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Curriculum Overview

Grades

JK–8


Table of Contents Introduction.................................................................................................................1 Chicago Jewish Day School............................................................................................2

Our Mission........................................................................................................2 Our Vision...........................................................................................................2 Educational Philosophy Statement................................................................................4 Developmental Overview..............................................................................................7

Philosophy...........................................................................................................7 Social and Emotional Development.....................................................................7 Play......................................................................................................................8 Adolescence/Advisory.........................................................................................8 Curricular Highlights....................................................................................................9

Experiential Learning..........................................................................................9 Integration...........................................................................................................9 The City as Our Classroom............................................................................... 10 Academic Curriculum....................................................................................... 10 Grade Level Themes and Highlights............................................................................. 11

Junior Kindergarten........................................................................................... 11 Kindergarten..................................................................................................... 12 Grade One......................................................................................................... 13 Grade Two......................................................................................................... 14 Grade Three...................................................................................................... 15 Grade Four........................................................................................................ 16 Grade Five......................................................................................................... 17 Middle School — Grades Six, Seven, and Eight................................................ 18 Academic Curriculum.................................................................................................. 19

Language Arts................................................................................................... 19 Humanities........................................................................................................ 19 Portrait of a Literate Individual..........................................................................20 Hebrew and Judaic Studies................................................................................ 21 Mathematics...................................................................................................... 22 Social Sciences................................................................................................... 22 Science............................................................................................................... 22 Technology........................................................................................................ 23 Fine Arts, Physical Education, and Health......................................................... 23 Arts Specialty..................................................................................................... 23 General Information.................................................................................................... 24

Š 2018 Chicago Jewish Day School. All rights reserved.


Introduction The curriculum of any school represents the integration of philosophy and practical application and is the working, breathing, and organic tool that serves as a guide for faculty and a resource for parents. The curriculum summary for each grade level helps our parents navigate and understand, in broad strokes, the skills, core concepts, and objectives that contribute to a student’s experience at Chicago Jewish Day School. We have prepared this special edition of our Curriculum Overview to give our prospective parents and friends a glimpse of our curriculum across the grade levels. It is our hope that this document will give you a general overview, answer some of your questions, and engage you in the discussion of curriculum. The partnership between parents and teachers at Chicago Jewish Day School is a key component of our mission. It is therefore important for parents to understand that curriculum documentation is an ongoing process that is subject to review and change as a school’s curriculum evolves over time, always reflecting mission, vision, philosophy, and standards.

Introduction

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Chicago Jewish Day School Educating our children in the richness of their past, the diversity of their present, and the possibilities for their future. Our Mission Chicago Jewish Day School creates for its students a standard of excellence in both Judaic and General Studies. Our students develop a passion for learning and a strong sense of themselves as Jews and as human beings. We inspire our students to: • develop a strong Jewish identity through an integrated curriculum within a nurturing, stimulating, and creative environment • become a community of Jewish learners • respect and appreciate diversity • love Torah, Israel, Hebrew language, and prayer • be contributing, caring, and knowledgeable members of our community, our country, and the world

Our Vision Chicago Jewish Day School provides a standard of excellence in both Judaic and General Studies through an integrated, multisensory curriculum that is attentive to students’ individual needs. Students learn a rich system of Jewish values, which stresses the practice of mitzvot and the development of ethical character. Through school experiences, our students gain creative-thinking and critical-thinking skills and develop a passion for lifelong learning. Chicago Jewish Day School serves the entire Jewish community and is a leader in promoting togetherness, cooperation, and respect across all Jewish denominations. Our educational approach appreciates and affirms differences in Jewish philosophy and background and values the range of Jewish religious practices among its students. At Chicago Jewish Day School, Jewish tradition informs our curriculum, calendar, celebrations, and daily schedule. We are committed to transmitting an in-depth knowledge of sacred Jewish texts and rituals, tradition and customs, and Jewish history. Our students gain fluency in reading, speaking, and understanding Hebrew language and literature, both classical and modern.

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Curriculum Overview


Students also discover how to have a significant and joyful relationship with God, how to pray as a Jew, and to appreciate the centrality of Israel — the people and the land. Through this knowledge and experience, our students build meaningful Jewish lives. We are equally dedicated to excellence in our General Studies program, encompassing language arts, mathematics, social and natural sciences, the humanities, and technology. Chicago Jewish Day School weaves values of Tikun Olam (repairing the world) into every aspect of the school experience. Faculty, students, and parents are strongly encouraged to participate in activities that improve the world and promote justice, peace, compassion, and respect. Our school operates as a community of learners with students, teachers, and families all partaking in the educational process. Our teachers and school staff care deeply about the school, the children with whom they work, and Jewish education. They understand and embrace the school’s mission, adopting and supporting the principles we value as a school community. Because we believe that students are inspired by adults who appreciate learning and who pursue their own emotional, intellectual, and religious growth, the school encourages and provides ongoing educational opportunities for teachers, parents, and all community members. Chicago Jewish Day School establishes a safe, supportive environment that fosters the kind of trust and warmth that lets students take risks and rise to challenges. Such an environment allows each student to shine, to strive for personal excellence, and to develop a strong sense of self.

Mission and Vision

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Educational Philosophy Statement At Chicago Jewish Day School we educate children to think clearly and deeply, to gain knowledge and acquire judgment, and to respect diversity. We are committed to developing critical thinking and socially engaged intelligence that enables each individual to understand and participate effectively in the affairs of their community, country, Israel, and the world at large in a collaborative effort to achieve a common good. At Chicago Jewish Day School, we strive for learning to be authentic and meaningful and to inspire a passion for life-long learning. This document defines our vision of excellence in education.

Deep Understanding At Chicago Jewish Day School, we focus our teaching around thinking, stressing knowledge over information. Our inquiry-based curriculum encourages a curious, questioning and critical stance and develops a deepening understanding of important ideas. Facts and skills are important in a context and for a purpose. We challenge students by inviting them to think deeply about the issues that matter, helping them understand ideas from the inside out, and making connections between ideas and concepts. Students can then actively use these insights to apply what they have learned to their daily lives, expand understanding and even take action. Through school experiences, our students gain creative-thinking and critical-thinking skills and develop a passion for lifelong learning.*

Active and Experiential Learning At Chicago Jewish Day School, curriculum is authentic and meaningful. Students understand that what they learn in school is applicable to the broader outside world. Learning is integrated between the disciplines to demonstrate to students how ideas span the different content areas. Students play a vital role in formulating the questions, seeking out and creating answers, thinking through possibilities, and evaluating how successful they have been. Students’ own questions are truly valued and integral to the learning process. Learning is a matter of constructing ideas rather than passively absorbing information or practicing skills.

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Curriculum Overview


Student-Centered Learning At Chicago Jewish Day School, we take our cue from the students — and are particularly attentive to student individuality. The question, “What is best for the student?” is at the core of all decisions. Each student is unique. Therefore, policies as well as learning and behavioral expectations are established in a broad manner that allows for individualized decision-making that reflects our respect for the individual student and his/her needs. We celebrate the developmental stages of learning and provide for each student’s unique timetable for unfolding his/her abilities. Chicago Jewish Day School provides a standard of excellence in both Judaic and general studies through an integrated, multisensory curriculum that is attentive to students’ individual needs.*

Intrinsic Motivation At Chicago Jewish Day School, we offer our students more choices — and more responsibilities. Our educational policies and practices are driven by the central question, “What is the effect on students’ interest in learning, their desire to continue reading, thinking, and questioning?” This question helps to determine what students will and won’t be asked to do. Our goal is for each student to leave Chicago Jewish Day School with a passion for learning along with the academic tools they need to be life-long learners.

Social Justice (Tikun Olam) “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am not for others, what am I? And if not now, when?” –rabbi hillel

A sense of community and responsibility for oneself and others isn’t confined to the classroom; indeed, students are helped to explore how they fit into widening circles of care that extend beyond self, beyond friends, beyond their own religious/denominational group, and beyond their own country. Opportunities are offered not only to learn about, but also to put into action, a commitment to diversity and to improving the lives of others. Chicago Jewish Day School weaves values of Tikun Olam (repairing the world) into every aspect of the school experience.*

Collaboration The greatest cognitive growth occurs through social interactions. At Chicago Jewish Day School children learn with and from one another in a caring community in both social as well as academic learning. Interdependence counts at least as much as independence. We help learners engage with ideas and drive each other’s thinking — to build knowledge, to care and to act.

Educational Philosophy Statement

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Play Children learn through play. They must be active participants in the construction of knowledge and need concrete experiences to shape thoughts and concepts. Teachers provide materials and an enriched environment so that children can be challenged and totally involved in play. The teachers pose questions and elicit answers among the students to expand the experience, thus guiding in the discovery of knowledge and facilitation of play.

Attending to the Whole Child At Chicago Jewish Day School, we believe in educating the whole child — taking into account the social, emotional, academic, spiritual, physical, and creative needs of a student. We are concerned with helping children become good learners and furthermore good people. Our social and academic learning are intertwined and each one enhances the other. At Chicago Jewish Day School, we set the tone and atmosphere for students to learn outside of their comfort zone and take risks as part of the learning process. Chicago Jewish Day School establishes a safe, supportive environment which fosters the kind of trust and warmth that encourages students to take risks and rise to challenges.*

*Excerpt from Chicago Jewish Day School Mission and Vision statement.

Resources http://www.uvm.edu/~dewey/articles/proged.html http://www.alfiekohn.org/teaching/progressive.htm Inquiry Circles, Stephanie Harvey and Harvey Daniels Understanding by Design, Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe

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Curriculum Overview


Developmental Overview Philosophy At Chicago Jewish Day School, we believe in an approach to learning in which all stages of development are celebrated. Each child is a unique individual with his or her own rate and pattern of maturation. The job of a teacher is to accept each student at his or her current stage and to facilitate his or her advancement to the next stage. Children are natural planners at all stages of development, and they respond well to a daily schedule. Clear boundaries and structure allow them to confidently participate in activities and games.

Social and Emotional Development Academic achievement is advanced through an integrated social and academic curriculum. Research confirms that the time spent on social and emotional learning is earned back in classrooms that run more effectively and efficiently; however, we also know that social skills are not taught just so that children behave better in order to get on with the “real” business of schooling. Rather, social skills are intertwined with cognitive growth and intellectual progress. A person who can listen well and frame a good question, who has the assertiveness to pose questions, and who can examine a situation from a number of perspectives will be a strong learner. All of these skills — essential to academic learning — are modeled daily through our social-skills program, Responsive Classroom. Responsive Classroom is an approach to teaching and learning that fosters safe, challenging, and joyful classrooms and schools. The Guiding Principles of Responsive Classroom

• The social curriculum is as important as the academic curriculum. • How children learn is as important as what they learn: process and content go hand in hand. • The greatest cognitive growth occurs through social interaction. • There is a set of social skills children need in order to be successful academically and socially: cooperation, assertion, responsibility, empathy, and self-control (CARES). • Knowing the children we teach — individually, culturally, and developmentally — is as important as knowing the content we teach. • Knowing the families of the children we teach and working with them as partners is essential to children’s education. • How the adults at school work together is as important as individual competence — lasting change begins with the adult community.

Developmental Overview

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The Teaching Practices of Responsive Classroom

• Morning Meeting  A daily routine that builds community, creates a positive climate for learning, and reinforces academic and social skills. • Rules and Logical Consequences  A clear and consistent approach to discipline that fosters responsibility and self-control. • Guided Discovery  A format for introducing materials that encourages inquiry, heightens interest, and teaches care of the school environment. • Academic Choice  An approach to giving children choices in their learning that helps them become invested, self-motivated learners. • Classroom Organization  Strategies for arranging materials, furniture, and displays to encourage independence, promote care, and maximize learning. • Working with Families  Ideas for involving families as true partners in their children’s education.

Play Young children learn through play. They must be active participants in the construction of knowledge and need concrete experiences to shape thoughts and concepts. Teachers provide materials and an enriched environment so that children can be challenged and totally involved in play. Then the teachers can pose questions and elicit answers among the students to expand the experience, thus guiding in the discovery of knowledge and facilitation of play.

Adolescence/Advisory For all of their famous rebelliousness, middle school students are filled with excitement for new ideas. A short talk with a Grade Six Cubs (or White Sox) fan about team statistics or a Grade Eight student about the latest music is enough to convince anyone that adolescents are enthusiastic about the things that are meaningful to them. A tremendous amount of physical, cognitive and emotional growth occurs between the ages of eleven and fourteen. Changing bodies, shifting relationships and the development of abstract thought are an integral part of early adolescence as students struggle to develop their identities. Our Chicago Jewish Day School middle school program is designed to address the needs, aptitudes and interests of our Grade Six through Eight students, as well as ensuring that our older students remain integral and involved in our entire school. Our middle school guides students through the transition from upper elementary to middle school, putting into place the foundation needed for high school readiness. Another shift when students reach the upper grades is the transformation of morning meeting into an advisory program. Advisory is designed to offer students a consistent, dependable opportunity to get to know themselves and each other, with additional programming to meet the social and emotional needs of young adolescents.

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Curriculum Overview


Curricular Highlights Experiential Learning Experiential learning at Chicago Jewish Day School encourages a sense of ownership, allowing students to construct their own learning and make it come to life. Students have the opportunity to acquire and apply knowledge in a setting that is both appropriate and relevant. The students will interact directly with the area of study, resulting in an authentic and meaningful learning experience. Rather than merely thinking or reading about the topic, the students live and breathe it!

Integration Integration is a central component of Chicago Jewish Day School’s curriculum. Integrated learning allows children to broadly explore knowledge in various subjects as they relate to a certain theme. At Chicago Jewish Day School, we strive to integrate all of the curricular disciplines, such as the humanities, communication arts, natural sciences, mathematics, social studies, music, art, and physical education. Judaic studies and Hebrew are integrated throughout all of these disciplines in meaningful and authentic ways. This holistic approach to learning reflects the real world, which is interactive, and promotes lifelong learning.

Curricular Highlights

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The City as Our Classroom We are devoted to the idea of exploring our environment and acquainting ourselves with the sights, smells, and culture of our surrounding community. Throughout the year, we will take walks around the neighborhood; visit local museums, synagogues, libraries, and the lakefront; and attend plays and symphonies. We look forward to learning from our community and inviting people who live and work around us into our classroom. We feel that their presence and knowledge enhances our learning. We believe that there is a tremendous value in connecting to the larger community and encourage our students to take care of each other and the world.

Academic Curriculum Chicago Jewish Day School provides a standard of excellence in both Judaic studies and general studies through an integrated, experiential curriculum that is attentive to students’ individual needs. We align our learning expectations with the Common Core Standards. We are accredited through the Independent Schools Association of Central States (ISACS). Through school experiences, our students gain creativethinking and critical-thinking skills and develop a passion for lifelong learning. One significant change in the middle school program from that of the lower 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 area such as science, mathematics, social studies and language arts. Our middle school faculty works as an interdisciplinary team made up of humanities, science, mathematics, Hebrew language, Judaic studies, art, music and drama specialists. The team works together to create a dynamic curriculum which is exploratory and challenging and incorporates student generated questions and concerns. Curriculum is guided by the Common Core Standards to determine age appropriate content and skills. The middle school team develops these basic concepts and skills into studentcentered, inquiry based interdisciplinary units designed for the distinctive nature of young adolescents.

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Curriculum Overview


Grade Level Themes and Highlights Junior Kindergarten In the Beginning • Beresheit

The theme of Junior Kindergarten is Beresheit (in the beginning). This is a connection to the first words of the Torah, “In the beginning, God created…”. For the Junior Kindergarten student, this translates into a year of new beginnings and the student’s awareness of the expanding world and his or her own place in it. Students will discover they, themselves, have the power to bring things into creation. They will navigate new classrooms and social structures, create new projects, implement new ideas, develop friendships, and learn they can contribute and impact the world around them through the creations of their own two hands. Classroom Highlights

Young children construct knowledge through having meaningful experiences and making connections to the world. Within this framework, the Junior Kindergarten students immerse themselves in learning about and celebrating the holidays, literature and literacy, early math concepts, and the physical world. During the year, the Junior Kindergarten classroom is filled with the sounds, sights, and tastes of learning. Entering the classroom, you might find students making and blowing a shofar; turning the entire block corner into a huge castle using boxes, tape, glue, and paint; participating in a Pesach (Passover) taste test; observing seeds and making journal entries about those observations; immersing themselves in an in-depth author study; sorting and classifying beans, beads, seeds, and other manipulatives; learning about symmetry in nature by observing snowflakes and then using blocks to build symmetrical structures; hearing stories read aloud and then acting them out; and dictating original stories to their teachers.

Grade Level Themes and Highlights

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Kindergarten Community • Kehilla

Throughout the school year, we will integrate the theme of Kehilla (community). Our goal is for our students to leave Kindergarten with a strong sense of belonging to a community of learners that is based on mutual respect, trust, kindness, and responsibility. Our community will be built as we learn about our Jewish traditions, holidays, and values and as we form habits of goodness in our daily language and social interactions. We will learn about our responsibility toward the different aspects of a community with our thematic units on names, friendship, family, animals, and Israel. Kehilla will guide us as we learn, play, explore, and discover together. Classroom Highlights

At Chicago Jewish Day School, students are regularly provided with experiential learning opportunities. From language arts to math, science, social studies, and Hebrew and Judaic studies, students are frequently engaged in active learning. A Kindergartner can be found cooperatively working to build and manage a stuffed-animal shelter during the animal unit, creating structures using different solid materials in the solids and liquids unit, and working on a kibbutz (a communal settlement in Israel) as we explore Israel. They are encouraged to act out a story they have just read in shared reading or play a math game to reinforce concepts introduced earlier in the day.

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Curriculum Overview


Grade One Repairing Our World • Tikun Olam

The theme of Tikun Olam (repairing the world) is integrated throughout the school year. We learn about our environment, the opportunities it presents, the challenges it faces, and what we can do to help keep the world a clean, healthy, and wonderful place to live and grow. Our students will leave Grade One knowing the importance of taking care of the world — both its people and the environment — and knowing that each person, no matter what age, can make our world a better and more peaceful place to live. Classroom Highlights

Grade One students may be seen researching marine life as they slowly transform the classroom into the Great Barrier Reef. The “marine scientists” investigate the properties of water through hands-on experiments as they begin to learn and apply the scientific process. As the students read Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel, they identify story elements, perform dramatic interpretations, and observe the life cycle of a frog inside the classroom. Through research and collaboration, the rainforest comes to life as the students create the flora, fauna, and animals. A visitor might crawl through the understory of the rainforest and come eye to eye with a jaguar before being asked to sign a petition written by students asking for better laws to protect this natural wonder.

Grade Level Themes and Highlights

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Grade Two Respect/Honor • Kavod

The theme of Grade Two is Kavod (respect/honor). Through the integration of this theme, students learn what it means to be a part of a respectful community and to move through the world as kind and caring individuals. They apply this Jewish value to their everyday lives as they practice showing honor to their environment, their community, and their culture. Through studies of various countries, students acquire an appreciation for diverse communities throughout the world. They learn to value and cherish the individuality in us all. Classroom Highlights

Students in Grade Two may be seen setting sail on the Mayflower, taking on the identity of a real individual who made the journey to the New World. A Grade Two student might also be found cooperatively preparing a Chinese dragon and performing with it in a Chinese New Year parade as they study this country and culture. As students read literature by a featured author, they will learn to recognize the different acts of Kavod performed by the characters, as well as identifying the literary elements of the story. A visitor in a Grade Two classroom might have the opportunity to sample the sights, smells, and tastes of a variety of countries at a multicultural fair or read a classic story adapted and retold in another way by different countries and cultures. In science, the diversity of the butterfly world may be explored as students watch them move through the many stages of their life cycle.

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Curriculum Overview


Grade Three Acts of Kindness • Gemilut Chasadim

The theme of Grade Three is Gemilut Chasadim (acts of kindness). Our students are asked to think about what it means to bestow chesed on others and how those acts contribute to their own growth. Students learn they can actively work towards creating kindness in their classrooms, their social interactions, their families, and our community. Can they share their personal strengths with their peers? Can they help a peer finish a project? Can they make younger or newer students at school feel at home? Can they use their words to build shalom (peace)? Teaching our students to see chesed (loving kindness) as a skill that they get better at through practice prepares them to become active, positive participants in society and allows them to see that, even as an 8-year-old or 9-year-old, they can make a difference in the lives of other people. Classroom Highlights

From language arts to math, science, social studies, and Hebrew and Judaic studies, Grade Three students are constantly engaged in active learning. Grade Three students may be found cooperatively learning about Native Americans and the cultures of early America. At another time, they might be applying to medical school, where they listen to a surgeon describe a surgery, checking their reflexes and blood pressure with instruments brought by a pediatrician. A visitor may have the opportunity to attend the Grade Three medical school graduation, where the audience will listen to a third-grader’s dissertation on a system of the body. Grade Three students might be conducting a trial to decide whether Mrs. O’Leary is, in fact, guilty of starting the Great Chicago Fire or creating corn-husk dolls and building wigwams so they can gain a better understanding of what life was like for Native Americans. The students can be found acting out a story they have just read in a reading group or playing a math game with a friend to reinforce math concepts introduced earlier in the day.

Grade Level Themes and Highlights

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Grade Four Journey On • Lech Lecha

The exploration of this theme helps our Grade Four students understand why people move from one place to another and how they re-establish themselves in their new environments. Lech Lecha comes from Genesis 12:1 when God tells Abram to leave behind what Abram knows and journey to a new land. As students study their units in General and Judaic Studies, they will understand the challenges and rewards of discovery, will think about what necessities exist in their own lives, and what responsibilities they may have to help someone who just arrived feel welcome and supported. Classroom Highlights

On any given day, if you visit the Grade Four classroom, you might see students engaged in the trial and error process of science experimentation regarding the components of flight — or they may be discovering the properties of rocks using microscopes, chemical reactions, and their own sense of taste. From language arts to math, science, social studies and Hebrew and Judaic studies, students are engaged in active learning. They can be found reading, and then creating their own American tall tales, researching the regions of the United States, while virtually and collaboratively traveling along the major US routes, creating a business to practice bank deposits and withdrawals, and trying out different strategies to multiply and divide. Political parties and elections in our country, the Edot (people from different lands) in Israel, and the uniqueness of each individual are a part of the rich diversity of curriculum in Grade Four.

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Curriculum Overview


Grade Five Marking Distinction • Havdalah

The Torah teaches that God created the world by marking distinctions — first between light and darkness, next between water and empty space, and finally between earth and water. When we recite Havdalah at the termination of Shabbat and holidays, we emphasize the distinction between the sacred and the ordinary and how people, as well as God, can bring holiness into the mundane. We challenge our Grade Five students to think about how their actions can be beyond ordinary and add sacredness to our daily lives. Our students will come to understand that meaningful and thoughtful action is not something that happens haphazardly but through asking themselves what impact their decisions and actions have on themselves, their classmates, and their school and wider communities. Classroom Highlights

Grade Five students approach their studies through the lens of thinking before they act. Through activities, trips, reading and discussion, students are encouraged to consider the world we live in and its history, reflecting on the concept of cause and effect. Through intensive, inquiry based, experiential studies, students travel back in world history, examining the arts, sciences, and cultures which shaped our world today and directly connect to our current methods of learning and living. On any given day, if you visit Grade Five, you might see students testing different variables in a science experiment, engaging in text-driven discussion of a book, or learning about Meso-American cultures. Through experiential learning, students are consistently provided with hands-on learning experiences and opportunities. From language arts to math, science, social studies, and Hebrew and Judaic studies, students are engaged in active learning.

Grade Level Themes and Highlights

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Middle School — Grades Six, Seven, and Eight The middle school at Chicago Jewish Day School is committed to offering a rich, integrated curriculum in a nurturing, stimulating, 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 makes us who we are?” during a lesson on early American History; delving into the Rabbinical response to poverty through studying Mishnah (Oral Torah), creating games of probability for a carnival, creating a bridge and testing its strength and ability to carry load, or reading an online Hebrew magazine.

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Curriculum Overview


Academic Curriculum Language Arts In our study of language arts at Chicago Jewish Day School, we strive to encourage a love of language and consistent exposure to the written word. Language experiences are woven into the fabric of our daily curriculum. Our language arts program is designed to produce readers who read for pleasure, information, and knowledge, and writers who write to communicate meaning. Teachers strive to create literate classrooms in which students are offered abundant opportunities to speak, listen, read, and write. Phonemic awareness, phonetics, shared reading, and journaling are stressed in the Junior Kindergarten and Kindergarten classrooms. Beginning in Grade One, students learn in a reading and writing workshop model that teaches new literacy skills daily and gives children the freedom to work at their own pace and learning level.

Humanities Our middle school humanities program is an integrated study of language arts, social studies, history and literature. The class meets daily for a double period to read a variety of literary and informational texts, and examine original documents and artifacts as we engage in an in depth study of our past and present. A concurrent language arts program is taught using the Lucy Calkins’ Readers and Writers Workshop approach. In Grades Six, Seven, and Eight, students grapple with a wide range of texts, some of which may include: • The Epic of Gilgamesh version by Brenda Bryson • The Odyssey multiple versions • Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli • So Be It by Sarah Weeks • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’ Engle • Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

Academic Curriculum

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Portrait of a Literate Individual Based on the Common Core State Standards As students advance from Kindergarten through Grade Eight and master the standards in reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language, they are able to exhibit with increasing fullness and regularity these capacities of the literate individual. They demonstrate independence.

Students can, without significant scaffolding, comprehend and evaluate complex texts across a range of types and disciplines, and they can construct effective arguments and convey intricate or multifaceted information. Likewise, students are able independently to discern a speaker’s key points, request clarification, and ask relevant questions. They build on others’ ideas, articulate their own ideas, and confirm they have been understood. Without prompting, they demonstrate command of standard English and acquire and use a wide-ranging vocabulary. More broadly, they become self-directed learners, effectively seeking out and using resources to assist them, including teachers, peers, and print and digital reference materials. They build strong content knowledge.

Students establish a base of knowledge across a wide range of subject matter by engaging with works of quality and substance. They become proficient in new areas through research and study. They read purposefully and listen attentively to gain both general knowledge and discipline-specific expertise. They refine and share their knowledge through writing and speaking. They respond to the varying demands of audience, task, purpose, and discipline.

Students adapt their communication in relation to audience, task, purpose, and discipline. They set and adjust purpose for reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language use as warranted by the task. They appreciate nuances, such as how the composition of an audience should affect tone when speaking and how the connotations of words affect meaning. They also know that different disciplines call for different types of evidence (e.g., documentary evidence in history, experimental evidence in science). They comprehend as well as critique.

Students are engaged and open-minded—but discerning—readers and listeners. They work diligently to understand precisely what an author or speaker is saying, but they also question an author’s or speaker’s assumptions and premises and assess the veracity of claims and the soundness of reasoning. They value evidence.

Students cite specific evidence when offering an oral or written interpretation of a text. They use relevant evidence when supporting their own points in writing and speaking, making their reasoning clear to the reader or listener, and they constructively evaluate others’ use of evidence.

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Curriculum Overview


They use technology and digital media strategically and capably.

Students employ technology thoughtfully to enhance their reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language use. They tailor their searches online to acquire useful information efficiently, and they integrate what they learn using technology with what they learn offline. They are familiar with the strengths and limitations of various technological tools and mediums and can select and use those best suited to their communication goals. They come to understand other perspectives and cultures.

Students appreciate that the twenty-first-century classroom and workplace are settings in which people from often widely divergent cultures and who represent diverse experiences and perspectives must learn and work together. Students actively seek to understand other perspectives and cultures through reading and listening, and they are able to communicate effectively with people of varied backgrounds. They evaluate other points of view critically and constructively. Through reading great classic and contemporary works of literature representative of a variety of periods, cultures, and worldviews, students can vicariously inhabit worlds and have experiences much different than their own.

Hebrew and Judaic Studies Students at Chicago Jewish Day School develop a love for Judaism, its culture, language, and traditions. They explore and experience Judaic Studies through text, art, music, drama, and stories. Through their study of Hebrew, our students are able to read and understand both modern and ancient texts. Teachers guide students toward developing a deep bond with Israel as they examine its history and current culture. Our general and Judaic curricula are interwoven, ensuring that our students feel a connection to their heritage in everything they do. Our Judaic studies classes differ from our lower school in that our older students are offered more opportunities to grapple with complex concepts as the students become more abstract thinkers. Students in Grade Six through Grade Eight study Tanakah (Bible), Toshba (Rabbinic text and Jewish tradition) and Jewish history. At Chicago Jewish Day School, we teach our students to see Judaism as an evolving civilization that has interacted with other communities throughout history. We also address the development of different ways of living a Jewish life. We examine the following big idea: Judaism is an ongoing conversation that demands that we must learn from our rabbinic ancestors and contemporary commentators and then speak for ourselves.

Academic Curriculum

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Mathematics Chicago Jewish Day School math program is centered on creating a mathematical environment in which children are encouraged to think, invent, investigate, and make connections. The teachers pose questions and set up challenges and then observe, question, and listen as children get busy building meaning for themselves. Every child will bring something personal and unique to the exploration and will glean something different from the experience. Various problem-solving strategies are accepted and, in fact, encouraged, as they help children gain confidence and take risks. Our goal is to produce mathematically powerful thinkers and problem-solvers who are confident and feel comfortable using mathematics in their daily lives. We celebrate the diversity of thinking and focus on the children’s ideas, their reasons and explanations, rather than solely on answers.

Social Sciences The study of the social sciences at Chicago Jewish Day School helps prepare students to become part of society. It allows them to learn about the past to understand the present and future. Our social science program provides students with experiences that help them decide what they would like their role in society to be. It presents opportunities for exploration and focuses on student’s curiosity, creativity, and interests.

Science Science is a set of processes that includes asking questions to gain a better understanding of our world. Our science curriculum focuses on encouraging students’ curiosity, creativity, and interest. Through hands-on experiences, students use the process of scientific inquiry, learn new skills, and gain an understanding of key scientific concepts. Students’ ability to investigate scientifically helps them in all areas of learning. In Grades Six, Seven, and Eight, students learn as scientists learn, exploring relevant questions and challenges, reading about scientific discoveries, investigating, experimenting, gathering evidence, and forming explanations. Students collaborate to find answers and to share their learning in a variety of ways. Asking questions and seeking answers are at the heart of scientific inquiry. Following the steps of scientific inquiry, students learn how to gather evidence, review and understand their findings, and compare their solutions with those of others. They learn that there can be differing solutions to the same problem, some more useful than others. In the process, they learn and apply scientific principles. They also learn to be objective in deciding whether their solutions meet specifications and perform as desired. Students study in depth units in chemistry, biology, and earth science.

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Curriculum Overview


Technology The goal of technology education is to develop in learners an understanding of technology skills and concepts, as well as their importance and connection to everyday life. The technology curriculum at Chicago Jewish Day School provides students with a learning environment that develops technology skills. Computers, iPadsŽ and Chromebooks™ are used as tools to facilitate learning in all subject areas.

Fine Arts, Physical Education, and Health Throughout the day, children will have opportunities to dance, design, compose, move, and sing. We believe in educating the whole child and allow plenty of time to nurture creative and artistic skills. Children will be instructed in rhythmic activities and fitness, healthy living, interactive listening and expressive music, and the organizational principles of design, as well as the expressive qualities of the visual arts.

Arts Specialty We designed our arts program to be an integral, integrated part of all of our learning. Our program is an integrated music, art, Hebrew and drama experience culminating in a middle school play. This course meets for an hour and a half weekly and explores the concepts of theme, physical space, movement, group work and performance. The students create scenery and props, learn music and lyrics, as well as choreography and staging. Students are encouraged to add individual elements such as individual instrumentals, original dances and creative props.

Academic Curriculum

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General Information Our School Day • Junior Kindergarten — 8:15 AM–12:30 PM (optional enrichment until 3:15 PM) • Kindergarten through Grade Five — 8:15 AM–3:15 PM • Middle School (Grades Six through Eight) — 8:00 AM–3:30 PM Friday dismissal for all students — 2:30 PM Before Care is available starting at 7:30 AM, and After Care is available until 6:00 PM. After School Adventures, our extracurricular program, offers a a vast array of classes and activities for students of all ages. From circus arts to cooking, yoga, pottery, and beyond, there is something for everyone once the school day is complete.

Tuition Assistance Tuition assistance is available, as Chicago Jewish Day School is committed to working with families so that children can access a Chicago Jewish Day School education.

Visit Us Come learn about our progressive, fully integrated curriculum and individualized approach in action! Tours are conducted every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday by appointment. Please contact our Director of Admissions, Cortney Stark Cope, at cstarkcope@chicagojewishdayschool.org or 773-271-2700 for more information and to schedule your visit.

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Curriculum Overview


3730 North California Avenue Chicago, Illinois 60618 phone 773 271 2700 fax 773 271 2570 www.chicagojewishdayschool.org info@chicagojewishdayschool.org

Profile for Chicago Jewish Day School

CJDS Junior Kindergarten-Grade Eight Curriculum Overview  

The curriculum of any school represents the integration of philosophy and practical application and is the working, breathing, and organic t...

CJDS Junior Kindergarten-Grade Eight Curriculum Overview  

The curriculum of any school represents the integration of philosophy and practical application and is the working, breathing, and organic t...

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