While students throughout the school have very different lessons, we create opportunities for them to often work together, building a strong sense of community, reinforcing respect and social responsibility.
In grades 3 through 8, students begin each school day in ‘Morning Meeting’ with a variety of activities to get their brains and their bodies in gear. Activities include games with mixed-grade teams, community service projects, brainteasers, and physical exercise. In addition, students in these grades eat lunch together and enjoy recess together every day. During the Winter the students spend Friday afternoons being the EPDS Ski Club. Students in grades 5-8 also attend Camp Kieve in Nobleboro, Maine. During this week-long program, students participate in outdoor/indoor activities geared towards self-reflection, group-work, and team-building.
Leveraging the Digital World
Students in grades 3-8 utilize technology in all subject areas. Google Docs are used for slide presentations and word processing. Students use Glogster EDU and Google Docs to present what they have learned in different areas as well as use our interactive projected whiteboard. Students use interactive websites to enhance learning, including the educational partnership sites of Museum of Science, National Geographic, the Smithsonian, the BBC, and many others.
Developing Executive Function Skills
Built into our daily structure, students learn the importance of organizational management and time management. Our small class sizes allow teachers to identify and work directly with students to help hone skills to better manage their school work. Students use a folder system to keep track of class materials, and are taught how to prioritize, highlight and organize information in various ways.
Integrated Themes Across Curriculum
When it makes sense, subjects are integrated around projects. For instance, if students are learning about historical figures in social studies, that theme is integrated in Language Arts, and students would read a biography of one of these figures for a book report, creating scrapbooks with descriptions. For example, we recently completed an integrated project on the Aztecs where students learned about the Aztec civilization in social studies. In art, they learned about masks and made their own Aztec mask. In Language Arts, they used drama skills to act out the Aztec myth, Magicians of the Sun, for an audience.