5th – 8th Grade: A Dynamic, Flexible Curriculum
AZ Academy has developed a fluid curriculum where teachers use the resources described below to create responsive learning objectives that meet the needs of each unique class of students. The academic emphasis is on standards-based instruction with two objectives: 1) Mastery of fundamentals, and 2) Cultivation of higher order thinking skills. AZ Academy’s approach to curriculum development is a large part of the AZ difference!
The language arts program at AZ Academy is generally a double class period that is designed to support reading and writing development as intertwined processes. Students thoughtfully reflect on reading, produce authentic writing, and learn grammar and usage through mini-lessons based on their reading and writing experiences. Spelling can be addressed through pre-developed group lists or through individualized lists, and is usually embedded within the context of what is being read in the classroom or through studies in science or social studies units. Resources at each grade level typically include a variety of leveled readers, reading anthologies, novels and study guides, alternative assessment guides, English grammar texts, and spelling workbooks.
The foundation of AZ’s social studies program comes from Houghton Mifflin, a series that begins with a consideration of families and neighborhoods and moves out in ever widening circles through American and world history and geography. Instruction focuses on reading samples of literature from different times and cultures and skill-building activities such as reading maps, interpreting art, and predicting outcomes. History becomes so much more than just a list of events from the past! Local and Caribbean history is addressed through thematic units developed by teachers. In addition, teachers supplement instruction with alternative assessments such as field, multimedia, cooperative, and research projects that showcase what has been learned. It makes for a rich, personal learning experience about the world around us and beyond. Once in middle school, instruction is online in a multimedia rich environment that is driven by an instructor in the classroom. Students learn how to take online classes and use technology tools to demonstrate learning.
The foundation of the science program comes from McGraw-Hill. These texts are designed to gradually build a student’s depth of understanding in various disciplines in science (i.e. physics, chemistry, biology). Ultimately, students will find themselves exploring topics developed earlier in the series and then expanding upon that foundation. Through labs and demonstrations students will practice the scientific method, and through research and publication, they will showcase their ability to develop a hypothesis and a corresponding experiment. Once in middle school, studies become more focused with courses such as life science, earth science, and physical science. The overarching goal of the program is to stimulate reasoning skills.
Grades K-8th utilize a progressive program developed by Saxon Mathematics. Additional support is provided through the use of manipulatives and high interest math laboratories. The focus is on developing estimation, problem-solving, reasoning and operations.
Students in grades 7-8th have the opportunity to move on to pre-algebra and algebra. The textbooks contain a college preparatory format with advanced concepts interwoven throughout for enrichment. In addition, the program provides meaningful applications so that students can see real world uses for algebra skills.