Our Humanities program is designed to maximize our students’ academic and social-emotional learning. We take an individualized approach which allows us to meet our students where they are, and also enables us to help them to develop skills and move forward from there. We take advantage of our small class sizes which enables us to know our students well, both as learners and as people.
In 2016, Roycemore's Middle School changed its approach from traditional English and History to a Humanities program. Research indicates that middle school age students are better able to focus on critical thinking and key concepts when content is not artificially broken into disparate chunks. By combining Language Arts and History, students are better able to deeply consider the content while simultaneously strengthening their reading, writing, speaking, and social studies skills.
At a fundamental level, writing is about communication, and we take a holistic and research-based approach to ensure that our students develop both a voice and the technical writing skills that are essential to becoming effective and compelling communicators. To this end, we use a combination of mini-lessons, individualized online practice, peer-editing, and teacher-student conference; we call this Writer’s Workshop.
We also believe that our students are citizens of the world and that an important part of our job is to help them to become knowledgeable citizens. We watch and discuss the news on a daily basis, and we read articles about current political issues. We want our students to develop a well rounded-knowledge base, critical thinking skills, empathy, and to appreciate the divergent views that come with a stronger understanding of people from different backgrounds. In both Language Arts and Social Studies, we do not want our students to memorize the correct answer; rather, we want them to come up with their own answer, and then use what they know to justify and defend it in a variety of forms.
Throughout the school year, we teach several units. Our grouping changes with each unit. Sometimes our students are split by grade level, while at other times we combine our fifth and sixth grades and our seventh and eighth grades. Single grade units allow us to meet the learning needs of each grade level, while multi-grade units allow facilitation of flexible groupings of students so that we can best meet their academic and social needs and offer our students a greater number of perspectives.
Seventh grader Sanjeev G. helps his second grade reading buddy hone his presentation skills. (above)
Seventh grader Michaela F. and eighth grader Cici Y. work on costumes for their film adaptation of a short story. (below)