At Odyssey Middle School teachers carefully plan instruction based on curriculum and the learning needs of their students.
The foundation for instruction is the Arkansas Curriculum Frameworks (a link to those can be found under the Standards and Frameworks tab)
Teachers use a variety of strategies and techniques to ensure the differentiation of instruction and higher order thinking in the classroom. Some of the strategies used in the classroom include but are not limited to:
- Cooperative Learning Groups
- Role Playing
- Think, Pair, Share
- Reciprocal Teaching
- Experiential Learning
The teachers also collaborate with the members of their team to create integrated units of study. Integrated units provide opportunities to remove the barriers between subjects. They allow the learning to be more meaningful for the students because the content overlaps into each of the content areas. Teachers create these units based on student needs and interest and often include projects and inquiry based learning.
Adapted from: http://www.archeworks.org/projects/tcsp/ic_guide.html and Jackson, A.W., & Davis, G.A. (2000). Turning points 2000: Educating adolescents in the 21st century. New York, NY: Teacehrs College Press and http://olc.spsd.sk.ca/DE/PD/instr/index.html
At Odyssey Middle School, we have heterogeneous classrooms, which allow children with exceptionalities to be in the same classrooms as all other students. This allows students to learn about and accept differences in students that will help them develop as young adults. We celebrate diversity and know that every student is different whether it is culturally, ethnically, socioeconomically, and academically. We also are aware that not all students learn in the same way, therefore, we strive to acknowledge each students learning style. As mentioned at the top of the page, the teachers at Odyssey Middle School incorporate a variety of teaching strategies to meet the needs of each student.
We believe that all students can learn they just may not learn at the same pace, therefore we offer services to help those students reach their full potential. We have inclusion teachers who work closely with the traditional classroom teachers to make accommodations and modifications to lessons in addition to assisting all students in the regular classroom.
There are also special education classrooms, where students can go to work more closely with the special education teachers.Adapted from: http://www.weac.org/Issues_Advocacy/Resource_Pages_On_Issues_One/Special_Education/special_education_inclusion.aspx
We at Odyssey Middle School strive to hire the most highly qualified teachers, meaning that all teachers come to the classroom with:
- A solid foundation in the content area that they are teaching
- A versatile teaching style in which they differentiate instruction to meet the needs of their students
- An understanding of the developmental characteristics and needs of students
- An ability to create a safe, healthy and fair school environment
- The capability to involve parents and the community in the classroom to support the students and school
- Enhance the teachers' content knowledge and pedagogical knowledge
- Are based on the best available research evidence
- Are relevant and focused (i.e., results-driven)
- Are standards-based
- Are ongoing and continuous
- Embed in the teacher’s day-to-day responsibilities
- Aligns with school-wide improvement goals
- Are collaborative and collegial
- Provide opportunities for discussion, reflection, and follow-up
- Classes or Workshops (Subject matter , methods, other education related topics )
- Conferences (National Staff Development Council, National Middle School Association, Collegiate Middle Level Association)
- Visits to Schools (Schools within the district, state, or even out of state )
- Collaboration with other teachers ( team meetings)
- Joint lesson planning ( interdisciplinary teams)
- Peer Coaching ( Mentor-Mentee programs)
In Arkansas, teachers must complete and document at least 60 hours of professional development each school year. The following link provides professional development criteria for teachers: http://arkansased.org/about/pdf/current/ade_207_professional_development1009_current.pdf
At Odyssey Middle School, ensure that the most highly qualified teachers are in the classroom. In addition, to the previously mentioned professional development opportunities, we offer professional development seminars once a month for our teachers. The topics vary each month and are based on what our teachers express a need for.
Adapted from : Jackson, A.W., & Davis, G.A. (2000). Turning points 2000: Educating adolescents in the 21st century. New York, NY: Teachers College Press, http://www.nmsa.org/Research/ResearchSummaries/Summary22/tabid/249/Default.aspx and http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/31/51/43541636.pdf