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Curriculum Overview

Curriculum Overview for Solomon Schechter Day School of Las Vegas. What Your Third 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.

Among the mitzvot learned in Third Grade are:
  • • Hachnasat Orchim – Welcoming Guests
  • • Identifying and Performing Acts of Gemilut Chasadim – Acts of Kindness
  • • Bikur Cholim – Visiting the Sick
  • • Ezrat haDadit – Acts of Kindness
  • • Tzedakah – Helping those in need
  • • Returning Lost Items and Respect for Each Other’s Property
  • • Shabbat – Candles, Kiddush, Challah, Tefillah
  • • Derech Eretz – Politeness and Proper Manners
  • • 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. The Third Grade adds the study and recitation of the minchah (afternoon) tefillot to the curriculum. A special effort is made to ensure that students in Third Grade find time to pray in the afternoons in order that they may experience an authentic minchah experience. By the end of the third grade, the expectation is that our students will be familiar with the following tefillot: Modeh Ani; Mah Tovu; Yigdal; Reyshet Chochmah; Birchot haShachar; Baruch Sheamar; Ashrei; Haleluyah; Yishtabach; Barcho...Yotzer Or; Shema v’ahavtah; Amidah – Avot, Gevurot, and Kedusha Brachot; Oseh Shalom; Torah Tzeva Lano Moshe; Birchot haTorah; V’zot HaTorah; Aleino; Ayn Keloheino; Adon Olam; Kiddush Shel Shabbat; KabbalatShabbat; Hallel for Rosh Hodesh and Holidays; Tefilat Mincha – Ashrei, Amidah, Aleino.
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. The Tal AM program provides curriculum which includes Shabbat and Holidays. It is fully integrated with the Hebrew curriculum and includes a variety of workbooks and reading books. For the holiday of Shavuot, the children study the Aseret Dibrot, Ten Commandments.
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. Torah Study in Schechter consists of both weekly study of that week’s Torah Portion (Parashat Ha’Shavua) in which students learn to glean the relevant mitzvot and values and apply them to their daily lives. Torah Study also consists of more detailed study each year of different biblical texts. Beginning with the story of God’s command to Avraham to leave his homeland, the children learn about the major episodes of Avraham’s life. The children study Avraham to see the personal and religious qualities he possessed. They study Avraham as the first Jew and the beginning of our people of our people’s relationship with God and our role as a Chosen People. The focus of the school year is the lives and events of the Avot and Emahot (Forefathers and Foremothers). The children study the travels of the Avot. There is a connection made between the lives of the Avot and our connection to the Land of Israel and to the Jewish people as a whole. As the children study each of the three Avot, they come to appreciate the nature of the religious quest. By the end of the year, the children should know and understand:
  • • Avram’s travels from Ur to Canaan.
  • • The qualities (midot tovot) of Avraham. God’s promise to Avraham.
  • • Hagar and the birth of Yishamael.
  • • Mitzvah of brit milah for all generations. Birth of Yitzchak.
  • • Death of Sarah and Avraham.
By the end of the year, children should be able to:
  • • Read and understand class material.
  • • Read independently from the classroom library and summarize in written form.
  • • Speak and write in complete sentences.
  • • Begin to apply rules of grammar appropriate to Third Grade in both speaking and writing.
  • • Actively and comfortably use classroom vocabulary words.
All children in the school learn about the State of Israel. Focusing primarily on modern-day Israel, the children express daily 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 Grade Three, students study Theodor Herzl and the founding of the Zionism in addition to David Ben-Gurion and the founding of the modern State of Israel. They become familiar with the map of Israel – including not only the modern state, but of biblical events as well.
Language Arts
By the end of the school year, students should:
  • • Choose reading as a way to enjoy free time at school and home.
  • • Continue to have good literature read to them daily in all subject areas.
  • • Read and understand chapter books as well as keep a personal log to record thoughts and ideas pertaining to the books.
  • • Read several books by the same author in the same genre, and on the same subject.
  • • Use simple reference books to obtain information and learn new words daily.
  • • Discuss books daily with the teacher, a classmate, or in a group. Be able to write about, discuss, and summarize the plot, setting, character, and main ideas in books that they have read.
  • • Compare and contrast characters, setting, and plot from one book to another, as well as with short stories and plays.
  • • Continue to read aloud independently from books they have previewed on their own, using appropriate expression.
  • • Use punctuation to help understand meaning, and read aloud fluently from books that they have chosen.
  • • Employ self questioning techniques to improve reading comprehension.
  • • Expand their growing vocabulary.
By the end of the school year, students should:
  • • Write daily for extended periods of time on topics they choose in all subject areas.
  • • Take their written work through the writing process.
  • • Have a well-developed sense of what makes a good piece of writing, and strategies for making work better and more interesting by utilizing a writing rubric and displaying good writing traits.
  • • Continue to write in a variety of genres and maintain a collection of their writing in a portfolio.
  • • Have opportunities to share finished work with an audience.
Write in order to:
  • • Share an experience or event, real or imagined (narrative).
  • • Learn new things and communicate information to others (report writing).
  • • Respond to literature.
  • • Describe how to do something (procedural writing).
  • • Begin to include details that establish a mood and tone in their writing.
  • • Include different types of characters in short stories, stories and plays developed more fully with dialogue and description.
  • • Use author’s study to incorporate language and ideas into their own writing.
By the end of the school year, students should:
  • • Spell most words correctly, and notice when a word does not look correct.
  • • Include new and more sophisticated vocabulary in their writing.
  • • Use punctuation and writing conventions correctly almost always.
  • • Use classroom resources to help with writing and editing.
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:
  • • Continue to add to their vocabulary.
  • • Share ideas, facts, observations, and opinions with classmates and teachers.
  • • Demonstrate the difference between fact and opinion. o Be able to support opinions with reasons.
  • • Present a short oral report.
  • • Give or follow multi – step directions.
  • • Listen respectfully and take turns speaking.
By the end of the school year, students should:
  • • Count, use, and read numbers through 100,000.
  • • Count to 100 by twos, threes, fours, fives, and tens.
  • • Learn about positive and negative numbers.
  • • Estimate numbers by rounding, using number lines, and measuring instruments such as thermometers or yard sticks.
  • • Predict when the sum of two numbers will be odd or even.
  • • Add two, three, and four digit numbers with sums less than 10,000.
  • • Subtract two numbers each less than 10,000.
  • • Explore the role of zero and one in multiplication.
  • • Experiment with grouping two or more factors when multiplying (associative law).
  • • Study short and long division procedures.
  • • Explore division as finding the number of equal groups of items.
  • • Explore the relationship of multiplication and division.
  • • Compare fractions using < and > symbols.
  • • Use the terms “numerator” and “denominator”.
  • • Understand the relationship between fractions and decimals.
  • • Add and subtract fractions with like denominators.
  • • Add and subtract decimals with one place (tenths).
By the end of the school year, students should:
  • • Identify equivalent units of measure (12 inches = 1 foot).
  • • Find the distance around polygons (perimeter).
  • • Investigate the properties of circles, including diameter and radius.
  • • Explore three dimensional figures to begin the understanding of volume.
  • • Investigate symmetry.
  • • Locate points on a grid and a map.
  • • Investigate solid figures, such as cubes.
By the end of the school year, students should:
  • • Use formulas to find perimeter and area of geometric shapes.
  • • Explore and explain commutative and associative properties of multiplication and addition.
  • • Find the average (mean) and mode of a set of data.
By the end of the school year, students should:
  • • Organize data using tables and bar graphs.
  • • Discuss graphs found in everyday publications.
  • • Conduct experiments and predict outcomes.
  • • Understand and use fractional notation to show the probability of the outcome of an experiment.
By the end of the school year, students should:
  • • Draw pictures, charts, and diagrams to help understand problem information.
  • • Clarify problems by discussing them with classmates.
  • • Use estimation, number relationships, and mathematical checks to justify answers.
  • • Break a problem into parts to make it easier to solve.
  • • Identify missing information in a problem.
  • • Recognize the use of mathematics in other subject areas such as Science and Social Studies.
  • • 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:
  • • Continue to observe, investigate, describe, and classify properties of matter and interaction.
  • • Observe and investigate examples of interaction and variables associated with the water cycle.
  • • Conduct simple experiments to explore electrical energy.
By the end of the school year, students should:
  • • Demonstrate an understanding of the life cycle of organisms.
  • • Investigate the characteristics of vertebrates.
  • • Observe and explain how plants and animals depend on each other (ecosystems).
By the end of the school year, students should:
  • • Observe and investigate Earth’s geology.
  • • Begin to investigate the effects of the interrelationships among the Sun, the Earth, and the Moon.
By the end of the school year, students should:
  • • Begin to describe natural events using scientific language.
  • • Work cooperatively and independently to solve scientific problems through experimentation.
By the end of the school year, students should:
  • • Continue to use technology and scientific tools to conduct and record experiments (magnifiers, thermometers, charts, and tables).
  • • Continue to use standard and nonstandard units of measurement to record, read, and understand experiment results.
Social Studies
By the end of the school year, students should understand:
  • • What a culture is and what a civilization is.
  • • How and why cultures change.
  • • Where people settle/live and why.
  • • Study the different ways in which world communities transmit values, ideas, beliefs, and traditions in the context of a multicultural society.
  • • View historical events through art, writing, music, and artifacts.
By the end of the school year, students should understand:
  • • World communities can be located on maps and globes (latitude and longitude).
  • • Regions represent areas of the Earth’s surface with unifying geographic characteristics.
  • • The Earth’s continents and oceans can be located in relation to each other and to principal parallels and meridians.
  • • World communities are influenced by environmental and geographic factors.
By the end of the school year, students should understand:
  • • Various holidays and festivals are celebrated in world communities.
  • • Why people in world communities form governments.
  • • How governments in world communities plan, organize, and make decisions.
By the end of the school year, students should understand that:
  • • The United States has a president and should understand his role.
  • • Rules and laws help govern a country (and a classroom).
  • • The United States and Israel have flags and be familiar with them.
  • • The United States has a “Pledge of Allegiance” and should know how to recite it.
  • • The United States has patriotic songs and be able to sing “My Country, Tis of Thee”.
  • • That the United States and Israel have national anthems and know how to sing them.
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, 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 student visits the library that is stocked 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 its place. The library helps 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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