The intermediate reading program is designed to increase facility finding the main idea, predicting outcomes, and drawing inferences. These skills are applied to full-length works of childrens’ literature, which vary from year to year. The reading-writing connection is emphasized through frequent theme-based and creative writing assignments.
Language Arts skills are instructed across the curriculum in all writing activities. Intermediate level instruction emphasizes applied grammar and spelling skills, paragraph formulation and beginning essay writing. Children become familiar with writing techniques, such as brainstorming, word webs, and outlining. Students are encouraged to be part of the arts program to develop confidence in front of an audience at a young age.
Students build on earlier years of reader’s theater, but they read a children’s version of Shakespeare’s comedies. Third grade reads A Midsummer Night’s Dream and fourth grade reads Macbeth. They perform for other classes and rotate performances for families once annually. The point of the program is to enhance reading comprehension skills and help students become active readers!
The goal of the third and fourth grade math curriculum is for students to engage with mathematics in a variety of ways and applications and feel comfortable and confident in the world of math. In terms of skills, the primary goals of the third and fourth grade math program are to develop and refine students’ ability to execute the four basic math operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, to apply problem solving strategies, to communicate mathematically, and to work independently.
Social Studies is a transitional curriculum utilizing an expanding world approach as students learn about their community, communities around the world, their state and their country. Particular emphasis is placed on the geography of the United States and regional differences. Research skills are fostered through map study, charts, tables, and graphs. Inquiry and project-based learning are utilized to teach map skills, such as orienteering trips and scavenger hunts using compasses.
In science, students continue to expand their understanding of life, earth and physical science. In life science, the students follow the life cycle by studying the growth and development of plants. Physical science introduces the concept of motion and properties of matter and sound. The children are introduced to the scientific method through simple experiments that encourage careful observation and accurate reporting skills.
Examples of STEM labs include, but are not limited to projects, such as constructing their own simple machines in order to explore principles of physical science and working in the science garden to follow the life cycle by studying the growth and development of plants. An annual school science fair for grades 3-8 challenges students to raise their own questions and find their own answers using the scientific method.
The religion program stresses the importance of developing a personal faith. Learning about the sacraments and celebrating them, reading scripture, and re-enacting Bible stories leads to an awareness of the presence of God. Personal faith is deepened through communal worship, prayer and song. In the Dominican tradition, students learn to be good stewards of our Earth and respect and care for all living creatures.
Field trips include outings to museums and theaters. Guest speakers and presenters are often invited to the class to share their knowledge and enhance the curriculum.