Middle School

Every student, connected, every day

At Elm Street, we consider our middle school to consist of grades 6, 7 and 8. In preparation for high school, our students begin rotating classes by subject. We provide support as students make this sometimes tumultuous journey from dependence to independence. We continue through the common core, while at the same time, begin preparation for specialized classes, encourage greater community involvement, and foster self expression. While continuing to offer the same nurturing environment that families value in the lower end, we also provide students with more academic challenges such as algebra classes and writing workshops. We ask students to take an active role in their own education as we help set the foundation to become life-long learners. Curiosity, strong organization, critical thinking, respect for others, and open mindedness are all vital parts of our middle school experience.

8th Grade Writing Teacher, Lisa Bartlett
We believe that our eighth grade students must actively engage in their own learning. Our aim is to create and maintain a workshop atmosphere where kids purposely read and write every day in the company of others and with the help of their teachers. To that end, everyone, including teachers, reads and reflects on that reading. Students choose their own books, including fiction, non-fiction, and poetry—often with the recommendation of others. They keep reading notebooks in which they not only record titles of books they’ve read but maintain written correspondence between themselves, peers, and teachers about their reading. Lessons in reading strategies, literary components, and author/genre introductions support individual reading. As the year progresses, students set goals for their own reading development and assess their own work. Writing, a process of pre-writing, writing, rereading, revising, editing, conferring, sharing, and publishing, is ongoing. Teachers demonstrate their own writing processes to show students how to proceed. Together, teachers and students read the work of published authors in order to explore what makes particular kinds of writing effective—writers’ craft such as particular schemes for organization, the use of specific images, the slowing and speeding up of narration, and punctuating dialogue. Again, teachers and students share their efforts in order to help others. Student-teacher and peer conferences extend whole group lessons and are integral to everyone’s writing development. Students choose their own topics within specific studies of writing such as memoir, poetry, or opinion-editorial pieces. They also make decisions about how they will do that writing and, as in reading workshop, set goals and self-evaluate their processes, as well as their finished writing. The goal is for students to grow as readers, writers, and thinkers, but it is also to tap into the social nature of the age and to help students navigate through the process of growing up.

Social Studies Teacher, Theresa Farnsworth
Within a structured classroom, Elm Street School maintains an environment where students are free to be who they are while respectfully putting forth their best efforts in behavior, work and studies. Through personal interaction, we study each student’s learning style and adapt methods of teaching to meet individual needs. Our goal is for students to become independent thinkers, inquisitive learners, and responsible citizens. Sixth grade studies ancient civilizations, cultures and geography. Seventh grade studies early U.S. History, Geography, Civics and Government. Eighth grade studies U.S. History from Restoration to the Present, Geography and Maine History. All classes demonstrate their learning through 2-D and 3-D projects, electronic presentations, discussions, formal writing, speeches, poems, re-enactments, physical movement, games, tests and quizzes.

Math Teacher, Lauren Sprague
In the middle school math classes at Elm Street School students use technology, manipulatives, problem solving, and real-world applications to prepare for living in an ever-changing society. Our curriculum is challenging and relevant, helping students to think critically and solve problems independently. We strive to meet the needs of each student, understanding that challenging math concepts are grasped at different rates and through different learning styles. Students in sixth and seventh grade are allowed to transition into various groups and move at different rates through the curriculum. In eighth grade, students may take either eighth grade math or Algebra 1. Students apply their math skills in real world applications like designing a dream bedroom or recreational facility using proportions and scale factors.