Our Middle School academic program transitions students with dyslexia and other learning differences beyond remediation of reading, writing, and math skills. Our classes build a bridge between the growth of foundational skills and introduction of grade-level content, ensuring learners are prepared for high school. Every lesson is presented using a multisensory instructional approach and integrates assistive technology.
Middle School students are ability-grouped and take four 60-minute classes per day: mathematics, language arts, science, and social studies. They also have a daily intervention period and an elective.
Middle School language arts classes focus on oral reading techniques, which continuously enhance fluency and comprehension. Students who are decoding at grade level are introduced to novels where guided reading techniques help them develop independent reading skills. Students with significant deficits in reading benefit from Codebreakers, our Orton-Gillingham-based, multisensory reading intervention. All of our students benefit from a guided writing process, so a multidisciplinary, sequential approach to writing is in place that moves writers from simple paragraphs to a more lengthy response.
In order for students with dyslexia and other learning differences to become successful mathematicians, they must understand the why behind math. Middle School math teachers use manipulatives and other concrete items to further a student’s understanding. We utilize direct, consistent language in math instruction, as well as multisensory activities, and CRA sequencing. Our goal is to prepare every student for Algebra I (or a higher-level course) in ninth grade.
The Middle School science curriculum is based on the philosophy that students learn best through an active, collaborative, and hands-on approach. Seventh graders study life science, while eighth graders study earth science through the following phases (also known at 5E): engage, explore, explain, elaborate, and evaluate. Our goal is to get students asking questions and drawing on their existing knowledge base to make connections as they experience the scientific process.
Through the careful study of history and culture, our Middle School students are challenged to consider how the actions of the past may impact current events. The goal is for every student to become an active and responsible participant in our civic and social system. Seventh graders are exposed to world history, hosting our annual Greek Olympics event for their peers and parents to enjoy. The eighth graders study American history, with many different project-based learning initiatives throughout the year. As part of the social studies experience, students develop note-taking, organizational, and study skills.
The middle school’s very intentional daily schedule devotes the final 45 minutes of each day to a non-graded elective. Students are offered high-interest choices that range from visual arts to STEM to gaming strategy, nature, rock music, team sports, and more (there’s something for everyone). And while a lot of laughter and chatter can be overheard from the hallway, the objective of this program is more complex. Each class is designed to bolster important skills, such as the ability to think critically, solve problems, collaborate with peers, apply reason, and more. It’s where our students grow new friendships, discover passions, and develop hobbies. Ask any Lawrence middle schooler about their favorite part of the school day and you’ll get the same reply: “last period!”
Orton-Gillingham. What is it?
Our commitment to multisensory learning is rooted in decades of research on how the dyslexic mind retains new information.
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