Upper Level Specialty Curriculum June
Comprehensive program that emphasizes participation in a wide variety of enjoyable activities that develop overall physical fitness for the individual student. Importance is placed on developing awareness of how physical fitness benefits the student today and for their lifetime. Fitness assessment that allows for understanding and improvement of the individual’s physical well being. Activities include, jump rope, cooperative games, floor hockey, tag games, track & field, calisthenics, throwing games, & basketball.
Second year experienced the steps involved in making a handmade piece of fabric. Students tried their hand at spinning wool on a drop spindle, and coloring their yarn using natural dyes from the school’s dye garden such as marigold, dyer’s coreopsis, and Hopi black sunflowers and overdyeing with indigo. This yarn was either incorporated into a small weaving created on a rigid heddle loom or a weaving made using drinking straws.
Third year students compared and contrasted West African and Indonesian batiks as they created their own wax resist fabric design inspired by the traditional work studied. Emphasis was put on color theory as all dyes in batik are layered on top of one another and therefore must be able to be mixed. Students practice working with percentages, decimals, and weights in metric as they calculate the correct amount of dye to mix for the weight of their fiber and further their understanding of math in this real life application.
This spring in first-year Latin the students continued translating the passages on the ‘ancient’ Alexandrian scroll (part of a set of Latin materials designed specifically for the Montessori classroom) – given the Latin passage, students look up individual words on a Latin vocabulary sheet, and then put their translated words into sentences as seems best to them.
Students are now accustomed to memorizing a small list of important words from each passage; we’ve also covered a good deal of grammar this year, as students learn to pay attention to parts of speech (nouns, verbs, etc.) and how each word fits into the sentence as a whole. We also spent some time discussing Greek and Roman mythology, a favorite subject for many kids.
For the most part students worked individually or in small groups: we generally spent a few minutes at the beginning of each class discussing cultural information or grammar, practicing pronunciation, or going over a particular passage, but then students had the freedom (and responsibility) to proceed at their own pace, keeping track of their materials and progress.
Second-year students continued this spring in the Cambridge Latin textbook, reading passages in Latin about the adventures of a (real) Pompeian family. By the end of the year they had learned multiple different forms for each noun (singular vs. plural, or subject vs. direct object) and some students had also begun to explore the various verb-forms. They all mastered several lists of vocabulary (one for each chapter or ‘stage’ of the book they finished), and we read a good deal about life in the ancient city of Pompeii.
Students continued to be responsible for their own progress: we generally began class with a brief large-group lesson (looking at culture or grammar, practicing pronunciation, or going over a particular passage) but then for the remainder of class students worked on their own or in small groups, keeping track of their progress on individual progress-sheets.
This spring in third-year Latin students continued to work in Ecce Romani I, the first of two textbooks used in many high school Latin programs (including at IHS). ER I follows the narrative of a fictional Roman family in the first century CE as each chapter introduces grammar, vocabulary, and cultural information. ER I is also the textbook used in middle-school Latin at EAC, so next year we’ll be able to pick up right where we left off.
We generally began each class with a large-group lesson, reviewing the endings that we know so far; earlier in the year I would lead this review myself, but the students love doing it, so later in the year I let them take turns leading that opening lesson. For the remainder of class students work on their own or in small groups, keeping track of their progress on individual progress-sheets to allow each student to work at his or her own pace.
Spanish Year 1 and 2
The objectives established for this period were focused in more elaborated conversation skills. UL students continued their path towards that end by mastering works introduced before. They expanded their vocabulary through new activities and by exercising conversation in order to improve their communication skills.
Inspired by the UL Research Paper project, we worked on an extensive Spanish Research Paper starting in January. The concept of “asking questions” was reinforced as a tool in order to gather information. An emphasis was placed in the use of interrogative pronouns: Qué?, Cuánto? Cómo?, Cuánto?, Quién?, Cuál? and Dónde?
After the conclusion of the Research Paper, students understood the importance of asking the right questions so they could properly write a paper. As part of their conversation skills, students understood the need of asking questions in order to maintain a dialogue. Several dialogue sessions were performed and presented to the group.
Another extensive project was inspired by the EAC Book Fair. It was based on pictures. By observing each character in that picture, UL students wrote their own book turning it later into a script for a mini play. They presented their mini play to their classmates in small groups. Every time that group had an opportunity to perform, each child represented a different character.
Students also explored the most common Spanish phrases. The classroom was divided into four groups as students played games to match English phrases with the Spanish ones. For the rest of the academic year, students were asked to communicate with the teacher only in Spanish. They also created a second book about common phrases. In the process, they realized that the template used from English to Spanish could be applied to any Language.
Spanish Year 3
Third year students embark on a more structured approach with an emphasis on listening and oral skills. They are introduced to conjugations and the mechanics of the language through games and a gradual increase in complexity of the language.
Introduction of the textbook “Realidades”, which is used as a thematic guide through Middle School
- Review of previously learned vocabulary and preparation for more in depth language
- Verbs are practiced with charades and games. Verb conjugations are introduced gradually and practiced with a focus on high frequency verbs
- Students review and expand on stating likes and dislikes in Spanish and talk about leisure activities outside of school
- Vocabulary is learned through games, songs and activities to present vocabulary in context.
- Students learn how to describe people using correct sentence structure and a variety of adjectives. Students are empowered as they realize they can actually communicate in Spanish
- Culture: Students study Culture and Nature of Costa Rica using material created by Middle School Students