Intermediate Learning Community
At Saint Mary School the Intermediate Learning Community is made up of teachers and students in grades 4-6. Responsibility and independence are key contributors to success in these grades and our teachers encourage the development of these traits in children by providing opportunities for success and scaffolding growth. It becomes the child’s responsibility to complete daily assignments and homework on time. Organization is a critical quality to develop at this age. Our teachers help their students organize the day, their belongings and their thoughts, so they are better equipped to work independently and productively and maximize their potential to learn. Homework, too, helps children work and think independently, and is a major development for children this age.
The academic content changes a little in these grades, as well. Early on in school children spent a large amount of time learning to read. In the intermediate grades students uses their reading skills to learn other content area material. Continuing to supply children with enjoyable reading material is important not only to maintain a love of reading, but to provide opportunities for them to practice and hone the language arts skills that are used in the classroom. Students in these grades value working with partners and in small groups. Our teachers incorporate collaborative practices and strategies into their lessons to take advantage of their students’ interest in this area and engage them in learning.
With a shift in curricular focus comes increased exposure to science, fine arts, social studies and religion concepts. This is an exciting time for students, as their knowledge of the world is expanding and allowing them to identify how parts of the whole fit together. Their capacity for abstract concepts increases as well, making the intermediate grades an ideal time for teachers to focus on higher order thinking skills and problem solving. Our teachers integrate critical and creative thinking skills into project and lesson planning to capitalize on the growth and interests of their students.
By acknowledging the social nature of the students, introducing a collaborative design to the classroom and increasing abstract academic content, our teachers are able to create a curricular program that is relevant and meaningful for their intermediate grade students.