In mathematics, the MCS curriculum focuses both on learning basic skills and on applying those skills to problems in science, engineering, technology and everyday life. In addition to developing basic mathematics skills, students will participate in projects that require them to use mathematics across the curriculum, illustrating and reinforcing the basic concepts. MCS currently uses My Math for grades k-5 and Glencoe Math for grades 6-8.
Advanced students have the flexibility to work at their own level of mathematics instruction. Teacher observations, parent input, and assessments are used as the basis for these decisions, and student progress is monitored regularly. In grades 6-8, unusually advanced students may also enroll in IDLA mathematics classes during mathematics instruction time, by agreement among the teacher, administrator, and parents or guardians.
Reading, Writing, and Speaking
Basic skills of reading, writing, and speaking are fundamental to all fields of inquiry. Building blocks such as vocabulary and basic grammar are critical for all children to master, and the study and development of increasingly complex lines of reasoning is important in furthering students’ intellectual development. These skills and abilities are developed at MCS across the integrated curriculum and learned and reinforced through application to lessons in many subjects. The Language Arts curriculum uses materials including fiction and nonfiction trade books, Great Books, and series such as Harcourt Trophies and Words Their Way. Each year’s readings are selected by teachers in accordance with grade level goals, the school’s yearly theme, and the potential for integrating topics from across the curriculum.
Because the integrated curriculum bases lessons on specific readings, the range in students’ language arts abilities within a particular class is dealt with by differentiated instruction at grade level. Students who have mastered the basic material are presented with more challenging opportunities in the context of the current lesson.
History and social studies
MCS students develop global awareness and an understanding of their role as citizens by studying Idaho, US and world history, civics, geography, and other cultures. As with other disciplines, much of this information is integrated into lessons on books and stories the students have been reading. MCS currently offers two excellent and innovative after school programs: a Dance Club in which the students learn Renaissance dances and perform them at venues throughout the Inland Northwest (including folk life festivals in Spokane and Seattle), and a Marimba Club offered at introductory (Cubs) and advanced (Lions) levels, with the Lions performing at venues around the Inland Northwest. Under the auspices of the Marimba Club, MCS has also offered regular summer Marimba Camp to all area students, at which students learn about Zimbabwean music and culture.
Community engagement is an important component of the social studies curriculum. MCS students begin in kindergarten by studying their families and neighborhoods. Throughout their education this focus is widened to include the city of Moscow, the state of Idaho, the United States, and other countries. Students have engaged in fundraising for international charities such as Heifer International. They participate in International Walk to School Day. They also engage in activities in Moscow and around the Palouse including visits to city offices, attendance at local cultural events.
Science and Engineering
The science curriculum at MCS is intended to lead students to acquire basic foundational knowledge of science and to think as scientists and to approach problems using the scientific method. Science is integrated throughout the curriculum in all disciplines, so that students reading a story will also study relevant scientific and natural background information about the setting and events.
An inquiry-based, hands-on science curriculum is used in a supplementary fashion. This includes FOSS (Full Option Science System) kits, software simulations, and other interactive and exploratory science, technology, and knowledge acquisition activities. All elementary students are encouraged to participate in the Moscow School District Science Fair, and participation is required by some classroom teachers.
Engineering approaches are also taught at MCS, with students learning principles of planning, design, and construction of models. As with other subjects, these concepts are incorporated into the integrated curriculum. This further supports the Idaho Content standards.
MCS currently offers an after-school Plant Club in which students study horticulture and cultivate various ornamental and edible plants both indoors and in the school’s outdoor raised beds.
The inclusion of performing arts in a broad-based curriculum improves the quality of a child’s educational experience. Study of the arts teaches discipline, improves self-esteem, inspires creativity, helps students set and reach goals, promotes abstract thinking, and reinforces concepts in mathematics and science. All Moscow Charter School students participate in the music program in grades K-5, and students in grades 6-8 may enroll in music as an elective. Students sing, make and play instruments, create and write music and lyrics, and learn to read music.
Theater is for everyone. Theater provides a common goal that requires collaboration from students and adults. It is a vehicle for learning and expressing a variety of ideas, concepts, and feelings. It is an opportunity for students to develop social and interpersonal skills in a multi-age environment.
All Moscow Charter School students are involved in the end of the year theater production. They experience the creative process of writing the play and music, editing, casting, reading and memorizing scripts, designing the sets and costumes, choreographing dances, rehearsing, and performing to audiences. The theater production is a great learning catalyst and is central to our school curriculum.
Visual arts are a major component of the MCS arts program. All students participate in visual arts. Students are encouraged to explore, to create, and to reach their full potential. Students paint, draw, sculpt, and learn about elements and principles of art and design through the use of different media in conventional and unconventional ways. They interact with local artists. Students create original and innovative works of art to be displayed in the building throughout the school year. MCS students in grades 6-8 currently have the option of enrolling in several advanced art electives.
Physical Education and Health
The purpose of physical education is to help every child achieve optimum growth and development through physical activities. Students participate in exercises and fitness routines, skill building, and competitive and non-competitive games. They learn the fundamentals of a healthy lifestyle, including proper nutrition and the importance of regular exercise. Healthy food choices are encouraged for meals and snacks. All students in grades K-5 participate in PE classes. Students in grades 6-8 participate in Health classes and may enroll in PE as an elective.
Outside the curriculum, all MCS students are encouraged to participate in regular physical exercise through activities such as Walk to School or Bike to School Days and school walkathons. Most MCS family events include booths organized by the Wellness Committee that provide families with information on healthy lifestyles and local health and wellness resources.
MCS students use classroom computers on a regular basis. Our students grade K-5 participate in our Keyboarding specialty class and students in grades 3-5 are introduced to more complex technology curriculum such as programming, coding and website design. They also get to use Minecraft Edu software and Kano Kits. Students in our middle school currently have the option of enrolling in Robotics, Drafting and Art, all of which incorporate technology both in terms of physical use and curriculum. The Robotics team currently participates each year in the FIRST LEGO Robotics League competition.