Salt Lake Arts Academy

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Curriculum

Curriculum

Humanities
All Salt Lake Arts Academy students take a 90-minute humanities course daily. This class combines the language arts and social studies Core Curriculum. The 7th and 8th grade classes are combined multi-grade-level classes. Students read a variety of fiction and non-fiction titles. (BOOKLISTS) Writing, research, technology and art history are integrated into this course.

5th / 6th Grade
Year A: Ancient Civilizations – Egypt, Greece, Rome, Mesopotamia, Asia, and Meso-America
Year B: Middle Ages – Exploration – Renaissance – Reformation – Revolution

7th / 8th Grade
Year A: Early American history – colonial history, American revolution, government, westward expansion, Civil War, reconstruction, immigration
Year B: 19th Century through modern world history

Each year, we select a theme that connects our classes and school-wide activities. In the 2016-17 school year, we begin the first of a three-year exploration of the core elements involved in “Creating a Better World" -- air, water and earth.  This year we will focus on our relationship with "Air."  Students will explore flight, the solar system, air quality and clean air solutions, through curricula that connects science, humanities, mathematics and the arts.

 

Mathematics

Although we are proud of our emphasis in the arts, we are equally pleased to offer an exemplary math program. We have expanded our math classes to 75 minutes per day for every grade.

5th-Grade Math: We use Brigdes for Mathematics created by the Math Learning Center.  Bridges is a program designed to develop students’ deep understandings of mathematical concepts, build proficiency with key skills, and give them the ability to solve complex and novel problems. 

For grades 6 – 8 we use the College Preparatory Math (CPM) program, which is rated as exemplary by the US Department of Education.

The CPM middle school and high school core courses were designed and written based on several fundamental learning principles:

  • Mathematics is a coherent intellectual system, not a collection of disjoint facts, and needs to be taught in a way that makes this coherence clear.
  • Curriculum works best when it is successful with all students, including “traditionally struggling students” and “accelerated” students.
  • Teachers teach better when curriculum materials are flexible.
  • Structured investigations and lessons are more successful when students clearly understand what they are looking for.
  • Students learn more when they solve problems and discuss their thinking with others.
  • Teams work better when the work actually requires a team and there is something to talk about.
  • Closure is a vital portion of a lesson.
  • A student’s learning is more meaningful and is better retained when he or she reaches the level of understanding necessary to explain and justify his or her thinking.
  • A mathematical text should have usable reference elements.
  • Literacy can be strengthened through meaningful/rigorous mathematical study.
  • The structure of the lessons and layout of the textbook help students focus on mathematics and eliminate distractions.
 

For a full description of these principles, click HERE.

 

Science

Students take grade-level-specific classes in order to meet the State Core requirements. Fifth and Sixth graders take science on alternating days with Digital Learning or P.E.  Our Seventh and Eighth graders have science daily. Hands-on learning through science labs and fieldwork is an important part of these classes. Students are asked to demonstrate their understanding of scientific concepts through original projects that often combine arts with science.

7th-graders attend genetics labs at the University of Utah during their study of human genetics and perform 3 anatomy labs during the year.

8th-graders travel to the Teton Science Schools in Jackson, Wyoming, for one week during the school year for fieldwork relating to environmental science, geology, and ecology.

Our science teachers meet regularly with the arts and humanities teachers to develop complementary units supporting work covered in other classes. 

Arts

We believe that the arts are a fundamental part of our students’ education. Over their four years at Salt Lake Arts Academy, our students receive a foundation in the arts that will lead to greater understanding and appreciation for a lifetime.

Grade 5 : Students attend a four-quarter rotation through dance, music, drama and visual arts in each of these years, called “Level 1.” This arts rotation provides students not only an exposure to these art forms, but also the fundamental skills, concepts and vocabulary inherent in each.

Grades  6, 7 and 8: Students are required to select one or two art forms to pursue with greater specialization, moving to “Level 2,” and for some advanced students, “Level 3,'” classes. . At this point, we encourage students to identify their artistic passion and make a commitment to expand their competency in these forms.

Throughout the school year, students attend concerts, plays and performances within the local arts community, from Pioneer Theatre to Kingsbury Hall, Ballet West, the Utah Symphony, RDT, and Ririe Woodbury.

Each year, our students perform and exhibit their work.  The “Level 3” classes create an original theatrical production based on the annual theme and drawing from the humanities, science and arts curricula.  This end of year performance is a culminating display of our students’ learning across disciplines, and is a community-building event for the entire school.

Physical Education

Emphasizes lifetime fitness and utilizes community recreation facilities such as the Liberty Wells Recreation Center, Central City Recreation Center, and Liberty Park.  In addition to regular PE classes, our students are often found walking to the Main Public Library, to the TRAX station, or to the theaters located in downtown Salt Lake City.