English Language Arts
When it comes to reading remediation, instructional minutes matter! This is why our students participate in up to two hours a day of ELA instruction. In addition to Slingerland lessons, students are also supported in direct instruction of oral expression, grammar and writing. Our teachers are specially trained to elicit student knowledge and empower them to be active learners in all aspects of our program. To cement their learning, students need opportunities to practice and apply the strategies that they are learning in class. This is why a second ELA block provides our students with the necessary time to practice reading texts fluently, express ideas with clarity and learn to write more detail-rich sentences—a perfect accompaniment to our Slingerland work.
Likewise, middle school students receive both daily Slingerland instruction as well as a core class that teaches traditional literary analysis and composition writing. Students are learning the crafts of various authors and learning to decipher specific literary elements such as allusion, irony and other aspects of figurative language.
Middle schoolers are building their understanding of English orthography and learning to read and spell complex words, phrases and sentences. A heavy emphasis is placed on teaching morphology—or Latin and Greek base elements to help our students build vocabulary, word identification and knowledge about the structure of language.
Our math instruction combines multi-sensory, hands-on project based activities and games. We created an articulated scope and sequence aimed at covering developmental mathematics standards across grade levels. Our core curriculum is augmented by a program called Making Math Real, which provides real-world, contextual math lessons, which focus on the concept behind math processes. Students are carefully guided from concrete exploration to more abstract mathematical problem solving to ensure a deeper, more integrated understanding of mathematical functions. These techniques are shown to teach math fundamentals in an engaging way that supports the needs of our students whether they require deep remediation, or are ready for deeper engagement. The pace at which new concepts are introduced depends on each student’s level. Some of our students excel in math, going well beyond grade level. Others come to us with a need for intensive remediation and support. By creating small, leveled groups, we can handle a range of student abilities in our math classes.
Science is an area offering great potential for many students with dyslexia. Their capacity for divergent and creative thinking, investigation, and inquiry often comes naturally. Our job is to help them to learn and realize this potential area of strength and to develop the necessary thinking skills for applying scientific thinking into their project-based work. Our commitment is to adhering to age-level standards with a focus on hands-on, creative work. Most every science lesson is a project. Given the natural and scientific resources in Marin and the Bay Area, a particular emphasis will be placed on natural sciences.
As with science, social studies standards met are the same as any California public or private school. Literature, character re-enactment, and group projects will drive student investigation into the past and facilitate connections with the present. Current events are brought into the curriculum, based on student discussions, and/or driven by impactful events (example: presidential election). In all lessons, students are expected to do research and writing. They will also be presented with the opportunity to engage in multi-media and art.