Frassati Catholic Academy Specialists Highlights
We recognize the importance of the arts to our children’s total development, and the many benefits of arts education: art helps us explore what it means to be human, to confront the mysteries of life, to use a design process to creatively solve problems, and to connect us more deeply to the world around us while exploring new ways of seeing.
In the primary grades (K–2), the art curriculum is designed to actively engage students and to spark their creativity through exposure to multi-media experiences. Students begin to learn about art elements through art projects designed for their developing hand-eye coordination. They begin to learn and use art vocabulary.
In the intermediate grades (3-5), teachers guide students to develop divergent and critical thinking skills during the creative process. Students deepen their understanding of art elements, and various mediums. Students begin to learn how to evaluate and critique a work of art, whether it’s their own, or that of a recognized artist. Why did the artist make these particular choices? What do you think is being conveyed? Throughout this stage, students explore works of art by a wide array of artists across time and place.
In Middle School, students can connect their knowledge of art foundations and art history, as well as their increasing command of varying art media, to individual art expression and critique.
Each Middle School art curriculum is organized loosely thematically:
6th Grade: exploring art techniques and mediums with increasing complexity
7th Grade: exploring art through famous artists’ works throughout time and place
8th Grade: connecting art to world cultures throughout history
Visual art is also explored in every grade through inter-disciplinary projects that connect art to history, culture, mathematics, religion, and language.
Band is provided by the Hill-Murray Parish Schools Band Program. Students receive at least 28 weekly lessons with two to four students and participate in ability based Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced Bands. Students perform in Christmas and Spring Concerts.
For extra enrichment, students may optionally participate with musicians from all partnership schools to experience music making in a large group setting. Students rehearse after school at Hill-Murray from January through March, culminating in the huge “Almost Spring” Concert. Following the “Almost Spring” concert, Advanced Band students take an annual field trip to present a daytime concert at one of the partnership schools. Advanced Band members in 6th, 7th and 8th grades are invited to join the optional evening Jazz Band rehearsals at Hill-Murray, concluding the year with an additional spring performance.
All 4th – 8th graders are welcomed to join band at any time.
Our program of study is shaped by how often we meet, class size, and the Christmas and spring programs we prepare each year. We have school-wide units that are studied at an age-appropriate level in each class. Rhythm, pitch, note reading, instruments, and choral singing are units included every year. Other units studied in various years include composers, listening, composition, musical styles, and music history.
All grades: Choral singing is studied throughout the year as we learn new music and prepare for all-school programs. Students learn the vocabulary and concepts of tempo, dynamics, and other musical elements. Grades 2-8 learn to follow choral music at an age-appropriate level. Concepts include matching pitch, following a musical map, repeats, multiple verses, multiple endings, multiple vocal parts, D.C. al Fine, D.S. al Coda. Proper vocal technique, tone production and pitch matching are discussed in each grade. Seasonal songs and musical games are included in music classes.
Elementary: Classes learn basic rhythms and rhythmic notation, increasing in complexity with each grade. We use rhythm instruments, rhythmic word raps, body rhythm, and other activities to learn and reinforce pulse, rhythm and note values. Grades 3-5 also learn about basic meter (time signature). Solfege is introduced in K-2. Grades 3-5 play recorders for three months each spring, learning about the treble clef and note reading. They perform at the spring program every year. Elementary students learn about instruments and instrument families. They also play xylophones while learning about pitch, note reading, ostinato, and improvisation.
Middle School: Students study rhythms that include more complex meters, syncopation, accents and various rests. Among many activities, we use sticks and buckets as junkyard percussion to learn these concepts and study more about composition and improvisation. Grades 7-8 compose a piece for junkyard percussion in the spring and perform it at the spring program every year. All middle school students play xylophones, metallophones and glockenspiels during an instrumental unit. 6th graders perform on mallet instruments at the spring program. Middle schoolers review treble clef note reading and learn about bass clef and the grand staff.
Physical education is an integral part of the total education of every child. Our physical education program works to increase the physical competence, health-related fitness, selfresponsibility and enjoyment of physical activity for all students so that they can be physically active for a lifetime. We do this by emphasizing cooperation, movement education, fundamental skill development and good sportsmanship. Physical Education improves the children’s muscular strength, flexibility, muscular endurance, body composition and cardiovascular endurance. We end our year with our Middle School students leading the school sports assembly.
Competence in Spanish can be a passport for our students to a wider array of career and social choices in our increasingly multicultural country. Knowledge of world languages broadens students’ awareness of world social justice issues and cultural perspectives.
Grades Pre-K-2: Students learn listening, reading, speaking and writing skills through common phrases and questions that encourage conversation. These are taught through songs, stories and TPRS (Total Physical Response Storytelling) techniques.
Grades 3-5: Students increase the complexity of their storytelling, speaking, reading and writing in an early understanding of grammar, alphabet, and pronunciation that allows students more control over their own communication.
Grades 6-8: Students continue their analysis of Spanish and add geography and culture of Spanish speaking countries throughout the world. Students in Middle School study verb conjugation, verb tenses, write skits, autobiographies, and in general increase the sophistication of their comprehension and output in reading, writing, speaking and listening.
Connections with history, geography, art, dance, and our Catholic heritage throughout the Spanish speaking world are integrated into the curriculum. Field trips to local stores and restaurants as well as native speaker visits give students a sense of connection and comparisons between Spanish culture and their own.
Our technology integration is designed to give students the tools they need to succeed in the 21st century and beyond:
• Ways of thinking: creativity, divergent thinking, problem solving, inquiry, decision making
• Ways of working: collaboration, effective communication, presentation
• Tools for working: technology and information systems literacy
• Skills for living in the world: citizenship, life-long learning skills and motivation, career choices, personal and social responsibility
To meet these learning challenges, we have designed a program that uses technology and computers as the tools they were meant to be. Students move from understanding hardware and systems, to making choices about types of applications that best assist them with the academic challenges they face in various disciplines.
Grades Pre-K –2: Students learn about the parts of the computer, how those parts interact with one another, and manipulation of those parts: basic keyboard skills, QWERTY keyboard, mouse manipulation, how to enter and exit applications, basic word processing applications such as Windows and other desktop applications, Paint and early Excel use, as well as the beginnings of understanding coding and how computers “think”. These all come together to teach our students the basics of how computers operate and how they can manipulate this knowledge to learn and create.
Grades 3-5: Deepen their understanding of various desktop applications as well as programs that assist them with presentation, such as PowerPoint, imovie, Windows Movie maker, Garageband, iphoto, Excel, etc. They also learn about how the internet works, and ways of staying safe and safely and effectively researching and learning on the internet. Intermediate students are also deepening their knowledge of coding with fun lessons with LEGO robotics.
Intermediate students also deepen their knowledge of coding with fun lessons with LEGO.
Middle School: Students use these applications and programs and hardware as well as the many on-line tools available to them (Audacity, Google apps, Prezi, Raven etc.) to learn and work individually and collaboratively, solve problems, and present their findings and solutions. They are able to choose and use the appropriate tool for the learning situation, just as they would as adults in real-world situations.