The general music program at Saint Michael’s is designed for Kindergarten through grade 5. Students learn progressively through each grade to apply music knowledge, demonstrate thinking skills using artistic processes, communicate through music, and make cross curricular connections to other subject areas and across the arts. Catholic Social Teaching is infused into lessons and the development of each student by valuing the sacred and social aspects of each individual, while teaching that we are more effective by working together.
From Kindergarten to second grade, emphasis is placed on singing in unison and in parts, matching pitch, and learning basic music notation. Rhythm sticks, hand drums, and assorted other instruments are introduced to make group music more interactive. From third to fifth grade, students begin building music reading knowledge while singing in harmony and unison. Students learn to identify the names of notes and rests, as well as begin to understand the value of notation. Students learn cooperatively, knowing that all students must do their best in order to be successful at performances and concerts.
We are very proud of our beautiful school library which currently houses over 21,000 books. Students enjoy choosing from our diverse collection for their Accelerated Reader (AR) books, research materials, or at check out time after library class. The AR program is a database of on-line comprehension, literacy, and vocabulary tests which students take to earn points for language arts reading requirements each trimester. This is a wonderful program which allows students to progress in their reading skills at their own pace by exploring literature of their choice on their reading level.
Students in kindergarten through 5th grade participate in library class each week. We begin our adventure in kindergarten with story time, basic library layout and literary terminology. From 1st through 5th grade, library skills are built and reviewed. A few of the primary topics include: reference materials (atlas, almanac, thesaurus, dictionary and encyclopedia); research skills including citations, plagiarism and the evaluation and appropriate usage of internet research materials; the Dewey Decimal System; alphabetizing and using call numbers; the computer catalog; and literary genres. Sprinkled throughout the year students and staff alike have shared favorite literature with book talks and recommendations.
The library is a terrific place to volunteer throughout the year. Volunteers assist Mrs. Joanis with preparing new books for circulation, shelving, organizational projects, repairing materials and assisting students. In addition to our parent volunteers, 4th grade students rotate in every day to assist with shelving books. A heart-felt “thank you” to all our volunteers.
Students in grades K-5 receive weekly technology instruction using the school’s up to date resources, which include a computer lab with 17 student iMac workstations, 32 MacBooks on a portable lab, and 30 iPads on another portable cart. Weekly sessions provide time to learn and develop skills including keyboarding and word-processing, Internet safety and digital citizenship, research and multimedia presentations, and coding. Classroom teachers collaborate to develop technology assignments integrated with grade level curriculum and Common Core Standards.
Our Physical Education program is designed to provide a variety of techniques and activities to improve the physical well-being of the students. Many different sports will be visited, as well as games and exercises to improve flexibility and strength. It is a graded course, so grades will be awarded for daily effort, participation, and skill improvement.
We believe that physical education is an integral part of the total education process that focuses on the intellectual, social, emotional, and physical needs of all students. Through the enhancement of individual skills, as well as learning to be part of a team, students will achieve the self-esteem so inheritent in physical education.
Physical Education in a curriculum component for students in all grade levels. Instruction time varies from a minimum of one hour per week for primary students to almost three hours weekly for some middle school students.
As a middle school subject, the study of Spanish begins in sixth grade. Students in the sixth and seventh grades have class twice a week while eighth grade students have class three times a week. The four tenets of language learning: speaking, listening, reading and writing are woven into all aspects of the curriculum. Hispanic culture is introduced through topical discussions and holiday celebrations. By the end of the course of study in eighth grade, students will have a strong preparation for a level one Spanish class at their high school. For students who have excelled in Spanish class over the three years and if their perspective high school offers a placement test, the opportunity exists for these students to test into a level two class.
The Learning Center is an inviting place that supports student learning in all grades. Small groups that focus on reading skills, language arts, and math give students an environment where their individual needs can be met. It is also a quiet place for reading a book or taking a test. Knowing that each student learns differently, the Learning Center works closely with classroom teachers and parents to help students be successful.
A talented school band continues to grow under the direction of Mrs. Theresa McKenzieSullivan. There are groups for beginning, intermediate, and advanced players available to all students in grades 4 through 8. No prior experience is necessary.
The band performs at Christmas, Spring and Veterans Day programs, and at other occasional parish and school events.