Middle School (continued)
The Montessori Curriculum in Middle School
The Middle School curriculum teaches students to be critical and analytical thinkers and provides students with the experiences and skills that they will need in order to be successful in any secondary school setting. Through cultural and practical life studies, students develop a lasting, compassionate global perspective. The learning environment in the Middle School community reflects the developmental need for social interaction, self-expression, and self-knowledge.
The Middle School humanities program is an interdisciplinary exploration of history, English, literature, philosophy, geography, and grammar. Students are exposed to classical literature and philosophies, both western and non-western, with the intent that students will develop knowledge-based integrity that will guide them throughout their lives. Students learn to appreciate the richness of cultures from other places in the world and other times in history and to recognize common universal principles. Students work toward improving reading for comprehension and writing with literary skill. Progression in grammar lessons is assured, and verbal debate and discourse are ongoing.
In Oak Meadow’s Middle School, the math curriculum includes pre-algebra, algebra I and geometry. High school level work is available for those who are ready in grade eight. Because of small class sizes, the teacher can easily work with individual students or small groups. Rather than being presented with formulas to memorize, our students are presented with problems through which they begin to see patterns. Students then conjecture concepts based on repetitive models and derive the formulas on their own. Through this process of discovery, the students truly understand the meaning and application of the formula. Students strategize with one another to write reflections on what they’ve learned. This practice builds confidence and reinforces knowledge. The graphing calculator (TI83-84) is used to enhance understanding of the graphs of different functions and for statistical analysis.
The Middle School science curriculum familiarizes our students with a variety of areas of science. Students are introduced to biology through the study of the human body and classification of plant and animal life. In the field of earth science, students are exposed to astronomy, weather, and geology. In physical science they are introduced to Newton’s laws of motion, and they learn the mechanics of light and sound. In chemistry students gain an understanding of the periodic table and acquire knowledge of basic chemistry formulas. The goal is to introduce a hands-on approach that leads to an understanding of science, with practical implications. Students master the tools used in science and learn to utilize the scientific method. Students observe, record, experiment, and write lab reports. Students who have individual topic interests can delve more deeply in their work for the annual Science Fair. Students who are advanced in one area are supported by the teacher to go forward with individual work.
Seventh graders have Spanish class four days per week, and eighth graders have Spanish five days per week. The goal is for each student to be able to converse in Spanish and to be able to read and write in Spanish. Students progress through the curriculum series Ven Conmigo. Students become comfortable with and knowledgeable about a variety of Spanish speaking cultures. As part of the curriculum, students learn to cook Spanish foods, participate in Spanish dances, listen to Spanish music, read Spanish literature and magazines, and sample Spanish cuisine. Our graduates are typically ready for Spanish II or Spanish III in their ninth grade year of high school.
Middle School students participate in choice-based art classes in which they are introduced to various artistic styles and media. The students choose projects based on their interests and talents. Art is also incorporated as an integral part of the humanities curriculum. Students participate in the school wide art show in the spring.
Our drama program for Middle School includes improvisation, drama workshops, and the production of an annual Middle School play. In recent years, they have performed Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, The Comedy of Errors, and The Merry Wives of Windsor.
The physical education program continues to focus on individual physical development, cooperative play, and enjoyment of athletics while students are instructed in the skills, strategies, and rules of many traditional field and team games.
Practical life experiences are prevalent in the Middle School program. Our students operate businesses which exposes them to numerous entrepreneurial skills. Students write a business plan, market the enterprise to the school community, and run all aspects of the business with the guidance of adults. Businesses include a school store, staff luncheons, coffee sales, and pizza sales. Proceeds from these endeavors enable students to research entrepreneurs in developing countries and provide micro-loans to them through KIVA.org. Within our Montessori community, students learn to care for their environment. Each year our Middle School students refinish benches and tables for indoor and outdoor use. Within this work, they handle tools while learning safety and practical life skills. Students also participate in community service programs such as The Food Project in Lincoln, MA.
Each academic year culminates in a week-long middle school trip which brings to life the themes and concepts studied throughout the year. In recent years the students have traveled to Crow Canyon in Cortez, Colorado to participate in an archeological dig and to cities in the American south to study the civil rights movement. When our students travel, they become comfortable with planning what to bring, packing, and navigating through an airport and managing public transportation. Our students gain confidence and self-reliance as they practice new-found skills.
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