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  • 800 East Sycamore Street

    Westfield, Indiana 46074

    (317) 867-0158

    mswmiddleschool@gmail.com

    Montessori School of Westfield

    Middle School Handbook

  • 2

    Contents

    Introduction 4 Calendar

    6 Summary of Secondary Program

    Academic Work 8 Courses of Academic Study

    9 Cycles of Work

    9 Language Arts

    10 Speech & Seminar

    10 Social Studies

    11 Spanish

    11 Pre-Algebra and Algebra

    11 Life Science

    12 Physical Education and Health

    13 Outdoor Education/Erdkinder

    13 Career Education/Service Learning

    13 Music, Art, and Specialists

    14 Classroom work

    14 Homework

    16 February Fair

    16 Cumulative Binders/Portfolios

    Partnerships 18 Student-Led Conferences

    18 Communication between Family and School

    Classroom Procedures 20 Integrity, Respect, and Responsibility

    21 Dress Guidelines

    21 Electronic Devices

    22 Lunches & Snacks

  • 3

    22 Absences and Late Arrivals

    23 Family Vacation

    Appendices 26 Missed Assignment Form

    27 Discipline Policy

    30 Reading Lists

    Winter Program Rehearsal

  • 4

    Calendar

    August

    18 Orientation

    19 First Day of School

    September

    7 Labor Day: School Closed

    TBD School Pictures

    October

    14-15 Fall Camp- Turkey Run

    19 - 23 Fall Break: School Closed

    November

    24 Thanksgiving Feast

    25 - 27 Thanksgiving Break

    December

    18 Winter Program

    18 Last Day of Semester: Noon Dismissal

    January

    5 First Day of School

    18 Martin Luther King Jr. Day: School Closed/Flex Day

    February

    15 Presidents Day: School Closed/Flex Day

    TBD February Fair

    March

    TBD Terranova Testing

    April

    1 Spring Break

    11 School Resumes

    TBD Spring Program

  • 5

    May

    TBD Class trip

    30 Memorial Day: School Closed

    June

    2 Last day of school: Noon Dismissal

    Team Building

  • 6

    Middle School Program

    The Middle School design is an integration of the current research in adolescent development, the trends and issues in education, and Montessori philosophy. The mission of the program is to provide opportunities for adolescents to become self-confident, develop self-knowledge, to belong to a community, to learn to be adaptable, to be academically competent, and to create a vision for their personal future.

    The adolescent is:

    an active, self-directed learner a vital member of the class, school, city and global community a vital member of the teacher-student-parent team responsible for keeping commitments, being honest, and respectful

    The teachers are: facilitators for learning consultants for the students creators of a positive climate for learning communicators with parents and community role models

    The school structure offers: a student-centered environment a developmentally-responsive curriculum and teaching team of

    Montessori teachers, with additional adults as resources parents-teachers-student partnerships multi-aged groupings of 12-15 year olds large blocks of uninterrupted learning time peer and cross-age teaching

    The curriculum and instruction includes: inter-disciplinary themes learning how to learn strategies individualized learning plans seminar long-term and short-term cooperative learning projects a strong sense of community and social interaction with peers meaningful and challenging work activities for self-expression, self-knowledge, and self-assessment activities that value all nine intelligences and a variety of learning styles

  • 7

    activities to foster interdependence activities for learning economic independence school and community service projects activities that allow work on and with the land

  • 8

    ACADEMIC WORK

  • 9

    Courses of Academic Study Middle School Montessori School of Westfield Middle School courses of study reflect an

    integration of the newest research on the developmental needs of early

    adolescents, the Montessori philosophy, current learning theory, and the

    predictions of the skills needed for a productive life in the twenty-first century.

    Cycles of Work

    Each year there are four cycles of work. Each cycle lasts for approximately

    eight weeks and incorporates all subjects and activities in the curriculum. The

    cycle format is designed to help students develop organizational, decision-

    making, and time-management skills. The final week is spent learning how to

    review, study, and complete student generated assessments as well as bringing

    the theme full circle.

    Language

    Language Arts include the study of vocabulary, grammar and mechanics,

    seminar, public speaking, and literature response and composition.

    Vocabulary is presented across the curriculum and is formally approached

    through grammar and the use of the Wordly Wise 3000 textbook series.

    Literature includes the study of varied literary elements and readings from all

    genres. Each cycle, students read one or two books focused on the theme of

    the cycle. Students analyze a portion of the book they read several times a

    week for a short writing assignment. Once the book is finished, students

    complete final projects. Over the course of the year each student completes a

    variety of different compositions, including research papers, persuasive

    speeches and essays, biographies and autobiographies, poetry and technical

    documents.

  • 10

    Speech & Seminar

    Speech includes daily communications that focus on grace and courtesy,

    listening skills, note-taking, active participation in-group discussions by

    articulating ideas, and making formal presentations. Students learn a variety

    of communication skills such as acknowledging others, active listening, goal

    setting, and group decision-making. Each year, students develop a personal

    mission statement and a class constitution. Students are able to practice

    communication skills daily by working in community meetings, class

    committees, small group cooperative projects, and peer and cross-age teaching

    activities. Students give several presentations each cycle as well as working on

    formal speech skills.

    Socratic seminar is woven throughout the curriculum, including language,

    social studies, math, and science. It is defined as a collaborative, intellectual

    dialogue facilitated with open-ended questions about a text. Students learn

    formal seminar techniques alongside developing annotation, communication,

    and critical thinking skills. Studies show significantly improved student

    achievement, increased student motivation, and a more respectful school

    culture.

    Social Studies

    This course includes history, geography and economics. The geography

    curriculum includes the study of the themes of location, place, movements,

    regions, and interaction of people and their environment. The history

    curriculum focuses on the history and progress of people through the following

    topics: Connections (Early civilizations), Exploration and Perspectives,

    Immigration and Identity (religion, ancient China and Japan, Interdependence

    (Ecology and trade), Structures (Governments and US Government), Forces

    (Revolutions), Power (World Wars 1 and 2), Changes (the Industrial Revolution

    and Civil War), and Balance (Peace Education and life skills). The economics

  • 11

    curriculum connects every day decision making to real world financial

    understanding. Running their own micro-economy and learning how to

    manage their fundraising leads to increased financial skills. Students do

    personal and group work within these themes. The focus is on asking large

    questions and looking for patterns in history and integrating this information

    into all disciplines. Students develop creative projects and make presentations

    based on their research.

    Spanish

    Spanish will build on the basic vocabulary and simple sentence structure

    learned in elementary. In the Middle School, students will learn vocabulary

    and how to use it in real life situations.

    Pre-Algebra & Algebra

    As our students enter into the third plane of development, they will begin to

    move slowly into abstract thinking. Not all students will progress at the same

    level. During this third plane of development the individual leave behind the

    state of childhood and enters the state of adulthood, becoming a member of

    society in his or her own right. (NAMTA Journal, Vol 29 No 1, Winter 2004)

    The students will experience the elements of mathematics with manipulatives,

    then move on to abstract exercises. One tool we will utilize in the classroom

    this year is Khan Academy. Please feel free to visit their website at

    www.khanacademy.org. The students will experience hands-on projects to

    help them relate to why mathematics is important in our world. We will also

    make connections throughout science, social studies and language. In this

    stage of development it is essential for our students to feel that they are being

    treated as adults. Dr. Montessori says this is the time when the social man is

    created but has not yet reached full development, this is the time, the sensitive

    period, when there should develop the most noble characteristics that would

  • 12

    prepare a man to be social, that is to say, a sense of justice and a sense of

    personal dignity. (From Childhood to Adolescence)

    Life Science & Physical Science

    We will explore the many aspects of science in

    this classroom. Once again keeping in mind that

    our adolescents are maturing into adults, we will

    use hands-on activities, group projects, labs, and

    seminars to delve into the many wonders of science. Starting off with weather

    and ecosystems, we will move into the development of civilizations on rivers.

    Our Fall Camp this year will allow us to explore the effects of our environment

    on water sources, to encounter erosion, to explore the nature of flooding, and

    to visually recognize the signs of life around rivers. In addition to these first

    cycle lessons, our students will experience the story of

    The Great River. Dr. Montessori brought to life the

    human body and all of its subsystems in this great story.

    In addition to all of this, the students will dive into

    Chemistry, Physics and Biology. Once again using

    project based learning and hands-on experience they will

    learn the depths that science has to offer them as they

    mature into adulthood.

    Physical Education and Health

    The physical education class focuses on team sports, individual sports, and

    aerobic activities. Students also participate in cooperative games. All students

    are included in all activities. Health is the study of issues pertinent to the

    needs of early adolescents. As part of the health curriculum, students spend

    fifteen minutes each day after lunch in personal reflection (Solo). Dr.

    Montessori felt that early adolescents have a quest for self-knowledge, which in

  • 13

    turn helps adolescents develop their identity. In our hurried society, we want

    the students to learn to spend time reflecting on goals, reducing stress, and

    creating a personal vision. During this time, students journal (reflective and

    creative), set goals, read, or express themselves creatively. A student is

    expected to choose a balance of these activities during each cycle.

    Outdoor Education/Erdkinder

    "Men with hands and no head, and men with head and no

    hands are equally out of place in the modern community.

    Therefore the work on the land is an introduction both to

    nature and civilization and gives a limitless field for

    scientific and historic studies. The rural atmosphere offers

    students a kind of 'place apart'- a safe and healthy

    environment to promote their transition to adulthood."

    ~From Childhood to Adolescence. Montessori

    Montessori School of Westfield Middle School expresses this aspect of the

    Montessori philosophy through working outside during the school year. This

    may involve gardening, running a class business, and participating in

    ropes/personal development courses. Twice a year, field studies will take the

    students out of the classroom into nature and the community. These are more

    than just field trips as they involve both practical and intellectual work related

    to the land.

  • 14

    Career Education/Service Learning

    Each year, all Middle School students participate in one of

    two internship experiences. The first year, they spend a

    week working at MSW in younger level classrooms as

    mentors/teaching assistants, or they may work as office

    assistants. During the other year, students spend up to

    one week working fulltime in a business of their choice.

    They each prepare and email a letter to a business stating

    their goals and verifying arrangements along with a resume. Both of these

    internships require that the supervising teachers and adults complete an

    evaluation form. Students are required to complete 18 hours per semester of

    community service. These hours can be fulfilled at home (for example,

    babysitting or yard work), in school (yard work, gardening, assisting in

    classrooms), or within the community (mowing neighbors lawns, babysitting,

    etc.) In economics, students run a micro-economy as well as do some o...

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