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Curriculum Highlights 2016-2017


Naturally eager to learn, five year-old students possess innate curiosity and a capacity for play. With that spirit in mind, our program expands their love of learning, social skills, and their interest in reaching out to the world. Our consistent setting and predictable procedures encourage student’s participation, cooperation, and interaction. Structured daily routines provide the children with an opportunity to develop self-control and gain independence. Our classroom is learner friendly, rich in text, and includes labels, word-lists, charts and graphs. We facilitate learning in the context of everyday experiences including calendar activities, current events, exploring the world of plants and animals, and even cooking projects. Each day includes time to create, pretend, and make choices. Along with academic workbooks, our curriculum includes vocabulary activities, show and tell, story time, snack-time, and technology projects. We hatch baby chicks every spring, a happily anticipated event! Field trips are an important component, which also helps to increase knowledge and add fun and excitement to our class learning experience.

1st Grade

Six and seven year olds enter First Grade with their own innate curiosity and excitement to learn and discover “everything” they can. Reading, Language Arts, Writing skills and Math computation continue to improve throughout the year as the children continue to learn of the goodness and love of Jesus in their daily lives. The children share their family experiences and learn about citizenship and neighborhood maps in Social Studies. The Food Pyramid, plants, animals, weather, solids, liquids, and gases are the topics explored in Science and Health. Combining computer skills with Literature and Art, the children write their own stories and illustrate them. Rounding out the First Grade experience, class field trips include the American Theatre Arts for Youth.

2nd Grade

Second Grade at St. Monica School is a year to grow as readers, writers of stories, and mathematicians of higher place values. We read a variety of children's literature including chapter books. We learn to write letters to pen pals, short reports, personal narratives, and silly stories using correct grammar and punctuation. We practice math computation skills, solve addition and subtraction problems with and without regrouping, and begin to learn our multiplication facts. In Science, we study life cycles and watch our own seeds grow into plants. In Social Studies, we learn about cities, suburbs, and rural communities while building our own classroom community. We also make relief maps of North America. We learn about God's love and the many gifts that he has given us. For Catholic students, the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Communion are received for the first time. We also have enrichment classes in the areas of art, physical education, library, music, and computers. Second Grade is a year for students to identify themselves as readers and learners!

3rd Grade

Third graders look forward to many new and exciting things during the school year. They will read chapter books for book reports. Dioramas are created in Science during our dinosaur and solar system units. In Religion class, we study the Ten Commandments as well as the life of Jesus, focusing upon the appreciation of God’s love and how to love, respect, and help others. We will also be learning how to write in cursive and working on our multiplication and division facts. By integrating technology into the curriculum, we have access to great websites like “Mathletics.” Students in grade three participate for the first time in CYO team sports and the San Francisco Symphony’s Adventures in Music (AIM) Program. Third graders can also look forward to a number of fieldtrips to enhance and support the curriculum.

4th Grade

In the Fourth grade, students start to become more independent learners. They strive to develop their oral and writing skills. Students are called on to make small presentations during morning assemblies during the school year. They continue sentence construction and work on paragraph writing using Step Up to Writing. In addition to being able to spell words correctly, they also begin more in depth vocabulary study. Emphasis is placed on organizational and note-taking skills. Reading skills for non-fiction information type reading such as that found in a textbook are taught to help students start to develop comprehension as they read academic subject books. Students continue to work on real world math concepts such as making change and knowing time differences, as well as more advanced concepts such as an introduction to variables, expressions, and equations. The central theme of Religion is how God guides us.

5th Grade

Fifth grade proves to be an exciting, learning year. Students continue with the development of vocabulary focusing on the part of speech of a word. Paragraph outlining and writing is further emphasized, and mid year students start joining the paragraphs together to form essays. Opportunities for public speaking are expanded through class discussions, projects, school functions, and membership in extra-curricular clubs. Students ability to organize and time manage is worked on throughout the year. Class assignments are designed to help develop higher order think skills. In Reading class, students will comprehend, analyze, and evaluate a variety of literary styles and genres including novels. Students learn about the United States in History class, and aspects of all three branches of Sciencelife, physical, and earth—during their Science class. The central theme of Religion is that we are worshipping people. Mathematical foundation is solidified through class instruction, as well as usage of computer programs such as Accelerated Math and Mathletics

Sixth Grade

In a milestone year that students experience on their journey to becoming a St. Monica graduate, sixth grade is when students are fully integrated into the Middle School setting. They earn new privileges, acquire new responsibilities, and continue with the "departmentalized approach" to learning – where different teachers teach the students, each focusing upon a particular area of expertise. It is a year that prepares students for their high school evaluation process; admission into local high schools is ultimately determined by the academic accomplishments of students in both their seventh and eighth grade years. With this in mind, the curriculum for sixth grade at St. Monica is designed to be “high school prep,” challenging students to be enlightened, empowered, and transformed. In Religion the focus is on spiritual awareness. As students study the Old Testament of the Bible in Religion Class, they analyze and discuss passages and reflect on how these messages may resonate within their own lives. A variety of literary genres and forms are read throughout the year in Literature, with the concentration on comprehension and story analysis. Clear self-expression is the goal of English, developed through the practice of writing and grammar. The development and usage of expanded Vocabulary is employed across curriculums, as well as in its own designated class. Students explore Ancient World History in social studies this year, focusing on the civilizations of Mesopotamia, Egypt, India, China, Greece, and Rome. A significant emphasis is also placed on current events. High school preparation is further enhanced as students in Math explore the principles and foundation of Pre-Algebra and learn about the earth in Science. Supporting curriculum for sixth grade students includes Physical Education, Art, and Music. Technology is integrated into all classes.

7th grade

The Middle School journey continues in seventh grade. St. Monica students become teenagers in an unforgettable, defining year highlighted just as much by social, physical and emotional development as it is by intellectual achievement. It is a year that also marks the beginning of the high school evaluation process, as the admission into local high schools is ultimately determined by the academic accomplishments of students in both the end of the seventh and the beginning of the eighth grade years. With this is mind, the curriculum for seventh grade at St. Monica School challenges students to be enlightened, empowered and transformed. Language Arts is divided into three subject areas: literature, English and vocabulary. Reading comprehension is a hallmark of the 7th grade literature class. Throughout the year, as we explore a variety of literary styles and genres, emphasis is placed on comprehension and using that knowledge to further each student’s interaction with the text: analysis, critical thinking, and figurative comprehension. English class is geared toward developing students’ writing skills. Writing as a process is the foundation with which students express themselves though a number of formal styles (descriptive, expository, persuasive and research reporting) as well as informal (journaling, creating stories and poems). Equal emphasis is placed on proper language usage and mechanics (grammar, punctuation, spelling). Vocabulary building and expansion is employed across all curriculums, as well as in its own designated class. High school preparation is further enhanced as students study pre-algebra and elements of geometry in math, life science and biology in science, and world history and current affairs in social studies. Spiritual awareness is at the core of Religion class, as students learn about the life of Jesus in the four Gospels and try to apply His teachings to their own lives. In addition, seventh grade students continue their class journeys in technology, physical education, art, and music.

8th Grade

The Eighth Grade at St. Monica promises to be both challenging and rewarding. Foremost will be the need to do well academically as students apply to various high schools. We expect our students to be accepted by the most competitive college preparatory high schools. Our curriculum prepares them well. Students take Algebra I, American History, Physical Science, English, Literature, Vocabulary, Art, Computer, Music, and Physical Education. English and Literature, in particular, place a strong emphasis on grammar, language usage, mechanics, the writing process, and reading comprehension. All students will be expected to read works from a variety of genres, both fiction and non-fiction. In addition, Catholic students will continue their spiritual journey as they receive their Confirmation. All students will participate in the Confirmation retreat. In keeping with our Student Learning Expectations, the development of the well-rounded individual is a high priority. Eighth graders are expected to be highly involved in the school and parish community, not only by fulfilling their service hour requirement, but by exercising their responsibilities as student leaders: tutoring, acting in drama, producing the yearbook, participating in Student Council and Service Club, singing in the choir, serving at Mass, and joining our Bulldog sports program. We believe that our graduating class embodies the outcomes of our Student Learning Expectations. At the time of graduation, our eighth graders are indeed ready for the next step in their educational journey.
St. Monica School of San Francisco, a Catholic elementary school
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