Middle School Academy 2014
As the school year is quickly coming to a close, fifth grade teachers are trying a new approach to assist their students with getting ready – and being prepared – for middle school next year. Teachers call it “Middle School Academy”, and they are hopeful it will help students make a smoother transition from fifth grade to middle school.
Fifth graders have already began Middle School Academy. Teachers say the students love it. The teachers think it is a great way to introduce them to our TCDS middle school model of rotating classes, further responsibilities and organization skills necessary for successful transition.
Below, you can find the majority of the letter that fifth grade teachers sent to parents and their students.
Students will remain with their same classmates, and their primary teacher will still be their homeroom teacher. However, instead of receiving most of their instruction in one classroom (as they have done for most of the school year with the exception of science/social studies), the students will follow more of a middle school model and go to each 5th grade classroom each day for the lessons for the different subject areas: Math, English (Language Arts), Science and Social Studies. In this way, it is our hope that the students become familiar with the way that their middle school schedule will operate. In addition, this experience will also give the 5th grade team a chance to more comprehensively assess our students’ readiness for middle school and make promotion and retention determinations accordingly.
Students will still have the same lunch break and recess, and they will still attend the same “Specials” classes that they’ve attended all school year. They will just get more practice with the “logistics” of middle school – staying organized for different classes, working with different teachers and their teaching styles, making physical transitions between classrooms, etc. The students will still be learning fifth grade academic material, but they will also be receiving preparation for the way the middle school works here at TCDS.
As far as the different subjects go, Mr. Fisher will be handling the Science classes, Mrs. Annie will be teaching Math, Mrs. Maddock will have English / Language Arts, and Mr. Jason will be the Social Studies teacher.
In Science, students will continue with their exploration of simple machines, with a particular investigation into gears, pulleys, and levers. Also, we’ll be learning about the scientists who developed many of the theories and principles upon which simple machines are based.
In Math, students will be given weekly/biweekly math projects to develop their problem solving skills while linking the curriculum to real world situations and concepts. Additionally, students will assist Mr. Adam in the garden with data collection, inventory, and gardening. This project-based approach will build on the mathematical skill already learned as well as prepare students for middle school.
In English / Language Arts, students will focus on grammar and writing using authentic materials including: filling out applications, email responses (without spell check), U.S abbreviations, magazine articles, newspaper articles and much more! Grammar and writing connections will be presented in “Mrs. Maddock fashion.” Be ready to sing and dance, as well!
In Social Studies, students will continue learning about American History from before the Revolutionary War all the way up through the Civil War using an interactive, collaborative approach where students become witnesses to history.
Students will be receiving homework from their different classes, although the assignments should be about 15-20 minutes per class. There may also be long-term projects for the students to complete in their various classes as well. Students will need to become used to completing multiple homework assignments and projects for various classes as they make the move to middle school.
In terms of school supplies, we suggest that students acquire an accordion file folder to help them organize their work for the different assignments. Accordion file folders are available wherever you buy school supplies, even at local Dollar Stores. This item will not be required for the Middle School Academy, just highly recommended, and it is something that they can use again once they are in middle school next year.
If you have any questions or concerns, please direct them to your student’s homeroom teacher. We are looking forward to this new approach to learning for the remainder of the school year, and we think it will pay dividends for the students as they prepare for success as middle school students.
The 5th Grade Team
Mrs. Maddock, Grade Level Coordinator