Inspiring students to become strong, mathematical thinkers within a community of learners.
We use the common core standards to determine our units of study in math for grades K-6. When planning our lessons, we use a variety of sources, including Everyday Mathematics, a program developed by The University of Chicago, along with resources from the National Council of Teachers on Mathematics.
Students have many opportunities to learn through group projects, labs, manipulatives, and games. Each week there are a variety of ways that students are taught mathematics. There are whole-group and small-group lessons; movement lessons (dancing the bunny hop to learn about medians in a set of data, or pretend snowboarding to learn about 90 and 180 degree angle turns); art lessons (origami to review polygon shapes); story book lessons (reading and discussing Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi by Cindy Newslinger); inquiry-based problem solving lessons; and action labs (calibrating containers or playing PIG to determine the probability of winning or losing based on who goes first). Teachers continually assess to evaluate both student progress and teacher effectiveness.
Students in grades 7th and 8th are offered a choice of three math courses: Pre-Algebra, Algebra I, and either Algebra II or Geometry. While students enjoy hands-on labs and logic problems each quarter, note-taking is incorporated into main lessons as the students advance through each course. Learning to organize a math notebook and learning how to study for a math test is a focus that our former students say has served them well!
At TLC, integration across disciplines flows naturally from our teaching and learning philosophies and helps students assimilate new information into their prior understanding. We draw on students’ own experiences and expand them into new concepts and ideas. We connect science to math, language arts, and social studies through class readings, discussions, and projects. As a result, students come to see science as a useful process for understanding the world around them.
We use inquiry in our approach to teaching science so that students can direct their learning based on their interests, yet remain grounded in the context of the content we are teaching. We split the vast scope of curriculum into three divisions: Earth Science, Life Science, and Physical Science, focusing on one domain each year. Teaching in this way allows us to delve into concepts more deeply, coordinate instruction, and share across grade levels.
Communication is an essential science skill. Our science program not only grows in depth and complexity as students progress through the grades, but it provides multiple opportunities for students to learn valuable comprehension and communication skills through reading and writing nonfiction, informational texts. In the upper grades, this is enhanced by delving deeply into current science topics with a variety of research projects.
Integration, inquiry, and communication come together each year in our science fair. Students design, conduct, and present their own research to a larger audience. Kindergarteners through 4th graders participate in a community science fair each year, while 5th through 8th graders alternate between research projects and science fair projects.
Our beautiful campus fosters a strong connection to our physical environment. We deepen this connection through our science curriculum. In fact, we often use the outdoors as our classroom and laboratory! Through science service learning opportunities, students connect with their environment, serve the community, and understand environmental systems through first-hand experience. Off-campus field studies enrich and expand the curriculum with new perspectives, diverse viewpoints, and fresh contexts for learning.