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  • Our Curriculum

The intermediate school is designed to allow for a gradual transition from the self-contained lower school environment to a departmentalized middle and upper school. Students are given more responsibilities and freedoms as they rotate through 3 blocks of academic classes each day.
These consist of a mathematics block, an English Language Arts block, and a rotating social studies/science block. A rotating PE/Elective schedule including art, music, and Spanish/Latin allows for enrichment and movement. Students at this age are not passive learners – they learn by doing rather than by just being told. That's why science is based on experiments, art is based on production, and music involves playing instruments. Reading and writing revolve around sharing opinions and life experiences, and social studies is based on inquiry and discussion. Math follows the same approach because success isn't just about manipulating numbers, it's about being able to apply math concepts and number sense to real life situations.

The academic day begins and ends with a homeroom program that provides students with both support and structure. Classes are taught with developmental expectations in mind, and social skills are integrated into the curriculum every day. Effective study skills are encouraged through classroom structure and routines, and responsibility is emphasized through instruction in specific techniques such as organizing and planning projects, learning how to manage homework, as well as arriving to each class period prepared and in a timely manner.

List of 11 items.

  • Language Arts

    Reading in the intermediate school is taught using a workshop model approach that emphasizes student-centered learning. Reading units are formed around independently chosen novels as well as whole-class texts. This format gives students tools for selecting and comprehending literature with skills needed to be successful readers. Students read many books over a course of a year and are encouraged to explore different genres, authors, and texts. Students interact with the text by making connections with prior knowledge and asking questions to clarify comprehension. Each day reading instruction begins with a mini-lesson on an aspect of literature or a reading strategy. Students are then sent off to their work spots for independent reading and journal response time. During this independent time, the teacher is conferring with students, leading guided reading groups, and differentiating through small group instruction. Students then come back together for a whole-class share session.

    Writing follows the same workshop model as reading, and teachers focus on three main types of writing: Narrative, Persuasive, and Informational. During the writing block teachers begin with explicit writing instruction; they act as mentor authors as they model writing techniques. Students are taught to write for a real purpose, to write the kinds of texts that they see in the world, and to write for an audience of readers. As students follow a consistent writing process, they are invested in their own writing as they choose topics that are important to them. During independent time, frequent feedback is provided through teacher-student conferences; this allows students to see what they are doing well, how their writing is progressing, and what their next steps might be. Along with conferring, the teacher provides small group instruction to address the various writing needs within the class. Routine studies of vocabulary and mini-lessons on grammar are also included to support the students as they develop as writers. The workshop approach in reading and writing fosters independence; students voice ideas and opinions through giving and receiving constructive feedback, allowing students to view themselves as authentic readers and writers.
  • Mathematics

    In the intermediate school we continue with the Singapore Math in Focus approach that is introduced in the lower school. Place value and numeracy skills are continually reinforced, and the skills of multiplication and division are extended. There is a focus on more advanced skills such as probability, estimation, fractions, decimals, and geometry. All skills and concepts are taught through the concrete to pictorial to abstract approach. Throughout the year, emphasis is placed on real world problem solving using the bar modeling method. By using rectangular bars and indentifying the unknown quantity with a question mark, students are able to visualize the problem and know what operations to perform; this allows students to view problems from an algebraic perspective and enables them to see number relationships.
  • Social Studies

    In our social studies classes, we incorporate an inquiry-based approach in the study of our nation’s history from early America to present day. Students find themselves at the center of the inquiry process, as the teacher embraces the roll of facilitator. Students are thinking critically about ideas and perspectives as they use primary resources and nonfiction texts to gather evidence and draw conclusions. Students are equipped with the skills to ask good questions as they interact with a variety of texts. This allows students to build a firm knowledge base so that they begin visualizing history, identifying reasons that lead up to historical events, and using text evidence to support their findings. Students will also gain a greater understanding of the geographic context in which our history unfolds. Through inquiry, students build a greater understanding of the world in which they live, learn, and communicate.
  • Science

    The intermediate school has a dedicated science classroom that is designed for exploring science through hands on experimentation. Fourth graders learn about science lab safety with a focus on life science. From identifying basic life functions and creating slides of plant and animal cells to classifying organisms into kingdoms of life, students explore the living world around them and learn how living and nonliving things interact with each other in their ecosystems. Once fifth graders review science lab safety, they begin the year with an in-depth study of the scientific method. These fundamental steps are the backbone for future science study at Brookstone. Each student completes a science project, research report, and a display based on this method with teacher guidance. Throughout the year, students read and write about various physical science concepts, as well as explore the human skeletal system. As students perform hands-on activities and experiments, they continue to utilize the scientific process. As part of the Green Team, students participate in environmental stewardship of the Brookstone Campus.
  • Arts

    Fourth grade art students continue exploring the elements of art such as line, shape & color. They have the opportunity to use a variety of media to explore several other topics that may also include landscapes, properties of color, other cultures & countries, portraits, famous artists, abstraction, fantasy and clay. Fifth grade art continues exploring the elements of art as well as the principles of design such as rhythm, pattern & movement. Students have the opportunity to use a variety of media to explore several other topics that may also include landscapes, properties of color, other cultures & countries, portraits, famous artists, clay, & abstraction.
  • Music

    Music in the intermediate school is a twelve week elective. During the fourth grade music rotation, students read and notate simple music in the treble clef as they learn to play the recorder. Students then utilize this knowledge to follow a vocal score, recognizing/identifying basic musical notation as they learn songs for the fourth and fifth grade end-of-term program. Vocal techniques covered are breathing, phrasing, vowel formation, and diction. Completion of the composer packet gives the students a broader understanding of the baroque and classical periods in music history. The fifth grade music/theatre rotation culminates with the production of a mini-musical that incorporates all of the concepts learned during the quarter. Students sing a variety of memorized songs using expression and proper vocal technique. A script is memorized, blocked, and rehearsed utilizing instruction on stage directions, basic body movement, and vocal projection. By playing the recorder for a second year, students continue to read and notate simple music in the treble clef, increasing their repertoire and skills. Finally, students add to their knowledge of music history through studying famous composers from the romantic and contemporary periods.
  • Computer

    Students are introduced to more advanced computer skills in the intermediate school. From using key locations by touch and a higher level mouse to menu skills and hardware terms, focus is on advanced word processing formatting techniques. Math skills are reinforced through age appropriate computer programs and students use the Internet for research, slide presentations with PowerPoint, and to develop critical thinking and problem solving skills. Students are also completing projects in Microsoft Excel and other online tools. The importance of digital citizenship and Internet safety is reinforced through classroom lessons and inquiry-based projects.
  • Foreign Language

    Spanish
    Fourth grade students participate in a comprehensive twelve week course. During this time, students hone their Spanish reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills while at the same time reinforcing and enhancing vocabulary and grammar from previous years. Topics of study include: Basic Greetings and Feelings, Commands and other Classroom Expressions, Calendar, Classroom, Weather and Seasons, Colors, Body, Time and Events, Directions, Place Setting, and Food. Students are exposed to culture and celebrations of Spanish-speaking countries and participate in preparing a traditional meal.

    Latin
    Fifth grade students participate in a nine-week course on the basics about the Latin language and the Roman Empire, with a focus on culture, language, and geography. Students learn the roman numerals and various root forms used in the English language and make connections between English, Latin, and Spanish. Latin expressions are also introduced that relate to mathematics, masculine and feminine forms of words, months, and ordinal numbers. Students are given the opportunity to write and perform partner dialogues as the term culminates with a toga celebration.
  • Library

    Previously learned library skills are reinforced and used in depth by the fourth grade. Each class studies a different genre at a different time of the year until each class has studied, read, and reported on biography, historical fiction, science fiction, fantasy, adventure, mystery, and realistic fiction. Reference books, electronic sources, magazines, the internet, nonfiction books, and other sources of information are found and emphasis is placed on the number and kinds of sources and correct note taking, when doing research reports. The bibliography, the parts of the report, and writing the final product are all part of the instruction. They continue to practice their use of the automated card catalog and finding materials on the shelves by their call numbers. An in-depth course of instruction on the Dewey Decimal Classification system helps them to understand and use the library proficiently.
  • Physical Education

    Physical education expands the understanding and implementation of all previously learned skills with an emphasis on sportsmanship. The rules and strategies in various team sports are introduced and enforced. Several of these sports include basketball, whiffleball, and ultimate frisbee. An increased emphasis is placed on fundamental skill development of team sports in preparation for Cub sports and middle school athletics. Students participate in a pre and post physical fitness test called Fitnessgram.
  • Extra Help

    Extra Help is a block of time offered three times a week to all students. Faculty meet with students during this time for individualized help according to the student's needs. Sometimes the help is voluntary, but teachers may require the session if they feel students need it.

    By learning to take risks through inquiry, direct experience, and collaboration, students leave the intermediate school equipped with the skills and confidence necessary to succeed in middle school and with the desire and commitment to become active members of the larger community.