Wildwood Academy follows the Oregon State curriculum for all core subject areas (Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies). We choose to have grades 6-8 in one class to allow students to break out of their grade boxes and reach their individual potential in each area. As such, we have taken all of the curriculum standards and organized them into a 3-year looping program, so that over their three years at Wildwood, students will be exposed to each topic.
We integrate Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies into a course we call ‘Core’. Often there are natural connections between subjects, and we plan our curriculum carefully to make the most of these. For example, when we study volcanoes, students also study the time period that surrounds the eruption of Mt. St. Helens and interview someone in the community who remembers that historic moment. They then write and present a report about their interview. When we learn about space, students write poetry about their place in the universe and create a museum display for local students in the community. While being very fun and interactive, this type of integrated, project-based learning allows students to work on the same topic at a variety of academic levels.
Math is an exception to this looping model: students are grouped by ability and work with a math specialist to make sure key topics are covered in a logical order.
We think carefully about what materials to use in the classroom. Our reading and writing curriculum is based on the Reading and Writing Project from Columbia University. This program uses Nancy Atwell and Lucy Calkins' extensive studies with middle level learners to design a challenging and engaging series of units. In science, we use our local natural environment and hands-on materials in addition to Discovery Education and National Geographic resources. In Social Studies, we combine material from History Alive with the Zinn Project to offer an inclusive, anti-racist look at history.