CATECHISM AND BIBLE HISTORY
These are clearly the most important courses taught here at St. John's. This instruction is the very reason you have chosen to send your child to our school! Pastors Lindemann and Kuckhahn will provide daily focused instruction in these two subjects. But as I go through each school day, the truths of God's Word will inform all my teaching. It is amazing to me how much time we spend talking about God and the things of God in all the other curriculum areas. This is, truly, my favorite part of what I do.
All students will use Saxon textbooks. Saxon is a highly regarded math program because the lessons have two great features. First, each lesson adds a small piece of a much larger concept. As each new concept builds on itself from day to day, learning is deeper and easier and mastery is more likely to be achieved. Second, each day's problem set is largely repetitive. This means that of the 30 daily problems, only a few will relate to the new material. A few more will relate to recent lessons and the rest of the problems will review material from the entire school year. This assists with achieving mastery and aids in long term retention.
This year we will study the building blocks of all creation. We will start learning about atoms and elements. Later in the year, we will study the science of force, motion, and energy.
Our history book covers the history of America from its earliest beginnings to the 20th century. That's a lot to cover! Much of it will already be familiar, so I plan to dig more deeply into some of the content. One source we will use to achieve this is the Library of Congress. The Library of Congress allows educators and students to access primary and secondary sources. My hope is that reading these first-hand accounts will bring our nation's story alive for the students.
Our English textbook provides an excellent overview of grammar and usage. After we have thoroughly reviewed our grammar, syntax, usage, and punctuation skills, we will complete 2 or 3 writing projects as the year comes to a close.
My plan for our upper graders is to have them read, and read, and read, and read! I employ a technique known as free reading. We do not have a reading textbook, nor do we read the same novel at the same time. Rather, each student is given a goal of reading 40 books through the course of the school year. This is a lofty goal! Even if each student doesn't hit 40 books, I expect that each student will read more than before. This will help the students to become lifelong readers. We read 30 minutes daily in the classroom and I ask the students to read another 30 minutes daily outside the classroom. This can be achieved in one stretch or accomplished by reading for 5 or 10 minutes when the opportunity arises. Along with our free reading, we will complete an interactive notebook that teaches the elements of fiction and literary devices. After that work is done, we will study poetry. Please ask your student frequently about what he/she is reading.
We will study examples of music from each decade of the twentieth century and will also review the parts and instruments found in the orchestra. Along with this, we will study our Lutheran hymnal and learn more about worship and the music connected with it.
Our art class will take us through the elements of art such as line, color, space, and texture. We will create projects that allow us to utilize the skill we've discussed. Everyone will be drawing! Even the shy ones! :) We will also take an in-depth look at some well-known artists.
We are blessed to once again have Mrs. Randall come in once a week to teach P.E. to our students. She does a great job! She will teach class on Fridays and I will reinforce whatever skill or concept she is teaching during our Tuesday class.
Each grade will work through a 36 lesson spelling textbook. While we will spend some time looking at the material together, this is almost entirely independent work. By doing the work faithfully and carefully, your child will master dozens of words this year. Please encourage hard work and careful study for each week's spelling test.
We will read and learn together using our subscription to Scholastic News. This is a great classroom resource because it provides a nice overview of the events taking place here in America and around the world. We also watch CNN10- a daily 10 minute newscast for elementary students produced by CNN. Our school also has a subscription to a service called Newsela. Newsela allows me to assign non-fiction material for the students to read and interact with. Newsela articles are often related to current events and the program allows me to assign the same story written at an appropriate reading level for every student.