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Enrichment Courses

Student drawings of sunflowers

Enrichment classes at St. Mark’s Episcopal School cover a variety of skills and interests. Early Childhood, Elementary and Middle School students learn:

  • To express themselves creatively through music, art, and technology

  • To be a good team member through physical education

  • About spirituality and faith in a Christian-based religion setting

Early Childhood Enrichment

Music

St. Mark’s Preschool 2s through Pre-K students participate in “Music and Movement,” a program designed to build motor and social skills. The program is held two times per six day rotation; one day is spent focusing on movement, and the other day focuses on music. The music portion is held in the music classroom, and includes singing songs, listening to rhythms and playing instruments. The movement portion is held in the gymnasium, and includes parachute play, skipping and dancing. Preschool 2s work on their vocal development, as well as listening and social skills in music class. Games and instruments are introduced throughout the year. The Preschool 3s focus on theme songs and action songs to develop their rhythm, melody, and expression skills. Pre-K students develop their musical skills through song, rhymes, rhythms, movement, and exploration.

Art

Art surrounds our youngest students throughout the school year and is showcased in April at the Early Childhood Art Show. Students work throughout the year on art projects in their classroom, as art is incorporated into many lessons.

 

Technology

Technology learning begins in Pre-K with small group lessons where students learn mouse skills, using simple commands to navigate early learning software, and how to use simple graphic tools to create images with Kid Pix software.  Kindergarten students further their skills by learning additional drawing and writing tools.  They create stories, graphs, and build knowledge webs under the guidance of their teachers.  Printed and published computer work is an important step in developing technology skills in early childhood.

 

Religion

The religion curriculum at St. Mark’s supports the teachings of a Christian church.  Our Episcopal school welcomes students of all faiths and encourages the sharing of traditions. The inclusive nature of the school creates a deeper respect for denominational differences and different religious beliefs as students share their own faith experiences. The objective of religious education at St. Mark’s is to help students experience and realize the spiritual dimension of life.

Early childhood and elementary students have religion class once every six-day rotation throughout the year. We have adopted the Godly Play curriculum for our Pre-K through 2nd grade students. This Montessori-based curriculum teaches through biblical storytelling and thoughtful reflection activities. The circular nature of the curriculum encourages reinforcement of core biblical stories at each level with deepening reflection and understanding as children mature. At the conclusion of each story, four central questions allow students to reflect on the way the story has impacted them. Students are encouraged to thoughtfully consider the story of the day through reflection activities, including creating art, building, and cooperative retelling of the biblical narrative. Our Preschool 2s and Preschool 3s experience a modified version of Godly Play interspersed with age-appropriate songs, stories, and prayers.

Physical Education

St. Mark’s Early Childhood students visit P.E. once a week. During class, there is emphasis on movement exploration, gross motor abilities and perceptual motor experiences. Students play simple games, which offer practical application of skills and also provide moments to teach social skills and how to be a good teammate.

Elementary Enrichment

Music

Kindergarten through 4th grade students come to music twice every six days. They spend their time in class using their singing voices, learning and performing beginner and intermediate folk dances, exploring classical music through guided movement, playing singing games, and developing basic rhythmic and melodic understanding. Students perform in a Christmas concert in December and in grade level concerts throughout the spring.

Art

Formal art classes begin in Kindergarten and continue through 8th grade with the introduction of drawing skills, experience with most art mediums, and artist’s studies. Art class offer St. Mark’s students a chance to discover new art techniques and terminology. They will also explore works of famous artists and apply new knowledge to create their very own beautiful works of art.

Art class is very hands-on for every age group. Each class will be taught based on their skill and grade level, but everyone gets to learn about artists, art history and art techniques. Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade students attend art once every six days for an hour, while 3rd and 4th grade are in the studio twice every six days for about 45 minutes.

Technology

Beginning in 2nd grade, St. Mark’s elementary students are introduced to systems and logging on with usernames and passwords. While creating multimedia projects using Kidpix, students learn to add sounds and transitions.  Word processing skills are practiced using Microsoft Word and Kidpix. We review backspace, shift, delete. They learn to add clip art, resize clip art, bullets, and how to align text. Keyboarding skills get refined as 3rd and 4th grade students practice for 10 minutes every class. In 3rd grade, students receive an introduction about citing work from the internet and learn about plagiarism. 3rd graders create several quick projects to learn features of Microsoft PowerPoint before using it as a multimedia tool, creating a slideshow with transitions and sound and presenting them to the class. Additionally, Microsoft Excel is used for introduction to graphing, data management, spreadsheets, auto sum, conditional formatting of cells. 4th grade dives deeper into mastering MS Word, PP, and Excel. 4th grade students complete a lengthy multi-media project that focuses on Texas geography using Flip video cameras, a green screen, Google Maps, Microsoft Publisher and Glogster.

 

Religion

The religion curriculum at St. Mark’s supports the teachings of a Christian church.  Our Episcopal school welcomes students of all faiths and encourages the sharing of traditions. The inclusive nature of the school creates a deeper respect for denominational differences and different religious beliefs as students share their own faith experiences. The objective of religious education at St. Mark’s is to help students experience and realize the spiritual dimension of life.

Elementary students, 1st - 4th grade, come to Religion class once a week and attend chapel on Wednesday mornings. Students will continue to know that God loves him or her and acquire a feeling of belonging to the story of God’s people.  Throughout these years, students will learn many of the primary stories which formed the Hebrew people through the conquest of Jericho, the building of the temple and the Babylonian exile, understand the central events of Jesus’ life and teaching, and connect Bible stories to events and feelings he or she has experienced. Working with the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd and the Godly Play materials helps students understand the liturgy, as we observe the seasons, colors and feasts of the church year and learn about the Eucharist. The children are developing patterns for the lifelong spiritual journey during these years.

Physical Education

St. Mark’s 1st and 2nd graders come to P.E. twice a week. In class, these students learn an introduction to fitness components, and how to build a foundation of good sportsmanship. Additionally, 1st and 2nd graders work on developing their perceptual motor and gross motor skills, and they practice and apply fundamental skills through lead-up games and activities.

3rd and 4th graders come to P.E. three times a week. In P.E., St. Mark’s 3rd and 4th graders complete fitness circuits for strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular endurance, while working towards fitness testing and awards. Furthermore, students receive an introduction to written test of rules and strategies of some of the sports games and  take turns officiating games during class and learn to apply both the rules and good sportsmanship. Students practice and apply fundamental skills through games: volleyball, basketball, team challenge activities, badminton, tennis, soccer, softball and field day activities. Finally, 3rd and 4th graders develop their skills through drills, practice and testing. 

Middle School Rotation Courses

Music

For St. Mark’s middle schoolers, music class is held three times in a 6-day cycle over the course of one trimester. Students refine their movement, speaking, listening, singing and performing skills. Middle schoolers learn basic music theory, line dancing, elements of the orchestra, and breathing and voice techniques. As they learn more about music, numerous performance opportunities are given, including school-wide musicals. Students strive to understand the cultural and creative nature of musical artistry and make connections among music, technology and the other arts.

Art

In art class, middle school students learn about different artists, art movements, techniques and art vocabulary, while creating artwork using methods and lessons learned in class. Middle school students come to art three times in a 6-day cycle over the course of one trimester.

Middle School art students are graded based on performance, participation and quality of work. Each student will receive a number grade and comments or suggestions for all work turned in.

Technology

Technology is integrated into the classroom beginning in the middle school years. To learn more about technology and our 1:1 iPad program in middle school, visit our technology page.

Religion

The religion curriculum at St. Mark’s supports the teachings of a Christian church.  Our Episcopal school welcomes students of all faiths and encourages the sharing of traditions. The inclusive nature of the school creates a deeper respect for denominational differences and different religious beliefs as students share their own faith experiences. The objective of religious education at St. Mark’s is to help students experience and realize the spiritual dimension of life.

Middle school students have religion for three days out of the six-day rotation for one trimester. The aim of the middle school religion program is to continue to improve students’ biblical literacy, while encouraging and giving them tools to put their faith in action in their lives.

The 5th grade religion curriculum is a study of the peacemakers. Students study what it means to be a prophet and how the biblical prophets spoke out against injustices in their time. By studying peacemakers through history and those who have had an influence on their own lives, students are encouraged to look at the qualities that led these people to action. As the course progresses, students are asked to think about the ways that they can form peace in themselves.

In 6th grade, students focus on the practice of prayer and Bible study. Using a twelve week Bible overview curriculum, students are given the opportunity to gain and reinforce their understanding of the scope of the biblical narrative. Creative writing and art responses allow students to reflect on and process the stories that they hear. In the second half of the course, students explore various forms of both personal and corporate prayer.

Our 7th grade students take a World Religions class, which coincides with their year of world history. Additionally, 7th grade students are more prepared to understand the complex issues covered in a world religions class.

In 8th grade, students study ethics during religion class. Students are taught an ethical decision making process and encouraged to use their faith to apply this model to situations in their own lives. Through the use of film and other media, students explore ethical situations. Students are encouraged to think critically and engage in respectful dialogue with their peers.

By building upon the biblical studies students have done in previous years, we can help them to take ownership of their actions and build a mature faith. The fact that very little in ethics is black and white is both a challenge and a strength. Students who are searching for concrete answers are encouraged to think about their personal opinions and apply their faith and belief to the decisions they make. This sometimes uncomfortable act of speaking up for their own beliefs will be an important skill as they move into high school and beyond.

Physical Education

St. Mark’s middle schoolers come to P. E. three times in a 6-day cycle throughout the year. While in class, middle school students are often separated by gender and complete fitness circuits for strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular endurance, along with fitness testing and awards. By taking written test on rules and strategies of some of the sports games, students learn more about various sports. Students focus on sportsmanship, particularly at Field Day. Finally, middle schoolers practice and apply skills through team sports: volleyball, basketball, team challenge activities, floor hockey, badminton, soccer, softball and field day activities. We also teach health to boys and girls during this time. Over the course of a half-year, students use between 30-40% of their PE time to learn about the basic concepts of living an informed and healthy lifestyle.

 

Middle School Enrichment Courses

Middle School Enrichments provide our kids the opportunity to pursue interests that may not fall under the traditional educational umbrella. From dance to debate, from games to glee, middle schoolers have fun in enrichment courses.