Curriculum

Curriculum

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Fair does not mean everyone is treated the exact same all the time. Fair means that each student gets what they need when they need it.

Curriculum

Esformes Hebrew Academy is dedicated to providing an exceptional Hebrew and Judaic studies curriculum combined with a strong general studies program within a single framework. At EHA, teachers are committed to creating a supportive learning environment which nurtures the intellectual, social, emotional, and spiritual growth of each child. Students are part of a caring community that reaches out to others through hands-on mitzvah projects in the school, the greater community, Israel, and the world at large.

Our school curriculum is formed in a way to allow each teacher the flexibility to respond to each student's need. Every student is expected to learn the same information, but with respect the individuality how each student was made. This means the teacher may need to alter the way the information is taught, what the student produces to show their understanding, or the amount of time the student needs to learn something.

We believe that each student comes to us with a unique collection of background knowledge, personality, and learning preferences, and that it would be a disservice to ignore these aspects of a child. Our teachers treat each one according to his or her needs while still maintaining a common class curriculum.

Important Terms to Understand Our Curriculum 

**Differentiation: Our teachers reach each student at the level appropriate to their development and style. If you peek into our classrooms during the day, you will see student doing a variety of assignments all at the same time! No two students were made the same, why should their work be? To accomplish this, we keep our class sizes small, plan a variety of activities for any given unit, and set up our environment to allow for all types of students. We support students when they need support, we let them "test out" of units they already know, we let them move fast when they can demonstrate understanding, and we slow them down when they struggle. We let them choose to work on the computer, with a partner, where to sit (or stand), to draw a picture, make a model, write a paper, or complete any number of activities where they show other what they learned. We can change the way the lesson is taught, how the student practices, or the final product the student makes to make sure the student is working at the highest level they can. Students do not move on until they learn the appropriate content at their highest level!

The pictures below show some upper elementary boys all during independent reading time. They are all reading, but reading at different levels about different topics. In the picture on the right, the elementary girl has chosen to complete her assignment using a clipboard on the couch rather than at the standard table, low table, or on the rug in her classroom.

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**Integration: We believe that a unit is best understood when it is integrated across many subjects, and not limited to only a Math Unit or only a Science Unit. We aim to make our units include the relationships between the units. This is demonstrated in the included pictures.

On the left you will see a unit on Egypt in the PreKindergarten Class. The kids may learn about Egypt culture, buildings, writing, and more which incorporates Math, Literacy, Science, and Social Studies. The result is students with a well-rounded knowledge of a subject. We feel this best represents the way that students learn out of the classroom so that we don't create people who don't make connections between the subjects. The picture on the right shows the Kindergarten class experiencing the holiday of Purim by making Hamantashen, a traditional cookie. During this unit, the class practiced measuring, content reading, following directions, working as a team, and cooking.

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**Learning Styles: Every person learns! But every person learns best through different ways. The common learning styles are described as visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. Visual learning occurs through watching, reading, seeing, and experiencing the unit through their sight. Auditory learning occurs through listening to speakers, songs, and other things that can be heard. Kinesthetic learning occurs through movement, building, and similar hands-on activities. Most people are a mix of learning styles that may change depending on the subject or day! To accommodate this, we provide a variety of activities for any given unit to ensure that set up of the activity does not hinder someone from learning the content!

The pictures in this section show a pair of boys working together creating a visual representation of their unit, and the Kindergarten class working outside on a part of their project.

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**Flexible Grouping: Our classes give us options on how we group students. Sometimes they work alone, in pairs, small groups, or large groups. Sometimes they work with someone on the same level, or a higher level, or a lower level. All of these groupings allow students to experience learning together and put the ideas in words they can understand.

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**Lesson DesignThe set up of the lessons is vital to reaching every student during every unit. Here's a general model for any of our units: Pretest (to see if any of the students already know part/all of the unit), Input and model for the students what should be done, Guided Practice to ensure proper understanding, Independent Practice, and Assessment.

The pictures below show a 1st grade boy creating a hamantashen after watching the teacher explain and show how it's done. The picture on the right shows a 1st grade girl sharing what she learned from the unit. It's important that students are able to explain the unit in their own words!

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How in the world do we do all this for each student? We need the best team possible! We have to know your student-what they like, dislike, what they do for fun, we have to really talk to them! We have to have the parents on our team also! They have insight into their students that is vital to our serving the students. We also have a close staff that works together and supports each other.

 

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