LAS VEGAS PRIVATE SCHOOL K – 8th Grade
Guiding children in their educational journey

Curriculum

Reading and Literature

Kindergarten and 1st grade reading program used includes “The Guided Reader” by Diana Jump and  DeeDee Wills and “The Writing Road to Reading by Romalda B. Spalding

  • Reading instruction for younger students comprises 6 components of reading: phonemic awareness, phonetic instruction, decoding, sight word recognition, print concept, and spelling.
  • Quality children’s literature is shared and emphasized so that Journey’s beginning readers develop a love of reading at an early age.
  • The ability to predict, infer, form opinions are a main focus of the weekly literature.
  • Students are introduced to grammar terms and learn to recognize them and insert them into sentences as well as use them in their daily writing.

Imagine It! by McGraw Hill is the Reading curriculum used for 2nd – 6th grade

  • Provides a focus on the five key areas of Reading, which are Phonemic Awareness, Explicit Phonics, Fluency, Vocabulary, and Comprehension.
  • Oral reading fluency is developed as students master the art of answering written response questions, expand vocabulary, and build grammar and phonics skills.
  • Students are constantly provided with practice in order to increase their confidence and fluency.
  • Reading progress is assessed along the way to provide additional support as well as to challenge students.
  • Students are inspired with reading selections across a variety of genres as they are taught inquiry that helps them learn to question, investigate, and explore.
  • Instruction is bolstered with technology resources as well as an abundance of curriculum links to science, social studies, and periodic assessments that inform.
  • Students are tested weekly on skills, spelling, and vocabulary taught and/or reviewed during the week.

StudySync by McGraw Hill is the Reading curriculum used for 7th and 8th grade

  • Students are exposed to hundreds of core texts as well as video and media that inspire.
  • Advanced reading, writing, listening, and critical thinking skills are taught.
  • StudySync provides a basis for teachers to use in order to customize and differentiate the instruction in order to ensure every Journey 7th and 8th grade student is ready for a challenging high school experience that will lead into college and career.
  • Lessons use in-depth cross-curriculum thematic units that provide the following in each unit:
    • An instructional path where students are taught how to do a “first read” and “close read” of each text.
    • Extended writing projects are part of each unit. Students work on the different types of writing with specific skill lessons that support the process.
    • Students work on an in-depth research project that explores the unit’s theme and essential questions.
    • A full-text study that uses additional resources to broaden the students understanding.
    • A summative unit assessment is administered that allows students to demonstrate their level of skills mastery at the end of each unit.

Writing

Learning to write well is a crucial life skill that can set your student apart in today’s world. Therefore, Journey students are provided with a strong writing skillset at every age.

  •  Writing for our younger students begin the year with proper letter formation and continues until they are writing independent stories with main ideas and details.
  • Students gain exposure to a wide variety of writing types, with an emphasis on descriptive, narrative, persuasive and expository pieces.
  • The writing process is taught using guided instruction that teaches your students how to follow a structured formula that enables them to become stronger, more confident writers.
  • Lessons promote differentiated instruction by allowing students to work at their own level. Students are motivated to build upon prior knowledge and individual creativity as they become proficient writers.
  • Students are taught to tap into their individual creativity to develop organization, voice, and confidence in writing.
  • Each year students are taken through a comprehensive writing course that will teach them to:
    • Identify and appropriately address the purpose and audience for their writing.
    • Gather knowledge, brainstorm, organize, and express ideas in a logical way.
    • Add detail and more meaningful words to their writing.
    • Create paragraphs with a topic sentence, supporting details, and a conclusion.
    • Form complete and grammatically correct sentences, paragraphs, and essays depending on age and level.

Math

Saxon Math by Saxon Publishers is the curriculum used for levels Kindergarten through Algebra. At Journey our math goal is to produce mathematically proficient students-including fluency with computational and conceptual understanding.

  • Journey’s math program focuses on a five-step problem solving process, which guides students to understand, plan, solve, check and explain.
  • Students are taught a consistent process for evaluating different problem solving situations and learn how to demonstrate perseverance while working on a problem.
  • A strategy to problem solving is taught by first working to understand the problem and then make a plan before solving. Students are taught to end by checking their solutions, providing opportunities to ask, “Does this make sense?” and re-direct if necessary.
  • The distributed nature of Saxon Math lends itself naturally to developing abstract and quantitative reasoning. Because students are exposed to different concepts at the same time through incremental instruction and mixed practice, review, and assessment, they learn the importance of making sense of quantities and their relationships and of carefully considering the units involved.
  • Math problems do not focus simply on one concept, but rather may involve multiple concepts just as they would in real-world situations. Therefore, it is essential that students are able to make connections, think about what the quantities actually mean in a specific context, and solve appropriately.

Social Studies

Kindergarten to 3rd grade Journey students focus on the world around them; from their own neighborhood to around the world. Social Studies are taught in units.

  • Simple geography is taught including continents, oceans, and countries.
  • History as well as current events are covered.
  • Units include: famous Americans, historical events that shaped our country, maps and map skills, landforms and bodies of water, holiday customs and traditions, communities, careers, and symbols of America.

Story of the World by Susan Wise Bauer is used for students 4th through 8th grade. This curriculum is a world history that is taught chronologically in a four-year rotation beginning with ancient times, continuing through both the middle ages, and early modern times and finishing with the 20th century.

  • Text is used to determine main ideas and learn the steps to providing an accurate summary of the events.
  • Students discuss and analyze historical information to determine facts and opinions.
  • A study of world history helps students to form a better understanding of the scale involved in a specific moment in history.
  • Student’s recognize patterns in history and gain an understanding of the significance of the past to their own life and to current social issues.
  • Maps are utilized to provide context and relevance to topics covered in class as students more easily visualize complex ideas and situations.
4th and 5th graders are taught Nevada History as part of their social studies curriculum
  • Students learn about our unique state and its role in shaping the U.S.
  • History trip to Carson City and Virginia City every other year

Civics is studied as part of the social studies curriculum in grades 6-8th

  • A focus is given to the foundation of this great nation throughout the American Revolution and subsequent creation of the Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence.
  • Students are taught about local, state, and national government.
  • Lessons include the creation of laws and how the voting system works.

Science

Journey students, kindergarten through 3rd grade, explore science in units.

  • Units include the body, weather, seasons, plants, insects, and animals.
  • Hands-on scientific experiments allow students to become more engaged in the scientific process.
  • Students learn how to incorporate the scientific method with each experiment.
  • Lessons open the world of science through inquiring, exploration and discovery with the objective of piquing student’s curiosity to investigating further.

4th through 8th grade Journey students employ Science Fusion by Harcourt as a curriculum. A variety of science related subjects are studied in a four-year rotation including general science, life science, earth science, and physical science.

  • Students learn to apply the scientific method to answer scientific questions.
  • Note-taking and study skills are taught.
  • Lessons incorporate math with scientific concepts and science vocabulary.
  • Virtual labs give students the opportunities to ask questions, think critically, make informed decisions, and apply what they have learned.
  • Science lessons include writing skills that incorporate graphic organizers for summary and organization and active reading that teach students how to analyze and interact with the content.

STEAM

STEAM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics. Emphasizing these subjects has been driven by the business community, with the goal of developing and preparing a quick thinking and competitive individual. It is important to note that STEAM is not just a program, but a way of life.

  • STEAM provides students with a more in-depth knowledge of math and science, plus the ability to integrate and apply that knowledge to solve the challenges students will face in life.
  • Students gain advantages in and out of the classroom that better prepare them for college and career.
  • Critical analysis skills are reinforced and problem solving skills are improved while students practice higher order thinking.
  • Hands-on learning and exploring provides a deeper understanding of the subject matter while inspiring creativity and innovation.
  • As students work together they develop interpersonal communication and collaboration skills as well as flexible and adaptive thinking.
  • Projects and opportunities promote understanding of societies and cultures.
  • A sample of student opportunities within the STEAM program include building a greenhouse, planting a garden, raising trout, assembling and operating a windmill, discovering animal life and physiology through dissection, use of a weather station, and the use of technology with robotics, media, and programing.

Specialty Classes

  • ART:Students are introduced to different mediums, color theory, and various art making tools. Journey students discover talents and interests as new skills are explored through activity-based projects which encourage fun, creativity and build confidence. Students are taught to create using lines, shapes, color, perspective, and composition.
  • TECHNOLOGY: Each instructional period begins with students learning and practicing typing skills.  Students are then introduced to new aspects of computer technology. Following each lesson students work on a collection of project-based assignments that allow them opportunities to develop, practice, and demonstrate mastery.
  • FITNESS: our physical education program is designed to provide students the tools for a healthy, active lifestyle now and into adulthood. A variety of group and individual sports are taught in order to teach students the many fun ways to stay fit.  Students participate in the Presidential challenge throughout the year where physical progress is tracked and celebrated.
  • MUSIC: Journey’s music program introduces students to different styles of music as well as general music skills such as rhythm, melody, pitch, and harmony. These skills are practiced through songs and instruments. Basic performance skills and the importance of working as a team is taught with an emphasis on developing student’s confidence in public speaking, singing, and performing in front of peers and an audience. Students have the opportunity to perform several times a year including our annual Thanksgiving performance, care center service projects, and a spring performance.
  • LEADERSHIP: Middle School students participate in a leadership/student government class where they explore a range of leadership skills that include leading change, resolving conflict, and motivating others. As part of this class, students plan and lead the student body in activities, fundraisers, and fieldtrips. These opportunities give your student the ability to work effectively with those different from themselves and experience group dynamics and effective teamwork. Leadership skills and opportunities are provided to the entire Journey student body as well through quarterly goal setting, leading team meetings with parents, and working on the Journey Patriotic Challenge.
  • VALUES: Values through positive Christian principles such as responsibility, integrity, compassion, and service is emphasized. This focus provides students life-long direction and reflect a positive school environment. Each day begins with a student-led prayer, pledge, and patriotic song followed by a positive value message. Additionally, students receive a ten-minute daily interactive lesson. These lessons are woven into the culture of Journey and used in day-to-day interactions among students and staff. Curriculum and lessons have been adapted from the following resources with the following objectives:
    • Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Steven Covey includes lessons on being proactive,beginning with the end in mind, putting first things first, thinking win-win, seeking first to understand and then to be understood, synergizing (working together), and sharpening the saw (taking care of self).
    • How to Win and Influence People by Dale Carnegie includes lessons on how to be a good friend, clear communication, working positively with people, and how to be an effective leader.
    • Workshop Ways © list of values include lessons about respecting the rights of others, understanding that it is intelligent to ask for help, taking courage to risk, being okay with making mistakes, giving everyone a right to a time to think, and understanding that we don’t have to know everything today.
    • Journey’s own “Character Traits for Life” which include dependability, resourcefulness, gratitude, self-motivation, manners, optimism, caring, and perseverance.