In Junior humanities, language arts, history, and social studies are taught in an interdisciplinary setting. The historical focus of study each year often provides a general backdrop for selection of classic literature, geographic study, and writing themes. Concentration on a particular era in history allows the gifted student to explore a particular topic in detail, satisfying The Sage School’s depth of content approach to education, while at the same time developing necessary academic skill sets such as writing, note-taking, mechanics, grammar, vocabulary, reading comprehension, and research skills. Differentiation is accomplished by varying output expectations, using different levels of texts, and by varying the type and complexity of literature and other assigned readings.
The Junior division follows the Harvey Daniel’s model of Literature Circles for reading instruction. Students read various types of literature including historical fiction, poems, short stories, folklore, essays, novels, biographies, and science fiction. The literature stimulates discussion, writing, and listening skills. Literature Circle groups meet weekly.
Junior Division students develop into technically strong writers who enjoy expressing themselves through writing. Students are trained in the 5-Step Writing Process: pre-writing, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing. This process also involves conferencing with peers and teachers. They engage in a variety of writing styles (note-taking, persuasive, expository) and learn to support their ideas by choosing an appropriate structure for each.
The humanities classes use Michael Clay Thompson’s programs GrammarIsland,GrammarTown, and Grammar Voyage for grammar instruction. The programs provide students with a unique combination of challenging ideas and accessible concepts. Sophisticated skills are presented in a way in which they are easy to grasp and fun to learn, thus giving students access to more advanced topics.
Beginning Juniors use Cynthia M. Stowe’s Spelling Smart! program. The program approaches spelling as a cognitive task. It integrates concepts from the whole language philosophy and phonics strategies. Instead of memorizing hundreds of individual words, students identify patterns and consistencies. This provides a challenging program, which defines the structure of the English language and encourages the student to apply logical thinking skills to the task of spelling.
As students progress through the Junior Division, our word studies focus on word origins and vocabulary development through the use of Caesar’s English I and II by Michael Clay Thompson and Myriam Thompson. Furthermore, students sharpen their reasoning skills as they study analogies, through which they analyze the subtleties of language and relationship.
The Sage School humanities program supports the belief that history comes alive through class and independent reading and investigation of historical fiction, biography, travel books, memoirs and other artifacts. Events take on greater meaning when students are able to imagine and identify with people. Therefore, in the humanities class, history is closely intertwined with language arts through readings, research, and projects.
Historical studies in the Junior Division include a mix of U.S. History, World History, and ancient cultures study. Students study a combination of topics each year throughout the three year cycle
Mayan, Aztec, Incan Civilizations
Age of Exploration
Westward Expansion/American Indians
Civics and Geography
In addition to the major historical themes, students are involved in civics and geography studies. Civics topics taught include, but are not limited to: elections, forms of government, the three branches of the Federal government, law making, citizenship, and patriotism. Throughout their development in the Junior Division, students learn how geography affects different people and cultures throughout history and in the present day. Students examine a variety of maps, utilize map making skills, and study landforms and climates. With the study of geography, students become more aware of the world around them and become more geographically literate global citizens.
Spelling and Grammar Skills
Oral Communication: Listening and Speaking
Social Studies (History, Civics, Geography)