Curriculum

RELIGION

This year the students will be introduced to all of the gifts that God has given them and they will learn how to integrate them into their lives. Students will explore God’s gifts of family, self, life, love and community.

Kindergarten students will also be introduced to Catholic prayers, scripture, the seasons of the church and the lives of many saints. Students will leave Kindergarten with the understanding of how to live a virtuous and moral life as a Catholic.

LANGUAGE ARTS

Throughout the school year the students will be introduced to language arts through a variety of means including: read aloud, shared reading, independent reading and guided reading. Students will also have intense lessons in phonological awareness through the LiPS (Lindamood Phoneme Sequencing) program along with exposure to various types of text.

Students will be active participants in their learning through whole group, small group and independent activities. Students will take part in text analysis, retellings, identification of text features and recognition of new vocabulary.

In Kindergarten, students will build a foundation in reading comprehension through exposure to: making connections, sequencing, visualizing, asking questions, making predictions, and making inferences while reading or listening to a text.

Students will leave Kindergarten with such foundational skills as: an understanding of basic features of print, recognition of upper- and lowercase letters, rhyme production, the ability to count, pronounce, blend and segment phonemes and syllables in words. Students will also have basic knowledge of one-to-one letter-sound correspondence, will be able to make associations of long or short sounds with common spellings and be able to identify high frequency words by sight.

Students will leave Kindergarten reading emergent texts fluently with purpose and understanding.

WRITING

During this school year, Kindergarten students will express themselves through variety of means including drawings, dictation and written composition. Through a combination of the former means students will compose narrative, opinion and informative pieces.

As a class, students will participate in shared research, editing of self and peer projects and the publication of class books.

Students will leave Kindergarten with a strong foundation of conventions and grammar for the English language including: capitalization, punctuation and spelling (simple words with consonants and vowels).

MATH

Students will participate in a standards-based instruction rooted in number sense. Students will use manipulatives daily to enhance understanding while also making math fun. Not only will Kindergartners do rote counting (up to 100) but also, they will learn one-to-one correspondence, use comparison vocabulary, write numbers both in sequence and out of sequence, and build an understanding of addition and subtraction. During math class students will also be introduced to shapes, both 2D and 3D, American coins (identification of and values), decomposition of numbers (24 seen as 2 tens and 4 ones), elements of equations, place value, graphing and sorting. Time and measurement will also be incorporated into the math curriculum.

SCIENCE

During their Kindergarten school year, students will interact with science through a series of readings, digital interactions and experiments. Students will be introduced to a variety of vocabulary, tools (including microscopes) and scientific processes that will enhance the way they see the world around them. Kindergarten students will be exposed to concepts of life science, Earth science and physical science while also learning how to ask questions, research answers, and work cooperatively. In addition, students will explore nutrition and the five senses. As a class, students will spend the school year investigating why things are the way they are.

SOCIAL STUDIES

Kindergarten students will be introduced to social studies-the study of people, places and events taking place in the world around them (both in the past and presently)- through stories (fiction and nonfictiona), biographies, songs, photographs and whole group discussions. Students will explore American holidays, what it means to be a “good citizen”, our country, and on a micro level, community helpers. Kindergartners will attend many field trips to enhance their learning as well as to make connections to the world around them.

PHYSICAL EDUCATION

Our physical education curriculum is composed of physical fitness fundamentals, motion skills and movement, social skills and sportsmanship. Basic skills that enhance balance, endurance, strength and agility activities, ball-handling skills individually, with partners and in groups, and rope jumping are taught. Each skill involves creative thinking, sportsmanship, fairness, cooperation and following directions.

FINE ARTS CURRICULUM

Stella Maris Academy provides a challenging, coherent, and relevant art curriculum, the goal of which is to help students experience and appreciate art and the beauty of the world around them, and to lead them to discover unique and constructive methods of self-expression.    In keeping with the diocesan guidelines for a fine arts curriculum, Stella Maris Academy includes in its visual arts curriculum for each grade level elements of four components:  (1) exploration of the visual elements and principles of art and design, including line, color, shape, and composition, (2) creative expression through experimenting with various materials and processes, (3) examination of the cultural and historical contexts in which art is created, exploring cultural themes, works of significant artists, styles and processes; and (4)  development of skills and vocabulary for looking at and discussing art in terms of design elements, characteristics and appreciation.

Kindergartners explore (1) visual elements and principles of art and design using primary and secondary colors, line, shape, pattern, and texture, and symmetry in composition; (2) creative expression using a variety of media including drawing with pencil, crayon, marker, and oil pastel, painting with watercolors and tempera, collage, stamping techniques, and sculpting with paper, Play-Doh and ceramic clay; (3) visual arts heritage by exploring art from the Mexican culture (Our Lady of Guadalupe and Days of the Dead), and the works artists such as of Monet, Kandinsky, Van Gogh, O’Keeffe, Warhol and Eric Carle; and (4) analysis and interpretation by learning to recognize design elements and characteristics in the art work of peers, significant artists, and in various cultures, including Mexico.

DEVELOPMENT OF SOCIAL SKILLS

Students at Stella Maris Academy are exposed to and familiar with the Boys Town Social Skills Curriculum in grades TK-8. The Boys Town Social Skills curriculum focuses on empowering students to problem solve, make better choices, and self-advocate. Social skills are a daily part of our school community. Social skills include: following instructions, greeting others, getting the teacher’s attention, accepting no for an answer, accepting a consequence, staying on task, disagreeing appropriately, listening, working as a team, sharing, asking for permission, and saying an apology.

SOCIAL EMOTIONAL LEARNING PROGRAM

The Sanford Harmony Program is implemented in grades TK-8 and its core value is to build healthy peer relationships inside and outside of the classroom. The goal of Sanford Harmony is to create inclusive classroom communities, where teaching takes priority over resolving personality conflicts or issues among students. Students are empowered to communicate, cooperate, connect, embrace diversity, and resolve conflict. Students are taught meaningful and productive ways to interact and express themselves, which are irreplaceable skills that will last a lifetime.

TECHNOLOGY

Technology at Stella Maris Academy goes beyond the computer lab. All of our buildings are networked and well-equipped; each classroom has at least 3 computers, eBeam interactive white board technology, a document camera and an LCD projector. Technology-based projects are integrated throughout our curriculum. SMA buildings have wireless Internet access across the entire school campus. Stella Maris Academy uses iMacs and students utilize the Office 2012 as well as a variety of educational software and Web-based subscription programs. Students in grades TK-8 have access to a class set of iPads and ChromeBooks as well.  Technology is integrated into every component of our curriculum at Stella Maris Academy. Using technology in our daily learning prepares students for the real world environment, especially as our nation becomes increasingly more technology-dependent.  Students are prepared for their future careers, and are given opportunities to interact with classmates through collaboration.

SPANISH

Spanish language and culture are introduced through illustrated stories, flashcards, songs, videos, and art and craft activities. Activities like acting, singing, dancing, painting and playing games are enjoyed immensely by our little students and are a great way to enhance their memory. Because of their young age, we believe in the importance of a full immersion in the L2 language in a warm, welcoming environment. Little students get used to a second language and are eager to copy and say words in Spanish. Students are taught the sign of the cross, to pray Glory and Angel of my guard, pronunciation of letters and words, age-appropriate vocabulary, Latino/Hispanic/Spanish holidays/traditions, and simple sentence structures.  Specifically, students learn according to their age and interests: greetings/goodbyes; expressing feelings; asking/responding to name; basics of gender/number agreement (adjectives); some verbs of movement; animals; classroom commands and routines; colors; numbers 1-20; weather expressions; dates; days of the week and months; foods/drinks; opposites; body parts; and shapes. 

LIBRARY

The Stella Maris Academy Library/ Media program is built on understanding core knowledge instruction while also learning essential skills for critical thinking, problem solving, communication and collaboration.  Stella Maris Academy’s Library/ Media program fundamentally aligns itself with Common Core State Standards while working directly with each classroom teacher to align curriculum.  The main component of the Library Media program centers on building strong content knowledge and focusing literacy instruction directly to the text. Students in all grades (TK-8) are encouraged to draw direct evidence from the text itself in order to promote comprehension and cite evidence accurately and correctly.  A key component to the program includes an emphasis on interpretive and analytical skills within a range of texts, digital information and internet/ media.

In grades Transitional Kindergarten through Second Grade, students focus on a variety of digital literacy skills to access information efficiently, effectively and most importantly in a safe way to inquire, think critically and gain knowledge.  A main focus is to cultivate a love of reading and become a self-motivated reader.  Students learn the proper use and handling of books, identify and appreciate various genres and types of text (Non-Fiction, Fiction, Informative, Narrative) and applying that knowledge within the classroom. Students learn the basics of alphabetizing and the importance of organization in the Library Media Center.  Students develop successful strategies for locating information accurately and effectively to support their research. In addition, students in Second grade start the Accelerated Reader Program, which provides an individualized plan for reading comprehension based on each students comprehension skills, zone of proximal development and individual reading goals.  Students learn how to use the Accelerated Reader program to read books within their particular level and earn points based on the completion of online comprehension quizzes to accurately gauge their reading comprehension and individual reading readiness. The Accelerated Reader program continues through grade Eight and constitutes one hundred points of their Reading and Literature Grades.

MUSIC

The music program at Stella Maris Academy exists to provide students with a safe environment in which to experiment with and perfect the God given gift of their voices.  Students will be encouraged to sing accurately, in tune, together, and separately.  They will be provided with a variety of performance and leadership opportunities through school productions, after school activities, and church services.  We want to give our students the opportunity to do something GREAT!

LEARNING EXPECTATIONS

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  • Arrive to school on time
  • Respect yourself and others
  • Make good choices inside and outside of the classroom