the different symbols used to indicate kosher food items.

Among the mitzvot lived in Second Grade are:
  • • Identifying Ma’asim Tovim – Good Deeds
  • • Identify Gemilut Chasadim – Acts of Kindness toward our friends
  • • Hachnasat Orchim – Welcoming Guests
  • • Bikur Cholim – Sending cards and calling others when they are sick
  • • V’ahavta l’rayecha kamocha – Loving our neighbor as ourselves
  • • Applying the Birchot Ha’Shachar to identifying needs in other people
  • • Tzedakah
  • • Shabbat – Candles, Kiddush & Challah
  • • Food – Kashrut & Brachot
  • • Tefillah
Tefillah is seen as the central way we express our thoughts, needs, and wishes as Jewish people. Tefillah teaches us the central categories of Jewish values and helps us communicate with God. Because the school sees Hebrew as the language of the Jewish people, tefillah is always done in Hebrew. Boys and girls participate equally in all aspects of the school‟s curriculum and Jewish experiences. We teach tefillah to help children learn both the matbayah tefillah (the way the tefillot are recited in the synagogue services) and the ideas and aspirations the tefillah encompasses. Tefillah is a sequential curriculum. Each year builds on the tefillot learned in the previous school years. By the end of their learning in the Elementary School, the children are capable of leading almost all of the daily and Shabbat tefillot. Tefillah is a daily experience. On Monday, the children celebrate Havdalah. On Friday, the children anticipate the beginning of Shabbat through the Kabbalat Shabbat. An overt connection is made between our school celebration and home observances and celebrations. For example, families are welcome to join us on Friday afternoons for Kabbalat Shabbat. Because Hebrew reading and writing is a central part of the Second Grade program, the children use a written text for learning the tefillot, usually a Conservative siddur (prayer book). The children receive their own siddur at the end of First Grade. They learn how to use the siddur as part of the tefillot. They study the organization and structure of the siddur. Second Grade always does the Shacharit (morning) tefillot. By the end of the Second Grade, the expectation is that our students will be familiar with the following tefillot: Modeh Ani; Mah Tovu; Reyshet Chochmah; Birchot haShachar; Baruch Sheamar; Ashrei; Haleluyah; Barcho...Yotzer Or; Shema v’ahavtah; Amidah – Avot Bracha; Oseh Shalom; Torah Tzeva Lano Moshe; Birchot haTorah; Aleino; Ayn Keloheino; Adon Olam; Kiddush Shel Shabbat.
Through the weekly and monthly life of the school, the children see Shabbat and the Jewish holidays as special moments for Jewish celebration. Connections are made between the mitzvot of the Torah, our Jewish life in school, and our lives as Jews at home and in the wider world. Since the holidays are annual celebrations, the classes review and include the learning from previous years. The children continue to celebrate the basic elements of all holiday observance. In Grade Two, holiday study and celebrations focus on the holidays of Tu B’Shevat, Passover, and the Counting of the Omer (the period of time between Passover and Shavuot).
The goal of Torah study is to fulfill the mitzvah of Talmud Torah. We study the Torah as the central unifying story of our people's understanding of the world and our relationship with God. By studying the Torah, we come to identify with our Jewish history and fulfill God's covenant with the Jewish people. Finally, we begin to appreciate God's commands and wishes for us as responsible and committed Jewish people. As the children enter Second Grade, they have acquired basic familiarity with the outline of the major Torah stories. They are able, therefore, to begin to inquire into the stories in a more sophisticated fashion. Through class discussion about important episodes or verses of the Torah, the children continue to study the weekly Torah reading. The children begin applying critical reading skills to the Torah stories. In Second Grade, students study the Torah from a humash. They learn how to navigate through the humash, learning the terms perek (chapter) and pasook (verse). By the end of the year, the children will have encountered each parsha for the third time since entering Kindergarten. Each year emphasizes the lifelong mitzvah of Talmud Torah. The Torah and Hebrew curricula become even more integrated as their studies of Torah require basic mastery of Biblical Hebrew. Special focus is paid to the first two parshiot of the Torah – Bereisheet and Noach – which cover the creation stories and the story of Noah.
The children continue to build on the foundation that was set in First Grade. They continue to enhance their ability to actively use their Hebrew skills. The language of instruction is Hebrew. Most children make the transition from a passive understanding of Hebrew to an active use of Hebrew. For example, the children use the teacher’s question in providing an answer. In Second Grade, however, the children actively ask their own questions and write their own stories. The children read simple Hebrew library books. They then write Hebrew book reports based on the stories. The children are also encouraged to grow more and more sophisticated in their language ability.
All children in the school learn about the State of Israel. Focusing primarily on modern-day Israel, the children daily express our love of Medinat Yisrael by singing Hatikvah at the start of the school day. The children learn about the Flag of Israel. Through our annual celebration of Yom Ha'Atzmaut (Israel Independence Day), the children learn about different aspects of modern day life in Israel, ranging from Jerusalem to the Army, from the map of Israel to the joy of Israel's existence. Finally, the children regularly engage in projects fostering their connection to the State of Israel and our responsibility to Israeli Jews. These projects range from letter writing to tzedakah projects. In Second Grade, special emphasis is paid to familiarizing the children with the map of Israel and creating a timeline of important historical events in Israel’s history – from Biblical times through the modern era. Students are encouraged to be familiar with important dates and places in the Jewish People’s journey from antiquity through the 21st century.
Language Arts
By the end of the school year, students should:
  • • Choose reading as a way to enjoy free time at school and home.
  • • Choose challenging materials to read for pleasure and for information.
  • • Use outside sources such as the public library to supplement classroom reading choices.
  • • Continue to have good literature read to them daily, and begin reading to others.
  • • Read one or two chapters from a book daily.
  • • Read a range of materials, including chapter books, picture books, informational books, etc.
  • • Use simple reference material to get information for all subject areas.
  • • Discuss books daily with the teacher, a classmate, or in a group, as well as with a parent.
  • • Keep a personal reading log to reflect current and past readings.
  • • Learn new words daily.
  • • Be able to write about, discuss, and summarize the main ideas in a book.
  • • Read aloud independently from unfamiliar books, chosen with the teacher’s help.
  • • Continue to solve reading problems using strategies such as stopping to consider whether words or sentences sound right and make sense in a story.
  • • Use cues of punctuation to guide them when reading aloud.v
  • • Know when they do not understand meanings and look for help in the text.
  • • Keep track of characters and story in a chapter book read over several days.
  • • Be able to explain the difference between fiction and nonfiction.
  • • Begin to use charts, diagrams, picture maps, and other graphic organizers independently to record important details about characters and events in stories.
  • • Compare characters, settings, and story from one book to another.
  • • Demonstrate an understanding of characters and plot by making reasonable predictions while reading a new book.
By the end of the school year, students should:
  • • Use their knowledge of all sounds and letters in the alphabet to figure out unfamiliar words.
  • • Be able to read regularly-spelled one- and two-syllable words.
  • • Recognize or figure out many irregularly spelled words by looking for familiar patterns such as common word endings (suffixes), root words, etc.
  • • Have a rapidly growing, rich vocabulary of words that they recognize on sight.
By the end of the school year, students should:
  • • Write daily for extended periods on topics that they choose themselves.
  • • Choose several writing pieces throughout the school year to develop more fully.
  • • Develop a sense of what makes a good piece of writing.
  • • Use feedback from teachers and classmates to improve their writing.
  • • Keep a collection of their writing.
  • • Have opportunities to share finished work with an audience.
  • • Implement into their work the six writing traits: word choice, sentence fluency, conventions, voice, organization, and ideas and content.
Write in order to:
  • • Share an experience or event.
  • • Learn new things and communicate information to others. o Tell a made-up story.
  • • Tell what they think about a book.
  • • Tell how to do something.
  • • Plan longer pieces that have beginnings, middles, and ends.
  • • Make decisions about which events are important to include and which to leave out when writing a story.
  • • Use dialogue in their stories and describe what characters are thinking and feeling.
  • • Use in their own writing ideas and language from books they have read.
By the end of the school year, students should:
  • • Spell most common words correctly, and use letter sounds that make sense when they make mistakes (such as "yous to" for "used to").
  • • Use different types of sentences, including longer, more complicated ones to create a fluency of expression.
  • • Make use of a word matrix in order to include new and interesting vocabulary in their writing.
  • • Use periods, question marks, capital letters, exclamation marks, and contractions.
  • • Use classroom resources such as books, charts, and word lists to help with writing.
  • • Begin the writing process with various types of brainstorming activities.
By the end of the school year, students should listen and speak daily in whole class and small group discussions, and in one-to-one conversations with the teacher, in order to:
  • • Show an understanding and appreciation of stories read to them.
  • • Use and understand many new words in conversation.
  • • Share ideas, facts, observations and opinions with classmates and teachers.
  • • Summarize information they have heard and ask questions when meaning is unclear.
  • • Hear and follow directions.
  • • Listen respectfully and learn to take turns speaking.
  • • Learn to focus on the discussion at hand, and to remain on-topic with their comments and questions.
By the end of the school year, students should:
  • • Count by twos, threes, fours, fives, and tens using a line and number charts.
  • • Count to 1,000.
  • • Use the ordinal numbers from first to thirty-first.
  • • Show two- and three-digit numbers to 99 using concrete models.
  • • Show how to write two and three digit numbers in expanded notation: 324 = 300 + 20 + 4.
  • • Study the meaning of zero in two and three digit numbers.
  • • Explore the relationship between addition and subtraction.
  • • Add and subtract two-digit numbers with regrouping.
  • • Learn about the associative property as they explore different groupings when adding three or more numbers: (2+3) + 5 = 2 + (3+5).
  • • Explore multiplication and division through sharing sets or groups, relating multiplication to repeated additions.
  • • Learn about the commutative property of multiplication by showing that the order of factors in a multiplication problem (order of numbers being multiplied) does not change the answer: 2 x 3 = 3 x 2.
  • • Show an understanding of unit fractions to 1/8, 1/10, and 1/100.
  • • Find 1/2, 1/3, and 1/4 of a collection of objects.
  • • Explore addition and subtraction using money notation (decimals).
  • • Make change for amounts of money up to $1.00.
By the end of the school year, students should:
  • • Weigh objects using grams and kilograms; measure liquids using liters and milliliters; and measure length using meters, centimeters, and kilometers.
  • • Measure time in half-hour, quarter-hour, and five-minute intervals.
  • • Use shapes to create designs.
By the end of the school year, students should:
  • • Explore two-to-one correspondence to learn about the concept of ratio.
  • • Use counters to find the missing values as in open sentences like 3 + __ = 5.
  • • Recognize, describe, and extend number sequences and patterns from 1 to 1000.
  • • Recognize, describe, extend, and create patterns with geometric shapes.
  • • Understand the basic properties of, and similarities and differences among, circles, squares, rectangles, and triangles.
By the end of the school year, students should:
  • • Collect data by measuring common items.
  • • Arrange data in tables and show the data using graphs.
  • • Discuss the certainty or uncertainty of events.
  • • Understand that some events are more likely to happen than others.
  • • Make predictions of outcomes of experiments using manipulatives such as coins, dice and playing cards.
  • • Show combinations and arrangements of groups of objects.
  • • Discuss fairness of a game.
By the end of the school year, students should:
  • • Investigate various numerical problems that arise in school.
  • • Brainstorm possible strategies before starting a problem.
  • • Justify their answers and solutions to a problem.
  • • Draw pictures or use objects to represent problems.
  • • Estimate answers before solving problems and compare estimates with solutions.
  • • Practice estimation of answers with and without story problems.
  • • Understand that a group of things may be researched by studying just a few of them (sampling).
By the end of the school year, students should:
  • • Investigate and classify materials based on their physical properties, including physical changes: water changes from liquid to a gas or solid (forms of matter).
  • • Demonstrate an understanding of sound waves and how we hear.
By the end of the school year, students should:
  • • Understand that plants and animals need air, water, and food in order to live and thrive.
  • • Investigate the life cycles and the growth and development of plants and animals.
  • • Begin to explain how plants and animals depend upon each other (adaptation and interdependence.)
By the end of the school year, students should:
  • • Observe and measure daily and seasonal changes in weather and record this data in various forms of charts.
  • • Begin to investigate why we must protect the environment.
  • • Demonstrate an understanding of the oceans, continents and the life they support.
By the end of the school year, students should:
  • • Begin to acquire information from observation, experimentation, print, and non-print sources and to record this data in a scientific journal.
  • • Begin to use information gathered from experiments.
By the end of the school year, students should:
  • • Use technology and tools such as magnifiers, balances, thermometers, and computers.
  • • Begin to use data tables to record, read and understand experiment results.
  • • Use standard and non-standard units of measurement for length, weight, and volume.
Social Studies
By the end of the school year, students should understand:
  • • Communities in the future may be different in many ways.
  • • Urban, suburban, and rural communities have changed over time.
  • • Roles and responsibilities of families in rural, urban, and suburban communities change over time.
By the end of the school year, students should understand:
  • • Rural, urban, and suburban communities and the lifestyles of the people in them are influenced by geographic and environmental factors.
  • • Their community can be located on a map.
  • • Urban, suburban, and rural communities differ from place to place.
  • • Events, people, traditions, practices, and ideas make up the urban, suburban, or rural community.
By the end of the school year, students should understand:
  • • How to use maps, globes, and atlases, noting symbols, directions, and legends.
  • • Students in Second Grade will study the oceans and continents and create an individual report on a country within South America.
By the end of the school year, students should understand:
  • • Rural, urban, and suburban communities provide facilities and services to help meet the needs and wants of the people who live there.
  • • People in rural, urban, and suburban communities are producers and consumers of goods and services.
  • • People in rural, urban, and suburban communities must make choices due to unlimited needs and wants and limited resources.
  • • Scarcity of resources requires people to make choices in urban, rural, and suburban communities.
  • • Rural, urban, and suburban communities collect taxes to provide services for the public benefit.
By the end of the school year, students should understand that:
  • • Citizenship includes an understanding of the significance of the flag of the United States of America.
  • • People living in urban, rural, and suburban communities celebrate various holidays.
  • • People living in rural, urban, and suburban communities may have conflicts over rules, rights, and responsibilities.
  • • Citizens can participate in decision making, problem solving, and conflict resolution.
  • • People in rural, urban, and suburban communities develop rules and laws to govern and protect community members.
  • • Our local communities have elected and appointed leaders who make, enforce, and interpret rules and law.
Special Studies
The Music program combines singing, clapping, and body movement with the playing of both pitched and unpitched instruments to teach beat competence, vocal development, music notation, form, rhythm, melody, harmony, timbre, dynamics, and conducting. In addition, separate educational units are presented in the areas of the science of sound, musical instruments and their respective families, unconventional musical instruments, the recorder, and famous composers. The vocal repertoire, approximately 80% of which is Judaic, is often used as a tool in teaching the elements of music.
Each week, every child in SSDS has art for approximately 40 minutes. The children learn basic methods for drawing and painting and are given opportunities to explore new media. Curriculum objectives include understanding color, composition and tone and value relationships. Historically important artists and art movements will be discussed to enhance understanding of subject matter. Children should be able to discuss their artwork and the material presented in class both in the classroom and at home.
Weekly, each students visits the library that is sticked with a variety of age appropriate reading material that they are able to check out and bring home with them. Books are returned weekly and when returned a new book may be checked out in it's place. The library helpds children facilitate a love of reading while instilling care and community responsibility.
The primary goals in Physical Education are to teach students individual and team games that stress the importance of physical activity and fitness. Instructional emphasis in Grades K-3 is based on motor skill theme development, movement concepts, and improvement in muscular strength, endurance, flexibility, and agility. In Grades 4-5, emphasis is on refinement of motor skill themes, and development of a high level of physical fitness. Students will improve skills, knowledge, and attitudes to help them lead active, healthy, and productive lives as adults.
The Computer program is fully integrated with the classroom curriculum. Kindergarten classes work on early learning programs, including early literacy and math. First Graders are introduced to a range of phonic awareness, reading, and math programs. Second Graders begin to use desktop publishing programs. They also learn basic editing skills and graphics programs. Third Graders are given their own disks to learn data management. They also use the computer as a research tool.

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