Middle school students use the Project Read: Report Form program to learn the nuts and bolts of nonfiction reading comprehension. This program is integrated with the Landmark note-taking system to help students assemble and organize facts as they tackle research projects in their science and social studies classes. Younger students take their notes to language arts class where the details are organized into an outline and subsequently typed. Older students use Noodle Tools, an online program, to help them paraphrase information, correct wording and punctuation and create bibliographies. They complete the writing process in language arts using a combination of Word, Ginger, Co-writer and Cliptalk.
Vocabulary Development. High frequency vocabulary words are posted in the hallways, in the classrooms and on the tera station and their use is reinforced across the curriculum. Students are tested on the words every two weeks and a review takes place after 20 words are acquired.
Brain Gym. Brain Gym is a series of movements that children undergo at the start of each day as well as often after lunch and at the start of a class to induce optimal learning. These activities were developed by Paul and Gail Dennison who base their work on “the interdependence of movement, cognition, and applied learning.” The movements lead to improvements in such areas as: concentration and focus, memory, organizational skills and academics. The movements are geared to subject areas, for example, moving one’s eyes up and down is preparation for a math class, moving eyes left to right prepares for reading. Having students rapidly tap below their clavicles helps energize them. Many exercises involve crossing the midline such as touching elbow to the opposite knee and crossing arms and then legs in succession. These exercises help develop core stability, bilateral coordination and hemispheric dominance and have also been found improve cognitive skills.