Academics


General Studies

Students at Bornblum spend their academic day learning subjects, such as language arts, math, science and social studies.  In lower school (k-5), students have the same teacher for each general studies subject. In middle school, student learn from a team of specialists in each subject.

Sally Baer

General Studies Principal

View Our General Studies Curriculum

Individualization is the cornerstone of a Bornblum education.  Each student reaches his or her full potential through the differentiated instruction that our outstanding faculty provides. Each student’s learning strengths are assessed and extra support is provided when needed.

At Bornblum, how our students learn is every bit as important as what they learn.  Their education expands beyond the traditional classroom, providing students with opportunities to explore the world around them and understand, not just the facts about that world, but how they fit into it.  This is why Bornblum students are prepared to succeed in the most selective high schools and colleges.

There is no doubt that the curriculum at Bornblum is rigorous with many students graduating with advanced credits that will count toward high school science, math and English.  But this rigor is balanced with a program of health and wellness, where students build a toolbox full of strategies to strengthen their resilience as they meet challenges throughout their school years and into adulthood.

By the end of kindergarten, students will be reading single-sitting books that have vocabulary with sight words as well as those abiding by basic phonics rules. They will count to and recognize numbers through 100 and develop number sense when working with these numbers. They will recognize the principles of a community and identify the community in which they live. Their science skills will include understanding of the process of plant growth and the basic needs of living things.

 

 

 

 

By the end of first grade, students will be reading single-sitting books with fluency and comprehensive accuracy.  They will have strategies for figuring out new vocabulary and comprehension. They will be able to add and subtract numbers through 100, know basic fractions, time telling and have the ability to count coins with value. They will recognize, create and read maps. Their science skills will include an understanding of the scientific process, problem solving and critical thinking.

By the end of second grade, the students will demonstrate knowledge of basic algebraic concepts including real world mathematical applications, measurement and data, and shapes and fractions. Students will know what information can be drawn from maps, how cultures are different across the world, the basics of American government and how the United States began. Through experiments and observations, they will understand and describe the states of matter, the make-up of the Earth and the types of creatures that live on it. The students will understand facts and opinions, plot and theme, author’s purpose and a wide variety of vocabulary words. They will be descriptive and eloquent writers and confident readers. The students will read and write in cursive and be masterful spellers.

By the end of third grade, students demonstrate knowledge and understanding of sequence, compare and contrast, literary elements, context clues, main idea, author’s purpose, drawing conclusions and generalizing reading skills. The students increase text complexity in reading, balance fiction and informational texts, build content-area knowledge, focus on informative/explanatory, argumentative/opinion, and narrative writing using appropriate grammar conventions. In math, the students demonstrate an understanding of the place values of whole numbers, solve addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division problems, demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between fractions and decimals and whole numbers, use number patterns and relationships to solve problems, choose appropriate symbols, operations, and properties to solve simple number relationships, identify, understand, and use basic geometric properties, select and use appropriate units and instruments for measurement, measure quantities in real world applications, demonstrate an understanding of data collection, display, and interpretation,  and use the concept of chance to explore the probability of actual events. In science, students explore life in ecosystem, weather and climate patterns and forces and interactions. In social studies, students explore communities near and far, focusing on maps, communities, U.S geography, protecting our environment, community changes, inventions and ancient civilizations.

By the end of fourth grade, students demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the literary elements including highlighting the importance of writing, vocabulary, and spelling. In math, they will (1)demonstrate understanding and fluency with multi-digit multiplication and develop understanding of dividing to find quotients involving multi-digit dividends; (2)develop an understanding of fraction equivalence, addition and subtraction of fractions with like denominators, and multiplication of fractions by whole numbers; (3) understand that geometric figures can be analyzed and classified based on their properties, such as having parallel sides, perpendicular sides, particular angle measures, and symmetry. In social studies, students learn about the formative years of United States and Tennessee history, utilizing primary source documents, geographic tools, research, analysis, and critical thinking. In science, students explore a wide variety of exciting and engaging scientific concepts including changes in the earth, electricity, and living things.

By the end of fifth grade, students will understand, appreciate, interpret, and critically analyze a variety of literary genres as well as nonfiction and informational texts.  They will connect composition skills to those associated with grammar, usage, and mechanics to explore the writing process in expository, narrative, and descriptive writing through paragraph and essay forms.  They will develop fluency with addition, subtraction, multiplication and division of fractions and decimals as well as understand volume and place value.  The scientific method will be explored through experiments to learn about the three states of matter, Earth and space systems, and the flow of energy in matter in organisms.  Fifth graders learn the basics of the muscular system, the digestive system, the skeletal system, the integumentary system, and the nervous system. Students will develop an understanding of social studies using strategies including organizing, synthesizing, and displaying information. They will effectively use charts, graphs, graphic organizers, and a variety of visual presentations to extend their comprehension of social studies content.

Middle School Math

Sixth grade math is designed to be a bridge between elementary mathematics and algebra. Students will focus on the application of concepts they have previously studied in order to build a strong foundation based on the utilization of skills and vocabulary and to further develop problem solving strategies.

Since 7th grade math is designed to be an introduction to Algebra I, students apply variable concepts to their operational knowledge in order to further understand mathematic methods and geometric approaches that build a basic algebra foundation.

Eighth grade math is an extension of algebraic concepts either through a deeper study of pre-algebra or a high school level algebra course. Students build upon their basic algebra foundation to prepare for upper level mathematics courses.

Middle School Language Arts

Middle School students, grades 6, 7, and 8 learn grammar from a variety of platforms, both online and in print, including textbooks, workbooks, databases, and webpages. Care is taken to ensure interactive elements, as well as practice with concepts and mechanics. Composition applies grammar and punctuation while students learn formats in prose and poetry. Essays, speeches, reports, business and academic communications, and a variety of increasingly complex creative writing assignments integrate research skills and critical thinking.

Jewish Studies

Jewish studies at Bornblum focuses on building strong Jewish identies through the acquisition of Jewish knowledge.  Students study Hebrew, Torah, Jewish history, Jewish social studies and sacred texts, as well as experiencing Jewish celebrations and observances throughout the year as a school community.

Jewish Studies Principal

View Our Jewish Studies Curriculum

Jewish Studies at Bornblum is designed to help students create a lasting Jewish identity through Jewish knowledge, Jewish pride and Jewish engagement.  The core curriculum is an important part of every student’s day and includes the study of Hebrew, the weekly Torah portion, Jewish history and social studies and Jewish texts.  Through this combination of studies, students gain a base knowledge of Judaism that will guide them through the Jewish choices they will make throughout life.

A second facet of Jewish studies at Bornblum is an emphasis on integration.  The faculty actively look for opportunities to integrate Jewish and general studies, whether it is by encouraging students to select Jewish topics for English writing assignments, by exploring science and circuits through lighting up Chanukah art pieces, or though any myriad of other ways.

And while Bornblum is not a substitute for a synagogue, the school seeks to enhance student’s knowledge and understanding of Jewish rituals and Jewish celebrations.  When students graduate from Bornblum, they will feel comfortable in any part of the Jewish community and have understanding of and respect for Jewish who practice differently than themselves.

Hebrew

Our kindergarten through second grade students acquire Hebrew language skills and vocabulary that apply to their everyday life such as introducing themselves, objects in their class, the daily weather, the days of the week, colors, food, clothing, body parts, numbers, class directions and grammatical skills like conjugating male and female words. They will learn the block letters, cursive letters, vowels and build upon their Hebrew reading and comprehension. 

Torah

Student delve into the stories of the Torah (Bible). They explore the stories of creation, Adam and Eve, Noah’s Ark, our forefathers and foremothers, Moses, and Aaron among others. They explore midrashim (commentaries) for each parasha (weekly Torah portion), they explore important pesukim (verses) using Mikraot Gedolot. 

Chagim (Holidays)

Our students learn and celebrate each Jewish holiday, including the history, story, traditions, symbols, customs and blessing or prayers that apply to each holiday. Students meet community rabbis, and other guests to explore how our holidays are celebrated in our community and in Israel. 

Each class has a special program that summarizes a unit of learning. Our first grade students have the celebration of the Siddur, and they receive their first own siddur. Our second grade lead an entire shacharit (morning) prayer followed by a fantastic play about the story of the Exodus. 

Hebrew

By third grade students are taught in skill-based groups for Hebrew classes.  Vocabulary expands from the immediate surrounding of the students to their city, country, Israel and the world. In grammar we introduce past tense, prepositions, possessive and more. In reading we introduce readings from the weekly portion every week.  Hebrew vocabulary from Torah classes, Holiday classes and Tefillah are added to the leveled Hebrew classes every day.  

Torah

In Torah our students delve into the Torah text using Mikraot Gedolot (a compendium of Biblical Commentaries). In third grade students explore parashiyot (the portions) Chayei Sara, ToldotVaYetzeVaYishlachVaYeshev, and MiKetz.  In fourth grade subjects will include slavery in Egypt, the ten plagues, and the Exodus from Egypt.   In fifth grade our students will focus on the books of Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.  

Through this journey, students will become familiar with the Biblical commentators. They will research biographies of different commentators, learn the Rashi script, and read their perushim (commentaries) as they study the text. Our students will become independent readers of the Biblical text in Hebrew, they will develop love of Torah study

Tefillot

Third through fifth grade students have shacharit (morning services) daily. In addition to learning how to recite the prayers, student will discuss general concepts and ideas in the prayers and will be introduced to new tunes for the prayers.  Our yearly programs will focus on the Rosh Chodesh service, Maariv service, and Shabbat service.  

Prayers at each program will be followed by special plays about our sages traveling through the ages, for example, Light in Hanukkah, and in many cultures and the Mask of Purim. 

Middle school has three major goals: (1) Students will acquire deep knowledge of Jewish history, culture and tradition; (2) Students will develop appreciation of their heritage and feel committed to continue to study Judaism after they graduate; and (3) Students will see Judaism as relevant to them and to everything that happens to them.  

Mishnah (Oral Law)

In Middle school, students are introduced to the Mishnah (Oral Law), by exploring the rabbis of the Mishna, the structure of the Talmudic page and Mishnayot from several tractates, including, MoedNashim and Nezikin. 

Judaic Social Studies

In Judaic Social Studies our sixth-grade students go on a journey that starts with Abraham the first Jew and ends in the period of the inquisition of Spain. In seventh grade the journey continues with the roots of Anti-Semitism in the medieval times in Europe and end in the legacies after the Holocaust. The approach for this course is to learn about the Jewish life and to appreciate and find the similarities to our life here in Memphis today. Students study about the Warsaw Ghetto uprising to learn about the heroes, the resiliency and the legacies the leaders left for us today. Our Jewish Social studies journey continue in the eight grade with the story of Zionism, the establishment of modern Israel, the geography, and demographics of Israel and current leaders, places and events in the Promised Land. Our eight graders celebrate Yom Haatzmaut in Israel as part of a 2-week trip.  

Tanakh (Bible)

Middle school students continue to explore parashat hashavua weekly with age appropriate discussion. Students learn Navi (Prophets) and study the books of Joshua, Shoftim, Shmuel, and Melachim (Kings). These books cover the conquering of the promised land, the rise of the kingdom of Israel, the split of the kingdom into two and the fall of each kingdom.  

Jewish Values

Our middle school students have many opportunities to demonstrate the Jewish values they have learned as they lead our Seder Tu B’shvat, and Seder Pesach for those living in Plough Towers. Additionally, they help residents in the Jewish Home celebrate Sukkot.