Curriculum K - 8th

 

General Information

All Souls Catholic Schools' curriculum is determined by the Archdiocese of Denver, based on national standards, and centered on faith and academic development.

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    The ability to respect and love themselves, one another, and the global community is the foundation upon which all academics and activities are based at All Souls, which strives to foster a deep understanding of the Gospel values of Jesus in all students.

    Elementary students also have classes in art, technology, music, and physical education. Specials teachers collaborate with elementary teachers on core units of study in order to integrate these classes as much as possible. Spanish is offered in middle school as a core class.

    Extracurricular activities include athletics (volleyball, basketball, baseball, and cross country), Spelling Bee (grades 3 and above), Speech (grades 7 and 8), Yearbook (grades 4-8), Knowledge Bowl (grades 6,7, and 8), Art Club, Art Workshops, Choir, and other enrichment activities and classes.

Literature and Writing

The Language Arts curriculum emphasizes the development of reading, writing, speaking and listening skills.

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    From kindergarten through fifth grade, the components of the program include individual and group reading, oral communication activities, spelling, grammar and vocabulary instruction, writing and reading workshops, researching skills and critical listening. At the early grades, a curriculum of phonics instruction is used to develop students' reading.

    Students are taught the value of all forms of literature at all grade levels using the Houghton Mifflin Literacy program which introduces students to a wide variety of quality literature and real world resources that increase their knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of themselves, other people, and the world in which they live. Students in the upper elementary grades experience literature through in-depth reading and writing with full-length novels. Through being taught a variety of reading strategies and skills, students are afforded opportunities for discovery and systematic instruction which helps them to develop strategies and skills that will allow them to construct, critically examine, and apply meaning to their reading. An emphasis on the development of comprehension and critical thinking skills also prepares students to make sound judgments based on Christian values.

    The Houghton Mifflin English writing program is a complete program, which covers grammar, usage, and mechanics as well as writing, speaking and listening. Grammar lessons cover the basics of writing, while individual writing units cover the writing skills of narrating and entertaining, explaining and informing, and expressing and influencing. Teachers integrate daily writing into all subjects from Math and Science, to Religion and Social Studies.

Grammar and Spelling

Grammar and spelling lessons enhance the Literature and Writing program, and are intertwined into the daily writing lessons.

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    Students develop a strong early foundation of English grammar, structure, function, and word formation. Textbooks from Houghton Mifflin augment the class work and provide the “map” of grammar as children learn it through out their elementary school career. Elementary grades also use the Zaner-Bloser spelling and handwriting program.

Mathematics

The Mathematics curriculum enables students to gain both a sound foundation in and understanding of basic math skill computation and operations as well as problem solving skills.

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    Moving from a concrete understanding of concepts using hands-on manipulatives, students develop more abstract reasoning and understanding of mathematical concepts as they progress through the grades. Through studying math in the following strands, students expand their mathematical knowledge and understanding before moving into the Middle School. The strands of math include: problem solving, numeration, operations and computation, measurement, probability, statistics, data analysis, geometry, and algebra.

    The primary focus of the Mathematics curriculum in the Archdiocese of Denver is to prepare students to be successful in an authentic algebra course by 8th grade. In order to achieve this goal, All Souls uses the Math in Focus: Singapore Approach program, an adaptation of the original program developed in Singapore. The Singapore Approach emphasizes the development of profound number sense by first exposing students to math concepts in their concrete forms. Students physically manipulate objects to learn math concepts before translating that experience to pictorial representations, and finally the abstract algorithm. With this strong foundation in basic number sense, students are able to solve complex problems in the middle grades.

Science

The Science curriculum focuses on the “big ideas” that comprise the critical paradigms of Science. Four strands are focused on an activity-based program of natural sciences and applied technologies: Earth and Space Science, Life Science, Physical Science, and the Nature of Science.

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    In the elementary grades, Science employs a hands-on, inquiry-based approach that begins with observation and exploration at the early grades and evolves into more teacher-directed and student-designed experiments and activities at the upper grades. The curriculum focuses on specific ideas which students develop deeper understandings of through activities that are conducted in a meaningful context.

    Each of the four strands has specific areas which students are expected to know and understand. The Earth and Science strand focuses on four major areas: Earth’s composition, characteristics of the atmosphere and weather, sources, uses and importance of water, and the structure of the solar system. The Life Science strand develops understanding of the living world through looking at the characteristics and interaction of organisms and the environment, the flow of matter and energy, the structure and functions of parts of organisms, and biological change. Within the Physical Science strand, students develop a solid understanding of the physical world-matter, energy, and their interactions. The Nature of Science strand incorporates scientific inquiry where students are encouraged to ask questions, technology, which gives tools for data collection, and a familiarity with tools available for data collection including glassware, weights and measure, computers, and iPads.

Social Studies

Social Studies promotes the development of knowledgeable, analytical citizens capable of understanding today’s complex world and possessing the skills needed to make appropriate, responsible personal and community decisions.

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    Today, it is essential that our students understand what it means to be citizens of both the United States and the world. Rich content at each grade captures imaginations, and challenges students to make strong connections with the past, present, and future. All students in 4th through 8th grade participate in a World's Fair. Eighth grade students travel to Washington D.C. as part of their Social Studies curriculum and their 8th grade experience.

Religion

The Religion curriculum focuses on Sacred Scripture, Church History, Doctrine, Liturgy, Sacraments, the Dignity of the Human Person, Morality, Community, Social Justice, and Prayer.

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    These disciplines are taught and explored through the “We Believe” series, writing and art assignments, weekly all-school liturgies, experiential activities, field trips, and social service projects. In second grade, students are prepared for the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Communion. In 6th grade, students receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. Theology of the Body curriculum is taught in the 7th and 8th grades. Through this religious instruction, the goal is to form children who are deeply aware of the love of God and the teachings of Jesus Christ and who strive to live and model these Christian principles in their daily lives.

Art

Students learn the role of art, craft and design in their environment and being to understand color, shape, space pattern and texture so they can use them to represent their ideas and feelings.

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    The younger elementary students develop their imagination and creativity by exploring the visual, sensory and tactile qualities of materials and processes. In the upper elementary grades students develop their creativity and imagination through more complex activities, which allows them to expand and improve their control of materials, techniques, and tools such as paints, clay, throwing wheels, etc. Students receive art history instruction throughout each project and attend art-based field trips that further support the curriculum.

Technology

Technology classes focus on computer literacy, digital responsibility and technical fluency and serve as an enhancement for regular classroom instruction.

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    The technology teacher is familiar with the subject curriculum of grades kindergarten through eighth grade. IPads are used as a tool to support the middle school curriculum within all subjects. Students are taught basic operations, word processing, spreadsheets, various multimedia and presentation tools, digital citizenship, basic coding, video editing, website design, and researching skills.

Physical Education

Physical Education classes are dedicated to the development of a sound mind in a healthy body, teamwork, cooperation, and sportsmanship and learning skills in a variety of sports.

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    The philosophies of the University of Notre Dame's "Play Like a Champion" program are woven into our physical education classes. The Physical Education program develops skills, which are then incorporated into sports including, but not limited to, soccer, football, basketball, volleyball, hockey, softball, kickball, and gymnastics. These skills are then applied to various activities.

Music

Students learn to listen, analyze, respond to and describe music. Their understanding of the discipline and acquisition of skills throughout each grade level becomes more complex as they gain experience with the subject.

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    Within the school, music is seen as a means of individual expression, a way to transmit culture and knowledge of human history, of communal sharing, and of collective worship.

    Students are exposed to music composition while learning how to read and notate music and develop an understanding of the universal understanding and appreciation of the art.

    Elementary school students learn their first notes on recorders, while middle school students are introduced to the guitar. A school choir is also offered as an extra curricular activity and students participate in musical productions at Christmas and in the spring.

Spanish

The Spanish curriculum integrates skills which include speaking, listening, reading and writing, and worldwide Spanish culture.

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    The study of foreign language begins in 6th grade and is a core class. By the end of the 8th grade, students are beginning to read, write simple sentences, engage in short conversations entirely in Spanish, and are prepared to transition to Spanish II in high school.