Curriculum

All truth is God’s truth…

At Covenant Christian School we believe that all learning can lead us to a deeper knowledge of God as we better understand  the world God made. We don’t learn math for math’s sake; we study math and science so that we can better understand the beautiful order and complexity of God’s world. Real education teaches students to engage all fields of study through a dynamic, interconnected intellectual framework that ignites creativity, leads to wonder, and inspires students to worship and serve God.

Our curriculum grounds children in a robust education that equips them for the twenty-first century. In addition to the State of Indiana’s standard subjects, we offer students opportunities to study robotics, coding, Spanish, Latin, music, and art. Students are also given opportunities to engage the community through service, worship God through chapel, and exercise their bodies through physical education classes. Through all our curriculum, Covenant believes in an integrated, hands-on learning where students are challenged to demonstrate their growth and mastery through creative assessments including individual presentations, group projects, and class productions.

Covenant Christian School is affiliated with Christian Schools International, the Indiana Non-Public Education Association, and add.a.lingua. Our curriculum, in both English and Spanish Immersion, aligns to the Indiana State Academic Standards. As part of these affiliations, we particiapate in state-wide testing and ranking programs, including the IREAD and ISTEP examinations, where we consistently receive top honors.

 

We use Science Kits from Battle Creek Area Math and Science Center (BCAMSC).  These kits are hands-on and tied to literacy.  The kids do science, not just read about science.  The kits begin in kindergarten.  Staff are regularly trained by the BCAMSC on inquiry based science methods and any new topics and materials.  Students have lab journals where almost all of the Language Arts standards are met in the science materials through both writing and literature.  They plan, design, experiment, evaluate, predict. The program meets the Next Generation Science Standards.

Project Lead the Way (PLTW) is another science program we build into our science education.  It is heavy on the STEM areas (science, technology, engineering and math) and includes programming and real world problem solving.  Beginning in kindergarten, it allows the teachers to extend the BCAMSC materials to even more depth.  The two programs work well together.  Staff are required to participate in training for PLTW also.

Our 5th graders spend 5 Wednesdays (25 Total Hours) at STARBASE each year, where they get to use high end technology and solve real world problems. This program is funded by the Department of Defense and is designed to meet STEM standards.

We partnered with the South Bend Code School in middle school.  The kids learned coding and developed blogs and apps to solve real world problems.  The semester culminates with a trip to Chicago to a technology innovation center.  This program runs every other year.

STEAM Week: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math week is a deep dive into a couple of topics.  Each year students choose their areas and spend the week leaning extensively about particular topics.  Topics include Pipe Engineering, Claymation Animation, Crime Scene Investigation, Hot Wheels Speedometry, Circuits, Angry Birds design, Rube Goldberg design problems, architecture, Jack and the Beanstalk, the Three Little Pigs and more.

Coding: The younger kids (K-2) also learn beginning coding on their tablets.

Lego First Robotics LeagueStudents 4th-8th may participate in the robotics club.  This too is STEM oriented.  The students have to research a real world problem and come up with a solution from their research.  The students compete locally and at the state level.

 

 

 

 

 

Kindergarten through grade 4 uses the Everyday Mathematics curriculum, developed by the University of Chicago’s School Mathematics Project.  This teaches the kids real world math sense and gives them a good foundation for higher level math and thinking skills.

Beginning in 5th grade we go to a more traditional math curriculum that includes a variety of texts and materials including Glencoe and other publishers.  The students are pushed and move at a pace significantly above grade level.  To validate their success, the students have high scores on the Indiana ISTEP tests and pass the End of Course Assessments at year end.

Beginning in Third Grade, students all have an online ALEKS account (Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces is a Web-based, artificially intelligent assessment and learning system). This account allows the students to be remediated if they are below grade level, or work at a substantially higher grade level, above instruction, if that is their passion.  The account is a “smart” program where it continually assesses a student to see if he has mastered and can retrieve the material after he has practiced the skill.  This program works in both English and Spanish, so Immersion students can also keep up the Spanish academic vocabulary.  Students can take a variety of classes from geometry, advanced algebra, trig and more.  It has been a good tool to get new students up to speed as quickly as possible so they can progress at the same pace as their classmates and allows the advanced math student to continue to thrive.

Math Competitions

  • The 5th-8th graders participate in the Indiana Math League contest each spring.
  • The 4th-8th graders participate in the Trinity Christian School math league contest each year in Chicago.

 

 

 

 

Language Arts is a complex project at Covenant.  Both English Language Arts and Spanish Language arts overlap in their techniques and implementation.   The strengths from each of the programs are melded into the opposite program to get the best for both English and Spanish.  Our Immersion curriculum is driven by our Add.a.lingua partnership that lays out the scope and sequence of the language and vocabulary in Spanish.

Spelling
All students have weekly spelling lists

Writing
Students write, journal and develop writing skills in daily work, long-term projects, research, communication with famous people, authors and more.

Guided Reading     
We use both Fountis and Pinnell Benchmark Assessment system and EDL2 in Spanish to monitor reading growth in both languages.  Students are challenged to continue to read at an ever increasing reading level, master more complex vocabulary and comprehension.

Raz-Kids
Reading A-Z is a teacher’s tool that encourages the student to continue to improve their reading. Teachers can use the books in both English and in Spanish to encourage growth, measure comprehension and fluency, and monitor student progress and identify weaknesses.

Book Sets     
Both English and Spanish have growing numbers of leveled book sets that tie back into curriculum especially non-fiction texts and biographies that connect to history, social studies and science.  In addition, the leveled book sets include a large number of leveled books by excellent authors, Newberry and Caldecott winners in addition to a growing library of authentic Spanish authors.

Regular visitors to the classrooms help to bring life to  Language Arts.  The students have met authors, including skype interviews with Peter Jenkins, met the author of What Though the Odds,  Blogged with various writers, written interview questions and more.  Each school year’s theme is highlighted by rich Language Arts projects.  Students met with a Marian High School graduate who played football with only one foot.  They met a woman who swam the English Channel.  Students research a state by advertising in small town papers and begin correspondence with people from those states.  They have interviewed local heroes, interviewed Depression Era seniors, talked to Veterans…

 

 

 

Kindergarten through grade 8 work through the Indiana standards.  The students begin with lessons in our community, move on to Indiana History, American History, Ancient History, Civil War, Government and Politics, the 20th century and more.

Online Media-Rich Curriculum Resources: The Pearson curriculum and Pearson Realize, the online component of this material, is a big hit with the students and is available in both English and  Spanish.  Students can tour archaeological sites, watch interviews with famous people, use technology to access research and more.

Magazines & Newspapers: The students also use a variety of current event and History magazines.  The Indiana Social Studies Weekly for Indiana history, the Ancient History weekly for Ancient History, Scholastic News for current events. El Hora, Que Pas and other Spanish language weekly newspapers for history, culture and Current Events in Spanish.  Each week, the students are held accountable for comprehension, current issues, and how it ties to our community.  Students  have to write a polished  Yes / No essay taking a stand on an issue presented in their materials.

Readworks is a leveled tool that allows teachers to select additional materials on the topics they are studying in social studies and the people they are studying.  In addition, Readworks comes with parallel texts, compare and contrast materials, guided reading levels and even specific target skills the teacher wants to reinforce to really challenge the students.

Projects: Much of what we do in Social studies is project based.  Students have written skits about their research.  They have built aqueducts , pyramids and Latin homes.  They have Greek feasts, cooking authentic Greek foods.  The students have “become” various historical people and performed in first person.  We have had presidential elections, learned about the election process, campaigned for our own school president and more.

 

 

The Bible Curriculum is from Christian Schools International.  CSI materials have been developed with a Head, Heart, and Hands philosophy.  The students learn about God, get to know God personally and then step into His world to serve Him.  The Old Testament and the New Testament “big stories” are covered in the younger grades and as the students get older, they dig even more deeply into various themes of the Bible.  Units include personal devotions, the time between the Testaments, Biblical Archaeology, the Old testament feasts, the missionary journeys of Paul and more.  That the World May Know videos are shown on the Biblical sites.  Spanish language videos tell the Bible stories in Spanish.  Students learn about church history, cults, the Middle Ages and the Reformation and even do a unit on Christian ethics using the 10 Commandments as their source as they look at current events and court cases.

Service projects around school come from this emphasis of putting our hands into action for God’s kingdom.  The first graders do a pretzel sale as they learn about profit, cost, count money.  With their profit, they go to the store and buy toys from the Hope Ministry wish list for the Women and Children’s center.  Other classes work at a church food pantry, collect toiletries for Hope Ministires, collect food for Christmas baskets.

Bible Memory Work (BMW): Students have bible memory work each week of the school year.  They put God’s word in their heart in both English and Spanish.  Over time, large passages of scripture are committed to memory including Luke 2, Psalm 100, Psalm 23, I Cor 13…and more.  Each year a grade may add more verses to portions learned the prior year.

The students are part of Builders Club sponsored by our local Kiwanis.  They are responsible for developing Christian service projects and seeing them through.  They report to Kiwanis about their activities and learn the skills necessary to lead, organize and solve community problems.  Some favorite annual projects include Operation Christmas Child, all school Fall Festivals,  Hope Ministries, quilts for the children’s hospital, food for the food pantry, helped Kiwanis with their Peanut Days and pancake dinners.

Chapel connects with Bible class also.  The classrooms take turns organizing chapel, maybe doing music or a skit and building a chapel around a specific verse or the school theme.  Sometimes they have a speaker or have special events from drama or musical groups.  Students have a praise band where they lead worship for the students.

Bible Projects also connect to to curriculum areas.   Ethics are discussed.  Hard questions are asked.  Just because science can, should it?  Is their a line where we might have gone too far?   Is Capital Punishment ok or does the 6th commandment forbid it? Are there issues around cryogenics, fertility treatments, cloning?  What should a Christian do about the environment?   We don’t shy away from hard questions at the later elementary level.  We want to see the students develop a thinking Christian mind.  The foundation laid early on should continue to be enhanced later.  We read tough literature, Huckleberry Finn as a great introduction to racism, Elie Weisel’s book Night, as an introduction to the Holocaust and the fact that there really is sin in the world.   Often, while some topics are difficult, students really grapple with the issues and parents appreciate the passion the kids bring to the dinner table.

We take seriously our mission to equip children to serve God in His world.

 

 

Music connects back to what we are doing school wide. 

General music includes  reading, rhythm and rhyme, notes, 4th grade recorders, 5th grade ukuleles, 6-8th grade hand chimes.
In addition, piano lessons, guitar lessons and choral singing are all taught.

Spring Musical   4th-8th Graders musicals have included Annie, Peter Pan, the Best Christmas Pageant Ever and more…

We generally do a Grandparents Day, a Christmas Concert, and a Pastor and Me program each year, where the children perform.

As our Spanish Immersion Program has expanded, we are intentional about providing a culturally diverse music program, learning many songs in both languages by many composers.

 

 

Students have art 1x or 2x per week.  Art connects with famous artists and techniques; In addition it connects with history and even math units.  We study various artists and their style and have been making an increasing effort to highlight the Spanish artists as Immersion grows.

We explore painting, drawing, clay, cartooning, anime, still life, Impressionism, Picasso, Kahlo, tessellations, symmetry, weaving, photography, mosaics, block printing, sculpting, as well as seasonal activities.

 

 

 

 

In addition to our Spanish Immersion Program, we offer a variety of languages depending on the interests of the students.

Latin, Italian, French, German are all in process currently.

 

 

Students work on physical fitness, developing age appropriate skills, work on strength and coordination.

Sporting opportunities:

Soccer Shots | Soccer for the 3year old-8 year old set

Fall Soccer | Co-ed soccer for 4th-8th grade.

Fall Cross Country |  1st-8th graders may run.  Under 6th grade runs a  2K, 6th-8th grade run a 3K.

Spring Track | 1st-8th graders may compete in both track and field events.

Winter Basketball | 4th-8th grade may compete on Boys and Girls teams.

Intramurals | 6th-8th grade play twice weekly here at school.

Workshops | Karate, Tai Kwon Do, Gymnastics, Dance, Zumba, Cheerleading happen as there is interest and availability.

Skiing | 4th-8th graders have a one day field trip where they learn to snow ski. Favorite event of the year! A ski club is also available for interested families.

 

 

 

 

We like to get Covenant Students out into our Michiana community to see and experience what is available in our community. Students go on regular field-trips, related to their grade and study-areas. Field Trips have taken Covenant students to:

  • Fire & Police Stations
  • Potawatomi Zoo
  • Studebaker Museum
  • Fernwood Nature Center
  • Kalamazoo Civic Theatre
  • Kalamazoo Valley Museum
  • Morris Performing Arts Center
  • South Bend Cities’ Water Treatment Plant
  • Bethel College Genesians
  • El Paraiso Supermarcado & Taqueria
  • Air Zoo
  • Center for History
  • Science Camp
  • Chicago Field Museum
  • South Bend Cub’s Baseball Games
  • Weather Station
  • Nature Center
  • Curious Kids Museum
  • Hannah Lindahl Children’s Museum

 

 

 

 

 

D.A.R.E. Program | Teaching students decision making for safe & healthy living.

D.A.R.E. envisions a world in which students everywhere are empowered to respect others and choose to lead lives free from violence, substance abuse, and other dangerous behaviors.

Officer Tim Williams is our Mishawaka DARE officer.  He was just awarded the outstanding DARE officer for the state of Indiana.  Each year he either teaches  5th-6th grade DARE or our 7th-8th grade Dare program for our kids.  He is a powerful influence on our students.  We are blessed to have him.  The kids write a culminating essay and compete in the state essay contest.

 

 

 

 

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