In the intermediate grades at Hillside, differentiated instruction across the curriculum supports individual needs, and students establish a more in-depth understanding of their own learning style, including their strengths and weaknesses. A caring environment provides students with the appreciation for their own unique abilities and those of their peers. Additionally, these grades focus on helping students broaden their interests, take academic risks, and practice using Executive Skills. Weekly science labs and STEAM projects are also added into their curriculum.
Students participate in hands-on learning to build understanding in the academic subject areas, increase recall of the information, and strengthen memory for future applications. Teachers model how to complete an assignment or solve a problem, and then step back, offering support and developing strategies as needed. Assignments can be modified to accommodate different learning styles. This approach gives students practice in learning how to reduce multi-step processes into manageable steps in order to be independent learners. Students explore ways to minimize distractions in order to take increased ownership of attention to task.
An intermediate student is assigned a laptop for in-school use and has the opportunity to use assistive technology for a variety of purposes like using text-to-speech software to dictate thoughts, listening to audiobooks online, and using software to conduct research, take notes, and edit writing. We focus on strengthening keyboarding skills for success in the middle school and beyond.
Direct instruction of Executive Skills helps students understand how to build a foundation for completing projects. Through guided practice, students learn how manage school and life tasks effectively, collaborate and cooperate within groups, and experiment with strategies and tools for focus and attention.
Explicit instruction in Project Read® is a focus for intermediate students in order to improve reading skills and increase comprehension. The EmPOWERTM method is used across content areas to teach writing in a variety of forms and range of purposes.