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Curriculum Overview

Carmel Academy strives to provide rich, rigorous, and meaningful learning opportunities that foster thinking and action far beyond the classroom walls. Across all general studies and Judaic studies learning, our students explore concepts and master skills. Each unit of study is carefully designed based on the Understanding by Design model of Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe, a curriculum methodology Carmel Academy has been using since 2003. Our teachers design and implement these units of study by first identifying the desired results and then "working backwards" to develop instruction. Whether planning a unit of study in a specific grade, an Upper School field trip, a school wide celebration or a 45-minute lesson — be it in math, social studies, TaNaKh (Bible) or Hebrew — we begin the planning by asking ourselves three questions:

1. At the end of the day, what do our students need to come away knowing and being able to do as they complete any unit of study?

2. How will we know that the goals we set have been achieved?

3. How should we structure the learning to create the richest opportunities for student mastery?

Each classroom is fitted with state of the art SMART Boards, student computers and Hebrew and English classroom libraries to support learning in all subject areas. Field trips, guest lecturers and parent involvement enhance student learning throughout the year.
Units of Study
Learning in each subject area is broken into 4 or 5 units of study per year. Each unit is driven by essential questions that entice students to explore beyond the specific details of the unit or lesson being taught. Questions such as, “How does learning about other cultures teach me about myself?”, engage our students to thinkconsider, and evaluate the world around them in light of their new understandings and skills.
At Carmel Academy, we are sensitive to the fact that students learn best through different modalities and at different paces. We honor students’ diverse learning needs and processes. By providing a range of instructional methods that ensure that all students learn the necessary skills and concepts, each child develops a growing awareness of who they are as learners and how they learn best.
Transdisciplinary Units of Study
Transdisciplinary units of study are collaborative units that integrate several content areas of learning within one unit of study and are our next step in teaching at Carmel Academy. Integration of information, skills or concepts enables our students to explore related learning in multiple content areas. This integration increases opportunities to relate to new information, concepts and ideas, as well as develops deeper, stronger understandings of the concepts and skills.
These transdisciplinary units of study integrate our Judaic studies and Hebrew language program with our general studies curriculum in new and innovative ways. One example is our first graders exploration of the meaning of underlying symbols. Students explore the question of how symbols help us make meaning of the world around us in areas such as math, Hebrew language, chagim (holidays), technology and social studies. Another example of transdisciplinary learning is our third graders’ exploration of Breisheet (Genesis), which includes an in-depth study of desert life culminating in a parent/child learning experience. This third grade “Lech Lecha Learning Celebration” brings together scientific, historical, and Torah (Bible) text in a family learning celebration.
Internal Assessments: Students are assessed both formally and informally on an ongoing basis. Pre and post assessments serve to guide teaching practice and encourage further skill and knowledge development in any given area of study. Assessments are aligned to the learning objectives of each unit of study. Assessments vary depending on units of study, but may include: tests and quizzes, oral presentations, written reports, visual projects, portfolios or journals.
External Assessments: The Terra Nova Exams – An independent school, standardized and normed test. The exam is administered each spring to 3rd through 8th graders. Eighth graders have the option to take biology and math Regents Exams.