Curriculum

Core Curriculum

St. Anselm Catholic School’s academic program is based on the Grade Level Content Expectations for the State of Michigan along with the Common Core National Standards. Please see the individual grade level curriculum pages along with the teacher websites for a more detailed description of each subject area. Our curriculum is regularly assessed with the use of the IOWA Test of Basic Skills, along with a variety of assessment techniques.

St. Anselm Catholic School is accredited by the Michigan Association of Non-Public Schools.

Grade Level Curriculum

Preschool

Pre-School is a very exciting time in a child’s life. There is great anticipation as the school adventure begins. There are so many new things for the young four and five year old to explore. The children will have rich opportunities to grow physically, socially, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually.

The primary objective is to help each child feel comfortable and safe in his/her new surroundings. The overall objectives of the program are aimed at helping each child gain skills that will develop an “I can do it” attitude. All of this is done in a relaxed and non-competitive atmosphere where the children are free to move about, to explore and experiment and learn by doing. The 3 R’s…Respect, Responsibility and Relationships all within the framework of Jesus’ command to “Love One Another” are taught. Our Catholic faith is intertwined with every concept that is taught.

The most important partners in educating children are their parents. Both teacher and parent have a very important job in helping the children become successful.

Skills and Concepts

Kindergarten

Religion

The religion program, Blest Are We, helps our young children learn, live and hope in the Good News of Jesus Christ. Through bible stories, songs, and activities, children learn about the core Catholic beliefs. Attendance at mass as a student body once a week strengthens the sense of community and parish family.

Language Arts

Phonics: The phonics program, Modern Curriculum Phonics, teaches students both visual and auditory identification of letters through a variety of activities and skills.

Reading: The reading program familiarizes the students with the parts of a book, tracking print from left to right, reading basic sight words (approx. 175 Dolch Sight Words), sentence writing with capitalization and punctuation, mastery of 10 short vowel families and creative story writing. Comprehension skills are taught through oral story reading and retelling stories with accuracy, making predictions, and drawing conclusions. Weekly trips to the library enhance the love of reading.

Handwriting

The Zaner-Bloser handwriting program introduces children to the basic strokes used to form all the manuscript letters. By learning vertical manuscript, children learn to write the same letters they see in books, strengthening the reading-writing connection. Learning to print focuses the students’ attention on the distinctive shapes and features of letters, leading to improved letter recognition.

Science

Science is integrated into the curriculum through a variety of units of study. The children learn through hands-on activities, DVD’s, songs, and field trips about mammals, dinosaurs, life science, staying healthy, along with the human body.

Math

The math program enables children to distinguish shapes, read and write numerals and number words 1-10, add and subtract facts to 10, as well as distinguish between greater then and less than, and to tell time on the hour and half hour.

Spanish

The foreign language program serves as an introduction to a new culture and manner of speaking. The children learn color and number words along with many other words that they can relate to in their daily lives.

First Grade

Religion

The “Blest Are We” series is rooted in Scripture and faithful to the teachings and traditions of the Catholic Church. Prayer, music and scripture play an integral role in the instruction of the children, vocation awareness and preparation for liturgical events. Reflections and activities in each unit involve the children and their families in catechesis, prayer and living their faith. We learn and understand the Mass, Baptism, Jesus is the Son of God, The Our Father, Hail Mary, The Glory Be, and The Holy Spirit. Attendance at mass as a student body once a week strengthens the sense of community and parish family.

Reading

The reading program is based upon the Houghton Mifflin series. Students learn not only to read, but also to listen and react to the selections through speaking and writing. The concepts of sequence, main idea, cause and effect relationships, outcome, and realism versus fantasy are taught. The program addresses various learning styles and needs through leveled books to ensure reading success and fluency for every child. Some of the concepts addressed are:

  • Retelling a story using beginning, middle, and end
  • Identifying characters and feelings of characters
  • Discussing important themes and ideas in a text
  • Mastering the first grade sight word list
  • Recognizing one syllable words, blends, consonant digraphs(th, ch, sh), and inflected endings(s, ed, ing)
  • English/Phonics

Noun and verb endings, compound words and contractions are taught as part of the language arts program. Sentence construction, short stories and persuasive writing are also included, along with alphabetical order. Some of the concepts addressed are:

  • Mastering upper and lower case letters in writing
  • Use of capitalization and end punctuation correctly
  • Identifying the subject and predicate part of sentences
  • Basic paragraph writing using grade level appropriate grammar and usage
  • Long and short vowel words
  • Handwriting

Students are taught manuscript writing using Handwriting without Tears.

Spelling

Spelling words are introduced in conjunction with the reading program.

Social Studies

The focus is on families, their activities, similarities and differences using Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Social Studies: A Child’s View. Students also learn about communities and the United States as a country. Activity-based lessons, integrating hands-on map study and print materials, further develop multicultural awareness, responsible citizenship, and critical thinking skills. Some concepts addressed are as follows:

  • Rules and Laws
  • Where People Live
  • Love of Our Country
  • Our Changing World
  • Meeting People
  • Science

The science program is based upon the Macmillan McGraw Hill Science: A Closer Look series. Students are involved with many hands-on activities and are encouraged to see how science applies to their everyday lives. Some concepts addressed are as follows:

  • Plants: Living vs. Nonliving, Parts of Plants, Different Plants, Flowers/Fruits/Seeds, How Plants Grow, and Plants live in Many Places
  • Animals: Kinds of Animals, What Animals need to live, How Animals Eat Food, How Animals Grow and Change, Types of Habitats, How Plants and Animals Live Together
  • Earth: The Earth and Its Resources

Math

Instruction focuses on basic addition and subtraction facts from 0 to 20, place value and numbers to 99. Time and money values are taught. Two-digit addition and subtraction are introduced as well as linear and metric measurement, simple geometric shapes, problem solving and critical thinking skills. Also the addition and subtraction with sums of 20, Identifying shapes and their properties, and the measurement with non-standard units is taught. The textbook Sadlier-Oxford Progress in Mathematics is used.

Second Grade

Religion

The RCL Benziger, Blest Are We series, is titled Jesus Shares God’s Life in Second Grade. Our text invites the children to develop a friendship with Jesus through prayer, stories, song, and scripture. They have a deeper understanding of the many parts of mass. This enables them to develop a deeper understanding of Jesus and prepares them to receive the sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist. Attendance at mass as a student body once a week strengthens the sense of community and parish family.

Reading

The reading program combines phonics skills, comprehension, writing skills, reading and thinking strategies. Student vocabulary is developed and enriched by exposure to good literature through stories, poetry and plays. Reading for pleasure is encouraged.

English

Literary models are given as examples for specific types of writing. Also included are types of sentences, capitalization, common and proper nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives and contractions. They will write personal narrative and creative stories.

Handwriting

Students are taught manuscript writing using the Handwriting without Tears format. They will also begin to write in cursive towards the second half of the year.

Spelling

Spelling words are introduced each week and are taught in meaningful contexts. Spelling strategies are developed and tips are given for frequently misspelled words. Lessons with cross-curriculum words are also included.

Social Studies

Using the Harcourt series, People We Know, a study is made of communities today and long ago, communities around the world and our country today. Students learn about maps, globes, bar graphs and how to use them.

Science

Our MacMillan Mc-Graw Hill Science book enables the second graders to strengthen their appreciation for the world around them with many “hands on” activities. The focus is on physical, earth and life Science. Topics studied include: Plants, Animals, Fossils, Matter, Electricity, the Body, Health, and the Solar System.

Math

The Math text in Second Grade is McGraw-Hill Mathematics. In Second Grade, we develop and begin to master many of the skills introduced in First Grade. We focus on instant recall of the basic addition and subtraction facts to 20. Other topics include: telling time, money, place value to 1,000, regrouping 2 and 3 digit numbers, geometry, measurement, graphs, fraction, and an introduction to multiplication and division.

Third Grade

Religion

In the Blest Are We textbook, the students learn about the church and what we believe as Catholics. They deepen their understanding of the Mass and the sacraments in their lives. The children focus on the importance of prayer in their lives. They learn about the saints, the liturgical calendar, and special feast days and holy days in the church. Attendance at mass as a student body once a week strengthens the sense of community and parish family.

Reading

Instruction in the Houghton Mifflin Reading program is directed toward the development of those basic skills and strategies related to reading comprehension, vocabulary building, phonics decoding, and the use of dictionary and reference materials. The children are challenged with the Accelerated Reading computerized reading program.

English

The Houghton Mifflin English curriculum provides needed practice and reinforcement of grammar and punctuation skills. The curriculum focuses on basic grammar and parts of speech such as nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, and adverbs. Emphasis is also placed on learning about subjects and predicates and the four kinds of sentences: statements, questions, commands, and exclamations. Thinking and writing skills are used on a daily basis. Grammar skills are reinforced and students are given opportunities to develop their writing skills in other areas of the curriculum.

Handwriting

Cursive handwriting is introduced in the third grade and reinforced in fourth grade. Five main keys to legibility are taught and reviewed throughout the Handwriting without Tears program: letter formation, spacing, alignment and proportion, and line quality. They remind students that handwriting instruction strives to achieve fluent, legible handwriting.

Spelling

Spelling words are introduced each week in companion to the reading series. The words are taught in meaningful contexts. Spelling strategies are developed and tips are given for frequently misspelled words. Each week the students are further challenged by integrating the vocabulary words from the basal reading stories into the spelling curriculum.

Social Studies/Michigan History

Maps, globes, and charts are used to understand more about communities of yesterday and today in the McConnell Michigan History textbook. Students learn about the use of natural resources in both rural and urban communities. The duties and responsibilities of citizenship are introduced. The students learn about many American symbols, landmarks, and national holidays. Local, state, and national governments are studied as well as the services that these governments provide. Everything is related back to the state of Michigan and its rise to statehood.

Science

Life, Physical, and Earth Science concepts are extended. An overview of the six body systems is presented are presented the McMillan/McGraw Hill textbook.

Math

All previously taught skills in the Sadlier/Oxford program are further developed. Multiplication and division concepts and basic facts are introduced. Estimation skills are applied to addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division problem solving. Students learn to multiply up to 4-digit numbers by 1-digit numbers. Students gain proficiency in dividing up to 3-digit dividends by 1-digit divisors. Comparing and ordering decimals is also introduced.

Fourth Grade

Religion

The Blessed Are We curriculum helps us to grow in Christ by exploring the Ten Commandments, Beatitudes and Sacraments of the Church in depth. We explore loving God and our neighbors as ourselves. The series emphasizes that we are all called to holiness if we follow the examples of Jesus and the saints. The Liturgical feasts and seasons are celebrated at the appropriate times. Attendance at mass as a student body once a week strengthens the sense of community and parish family.

Science

Macmillan/McGraw-Hill Science explores Life Science with an emphasis on plants, animals, food chains and webs, and adaptation of plants and animals. The emphasis in Physical Science is on matter, work and energy, electricity, magnetism, light and sound. Earth Science emphasizes fossils and movement in the solar system. Hands-on activities are included in the program through various explore labs. The scientific method is also studied while students conduct experiments throughout the year.

Reading

The Houghton Mifflin Reading series exposes the students to quality literature from fantasy to realistic fiction, to content rich nonfiction and expository text. Comprehension, vocabulary, fluency, and phonetic skills are reinforced. Students learn to identify reading genres, story elements, and reading comprehension strategies, along with developing an enthusiasm towards reading. All of these objectives work towards the goal of becoming an independent reader and using these skills in other subject areas. The Weekly Reader magazine is used to help students make text to world connections using an informational text. Novels are studied quarterly and cross curricular activities are planned.

English

The Houghton Mifflin English program continues basic grammar instruction. Narrative, expository, comparative writing, poetry, and research reports are explored and developed. Other writing experiences include essay prompts, journaling, and book reports that focus on the writing process.

Math

Basic math functions are further extended with the Sadlier-Oxford Progress in Mathematics Math series. Emphasis is placed on place value, double-digit multiplication and division, critical thinking, problem solving using the four basic operations, geometry, measurement, mental math, and estimation. Fractions and decimals are explored. Time tests are given to insure mastery of basic math facts.

Social Studies

In fourth grade we use the Harcourt series to study the regions of the United States. In each region, we study the history of that area, how it is today, and how it relates to other places in the world. We also study various map skills.

Spelling

Each week 25 new spelling words are introduced using the Houghton Mifflin series. The words are taught in meaningful contexts with strategies to help the student to prevent misspellings.

Fifth Grade

Religion

In this course we use RCL Benziger’s Blest Are We program. The fifth grade text is titled “We Meet Jesus in the Sacraments.” By studying the sacraments, students learn how Jesus shares his life with us. They also learn that through the sacraments we are led to love and serve as Jesus did. Attendance at mass as a student body once a week strengthens the sense of community and parish family.

Science

In fifth grade two major areas of Science are studied. In Earth Science, Inside Earth, Environmental Science, and Weather and Climate will be the topics covered. In Physical Science, Sound and Light will be studied. We use the Science Explorer series by Prentice Hall.

Reading

The reading textbook Houghton-Mifflin: Expedition uses a thematic approach to literature. Students read six different themes incorporating good literature. Through the study of various genres, students practice comprehension strategies to enhance their understanding and appreciation of both fiction and non-fiction.

English

Students continue to develop their writing and grammar skills. The textbook, Houghton-Mifflin: English, combines step-by-step approach to the writing process through examples of good literature to read and model, as well as grammar lessons. Students write a personal narrative, business letters, descriptive and persuasive paragraphs, and stories.

Vocabulary

The study of vocabulary is a tool for guiding and stimulating systematic vocabulary growth. It prepares students to take the types of standardized vocabulary tests commonly used to determine grade placement, competency for graduation and college readiness. Vocabulary work is implemented throughout all aspects of the curriculum.

Math

The math Sadlier-Oxford series provides students with a substantial background in math skills. Emphasis is on understanding numbers, addition, subtraction, multiplication and division of whole numbers, decimals and fractions. It also allows students to apply these strategies to real-life situations. The concepts of geometry, ratio, proportion, percent measurement and probability are also introduced. Critical thinking and problem solving, mental math and estimation also included.

Social Studies

In this course students study the geography and history of the United States through readings and discussions from the text Houghton-Mifflin: Social Studies. Throughout the year, students learn about citizenship and have skills lessons in chart and graph reading. They also practice map and globe skills.

Sixth Grade

Religion

The textbook used is RCL Benzinger’s Blest Are We. This year we will help students understand the place of the Word of God in our lives, with special emphasis on the Old Testament roots. Bible stories and background information help salvation history come alive. Activities, discussion, and prayers enable students to “hear the Word, and live it.” Attendance at mass as a student body once a week strengthens the sense of community and parish family.

English

The textbook used in this course is Houghton Mifflin English. In this course grammar and process writing is emphasized. The grammar is applied to process; this is comprised of logical steps: prewriting, drafting, revising, proof reading, and publishing. Students also work on a research project, journal writing, demonstrative speeches and poetry.

Literature

The textbook used is The Language of Literature by McDougal Little. Students in this course will be reading a comprehension of award-winning literature. It includes fiction, non-fiction short stories, biographies, autobiographies, and novels. The textbook is organized, thematically. Projects are required throughout the year along with grade appropriate novel studies.

Vocabulary

The study of vocabulary is a tool for guiding and stimulation systematic vocabulary growth. It prepares students to take the types of standardized tests commonly used to determine grade placement, competency for graduation and college readiness. Vocabulary practice is implemented throughout all the subjects.

Social Studies

The textbook used is World Cultures. Students study World Cultures. Students examine the development of civilization through the geography, economy, government, and culture of the world’s peoples from the earliest times to the present. Activities are used to emphasize the roles of various civilizations and their people have had in shaping history. Students also research their family history, which helps them see how events have influenced and shaped their family’s story.

Science

The textbook used is Science: A Closer Look by MacMillan/McGraw Hill. A major goal of the science program is the development of thinking skills that will serve students in becoming better problem solvers and intelligent decision makers. Students develop a science knowledge based on specific facts and organization of principles. Scientific principles involve learning activities that include hands on experiences. In this class, students will make discoveries in Physical Science, Earth Science, and Life Science.

Math

The text book used in this course a continuation of the Sadlier-Oxford series. The skills learned in fifth grade are reviewed to begin the year. As the year progresses, students will work on place value to the trillions using whole numbers as well as place value to the millionths using decimals numbers. Adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing of integers will be introduced and worked on throughout the year. Lastly, work with equations and inequalities with whole number sand integers will be implemented.

Seventh Grade

Religion

The goal this year for seventh grade is to grow in our relationship as people with Jesus. The RCL Benzinger’s Blest are We series is used. The New Testament is used to learn about Jesus’ life and ministry using the Gospels and the letters of Paul. Preparation for the sacrament of Confirmation begins by reinforcing the ideas we know about our Catholic heritage. Attendance at mass as a student body once a week strengthens the sense of community and parish family.

English

In this course, traditional grammar and usage will be taught. A significant amount of time will be given to punctuation as it relates to creative writing. Students will experience writing workshops to develop different genres of writing.

Math

This course continues the use of the Sadlier-Oxford Mathematics series. In this course introductory concepts of algebra are developed with applications using any number that can be written as a fraction including decimals interwoven throughout. Topics include but are not limited to, operations with integers, solving single and multi-step equations, functions, graphing, exponents and roots, and ratios and proportions.

Science

The textbook used is the Prentice Hall Explorer Series. In seventh grade, the three major areas of science, Life, Earth and Physical will be covered in these ways: Cells and Heredity, From Bacteria to Plants in Life Sciences, Astronomy in Earth Science. In Physical Science, Motion, Forces and Energy. Lab experiments and dissections are also included. The goal for this class is that each student develops an appreciation for and understanding of the basic concepts of Science.

Social Studies

Traveling around the globe and expanding the knowledge learned in sixth grade is the focus in seventh grade. Students will continue to improve upon their knowledge of geography, geographical terms, map skills, and country studies. The year culminates in the annual International Luncheon.

Literature

Literature is a course in which comprehension; inference and interpretative skills are developed. Literary terms and references are learned and used in a variety of activities. Genres that are focused upon are novels, mythology, folklore, short stories, poetry, and different types of media plays. Students will also read grade-appropriate novels as a part of their course of work

Vocabulary

The study of vocabulary is a tool for guiding a stimulating vocabulary growth while preparing students to take the types of standardized vocabulary tests commonly used to assess grade placement, competency for graduation, and college readiness. Vocabulary work is introduced and implemented throughout all subjects.

Eighth Grade

Religion

RCL Benzinger’s Blest are We series teaches about the history of our church. Each unit invites young people to venture further into the mystery of faith and the challenge of discipleship. Through shared study, reflection, prayer, and action in response to God’s word students experience themselves as a small faith community within the larger community of the parish and the Church itself. Students also prepare for the sacrament of Confirmation. Attendance at mass as a student body once a week strengthens the sense of community and parish family.

English

This course is the culmination of the previous two years of grammar, usage and punctuation study. Students will continue to learn more intricate grammatical constructions and how to apply these to a comprehensive writing style. Process writing will also be taught. Students will work on a variety of writing projects ranging from personal essays to research papers.

Math

This course continues the use of the Sadlier-Oxford series for Math. The students use the book Foundations of Algebra where the focus is on rational and real numbers; expressions, equations, and inequalities; polynomials and factoring them; linear functions and inequalities; ratio and proportion; and patterns and nonlinear functions. Working with graphing calculators to graph linear equations is also implemented.

Science

The focus of this course is Earth Science and Physical Science using the Prentice Hall Science Explorer Series: Inside the Earth, Earth’s Changing Surface, Chemical Building Blocks, and Chemical Interactions. Life Science concepts will also be covered using Human Biology and Health. Lab experiments, projects and dissections are also included. The goal for this class is that each student develops an appreciation for and understanding of the basic concepts of science.

American History

Students explore American History. The year begins with studying the explorers and Native American cultures moving through to the Civil War and beyond. Emphasis is placed on the constitution and its meaning. Every other year students travel to Lansing to visit the State Capital.

Literature

Literature is a course in which comprehension; inference and interpretative skills are developed. Literary terms and references are learned and used in a variety of activities. Genres that are focused upon are novels, mythology, folklore, short stories, poetry, and different types of media plays. Students will also read grade-appropriate novels as a part of their course of work.

Vocabulary

The study of vocabulary is a tool for guiding a stimulating vocabulary growth while preparing students to take the types of standardized vocabulary tests commonly used to assess grade placement, competency for graduation, and college readiness. Vocabulary work is introduced and implemented throughout all subjects.

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