Details by Grade

Click the grade levels below for a detailed look at the Ramaz Lower School Judaic Studies curriculum.

Grade 1

First grade students are immersed in a Hebrew environment based on the Tal-Am Hebrew Language curriculum and Chalav U’Dvash curriculum. Instruction is exclusively in Hebrew, and students are encouraged to express themselves in Hebrew. Major emphasis is placed on the experience and content of tefillot and brachot. Students learn the importance of the midot of kindness, respect, and responsibility.

READING PROGRAM

In first grade the students learn to read Hebrew as accurately and fluently in a language which the phonological system is completely different from English. We put tremendous effort in both the materials and in human resources in order to maintain small group instruction (no more than 6 students per teacher). The learning material is adapted according to each class needs every year. The reading program is mainly phonetic and is based on establishing strong grapho-phonemic attachments which facilitates automatic decoding while reading. The multi-sensory and repetitive structure of our reading approach enables the students to master the decoding of the Hebrew alphabet at their own pace, and transform them into efficient and effective Hebrew readers. The students learn to read print and script letters and practice writing in script. We introduce reading comprehension components (such as wh- questions, HE ha-yedia, VAV ha-chibur, and more) as early as possible. An emphasis is stressed on both accuracy and fluency throughout the program while reading.

SAFAH: LANGUAGE ARTS

The goal of learning Hebrew is to integrate the language throughout the Judaic Studies curriculum. Linguistic elements are derived directly from the curriculum, and grammar is taught within the context of the material being studied. Based on their ability, students are divided into varying skill and challenge levels. Students learn to listen and comprehend both teachers and fellow students, answer questions in full sentences, read and understand the stories and songs taught, and master the Hebrew alphabet (print for reading and script for writing).

LIMUDEI KODESH: JUDAIC STUDIES

Students study the holidays, their laws and customs, create holiday-related projects, and participate in special events and trips. They discuss parashat ha-shavu'a and become more familiar with Bible stories, with a focus on the middot and mitzvot that have their roots in these stories. Tefillah is a vital part of the school day. Students begin with the tefillot that they learned in kindergarten, and add new tefillot as the year progresses. They are aided by colorful illustrations and charts from the Tal-Am program. As often as possible, brachot are taught experientially, through varied snack foods and in relation to upcoming holidays.

CHAGIGAT HA-SIDDUR: PRAYER BOOK CELEBRATION

This highlight of first grade occurs in February, when the students receive their first siddurim. In preparation for this important milestone, students work on their own personal siddurim, which they illustrate with expressions of their own connections to the various tefillot. At the Siddur Celebration, students perform their Siddur play entirely in Hebrew. Parents play a vital role in helping the students prepare for the performance, which unforgettably recreates the students' weekly experiences using music, humor, and drama.

Grade 2

Second grade students begin the year with a review of their Hebrew reading and writing skills to give them the confidence that they need to continue in their studies. Students begin their formal, introductory-level study of Chumash. They study and perform acts of chesed as part of their growing awareness of the importance of derekh eretz. They undertake creative projects as they further their understanding of Shabbat and chagim.

SAFAH: LANGUAGE ARTS

Second-grade Hebrew language instruction builds upon the first grade curriculum, and takes the students a level further. Students learn Hebrew throughout the Judaic studies curriculum. Linguistic elements are derived directly from the curriculum, and grammar is taught within the context of the material being studied. Based on their ability, students are divided into varying skill and challenge levels. Students learn to listen and comprehend stories and short poems read by their teacher, ask and answer questions in full sentences, and read and understand the stories, questions, and directions from the textbook. The Tal-Am Level 2 curriculum as well as original materials are used to reinforce these goals.

CHUMASH: BIBLE

Students develop a love for the study of Bible as they begin their study of Chumash with Parashat Lekh-Lecha. They learn about Avraham’s Family and journey to Eretz Kenaan. In December, students participate in a moving celebration known as our Chagigat HaChumash, or Chumash Celebration, when they receive their first chumashim. At this celebration, students are called to the Torah with their parents, make Birchat HaTorah, and receive their new Chumash Bereishit from their parents (grandparents are welcome too!), maintaining the idea of ve'shinantam le-vaneicha (and you shall impress these words upon your children).

DINIM U'MINHAGIM: LAWS AND CUSTOMS

Students focus on many of the chagim that take place during the school year, from Rosh ha-Shanah through Shavuot, combining both creative projects and formal classroom instruction.

Grade 3

Third graders continue to grow in their study of Chumash, and add the reading of Rashi to their growing list of skills. They continue to broaden their reading and writing abilities through the Tal-Am Hebrew Language Arts curriculum. New tefillot are introduced, including those of Shabbat and Rosh Chodesh. Laws and customs of the synagogue and kashrut are emphasized, as are the laws regarding proper speech and respect for parents, teachers, and the elderly. Students learn about and explore the culture of Israel through songs, stories and fun activities which are designed to instill love, connection and a sense of partnership with Israel.

SAFAH: LANGUAGE ARTS

Third-grade Hebrew language reinforces what students have accomplished in the first and second grades, and builds upon their knowledge and skills. The goal of learning Hebrew is to integrate the language throughout the Judaic studies curriculum. Linguistic elements are derived directly from the curriculum, and grammar is taught within the context of the material being studied. Based on their ability, students are divided into varying skill and challenge levels. Students learn to listen and comprehend both teachers and fellow students in conversation, fully describe and react to the text being studied, read and understand the literature taught (as well as other stories of similar genres), and write descriptive and expressive paragraphs. Students use the present tense and learn to master the past tense both in their writing and speaking.Materials from the Tal-Am curriculum and original materials are used to reinforce these goals.

CHUMASH: BIBLE

Third grade students continue their studies in Sefer Bereshit with the stories of the patriarchs and the matriarchs in the parashiyyot of Vayyera, Chayye Sarah, Toledot, and Vayetze. Based on their ability, students are divided into varying skill and challenge levels. A reverence for the characters and the text itself is emphasized, as is the ability to relate the Torah's events to those of present-day life. Students learn the Rashi alphabet using workbooks, creative projects, and games. Simultaneously, the students are exposed to Rashi's methodology as they analyze the text. Students learn to appreciate both the textual content of the Bible as well as its values.

DINIM U'MINHAGIM: LAWS AND CUSTOMS

Along with a review of the laws relating to the chagim, students expand their knowledge of hilkhot Shabbat and the halakhot of the synagogue. Through creative projects, students are encouraged to research and question the origins of Jewish rituals and practices.

TEFILLAH: PRAYER

Students regularly conduct the Shacharit service. Special tefillot are added on chagim and on Rosh Chodesh, and students are introduced to various aspects of Shabbat tefillot to give them greater comfort and confidence in the synagogue. Students develop a fluency in their siddur reading as well as a general comprehension of many tefillot.

DEREKH ERETZ: GOOD BEHAVIOR

Students continue their exploration of the halakhah governing conduct among people, and learn the laws concerning respect for parents, teachers, scholars, and the elderly. Emphasis is placed on the concept and application of hakarat ha-tov (expressing gratitude), as well as the prohibition against nibul peh (profanity). Students model good behavior for one another and personally encourage each other to improve this aspect of their character.

Grade 4

Fourth-graders progress in their study of Chumash, and add the study of Navi as they continue to broaden their skills and knowledge base. They grow in their knowledge of and familiarity with tefillah, and grow more comfortable with the siddur. Students from families of all levels of observance are encouraged to observe holidays and customs with understanding and ruach. The students study more of the mitzvot bein adam la-chavero and attempt to integrate these ideals into their daily lives. An important component of our curriculum is bolstering the connection and knowledge of the students to Eretz Israel and Medinat Israel (the land andthe state of Israel); we incorporate various activities in which students are encourage to explore, extend, and enhance their connections and knowledge about Israel.

SAFAH: LANGUAGE ARTS

Fourth-grade students have a fluency and confidence that allow them to further intensify their Hebrew studies. The goal of learning Hebrew is to integrate the language throughout the Judaic studies curriculum. Linguistic elements are derived directly from the curriculum, and grammar is taught within the context of the material being studied. Based on their ability, students are divided into varying skill and challenge levels. Students learn to listen and comprehend oral reading of both teachers and fellow students, and follow classroom discussions; converse about daily issues and respond and offer judgment about subjects being discussed; learn perfect textual reading, with an emphasis on pronunciation; and write properly structured sentences, short paragraphs, and stories on topics being studied.

CHUMASH AND NAVI: BIBLE AND PROPHETS

Students study the stories of Jacob and Joseph and his brothers as they learn the parashiyyot of Vayishlach, Vayeshev, Miketz, Vayiggash, and, if time permits, parts of Vayechi. Students build on their skills in reading commentaries and refine their ability to discuss concepts coherently. Students begin their study of Navi with the first ten and last ten chapters of the book of Joshua, learning about the conquest of the land of Israel. The students learn the vocabulary of the Navi and relate the narrative to the map of Israel. They are encouraged to relate events in the Navi to previously studied Bible selections, and to develop pride in the sovereignty of the Jewish people.

DINIM U'MINHAGIM: LAWS AND CUSTOMS

Students add to their knowledge of the halakhot of the various holidays, and progress toward a fondness for their heritage. They learn the laws of Torah reading and further details of the laws of kashrut. The students conduct an in-depth study of the laws of Shabbat, including the source for the thirty-nine melakhot and other guiding principles.

TEFILLAH: PRAYER

As students continue their daily Shacharit and Minchah services, new tefillot are added to the repertoire. Students become knowledgeable in the format of the daily siddur as well as the Shabbat siddur.

DEREKH ERETZ: GOOD BEHAVIOR

In the next stage of their exploration of the halakhot of interpersonal conduct, students learn the laws of respect for peers as well as for property. A major unit focuses on the many halakhot of leshon ha-ra (evil speech). Students study the laws as well as their underlying social values. They actualize their learning through projects and school-wide programs that give them the opportunity to translate what they have learned into "real life."

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