Multigrade/level classrooms allow our students to develop and grow at their own pace without feeling self-conscious about where they are academically. This model also allows our students to learn from each other.
In developing class structure at MADE Houston, we assess each student's academic and social abilities. A considerable amount of effort is devoted to understanding how students will be able to support and challenge each other in class. For middle school classes, this process is repeated for class groupings in each major subject. A well blended/well balanced classroom encourages students to learn to work with others and provides opportunities for students to teach/mentor others within the classroom.
Being a small school, students are involved in several “all school” opportunities throughout the day where they interact with students across all grades. The day begins with all school physical education and ends with an all school informal assembly prior to school dismissal. Students have lunch as a group followed by an all school recess period. These various opportunities allows students to have plenty of time with social peers, even if they may not be academic peers or in their classrooms.
Reading is taught daily and our students come to us with a variety of abilities in reading fluency and comprehension. At MADE Houston, our reading curriculum allows teachers to begin a program at a student’s existing level and develop a student’s skills to unlock their full potential. Our English Language Arts (ELA) teachers have a variety of Orton–Gillingham curriculum training (a multi-sensory teaching approach specifically designed to help struggling readers by explicitly teaching the connections between letters and sounds) and use this for individual and small group instruction.
At MADE Houston, we believe that all students benefit from guided reading as well as whole class reading. Guided reading is small group instruction, based more on a student’s reading ability and meets the student where they are academically and builds from there to where they need to be. Students have the opportunity to delve deeply into text through guided instruction, reading comprehension games and silent reading.
Whole class reading is normally novel based and allows students to develop their reading and comprehension skills as a team. Class discussions led by teachers allow room for children to develop and express their own opinions and ideas.
Many of our students arrive frustrated with the writing process, finding it to be daunting and seemingly insurmountable. At MADE Houston, we provide our students across all grades with highly structured writing instruction that breaks down writing into distinct phases. Our teachers repeatedly review and collaboratively work through the steps of prewriting, organizing, writing, editing, revising, and publishing. With each new writing form introduced, students analyze and deconstruct model pieces. Teachers demonstrate the process before repeating the steps collaboratively with students. Finally, students use the strategies that work best for them to complete the process on their own.
At MADE Houston, we believe it is vital to teach our students how technology can support the writing process. For those with learning differences such as dysgraphia, it can unlock previously trapped creative writing talents. For other students, it can reduce the anxiety of the writing process. Thus, MADE Houston provides all students with the technology tools and instruction to incorporate novel software and strategies to the writing process.
At MADE Houston, our students present with various levels of abilities and mastery in math. For some, math may be a relative strength, while for others math may be complicated by a math learning difference (e.g., Dyscalculia). Students attend daily math class throughout elementary school and middle school. Students are taught as a class and also in smaller more focused groups within the classroom to allow for specific student needs to be met. Students are taught in a variety of ways including direct, explicit, multi-sensory instruction.
Students have science four times a week. The classes are based on a student’s grade level. At MADE Houston, our science program teaches more than just content. Students learn to think critically, be methodical, organize and problem solve using a systematic and scientific approach. Children learn using hands on experiments. MADE Houston uses STEMScopes to guide the science curriculum.
Students have Social Studies four times a week. The classes are based on a student’s grade level. Social Studies comprises of both history and geography skills. Much of the social studies class is discussion based and project centered to make the lessons fun and relatable. Consistent with our teaching philosophy at MADE Houston, in Social Studies the students are taught to think critically by making sure they ask questions, challenge assumptions, and make new insights.
STEAM education integrates concepts that are usually taught as separate subjects across different classes. Classes and activities that fall under the STEAM umbrella emphasize the application of knowledge to real-life situations.
A lesson or unit in a STEAM class is typically based around finding a solution to a real-world problem and tends to emphasize project-based learning. STEAM encourages students to take thoughtful risks, engage in experiential learning, persist in problem-solving, embrace collaboration, and work through the creative process.
Every morning students begin the day together as a school doing physical education. We mix fine motor skills and gross motor skills with different team sports for the students to learn. PE is a great way to prepare our students for the day and get focused on class time.
Students meet in specifically designed classes at least once a week to participate in either Social Skills or Advocacy classes. At MADE Houston, we believe that our students must learn leadership and self-advocacy in order to succeed.
One of the ways we like to challenge our students is through foreign language classes. We offer both Spanish and American Sign Language. Recognizing that not all students are ready to tackle a second language, students may opt in to a study hall period.
At MADE Houston, we use technology to present lessons in class and as supplemental online curriculum. All students learn keyboarding as a way to develop fine motor control and to assist those students with dysgraphia.
All students attend a weekly art class. In addition, art is woven into other classes such as Social Studies. Our art classes encourage student expression through different mediums. Students learn about different artists and are encouraged to develop their own style.
MADE Houston does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations.