Second graders are increasingly social people. They are able to interact constructively and work collaboratively. Students become more logical and begin to understand other peoples’ point of view. By participating in reading and writing workshops in the classroom, students become more confident as skills are developed. Chapter books, especially those in a series are favorites and writing is creative. Students also become more confident with math problem solving and are able to explain their thinking. Science is hands-on and includes the study of weather, water, and natural disasters, the life cycle of animals, force, motion, balance, and magnetism. AJA second graders comprehend a great deal of spoken Hebrew and are able to express themselves in their second language. They continue to advance their Hebrew skills by learning through stories and practicing phonemic awareness in their reading. In Jewish Studies, students are beginning to look at text in the Chumash as we explore Torah. They learn about integral mitzvot, Jewish ideas, the parasha, Israel, and holidays. Students continue to expand their knowledge of prayer through daily tefillah and celebrate a shabbat milestone event soon completing their Shabbat unit of study.
During the pivotal third grade year, students become increasingly independent and responsible as expectations in all areas are increased. They move from learning to read to reading to learn. Literature groups are the norm as genres are explored and discussions are focused. Because students respond in writing in all subjects, they become more confident about expressing their thoughts and ideas and become proficient at creating multi-paragraph papers. In addition, third grade is the time to learn cursive. Math moves from concrete to more abstract learning, and students experiment and master the steps in problem solving. There is an increased focus on mental math abilities as well as increasing students math vocabulary. Memorizing multiplication facts is a must for these young mathematicians. Science experiments and hands-on exploration enable students to gain a well-rounded knowledge of science and include the study of water/ocean life, renewable and non-renewable resources, as well as the solar system. In Hebrew, the goal is to develop oral and written fluency with emphasis on oral language. The materials used revolve around high frequency vocabulary and are often taught using methods such as Total Physical Response/Storytelling (TPR/TPRS). These scholars will also delve into Jewish history and more closely examine the Torah through the study of history from creation to Moses. Students master more of morning t’fillah (prayer) and learn about community and Israel through the study of kibbutzim. Students are exposed to various aspects and treasures of our community through a series of field trips and speakers throughout the year.
Students in fourth grade are ready for serious academic challenges based on self-discovery, cooperation, and communication. They are capable of and expected to take more responsibility for themselves and their learning. Basic reading, writing, and mathematical skills students have acquired in earlier grades are applied with more abstract critical thinking and greater depth. The importance of teamwork is emphasized. The study of Texas history is project based and integrated with language arts and Jewish Studies. A look at the Jews in Texas helps students understand the complexities of immigration, and the impact of Jews in America. The focus in science is inquiry based and hands on and includes the study of matter and chemistry, electricity, rocks and minerals, and the human body. In Hebrew, our goal is to develop oral and written fluency with emphasis on written language. The stories read are longer and are comprised of richer language and more advanced structures. These are often taught using methods such as Total Physical Response/Storytelling (TPR/TPRS). Also in Jewish Studies, students study biblical heroes and leaders from Sinai to the establishment of the nation of Israel including Joshua, Deborah, the kings, Daniel and more. By fourth grade, students have mastered the morning service and begin exploring the Torah Service. Friendship and relating to peers is especially important as students develop and maintain these important relationships.
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