Students in grades one through three spend most of the day with a primary teacher. This provides consistent structure, and allows the teacher to reinforce fundamental skills through all content areas. Students in grades four and five change classes throughout the day. This allows for discipline-specific curriculum to be emphasized while maintaining focus on multisensory strategies.
The middle school program (grades 6-8) has students rotating among classes. Students are expected to produce more complex work with greater independence, as well as have more responsibility for completing homework, and meeting teacher’s deadlines.
Project Read is the language arts program implemented at Greengate. Project Read is an Orton-Gillingham based grammar, writing and comprehension program. Sentence structure, paragraph writing and reading comprehension skills are built slowly through very sequential, systematic, direct, multi- sensory instruction. Older students gain experience in writing a variety of paragraph types and in composing 5 paragraph essays. Their goal is to develop a solid understanding of good sentence and paragraph construction and how to extract salient information from the material that they read. There is no textbook for Project Read, but students maintain a ring of note cards to remind them of grammar rules from the curriculum.
Students will also make use of Diana Hanbury King’s Writing Skills series for developing paragraph writing. Vocabulary drawn from Literature selections will be used as the basis for vocabulary development in the curriculum.
Greengate School has adopted JUMP Math as its core math curriculum. Like Project Read and Orton-Gillingham, JUMP Math incorporates multi-sensory techniques and manipulative materials to build math concepts. It is intended for students in grades K through 8. The philosophical basis of JUMP Math is to break mathematical concepts into the most fundamental units of perception and understanding, sometimes called micro-steps. Students are guided through steps they can manage, beginning with simple models of the problem. The multi-sensory systematic approach allows students with varying abilities and backgrounds to succeed and progress, as well as more advanced math students to develop problem-solving skills and proceed to more difficult applications of the concepts.
Science and Social Studies
In all grades, these two subjects are blocked together in order to devote as much time in the daily schedule as possible to reading, writing, and language development. Students study 18 weeks of science per year and 18 weeks of social studies.
Our science curriculum in the lower school provides hands-on, inquiry based learning experiences with an emphasis on developing process skills, science reasoning ability, and selected science concepts. With a focus on depth of understanding vs. breadth of presentation, select goals from the Alabama State Content Standards are used to build a strand that focuses on life, physical, and earth science. Cross-curricular activities are planned with technology
The science curriculum for middle school students provides multi-sensory, hands- on, inquiry based learning experiences with an emphasis on developing process skills, science reasoning ability, and selected science concepts. With a focus on depth of understanding vs. breadth of presentation, select goals from the Alabama State Content Standards are used to build a rotating four-year strand that focuses on life, physical, or earth science and an additional science elective such as environmental science. Science is integrated with other subject areas when possible and technology is used as a tool to help students develop concepts, and gather, record and display information. Emphasis is placed on using science texts to develop note taking, study skills and textbook mining strategies to prepare students to succeed, as well as facilitate the students’ transition to traditional classroom pace and teaching methods.
Social studies covers traditional content, while also teaching study skills. As with Science, select goals are chosen from the Alabama State Content Standards. The curriculum helps students understand and value their own cultural community, our state, our country and the world. Areas of study include major land features, geographical formations, American history figures, American history including the Revolutionary War, Civil War, through Reconstruction. Mapping skills are covered at each level.
Middle School Social Studies content includes basic civics and government concepts, a broad overview of European History since the Renaissance, continuation of American History from World War I, the Great Depression and World War II. Hands- on projects and reenactments, along with technology are useful in helping students learn.