Building a Strong Foundation
The best way to learn about the program at Hill is to talk to us and visit. If you would like to learn more we hope you will contact us, either through email or by calling the school to set up an appointment. We are proud of our program and eager to discuss it with you.
The components of our Language Arts program are synergistic and designed to build good habits and foster a love of reading and writing. The students participate in Writing Workshop and work on fictional pieces, as well as non-fiction writing, particularly personal experience narratives. Proofreading and revision are vital components of each assignment. Throughout the year, we work on proofreading skills through the presentation of mini-lessons and participation in “rotten writing” exercises. Completing “polished” pieces for submission to the school’s student writing publications, Curves, Angles, and Dots and Calliope, is also a major component of the course. Reading Workshop exposes students to a variety of literature. The goal of this format is to develop and support readers who find a place for reading in their lives and enjoy reading and its challenges. Through Reading Workshop, students develop into proficient and sophisticated readers who understand that reading is a process of making meaning within the text. Students are required to read nightly and keep a daily reading log. The Accelerated Reader Program is used to monitor the children’s independent reading.
Developing a solid set of procedural math skills is vital for all students. We believe that it is vital to encourage and help all students to become thinkers! All math classes provide an environment that encourages hypothesizing and testing of ideas for validity. The curriculum will follow that of Investigations in Number, Data, and Space. It is designed to support students as mathematical thinkers. While the course emphasizes computational fluency with whole numbers, it also includes substantive explorations with rational numbers, geometry, measurement, data analysis, and early algebra. The students are encouraged to build upon the mathematical ideas they already know to solve new problems. The class is structured to allow them the opportunity to collaborate, to share their ideas, and to describe (verbally and in writing) their thought processes.
History and Geography
The history program consists of an in-depth study of ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Greece. We discuss the requisite characteristics common in all civilizations and compare and contrast these features in the cultures we are studying. Students learn how the environment and resources of each civilization shaped its culture. We emphasize learning through the study of intriguing historical figures: kings, pharaohs, heroes, politicians, etc. We also study the mythology of each civilization. Students learn about the daily life and customs of each society, and we discuss the legacies that each civilization has left behind. For each unit, we read an accompanying work of literature, such as Gilgamesh, the Hero when studying Mesopotamia, and we will also study maps of these areas. The spring unit, Ancient Greece, provides a historical and conceptual framework for the transition into the fifth grade’s study of Greek mythology.
The emphasis is on generating curiosity through cooperative activities, making observations, conducting experiments and collecting data. Topics include: rocks, minerals, fossils and erosion; materials that transmit, reflect, or absorb light and/or sound; light and sound energy; pulleys and gears; habitats and communities. The Dornin Science Center is used to study units on soil and organic gardening.
The curriculum for Language Fundamentals has four main components: 1) the study of Latin word roots – we study one word root and its derivatives each week. By the end of the 5th grade, students will know approximately 100 Latin word roots. 2) Fundamental grammatical concepts, including the parts of speech. 3) Discussions and classroom activities pertaining to language exploration, including the creation and evolution of languages, how and why we communicate, the relationship between language and culture, and the value of learning other languages, and 4) Two projects: one creating an original alphabet and the other a research project of a foreign language and culture.
Technology and Research
The curriculum for Technology and Research has several main units: Design Thinking, Coding & Algorithms, The 20% Project, and Entrepreneurship. Students will work on projects designed to develop problem solving, critical thinking, collaboration, research, and presentation skills. These elements make up a “toolkit” of skills that students will use in the ever complex life and work environments of the twenty-first century.
The art program teaches students to interpret and understand the world from the artist’s point of view. Students learn to recognize and use the concepts of design and composition which are the building blocks of art. We strongly encourage experimentation. Art is integrated into many aspects of school life, supporting the Science, English, and History programs with interdisciplinary projects. Student work is always on display around the school and in the art building. The art department presents an art show each spring in which every student is represented. Our goal is for students to create work which expresses their individuality by providing them with the necessary technical skills and with the opportunities to experiment and invent.
Music and Strings
The students work on choral tone and learning to sing in both unison and two parts. Written music symbols continue to be explored as they play recorder, strings and Orff xylophones. Emphasis is placed on building self-confidence and encouraging mastery of the pieces taught with an eye to successful performance. Ensemble building activities are introduced as necessary. Strings are taught concurrently with general music and in an additional time on Thursday. The class performs at the Thanksgiving Assembly, the Holiday Concert, the Spring Sing Concert, and at Graduation.
The athletic department helps children develop positive habits of lifelong fitness and the desire to achieve their personal best in all endeavors. To achieve this, every child participates and competes in a variety of team and individual activities that promote sportsmanship, confidence, and competence in a physically and emotionally safe environment. Basic skills, teamwork, and conditioning are emphasized. Students participate in soccer, cross country running, basketball, gymnastics, track & field, lacrosse, and other games. Additionally, students participate in interscholastic competition and intramural green-white games.
Each year the 4th grade will come together as a class to rehearse and perform a play. The students will hold two performances – one during an all-school assembly and one in the evening. During the rehearsals, students will work on improvisation exercises, script analysis, and creating characters.