## Upper Elementary

The Upper Elementary program (grades 4-6) is a multi-age environment designed to meet the social, emotional and academic needs of the 9 to 12 year old. The curriculum provides each child with the opportunity to delve deeply into topics and develop an understanding of the relationships between concepts. Students are assessed through daily observations, discourse, essay writing, rubrics and traditional testing.

Curriculum Areas

#### Math

Math manipulatives (hands-on materials) are some of the most elegant and intuitive of the Montessori materials. Using these materials enables your student to visualize complex mathematical concepts and apply abstract reasoning to problem-solving. Research shows the optimum development of mathematical understanding involves linking the two hemispheres of the brain (the right being concrete/experiential, the left symbolic/linguistic). This natural way of learning concepts is fundamental to the Montessori approach to learning mathematics.

Building upon concepts learned in Lower Elementary, students move into work with all the operations with fractions and decimal numbers, factors and multiples, prime numbers, percent/ratio/proportion, integers, squaring and cubing, variables, solving word problems, money, quantitative reasoning, patterns and relationships.

In Geometry, students are introduced to classification of polygons, congruence, similarity, and equivalence. Students learn to calculate area and volume of two and three-dimensional figures, respectively, and apply these skills to solving real-world problems.

The math curriculum at the Upper Elementary level is aligned with and often exceeds the Massachusetts state and national frameworks for math instruction.

#### Language Arts

In Upper Elementary, reading is the gateway to understanding all other curriculum areas. Students are exposed to a broad array of literary genres, developing a deeper appreciation for literature’s role in society. Literature Circles allow students to analyze and think critically about complex themes, which helps them develop a strong sense of self. Through small group discussions, students learn to express themselves with confidence while respecting the opinions of others.  Advanced grammar and vocabulary studies allow students to construct sophisticated sentences and paragraphs and further refine their writing ability. In Upper Elementary, students learn to articulate their ideas in an organized and cohesive manner, both orally and in writing.

#### Geography/History

The interdisciplinary approach to the study of geography and history heightens your child’s awareness of the intricate relationship between these content areas. In Upper Elementary, your child will study three overarching and interconnected themes in geography: physical, political and economic. The history curriculum begins with a study on early humans and concludes with the American Revolution. Students learn to to look beyond the facts and hone their ability to think critically, form opinions and draw conclusions about historical events. Through long term project work students gain skills in inquiry, research, note-taking, collaboration, writing and public speaking.

#### Science

In Upper Elementary students develop an understanding of the interconnectedness and dependencies of scientific concepts. Performing experiments in the sciences, including life, earth and space, environmental and physical, gives students experience in data acquisition and analysis in order to draw conclusions. Students gain skills in developing models, critical thinking, organization, collaboration, research, writing lab reports and public speaking. Students work independently to design an experiment in which they utilize the scientific method and present their findings at our annual school-wide Science Fair. At this event, area scientists and engineers judge projects; based on the results, ten students in grades 6, 7 and 8 advance to compete in the Massachusetts Regional State Science and Engineering Fair.

#### STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math)

In Upper Elementary, students build on their STEM experience from Lower Elementary with added rigor in the curriculum. Students are presented with open-ended problems, similar to what we experience in our everyday lives, and are asked to find solutions using the Engineering Design Process. The curriculum adds a higher level of mathematics to more advanced scientific principles. Students are provided with many hands-on activities and experiments throughout the curriculum, allowing them to work through the Engineering Design Process and the Scientific Method. Throughout the process, they gain a better understanding of how engineers and scientist think and solve problems.

#### Spanish

During weekly classes, students progress in their ability to use Spanish according to grade level. Textbooks are introduced in Upper Elementary, providing students with a more advanced learning environment. Students further develop speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills through a variety of creative activities.

Students will:

• Strengthen pronunciation and spelling skills
• Communicate using a broader range of vocabulary and grammar
• Develop writing skills through the construction of sentences and small paragraphs
• Broaden knowledge of Hispanic culture through research and presentations

#### Art

Upper Elementary Art

Students in grades 4-6 attend Art class weekly.  During this time, students explore the Elements of Art (line, value, color, shape, form, space & texture) through engaging individual and group projects.  They also analyze and discuss the work of ground-breaking modern artists.  By creating projects that reflect the style of these artists, the students are able to personally connect with the art they are studying and further enhance their own style.  They are encouraged to push boundaries and to think “outside of the box” as so many of these artists did.  In addition to building traditional fine art skills, the students also learn folk art techniques such as weaving, sewing, jewelry-making, needlepoint. Each spring, students select several works for display in the annual Student Art Show.

Open Art Studio allows students to spend additional time in the Art Room on creative projects they are working on in within their academic curriculum.

During Upper Elementary Art, students will:

• Use a wide variety of art materials to create both 2-D and 3-D works of art
• Build valuable artistic skills such as utilizing perspective, color theory, shading, proportion, and drawing from observation
• Learn about the lives and influential art by artists like Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso, Alexander Calder, Georgia O’Keefe, Frida Kahlo, Georges Seurat, Keith Haring, and Bridget Riley
• Use art to express emotions or ideas
• Create projects that directly relate to the Upper Elementary curriculum

#### Health

ASM’s Health Program engages students in thinking critically about health and healthy behaviors. Students set individual health goals and track their progress. Topics such as the value of good nutrition, positive decision-making and predicting consequences, and Internet safety are discussed. ASM’s Health Program is taught in collaboration with the Physical Education teacher the School Nurse, and guest speakers.

The  curriculum is based upon the Great Body Shop ®. Teaching methods include lecture, demonstration, projects, discussions, and role playing, among others.  We acknowledge that you are your child’s primary health educator and we value your partnership. Your child will bring home materials so that you are aware of the lessons being presented and be involved in their class work.

Upper Elementary students learn about social, emotional, and physical health. Sixth years discuss topics related to growth and development, puberty and reproduction.

#### Library, Media and Technology

Upper Elementary students develop an awareness about the constant flow of information in their lives. Your child will learn how to analyze print and electronic resources, ethically and creatively, while developing sophisticated research skills. The standards-based curriculum guides students through the inquiry process from the selection of a topic to the presentation of a product.  During weekly classes, students have the opportunity to use library resources, seek guidance, and work on projects alone or with peers. Fifth and sixth-year students enjoy one-to-one computing with Chromebooks ®.

Students will:

• Follow rubrics for science fair projects and Spanish class research
• Learn concepts of computer science using code.org
• Use iPads to demonstrate learning through presentations
• Write, read and recite poetry
• Understand how to be good digital citizens
• Cite sources and take notes using the Easybib® application

#### Music

Upper Elementary students meet weekly for classes that incorporate singing, movement and playing instruments such as soprano recorder, alto recorder and hand chimes. Instrument-building projects have included making pan pipes and lip-buzzed “brass” instruments.

Students will:

• Practice skills learned in Lower Elementary
• Become more focused, critical music listeners
• Create lyrics, choreography and music
• Take responsibility for their individual part in performances
• Work collaboratively in small ensembles
• Engage in independent practice in their chosen specialty
• Develop a love and appreciation of music

Sixth year students are invited to incorporate their individual musical pursuits and skills into their group’s performance at their Moving-Up ceremony in June.

#### Physical Education

The mission of our physical education program is to provide students with a safe and positive physical environment while promoting a healthy and active lifestyle.

Upper Elementary students participate in a variety of cooperative activities and team oriented games which will develop advanced locomotor skills and athletic ability. The students will regularly take initiative, act as leaders, and contribute effectively within a team. Upper Elementary students meet twice a week and will learn to play handball, soccer, basketball, volleyball, floor hockey, football,  and adventure games. Students will  understand several types of cardiovascular endurance exercises, agility drills, proper flexibility movements, and a series of strength related exercises.