The building blocks for Mason County Central Middle School's Academy focuses on the understanding of the five key areas of young adolescent development that can provide a strong foundation for meeting the needs of these learners.
Intellectual: Young adolescent learners are curious, motivated to achieve when challenged, and capable of critical and complex thinking.
1. Have regular student-teacher conferences in which allows students and parent to reflect on growth and improvement areas. 2. Provide opportunities for individual projects. 3. Differentiate instruction. 4. Focus on complex thinking skills that ask students to apply their knowledge and skill to worthwhile and meaningful tasks. 5. Ask students to make choices and pursue their own interests. 6. Provide cooperative learning opportunities, one-on-one feedback, and time for personal reflection.
Social: Young adolescent learners have an intense need to belong and be accepted by their peers while finding their own place in the world. They are engaged in forming and questioning their identities on many different levels.
1. Create learning experiences in which students practice democracy, governance, and conflict resolution. 2. Foster classroom and team identity, time for student-led meetings to discuss issues, plan events, and make important decisions regarding the team. 3. Foster opportunities for personal reflection and for students to share their concerns and feelings with teachers. 4. Create separate focus groups for girls and boys to explore issues of gender, body-image, relationships, health, feminine and masculine identity, etc. 5. Provide cooperative learning opportunities as well as time for large group and one-on-one discussions. 6. Require students to apply their knowledge and skills to social issues and topics of concern to young people. 7. Provide positive examples from history and literature, and positive role models for different groups. 8. Maintain clear expectations for social interaction.
Physical: Young adolescent learners mature at varying rates and go through rapid and irregular physical growth, with bodily changes that can cause awkward and uncoordinated movements.
1. Allow for open and honest discussion about issues of development, puberty, and sexuality. 2. Allow for stretch, bathroom, and snack breaks during long blocks of time. 3. Allow ample time in the school schedule for developing physical fitness. 4. Respect and understand the physical changes that students are going through. 5. Vary instructional methods to allow for physical activity and movement.
Emotional and Psychological: Young adolescent learners are vulnerable and self-conscious, and often experience unpredictable mood swings.
1. Teach students about goal setting and conflict resolution. 2. Invite experts from the community, such as nurses and counselors, to answer students’ questions about their own development. 3. Provide training in peer mediation and other interpersonal skills. 4. Create opportunities for small-group discussions. 5. Include reflective journal writing as part of the learning experience. 6. Offer individual positive feedback. 7. Vary instructional strategies to address different learning styles. 8. Create peer editing, tutoring, and mentoring activities.
Moral: Young adolescent learners are idealistic and want to have an impact on making the world a better place.
1. Allow students to facilitate text-based discussions on topics of interest. 2. Involve community leaders and other adults in authentic projects. 3. Engage students in the community. 4. Provide equitable access to learning opportunities for all students. 5. Encourage students to identify and pursue their own interests, passions, and strengths. 6. Allow students to work at their own pace, make choices about their 7. learning, and take responsibility for important tasks and decisions. 8. Structure learning experiences that utilize democratic processes debate, discussion, and giving voice to diverse perspectives. 9. Create learning experiences that are focused on complex and real problems.