Curriculum - Middle School
The Middle School at Chartwell provides a comprehensive academic program which includes all areas of reading and language instruction, mathematics, social studies, science, wellness and fitness, the arts, technology and a wide array of enrichment activities. Students master and build academic skills one layer at a time. Each layer integrates higher-order thinking skills, creativity, perseverance and problem solving.
Students at Chartwell are grouped by ability, rather than traditional grade levels, for language and math placement. This allows for small group instruction that addresses the student’s specific academic needs. Teachers at Chartwell are specially trained to work with students with dyslexia and use effective teaching strategies to engage students in the learning process and provide opportunities for them to experience success. Guiding students to learn how they learn, not just what they learn, will empower them throughout their school years to be independent learners and advocates for their academic needs.
Students in Middle School are going through puberty and therefore are increasingly sensitive to any differences between themselves and the norm. They sometimes act out their frustrations at home and can mask their academic difficulties with negative behavior. Chartwell gives students a safe and supportive place to address their challenges and to pursue rather than avoid their academic potential.
While remediation of skills may still be necessary, application of skills and strategies is increasingly important in developing successful independent learners. Organization, study skills and self-advocacy are taught and emphasized across the academic curriculum. To effectively advocate for their educational needs, students must recognize their own individual learning styles, strengths and weaknesses, be willing to ask questions for clarification, and seek help as needed.
Students read both classic literature and modern fiction or nonfiction, and are guided to apply critical thinking skills while discussing and writing about literature. Analyzing what they read in terms of thematic structure, literary elements, and the author’s style or point of view further deepens their comprehension and appreciation of literature. Crafting well-developed written response to reading materials is emphasized.
Some students will require assistive technology tools (audio-books, speech to text Dictation software, graphic organizers, etc.) to support their learning challenges. Laptops are available in all classrooms, and students build competency through regular use of word processing for essay writing, note-taking, and graphic organizers to assist in the writing process.
By middle school, many students have the computational and conceptual skills required for Pre-Algebra or Algebra. Students need a strong foundation in basic math to understand the more abstract concepts in higher math. Symbolic reasoning and calculations with symbols (equations and variables) are central to Algebra, and students are required to take detailed notes and show all their work.Other students may need to continue to work on mastering basic math skills and computation. Grouping students by ability levels allows each student to receive instruction at a pace designed for them.
Students in grades 7 and 8 attend science class daily in preparation for grade level expectations as they approach high school. Laboratory work expands to include a broader range of learning objectives, and students are assessed more frequently on vocabulary and concepts studied. Students go into greater depth on topics studied (Physical, Earth and Life Science), and more sophisticated assignments include detailed lab notes, synthesizing information and application of scientific concepts. Teachers provide instruction on accurate note-taking, study skills, gleaning information from texts, and research and report writing are given greater emphasis.
Humanities classes continue to study the influence that different people and their history and culture have had on shaping our present day. Students make the connection that choices we make today may influence their future. The course of study for the Middle School students are:
- Grade 6 - Ancient World History (early civilizations to Roman Empire)
- Grade 7 - World History (Fall of Rome to Early Modern Times)
- Grade 8 - United States History.
Study skills, note-taking, and organization of materials continue to be advanced, and students are taught how to research and complete a report by breaking down the required steps.
Chartwell students often excel in the visual arts, and students are encouraged to explore and express their creativity in original works of art. Students learn basic principles of color, design and art elements while experimenting with color, patterns, shapes, perspective and materials. Students apply techniques to drawing, painting, crafts, sculpture and clay. Art is integrated across the curriculum in various ways: a painting to illustrate a poem written in language arts, designing a Grecian Urn or Egyptian artifact for humanities class, or creating a 3-D mural of the ocean for science.
Our music program uses the Orff-Schulwerk educational approach to build musicianship through the integration of all aspects of music, rhythm, structured and unstructured movement, singing, percussion instruments, recorders, speech and drama. Students are exposed to a variety of music, composers and songs to nurture interest, talent and appreciation.
The Chartwell Wellness and Fitness program, for both Lower and Middle School, is designed to guide students in two primary areas: physical fitness and teamwork. The physical aspect of the program explores different activities needed to give students a basic understanding of the skills needed for playing the games, but emphasis is on cooperation, communication and keeping their bodies fit and healthy. Teamwork skills are integrated into the program to guide students in developing the necessary tools for problem solving and to promote self-esteem. The students are encouraged to resolve disagreements by means of cooperation, team building, respect and compromise.