Fifth grade students focus on meaningful, relevant, higher-level, collaborative Project Based Learning experiences and service learning. We use our learning as a vehicle to help others, sharing knowledge and service throughout the year. Students become more critical thinkers through extensive reading and writing experiences, as well as more compassionate and analytical thinkers, through frequent real world learning experiences. Students focus their learning around the questions: How can I personally connect to the planet in a sustainable way? How can my actions be a vehicle of change in the world and in my community? You can read more about fifth grade’s Kohelet Prize winning curriculum here.
“I believe that teaching about sustainability is not only important but necessary, in order for students to take an active role in making a difference for our planet. They can be change makers today and future environmental Jewish leaders of tomorrow. I believe that by giving students real world applications on sustainability issues, they become environmental advocates in their everyday lives, leaving footprints of positive and lasting change.” – Karen Hidalgo
The middle school at Austin Jewish Academy is committed to offering a rich, integrated curriculum in a stimulating and creative environment. When you visit our middle school, you will see our students actively, enthusiastically, and energetically engaged in all of their studies and activities. As you walk from classroom to classroom you might hear students engaged in a discussion on “What is democracy?” in a grade seven Humanities lesson or working on delving into a Rabbinic text. One significant change in the middle school program from that of the elementary grades is that subject classes become departmentalized with a dedicated teacher for each core subject. Our upper grade teachers have specialized knowledge of particular content areas such as science, mathematics and humanities.
Science in the Middle School builds on the scientific method learned in the elementary school. Students focus on questioning, observation, and discovery as modes of expanding on their interests in both engineering and science. Students continue experiencing hands on projects that foster engagement with the topics. In addition, students in the Middle School learn what issues involve science through research projects and in class lessons. Students are more fully engaged when they are then better able to see how science relates to them and the world around them.
We foster mathematical thinking through studying logic, operations, geometry, measurement, data collection and probability. Students are taught that math is all around us in our everyday lives. Students learn and practice calculations and learn the concepts behind the strategies they are learning to help them better explain why they are using certain strategies to solve certain problems. Our math curriculum is designed to help students use perseverance and creativity when solving problems which helps them become critical thinkers who think outside of the box to solve problems.
Students work to refine the crafts of writing and critical thinking through an integrated humanities curriculum. Mastering writing conventions and working with a variety of literature, our integrated approach gives students the opportunity to compare and contrast themes from both Judaic and general studies texts. Teachers continually encourage students to appreciate spoken and written language and look at English materials in more sophisticated and abstract ways. Through relevant and meaningful literature, students explore how and why events in history occurred, the impact these events had and different interpretations and perspectives of these events. Students also learn to find reliable sources for information through research. Students learn how to become lifelong researchers and gain an appreciation for the themes that history teaches and how these themes relate to themselves and the world around them.