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 goal of the Literature program is to foster and develop an enjoyment of reading and to strengthen each student’s vocabulary, comprehension, and fluency. Material for class units will be strongly linked to the history and scholars curriculum. Students will be reading “young adult” versions of classic literature including books by Homer, Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Victor Hugo. In addition, students are expected to read as least 30 minutes each night and 2 hours on the weekends for their Independent Reading. Book Report projects are assigned each trimester.
The goals of this course are to build an enthusiasm for writing, teach writing mechanics and proofreading, increase fluency, and give students a place to discuss their writing. Students will be exposed to a variety of genres: narrative, essays, fiction, and poetry. The class emphasizes the process of writing, including drafting and conferencing with other students.
While we believe that developing a solid set of procedural math skills is vital for all students, we also encourage students to engage in productive struggle, to listen to and learn from each other, and to defend their ideas. Our students develop understanding of themselves as mathematicians; they look and wonder and question beyond the “teacher does, I do, teacher corrects” learning format. All math classes provide an environment that encourages hypothesizing and testing of ideas for validity. While the 5th grade math course emphasizes computational fluency with whole numbers, it also includes substantive explorations with rational numbers, geometry, measurements, 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.
Students begin the year with a study of Roman engineering. Focus then shifts to the Medieval period in Europe with a focus on castles and knights. We conclude the year with a study of Renaissance art. The History curriculum shares a strong thematic unity with the Literature, Writing, Science, and Art programs. Joint ventures include: Roman/Greek mythology, castle building, and a Renaissance project.
To further enhance the literature and history curricula, students participate in a year-long “scholars” class. The focus of the fall trimester will be architecture. During the winter and spring terms our attention will be on Greek and Norse mythology. The spring trimester study focuses on the history, architecture, art, and culture of New York City to prepare students for the class trip to Manhattan.
The emphasis is on generating curiosity through cooperative activities, making observations, conducting experiments, and collecting data. Topics include: woodland and stream ecology, weather, circuits and currents, a blue bird unit, and human anatomy systems (including an introductory unit on puberty and the reproductive systems). Each unit includes related vocabulary. Once a trimester, students review a current science article.
The goals of Language Fundamentals are to foster an enthusiasm for the study of language, both native and foreign, and to provide a framework for understanding the structure of all languages. Students are expected to master 40 new Latin word roots and will review word roots learned in grade 4. Students will also learn to recognize the commonalities and differences among languages by focusing on the following fundamental grammatical concepts: parts of speech, the roles of nouns and pronouns, and verb conjugation. Students explore how languages develop, spread, and change, as well as the relationship between language and culture. Projects include the creation of an original language.
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.
The time in Music is spent actively singing, playing both soprano and alto recorders, and working with the Orff percussion instruments. Choral work is more complex and usually in two parts. The class traditionally presents an instrumental piece at the Renaissance Dinner held in May. Emphasis throughout the year is placed on building self-confidence and encouraging mastery of the pieces taught with an eye toward successful performance. The class also 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.
In preparation for the Renaissance Dinner the class will prepare a short theatrical performance set in the Medieval/Renaissance period. Students also participate in acting improvisation workshops to sharpen their acting skills.
Upper School Academic Support
The Academic Support program strives to promote students’ understanding of their individual learning styles and empower them to become self-advocates. This class is designed for students to work on improving literacy skills, organization, time management, and study and test taking strategies. Students are supported in their work for core academic classes through individualized accommodations. In 5th grade, students take this class instead of Language Fundamentals and frequently work in study halls during and after school.