Through the middle school years, students at the Andover School of Montessori will continue to learn and grow in a familiar, supportive, and safe environment. Having become confident and competent independent learners, they will successfully transition to schools beyond ASM.
The Middle School program provides a student centered education based on a foundation of Montessori principles that incorporate developmentally appropriate methods in a multi-age group setting. The goal of the student/parent/teacher team is to work in concert to meet the academic, social and psychological needs of adolescents in an integrated, process-oriented curriculum. This holistic approach aims to help students become independent thinkers and life-long learners.
The Middle School curriculum is presented in thematic units which integrate all subject areas. Montessori philosophy teaches us that learning is enhanced when subject matter is connected. The purpose of thematic units is for students to learn through an in-depth study of one particular topic. For example, when learning Greek and Roman history, students read and analyze myths, and study or reconstruct scientific advances made during this time.
Units are 4 to 6 weeks in length and incorporate core academic subjects. Work consists of research, discussion and investigation of topics. Projects are both short term and long term, and all units include individual work, cooperative group work and whole class work. Units end with an assessment, such as a test, project, writing assignment or presentation. Final assessments are evaluated using a rubric.
Each week of the unit focuses on a particular topic. Students receive assignments to explore and expand on the topic, with some direct instruction from teachers and/or short readings. On Fridays, assignments are handed in to the teacher to be graded. The next to the last week of the unit focuses on assessment. Students are given assignments plus grading rubrics for each assignment, and have a week to complete them. The last week is an enrichment week. Students who have successfully mastered the unit spend the week completing an activity of their choice that relates to the unit theme, such as building a model or writing a story. This time may also be spent working on writer’s workshop portfolios, mentoring in other classrooms, or community service activities. Students, who have not mastered the unit, spend the week completing or enhancing assignments that were missed and then, retaking the assessments. Because the focus of these units is on learning and gaining deep understanding, it is imperative that students complete all assignments during the unit cycle. Assignments build upon each other and lead students to successful completion of assessments. If a student has not achieved mastery, then further work must be done to gain understanding.
The Thematic Units are presented in a two year cycle with five units studied each year. The ten Thematic Units are:
|The Dynamic Earth
||The Fertile Crescent
||The Nature of Work
||Ecology and Ecosystems
|Pre-Columbian North America
The Language curriculum is divided into two distinct parts: Literature Circle and Writer’s Workshop.
- Literature Circle involves discussion of theme, plot, character development, etc. Novels and poems read are tied directly to the thematic unit being studied.
- Writer’s Workshop is a time for students to work on their writing skills. Short lessons on grammar and punctuation are given. Students embrace the entire writing process, from pre-writing/ brainstorming to publishing. This process includes peer-editing, self-editing, and conferencing. Guidelines are given at the beginning of each semester and portfolios are checked twice a year before Parent/Teacher conferences.
The History curriculum is taught and explored through the thematic units. Focus is placed on recurring themes in history and patterns and connections to present day. Students research, problem solve and discuss specific topics. These topics include:
- Ancient Civilizations
- Slavery (throughout the world including present day)
- The Changing Environment
In addition, eighth graders study United States History and Government.
An hour each morning is devoted to mathematics. Students receive one-on-one
or small group lessons using The University of Chicago School Mathematics
Project-Transition Mathematics text (by Scott Foresman/Addison Wesley) and
when ready, Algebra I (by Prentice Hall). Each lesson incorporates review,
problem solving and direct teaching of a concept.
The ASM Middle School science curriculum is diverse and covers an array of topics, with the aim of providing a base of knowledge in many areas and an introduction to the wide variety of sciences. These topics include:
|| Laws of Motion
|Weather and Climate
Experiments, lab-work, research and problem solving are integrated with a thematic unit whenever possible.
Some thematic units have Science as the particular content focus. When necessary, science topics are taught discretely.