Curriculum Guide תוכנית הלימודים

Arabic–Grade 8

The Beginning Arabic course will provide students with a basic introduction to the Arabic language, with a focus on the dialect spoken in Israel. The class will draw on the similarities of  Hebrew and Arabic to teach vocabulary and grammar and also to highlight the historical link between the two languages. Students will begin learning the four primary language skills: reading, writing, listening and speaking.

By the end of the course students will have mastered the Arabic script and learned basic grammatical concepts such as verb conjugation and agreement, and begin building vocabulary. They will be able to read street signs in Israel, read and write simple Arabic texts, and conduct basic conversations with Arabic speakers. We will cover topics such as greetings, weather, telling time, shopping and hobbies. They will also leave the course with a greater understanding of Arabic society and culture.

Chumash –Grade 6

The course description for Grade 6 Chumash is currently being updated to reflect program changes and enhancements.

Chumash –Grade 7

Text: Vayikra. The focus is on Parashat Kedoshim with its many important mitzvot. The rationale and details of these mitzvot are explored. Students are taught to use “text decoding” strategies to break down, translate and understand psukim as well as Rashi commentaries. We will also to discuss what it means to be a person who strives to live a life full of mitzvot.

Chumash –Grade 8

Text: Devarim. Students continue in their development of reading and comprehension skills. With its many flashbacks, Devarim serves to review and reinforce many of the ideas they have studied in previous years. The message of the narrative and the mitzvot presented here is discussed.

English–Grade 6

Grade 6 English is comprised of both a reading and writing program. The reading program strives to encourage students to utilize a variety of strategies for accessing and exploring literature. Using Literature Circles, the class reads "Quake" by Gail Langer Karwosky. The students read two to three chapters per week, and each week, they have a “job” that they do based on the reading for that week. These jobs support reading comprehension by using various strategies that help the students interact with and make connections to the text.

The other literature for the course comes from the Junior Great Books anthology. Stories are read aloud and then the students do a second reading on their own or in groups, where they look for, and mark certain passages that we may focus on later. Skills such as "Directed Notes" and "Shared Inquiry" are modeled for the students.

In sixth grade writing we combine the writing process with the Six Traits of Writing. We have mini-lessons on the various steps of the writing process – Brainstorming, Drafting, Editing (self, peer, teacher), Revising, Final Edit, and Publishing, as well as on the Six Traits of Writing – Ideas, Organization, Voice, Sentence Fluency, Word Choice, Conventions plus Publishing which is also considered to be a Trait. The students utilize class time to write in their writing journals. We encourage (and teach) the use of a “writer’s notebook,” to try new (not tired) words in their writing. We teach how to write in paragraphs, and we introduce a rubric of the six traits as well, so students can monitor their own writing. The writing process culminates in a “publishing party,” where the students read their stories to each other, and then have an “open mic” session where they read selected passages out loud to the whole group. Last year, we had five publishing parties, including our “Poetry Slam” following our poetry unit, where the students read their original poetry to the whole middle school. The writing process provides stimulation for the children’s voices to emerge as writers. They become comfortable with writing and they produce work that they value and own. We continue to use the writing process and writing traits rubric when we approach other genres of writing and when we encounter different genres in our reading. Additionally, we work closely with the other sixth grade teachers to inform them about what we are doing, and to promote writing across the curriculum.

English–Grade 7

Seventh grade English class is supported by four major pillars: reading, writing, grammar, and vocabulary.

For many 7th grade students, the titles on this year’s syllabus represent their first exposure to classic texts written for adults including works by John Steinbeck, Jack London, Lorraine Hansberry, George Orwell, and Arthur Conan Doyle. To ease this transition, our first novel is the young adult classic, The Outsiders.

Through our examination of classic texts (including novels, short stories, and a play) students will learn about elements of plot, theme, and characterization, and will demonstrate that understanding orally and in writing.

Our writing studies have a concentration on mystery via a study of The Hound of the Baskervilles, and allegory via Animal Farm. Students will be familiar with and demonstrate their understanding of the writing process, of six major writing traits and of various types of writing. They will learn a variety of grammatical conventions and will increase their vocabulary to be able to use in their writing between 200-300 vocabulary words. In addition, 7th graders will learn various facets of poetry, will compose poems, and will perform poetic pieces of their own composition and others.

English–Grade 8

Our reading and writing encompasses the theme Perspective. In literature, students will use literary concepts including theme, metaphor, imagery, and characterization to deepen understanding of texts. They will learn how to read “beneath and between the lines" and discuss texts (speak and listen) in a respectful and inquisitive way. Our syllabus includes To Kill a Mockingbird, Night and Fahrenheit 451.

In grammar, vocabulary, and writing, students will learn how to recognize and correct common grammatical errors in context as well as how to transfer skills learned in grammar mini-lessons to their own writing. Students will also create poetry, personal vignettes, and short stories and will practice expository writing through extemporaneous in-class and planned multi-draft essays. Eighth graders will know what a thesis statement is, how to write a strong one, and how to use quotations from the text to prove a thesis.

Hebrew Language –Grade 6

Beginning in sixth grade, students study the innovative NETA curriculum that was developed by Hila Kobliner of Hebrew College in Newton, MA and generously funded by the Avi Chai Foundation.

Students are grouped by levels, based on a placement exam that tests for Hebrew language proficiency. The course, which is taught in Hebrew, meets four times each week.

In some classes, students are “introduced” to Israeli teenagers by watching them in specially made educational movies that are part of the NETA curriculum. It is interesting to see Jewish life of Israelis, based on vocabulary and grammatical structures dealt with in the book. The program incorporates both traditional, as well as Modern sources. For example, students study Midrashim and Perakim from the Tanach, discussing various ideas from each chapter. The curriculum integrates themes from Torah, Medinat Yisrael, and Israeli culture.

Sixth graders are grouped into two levels based on proficiency.

Level I Students who complete this level will be able to:

  • Speak: in short dialogues about daily life or customs (acquaintances, school, schedule of the day, Shabbat, Holidays)
  • Write: a paragraph on a personal topic (description, information, impression, a memo, an assertion of opinion)
  • Read: a paragraph of information or a description, a story or a folk tale
  • Listen: comprehend a short dialogue about daily life, summarize a short informative lecture on places, customs, groups of people and social phenomena

Level II Students who complete this level will be able to:

  • Speak: in dialogues about school, family, entertainment, personal preference, the weather, or place description; ask questions in an interview, answer and report; express an opinion and support the opinion with reasons
  • Write: short notes (greeting, apology, thanks, invitation), a personal letter, an impersonal letter (announcement, request, report)
  • Read: comprehend an informative paragraph; an opinion supported by reasons; a short story, general comprehension of a simple poem, or a few biblical verses
  • Listen: comprehend a short dialogue about daily life; generally comprehend a simple song; comprehend a short informative lecture about modern life, tradition and habits

Hebrew Language –Grade 7

Beginning in sixth grade, students study the innovative NETA curriculum that was developed by Hila Kobliner of Hebrew College in Newton, MA and generously funded by the Avi Chai Foundation.

Students are grouped by levels, based on a placement exam that tests for Hebrew language proficiency. The course, which is taught in Hebrew, meets four times each week.

In some classes, students are “introduced” to Israeli teenagers by watching them in specially made educational movies that are part of the NETA curriculum. It is interesting to see Jewish life of Israelis, based on vocabulary and grammatical structures dealt with in the book. The program incorporates both traditional, as well as Modern sources. For example, students study Midrashim and Perakim from the Tanach, discussing various ideas from each chapter. The curriculum integrates themes from Torah, Medinat Yisrael, and Israeli culture.

Sixth graders are grouped into two levels based on proficiency.

Level I Students who complete this level will be able to:

  • Speak: in short dialogues about daily life or customs (acquaintances, school, schedule of the day, Shabbat, Holidays)
  • Write: a paragraph on a personal topic (description, information, impression, a memo, an assertion of opinion)
  • Read: a paragraph of information or a description, a story or a folk tale
  • Listen: comprehend a short dialogue about daily life, summarize a short informative lecture on places, customs, groups of people and social phenomena

Level II Students who complete this level will be able to:

  • Speak: in dialogues about school, family, entertainment, personal preference, the weather, or place description; ask questions in an interview, answer and report; express an opinion and support the opinion with reasons
  • Write: short notes (greeting, apology, thanks, invitation), a personal letter, an impersonal letter (announcement, request, report)
  • Read: comprehend an informative paragraph; an opinion supported by reasons; a short story, general comprehension of a simple poem, or a few biblical verses
  • Listen: comprehend a short dialogue about daily life; generally comprehend a simple song; comprehend a short informative lecture about modern life, tradition and habits

Hebrew Language –Grade 8

Beginning in sixth grade, students study the innovative NETA curriculum that was developed by Hila Kobliner of Hebrew College in Newton, MA and generously funded by the Avi Chai Foundation.

Students are grouped by levels, based on a placement exam that tests for Hebrew language proficiency. The course, which is taught in Hebrew, meets four times each week.

In some classes, students are “introduced” to Israeli teenagers by watching them in specially made educational movies that are part of the NETA curriculum. It is interesting to see Jewish life of Israelis, based on vocabulary and grammatical structures dealt with in the book. The program incorporates both traditional, as well as Modern sources. For example, students study Midrashim and Perakim from the Tanach, discussing various ideas from each chapter. The curriculum integrates themes from Torah, Medinat Yisrael, and Israeli culture.

Sixth graders are grouped into two levels based on proficiency.

Level I Students who complete this level will be able to:

  • Speak: in short dialogues about daily life or customs (acquaintances, school, schedule of the day, Shabbat, Holidays)
  • Write: a paragraph on a personal topic (description, information, impression, a memo, an assertion of opinion)
  • Read: a paragraph of information or a description, a story or a folk tale
  • Listen: comprehend a short dialogue about daily life, summarize a short informative lecture on places, customs, groups of people and social phenomena

Level II Students who complete this level will be able to:

  • Speak: in dialogues about school, family, entertainment, personal preference, the weather, or place description; ask questions in an interview, answer and report; express an opinion and support the opinion with reasons
  • Write: short notes (greeting, apology, thanks, invitation), a personal letter, an impersonal letter (announcement, request, report)
  • Read: comprehend an informative paragraph; an opinion supported by reasons; a short story, general comprehension of a simple poem, or a few biblical verses
  • Listen: comprehend a short dialogue about daily life; generally comprehend a simple song; comprehend a short informative lecture about modern life, tradition and habits

History - United States History–Grade 7

This survey course familiarizes students with the highlights of United States history as they are exposed to a comprehensive study of the complete story of one nation. Following a timeline of events that begins in 1492, students cover the establishment of the North American colonies, the movement for independence from Europe and the foundations of our modern democracy and constitutional government. The course touches on the significant events and topics that continued to shape the growing nation—Civil War and Reconstruction, immigration, international relations, industrialization, civil rights and race relations, and the nation's increasing role as a world economic, political, and military power. Central to this study is the development of skills in reading primary and secondary sources, mapping, analyzing information, problem solving, and understanding the political process. Students complete various projects and present their research in a variety of ways.

Mathematics–Grade 6

Essential Elements of Grade 6 Mathematics:

  • To identify and classify polygons
  • To construct, measure and classify angles
  • To find the circumference of a circle given its radius or diameter
  • To classify numbers as prime or composite and to identify their factors; to write numbers as a product of their factors
  • To identify common multiples and common factors, including the LCM and GCF, of pairs of numbers
  • To convert fractions into decimals and vice versa; to classify decimals as repeating or terminating; to multiply and divide decimals
  • To multiply and divide fractions; to interpret fractions as division
  • To understand integer concepts, including opposite and absolute value
  • To write and compute positive exponents and square roots, including powers of 10
  • To use the order of operations in applied settings
  • To solve algebraic equations in one variable
  • To identify patterns that are linear relationships from a table of values or an applied context; to write rules and expressions using variables
  • To write and compare simple ratios and proportions; to apply similarity and proportion to geometric figures
  • To write and compute percentages; to find the whole given the percentage.

Mathematics - Algebra 1–Grade 8

This course covers a wide range of first-year algebra topics. Specific topics include evaluation of algebraic expressions, exponents, roots, properties of real numbers, absolute value, scientific notation, linear equations in one, two, and three unknowns, polynomials, rational expressions, word problems, the Pythagorean Theorem, function notation and functions, solutions of quadratic equations, direct and inverse variation, and coordinate geometry.

Navi–Grade 6

In Sixth Grade Navi, we study Sefer Shmuel Alef with the primary goal of understanding Jewish leadership and the lessons we can learn from the different types of leaders presented in this captivating story. We delve into the life of Shmuel HaNavi, and address such questions as: What in Shmuel HaNavi’s life enabled him to attain the status of a prophet? What were Shmuel’s accomplishments? What were his challenges as a leader? As we progress through the sefer, we learn about the Jewish people’s first king, Saul. We discuss the differences between a Navi (prophet) and a melech (king), and we reflect on the relationship between Shmuel and Saul. We then encounter the young David, who becomes anointed as king even before Saul’s demise. We explore and analyze the growing tension between David and Saul, and we derive life lessons from this analysis. The students learn the text in Ivrit, and study elements of Ivrit Mikrait (Biblical Hebrew grammar), toward the goal of being better able to learn Tanakh independently. We begin to dabble in the medieval parshanim (exegetes) as well in order to enhance our understanding of the text.

Navi–Grade 7

In Seventh Grade Navi, we study Sefer Shmuel Bet with the dual goals of strengthening our textual skills, and engaging in analysis of the continuing story of David HaMelech. We build on the linguistic and exegetical skills of the previous year, and we add layers to each of these strands. We utilize the peirush of the Malbim and the Abarbanel to tackle such issues as: How does David become king? What are his challenges as a leader? What are his personal traits that we can emulate? What are David’s accomplishments? What factors contribute to David’s decline in power and control over his people and country? All of these questions form the basis of lively discussion and debate throughout the year. The students learn to bring support from the text, and to see a problem from multiple vantage points.

Navi–Grade 8

Text: Melachim Alef, Megilat Kohelet, selected Tehillim and Mishlei. Students study about the passing of King David, King Solomon and his triumphs and shortcomings, the building of the first Beit HaMikdash, the division of the kingdom upon Solomon's death, and the conflicts between the wicked King Ahab and Elijah the prophet. Students learn how the prophet identifies cause-and-effect incidents. Reading and comprehension of the text is emphasized. Our goals are:

  • Familiarize students with the text
  • Increase biblical vocabulary
  • Identify and appreciate structure, themes and patterns
  • Exploring parshanut and share our thoughts

Non-Western Cultures–Grade 8

This course is designed to enable students to explore the history and culture of any society. After initial instruction in those topics common to all groups—geography, history, family, religion, economics, politics and culture—students will use these general tools and engage in area studies. Area studies include, depending on time and interest, Africa, India, China, Japan and South America. Students will hone skills in mapping, basic research and essay development.

Pre-Algebra & Algebra–Grade 7

This course represents the culmination of the study of pre-algebra mathematics. Students completing the text should be well-versed in the following areas: fractions, decimals, mixed numbers, signed numbers, arithmetic operations involving all forms of numbers, order of operations, percents, proportions, ratios, divisibility, rounding, place value, unit conversion, scientific notation, and word problems involving algebraic concepts. Students will be introduced to rudimentary algebra topics such as evaluation of algebraic expressions, the simplification of algebraic expressions and the solution of linear equations in one unknown. Also included are geometric concepts and topics such as perimeter, area, surface area, volume and classification of geometric figures.

Science –Grade 6

Our 6th graders study Earth Science for the full year. Students explore the air around them and the importance of the atmosphere through hands-on experiments. They are engaged in learning about different climates around the world and make connections between science and social studies. Students move from the air to the ground by studying landforms and the Earth's changing surface. Lastly, students dive below Earth's surface to study rocks and minerals.

Science –Grade 7

The seventh grade explores living systems. Students come to recognize and appreciate that systems exist in and among living organisms, and maintain a dynamic balance. These systems range in magnitude from ecosystems to a single organism, and down to the cellular level.

We will explore the realm of genetics and heredity: Why do living things change over time, and how is information passed from generation to generation?  Students will deepen their understanding of the Scientific Method and use these skills to produce formal lab reports, as well as design and execute an in-depth experiment for Science Fair. As a culmination to the curriculum, we will study the major organ systems of the human body, leaving with an appreciation of the infinitely complex and interrelated web of balances that exist within and among us.

Science –Grade 8

In 8th grade, students use the metric system to quantitatively and qualitatively explore physical science concepts about the matter, energy and forces in our universe. After using inquiry-based scientific methods to learn about properties of matter and chemical reactions, students will create models of extremely small phenomena such as atoms to help develop an understanding of how things work. It will be especially interesting to decipher the code that lies within the Periodic Table of Elements and use it to uncover many mysteries of the universe.

Students will collaborate on projects, exploring their scientific interests in great detail and applying their knowledge and creativity in a meaningful way to positively impact their community.

Social Studies–Grade 6

In sixth grade, students focus on two areas -- maps and the Middle Ages.

Map study includes acquisition of knowledge and skills specific to working with maps as well as those related to geography.

In this course, students will learn the parts of a map, types of maps, and map terms.  In addition, students will understand the physical and political features of the world and the five themes of geography (location, place, human-environment interaction, movement, regions).  Students will be able to interpret the biases of mapmakers, and design their own maps to convey their own story.

The study of the Middle Ages includes both a focus upon the historic period and the knowledge and skills more generally related to the study of history.  During their time studying the Middle Ages, students will understand feudalism, the religious and political motivations for conflict, the chivalric ideal, and the rise of cities, including how cities led to an increased susceptibility to disease.  In a more general sense, students will learn how to read a textbook to obtain knowledge, how to take effective notes, and how to do research and report their findings.

Spanish –Grade 8

The first year of Spanish introduces students to Spanish language and culture. Students practice proper pronunciation and accent. The elements of conversation—verbs, vocabulary, grammar and idioms are taught using dialogues, games, stories, DVDs, and videos. At the end of the first year, students will be able to converse in the present and the progressive future tenses of regular and selected irregular verbs. They will also know some past tense forms and will be able to talk and write about themselves, their home, school and community.

Talmud–Grade 6

In Grade 6, we continue with elements of the “Vishanantam” curriculum begun in Grade 5. We study the mishnayot of Masechet Megillah. Students learn to identify the various opinions in the mishna and to derive the halachot from the mishna. Teachers explain key Talmudic terminology. Classes study historical elements as well as content. Additional teacher-prepared introductions to Torah Sheb'al Peh further enhance the published curricular materials. Zurat hadaf as well as the continuation of shalshelet hakabala (“Chain of Tradition”) down to contemporary poskim are emphasized.

Talmud–Grade 7

Text: In seventh grade we learn perek Tefillat HaShachar in Mesechet Brachot. We focus on exposing the students to Gemara. The practical and relatively straight forward nature of the perek serves as a great introduction to Gemara. They begin to develop their Gemara skills while learning about familiar topics in Tefillah. They learn about the format of the page as well as Rashi and Tosfot and begin to develop their Talmud vocabulary.

Talmud–Grade 8

In 8th grade, we learn Perek Hamafkid in Mesechet Metziah. We build on the skills we began to develop in 7th grade with the goal of preparing the students for high school. With this perek, students are introduced to more complex Gemara structures so they can develop their analytical thinking. The master key Gemara terms as well as common Gemara vocabulary.