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 for sixty minutes, four days per week. The students are given ample time to learn the art of writing through learning various genres: small moments, opinions, letters and speeches, realistic fiction, fairy tales, non-fiction, and poetry. Reading Workshop includes meaningful experiences and methods of cooperative learning that include read-alouds, mini-lessons, meaningful conversations, buddy reading, guided reading groups, literature circles, and readers’ theatre. The Word Study program is based on the Wilson Foundation system of phonemic awareness, fluency, spelling, and sound mastery. Students are engaged through explicit, systematic, and multi sensory instruction based on individual needs.
The curriculum follows the Investigation in Numbers, Data, and Space series which engages the range of learners in understanding and reasoning about mathematical ideas. Our substantive work, taught with manipulatives through activities, games and workbooks, includes areas of study in : numeration; addition, subtraction and the number system; 2D and 3D geometry; patterns, functions and change; measurement; fractions; and data analysis.
The Social Studies program focuses on our immediate environment. Students learn about our school, our local community, and our bird sanctuary. Students care for the birds by creating bird watching areas, feeding the birds, and creating suet recipes. The curriculum emphasizes learning as teachers introduce research techniques and methods to show students how to gather and organize information about birds and create an identification guide. Students conduct independent research through reading, Internet sources, and observation, and they present information they discover both orally and in writing. Students also interview a variety of adults in our community to learn about their vocations, the challenges they face, and their role in the community. Students will also learn about their families and friends, and the greater world, as we read Flat Stanley and create life size Flat Me’s.
The Teambuilding class meets weekly in small groups, providing opportunities to learn about teamwork and how each individual can help create a cohesive group. The lessons, taught through literature, emphasize kind and respectful interaction, doing one’s personal best, and learning to help others.
The emphasis is on generating curiosity through activities and cooperative projects. Conducting experiments, making observations and collecting data are also stressed. The curriculum includes: a study of waterfowl and wetlands at the Dornin Science Center, growth and changes in animals, properties of liquids and solids, energy from wind and moving water, and movement of air and water in the environment.
Students continue their introduction to the Spanish language through an interactive system approach. Lessons revolve around using Spanish: basic vocabulary including salutations, colors, numbers, classroom and household words, food, and other common vocabulary. The year culminates in a Spanish play based on what the students have learned throughout the year.
The emphasis is on generating enthusiasm and enjoyment of the creative process, while developing basic art making skills. Students are exposed to a variety of materials and techniques throughout the year. Understanding basic design skills are included in each project while exploring art history, children’s literature, and a variety of cultures around the world.
Activities include singing, speaking in rhythm, clapping patterns, and movement games. The focus is on maintaining a steady beat and striving for the addition of another task (i.e. singing and clapping, singing and playing a xylophone pattern, or clapping and speaking a separate rhythm). The children perform at the Thanksgiving Assembly, the Holiday Concert, and the Spring Sing concert.
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.
Mentoring is a favorite time of the week for second graders. They are paired with eighth grade mentors to complete projects in which individual help is necessary. Students begin the year with “getting to know you” projects and games and then move into more academic but fun filled activities and adventures. Students will delve into the logistics of bird research, create nests from Hill’s natural environment, craft holiday art projects, dig deeply into measurement and geometry, and enjoy snack and outdoor active play each week. Second graders appreciate the time spent with their mentors in play, quiet reading, indoor and outdoor games, problem solving, and exploring Hill’s natural environment.
Friday Afternoon Program
In second grade our Friday afternoon projects are based on our Teambuilding and Social Studies curricula. Teambuilding is our foray into learning what it means to be a friend and teammate both socially and academically. We read books such as Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little by E.B. White, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, and assorted picture books. On Friday afternoons, we also spend time delving into our study of native birds. We read about, sketch, observe, feed, and research the birds that live on and around Hill’s campus.
In second grade, we love to be outdoors. Learning to be naturalists through birding is our year-long goal. Much of our social studies time is spent in quiet “sit spots” to observe, identify, feed, sketch, and research the local bird life in and around Hill’s campus. We have two specific places on campus, The Courtyard and The Boulders, where we care for the area and hang assorted feeders for the birds. The students learn which types of feed are favored and fill the feeders to keep the birds returning. Each student carries his/her own bird bag which holds a copy of The Young Birder’s Guide to Birds of Eastern North America, a sketch book, pencil, and often times binoculars. We will go to the Courtyard, the Boulders, or walk the path to the cattail pond, and will check the bird boxes along the path. We incorporate measurement, charts and graphs, reading, writing, and art into our place-based education and social studies curricula.
Second graders participate in folk song sing-along each week with Dr. Hunt Lyman and Dr. Paul Haefner. When they are ready, we take the songs and singers “on the road.” In the past, we have visited an assisted living facility, a church group, and a child care center. In February, we celebrate Hundred’s Day and Valentine’s Day by “Spreading the Love.” We collect one hundred or more food stuffs and fill a local food closet for those in need. This year, we hope to collect needed supplies for a local Wildlife Center and bring the items to the center when we visit to learn about their raptors.