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Curriculum Overview

Curriculum Overview for Solomon Schechter Day School of Las Vegas. What Your Fifth 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 lived in Fifth Grade are:
  • • Lashon HaRa – The proper and respectful use of words,
  • • Shabbat – Candles, Kiddush & Challah,
  • • Kavod HaBrit – Honor Due God’s Creations
  • • Recognizing and appreciating the differences and diversity of people in the world
  • • Food – Kashrut
  • • Brachot
  • • Tzedakah
  • • 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. By the end of the Fifth 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...Or Chadash; Shema v’ahavtah and v’yomer; Amidah – Avot, Gevurot, and Kedusha Brachot; Sim Shalom; Oseh Shalom; Torah Tzeva Lano Moshe; Birchot haTorah; V’zot HaTorah; Aleino; Ayn Keloheino; AdonOlam; Kiddush Shel Shabbat; Kabbalat Shabbat; Tefilot Mincha – Ashrei, Amidah, Aleino. Students in Grade Five will also begin to master ta’amei ha-mikrah, trop, for Torah – the musical notation system for properly chanting Torah.
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 Holiday curriculum is integrated with the Torah curriculum which will continue to expose students to rabbinic commentary, on such holidays as Rosh Hashanah/Yom Kippur, Chanukah, Tu B’Shevat, Purim, 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. In Grade Five, weekly Torah Study (Parashat Ha’Shavua) revolves around three books of the Torah – Shemot (Exodus), Vayikra (Leviticus) and Ba-midbar (Numbers). The primary texts for more in-depth study will be Sefer Ba-midbar (The Book of Numbers) and Sefer Shoftim (The Book of Judges, from the Prophets section of the Bible).
The Fifth Grade Tal AM curriculum is a spiraled continuation of Fourth Grade both in skills and content. It also introduces new learning to acquire skills such as:
  • • Brainstorming skills.
  • • Improving retention of new vocabulary and language skills.
  • • Creative and constructive peer learning.
  • • Outline a story, plot, or essay.
By the end of the year, children should be able to:
  • • Answer all questions using complete sentences.
  • • Understand short stories and write summaries.
  • • Write short stories and long essays.
  • • Apply rules of grammar appropriate to Fifth Grade.
  • • Assimilate new vocabulary words including correct verb formation in both past and present tense.
  • • Follow all class directions.
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.
Language Arts
By the end of the school year, students should:
  • • Read and understand at least four books about one subject, or by the same writer, or in one genre of literature. (Genre Study)
  • • Read and understand informational texts (such as reference materials, newspapers, textbooks, and magazines)
  • • Show evidence of understanding their reading in both writing and classroom discussion.
  • • Skim texts to get an overview of content or locate specific information.
  • • Put together ideas and information from different books, making decisions about what is most important.
  • • Read familiar books aloud with accuracy and expression, using strategies for self-correction and to figure out unfamiliar words.
  • • Read silently and independently.
  • • Use reference books to obtain new information and words.
  • • Discuss books daily with the teacher and peers.
  • • Keep a record of the year’s reading to show goals and accomplishments.
  • • Be able to write about, discuss, and summarize the plot, setting, character, and main ideas in books and articles they have read.
  • • Compare and contrast characters, setting, and plot from one book to another, as well as with short stories and plays.
  • • Employ self-questioning techniques to improve reading comprehension.
  • • Continue to expand their growing vocabulary.
Using the literature read during the school year, students should be able to:
  • • Identify similarities and differences in themes from book to book.
  • • Think about how the author’s word choices and decisions about content communicate meaning including but not limited to the four reasons for writing (persuade, inform, entertain and how-to)
  • • Compare and contrast different types of literature.
  • • Compare and contrast character traits among characters within a story as well as between stories.
  • • Develop ideas (for example, draw conclusions, make predictions/inferences) about events, characters and settings.
  • • Select books based on personal needs and interests.
Student writing should go through a process of planning, drafting, revising, and editing before it is considered a finished product. By the end of the school year, students are required to produce four types of writing:
  • • Informational Writing, such as a Science or Social Studies report. This writing should include appropriate facts and details and analysis.
  • • A response to literature, such as a book review. This writing should show an understanding of the book’s story, setting, plot, and character development.
  • • A story, fictional or autobiographical. This writing should establish interesting characters and situations, and should include details, descriptions, problems and solutions.
  • • A narrative procedure explaining how to do something. This writing should lay out clear steps that are coherent.
All finished writing should be ready for publication.

By the end of the year, students should:
  • • Write daily on a variety of subjects.
  • • Include new and more sophisticated vocabulary in their writing.
  • • Have a well-developed sense of what makes a good piece of writing, and implement strategies for improving writing.
  • • Utilize a writing rubric and display good writing traits.
  • • Share finished work with an audience.
  • • Include details that establish a mood and tone in their writing.
  • • Include different types of characters in stories and plays that use dialogue and description.
  • • Use author’s study to incorporate language and ideas into their own writing.
  • • Use classroom resources to help with writing and editing.
By the end of the year, students should:
  • • Use all forms of proper grammar and parts of speech in their reading, writing, and speaking.
  • • Identify proper grammar usage, for example: nouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, and subject and predicate.
  • • Show mastery of paragraph structure and punctuation.
  • • Use spelling strategies for Fifth Grade content-area vocabulary.
By the end of the year, the student should:
  • • Listen and speak daily in whole class and small group discussions as well as in one-to-one conferences with the teacher.
  • • Share ideas, facts, observations and opinions with classmates and teachers.
  • • Demonstrate the difference between “fact” and “opinion.”
  • • Express his or her opinions and judgments.
  • • Present an oral report using notes and other memory aids.
  • • Collect information and identify important ideas.
  • • Ask questions to further understanding, and repeat what they have heard in their own words.
  • • Respond to questions thoughtfully, using details and examples.
  • • Take turns speaking, and respond to each other’s questions and comments.
By the end of the school year, students should:
  • • Add, subtract, multiply, and divide whole numbers, with speed and accuracy.
  • • Read and write whole numbers to billion.
  • • Learn about special numbers (primes, factors, multiples, square numbers).
  • • Continue to explore the concept of order of operations.
  • • Investigate powers of ten to develop an understanding of exponents.
  • • Demonstrate rounding and estimation skills to the nearest hundred-thousandth.
  • • Practice writing equivalent forms of decimals and fractions, and compare them using “less than,” “greater than,” and “equivalent to” symbols.
  • • Change improper fractions to mixed numbers.
  • • Add and subtract fractions with like an unlike denominators.
  • • Find the greatest common factor and least common multiple of a set of numbers. Multiply and divide decimals to the thousandths.
By the end of the school year, students should:
  • • Construct figures (polygons and circles) using a compass and protractor.
  • • Continue to explore three-dimensional figures to understand volume.
  • • Read and draw maps using coordinates.
  • • Estimate and measure the sizes of figures and objects in the real world.
  • • Select units of measure (pounds, inches, minutes, metric system) for estimating and determining quantities such as weight, area, and time.
  • • Use pictures and diagrams to show perimeter, area, volume, and circumference.
  • • Use pictures and diagrams to model lines of symmetry.
By the end of the school year, students should:
  • • Develop formulas for the area and perimeter of squares and rectangles.
  • • Use ratio and proportion to solve problems.
  • • Understand variables.
  • • Continue to develop and understanding of functions and functional relationships.
By the end of the school year, students should:
  • • Collect and organize information.
  • • Gather data about an entire group by sampling group members.
  • • Predict results and find out why some results are more likely than others, less likely than others, or equally likely as others.
  • • Show and compare data in tables, charts, and graphs.
  • • Use circle graphs to explore the concept of percent.
  • • Identify events that have different types of probability.
By the end of the school year, students should:
  • • Create, analyze, and solve word problems both written and orally.
  • • Create a problem situation based on a given open sentence using a single variable.
  • • Continue to make real life comparisons of measurements.
  • • Recognize that mathematics is found in all curriculum areas and in real world situations.
  • • Continue to develop and use mathematics vocabulary.
  • • Clarify problems by discussing them in small group situations.
  • • Use estimation, number relationships and mathematical checks to justify answers.
  • • Understanding that a group of things may be researched by studying just a few of them.
By the end of the school year, students should:
  • • Continue to investigate and describe variables of shape, material, and mass (ability of metal to conduct electricity).
  • • Continue to observe and investigate how light, heat, electrical, sound, and mechanical energy (machines/gears) affect objects as they interact with them.
  • • Describe the effects of gravity, friction, and other push and pull phenomenon.
By the end of the school year, students should:
  • • Continue to demonstrate an understanding of the life cycles of organisms.
  • • Continue to investigate how adaptations, interdependence, and environment help certain organisms survive.
  • • Understand the need for the conservation of natural resources.
By the end of the school year, students should:
  • • Continue to explore how the Earth, the Moon, and other objects in the sky move in regular patterns.
  • • Understand how the Earth's physical characteristics change over time due to natural processes (erosion).
  • • Observe the effects of energy on matter.
  • • Investigate the geology of the different layers of the Earth.
By the end of the school year, students should:
  • • Ask appropriate questions, using evidence and concepts learned from observations and reliable sources.
  • • Work independently and cooperatively to solve problems, and conduct experiments using a variety of inquiry skills.
  • • Communicate their experiences and observations in a variety of ways using the scientific method.
By the end of the school year, students should:
  • • Continue to use technology and tools such as magnifiers, thermometers, balances (scale), and computers.
  • • Continue to use standard and non-standard units of measurement for length, width, weight, and volume, and record data.
  • • Continue to use data tables and graphs to record, read, and understand scientific data/results.
Social Studies
By the end of the school year, students should understand:
  • • Different ethnic, national, and religious groups, including Native Americans, have contributed to the cultural diversity of the nation and regions by sharing their customs, traditions, beliefs, ideas and languages.
  • • Key turning points in United States history.
  • • Major explorers of the United States and the impacts of exploration (social/cultural, economic, political, and geographic).
  • • The slave trade and slavery in the colonies.
  • • Different types of daily activities during the colonial period including social/cultural, political, economic, scientific/technological, or religious.
  • • Cultural similarities and differences, including folklore, ideas, and other cultural contributions that helped shape our community, local region, and state.
  • • Colonial governments.
  • • Causes for revolution: social, political, economic.
  • • Important accomplishments of individuals and groups living in our community and region.
  • • Leaders of the Revolution.
  • • Effects of the Revolutionary War.
  • • The values, practices, and traditions that unite all Americans.
By the end of the school year, students should understand:
  • • Ways that Pioneers depended on and modified their physical environments.
  • • Geographic influences of industrialization and expansion (e.g., natural resources, location); the interactions between economic and geographic factors.
  • • Continue working with maps, globes, and atlases to gather data/information.
  • • Continue exploring how political boundaries change over time and place.
By the end of the school year, students should understand:
  • • Rural to urban to suburban migration.
  • • Ways of making a living in our local region and state.
  • • Economic interdependence (e.g., resource use; from farm to market, and worldwide impact).
  • • The labor movement and child labor.
  • • Students will learn about communities that reflect the diversity of the world’s people and cultures.
  • • They will study western and non- western examples from a variety of geographic areas.
  • • Students will also learn about historic chronology, by use of time lines.
  • • International organizations were formed to promote peace, economic development, and cultural understanding.
  • • Students will learn that the United Nations was created to prevent war, to fight hunger, disease and ignorance.
By the end of the school year, students should understand:
  • • Foundations for a new government and the ideals of American democracy as expressed in the Mayflower Compact, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitutions of the State of Nevada and the United States of America.
  • • The importance of the Bill of Rights.
  • • Individuals and groups who helped to strengthen democracy in the United States.
  • • The roots of American culture, how it developed from many different traditions, and the ways many people from a variety of groups and backgrounds played a role in creating it.
  • • The fundamental values of American democracy, including an understanding of the following concepts: individual rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness; the public or common good; justice; equality of opportunity; diversity; truth; and patriotism.
  • • The fundamental values and principles of American democracy are expressed in the Declaration of Independence, Preamble to the United States Constitution, Bill of Rights, Pledge of Allegiance, speeches, songs, and stories.
  • • The basic purposes of government in the United States are to protect the rights of individuals and to promote the common good.
  • • An introduction to the probable consequences of the absence of government.
  • • The structure and function of the branches of government, including executive, legislative, and judicial branches.
  • • The meaning of key terms and concepts related to government, including democracy, power, and citizenship.
  • • Civic values such as justice, due process, equality, and majority rule.
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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