Specials Department

All students at St. Mary on the Hill Catholic School take the following specials classes to round out their studies:

  • Art
  • Computer
  • Library/Media Center
  • Music
  • Physical Education
  • Spanish

ART

The art program serves students in kindergarten through eighth (K-8) grades. Students in kindergarten through third (K-3) grades attend art once a week for 50 minutes.  Fourth grade is taught art on a quarterly schedule, taking class for one nine-week period, four days a week for 50 minutes.  Fifth through eighth grades (5-8) are taught art for one six-week period, attending the class five days a week for 50 minutes.

The art program is based on the Visual Arts Curriculum from the Diocese of Savannah.  In each grade, we combine a variety of art media, techniques, and processes. We also incorporate art history and relate many projects to artists and cultures.

Media and Techniques used in the art room include:

• Painting (watercolor, acrylic, tempera)
• Oil and chalk pastel
• Printmaking (linoleum, styrofoam, monoprint)
• Papier-mâché
• Colored pencil, charcoal, and pencil drawings
• Weaving
• Batik
• Design
• Ceramics
• Collage
• Sculpture
 
Multi-media

The concepts taught through the above techniques and applications include:

  • Perspective
  • Contour drawing
  • Color theory
  • Elements of art (line, shape, form, color, texture, and space)
  • Principles of design (emphasis, unity, balance, variety, rhythm, movement, harmony, and proportion)

In May of each year, the art program sponsors Evening of the Arts, an all-school art show, where each student in the school displays one piece of artwork.  A beautiful array of paintings, drawings, and collages hang on the walls near tables of lovely clay projects, interesting sculptures, and beautiful papier-mâché artwork. The eighth grade students display wooden furniture painted and sculpted around chosen themes.  Evening of the Arts and St. Mary’s school celebrate the creativity and talents of our students.  In addition to the Evening of the Arts, various student artwork is displayed in the school during the school year for all to enjoy.

COMPUTER

St. Mary's computer program educates students in grades K-8.  Students in grades K-3 attend class once a week for 50 minutes. Fourth grade students are taught on a quarterly schedule for a nine-week period, attending class four times a week.  Grade 5-8 students attend daily for a 50-minute class over a nine-week period.

The classroom teacher, the media specialist, and the technology coordinator collaborate to maximize the effective use of technology in support of the Diocesan curriculum.  The curriculum includes acquisition of the following skills for: learning and applying keyboarding skills, using Microsoft applications such as PowerPoint, Excel, Word, Access, Movie Maker, and Publisher, and researching responsibly on the Internet*.

Graduates of the program are competent and confident in their knowledge and use of current technologies.  They can apply and integrate computer skills, both independently and cooperatively, across all academic disciplines.  They have become self-directed learners who are better prepared for meeting the higher demands and requirements of high school.

*Websites used by the students are reviewed by the computer instructor to insure that they are safe and free of unwanted materials.  St. Mary’s integrates filtering software which restricts access of unwanted websites to the students.

LIBRARY/MEDIA CENTER

Students in K-6 grades attend library once a week while seventh and eighth grades visit on an individual basis. The Library/Media Center’s curriculum is dedicated to designing and maintaining a program that supports, complements, and expands the instructional program of the classroom. The curriculum serves as a framework for encouraging independent learning by: fostering an appreciation for literature and nonfiction writing, promoting reading for pleasure, teaching research strategies, and developing skills to analyze, evaluate, interpret, and communicate information and ideas,

The Library/Media Center also lays the groundwork for students and teachers to access the global world of information. The school’s curriculum, teaching, and activities all relate to what is housed in the library and the ability to use those materials. Through collaboration with teachers and the systematic teaching of media skills, the Library/Media specialist is a teacher, information specialist, and curriculum partner who plays a vital role in helping students to become effective life-long learners.

MUSIC

St. Mary’s music instruction meets the National Music Standards, the State of Georgia Performance Standards, and follows the Music Curriculum of the Diocese of Savannah. The goal of this program is to equip students with basic skills and understanding necessary to encourage a lifelong enjoyment and appreciation of music.

St. Mary’s music program gives every student in K-8 the opportunity to develop a love and appreciation for many types of music and equips them with basic music skills to enhance further music study.  Students in grades K-3 attend music once a week for 50 minutes throughout the year.  Fourth grade students receive music instruction four days a week, 50 minutes per day, for one quarter of the year.  Students in 5-8 grades attend a 50-minute class daily for six weeks.

Early Childhood and Primary (Grades K-3)

Students enjoy musical experiences involving movement, singing, and playing instruments. They are taught to read traditional notation and solfege.  In addition to learning to read music, they are given opportunities to improvise and create music of their own.

Intermediate (Grades 4-6)

Students in the fourth grade hone their music reading skills by learning to play the soprano recorder.  St. Mary’s uses the Recorder Karate Program – a highly motivational approach. Students in fifth and sixth grades further develop their music skills by reading more advanced rhythms, composing rhythms, identifying various forms of music, singing in two parts, aurally identifying various instruments, performing accompaniment from notation, and listening to and discussing music from different cultures and time periods.

Junior High (Grades 7-8)

Students in seventh and eighth grades begin learning guitar using classical guitars provided by the school.  Students learn proper finger style technique including posture and reading from notation.  Students also learn to play various chords and strumming patterns to accompany folk songs.

Additional Programs

Chorus is offered for grades 3-8.  Chorus leads our songs at all-school Masses, presents a Christmas musical, performs a Spring Concert, and may sing at other events during the year.  Drama, included with Chorus, is also offered for students in kindergarten through eighth grade who would like to audition for the Christmas musical.  Violin is offered for grades 4-8.  Students meet once a week for an hour class and perform at fall and spring concerts.  St. Mary's also offers Brass--trumpets and trombones--for students in grades 5-8.  Boythovens is offered for boys in the fourth grade and up who sing in the treble range. 

PHYSICAL EDUCATION

Physical education is “education through the physical,” the medium through which a total learning experience takes place.  Physical education is an important part of the elementary school program. The lessons that are taught within the Physical Education Curriculum work to improve the students’ physical health, enhance their emotional outlook, and stimulate the intellectual activity and ability of the students.

The goal of physical education is to improve the whole person. This goal is reached by focusing on the teaching of physical skills, the acquisition of knowledge, and the development of attitudes through movement.  Physical education classes provide each student with various opportunities, from the basic acquisition of locomotive and manipulative skills to the assessment of fitness levels and the knowledge of lifetime activities, through games, sports, dance, and other vigorous activities.

The Physical Education Curriculum is divided into five key strands:  skilled movement, responsible behaviors, cognitive concepts, personal fitness, and physically active lifestyle. There are multiple objectives and benchmarks for each strand.

Kindergarten

The focus for kindergarten is to develop an introductory level to space, time, and speed. The use of basic locomotors, manipulative, and rhythmic pattern skills will be used.

Primary (Grades 1-3)

First through third grades involve instructional programs that focus on gaining full mastery of locomotive skills and a strong understanding of manipulative skills through lead-up games and activities. Responsible behaviors will be emphasized with students being expected to identify and demonstrate appropriate Christian behaviors.

Intermediate and Junior High (Grades 4-8)

Fourth through eighth grades involve an instructional program that focuses on the integration of locomotive and manipulative skills into a sports setting. An emphasis is placed on the use of these skills in individual and team sports. Students will participate in individual team sports, dance, and physical fitness units.  A high priority is placed on their physical fitness, responsible behaviors, and cognitive concepts.

The combination of these five strands and their objectives will lead students to engage skillfully, knowledgeably and responsibly in an active, healthy Christian life.

SPANISH

The St. Mary’s Spanish program serves students in grades K-8.  Students in grades K-3 attend Spanish once a week for 50 minutes.  Fourth grade is taught Spanish on a quarterly schedule, taking class for one nine-week period, four days a week for 50 minutes.  Grades 5-8 attend Spanish class for one six-week period, attending the class 5 days a week for 50 minutes.

The Spanish program is based on the distinctive characteristics and needs found at each level of cognitive, social, and linguistic development. The curriculum has its basis in Second Language Acquisition research and the national Standards for Foreign Language Learning. New students who have not received prior instruction in Spanish are typically able to acclimate nicely because of the structure of the program, which is implemented as follows:

  • Organization of curriculum and instruction according to communicative teaching methods rather than a grammar-based approach.  In other words, grammar is presented in real-world examples rather than used as the focus of instruction.

  • Effective and engaging instruction made meaningful and memorable through the use of stories, real-world conversation, music, rituals, and cultural celebrations.

  • Frequent, regular assessment of learning in a manner that is consistent with the Standards for Foreign Language Learning, program goals, and teaching strategy.

  • General instruction in the target language (Spanish), with minimal use of English.

To supplement this structure, relevant cultural and age-appropriate expansion activities add spice and flavor to the average class day. For example, with the goal of expanding the language context, students in 7-8 grades spend a unit discussing the importance of cultural sensitivity and the negative impact of stereotypes.  Fourth grader students spend time on translation exercises, helping them to make comparisons between the structures of the target language and their own.  Students are also taught basic Catholic prayers in Spanish.

Graduates of the St. Mary’s program are competent in basic Spanish communication and, in some cases, are prepared to enter Spanish II in high school. More importantly, our graduates are aware of the many dimensions that make up the web of culture and community.

FACULTY

Kathleen Haley, Music
Laura Kuhlke, Reading Specialist, 15 years of experience
Karmen Lowery, Computer, 5 years of experience
Annmarie Noegel, PE, Athletic Director, 11 years of experience
Therese Rhodes, Library/Media, 7 years of experience
Marina Rodriguez, Spanish, 2 years of experience
Jenny Storer, Art, 1 year of experience