CURRICULUM

Silverleaf utilizes curriculum and methods of instruction that have been proven effective for the gifted community.

PROJECT BASED LEARNING

Our project-based curriculum allows students to dive deeply into subjects they are individually passionate about.  Projects embed foundational subject areas of mathematics and language arts on an individualized and proficiency-based level.  Emphasizing both teamwork and independent learning, projects inspire creativity and innovation while teaching skills in problem solving, systems thinking and project management.  Students engage in project-based learning every day of the week.

Our project-based curriculum embeds foundational skills into learning to ensure that our students are achieving skills that are needed in a modern world.  Science, technology, engineering, art, music, innovation, communication, problem-solving, teamwork, creativity, and wellness–these are the skills of the future.

More information about PBL can be found at:

High Quality Project Based Learning
https://hqpbl.org/

The Buck Institute for Education
https://www.pblworks.org

The National Association for the Gifted and Talented
https://www.nsgt.org/problem-based-learning/

The Institute for Educational Advancement
https://educationaladvancement.org/grc/problem-based-learning-promising-strategy-gifted-students/

STEM

Science, Technology, Engineering and Math are essential skills for the 21st century.  Information, technology, and artificial intelligence are advancing at light speed.  Students must understand the fundamental principles of these subject areas and have the ability to work in partnership with technology in order to be successful in the world in which they will work.  These essential subjects, which are typically offered to students in 5th grade or higher and/or as after-school enrichment opportunities, are part of our core curriculum and are taught to all Silverleaf students daily.

Although we are able to map our students progress to the common core standards if requested, we incorporate Next Generation Science Standards in our teaching.  More information is available at:

STEM Oregon
https://www.nextgenscience.org/search-standards?tid_1%5B%5D=15&field_idea_tid%5B%5D=114

National Association for Gifted Children
https://www.nagc.org/resources-publications/resources/timely-topics/stem-meeting-critical-demand-excellence/gifted

Engineering for Kids
https://www.engineeringforkids.com/about/news/2016/february/why-is-stem-education-so-important-/

THE ARTS

Whether the ‘A’ for Arts should be part of STEM or separate is a national debate.  Instead of engaging in the debate, we do both:  we incorporate art creativity through engineering into our STEM curriculum and project-based learning.  We include art in our wellness program and offer it as a component of STEAM exploration time before and after school.

In addition to art as a core element of our curriculum, exclusive education in mixed media arts is provided to all students by qualified instructors at least twice per week.

Music instruction is provided to all students at least weekly and performing/theatrical arts may be incorporated into some of the project topics throughout the year.

For more information about STEM v STEAM debate visit:

Education Week
https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2017/10/04/theres-something-missing-from-stem-learning.html

Tech Hub
http://www.teachhub.com/stem-vs-steam-what-is-better

Kent University
https://musicedmasters.kent.edu/stem-to-steam/

LANGUAGE  ARTS and HUMANITIES

Language arts-spelling, writing, researching, reading, vocabulary are incorporated into all project work.  Instruction emphasizes critical thinking, self-reflection, creativity.  Humanities topics in history and current world events nurture cultural awareness and global concepts.

Expert instruction in Language Arts is provided to all students daily.

Foreign Language instruction is also provided.  All students receive instruction in Spanish at least twice per week.  Instruction in additional languages may be made available based on interest.

WELLNESS

Personal wellness is important to us.  Gifted students, in particular, require special supports as they grow and we provide resources to support their physical, emotional and social wellness.

Students engage in physical education class and/or yoga every day.

Students are provided instruction in neuroscience and emotional/social well-being to provide them with awareness of what is happening in their bodies and brains, as tools for lifelong success.

Students have two recesses per day.

FOUNDATIONS

We support development of the whole student.   Our instruction fosters growth in several foundational abilities and personal attributes that we hope will be exhibited by each and every student:

Respect

Originality

Communication

Kindness

Empathy

Trustworthiness

Boldness

Open-mindedness

Teamwork

Service

We want our students to be good stewards of our word’s resources and conscientious citizens that have cultural tolerance. Our projects will incorporate service learning and components that raise environmental and cultural awareness.

We engage in field trips to inform our project topics as well as to build community awareness in our students.

PROGRESS REPORTING

Our curriculum is offered through proven methods that support individualized and differentiated learning, ability grouping, and acceleration to meet the needs of each student.  We utilize proficiency-based learning methods and progress reporting.

  • Students are assessed against their own progress and proficiency, not the proficiency and progress of other students.
  • Once proficiency is demonstrated in a core skill area, students may move forward rather than continuing with repetitive work in a subject area they have mastered.  At Silverleaf School, we do not believe in worksheets.
  • Silverleaf BLAST recognizes and celebrates individual accomplishment through Badging in Learning, Aptitudes, Skills and Talents.  Students are recognized regularly and publicly for their effort and their growth.
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