English Language Arts:

Aligned to the ACCRS, the English Language Arts (reading, writing, and speaking) will be taught for 90 minutes per day, 30 minutes of which will be solely reserved for leveled reading classes. The remaining 60 minutes will be comprised of an ELA instructional period that incorporates reading, writing, and speaking using grade level strategies. The Pensar Academy ELA instructional materials will include:

* A reading intervention program, such as SRA or Read Naturally, that is systematic and logically sequenced to provide students with missing phonics to increase fluency and comprehension.

* The Study Island Online Program. With an English Language Arts curriculum set by the ACCRS, Study Island utilizes engaging technology to deliver self-paced, individualized learning. Study Island also has instructional resources available for the classroom teacher to instruct whole group. This program will allow for students to practice grammar skills, reading skills, and writing skills that link to whole group lessons. Study Island will be the practice and extension for our students in Level II of the Pensar Academy Instructional Rotation Model.

* The Scholastic Reading Program. This Program provides individual students with a simplified system to track reading growth. Students are assessed using the Scholastic Reading Inventory online assessment and given a Lexile score. This Lexile score can be used to determine what grade level a student is reading at, as well as what titles of books to read to show growth. Assessments are given monthly. Students will be assigned books 50-100 points above their Lexile ranges and within their personal interest.

* Teacher generated units. The Pensar Academy Curriculum Team will lay out the daily learning objectives on an academic calendar based on the Backward Design from the ACCRS. The delivery of direct instruction of the daily objective will be formulated by the classroom teacher. The teachers at Pensar Academy will create a Lesson Plan Collection to share resources and activities. The creation of the lesson plan resources will be pulled from online resources, such as Flocabulary, Schmoop, and Teacherpayteachers.

The English Language Arts objectives will be embedded into the Social Studies block in a Project Based Learning activity.

Social Studies:

Aligned to the ACCRS, Social Studies will be taught for 60 minutes per day utilizing a Project Based curriculum. The Pensar Academy Social Studies curriculum will include the Political, Economic, Geographic, and Social aspects of society. The instructional materials will include:

* Project Citizen. Project Citizen is a middle school program that provides students with the opportunity to navigate through the layers of government to shape public policy. With Project Citizen, students identify a community problem, analyze current policies, construct alternative policies, and devise action plans. The culminating projects will be entered into the Project Citizen annual competition.

* Project Based Learning (PBL). Students will be presented with real world questions and challenges to resolve. The Buck Institute for Education (BIE) will provide project based activities and Professional Development ideas for Pensar Academy staff and students. The BIE outlines several essential components to PBL:

– The teaching of significant content.

– The application of the 21st Century skills of collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking.

– The engagement of students in in-depth inquiry.

– The framing of student research through a driving question(s).

– The identification of the need to know content and skills.

– The allowance of personal choice.

– The sharing of findings with a public audience.

* Teacher Generated Lessons. The Pensar Academy Curriculum Team will lay out the daily learning objectives on an academic calendar based on the Backward Design from the ACCRS. The delivery of direct instruction of the daily objective will be formulated by the classroom teacher. The teachers at Pensar Academy will create a Lesson Plan Collection to share resources and activities. The creation of the lesson plan resources will be pulled from online resources, such as Flocabulary, Schmoop, and Teacherpayteachers.

* Junior Scholastic. The Junior Scholastic program is comprised of current events and social studies articles for middle school students. The Junior Scholastic program is aligned to the ACCRS with ELA standards including vocabulary extensions, paired texts, and source work.

Math:

Aligned to the ACCRS, math direct instruction and online learning will occur in combination for 60 minutes per day. The Pensar Academy math curriculum will be designed with a Project Based component for students to apply daily mastered objectives in real-world scenarios for 50 minutes per day. Math instruction will utilize the following curricular materials:

* Teacher Generated Lessons A concrete to semi-concrete to abstract continuum.

* Number Talks: The use of interactive language and number talks will be written in constructive responses and also shared in small group.

* Study Island Online Program. With a Math curriculum set by the ACCRS, Study Island utilizes engaging technology to deliver self-paced, individualized learning. Study Island also has instructional resources available for the classroom teacher to instruct whole group. This program will allow for students to practice math problem solving skills, calculation skills, and application skills that link to whole group lessons. Study Island will be the practice and extension for our students in Level II of the Pensar Academy Instructional Rotation Model.

* Khan Academy. Aligned to the Common Core, Khan Academy is a free online learning program that allows for a high degree of differentiation in math and science. Khan Academy will be utilized as an additional source for practice and extension in Level II of the Pensar Academy Instructional Rotation Model. In addition, Khan Academy materials will be used to aide teachers in whole group lesson delivery.

Science:

Aligned to the ACCRS, whole group Science instruction will be taught for 40 minutes per day. New scientific theories, research skills, and data analysis will be taught using the direct instruction model on a daily basis. Each scientific lesson will be extended in a lab that is problem based for students to construct their own learning. In order to understand the complexity of Science, our students will be active researchers, theorists, and reflective experimenters. Science will utilize the following curricular materials:

* Project Based Curriculum (PBL). Students will be presented with real world questions and challenges to resolve. The Buck Institute for Education (BIE) will provide project based activities and Professional Development ideas for Pensar Academy staff and students. The BIE outlines eight essential components to PBL:

– The teaching of significant content.

– The application of the 21st Century skills of collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking.

– The engagement of students in in-depth inquiry.

– The framing of student research through a driving question(s).

– The identification of the need to know content and skills.

– The allowance of personal choice.

– The sharing of findings with a public audience.

– Scholastic Science World. This program provides current event discoveries in the fields of biology, chemistry, physics, engineering, and earth sciences. The lesson plans are aligned to the ACCRS and are available electronically.

* Teacher Generated Lessons. The Pensar Academy Curriculum Team will lay out the daily learning objectives on an academic calendar based on the Backward Design from the ACCRS. The delivery of direct instruction of the daily objective will be formulated by the classroom teacher. The teachers at Pensar Academy will create a Lesson Plan Collection to share resources and activities. The creation of the lesson plan resources will be pulled from online resources, such as Teacherspayteachers.com and Amazon.

Elective Classes:

* Life Skills Classes:

– Life Prep. Pensar Academy will work with each student toward maximizing success through systemic thinking, metacognitive strategies, and proactive planning. In this course, students will learn motivational, organizational, and academic strategies to maximize success inside and outside the classroom. Students will learn how to set goals and plan according to Backward Design.

– Career Prep. Pensar Academy will work with each student to utilize Backward Design in his/her career trajectory to ensure more career choices are unlocked. In this course, students will take career aptitude and interest inventories, explore career options through research and interviews, and trajectory plan for a career of their choice. The culminating project will be a project based presentation on a chosen career for a Career Symposium showcased at the Capstone Celebration of Learning Night.

– Education Prep. Pensar Academy will work with each student to utilize Backward Design in his/her academic trajectory to ensure that post-secondary education is a viable option. In this course, students will learn the processes of post-secondary education, such as program choices, enrollment requirements, and logistical requirements. Logistical requirements will encompass how to finance post-secondary education, how to maximize resources, and what post-secondary degrees/certificates open which employment opportunities. The culminating project will be a project based presentation on a chosen post-secondary school for a Post-Secondary Symposium showcased at the Capstone Celebration of Learning Night.

– Financial Prep. In this course, students will study financial literacy. Financial literacy will include responsible budgeting techniques, maximizing the consumer credit system, and navigating through financial institution services. The culminating project will be a project based presentation on a chosen finance topic for a Financial Symposium showcased at the Capstone Celebration of Learning Night.

Chess

The curriculum for the chess program will be the Chess Magnet School Curriculum, an online program developed by Mr. Harlan Lee, a professional educator and chess master. The Chess Magnet School Curriculum is driven by daily lessons that scaffold and advance each student on an individual basis.

Physical Education.

The curriculum for Physical Education will be designed by the Pensar Academy Curriculum Team.