Upper Elementary

ssmaThe Shining Stars Montessori Upper Elementary, for children ages nine to twelve, builds on the lower elementary experience.  The curriculum becomes increasingly sophisticated and challenging, yet still allows them to refine basic skills and learn how to manage their time.
Students become more independent and proficient as they begin in-depth research and study for individual and group projects. In Upper Elementary, students work in the abstract. Montessori materials are still available, and new subjects such as advanced science, creative writing, economics, and literature are added to the core curriculum. 
MATHEMATICS - Abstract solution of problems involving the four basic operations; final memorization of math facts; metrics and English measurement; negative numbers; advanced fractions operations involving common multiples and factors; inequalities; ratios, proportion; decimal notation, equivalence of fractions / decimals / percent ; operations with fractions, decimals/percent. 
GEOMETRY - Areas of plane figures; volume of solids; classical Euclidean constructions using a compass and straight edge, construction of model solids, nomenclature of angles, nomenclature of lines, nomenclature of plane figures, nomenclature of solids; mean, meridian; several types of graphs. 
READING - Student presentations on reading of novels, biographies, poetry, essays, and newspapers; use of reference books in research; vocabulary development through dictation; comprehension development through discussion groups and written formats; silent reading daily. 
LANGUAGE - Syllabication; note-taking; paraphrasing, outlining, proofreading; introduction of colon and semicolon, use of quotation marks; understanding multiple definitions, cause and effect, writing dialogue; decorative handwriting, smooth cursive; use of dictionary, thesaurus and encyclopedia. 
ssmaGRAMMAR - Analysis of branches of the parts of speech such as transitive and intransitive verbs and proper and common nouns; use of sentence analysis charts to study subject, predicate, direct object, indirect object, and modifiers; syntactical agreement across these sentence elements. 
WRITING AND SPELLING - Refinement of writing mechanics through weekly dictation exercises at the child's level; Writer's Workshop; calligraphy; weekly spelling activities; simple plays; meaning using an organized plot; use of compound and complex sentences; paragraph construction; biographies, essays, summaries, reviews; ten-page paper with title page, table of contents and bibliography. 

RESEARCH & TECHNOLOGY INTEGRATION - Long-term and short-term research projects; use of reference materials; progression through drafts; oral presentations; ongoing individually - chosen research projects using several resources. Keyboarding instruction to support online research projects and use of PC and Mac/Apple technologies.
LITERATURE - Book projects on a wide selection of award-winning authors; continued development of literary concepts such as plot, setting, character and theme using books written for upper level elementary and middle school levels; book reviews in a variety of genres, including science fiction, historical fiction, biography and poetry; silent reading every day. 

SCIENCE - Study of the composition, nature and interaction of the elements; earth sciences; chemistry; reproduction, organ systems; characteristics of divisions of animal and plant kingdoms; study of the microscope; study of microscopic life forms; development of ecological understanding. 
GEOGRAPHY - Detailed work on the countries, capitals, bodies of water, and land forms continent by continent; latitude and longitude, time zones; creation of map of the Shining Stars Montessori neighborhood/Ward 4; use of the atlas; various cultural and economic maps. 
HISTORY - Research and construction of a family tree; detailed study of the timeline of civilizations; individual research projects about specific civilizations in history; specific study of the development of Western Culture; individual projects in American and local (District of Columbia) history. 
PRACTICAL LIVING - Planning of nature trips using maps and calendars; camping life skills; serving guests; care of the classroom; gardening; care of outdoor environment; care of tools; small-group planning of going out for classroom supplies and learning resources. 
SOCIAL SKILLS - Meeting one's needs and respecting needs of others in a dynamic work environment; weekly class meeting to discuss problems and sharing ideas for solutions; small group meetings as needed to encourage children to express issues and feelings and recognize and respect those of others. 
INDEPENDENCE - Work is scheduled on a weekly basis and is recorded in the student's daily organizer; books and topics for reports are chosen according to individual student interest; long blocks of time for independent and small-group work. 
SERVICE - Children are encouraged to give help to others in their work and play; occasional service projects such as UNICEF collections and natural disaster relief; help with special school events by setting out tables, managing parking, etc. 
PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT - Continued work on large muscle development through frequent organized outdoor play; frequent camping and hiking; daily opportunity for free play outside. 
FOREIGN LANGUAGE - Expanded vocabulary development in Spanish, beginning grammar and verb conjugation in Spanish, beginning work in written Spanish, songs and games. 
DRAMA – The Drama program at SSMA teaches basic theater skills through fun and challenging theater games. More importantly, Drama teaches self-confidence, teamwork, responsibility and independence. It will concludes this school year with our first Spring Play. 
ARTS - Art projects in still life, perspective, cubism, modern art; study of great artists; use of art media such as points, pastels, pencils; introduction to music through recorder, choral singing and use of simple percussion instruments; study of great composers and the orchestra; drama, play performance.