What is Integrated Curriculum?
One of the hallmarks of Friends Middle School is our commitment to making learning engaging and relevant for students. The Integrated Curriculum (IC) model ensures that what students are learning is connected to a variety of subject areas. It requires both focused and big-picture thinking. It is built on research that understands how middle school students learn, socialize and succeed.
We love how the IC model engages students by including their big questions about themselves and the world in the process of determining larger themes of study and holds them accountable for learning and demonstrating deep understanding of new information and new skills. While all subject areas are addressed, they are done so without typical content area delineations. In other words, science is not separated out from social studies, language arts, social/emotional learning and relevant math concepts. They are tied together in meaningful ways that keep students from wondering, “Why are we learning this?”
What does this look like in the classroom?
Our classrooms are hives of activity. They are not always quiet places because learning is both an independent and a social process. READ MORE
Engagement in mathematical learning is best when multifaceted, where students learn grade-level skills as well as complex concepts such as how to see the world from a mathematical perspective.
Our approach teaches that math is relevant and useful in real-life applications, attunes students to seeing those mathematical applications and reveals patterns in different experiences.
Students study math in a dedicated math class, building a deep understanding of numeracy, problem solving strategies and abstract concepts. Students are placed in classes that are appropriately challenging where they strengthen their knowledge and successfully master concepts. We offer grade level lessons through advanced classes in Algebra 1 and Geometry. This approach allows students to develop skills in a wide range of mathematical situations. Our experienced math specialist teaches all math classes.
We set a wide-range of goals for language arts and literacy. The most important of these goals is to cultivate in each student a love of reading. While reading and comparing various genres, students gain insight to themes in literature that connect all humans. They develop an understanding of the purpose and effects of various literary elements that make reading compelling. Reading non-fiction and engaging in research projects, students learn critical reading skills that allow them to judge arguments, determine assumptions and make decisions in practical applications.
Writing for diverse and relevant purposes help students to learn writing mechanics, grammar and style. Students gain experience expressing themselves orally and in writing, creatively and accurately, with the ultimate goal of being confident writers with a unique voice.
We accomplish this within our Integrated Curriculum, leveraging writing and oral presentations for individual assessments.
We build on students’ natural inclinations to ask and answer questions about the world to teach the scientific method. Students practice design thinking (that includes the cycle of empathizing, defining, brainstorming, prototyping, testing, refining, and retesting) through challenging problem-solving experiments. These experiences connect into our Integrated Curriculum themes. Our approach builds confidence, resiliency and a sense of purpose.
We combine theoretical information from life, physical and earth sciences with practical applications in hands-on, relevant experiences highlighting the interconnected nature of systems. Labs, fieldwork, technological challenges and projects are all avenues that inform our students’ scientific education.
Our social studies curriculum supports students’ growing understanding about people, where we thrive and how we struggle as we live and work together.
We help students see patterns of human behavior through an examination of historical events and examine how choices impact the present world. Students learn to appreciate challenges and opportunities that various cultures and groups confront while understanding the contributions all make to our current situations.
Students learn how geography impacts culture, about resource allocation, and how governmental structures influence citizens. Our Integrated Curriculum helps students develop and deepen their perspectives by providing opportunities to understand how they can have an impact in the community and the world beyond.
Learning another language broadens cultural understanding and helps set the stage for students to engage in global thinking, awareness and citizenship.
Our Spanish curriculum provides grammatical instruction and conversational practice. We build in relevant topics to better engage students in speaking and understanding the language. Students have opportunities to talk with native speakers in the community as a way of augmenting cultural and linguistic knowledge.
Varying instructional levels meet the needs of Spanish language learners with a range of abilities.
Engagement in artistic endeavors aligns with scientific evidence that opportunities for creativity inspire deeper learning and greater personal and interpersonal understanding.
Students are required to participate in art and music classes. Music, visual arts, technical arts and drama are used to help students learn to express themselves and build their personal identity. In addition, the arts strengthen learning and deepen content understanding in creative and powerful ways. Our program, which includes technical skill building in all creative arts, helps to develop an appreciation of others’ perspectives and unique qualities.
Art integration provides additional opportunities for students to demonstrate their learning and knowledge in creative ways.