11 and 12 Year Olds
Our oldest students are on the threshold of a significant new stage of development- adolescence. Dramatic physical changes reflect major shifts in cognitive, social and emotional development. The intellect is awakened, demonstrated by the individual’s emerging ability to engage in more complex thinking processes involving symbolic ideas and abstract concepts. Children exercise newfound abilities as they begin to reason, consider diverse perspectives, and imagine a multitude of possibilities. Individuals approaching adolescence have a need to understand and engage in the ‘real world.’
The Class Teacher conducts classes in Language Arts, History and Science. Subject teachers teach Math, Foreign Language, Music and PE units. When possible, these studies are integrated with art, project-based learning, and writing. For instance, the 5/6th grade study of the Age of Discovery complements their science study of Water. As they travel with early explorers, circumnavigating the globe and mapping the known world, they discover new cultures and learn about intercultural trade and exchange. At the same time, 5/6 graders explore their own world, investigating Nantucket's harbor, fishery and wetlands, learning about the water cycle, and discovering the ecological importance of clean water. Lighthouse Middle School students visit the Rugged Road campus to join younger students for Reading Buddies and All School Meetings as well as special events.
Experiential and project-based studies exercise ‘real life’ problem solving abilities and provide meaningful contexts for the acquisition of new concepts and skills. For the socially oriented pre-adolescent, cooperative and interactive learning supports academic instruction and cultivates a sense of community. A pre-adolescent is defining, testing, and transforming his/her perception of self and seeks to be understood and valued by others. They challenge assumptions and values they once adopted without question. Our program honors this vital process, providing new intellectual challenges while supporting the emotional and social challenges inherent to growing up.
School Day: 8:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. with the option of Extended Day through 5:10 p.m. Middle School students are encouraged to join the Nantucket Boys & Girls Club for after school options such as Homework Club and sports.
‘Reading to learn’; reading fiction and non-fiction- individually and in small interest-based groups; reading with expression and comprehension; identifying plot, theme, and characterization; creative and expository writing; writing poetry; learning parts of speech; studying Norse mythology; biography; using cursive in daily work; editing and drafting/revision process; writing reports- researching and organizing information; spelling; presenting scripted plays; developing Spanish speaking skills.
Traditionally, this is the age in which children work through the significant shift from ‘learning to read’ to ‘reading to learn.’ In addition to their individual reading and class read-aloud work, children are introduced to Literature Circle with prescribed reading and activities which develop analytic and comprehension skills. While students continue journal writing, they work on more assigned writing tasks across the curriculum. Self-editing techniques are introduced and practiced in conjunction with the teacher’s review of student work. In Spanish, children expand upon their knowledge of vocabulary and build conversational skills. Teachers actively utilize the social dynamic of the classroom to develop each individual’s ability to express his/her thoughts, feelings and needs respectfully and effectively.
Mastering and applying basic facts; re-grouping; solving multistep problems; rounding and estimating; working with basic fractions; performing multiplication and division; identifying appropriate arithmetic function to solve word problems; mapping- using scale; making change; measuring length, height, weight, volume and time; gathering, interpreting and comparing data.
Upper Primary students integrate their growing mastery of basic arithmetic facts and knowledge of the number system to solve more complex equations as well as imaginary and practical word problems. As they deal with greater quantities, they come to recognize the need for more efficient strategies and uncover the uses of multiplication and division. Beginning with simple equations, Upper Primary students proceed to delve into the multi-step procedures of multi-digit multiplication and long division. Concepts which were introduced earlier are revisited in more depth as children are able to work more imaginatively and abstractly with mathematical concepts.
Understanding a people far away and nearby; Freedom and Equality (Slavery/Harriet Tubman, Civil Rights/ M.L. King, Jr.) and on alternate years, A Different Culture utilizing historical fiction and non-fiction along with pertinent projects, writing tasks, field trips and end-of-year presentation; researching and report writing; mapping- local geography, writing directions, treasure/scavenger hunts.
As children grow out of an egocentric orientation, they can begin to consider other perspectives. As such, a fiery interest arises as to what is fair. This question is reflected in the social studies curriculum with its focus on Slavery and the Civil Rights Movement. 9/10 year olds can consider twofold concepts, such as ‘long ago’ and ‘far away,’ and welcome studies of diverse cultures. Historical fiction and biographies of historical figures serve to instruct and inspire.
Investigating animals and plants and the concept of a habitat; experimenting with magnets- energy and direction; recording observation of Nature through word and image; gardening-vegetables and herbs; composting and recycling.
The 7/8 year old is discovering the world in new ways and is eager to learn about its creatures and uncover how things work. This natural curiosity is channeled in the study of creatures and their natural habitats. Through firsthand observation and research, children learn about the characteristics and needs of diverse creatures and plants and their shared habitats while considering ideas such as adaptation, food chain, and reproduction. In the area of physical science, Primary students explore magnets, magnetic attraction and magnetic poles.
Nature hikes; playing indoors and out; exercising gross motor skills through running, jumping, hopping, climbing, balancing; developing fine motor skills through craft work, painting and drawing activities