Our challenging standards-based curriculum emphasizes the development of essential skills, the understanding of important concepts, and the ability to apply learning to real-world problems.
Our curriculum includes courses of study for all students in English language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, world languages, music, visual arts, physical education, and health. In addition, students take grade-specific trimester courses in technology, research, and study skills which are designed to support their integrated learning experience.
English Language Arts
The English Language Arts curriculum is anchored by the New York State English Language Arts Learning Standards, revised in 2017. Our vertically aligned program builds on skill development from sixth through eighth grade, focusing on reading, writing, listening, and speaking for literary response and expression, information, and critical analysis. Each year, students produce a variety of written pieces, including narrative, persuasive, and informative pieces. Teachers provide lessons in grammar and mechanics and guide students through the writing process, emphasizing planning, drafting, and actively participating in collaborative groups to revise and edit their work. Teachers evaluate student writing using the 6 + 1 Writing Traits. The ELA curriculum also provides students with a rich literary experience with opportunities to choose books that are both challenging and interesting to them. Each year, students read from a variety of genres, complete novel studies, and read a number of books working toward their personal reading goals. As they read independently, in pairs and small groups, and with the entire class, they learn and apply a variety of reading strategies to develop their ability to comprehend, synthesize, analyze, and enjoy the texts they read. In addition, students participate in a word study program that offers continued exposure to new vocabulary. As a result of the comprehensive ASMS three-year program, students will develop an appreciation for the language arts and confidence in their ability to read, write, and communicate as they continue on their journeys as life-long learners.
The sixth grade ELA curriculum allows students from diverse elementary backgrounds to construct a common set of skills and strategies for reading comprehension and writing. The class is organized as a workshop, with units that focus on reading and writing genres that include realistic fiction, fairy tales and fantasy, memoir, historical fiction, informational text, and persuasive text. This format allows students to make their own choices about the books they will read for class and encourages them to set and meet ambitious personal reading goals. In addition, students will build general comprehension strategies, learn the characteristics of each genre they read, begin to understand how authors craft their messages in the various genres, and start to question how these messages apply to their own lives. While studying each genre, students build vocabulary and practice comprehension, conversation, and analysis skills through independent reading and group discussions. All units conclude with writing original pieces. The 6+1 Traits of Writing provide a framework for understanding how to develop effective writing beyond proper punctuation and grammar. Students learn to develop and organize their ideas and create fluid, natural-sounding sentences.