ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS
The English Language Arts department utilizes a Reading Workshop, Units of Study curriculum, published by Heinemann and developed by the Columbia University Teacher’s College.
Explicit instruction in the strategies and skills of proficient reading is provided via mini lessons and peer/partner feedback. Reading partners also help support each other in setting reading goals and providing a system of finding good books.
Providing extended amounts of time to read in class following mini lessons is an important component of the curriculum. Students are expected to read both in school and at home and to record their progress in reading logs. Post-it notes and reading notebook entries are used to make their thinking and comprehension about texts visible. Routine one-on-one sessions of conferencing with students is done during their class reading time.
The ELA Department regularly collaborates with the Social Studies Department to create and implement humanities projects.
Illustrative Math: All students in sixth and seventh grades and approximately half in eighth grade are enrolled in Illustrative Mathematics. This is a problem-based curriculum that has students work on carefully crafted and sequenced mathematics problems during most of our instructional time while we help students understand the problems and guide discussions to be sure that the mathematical takeaways are clear to all. The value of a problem-based approach is that students spend most of their time in math class doing mathematics: making sense of problems, estimating, trying different approaches, selecting and using appropriate tools, evaluating the reasonableness of their answers, interpreting the significance of their answers, noticing patterns and making generalizations, explaining their reasoning verbally and in writing, listening to the reasoning of others, and building their understanding.
ALEKS Math: All 3 grade levels utilize ALEKS (Assessment and Learning in Knowledge Spaces), an online tutorial program to supplement their math instruction. Students are given an initial assessment to determine mathematical knowledge. ALEKS then provides targeted instruction based on a student's knowledge. Students complete topics they are ready to learn and are periodically reassessed.
Algebra: The eighth grade students enrolled the advanced mathematics class use the State of Hawaii Algebra I curriculum that is aligned to the Common Core State Standards. The curriculum provides students with a variety of Algebra topics that are called modules. The module topics include: Functions, Linear Functions, Systems of Equations and Quadratics. As students work through each module, they use the Standards for Mathematical Practice to address the learning targets given. Students are given the End of Course (EOC) Exam in the Spring. Students who successfully met the criteria of the exam can receive a high school Algebra I credit.
The science program includes three year-long courses in Physical Science (sixth grade), Life Science (seventh grade) and Earth & Space Science (eighth grade) exposing students to various Science, Technology, Engineering, 'Aina, and Math career opportunities. Students use a digital curriculum, AmplifyScience, which incorporates literacy-focused activities, hands-on investigations and interactive digital tools requiring students to think, read, write, and argue like real scientists and engineers. Students also participate in extended outdoor learning experiences through the school garden and community partnerships.
The Social Studies curriculum at Waimea Middle School follows three distinct but interrelated standards: The Common Core Grades 6-8 Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects as well as the Hawaii Content and Performance Standards and the C3 framework. While these standards guide the content taught at each grade level, the department has made significant moves towards adopting an Integrated, project-based approach to teaching and learning. The Social Studies department designs their projects to allow students to understand the required content and to improve their basic literacy skills as well as the 21st century skills they will need to succeed in high school and beyond.
The sixth grade curriculum focuses on Ancient Civilizations. Students focus on literacy skills including reading informational text and communicating their knowledge through writing. Instruction in text structure, note-taking and summarizing are emphasized.
The seventh grade curriculum is divided into two parts. The first half of the year is titled The History of the Hawaiian Kingdom. The second half of the year focuses on Pacific Island Studies. Project/place-based learning is emphasized.
Eighth grade social studies focuses on U.S. History. The eighth grade social studies teacher and the eighth grade ELA teacher collaborate to incorporate project-based learning.
WMS offers an Extended Core program each quarter for 10 weeks. By the end of the school year, every sixth-eighth grade student will have gone through each Extended Core class. Classes offered for the 2022-23 school year are:
'Ike Hawai'i: ‘Ike Hawai’i offers school-wide cultural protocols, chanting, mo'olelo, and work in the Mala’ai Garden. This class tries to integrate grade level themes culturally.
Writing Workshop: The Writing Workshop model is used as a basis for the class. The belief is that each student in the class is a working author. The teacher is a peer coach, guiding students as they explore their craft. Teachers work alongside their students and share their own work as well. Students write independently, collaborate with their peers, refine their work, and share with the class.
Technology (Gr. 6 & 7): In sixth grade Technology class, students learn how to navigate Google Drive (Docs, Drawing, Spreadsheet, Presentation) and also incorporate internet safety. In seventh grade Technology class, students compare and contrast Google Drive to Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher). In addition, both classes focus on keyboarding skills.
Business (Basic Practical Arts - Gr. 8): Students learn real-world skills through job searching, cover letter and resume designing, filling out job applications and practicing and role-playing mock job interviews as both an interviewer and interviewee.
Art: Through an OHA grant, students are able to participate in an extended core Art class during the first semester of the SY. Using Hawaiian culture based instruction, students create personal and group art pieces that are shared with their peers and with the wider community.
The majority of our special education students are placed in an inclusion setting with their peers in regular education classes and receive supports from special education personnel as needed. There are a few students who are in smaller class settings for ELA and Math where they receive even more specialized instruction to meet their level of needs.
There are a variety of “electives” offered to our students. Some are based on student interest and/or teacher passion; others are intervention classes.