Curriculum

The HoLa curriculum sets forth an educational plan that reinforces HoLa’s mission to provide a rigorous and rich academic program in a dual language immersion context, where students are actively engaged in the learning process. The curriculum is interdisciplinary, challenging and aligned with the New Jersey Student Learning Standards and the Core Curriculum Content Standards.

School-wide Initiatives:

  • Responsive Classroom – An approach to the  elementary classroom that emphasizes character development, with the goal of deliberately helping children build academic and social-emotional competencies within the structure of a strong and safe school community.
  • Arts Emphasis – Cross-curricular integration of the arts into the classroom, along with instruction in, and exposure to, various media through weekly art, music and dance classes, field trips and residencies.
  • Specials – Students get “special” classes: art, music, gym, and rotating specials provided by artists-in-residence, such as international dance, yoga and instrumental instruction.
  • Experiential Learning – Emphasis on “hands on instruction” in all subject areas (manipulatives, cooperative learning, field trips, interactive activities/workshops, child-directed inquiry).
  • STEM – Technology is integrated into the classroom school-wide via laptops, Chrome Books and iPad Minis. Starting in 4th Grade, students also benefit from a progression of STEM courses each year: Coding (Scratch/Python), App Development, Robotics, 3D Modeling & Printing, and Circuitry / Arduino.

Literacy / Language Arts:

  • Writer’s & Reader’s Workshop (Teacher’s College) – A method of  instruction developed by Lucy Calkins at the Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University. Emphasizes author study, reading/writing in multiple genres, and writing for real world purposes, with the goal of fostering lifelong writers.
  • Balanced Literacy Approach – Designed to increase confidence and fluency in all aspects of literacy; students’ progress through reading levels using the Guided Reading approach, which emphasizes the use of quality, authentic children’s literature to build an interest in and passion for reading. This also includes Shared Reading and Interactive Writing experiences where our teachers explicitly model the skills of proficient readers and writers.
  • Novel Study/Literature Circles – A method of explicit instruction on the nuances of a novel to develop students who can approach complex texts with comprehension, formulate analytical responses to writing, and demonstrate familiarity with various genres of literature. The curriclulum alternates between whole-class readings of key novels, and small group leveled readings with texts on a similar theme.

Math:

  • EngageNY – Comprehensive Common Core aligned math curriculum created by a team of NY educators and curriculum experts.

Science:

  • ScienceFusion (Houghton Mifflin) – ScienceFusion provides students with a meaningful way to interact with key topics in earth, life, physical, and natural sciences, using a holistic approach based on inquiry and application across print, digital and hands-on resources. Students use reasoning skills to discover, interact with and apply what they have learned.
  • FOSS Kits: Our science classrooms make use of FOSS (Full Option Science System) kits, starting in Grade 3. The FOSS program is part of a science curriculum developed at the Lawrence Hall of Science that is based on active learning. FOSS kits are modular and include all of the resources for investigating a particular unit of study hands-on (balance and motion, magnetism and electricity, water…), engaging students in experiences that lead to a deeper understanding of the natural world and scientific principles.

Social Studies:

  • Harcourt Social Studies/Estudios Sociales (Houghton Mifflin) – A comprehensive social studies program designed to engage and motivate students, and provide a global perspective, through the stories of the intriguing people, places and events that make social studies relevant to their lives. Students learn the information and skills they need to become informed citizens who consider diverse points of view, use critical thinking skills and are active in their communities.
  • Government Alive! Civics, Geography, and Economics (Grade 8) – A digital interactive student textbook/notebook that actively connects government, geography, and economics to the everyday lives of middle school students. Students learn how to think like lawmakers, geographers, and economists to understand how America operates. The U.S. Constitution paired with hands-on activities engages students to discover the founding ideals of American government and prepares students to become active U.S. citizens.
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