Following on from the strong grounding established in the multiage years, the students in the Middle School take increasing responsibility for their own learning. A growth mindset is encouraged as students deepen their understanding of multidisciplinary concepts, with a major focus on literacy and numeracy. There is frequent opportunity for student choice in their learning, using an inquiry approach.
As an International Baccalaureate PYP school we have adopted a transdisciplinary approach to curriculum integration. This approach dissolves the boundaries between these conventional disciplines and organises teaching and learning around the construction of meaning in the context of real-world problems or themes.
Students are involved in the SMART Spelling program which incorporates the systematic teaching of spelling each week and the inclusion of personal words.
We use the Readers’ and Writers’ Workshop model to develop literacy skills. During Workshops teachers model explicit skills, support students whilst they learn the skill, then allow for independent work. At this time, small groups will work with the teacher, or individual conferences will be held. A final group reflection time allows students to clarify their understanding, and teachers to gather information about progress. Throughout the workshop model students are expected to actively participate in robust discussions to build on their understanding.
The mathematics curriculum aims to develop useful mathematical and numeracy skills for everyday life, work and as active members in a technological world. Students have access to concrete materials, and when ready, gradually move to using mental strategies to solve problems. Again, the workshop model is used during maths lessons.
The mathematics curriculum comes under three strands – Number and Algebra, Measurement and Geometry and Statistics and Probability.
Key areas of the Number and Algebra strand are addressed in point of need learning groups, referred to by staff and students as MLCs (Maths Learning Communities).
Students undertake a series of scaffolded lessons designed to build their understanding of number concepts, with a particular focus on the four processes.