The older elementary and middle school years are an exciting time of discovery and development. Students begin to take responsibility for attaining goals and learn to effectively articulate their ideas. The curriculum is largely project-based. Students often work collaboratively as they explore, build, experiment, reason and discuss their work.
Teachers help students build strategies until skills are mastered, while encouraging them to question, read and evaluate a variety of resources in order to understand multiple perspectives. Students are asked to develop questions, make choices, form opinions and reflect on their work to assess their own progress. In addition, though teachers work with a standard set of overall goals in mind, students can often choose their own focus of content within each structured assignment. Group decision-making, role-playing, brainstorming and other forms of problem solving contribute to clear classroom expectations and behavioral guidelines.