Fine Arts: Students at every grade level participate in art and music classes. They explore the fine arts as they learn about and utilize a variety of media and techniques. In music, students learn about music theory and prepare for regular performance. Students have the option of participating in the school band and/or choir.
Physical Education: Students learn the importance of exercise, teamwork, and sportsmanship in physical education class. Students develop motor skills in the primary grades that then can be applied in athletics in the upper grades.
2a. (Elementary Schools) Reading: (This question is for elementary schools only)
At St. Josaphat School a literature-based instruction for teaching reading is used. Teachers in all grade levels incorporate non-fiction and fiction pieces into their curriculum. Throughout the school year students are exposed to novels, short stories, and poetry. Through the use of literature, it is believed that students develop a broader vocabulary base, stronger reading comprehension, and improved fluency because reading is integrated into a variety of genres and writing styles across the curriculum.
In the primary and intermediate grades, teachers and a reading specialist use benchmark assessments to assess student readiness in reading comprehension. From these assessments, teachers create fluid guided reading groups that change throughout the year based upon student readiness. Within the guided reading groups, students read leveled books that are either at their instructional or independent reading level. To support their guided reading groups, teachers create literacy stations that include word recognition, vocabulary identification, and comprehension development. Teachers develop these stations with both student readiness and learning styles in mind. In addition to the guided reading groups within the classrooms, a reading specialist works with small groups in the primary and intermediate grades to support reading fluency of the emerging reader, to enhance comprehension skills of the on level reader, and to challenge the critical thinking skills of the advancing reader.
In the junior high, reading classes of emerging, on level, and advancing students are created at the beginning of the year based upon Terra Nova scores, pre-assessments, and running records. Within these classes, different literature is selected to help maintain and enhance reading fluency and comprehension based upon student readiness. Literature circles in the reading classroom create differentiated opportunities of learning and discussing. In addition to the vocabulary that students learn from their novels, we also use a vocabulary program with the junior high students. This program complements our literature-based approach because within each lesson students read a selection that incorporates the lesson’s vocabulary words.
3. Additional Curriculum Area:
One primary mission of St. Josaphat School is to develop students’ critical thinking skills. Mathematics is a perfect subject area in which to do this, and so the math curriculum is problem-based. The Archdiocese of Chicago curriculum is based on the Illinois State Standards. This curriculum encourages meaningful assessment of students’ understanding and the creation of connections across content areas. Therefore, teachers pose problems and create projects that relate to the other disciplines. For example, in a fifth grade unit on multiplication, students who are studying environmental science are given problems that explore the multiplicative effect of reducing pollution or recycling goods. On the other hand, mathematical concepts are reinforced in other subject areas. For example, eighth grade students use their understanding of algebra to solve for speed, distance, and time in their physics labs. Not only do students recognize the value of mathematics in other subject areas, but also they are able to see its use and importance in life outside of the classroom.
In accordance with a commitment to differentiated instruction, teachers provide students with different opportunities to explore and better understand mathematical concepts. Students who are bodily-kinesthetic
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