Course of Instruction – Ramaz Upper School


The Rabbi Joseph H. Lookstein Upper School of Ramaz in the Morris and Ida Newman Educational Center

Course of Instruction 1996-97

Table of Contents

Course of Instruction in Judaic Studies
I Department of Talmud
II Department of TaNaKH
III Department of Judaism
IV Department of Hebrew Language and Literature
Course of Instruction in General Studies
I Department of English
II Department of History
III Department of Math and Computer Science
IV Department of Science
V Department of Foreign Language
VI Department of Art
VII Department of Music
VIII Department of Health Education
IX Physical Education
The day of instruction for all students in the Upper School begins at 8:00 A.M with Tefillat Shacharit.
Mincha services are held at a specifically designated time every afternoon.
G’milut Chasadim
Beginning with the fall semester of Form IV, the Ramaz G’milut Chasadim program requires each sophomore student to contribute twenty hours of community service per semester; the program continues through the spring semester, totalling forty hours. It is our belief that each of our students has a unique way to make a difference. We believe that this program will help develop each individual’s potential and that our students will find that their special strength greatly enriches the lives of others.
Students choose from numerous placements in their home or school community. There is a wide range of possible assignments, including nursing homes, senior citizens centers, hospitals, orphanages, shut-in programs, centers for new Americans, etc. The school is actively involved in verifying the effectiveness of each program and in monitoring each student’s participation and progress. Students are not permitted to receive remuneration for their chesed work.

Course of Instruction in Judaic Studies

Forms III, IV, and V
For all courses in Judaic Studies, Hebrew is the primary language of instruction and conversation. Students must submit all written work in Hebrew.
I. Department of Talmud
The high school student body is divided into three groups –a regular track, an accelerated track, and an honors track. Primary in all tracks is the establishment of an atmosphere conducive to the internalization of the ethics and commitment embodied in the texts.
A. Regular Talmud
Students enrolled in “regular Talmud” focus on selected Talmudic discussions, or sugyot. Sugyot are chosen based on their relevance to the students’ lives and which allow for the development of the skills and background necessary for “Talmudic literacy.” This includes primarily a familiarity with the language (its key words and idioms) and the thought process.
Form III
Sugyot are chosen from the Tractate Berakhot and include topics such as Keri’at Shema, tefillot, and berakhot. Classic structures of a sugya are found in these selections, giving the student a framework and standard by which to compare structures seen later on that are a variation on this classic theme.
Form IV
Sugyot are chosen from the Tractate Shabbat. As in the previous year, sugyot are chosen for their relevance and standardized structure. The relationship of the sugyot to the actual laws and ideas of Shabbat is developed.
Form V
Sugyot are chosen from the Tractate Sanhedrin and include such topics as court procedures, validity of witnesses, martyrdom, self-defense, degrees of criminal responsibility, parent-child relations, and abortion.
B. Accelerated and Honors Talmud
The Honors Talmud program provides the qualified student with an opportunity to devote approximately twice the classroom time regularly allotted to the study of Talmud. Time commitment and demands inside and outside of class are considerably greater than in “regular Talmud.” As a result of this quantitative change, and of the high caliber of student admitted into this program, the depth and breadth of the material studied are considerably enhanced.
As a result of the broad range of abilities among students interested in expanding the number of hours devoted to Talmud, two homogeneously divided sections have been created on each grade level, accommodating the most talented as well as the most highly motivated individuals. Each grade level and each section adopt different methodological goals –from concentrating on the correct reading of Gemara and Rashi, to the exploration of Rishonim and more recent responsa literature. In this manner, during his/her high school career, each student will be able to refine and develop skills even as s/he is broadening his/her basic knowledge of Talmudic and halakhic subject matter. The intensive study in the accelerated and honors track is geared to training the student to master a Talmudic text with Rishonim on his/her own, as well as interesting the student in continuing Talmud study far beyond the high school level.
Form III
There are two parallel sections, both considered “accelerated,” and students in both study “Kol Habasar,” the eighth chapter of the Tractate Hullin. During the first semester, the focus is on five classic sugyot in the first chapter, notable for both their internal structure as well as their “universality” in the world of Talmud study (i.e. rov, chazakah, mummar, and bishul b’shabbat). In the second semester, students study selections from the eighth chapter, concentrating on the basic principles and laws of kashrut. There is no “honors” section in this form; the groundwork is laid to create one honors and one accelerated section in Form IV.
Form IV
In the first semester, both the accelerated and honors sections study, at their relative levels, the first several pages of the first chapter of Bava Metzia – “Shnayim ‘Ohazin.” In the second semester, selections of the second chapter, “Eilu Metziot, ” are studied. The definition(s) of ownership and the stages of civil and monetary conflict resolution are the primary issues studied throughout the year. Primary focus is on developing skills that enable the student to become more sensitive to premises and nuances and implications (e.g., the systematic study of Rashi).
Form V Beit Midrash Program
As in the regular sections, Tractate Sanhedrin is the course of study, albeit in greater breadth and depth. A four-pronged approach to Talmud study (Iyun, Beki’ut, Shiur Klali, and Chavruta) are blended together enabling the student to refine his/her skills as well as develop his/her independence in the study of Talmud. Special emphasis is placed both on the proper utilization of various commentaries, as well as on the covering of a much greater quantity of Talmud. Joint programs between the two sections, guest lecturers, and independent study all add to rounding out a comprehensive learning experience.
In addition to the regular and Beit Midrash sections there is also one accelerated section, in between the two others both in terms of amount of time devoted to Talmud study (nine periods instead of five or thirteen) as well as the demands and challenges laid out in this course. This class, like others in Form V, studies selections from Masekhet Sanhedrin.
II. Department of TaNaKH
Form III
A. Torah
The ninth grade Torah curriculum focuses on the theme of sibling rivalry, and interpersonal relationships between parents and their children. Equal emphasis is placed upon the role of Divine Providence in an individual’s life and in history and the literary structures of the biblical narrative. Students are encouraged to identify with the characters in Bereishit and to use them as positive role models. The course strives to teach the methods as well as the different commentaries for independent study of Torah, along with sensitivity to the biblical text and its interpretations. A beki’ut exam ensures familiarity with the whole of Bereishit.
B. Prophets
The course focuses on two books of the Terei Asar–Amos and Yonah. Students learn about the lives of the prophets and the periods in which they lived. Review of sections in Melakhim Bet acquaints them with the lives and times of the kings during whose reigns Amos and Yonah prophesied. Students study the role of the prophet as preacher and the literary style of the individual prophet, while developing the ability to read the Later Prophets independently and to quote famous passages. A major objective is to develop an understanding of the reasons for the dispersion of the Jews and the destruction of the Temple, in order to inform contemporary national and individual existence, and to understand the striving for geulah.
Form IV
A. Torah
The focus of the tenth grade Torah curriculum is the study of Sefer Shemot: Me’avdut l’cherut. Building upon the textual and analytical objectives of the ninth grade curriculum, the course delves into the stages of Israelite experience: slavery, redemption, and the birth of a nation; the development and character of Moses as leader and redeemer of the Jews; the Ten Plagues and the miracles of emancipation; the trials in the desert and the people’s struggle with their “newly- acquired” freedom. Students are encouraged to seek parallels between the behavior of the Jewish people in the desert and its behavior today, as a guide to their own religious development. The course relies heavily upon the approach of Nechama Leibowitz as reflected in her book Ivunim B’Sefer Shemot and stresses the commentators Rashi, Siftei Hakhamim, and Ramban. A beki’ut exam ensures familiarity with the whole of Shemot.
B. Prophets
Building upon the methodologies of the previous year’s curriculum, this course focuses on selections from the book of Yeshayahu. Students engage in a comprehensive study of the language structure of the book, along with a concentration on chapters found in the haftarot. Topics covered include the following: Yeshayahu’s war against social injustice, his ideas on acharit ha-yamim )the Messianic Age), his concepts of shivat tziyon and teshuvah. Review of readings in Melakhim Bet acquaint the students with the lives and times of the kings during whose reigns Yeshayahu prophesied. The subject of acharit ha-yamim is further studied from sources including Ramban, Rav Saadia and the Book of Yechezkel. Students are expected to be able to quote well-known passages such as that on the Isaiah Wall near the U.N. An attempt is made to view destiny through Yeshayahu’s prophecies, and to see that the moral law, values, and beliefs in those prophecies sustain Jewish life today. His struggle to refine the world continues to be relevant.
Students study verses that are quoted in Christian scripture and learn to derive their meanings within the context of Yeshayahu and Tanakh. In this way they learn to respond to missionaries such as Jews for Jesus. One or two small papers are assigned which develop the students’ comparative skills and reinforce their ability to learn independently.
Form V
A. Torah
The theme of the course is the saying from Pirkei Avot: “Jealousy, lust and glory remove a person from the world.” Each one of these human traits is studied in depth through the following selections from the text: the mit’onenim, the mita’vim, the lashon hara of Miriam and Aaron, the lashon hara of the meraglim, the rebellion of Korach, Mei Meriva, Bilaam and the sin of Baal Pe’or. Students are directed to compare biblical texts (specifically the parallels in Shemot, Bamidbar and Devarim) in order to understand the reasons for repetition in the Bible in general. The course relies heavily on the work of Nechama Leibowitz on Bamidbar, and stresses the study of Midrash and its moral imperatives. A beki’ut exam ensures familiarity with the whole of Bamidbar. Some independent work is required using different commentaries, analyzing as well as comparing methodologies.
B. Prophets
Building upon the objectives of the previous two years’ curricula, this course focuses on selections from the book of Yirmiyahu with particular attention to chapters in the haftarot. While always stressing language and style, students learn about the prophet and the historical background to his period, as well as about his role as the prophet of doom. Verses of his personal sufferings and travails as well as his cries of anguish are studied in depth. The theme of emet v’sheker (truth and falsehood) is developed as seen through the false prophets of this period, the “false” sacrifices of the Jews in the Temple, from the “false” behavior between man and man. The relatively obscure suffering and trial of Yirmiyahu are contrasted with the trials of Jesus and Socrates, using passages from the Christian scripture and from Plato’s Apology. Comparative study of Yishayahu, Yirmiyahu, and Terei Asar, is emphasized. Readings in Melakhim Bet are again required in order to understand the lives and times of the kings during whose reigns Yirmiyahu prophesied .
Students are encouraged to perfect their skills in reading text and commentaries while broadening their knowledge of Tanakh and learning to quote famous passages. Papers that stress independent learning skills are assigned.
III. Department of Judaism
The Judaism curriculum attempts to help the student come to terms with his/her Jewish identity within the framework of halakhah. A combination of traditional and contemporary texts serve as the focal point for class discussions that are geared to help foster an understanding, appreciation and increased commitment to the role of halakhah in Jewish life.
With the approach of the yamim tovim, the regular curriculum is set aside so that time may be spent reviewing the relevant halakhot as well as exploring the religious and philosophical significance of the holy day.
Regardless of the topic under discussion, there is an emphasis on text, especially the Shulchan Arukh, with a particular eye to encouraging a certain amount of independent learning.
Form III
The theme of the ninth grade curriculum is bein adam lamakom–between man and God. Much of the year is spent on a close examination of the daily morning (Shacharit) service. There is a careful analysis of the major prayers including their development, meaning and purpose, as well as a study of their attendant halakhot. Other topics include birkhot hanehenin and Shabbat.
Form III also marks the students’ introduction to the use of the Mishnah Berurah, a text that they will continue to use as part of a sequenced curriculum in the teaching of chagim.
Form IV
The theme of the tenth grade curriculum is bein adam l’chaveiro–between man and his fellow man. Students are divorced from the notion that Judaism is a religion in the narrow sense restricted to the realm of ritual. Instead, Judaism is presented as part of a total way of life which has particular ramifications for a Jew living in a modern culture. Discussions of the similarities and differences between absolute and relative ethical systems are highlighted against the background of current attitudes toward such subjects as talebearing, cheating, business ethics and the pursuit of material wealth.
Form V
This third course in the Judaism sequence analyzes the situation of world Jewry, with a particular focus on the American Jewish community. A conscious effort is made to raise issues that might become crucial to the student’s eventual adjustment to life as a Jew in an open society, first in the context of college and later as an adult participant in communal life. Topics for discussion and analysis include assimilation, intermarriage, the modern family unit, the problem of dual loyalty, and faith in the face of secularism.
IV. Department of Hebrew Language and Literature
Hebrew language and literature classes are divided into two levels: regular and honors.
This division is made in order to accommodate the individual needs, background and ability of each student. Upon admission to Form III, students are given a proficiency test in order to ensure proper placement. In subsequent years, placement is carefully determined by the department’s faculty who base their evaluations upon their acquaintance with the individual student and his/her records.
In all levels, students study literature, grammar, conversational Hebrew and are required to present oral and written reports. Literary selections are chosen with an eye to increasing awareness of Jewish issues and to intensifying the student’s commitment to Judaism and Israel. A sequential grammar curriculum is taught in Forms III through V.
Form III
The grammar units of both levels focus on syntax, sentence structure and a review of the conjugation of regular verbs. The literature units for the regular classes provide a general introduction to Hebrew prose and poetry through the writings of Aharon Megged, Rachel and Bialik. The honors classes study the works of S. Tchernichovsky, C. Guri and N. Alterman, poets whose works reflect the Shoah, the struggle for statehood and the establishment of the medinah.
All students learn to appreciate the differences between those writers who lived in the Diaspora and those who emigrated or were born in Israel. Readings are presented in versions that maintain the integrity and authentic quality of the original. In all cases, emphasis is placed on the appreciation of themes, style and technique.
Form IV
In all classes, grammar units focus on the verb in all its forms, conversational Hebrew and writing style. Literature units concentrate on three different literary genres: drama, the short story and the ballad. These narrative and dramatic aspects of literature are explored through the works of Shaham, Bialik, Tchernichovsky, and G. Shofman. Whereas regular classes will be introduced to representative abridgements of these works, honors classes take a more comprehensive approach, studying complete works in the original. Honors classes will also be required to do more independent work outside of class in terms of reading, critical analysis and creative writing.
Form V
Form V introduces three different groups:
For the regular level classes, literature from the anthology Reut is studied. Different styles of prose and poetry are learned in depth with a specific focus on the wars and strife that followed independence.
In the honors classes, students are exposed to a variety of literary styles, genres and themes. Essays from Buber, journals, and diaries from the Six Day War, and the lyrical poetry of Pagis and Yonatan are all presented. These students are also the ones usually primarily responsible for the writing, editing and publishing of the school’s Hebrew newspaper, Toses. Other classes contributed articles both to this newspaper as well as to the yearbook.
There is also an Ulpan class that focuses on conversational Hebrew and written language. This section meets for one semester for non-Bet Midrash students.

Course of Instruction in General Studies

Forms III, IV, and V
I. Department of English
Form III
This course focuses on the composition process. In small classes, students work through the prewriting, writing, and post-writing phases of composition. Prewriting includes observing, making plans, examining models, limiting topics, and developing thesis statements. All phases from prewriting to final copy emphasize the concept of “drafting.” Ideas are recorded and organized at least twice, while students revise, proofread, and ready a final draft for evaluation or “publication.” Small group work enhances the effectiveness of this program by allowing time for many teacher-student conferences, by enabling students to solve their own problems, and by giving students an opportunity to learn from their peers in a cooperative setting. Types of writing include description, narration, process, comparison/contrast, persuasion, and definition.
In addition to the formal composition curriculum, a writing portfolio component affords students the opportunity to write for personal expression as well as for expository purposes.
During the first semester, there is an intensive review of all parts of speech (Heath Grammar and Composition Chapters 1-6). A uniform, grade-wide grammar test is administered in November. The course then moves on to more advanced work in subject/verb agreement, pronoun case, consistency of tense, parallelism, and mechanics, including a complete unit on quotations and textual citation.
Freshman English also covers at least two novels, short stories from our anthology, a wide selection of model essays, and Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. Students will read four books from a supplementary reading list, in addition to the regular curriculum. Independent reading is assigned during winter and spring vacations.
All students use Vocabulary from Classical Roots, a vocabulary workbook that emphasizes using roots, suffixes, and prefixes to find word meaning.
The Chosen, Potok (Summer)
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Angelou (Summer)
Catcher in the Rye, Salinger (Summer)
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Twain
Night, Wiesel
The Odyssey of Homer, Mandelbaum translation
The Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare
Writing Clear Essays, Prentice Hall
Elements of Literature–Fourth Course, Holt
Grammar and Composition: Third Course, Heath
Vocabulary from Classical Roots–Book C, Educators Publishing Service
Form IV
The tenth grade English course surveys works of British Literature from the time of Chaucer through modern times. Works are not studied chronologically, but by genre. Nonetheless, relevant historical background is given to help students appreciate the context of certain works. Through analysis of the literature, students learn to recognize formal aesthetic principles, as well as the social and moral implications of the works.
Because tenth grade English classes are kept small, students now get closer attention paid to their writing. Students keep a portfolio of their work, writing informal pieces each week. Each semester, students develop four of these portfolio pieces into polished essays. As well, some class time is devoted to discussion of the writing process. Instruction in grammar continues along the graduated sequence begun in ninth grade, and vocabulary is taught according to a logical system (as opposed to rote memorization) that makes use of common Greek and Latin radicals.
Great Expectations, Dickens
Macbeth, Shakespeare
Gulliver’s Travels, Swift
Frankenstein, Shelley
Dubliners, Joyce
Brave New World, Huxley
Adventures in English Literature, Harcourt Brace
Sound and Sense, ed. Perrine
Heath Grammar and Composition: Fifth Course
Vocabulary from Classical Roots: Book D, Fifer, Flowers
Form V
This course provides a chronological study of American literature in conjunction with the Form V study of American history. While the historical sweep of the American literary heritage is outlined, there is considerable emphasis on in-depth analysis of literature. In addition to their study of American essays, short stories, poems, novels, and plays, Form V students study Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Students also read four supplementary books that broaden their exposure to American literature in general and complement the major works taught in the course. Clear and effective writing, as well as the development of an individual voice, is emphasized through biweekly portfolio writing assignments and the drafting of full-length essays. Vocabulary building is integrated into the curriculum, and grammar is studied on a diagnostic basis.
American Literature: A Chronological Approach, McGraw Hill
The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne
The House of Mirth, Wharton
The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald
Hamlet, Shakespeare
Selected American Short Stories
Sound and Sense, ed. Perrine
Heath Grammar and Composition: The Complete Course
Vocabulary from Classical Roots–Book E, Educators Publishing Service
Supplementary Reading:
Invisible Man, Ellison
The American, James
Death of a Salesman, Miller
Song Of Solomon, Morrison
II. Department of History
All history courses have a current events component and emphasize the skills necessary to read a newspaper.
Forms III and IV
World/Jewish History
This course of study is taught for four semesters, beginning with incoming Form III students. The World/Jewish History course makes students aware of the emergence and development of modern civilization from its ancient roots into the twentieth century. At the heart of the school’s educational mission, World/Jewish History provides our students with an integrated curriculum geared to understanding the unique relationship between the Jews and the modern world, with modern Orthodoxy as its paradigm. The course emphasizes the impact of the Western world on the Jewish people, as well as the Jewish role in Western civilization. Non-western civilizations are also studied, particularly the Muslim world. Through classroom discussions, lectures, analysis of primary sources, and the assignment of research papers, the course imparts an appreciation of political, economic, social, and intellectual history. Primary sources are selected from various books, and are presented in Hebrew whenever possible. Pioneered at Ramaz (by former teacher David Bernstein) this curriculum has been adopted by the Board of Jewish Education for use in other Jewish day schools. The course of study is continually being revised and updated by the Ramaz faculty.
A History of World Societies, McKay, Hill and Buckler
Western Civilization, Perry
The Course of Modern Jewish History, Sachar
Heritage: Civilization and the Jews, Hallo
Sources of Western Civilization, Perry
Western Civilization: Sources, Images, & Interpretations, vol. 1: to 1700, Sherman
History of the Jews, Grayzel
The Jew in the Medieval World, Marcus
Form V
American History
The American history course concentrates on the political history of the United States from the colonial period to the present. This focus is designed to uncover the origins of American democratic institutions and ideas, while stressing that these have been challenged by a rapidly evolving domestic economy and social structures, and an increasingly complex global order. These themes are taught through the use of documentary sources, textbook readings, inquiry based on discussions, lectures, films, and individual research assignments.
America, Past and Present, Divine, Green, et al.
A Documentary History of the U.S., Heffner
Columbian Voyage, Crosby
Atlases and maps
III. Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
A. Mathematics
The Upper School mathematics program is designed to meet the needs of each student. This goal is accomplished through offering a wide variety of courses on each grade level, by keeping classes small enough to allow for individual attention, and by making available opportunities for remediation and enrichment. Standards are higher than those required by the New York State Regents curriculum. Every student is required to take math for a minimum of three years so that she/he is prepared to do advanced work in mathematics and to succeed on nationwide achievement tests and competitions. Calculators and computers are integrated with traditional topics in all courses.
Beginning in Form III, at least three levels of courses are offered for each grade–an honors course, an accelerated course, and a grade level course.
The Honors Program
Students selected for this program have exhibited exceptional talent in mathematics, have achieved high scores on standardized exams and have been recommended by their teachers. The courses that they take present the traditional courses in an enriched, rigorous and sophisticated way. Their course of study includes Math 10 (Geometry) in ninth grade, Math 11 (Algebra 2 and Trigonometry) in tenth grade and Pre-Calculus in Grade 11. These students are eligible for AP Calculus, either AB or BC, during their senior year.
The Accelerated Program I
Students who are one year ahead of the traditional program, but do not qualify for the honors program or choose not to make the commitment to do the extra work that being in the honors program entails, are offered a course of study that includes Math 10 (Geometry) in ninth grade, Math 11 (Algebra 2 and Trig.) in tenth grade and Pre-Calculus in grade 11. They are eligible to take Calculus or AP Calculus AB in their senior year.
Grade Level Program
Students in this program take Math 9 (Elementary Algebra) in ninth grade, Math 10 (Geometry) in tenth grade and Math 11 (Algebra 2 and Trig.) in eleventh grade. Students in this program can elect Pre-Calculus in their senior year. Any student completing Math II or higher is eligible to take AP Statistics in their senior year.
Math 9
The traditional course in Elementary Algebra encompasses a study of the real number system, solution of linear and quadratic equations in one variable and associated verbal problems, solutions of systems of equations in two variables, linear functions, and operations with algebraic expressions. Emphasis is placed on problem solving.
Math 10
A unit in symbolic logic introduces the students to the structure of a deductive proof. We then proceed with the traditional course in geometry that teaches the nature of a postulational system, how to write a formal proof, and how to solve numerical problems based on applications of theorems. Trigonometry of the right triangle is introduced.
Math 11
The traditional course in Intermediate Algebra and Trigonometry begins with a review of Algebra I and extends the student’s knowledge to complex numbers. Logarithmic, exponential and trigonometric functions are studied. Graphs of these functions and the conic sections are introduced. Calculators are used extensively to allow students to focus on concepts rather than computation.
Pre-Calculus / Math 12
This course develops a thorough understanding of functions, their properties and their graphs. Particular attention is paid to natural number, polynomial, trignonometric, exponential and logarithmic functions. Graphing calculators are used extensively in the explorations of these functions and their applications. Probability, matrices, statistics and mathematical modeling are other topics dealt with during the year.
B. Computer Science
Form III
All students take a computer literacy course in ninth grade. This is a requirement for graduation from Ramaz. Topics include history of computers, computer terminology, DOS Operating Systems, and exploration of hardware and software. Students learn how to use a word processor, data base and spread sheet
IV. Department of Science
The Upper School science program is designed to provide each student with the full scope of the basic three science disciplines: biology, chemistry, and physics. We are also committed to meeting the learning needs of the individual student. These goals are accomplished through offering a variety of course tracks on each grade level and by making different program options available. Beginning in the ninth grade three levels of courses are offered in each of the three science disciplines: an honors level, a major program level course, as well as a basic level course.
The Honors Program
Students selected for this program have exhibited outstanding talent in science, have achieved high scores on standardized tests and have been recommended by their teachers. The courses that they will take present the traditional courses in an enriched, rigorous and sophisticated way, with great emphasis on laboratory work and on data analysis.
The Major Program
Students who are strong in science, but do not qualify for the Honors program or choose not to make the commitment to do the extra work that is generated by the honors program, are offered a rigorous and enriched course of study that will present the material in a challenging way through classroom instruction and laboratory work.
The Basic Program
Students in this program take a “softer” version of each of the three science courses. The pace of instruction in these courses will be such that there will be ample time for reviewing and drilling. Emphasis will be put on basic concepts through classroom instruction and laboratory work.
Form III
The course develops logically, first establishing basic concepts and then proceeding through the study of life processes from the simplest to the most complex levels. The following topics are included: the scientific method, the chemical aspects of living systems, cell structure and function, cell division, classical and modern genetics, evolution and classification, structure and physiology of monera, protista and fungi, structure and function of tissues, organs and systems in plants and animals, hormonal regulation and reproduction in plants and animals, human anatomy and physiology, and ecology.
Form IV
The objective of this course is to provide the students with an understanding of the nature of matter and the concepts that govern its behavior. The main topics of this course include Matter and Energy, endothermic and exothermic reactions, simple atomic theory, bonding, modern atomic theory and the periodic table, the gas laws and kinetic molecular theory, the Mole method, Solutions, Acids and Bases, kinetics and equilibrium, redox and electrochemistry, organic chemistry, nuclear chemistry, and industrial chemistry.
Form V
The objective of the course is to provide students with an understanding of natural phenomena and to their awareness of their surroundings. Students develop analytical skills for problem-solving through the application of mathematical concepts to assigned problems. Main topics include vectors, mechanics, dynamics and static, wave motion and light, electricity and magnetism, thermodynamics, atomic energy and quantum theory.
V. Department of Foreign Languages
The foreign languages offered at Ramaz are French and Spanish. From the very first day of school, only the target language is spoken in the classroom.
A. French
Form III
First Year French
The aim of this course is to develop enthusiasm for learning a new language and appreciation of its culture. Students study the present tense of regular, as well as frequently used irregular verbs. Lessons cover the introduction of personal pronouns, possessive adjectives, the numbers and the calendar. The aim of the course is to enable students to express themselves both in writing and orally about the world around them. Students acquire vocabulary, structures, and necessary idiomatic expressions to describe the weather, the human body, the family, occupations, food, clothing, colors, leisure activities and cultural pursuits. The passe compose and future are introduced at the end of the year. Audio-visual materials are used to reinforce the learning process. Story selections are studied.
Second Year French
This course is a continuation of the first year of French and assumes completion of a full year of French either at Ramaz or elsewhere. Listening, speaking, reading and communication skills are incorporated in a graded curriculum, using a variety of educational materials. The topics presented include shopping, food, the home and the restaurant, travel, directions, leisure activities and cultural pursuits.
These topics are used in activities such as dictation, conversation, dialogues and original compositions. Reading selections and films further reinforce the language experience. Grammar includes the passe compose with avoir and etre, the future tense, reflexive verbs, negatives, personal pronouns, y and en, the imperfect tense, relative and interrogative pronouns, adverbs, prepositions and numerous idioms. Passages on the civilization, geography and history of France are studied. (Provinces, products, local customs and holidays are discussed.)
Form IV
Second Year French
This course is a continuation of the Form III First Year French curriculum. The goal is a further development of skills, including writing and dialogues based on every day situations, such as shopping, setting the table, etc. The aim is to incorporate a broad base of vocabulary into speaking and writing skills. Grammatical and linguistic structures include a variety of irregular verbs, the past tense, the present subjunctive tense, use of direct and indirect object pronouns and reflexive verbs and adverbs. Writing assignments reflect the grammar structures (e.g., descriptions of the events of the past week as a reinforcement of the past tense.) Compositions begin to reflect personal attitudes, tastes and goals. Students listen to standardized passages of various lengths and difficulty and answer questions orally or in writing to build up both oral comprehension and writing skills. Prose and poetry selections are introduced as well.
Third Year French
This course is for tenth graders who are now in their third year of French studies. In the first part of the year, concentration is on mastery of grammatical usage including all simple and compound forms of regular verbs, subjunctive and passe simple (for meaning only), verbal structures such as infinitives and participles with prepositions and relative, demonstrative, interrogative pronouns, etc. The grammar is studied in the context of poems, short stories and songs. Emphasis is placed on comprehension at near native pace as well as on verbal communication skills. Conversations and oral reports are presented by students. Vocabulary and structures range from concrete to abstract use of the language. Reading selections include poetry, short stories from literary texts as well as some magazine articles. Compositions based on current events, personal experiences and reactions to the literature are written on a regular basis to form an individual student portfolio.
Form V
Third Year French
The goal of this course is to enable students to communicate about themselves and their environment and, in addition, to understand and elicit information of a similar nature about the French and their society. Wherever necessary, the following linguistic elements will be either presented or reviewed: the simple past, the continuous past, and the future tense of regular verbs of the three conjugations, as well as basic irregular verbs. Compound tenses are mastered. Written assignments become more complex, stylistically as well as intellectually.
French culture is an integral part of the curriculum. Idiomatic expressions and vocabulary are broad-based and deal with a variety of realistic situations including health, transportation, birthday celebrations, schoolroom, leisure activities such as the cinema and the seashore, apartment rental and the preparation of recipes. To familiarize students with the literary heritage of France, poems of various periods and styles are studied and memorized.
Fourth Year French
This course emphasizes reading comprehension and the perfecting of oral skills, while de-emphasizing formal grammar lessons. Grammar is taught as it arises from the readings and as it is illustrated in texts. French civilization and its artistic, literary and musical contributions are presented in individual reports by students. Texts that illustrate contributions of particular figures are discussed in these reports.
Presentations with slides, tapes and records are encouraged. Discussions are held on subjects that arise from the readings (e.g., would you like to know the future?). The students’ compositions are either resumes of the stories or, once again, discussions of issues raised from the reading. The oral exercises begun in the second year are expanded in length and complexity to perfect skills. An effort is made to expose students to various literary genres. Works or excerpts from works by Moliere, Camus, de Maupassant and Merimee are studied. Students are introduced to methods of literary criticism and explication of texts which they can apply to their own efforts at literary criticism, both oral and written.
B. Spanish
Form III
First Year Spanish
The first year of the Spanish language curriculum seeks to develop excitement for learning a new language and an appreciation of the culture of that language. Students are taught the fundamentals of the spoken language. Reading and writing skills are also stressed. Grammatical concepts include present tense (-ar, -er, -ir verbs and some often used irregular verbs(, introduction of the past and future tenses, commands and introduction to the subjunctive. Lessons cover the use of personal pronouns, adjectives and idiomatic expressions.
Second Year Spanish
This intermediate course is designed for students who have previously studied the equivalent of a full year of Spanish. It seeks to develop proficiency in all of the language skills and further knowledge of Spanish-speaking cultures. There is a concise grammar review followed by a discussion of various points of Spanish grammar including the compound tenses and the subjunctive. Conversation is stressed as are reading and composition skills. Prose and poetry selections are studied as well.
Form IV
Second Year Spanish
This course is a continuation of the Form III First Year Spanish curriculum. Students are expected to master more complex concepts of the spoken and written language and increase appreciation of Spanish-speaking cultures. The majority of grammatical forms including the subjunctive mood are studied.
There are formal exercises of listening to passages of various lengths and answering questions in writing and speaking. Prose and poetry selections are introduced. There are two levels of this course. One is geared toward those who have displayed a facility in the target language and is a more comprehensive study of the language.
Third Year Spanish
This advanced level course is for students who have successfully completed Form III Second Year Spanish. Students complete the study of Spanish grammar. Communicative proficiency is stressed.
Form V
Third Year Spanish
Students are expected to master more advanced concepts of the spoken language. Third year Spanish is an introduction to the study of Spanish and Latin American culture. Newspapers and magazines are used to augment the scope of vocabulary.
There are two levels of third year Spanish. Vocabulary is broad-based and comes from a variety of realistic situations encountered in day-to-day living (transportation, hospital/doctor visits, restaurant, etc.). Literary selections as well as contemporary selections enhance discussions and appreciation of the Hispanic heritage.
Fourth Year Spanish
This is an intensive course for students who have successfully completed Third Year Spanish. Oral proficiency and grammar are stressed. Presentations with slides, tapes and records are encouraged. Discussions and compositions are either resumes of stories or arise from readings. Oral exercises are expanded in length and complexity to perfect skills. Students are exposed to various literary genres.
VI. Department of Art
The Art curriculum aims to teach students to see and to use their maximum creative potential. The approach is sequential and conceptual; it builds from project to project and from year to year as time permits and according to the abilities of individual students.
Form III
a. Contour drawing–learning to coordinate eye and hand;
b. Negative space–collage; manipulation of pure form;
c. Color wheel–science of color
d. Painting from still-life–color project
Form IV
a. Principles of design–planning design with geometric shapes;
b. Color schemes–painting the designs;
c. Contour drawing: hands, faces
Form V (Elective)
a. Still life drawing in detail–shading;
b. Negative space from reality–collage, neutrals;
c. Landscape painting from photographs;
d. Abstract painting -collage abstraction, grid painting on own work
e. Quarterly museum reports
VII. Department of Music
Form III
Introduction to the Elements of Music:
a. melody, rhythm, harmony, tempo, dynamics;
b. the orchestra;
c. musical form;
d. rudimentary notation
Form IV
a. The elements of music (continued);
b. Analysis of music from a historical perspective;
c. Term report on concert
Form V (Elective)
1. Basic materials in music theory;
2. Music history continued–ancient modes, baroque, and introduction to 20th century
VIII. Department of Health Education
The objective of the Health Education program in the Upper School is to provide information and skills which render the students able to make responsible decisions concerning their well-being.
The program was designed to offer up-to-date facts regarding health issues common to adolescents, incorporated with a commitment to Jewish values.
Age and grade appropriate topics include: drug, alcohol, and tobacco education, gender issues, human sexuality and physical fitness -underlying these modules is the paradigm of mental and emotional health as they relate to a positive sense of self. All Form III students are given a course of instruction in CPR and receive full certification.
IX. Department of Physical Education
Physical Education is required of all students in all forms.
Co-Curricular Programs
A. Mishmar
A group of self-selected students meets voluntarily for an hour and a half per week after school hours in order to acquire a broader and deeper knowledge of Talmud. The group is taught and supervised by one of our rebbeim.
B. Y’mei Iyun (Seminars)
Several times during the year the entire school community stops its normal schedule for a day and concentrates on one topic. The following is the typical structure of a yom iyun:
1. A keynote speaker introduces the topic and acquaints the students with its various aspects in an opening assembly for the entire school.
2. The student body divides into small groups to discuss various aspects of the topic.
3. Films and other media aids are used to highlight the topic.
4. At a closing assembly, a speaker summarizes the day and conducts a question-and-answer period. Y’mei Iyun held at Ramaz in the recent past have dealt with aliyah, the energy crisis and the environment, Kristallnacht and Yom Hashoa, oppressed Jewry, Hilkhot Pesach, Chesed, Klal Yisrael, Yamim Noraim, and Avoda Zarah.