(12-14 years old)
The language curriculum follows the reading and writing workshop model established by the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project of Columbia University. This curriculum encompasses an integrated study of vocabulary, literature, grammar and mechanics, and writing. The curriculum seeks to teach students to value reading and writing, viewing as tools to change themselves and the world around them. Students read and write in a wide range of genres for various purposes, thus learning to communicate with a variety of audiences.
Building upon Greek and Latin studies in Upper Elementary, vocabulary and etymology are presented across the curriculum and is tested each cycle. Grammar is studied daily within the context of literature and writing. With special emphasis on critical analysis, students practice a variety of types of writing in response to literature. As part of their independent study, seventh graders are expected to write one research paper and eighth graders write two research papers during the school year.
Communications Lab: Speech includes a daily communications lab, focusing on: grace and courtesy, listening skills, note-taking, active participation in group discussion, and formal presentations. Students learn a variety of communication skills such as acknowledging others, using “I” messages, active listening, goal setting, and group decision-making.
Classroom Activities: Students participate in activities developed from Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens, Costa and Kallick’s Sixteen Habits of Mind, and the Heroic Journey. These activities include:
This course includes geography and history. The curriculum focuses on the progress of people and the following topics:
The focus is on asking large questions, looking for patterns in history, and integrating this information in to all disciplines. Students develop creative projects and make presentations. In the spring of Year B, students become experts in one area of United States or Illinois history and present their research at the annual History Fair.
Geography: The geography curriculum includes the study of the themes of location, place, movements, regions, and interaction of people and their environment.
History: The history curriculum in Year A focuses on the following topics:
Students participate in individual and group work on these themes, including creative projects and presentations. In the spring of Year A, students display their expertise in either United States or Illinois history by presenting their research at the annual
This curriculum uses Montessori materials to introduce concepts before practicing them abstractly. Students will be expected to take quizzes for feedback and master comprehensive tests. Each year’s curriculum contains units of Pre-Algebra and Algebra.
The physical science curriculum includes the study of:
Students participate in both personal and group work, focusing on asking large questions, looking for scientific patterns, and integrating this information into all disciplines. Students develop long-term creative projects and presentations. Outdoor education experiences and the use of machinery are also a part of this study. In the spring of Year B, students become experts in one area of science and present their research at the annual Science Fair.
The life science curriculum includes the study of:
Focus is placed on asking large questions, finding patterns, and integrating this information into all disciplines. The development of long-term creative projects and presentations are required of students. In the spring of Year A, students display their scientific expertise at the annual Science Fair.
The physical education classes focus on team sports, individual sports, and aerobic activities. The two-fold purpose of these classes is to teach skills and instill the importance of physical fitness. Sports include: volleyball, soccer, basketball, ice-skating, rock climbing, bowling, swimming, tennis, and track and field. Students also participate in daily cooperative games. All students are included in these activities.
In Health, students study issues pertinent to the needs of early adolescents. The classroom focus alternates between The Heroic Journey and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens. Students explore the following topics: belonging, friendship, adolescent development, stress-management, self-esteem, peer pressure, drug education, sexuality, nutrition, and balanced-living. Students spend time each day in personal reflection for development of their intrapersonal skills.
Spanish programming is integrated into the Montessori methodology and is part of morning community time, lunch, the work cycle, and park time. Our Spanish Director visits the classroom to work with the children in small groups during assigned mornings and afternoons. A group session will be scheduled at least once a week; at this time students will work more in-depth on cultural research, history, and geography.
The computer literacy course focuses on:
All activities are integrated into each subject area. Students also have the opportunity to use the Internet to gather data and communicate with other schools. As an elective, students create and update the school and class web sites.
Students learn to work on and with the land. As a Land Lab experience, students can spend three separate weeks at the Nature’s Classroom Institute (NCI) in Mukwonago Wisconsin. Students also have the opportunity to take a one-week adventure trip in May. In Late August, seventh and eighth grade students go to the NCI ROPES course, which includes: trust activities, group initiatives, individual challenges, personal reflection, as well as classes in orienteering, and nature studies.
During the second half of the academic year, seventh grade students spend one week as interns in a Montessori classroom or administrative office. Eighth grade students spend a week working in a business of their choice. Students prepare a business letter stating their goals and verifying arrangements. The supervising teachers or adults complete an evaluation form. Students have the opportunity to perform other spontaneous service based on needs and interests.
During the year, students participate in off-campus outreach services, four times each cycle. In economics, students operate a few class businesses, such as delivery of snack and catered food. For these businesses, students keep records, prepare and inventory the food, buy supplies, and sell products.
Students have the opportunity to select four areas of exploration. Areas of exploration vary each year depending on student interest and the availability of outside teaching resources. Courses may include the following:
At the Academy, we believe that adolescents are capable of multi-tasking and balancing a variety of academic and social expectations in a stimulating and supportive environment. In an academic year, there are five cycles of work followed by an immersion week for land laboratory, internships, and testing.
The academic cycle: Each academic cycle consists of five weeks. At the end of the fifth week, there is a product presentation and a written self-assessment of the thematic project work. The cycle format is designed to help students learn organizational, decision-making, and time-management skills. Students keep a graph of the work completed.
Individual & Group Work: The school day is divided into two kinds of work: individual work and group work. Individual work is designed to match the skills, abilities, and interests of each student. There are a variety of work choices in every academic area to be done either individually or in small, self-chosen groups. Group work is completed in randomly selected groups; in which student learn to work together for five weeks. These groups work on physical tasks such as business orders, physical education, and academic tasks. Individual written tests, group presentations, and self-assessments of the group process assess the thematic unit.