The Judaic Studies program at The Hebrew Academy fosters excitement, love and security in the child’s identity as a Jew. It provides for the required skills, understanding and knowledge of how and why to live as a productive Jewish citizen in our society.
In order to strive towards these objectives, the curriculum is designed with specifications tailored and individualized for The Hebrew Academy students. The detailed comprehensive curriculum is revised and updated each year to meet current needs, the advancement and growth of individual classes, and the unique strengths of its teachers.
The following represents a summary outline of the Judaic Studies curricula for Second Grade.
Chumash in the second grade begins with the journey of Avraham to the Land of Israel in Parshas Lech Lecho, continues with the passing of Sarah and marriage of Yitzchak and Rivkah in Chayei Sarah, and the founding of the Twelve Tribes through Yaakov in Toldot. The stories of our forefathers represent the religious and cultural foundations of our people. They vividly demonstrate our ancestral heritage of Jewish values and our ancient bond to the Land of Israel.
Intensive study will begin with the portion of Lech Lecho, and continue through, Chaye Sarah and Toldot. They will learn to read and translate form the Chumash text and will develop an understanding and appreciation of our Torah and the values it teaches. Students will master (through use, review and reinforcement) the most frequently used words from the text. A particular emphasis is placed on the understanding of roots words and their most common prefixes and suffixes. They will thus build a base of Chumash vocabulary that they will use as they continue to study Chumash.
The focus in the study of Chumash will be on the values taught by the Torah, knowledge of the P’sukim (verses) in their original Hebrew, the events and practices that make us a “Jewish People”, and our ties to the land of our forefathers.
Spoken Hebrew continues to be taught in Second Grade by natural methods. Children are exposed to the language as spoken by the teacher. They are expected to follow the teacher’s instructions, which are given in Hebrew. They learn to respond, request and inquire in Hebrew. From the very first days of the school year, classroom management and routines are conducted in Hebrew.
Class begins each day with a Hebrew conversation of a social nature. The children use the vocabulary, phraseology and sentences they had previously learned. They are regularly introduced to new vocabulary and forms, which they will continue to reinforce in their daily dialogues. The Yonai series, Sha-ah Shel Menuchah, and teacher created materials are used for language instruction.
Hebrew language will be studied with an emphasis on comprehension (oral and written) and conversation. Students will read and understand simple stories. Questions and answers about these stories will be in Hebrew, encouraging the students to use their growing base of vocabulary. Short compositions and stories will be assigned thus giving students the opportunity to use the grammar and vocabulary they are learning. Hebrew will be taught as a modern, living language with connections made to the Biblical Hebrew of our Chumash study.
Children will continue to learn that values are essential to Judaism. They will learn that sacred to the Jewish faith are such things as caring for and helping one another, sensitivity towards others, respect for parents and elders, and the importance of sharing our blessings with those in need.
Previously learned traditions and practices will be reviewed in second grade. Some will be studied in greater depth and new ideas, customs, and concepts will be introduced. Knowledge of the holidays and routine Jewish customs and traditions will be reinforced. Many of the traditions and customs discussed with the children will be rehearsed and practiced in the classroom.
For each holiday students will learn why we celebrate the holiday and how we celebrate the holiday. The prayers associated with each holiday will be practiced in class and recited in our daily Tefilla. The story, important personalities and foods associated with each holiday will be reviewed and discussed in class. Students will gain a deeper appreciation for our holidays and understanding of Jewish calendar and the cycle of the Jewish year.
The portion of the week will be introduced each week on Monday. Students will learn the major highlights of each week’s Parsha. They will be able to identify the major personalities, locations and mitzvot of each Parsha. Packets with highlights of the Parsha, questions and answers will be distributed and reviewed each week.
Hebrew is a phonetic language. In Second grade, therefore, there is a continued emphasis on mechanical decoding. This does not preclude the reinforcement of sight word recognition. As phonetics is important to correct pronunciation, so is sight word recognition important to fluency. Both complement each other in learning to read.
The children will read for comprehension and for recitation. They will use the Siddur, language texts and Hebrew language materials.
In grade two students daven together each morning. The Tefilla period is kept short in order to maintain interest and enthusiasm. Prayers introduced in Kindergarten and Grade one will be included with the addition of new prayers as they are discussed and practiced (for reading fluency) in class. Homework will include oral reading from the Siddur in order to enable students to maintain and build upon their level of reading fluency. Students will use their growing base of Hebrew vocabulary in order to understand the main ideas of the prayers they are reciting with their classmates each morning. Students will gain an appreciation for Tefilla. They will understand that our prayers are directed to Hashem and that our prayers include expressions of gratitude as well as requests. Holiday prayers will be included in our services several weeks prior to each holiday.
During the early part of the school year, the second graders will be doing numerous exercises to reinforce their writing skills. At this stage the focus will be on correct script and neatness. These qualities will then be expected throughout the school year.
Central to Hebrew language writing will be the ability to communicate; forming simple and then more complex sentences, combining sentences and telling a story. Telling about oneself, relating experiences and imaginative events, and creating a story after viewing a picture will practice creative writing in Hebrew.