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Interactive Curriculum Guide 

BENEFITS OF A BHMS EDUCATION


Brooklyn Heights Montessori School prepares students with the critical thinking and problem solving skills essential for success in our rapidly changing world. Our curriculum, built upon the Montessori Method, inspires independence, confidence, curiosity, leadership and collaboration in our students. Mixed-Age Classes Guided by their teachers, students learn from and teach each other. Students develop collaboration and leadership skills, compassion, and mastery of the material. Two and Three Year Cycles Teachers gain an intimate knowledge of each student’s individual learning style and potential. A spiraling curriculum develops a deeper understanding of academic subjects. Montessori Materials Self-correcting, hands-on materials are designed to develop a student’s independence, self- confidence, and depth of knowledge through tactile experiences. These materials help students move towards abstract thought. Aligning with AMS standards, middle school students use teacher-prepared materials. Prepared Environment Students have choice within a carefully designed environment. This creates a structure that develops critical thinking and independent problem solving skills by allowing students time to explore, discover, concentrate, research, and learn at their own pace. Teachers closely monitor each student’s progress, helping them make good choices that support learning and exploration of all academic subjects. Intrinsic Motivation Students work toward their own goals, which deepens their interest and satisfaction, rather than for external rewards. It is widely recognized that individuals are more highly motivated when they have a vested interest in their pursuits and goals. Grace and Courtesy Students are encouraged to be thoughtful of the needs of others and engage with others in a respectful manner. Compassion is a characteristic held in high regard within our Montessori community. Preschool – Grade 8 A PS-8 education provides an emotionally safe environment for adolescents to build self-confidence and leadership skills. By Grade 8, students’ interests and learning styles are more defined. Their involvement in the High School selection process results in a greater commitment to their own education. BHMS graduates enroll in high schools where they thrive. Anti-Bias Education for Equity and Social Justice The Teaching Tolerance Social Justice Standards are used to inform our ongoing work of anti-bias, multicultural, and social justice education at BHMS. Students are introduced to the Four Core Goals of Anti-Bias Education, which explore Identity, Diversity, Justice and Action.




LEARNING FOR JUSTICE - SOCIAL JUSTICE STANDARDS


Identity:

  • Students will develop positive social identities based on their membership in multiple groups in society.
  • Students will develop language and historical and cultural knowledge that affirm and accurately describe their membership in multiple identity groups.
  • Students will recognize that people’s multiple identities interact and create unique and complex individuals.
  • Students will express pride, confidence and healthy self-esteem without denying the value and dignity of other people.
  • Students will recognize traits of the dominant culture, their home culture and other cultures and understand how they negotiate their own identity in multiple spaces.
Diversity:
  • Students will express comfort with people who are both similar to and different from them and engage respectfully with all people.
  • Students will develop language and knowledge to accurately and respectfully describe how people (including themselves) are both similar to and different from each other and others in their identity groups.
  • Students will respectfully express curiosity about the history and lived experiences of others and will exchange ideas and beliefs in an open-minded way.
  • Students will respond to diversity by building empathy, respect, understanding and connection.
  • Students will examine diversity in social, cultural, political and historical contexts rather than in ways that are superficial or oversimplified.
Justice:
  • Students will recognize stereotypes and relate to people as individuals rather than representatives of groups.
  • Students will recognize unfairness on the individual level (e.g., biased speech) and injustice at the institutional or systemic level (e.g., discrimination).
  • Students will analyze the harmful impact of bias and injustice on the world, historically and today.
  • Students will recognize that power and privilege influence relationships on interpersonal, intergroup and institutional levels and consider how they have been affected by those dynamics.
  • Students will identify figures, groups, events and a variety of strategies and philosophies relevant to the history of social justice around the world.
Action:
  • Students will express empathy when people are excluded or mistreated because of their identities and concern when they themselves experience bias.
  • Students will recognize their own responsibility to stand up to exclusion, prejudice and injustice.
  • Students will speak up with courage and respect when they or someone else has been hurt or wronged by bias.
  • Students will make principled decisions about when and how to take a stand against bias and injustice in their everyday lives and will do so despite negative peer or group pressure.
  • Students will plan and carry out collective action against bias and injustice in the world and will evaluate what strategies are most effective.
Reprinted with permission of Learning for Justice, a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center. [https://www.learningforjustice.org/frameworks/social-justice-standards]




REMOTE LEARNING


If circumstances require us to close our buildings for an extended period of time, we are prepared to shift the delivery of our curriculum to a distanced platform. Our model of remote learning supports and balances our students’ academic and social needs. Remote learning at BHMS includes time for synchronous learning, which allows students to feel socially, emotionally, and academically connected and supported, and asynchronous learning, which gives students time to practice independence. Montessori is about developing curiosity, independence, student-directed work, critical thinking, connection to the real world, and developing lifelong skills - and our remote learning model is designed to foster these qualities. At BHMS, we use Canvas, a learning management system that will allow us to move seamlessly between being in-school and being remote. It provides a way for students, families, and teachers to remain in touch about teaching and learning. Canvas, made for and by educators, supports the work that we do at BHMS both during remote learning and when we are physically together in our spaces. It integrates seamlessly with other learning tools we use and is very easy to use for students and families.





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OVERVIEW OF PROGRAMS

Ages 2-3

Ages 3 - 6 (includes Kindergarten)

Ages 6-9, Grades 1-3

Ages 9-12, Grades 4-6

Ages 13-14, Grades 7-8

Explore by Subject

MATH


Primary Program (Ages 3-6): In the Math area, Montessori materials provide concrete, hands-on exploration of the concept of number. Children begin to grasp one-to-one correspondence, further develop quantitative terms (less than/more than), and learn to recognize numerals and match quantities. Children are also introduced to the concepts of addition, subtraction, division, multiplication and geometry through structured math materials and daily classroom practices and activities, providing the stepping-stones for deeper understanding and skill development in the Lower Elementary Program. Lower Elementary (Ages 6-9, Grades 1-3): Lower Elementary students work on gaining understanding of mathematical concepts. Through working with Montessori math materials, students develop a deeper understanding of number properties and relationships. Skill development and understanding of place value and operations, starting with single digit and expanding to multi-digit addition and subtraction, continues throughout the three-year cycle. Multiplication and division are also introduced. In first grade, students focus on place value into the thousands along with static and dynamic (regrouping of numbers) addition and subtraction. Second grade students review place value, explore multiplication through the study of multiple, continue their work in addition and subtraction with multi-digit operations, and are introduced to the commutative law (i.e., a+b is the same as b+a). As they move towards abstraction, students continue working with dynamic addition, subtraction, and multiplication problems. By third grade, students have been introduced to long division using the Montessori racks and tubes; and work on solving various operations with fractions. While basic facts about perimeter, area and volume are introduced earlier, these concepts are explored more deeply in the third grade. Topics covered in math are explored each year with every grade, at a deeper and more complex level of study according to the grade. In addition, all students work on learning concepts of telling time, money, patterns, mapping, measuring, graphing, and geometry through their work with manipulatives, real-life experiences, games, small group lessons, and follow-up class work. Word problems provide opportunities for problem-solving and meaningful use of computational skills. Students develop a growing understanding of how numbers work through continued use of skip counting and repeated work on times tables. Using ‘doubles’ and ‘make ten’ activities, students work towards the goal of having times tables mastered by Grade 4 along with addition and subtraction facts of 1 to 20. Upper Elementary (Ages 9-12, Grades 4-6): The math curriculum spirals from the Lower Elementary to the Upper Elementary program, fostering students’ conceptual understanding of mathematical ideas as they move from concrete to more abstract reasoning. The goals of the math curriculum are to help students develop greater problem-solving skills, strengthen their number sense, and hone their computational skills. The program’s sequence is designed to equip students with a strong foundation in mathematics and critical thinking skills, building both understanding and confidence. The Singapore Math Dimensions Program common core edition is used in grades 4-6. Lessons with Montessori materials are presented on a regular basis as students move from the concrete to the abstract in their understanding. Materials are available for individual follow-up work and review. Math instruction occurs by grade level and includes individual and small group work using a variety of approaches from investigations with concrete materials, projects, activities with extensions, games, and drill and practice of math facts. The students study place value with expanded and scientific notation, whole number operations, fractions, decimals and percentages, measurement and geometry, collecting, graphing, and analyzing data, comparing quantities to explore rate, ratio and proportion, and probability. Grade 6 students begin an introduction to negative numbers and algebraic concepts, preparing them for Middle School. Middle School (Ages 13-14, Grades 7-8): In Middle School, students continue with the Singapore Math Program. Depending on the topics covered, different approaches are adopted when presenting concepts to help students better understand the material and to internalize the processes that they explore. Students begin Grade 7 studying pre-algebra and finish Grade 8 having completed Algebra 1. In Grade 7, students work with concepts surrounding real numbers, algebraic manipulation, rate, ratio and proportion, percentages and data handling, geometry and spatial understanding, and statistics. Grade 8 students dive deeper into algebra with an in-depth study of linear and quadratic equations, and also move into studying geometry through lines and three-dimensional shapes. Data interpretation is also developed as students solve complex problems using graphing techniques and applying the Pythagorean Theorem. The goal of the Grade 8 class is for students to complete Algebra 1. Our curriculum allows students to learn through a combination of teacher-led lessons, individual projects that apply concepts to real-world situations, collaborative group work, and class discussions.




LANGUAGE ARTS


Primary Program (Ages 3-6): In the Language Arts area, both pre-reading and early reading and writing skills are supported through a variety of phonemic awareness materials: sandpaper letters, shapes for tracing, movable alphabet, matching activities associated with different letter sounds, letter blending and sequencing. Children are read to in large and small groups, as well as individually. As they develop, they learn how to retell stories, understand plot, elaborate ideas, generate stories, generate rhymes, and make comparisons. The classrooms have cozy reading centers filled with books and at times listening stations are set up for children to use. Lower Elementary (Ages 6-9, Grades 1-3): In Lower Elementary, children spend three years building on their reading, writing and language skills. Montessori materials give them a sensorial experience of forming words, understanding parts of speech, and analyzing sentence structure. The Word Tower contains sets of cards that children can manipulate to explore language concepts such as synonyms, antonyms, compound words, affixes, suffixes, and homophones. Literacy skills are supported daily during Literacy Block. Literacy Block is a block of time where students have independent literacy work options, meet with their Reading & Writing Group, and have 1:1 literacy conferences with their teachers. Teachers build a routine structure during this block, allowing students to build stamina and independence as they engage in meaningful, authentic reading and writing tasks each day. There are five different choices students can make to work on developing their literacy: 1. Read to Self 2. Work on Writing 3. Read to Someone 4. Word Work 5. Listen to Reading In 1st grade, students begin with acquiring decoding strategies necessary to access increasingly complex texts. As they progress, they are introduced to comprehension strategies that give them practice with inference and analysis. Children receive focus lessons or reading group lessons that target reading accuracy, comprehension, fluency and vocabulary. Students work independently on one of the five choices when not in a 1:1 literacy conference or Reading & Writing Group. Spelling is taught using a program called Instructional Level Spelling. This program teaches children spelling patterns, with differentiated word lists that aim to allow for growth as they build on their spelling abilities from one year to the next. Upper Elementary (Ages 9-12, Grades 4-6): As in Lower Elementary, reading and writing occur daily and across the curriculum. The goals of the Upper Elementary three-year cycle are to help students to read to learn, to foster a love of reading, to give students tools to appreciate literature and nonfiction, and to help students to build effective writing skills. Language Arts skills are studied throughout the three-year cycle of culture and science units and social justice topics inspired by Maria Montessori’s peace curriculum. Reading groups meet during the week with teachers to build on students’ comprehension and fluency skills. Upper Elementary students practice their literacy skills by retelling a sequence of events, recalling details, making inferences, understanding conflict, perceiving characters’ motivations, recognizing mood, comprehending simple metaphors, and identifying themes of literature. Students write about their reading in response to assigned prompts, through daily journals, and topics of their own choice. Poetry reading, appreciation, and writing are important components of the Language Arts program. Reading aloud to the entire class is a beloved BHMS tradition that deepens learning, promotes discussion, provides opportunities to write, and builds community. The writing curriculum is informed by the Hochman method of writing instruction and is organized so that students receive instruction in grammar and expository writing techniques as well as creative writing throughout the year. The writing process is central to students’ learning: organization, revising with teachers and peers, and redrafting are key elements of the process. Assignments cover a variety of forms, genres and subjects over the three-year cycle and include essays, journaling, reports, letters, opinion pieces, poetry, presentations, responses to personal and group reading assignments, and short stories. The curriculum is organized so that students write in informative, narrative, persuasive and creative modes in each trimester. For informative writing, each year begins with the students writing and sharing about their summer reading; students work with their teachers to create an art project and write a summary of a book they read over the summer. Students also practice various research methods and compose written reports on the culture and science focuses of that year. For narrative writing, students begin each day by settling in and responding to a writing prompt, daily . Throughout the year students compose poetry and short stories. Within small group workshops, peer revision sessions, as well as individual conferences with a teacher, students draft and revise their writing into polished pieces. For persuasive writing, students build proficient communication skills through group conversation, class meetings, and directed journal entries. Students write persuasive letters, providing reasons and support to back a position and create Public Service Announcements related to their studies. Students write creatively throughout the year. They experiment with many genres and respond to prompts that encourage them to deepen their understanding of themes in the curriculum. At the end of the year all upper elementary students submit a favorite poem for our poetry collection. Each year, students gain both skill and confidence, building on the work they have done before while learning to stretch themselves in new directions. Students continue to strengthen their vocabulary, spelling, and punctuation skills through small group work, individual instruction, assignments, and quizzes. Middle School (Ages 13-14, Grades 7-8): Reading and writing in middle school become paths to deeper thinking. Students use reading and writing workshops to understand increasingly complex texts, make connections among ideas, and communicate their own ideas effectively. Students read and discuss novels, plays, short stories, nonfiction, and poetry. Many of the works are thematically linked to the Humanities curriculum, which allows students to engage in deeper conversations and make more interesting connections. Students learn to participate actively in conversations about literature, developing their own arguments and ideas and supporting those ideas by citing evidence from the texts they have read. Students learn to express themselves orally and on the page in a clear, persuasive, and informed manner. A highly structured process helps students to build strong skills and to think critically and creatively, preparing them for the writing they will do in their high school classes. Over the two-year cycle, students learn to organize, write and revise a wide variety of essays, including personal essays, literary analysis essays, and a lengthy research project. As students gain comfort with standard essay forms, they are encouraged to develop a distinct individual voice and approach. Students apply what they are learning about literature in their own fiction, dramatic vignettes, and poetry. Continuing work on grammar, vocabulary, and the editing process strengthens students’ developing skills. A further aim of the curriculum is to support the ongoing development of students’ organizational skills, both with time and with materials. Linked with the Middle School Language Arts curriculum is the production of a theater production each year. This is a collaborative venture involving the art and drama teachers along with the Middle School Language Arts teacher. The students study the play in depth in their Language Arts class and work with the art teachers to develop a set, costumes, and media for the play. The process culminates as the students present the full play for the whole community.




SCIENCE


Primary Program (Ages 3-6): In the Science area, children experience a curriculum that encourages them to explore their place in the world and the Universe. The children engage in simple experiments and observation tasks, including feeding and observing the class pet. Over the course of the three-year cycle, They learn about the seasons, the solar system, and the human body, and study the cycle of life through observing animal and plant life. Every spring, children begin an ecology curriculum, starting with seed planting in the classroom and culminating in gardening on the roof. They also study the life cycle of insects, including the butterfly and ladybug. Geography—separated into physical and cultural—is another element of the curriculum that introduces children to their place in the Universe. The year starts with understanding the properties of land, air, and water, and progresses to identifying the continents, before moving on to other elements of physical geography, such as landforms. The curriculum expands as children learn about different aspects of the physical world. Biomes, such as rainforests and deserts, are explored and students enjoy researching the similarities and differences of these ecosystems across the world. Lower Elementary (Ages 6-9, Grades 1-3): Lower Elementary students are observant and curious about the world around them. Special presentations of the Montessori “Great Lessons” give them an impressionistic introduction to understanding the cosmic questions of how the Universe and life on the planet began. Traditionally there are Five Great Lessons, which include:

  • The Coming of the Universe and the Earth
  • The Coming of Life
  • The Coming of Human Beings
  • The Story of Writing
  • The Story of Numbers
These lessons, told in a story-telling style, open up the Montessori curriculum for the Lower Elementary child. The rich topics touched upon during the Great Lessons will often resurface in other areas of the curriculum, creating deep and meaningful connections across the curriculum. In the Lower Elementary program, all students delve into life science, earth science, and physical science through formal lessons, hands-on experiences, independent research, the exploration of objects and materials, and observing and caring for plants and animals. Students are introduced to the Scientific Method and conduct experiments to test their hypotheses. They develop skills in how to observe, record, and summarize their observations and findings. Each spring, their science studies culminate in presentations to classmates of self-selected science experiments. Each grade level approaches their science work from a different perspective, using different materials to further develop their understanding of our physical world. While a first grader may be able to name the three states of matter and grasp the simple differences between them, this knowledge culminates in third grade with understanding the states of matter and their effect on the composition of the earth. Similarly, a first grader can name the simplest parts of a plant, a second grader will learn about the functions of the different parts of the plant, and a third grader can recognize that each part of the plant serves a purpose, without which the plant would die, and that plants have an impact on human existence. Every topic covered in science is explored each year with every grade, at a deeper and more complex level of study according to the grade. Upper Elementary (Ages 9-12, Grades 4-6): Linked Culture and Science units inspired by Montessori’s Great Lessons provide a framework for students to engage in in-depth study and to discover connections among subject areas over the three-year cycle. The Culture and Science curricula build on and further develop the students’ developing skills as readers, writers, researchers, and investigators. Students explore topics in in-depth units, each including research, project-based work, and creative and nonfiction writing. Guided by teacher support, the students work individually and in small and large groups. Upper Elementary students may celebrate or share their studies with the community as they finish each unit. Middle School (Ages 13-14, Grades 7-8): Science classes in the Middle School build on skills learned by students during their Upper Elementary and Lower Elementary years. While the content of the coursework involves challenging and exciting branches of science like Physical Science, Engineering, Genetics, Chemistry, Environmental and Life Science, the work done by students continues to be empirical and hands-on. The students learn through teacher and student presentations, laboratory work, printed texts, and online resources, with a focus on independent research, investigation and data analysis. Students hone in on scientific literacy and communication skills through the completion of lab reports, book studies and class discussions. Science journals, persuasive essays and group and individual projects provide additional opportunities for written and oral presentations.




CULTURE / HUMANITIES


Primary Program (Ages 3-6): Our Cultural world is explored through the study of different biomes and cultures each year. Through biome studies, children begin to understand how different climatic conditions affect the way people live and meet their fundamental human needs. Through information shared in the Family Questionnaire, teachers will encourage families to visit the classroom and share traditions, foods, stories and songs specific to their cultural heritage. Lower Elementary (Ages 6-9, Grades 1-3): The Lower Elementary global cultures curriculum provides an interdisciplinary framework that connects across all subjects. Each year, students explore several countries in great depth across multiple continents. The Lower Elementary team uses daily integrated science and math connections, music, art work, language, poetry, folktales, mythology and field trips to tie together the global cultures curriculum. This coming year, each 7-8 week immersive study will culminate in a Cultural Immersion Day, where program teachers and community members plan and give lessons across many subjects relating to that country’s culture. This rich, comparative study of each country’s cultures, food, religions, geography, and plant and animal life, through the lens of fundamental human needs, helps children build their understanding of our common human experience. Upper Elementary (Ages 9-12, Grades 4-6): Linked Culture and Science units inspired by Montessori’s Great Lessons provide a framework for students to engage in in-depth study and to discover connections among subject areas over the three-year cycle. The Culture and Science curricula build on and further develop the students’ developing skills as readers, writers, researchers, and investigators. Students explore topics in in-depth units, each including research, project-based work, and creative and nonfiction writing. Guided by teacher support, the students work individually and in small and large groups. Upper Elementary students may celebrate or share their studies with the community as they finish each unit. Middle School (Ages 13-14, Grades 7-8): The humanities curriculum is a two-year cycle that bridges the elementary study of Montessori’s Fundamental Needs of Humans with preparation for high school history classes. In this mixed-age class, students study thematic units designed for their new adolescent capabilities of abstract analysis. Various forms of writing, note-taking and organization, evaluating and citing sources, creating new ideas together in seminars, formal presentations, and project management are skills that are taught throughout the curriculum. In Year A students study current events and TED talks, the American Colonies and Slavery, the Revolution, the Constitution, art history, and world religions. In Year B students study human geography, human migration, the Civil War, Reconstruction, Early 20th Century America, and Late 20th Century America.




SPANISH


Kindergarten (Age 6): Kindergarten students are introduced to Spanish through playful activities, sing-alongs, the use of concrete materials and TPR (Total Physical Response). The TPR method combines listening and physical gestures to help students gain comfort, confidence and skill with a new language. The TPR skills of observing, listening to, interpreting, executing and giving commands increase in difficulty as the students advance. Students start learning the names and sounds of vowels and learn the names of objects and animals whose names start with each letter. Our program uses the Montessori methodology, as a way to make Spanish more realistic and significant. Lower Elementary (Ages 6-9, Grades 1-3): Lower Elementary students continue to learn Spanish through spontaneous and playful activities, sing-alongs, the use of concrete materials and TPR (Total Physical Response). The TPR method combines listening and physical gestures to help students gain comfort, confidence and skill with a new language. The TPR skills of observing, listening to, interpreting, executing and giving commands increase in difficulty as the students advance. In first grade, the students prepare to identify graphemes (letters) and their corresponding phonemes (sounds) in Spanish, as they train their auditory skills for recognition and identification of words. Through second and third grades the students are introduced to theme-based vocabulary, grammar, and spelling according to their grade level. The program is based on the Montessori methodology, and uses technology as a supporting tool. At each grade level in the Lower Elementary, the children also explore the cultures of various Spanish-speaking countries, learning about each country’s geographical location, history, landmarks, and culinary diversity, which they get to experience through cooking lessons. Upper Elementary (Ages 9-12, Grades 4-6): As in Lower Elementary, Spanish is taught in grade level groups. The overall goals of the curriculum are to develop basic skills in reading, writing, listening comprehension, and speaking. The program also fosters an interest in learning the language and becoming aware of the richness and diversity of the Spanish-speaking world. During the fourth and fifth grades, students learn through a variety of methods. Songs, stories, and games facilitate learning, and students learn about grammar and pronunciation at age-appropriate levels. As the students advance, textbooks, magazine articles, poetry, and website based activities are added. Student work involves skits, dialogs, projects, and writing activities. The students and the teacher create classroom materials. Upper Elementary students learn about the cultural aspects of Spanish- speaking countries through the study of art, architecture, food, literature, and music. In the sixth grade, students meet more frequently to work on foundational skills to prepare for Spanish at the middle school level. Students develop reading, writing, speaking, and listening communication skills. Basic grammatical topics are presented alongside thematic vocabulary to encourage students to use the language with confidence and frequency. Student work involves writing skits, analyzing poetry, cooking traditional foods, making traditional crafts and learning songs. Students follow a self-directed study of real world Spanish as part of weekly homework. Project-based exploration of cultures include Mexico and Puerto Rico. Students create presentations about the food, music, history, art, and geography of each of these countries. Middle School (Ages 13-14, Grades 7-8): Seventh and eighth graders work from a high school level Spanish 1 text with the goal of preparing them for advanced Spanish placement in ninth grade. Students develop reading, writing, speaking, and listening communicative skills. Complex grammatical topics are presented alongside thematic vocabulary to encourage students to use the language with confidence and high frequency. Student work involves writing compositions, filming scenes, analyzing poetry, cooking, traditional crafts and learning songs. Project-based exploration of cultures include: Guatemala, Peru, Spain, the United States, Argentina and Chile. Students create presentations about the food, music, history, art, geography, and politics of each of these countries. Middle School Spanish students are responsible for creating and executing the schedule of events for the BHMS celebration of World Language Week in March. Students choose their own topic or event to plan for the week that celebrates languages and the many benefits of multilingualism.




PHYSICAL EDUCATION





VISUAL & PERFORMING ARTS


Primary Program (Ages 3-6): Primary students participate in Music classes that meet weekly. Our Kindergarten students participate in Drama and Music classes that meet weekly. In preschool Music, children are introduced to songs, chants, and games both familiar and from around the world. Third year students (5s) also learn to make and follow simple rhythmic patterns, sing rounds, and play instruments in their separate weekly music classes. The Art area of the Primary classroom provides exposure to a variety of media, to brush and writing tool techniques as well as a variety of methods to layer paints and use paper to create two- and three-dimensional structures. Children create self-portraits at the beginning and the end of each year. The proper care of materials is also stressed. Children are free to pursue their own creative instincts in this area — emphasis is placed on “process over product.” Lower Elementary (Ages 6-9, Grades 1-3): Lower Elementary students participate in Art, Dance, Drama and Music classes that meet once per week. Art: The Lower Elementary Visual Arts program is designed to familiarize students in the fundamental components of art making by introducing them to the elements with art: line, shape, form, space, color, and texture. In addition, they learn the proper usage and care of art materials. Art classes give students the opportunity to explore a wide range of materials ranging from standard pencils and markers to polymer clay and plaster gauze. An array of instructive projects and self-guided work is employed to foster ingenuity as students learn how to apply imaginative thinking to problem solving and develop a greater understanding of the entire creative process. Through projects varying from mask making, acetate overlays, mono-prints, mixed-media sculpture, drawing, and painting, students explore fundamental art theory and establish a solid basis for future artistic exploration. They learn the concepts and vocabulary appropriate for each endeavor, such as color theory, historical context, and medium-specific technique, and also develop the language and ability to discuss their work. The satisfaction of accomplishment through creation is celebrated, with the emphasis placed on the process of creating art. Student work is displayed throughout the year and shared with the BHMS community at LE shares their work by VAPA groups throughout the year. Dance: In Lower Elementary Dance, students are introduced to a variety of Folk and Social dances in connection to the Lower Elementary cultural curriculum. Students also learn the fundamental elements of dance making: Body, Space, Time, Energy, and Relationship. They explore these concepts through activities that engage their bodies, imaginations, and intellect. Our goal is to prepare the dancer to have a sense of body awareness in space, access their strength and flexibility, ability to use a variety of dynamic movements, as well as recall and perform movements. Process and creativity are nurtured in class with an emphasis on problem-solving skills and self-expression. Students build their team- work skills by working collaboratively and develop confidence through working independently. Students are introduced to the language of dance and taught how to discuss and reflect on their work thoughtfully. Students share their work by VAPA groups with the BHMS community throughout the year. Drama: The Lower Elementary Drama program introduces students to drama through games that explore observation, listening, teamwork, concentration, imagination, the senses, and relaxation. Students discuss the skills involved with each game. The first graders strengthen these skills by working on small group exercises using pantomime and charades to explore storytelling and performance. The second and third graders begin in-depth work of pantomimes as well as work on developing skills to work collaboratively. Connections to the LE culture curriculum are made through folk tales, short stories, and plays. Second and third grade students practice memorizing lines and performance skills by sharing a short play or scene with the BHMS community at LE VAPA shares throughout the year. Music: The Lower Elementary Music program is a Kodály based curriculum designed to foster a love of music while also teaching foundational concepts. The method uses a combination of singing, folk music, solfège (do, re, mi) and a carefully structured sequence of introducing the elements of music. Through a varied repertoire of singing games and dances, body percussion and exploration of pre-prepared xylophones, students develop fundamental listening, sight-singing and ear-training skills. Second and Third grade students have the opportunity to learn recorder. Additionally they learn songs connected with classroom cultural studies which are shared with the BHMS community at LE VAPA shares by group throughout the year. All LE students prepare for performances such as the Celebration of Light, Grandparents and Special Friends Day, and are invited to sign up to participate in Monthly Music Share Community Meetings. These events allow students to learn popular songs of their choosing and to explore the role of music in the community. Upper Elementary (Ages 9-12, Grades 4-6): Core visual and performing arts classes in Grades 4 and 5 include Art, Dance, Drama, and Music, which meet once per week. Art: Using the skills acquired in Lower Elementary art, Upper Elementary students pursue long term projects. Several of these are inspired by their academic curriculum and require more involvement in planning and development on their part. A wide range of art materials are available to experiment with and explore to create 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional work. Portraiture, figure drawing (proportions and anatomy), linear perspective, devices to approach the picture plane, negative space, volume and shadows, using graduated shapes and forms, needle arts (basic sewing and embroidery), and calligraphy are some of the media explored in the fourth and fifth grades. The joy of creation through the process of making art is celebrated at BHMS. Dance: Students in Grades 4 and 5 develop upon the foundations from Lower Elementary Dance to deepen their studies. Students learn SimonsonTechnique as the foundation to their dance studies. Students continue developing strength, flexibility, agility, body awareness and stamina in a variety of dance genres. Students create new movements and phrases utilizing the Elements of Dance: Body, Space, Time, Energy, and Relationship. Students are given longer assignments that require collaboration and use of choreographic devices. Students are introduced to dance history and work within a theme to create a dance piece with a beginning, middle, and end. Some examples are folk dance that connect to their cultural studies, creative movement, and pop culture choreography. Students engage in a deeper critical response dialogue to develop their dance literacy and complete peer and self-evaluations. Students hone their performance skills by sharing their work with the BHMS community by VAPA groups in the spring. Drama: Upper Elementary drama builds on the skills developed in Lower Elementary drama through exploring the fundamentals of acting technique. Students exercise the physical, vocal and mental components of acting through connecting to their impulses, developing the actor’s instrument (voice, body and mind), and through engaging in creative play, pantomime, storytelling and improvisation. Students participate in a variety of group and solo activities in rehearsal and performance, demonstrating self-discipline and the ability to work collaboratively. In addition, students are cast in and rehearse a short abridged Shakespeare play that is performed by VAPA group in the spring for the BHMS community. Music: Upper Elementary students continue in the Kodály sequence using skills acquired in Lower Elementary to gain a deeper understanding of the elements of music. Through more advanced folk songs and dances, clapping games and drum circles students gain confidence in their ability to improvise and compose original songs. In addition to the barred instruments (xylophone, metallophone and glockenspiel) they begin learning ukulele. During the second half of the year students work in small groups to prepare an original composition or an arrangement of an existing song of their choice. They are encouraged to explore the keyboard, drums and guitar as they prepare selections to be shared by VAPA group in the spring for the BHMS community. In addition to the VAPA share they also prepare and practice for the annual Celebration of Light. UE students are invited to sign up for Monthly Music Share Community Meetings and UE Music Recess. Middle School (Ages 12-13, Grades 7-8): Selective classes are offered to students in Grades 6, 7 and 8, and allow students an opportunity to pursue a particular artistic genre in depth during an intensive period of time: four times a week for one trimester. The culmination of the selective classes is a presentation to the community of the work the students have done throughout the trimester. The following is a sample of classes we are offering. Selective offerings include: Ceramics, Culinary Arts, Drawing, Outdoor Mural Painting, Photography, Photo/Zines, Percussion Orff Ensemble, SOng Composition, Choral Band, Choreography, Salsa Dance, Swing Dance, and Theater Production. All 7th and 8th grade students participate in the Middle School Collaborative Production. For more information on Selectives and the Middle School Collaborative Production, please visit the Middle School section of the Curriculum Guide.