Middles will study three themes over the course of the year.
- Fall: Water (Earth Science)
- Winter: Immigration (Social Science)
- Spring: Simple Machines (Physical Science)
Over the course of the year, Middles learn to evaluate and appreciate literature read in both small group and large group settings. Assignments incorporate vocabulary development, written responses to text, creative writing activities, and artistic representations of various themes related to the story. This fall, Middles will read The Hoboken Chicken Emergency, by Daniel Pinkwater. The rest of the year is spent exploring great literature from a diverse range of authors in small groups.
Middles focus on strengthening descriptive writing, as well as expanding writing into multiple paragraph pieces. The writing process is further developed by incorporating mini-lessons and writing prompts through out the year. Middles also explore different forms of expression through poetry.
TERC Investigations curriculum (largely constructivist) and Saxon math program (more algorithm-based) are used in small groups according to students’ needs. Fourth grade math themes for the year are multiplication and division. Fifth grade math’s main focus is division and fractions. In addition, all groups continue to deepen their understanding of place value, geometry, and logic. We use projects such as designing and furnishing our own dream houses to learn about perimeter, adding and subtracting with decimals and thinking about multiplication as it relates to area. We learn to multiply large numbers through a dance and connect our study of 3-dimensional geometry to the arts.
Spelling and Handwriting
Our spelling program is a combination of Word Work: the review of high frequency and tricky words for individual kids, and Cast-a-Spell: a multi-modal approach to spelling, which uses writing, speaking, hearing, seeing to learn spelling rules and exceptions in an active and engaging daily lesson. We practice cursive daily, using the Handwriting Without Tears program.
This year, Middles art classes will explore Pointillism, work with clay, create puppets, and investigate found-object art. The Middles integrate a multitude of art forms into almost every subject throughout the year. From performing a dramatic reenactment of Shay’s Rebellion, to molding clay figurines of characters from literature, to making an entirely edible book report (yes, cookery is an art!) Middles enjoy artistic expression.
The Middles travel because we learn from experiencing the real thing. This year Middles are planning a trip to the Smith College Art Museum, The Solar Store/Greenfield Energy Park, and the Greenfield Community College Challenge Course. Traditionally, Middles swim at the YMCA for six weeks, downhill ski, and visit The University of Massachusetts Fine Art Center for performances throughout the year.