ACA MS SEMINAR COLLEGE READINESS SESSIONS
What is MS Seminar?
Seminar, formerly known as “homeroom” or “advisory”, is part of a strong approach to college preparation as stated in ACA's vision statement. ACA has always taught study skills and executive function. Through time dedicated to Seminar, we now have a venue to intentionally teach successful habits for study and strengthen students' abilities to accomplish the high educational standards in partnership with ACA parents. It is designed to be an interactive class where students build executive function in order to overcome the challenges of higher academic classes. Executive function refers to a specific set of skills that include memory, deep levels of thinking, and self-control or discipline. In essence, it is the intentional building of academic disciplines to help our students be successful in our accelerated academics and further academic pursuits after ACA. Providing Seminar class strengthens ACA’s commitment to accelerated instruction and our classical, college preparatory program and supports students. Seminar class is graded.
Seminar is in the students' daily schedule to help build consistency, accountability, and community. Our approach to Seminar focuses on the joy of learning with personal responsibility and excellence.
How will my child benefit from Seminar?
At the heart of classical education is the goal of cultivating wisdom through nurturing joy in learning and in intellectual pursuits because of the way that these pursuits connect. Yale University describes Seminar as a vehicle for instructors to effectively facilitate rich discussions when their students are equipped to engage and students are more apt to build upon the existing framework of knowledge as they continue to develop and achieve better learning outcomes. Intentionally teaching these executive function skills will build students' confidence to engage in and take ownership of their own learning.
6th Grade Curriculum Core Resource:
-SOAR Learning and Soft Skills for College
This curriculum focuses on: Setting Goals, Organizing, Asking Questions, and Recording Your Progress.
*Grade Level Continuum (22-23 school year, 6th grade curriculum)
*SOAR Website (ACA uses the StudySkills.com portion only)
-Supplemental Resource: Teaching the Social Skills of Academic Interaction.
*This curriculum focuses on skills students need to work successfully with partners and groups in a classroom setting.
*(examples: active listening, how to work with a partner, how to extend an academic conversation, Think-Pair-Share, overcoming off-task triggers, complimenting others’ work, establishing group ground rules)
Both resources are available in the MS front office for parents to review.
7th/8th Grade Resource
Expanding on the skills learned from last year, students in 7th and 8th grade will learn more about the way their brain learns. They will practice executive function that improves academics and prepares students and families for the choices they will be making when choosing their high school and college.
SMARTS Executive Function: https://smarts-ef.org/about/#Why-SMARTS
Strategies: Executive function strategies, sometimes called executive function skills, empower students to manage demanding academic school work, allowing them to focus their effort and show what they know. When students use strategies effectively, they think and problem solve more flexibly.
Motivation: When students learn strategies that allow them to complete their homework and school work, which previously seemed impossible, they are more motivated to work hard.
Awareness: SMARTS teaches students to develop metacognitive awareness, so they understand how they think and learn. With this knowledge, students can select the strategies that work best for them and can apply these strategies to assignments in all their classes.
Resilience: Once students have learned executive function strategies and understand their learning profiles, they develop resilient approaches to learning. When faced with challenges, they apply strategies rather than giving in to frustration.
Talents: Strategies and metacognitive awareness allow students to leverage their talents, applying their strengths in creative ways so that they can overcome challenges and succeed.
Success: With SMARTS, all students gain the tools they need to succeed. When students understand their learning profiles and use the SMARTS strategies to complete their homework and school work, they are more motivated to persist in the face of challenges.
*ACA uses the beginning of the school year to focus on Griffin community pillars for the MS campus through Seminar (all grades).
ACA END GOALS for Students that align to SEMINAR: