Learning Areas

Six Learning Areas

Using the four Design Principles as guides, MMS expects students to achieve competency in Six Learning Areas complimenting the school culture, preparation for citizenship, working toward academic goals and assistance in giving shape to ideas.  The Six Learning Areas are:

Collaboration

How do I work with others?

Many projects require students to work together in small, medium and large groups to draw upon their collective thinking and experience.  When students work in teams on projects, their collaboration is an explicit focus for assessment.  In large groups, no one student is permitted more than a five minute platform, and every student must contribute.  Students are taught respectful techniques to encourage others and productive forms of critique.

Technology

How do I use technology for research, production and presentation?

The “tech” at Mountain Middle School is not for consumption; it is for production. Students will develop expertise with both computer hardware and software.  The faculty will also encourage students to discuss the various technologies that they use in their projects – how they use the technology, what problems they meet, how they might improve it, and what steps they will take next.

Communication

How do I take in and express information?

Faculty, peers and community members will encourage students’ oral and written communication skills in classroom discussions, group work, and advisory groups.  The end-of-semester Presentations of Learning will provide students opportunities to demonstrate learning as well as to receive feedback from peers, teachers and community members.

Art and Design

How do I give shape to my ideas?

Students will study four basic elements of art: history, production aesthetics and criticism.  They will learn how to communicate ideas through self-expression and will develop an artistic understanding of the world.  Students will also learn digital painting, drawing and sculpture media.

Ethics and Responsibility

How do my beliefs inform my actions?

Students will routinely be asked to explore ethical issues in social studies, science advisory groups and in community meetings to develop assessment skills.

Habits of Mind

How do I think critically?

In approaching data and developing projects, staff and students will practice asking these critical questions:

  • Perspective: What is the viewpoint?
  • Evidence: How do we know?
  • Relevance: Why does it matter?
  • Connection:  How does this connect to other things?
  • Supposition: What if things were different?

MMS believes that the essential elements of project-based learning, aligned with the four Design Principles and Six Learning Areas, dovetail with the MMS Core Beliefs, shown below.

Each student deserves:

  • An individualized curriculum that is designed on the needs, strengths, abilities, and learning style of each student;
  • An environment reinforcing the belief that every individual has a unique potential that can be developed, while understanding that not every student can be successful all of the time;
  • An open and receptive atmosphere that respects and encourages individual ideas and intellectual pursuits of every student and faculty member;
  • An environment where faculty, staff, and administrators lead by example for student  attainment of honesty, respect for others, and truth and therefore selflessness; fostering meaningful student-faculty interaction; and
  • Instructors shall receive continuing education on the cognitive, academic and emotional benefits of project- based learning teaching methodologies relevant for 6th, 7th, and 8th graders.