MARSHALL ACADEMY CURRICULUM
BACK TO BASICS:
SPECIAL CURRICULUM PERIODS:
- Reading and writing embrace traditional phonics instruction, while mathematics instruction relies upon memorization and review combined with the appropriate use of manipulatives and story problems for the understanding of math concepts. These subjects are block scheduled to allow students to move according to their skill level.
- I. Read-Aloud Collection
Reading to others is an enduring feature of traditional American family and school life. At Marshall Academy, all teachers pursue this tradition with their classes to deepen the enjoyment and reward of sharing significant literature through effective oral interpretation. Students of all ages delight in well-read stories, and this modeling by the teacher provides students with yet another opportunity to experience pleasure through reading. By developing this association, students are better prepared to master the more demanding reading of the secondary years.
II. Instructional Collection
Marshall Academy teaches fiction and historical literature in these respective collections because they offer students models of human virtue. As a result, Marshall Academy children become intimately acquainted with men and women of outstanding character. At Marshall Academy, children mature intellectually, morally, and socially from such opportunities. The growing child gains inestimable benefits from sharing in the lives of others by reading literature replete with acts of heroism, compassion, self-discipline, and faith.
When teaching literature, instructors' attention is also devoted to matters of literary convention, deepening students' appreciation of good writing as they begin to understand the relationship of setting, plot, conflict, resolution, and instances of figurative language, as well as the literary character's development of virtue. By carefully considering the unfamiliar words in each of the Instructional Collection titles, Marshall Academy teachers assist every child's developing vocabulary.
III. Reading List and Library Selections
These collections, composed of works which may be given to a student for independent or individual reading, extends the range of a teacher's resources in recommending additional titles and contains virtuous historical and fictional depictions that most children find entertaining. In accordance with our mission statement, care is given to selecting books which are not of questionable moral influence or propriety.
Marshall Academy's recommendation of the fictional and historical works in these collections pertains only to the original text. Many contemporary editions contain highly revisionist, narrowly ideological forewords and introductions which, if read by impressionable children unequipped to recognize and discount the politicization of literary scholarship, substantially undermine the literature's pedagogical value. Teachers and administrators with authority over the school's curriculum examine such addenda with great care and, when in doubt, refrain from assigning them.
III. Grammar and Usage
A growing ability to use language with power and grace is one of the surest marks of educated men and women and one of the surest safeguards against the loss of liberty. Proper grammar (written and verbal) and composition techniques are essential to intelligent communication.
Like all other subjects, these are taught with the goal of mastery. Grammar and usage are not taught in isolation, but are integrated into every aspect of classroom instruction and homework through the correction of incorrect English grammar and usage. Latin studies also assist in this process of mastering the English language.
IV. Classical Studies
Historical essentials, breadth of mind and a sense of international tolerance have been developed for centuries in young people throughout the world by their study of the "Classics" of ancient Greek and Roman culture which are the very roots of Western civilization.
When ancient civilization was rediscovered by Europeans in the middle ages, the cultures of ancient Greece and Rome and the Latin language became the basis of their curriculum that both trained and liberated students' minds. This, in a nutshell, was the Renaissance; the rebirth from antiquity of a culture with a refined educational philosophy.
The study of Latin in the elementary years also prepares our students for the in-depth study of Greek and Roman civilization that the Marshall Academy introduces beginning in the eighth grade. The study of the inherent culture of a language is an inseparable part of any foreign language program.
Latin is also an excellent foundation for the learning of the other foreign languages a student may desire to master for personal or professional reasons in their secondary and post-secondary education. All Indo-European languages belong to groups of languages which Latin represents at an early stage in their development.
Latin also assists students with science. It adds meaning to otherwise difficult-to-learn scientific terminology, not to mention the genus and species names of every living thing on earth. Latin even assists the study of music.
Even more essential is the guidance that Latin lends to the mastery of the English language. The study of Latin words develops an awareness of words in our own language. This is an awareness with which no contemporary foreign language can compare, for some two-thirds of our dictionary entries are words derived from Latin, including over 90% of words of three or more syllables. Similarity between so many words leads one to compare meanings and thus refine and expand knowledge of English vocabulary.
Reading comprehension is also enhanced. Breaking an unknown word down into its Latin derivatives assists in decoding the meaning. This is an excellent adjunct in learning to read with explicit systematic phonics. Latin roots make their presence known to a reader who uses phonics.
We begin Latin instruction in third grade when phonics instruction has been completed. The study of Latin then continues through eighth grade.
Marshall Academy believes students should be taught to see the importance of conveying information or ideas in a handwritten form that can be readily deciphered by the reader, and to take personal satisfaction in neat, legible writing. Word processing equipment will never eliminate the frequent need and desire for handwritten notes and letters, whether personal or professional. The Palmer method provides a solid foundation for students beginning with manuscript writing in kindergarten and first grade, then introducing cursive midyear.
- At Marshall Academy, instruction in Marshall's rich history, along with Michigan and Great Lakes States history begins in kindergarten and provides an introduction to national history and geographical studies. Stories and songs about the colorful characters of the region engage the early elementary child with local and state history. Lyrical tales of Paul Bunyan and Hiawatha provide captivating introductions to such topics as the ethnic history of Michigan and the Great Lakes States as well as the regional importance of forestry and economic development.
- The American history curriculum at Marshall Academy strives to provide thorough coverage of American history from the earliest times, to identify the major themes in America's history, and to convey a sense of the breadth of experiences and influences that have shaped the United States.
In the early primary grades, the history curriculum focuses on the role of famous individuals in shaping the United States. Students learn the historical significance of America's founders, statesmen, presidents, pioneers, military and religious leaders, inventors, scientists, philanthropists, volunteers, and industrialists. Through biographies, autobiographies, and source documents, students study American history by investigating the important contributions of the founders and the men and women who followed them.
As students study the significant contributions of famous Americans, the faculty portrays these Americans as positive role models worthy of emulation. Values are best taught through example. The study of famous Americans provides students with countless opportunities to study the development of fine moral character.
In the upper primary grades, the history curriculum follows the same pattern, as teachers add the element of chronological order to their history lessons. Students before grade five have a difficult time conceptualizing the idea of chronological order in history. Academy teachers take great care during lesson planning to teach history chronologically and integrate a thematic approach to organize the material.
The third grade curriculum provides a general overview of all U.S. History, setting the stage for a more intense chronological study over the next four years from forth through seventh grade.
In teaching Marshall Academy's U.S. history curriculum teachers are to pay special attention to developing these themes:
- The settling of America and the founding of the United States as an expression of moral intention;
- The United States as a constitutional republic;
- The role of the American citizenry relative to liberty, citizenship, and responsibility;
- The United States and its economic development;
- The American historical culture, including religion, literature, music, art, and leisure activities;
- American geography and its effect upon a growing and prospering nation.
- These courses give our students' young, impressionable minds a foundational knowledge and understanding of their own nation and culture before advancing to the study of world history and cultures. A two year course in the foundations of Western Civilization, begins in eighth grade with ancient history.
- Marshall Academy teachers recognize the importance of geography. Often a neglected subject in many schools, geography dovetails with Marshall Academy's history curriculum.
In teaching geography, teachers are to pay special attention to developing the following five themes of geography:
- Human interaction
- Movement, and
- These offer a basic approach and framework for Marshall Academy's subsequent study of the world.
The study of geography informs the history curriculum. So often, geographical features influence how man utilizes available resources which, in turn, affect the shaping of human history. This program combines these themes of geography, using them as tools for understanding history.
We follow a pattern of concentric thinking in our geographical studies, beginning from a small, central point within the community that children at the kindergarten level can best appreciate and working outward to encompass the greater land masses of regional and continental study.
Under this methodology, children at the early grades study their immediate environment, including their families, school, and town. Older students study state geography and move on to an examination of United States geography and other countries around the world.
- Science instruction represents an innovative return to the traditional. Students at Marshall Academy become academically accomplished in science by immersion in science's laboratory method. Beginning in kindergarten, students undertake simple experiments and learn the process of scientific inquiry. Each lesson requires experimentation and allows students to develop hypotheses, conduct experiments,make observations, collect data, and test the accuracy of their hypotheses. As they progress through the Academy’s curriculum, they deepen and extend their understanding of the basic principles of science through a variety of scientific media. Vocabulary development and usage appropriate to student age and course content are integral to science instruction at Marshall Academy.
SPECIAL CURRICULUM PERIODS:
- These sessions supplement and enhance the Academy's curriculum in four important areas:
Academy students participate in choral singing; learn and practice vocal techniques; and study musical notation, harmony, terminology, and history. Students additionally study classical music and music appreciation. At various times throughout the year, all students come together to sing at Academy events. Band and Chorus are also offered as electives. While band class occurs during school hours, Chorus is a popular before school activity. Members perform at Academy events and community functions.
Art classes allow students to explore visual forms of expression and to cultivate an aesthetic sense. Students additionally study historically significant art and art appreciation.
III. Physical Education
Younger students participate in activities designed to develop gross and fine motor skills, while older students learn sports and games that can help them maintain fitness throughout their adult lives. All students receive instruction in the rules and techniques of team sports.