After a solid Montessori primary education, middle school students at Montessori Renaissance Academy start using textbooks and the curriculum begins a convergence with a more traditional educational methodology. Challenging students to perform to their potential, providing hands-on learning opportunities and emphasizing independence are important Montessori concepts which are maintained at the middle school level.
Writing is emphasized as students learn how to write formal research papers and essays analyzing literature. Students are challenged to read critically and to analyze material in both the history and literature sections of course work. History continues to be taught chronologically starting about 400 BC through the present day. Students are introduced to the physical, life and earth sciences through hands-on experiments and projects. After being tested, students are placed in appropriate levels for math and language. Students also take on more responsibilities including learning entrepreneurial skills through selling school merchandise and participating in fundraisers.
Learn to read novels, short stories and poems analytically. Students are introduced to literary analysis/criticism and terms used for this purpose. (e.g. foreshadowing, climax, point of view, etc.)
New vocabulary is introduced and practiced. Students also participate in vocabulary exercises, puzzles and games. Students learn how to figure out what words mean through analyzing their context.
Students learn to write a literary essay analyzing a novel, short story or poem. Included is the introduction for outlining ideas for an essay and how to effectively plan an essay based on a thesis. Students also practice proofreading and rewriting essays.
Students become comfortable with writing through daily practice in journals and/or assignments.
Students learn grammar concepts important to good writing and practice them in writing assignments and grammar exercises.
Students enter into algebra during the middle school years. Emphasis is on practicing and strengthening the math concepts which students have already learned while introducing new material. Math lessons are interactive and students are encouraged to learn from each other as well as from the teacher. Students are frequently quizzed to ensure that they comprehend the math concepts being covered. Tests are given every one to two weeks. Students advance only after mastering the math concepts being studied. The goal of our math course at this level is to give students a strong basis for further study in advanced algebra and calculus. Our math course also integrates geometry and trigonometry within its curriculum.
Pre-algebra is a transitional math course, moving from the concrete concepts of arithmetic that are mastered initially, to the abstract concepts of algebra. In algebra the student continues on a course of algebraic study, including geometry and the fundamental aspects of problem solving.
If there is one thing that stands out above all else, it is the massive changes that happen for the kids in those middle school years. Emotionally, physically, & mentally! I firmly believe staying at [the school] through the middle school years helped my son be prepared in each of those areas for the next steps in life. He was much more confident in his own abilities, and he knew he was mentally on board and ready for the challenge of high school. He was prepared, not “Mom” was prepared. He was truly ready for his next steps in the journey. I have so much to say, I could write an entire essay!
Students study both World History and American History as they follow the timeline. Seventh Grade students study European Exploration-Early Modern, 1450-1800 AD. Eighth Grade students focus on Modern History, 1800-Present.
History lessons include exploring the methods of studying history and the different types of sources used in historical study. Students evaluate the different perspectives on history and complete many independent research assignments. Students then present these assignments to their classmates. Interactive lectures are also given in history and students learn about note taking. In addition to reading and research assignments, students are tested on each historical unit of study.
Our science program begins with providing a foundation in Physical Science, which provides the necessary tools to continue with a thorough regimen covering both Life Science and Earth Science that is important for further study during the high school years.
A vital component of our science courses are to engage, explore, explain and extend with hands-on activities. This method is consistent with Montessori philosophy of integration utilizing multi-sensory input and discovery.
Our music program is based on the Orff/Kodaly method, which includes a combination of movement, learning the recorder, use of percussion instruments and vocal music.
For foreign language students study Spanish.
Field trips are considered a useful tool in helping to connect the student’s studies to the real world and are, therefore, selected on the basis of academic merit. Field trips are normally scheduled every 4-6 weeks.
Students are required to participate, when appropriate, in activities such as Minnesota History Day and Minnesota Math Masters competitions (where age appropriate). These activities help to connect our students with the wider educational community at the highest levels, and provides a format of competition beyond what they could experience within our smaller school community.