Project Based Learning Middle School - Middle School CAN be a good experience!
EDUCATIONAL EXCELLENCE & FAITH FORMATION
LM is committed to a student-centered, holistic education that helps students thrive academically at all levels of learning. Our values-based and hands-on approach infuses faith and LM’s core values into the total program, which builds a solid foundation for social and cognitive development. Middle school core curriculum includes Bible, Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies and World Languages.
Teachers authentically integrate faith into all subjects. All grades use Encounter, an Anabaptist faith formation curriculum, with an emphasis on a commitment to following the life and teachings of Jesus. Students are supported in their faith journeys through intentional groups, devotional times, and participation in a weekly chapel.
Middle School Program
5TH GRADE OVERVIEW
While 5th grade is housed with the middle school program, these classes remain self-contained. The option of either full-day Spanish immersion or English continues. The core curriculum is a continuation of elementary programming with a focus on foundational skills to prepare for the transition to middle school.
6TH GRADE OVERVIEW
The 6th grade year serves as a bridge into the middle school program. The year’s program is driven by two overarching semester themes. Students change classes to not only have content-specific instruction, but also to learn a variety of skills to prepare them for collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity. The year culminates in an interdisciplinary project that celebrates their learning.
7-8TH GRADES OVERVIEW
The 7th and 8th grade experience is framed around a driving question, creating a focused theme each quarter. Each content area class has instruction that fits into that overarching theme and promotes understanding through a variety of strategies including independent and collaborative work, project based learning, and creativity. Each quarter exhibits students’ engagement with the thematic question.
EXAMPLE – One quarter uses the theme of “place” and the driving question of “What holds us together?” Everyone has a story of place:
- Social Studies – Learn about the early formation of the U.S., a new gov’t, and people seeking a new story of place.
- Bible – Focus on exploring the concept of community and answering the question of “Who are my neighbors?”
- Science – Dive into the concept of metabolic reactions with reflection on the question of “How do things inside our bodies work together to make us feel the way we do?”
- Language Arts – Read the book The Giver to see how a community began with good intentions but devolved into a dystopia when a common story of place was not honored.
At the end of the quarter, students work together to form their own utopian community that considers this story of place through the formation of a society and government, the creation of community, their own physical bodies, and the social issues that either create communal well-being or dismantle it.
At the end of each year, students engage with the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals. One year students focus on the business side to create a nonprofit to address one of these issues. The other year students identify one pressing issue and create a plan or invention to address the problem.
STEAM & DESIGN-THINKING
Our STEAM program seeks to make connections between science, technology, engineering, art and math so that students can collaborate and apply learning to real-world problems.
Our middle school program has a specific course that walks students through the design-thinking process so that they are learning explicit skills that can be further integrated into both interdisciplinary projects as well as content class projects. Students can take advantage of both a design lab and project space for collaborative design and individual creativity. There is also a middle school specific science lab for experimenting and hands-on learning. In addition, students have the opportunity to use our 95 acre campus with a stream and wooded areas as an outdoor classroom, and for exploration and application of content learning.
LM is committed to cultivating global citizens and building bridges of peace, and one of the best ways to accomplish this is through the study of other cultures and languages. All students not participating in the Spanish Immersion program have a course in 6th grade that introduces them to various global cultures as well as the world languages taught at LM. All 7th and 8th grade students take a full-year course of either Spanish or German.
For students that have participated in the Spanish immersion program, 5th graders will continue to receive all content instruction in Spanish, with a daily English class that focuses on strengthening writing and spelling. In grades 6th-8th, immersion students have two daily classes in Spanish (Language Arts and Social Studies) as well as a separate English writing course.
TECHNOLOGY & DEVICES
Our classrooms are equipped with state-of-the-art technology. Each classroom has an interactive projector and incorporate use of various online materials into lessons. Middle school students have access to Chromebooks. Students are taught about digital citizenship through a media literacy curriculum that helps them to have safe, smart interactions online.
LM provides opportunities for all students to develop and nourish creativity and a deeper understanding of God and the world through STEAM, visual art, drama and music.
Middle school students participate in the following:
- Art (grades 5-8)
- Instrumental Ensembles (grades 5-8)
- General Music (grades 5-8)
- Health (grades 5-8)
- Makerspace (grades 5-6)
- Family and Consumer Science (grades 7-8)
- Drama performances each year
Middle school students have access to a range of activities offered during the school day and after. Various clubs: Chess, Quiz Bowl, and Mathcounts are open to students. In school electives change on a regular basis, ie: photography, robotics, and yearbook.
PHYSICAL EDUCATION & ATHLETICS
We believe that physical movement is important to the holistic wellbeing of students. Middle schoolers have regular physical education classes as well as daily recess.
Lancaster Mennonite Youth Athletics (LMYA) – Students in PreK-6th grade can participate in extracurricular athletics through LMYA for soccer, basketball, field hockey, softball and baseball. Learn more by clicking the button below.
L-L League Sports – Students in grades 7-8 are eligible to participate in L-L league Jr. High level sports for:
- Chess (with High School)
- Cross Country
- Field Hockey
- Volleyball (girls only in MS)
ACADEMIC & SUPPORT SERVICES
LM offers services to ensure that students who learn differently are given a chance to realize their full potential through a focus on their academic, spiritual, and social growth. Students who might otherwise find it difficult to participate in the general education curriculum have the resources to achieve in the classroom through Individualized Academic Plans that create a roadmap for success. The Academic Support staff work with teachers to facilitate accommodations and differentiation of instruction to ensure that every student receives a quality education that meets their unique needs.
IU 13 Provided Services (from the IU’s website):
Reading and Math Support
The IU13 provides students in nonpublic schools with direct supplemental instruction in reading and math, as well as coaching and professional development for classroom teachers. Instruction involves pull-out by IU13 reading specialists/math instructors. At times the specialist works in the classroom with the classroom teacher in addition to providing the pull-out instructional program.
Speech and Language Services
The IU assesses and treats delays in a student’s ability to communicate within the educational setting. Assessment and treatment may include the following areas:
- articulation of speech sounds
- language and communication difficulties
The speech language therapist may serve students directly or work with educators and families to address communication and language needs.
IU13’s elementary and secondary school counselors are educational specialists who support students in academic, social, and career domains. They are also involved with developmental programs, college planning, and crisis intervention. The counselor works as part of a team with teachers, administrators, parents/guardians, and other stakeholders. Counselors meet with students individually, in small groups, and in classroom settings.
Additionally, LM is working with a partner agency to bring mental health services to campus so that families will have the option to pursue counseling during the school day. LM will provide the space for the therapist, but families would need to work with their insurance providers for payment. Contact your child’s principal for more information on this program.
Gifted and Talented
The Student Enrichment Experience (SEE) program provides innovative and thought-provoking seminars for advanced and gifted students throughout Lancaster and Lebanon counties. Various seminars throughout the school year are designed for students, Grades 4-12.
SEE Seminars offer a wide variety of topics and experiences not readily available in the regular classroom. Seminars enrich the curriculum while offering social and emotional support for students with intense interests and curiosity. Through highly engaging experiences designed to challenge them academically, students work with peers from across Lancaster and Lebanon counties. Connecting directly with experts who offer in-depth instruction, hands-on activities, and personal insight, students benefit from the unique “beyond the classroom” environment, which also offers valuable career exploration and support in building vital interpersonal skills needed for career success.