DLS Middle School Model
The DLS middle school is modeled to continue our goal of bilingualism and bi-literacy through the eighth grade. In the middle school years, DLS is a 50/50 immersion model. Fifty percent of instruction is taught in the target language and the other percent is taught in English.
Key principles of the DLS Middle School
- Transfer students must meet target language grade level requirements to enter DLS in the middle school.
- Emphasis on inquiry/project-based learning.
- Team teaching approach with content-certified teachers for each subject area.
- Purposeful focus on vocabulary and social use of the target language.
- Students are taught three content areas in their target language.
- Students have the option to take a third language as an elective.
In the DLS middle school program, students are required to study a target language (Mandarin Chinese or Spanish), plus English, social studies, science, mathematics, the arts (visual arts, music, theatre), technology, and physical education. One of our goals is to equip students with the communication, linguistic, and analytical skills that can be adapted to interdisciplinary units with other core subjects: mathematics, social studies, and science. We believe in academic rigor in our target languages (Mandarin Chinese and Spanish) to prepare students for success in an increasingly global community. Technology is also integrated in both the target language and English learning content.
Language Use During a Typical Academic Day
Target Language Mandarin Chinese or Spanish:
- Language arts (Mandarin Chinese or Spanish) – 100%
- Mathematics – 100%
- Social studies – 100%
- English language arts – 100%
- Science – 100%
- Electives – 100%
Language skills are the key elements in education. Listening, speaking, reading, and writing are indispensable components in the subject of language arts, which is vital for all students. These components are integrated into student learning, and are used to build understanding and skills across all academic subjects.
The components of oral expression and listening, reading for all purposes, writing and composition, research and reasoning, cultures, and experiential learning projects are trans-disciplinary; they apply to all academic subjects and classes. They are inherently part of the target-language-acquisition goals.
DLS values an integrated math approach, combining principles of Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Geometry, and Algebra II throughout the middle school years. These courses focus on grade level skills and state standards.
All students will be engaged in daily rigorous, relevant, high-level, inquiry-based instruction that will prepare them for challenging classes in high school and for success on district and state assessments.
Importance will be placed on teaching students to think like scientists, practice inquiry to help students develop a useful base of scientific knowledge, as well as on developing their high-level thinking and questioning skills, teaching them how to access and evaluate the validity of data, and using technology as a tool to enhance learning.
At DLS we will use a spiraling curriculum with each grade level being exposed to Earth, Life, and Physical Science. The Next Generation Science Standards and Colorado Academic Standards allow our students to interact with science content at a deeper level with an additional focus on engineering and technology which will be embedded into the content.
The social studies curriculum is taught in Chinese or Spanish and is designed to create students who are active citizens in their community, country, and world. Each grade level follows the new curriculum standards of the State of Colorado while supporting target language reading and writing goals. All classes utilize a curriculum that engages students in historical inquiry with lessons that revolve around historical questions. Lessons often feature sets of primary documents designed for students with diverse reading skills and abilities. We focus on teaching students how to investigate historical questions by using strategies such as sourcing, contextualizing, corroborating and close reading. Students learn to think like historians, seeing themselves as detectives in the process of figuring things out with the guidance of teachers. This type of thinking will promote the ability to analyze current issues and make informed decisions as adults.
According to the state standards, each year the focus is on a different area of the world. The areas of focus for each grade level are as follows:
- 6th Grade Social Studies Topics to include but not limited to Aztec, Maya, Inca, Inuit, early Native American cultures of North America, major explorers, colonizers of countries in the Western Hemisphere, and the Columbian Exchange.
- 7th Grade Social Studies Topics to include but not limited to early civilizations, Greece, Rome, ancient China, and ancient African civilizations, and the Medieval World incorporating the Crusades and Feudalism and how these civilizations have affected the Modern World.
- 8th Grade Social Studies Topics to include, but not limited to examination of factors that motivated the military and economic expansion from the American Revolution through Reconstruction; this includes a close study of the Declaration and Constitution and the major Supreme Court cases that changed the country, for example, Civil Rights cases.
The Arts (Visual Arts, Music, Theatre)
A key part of exploring, communicating, and shaping a sense of identity and perception of the world we live in involves learning through the arts. Objectives for this subject focus on: 1) knowledge and understanding, 2) application, 3) reflection and evaluation, and 4) personal engagement. By incorporating a variety of activities in whole and small group settings in class, DLS students develop self-confidence, resilience, and the ability to adapt in our ever-changing world.
Comprehensive Health and Physical Education
The DLS middle school physical education courses are comprehensive and well balanced, involving a series of diverse and integral skills and concepts. Based on our current situation and resources, the DLS physical education class does its best to offer a maximum number of experiences for learning and educate students in the benefits of a healthy and physically fit lifestyle.