In Grades 5 and 6, students are taught language arts (spelling, grammar, reading, writing), mathematics, and social studies by their homeroom teacher. Science, French, health & physical education, music, and art are taught by subject specialists in rotary classes.
Grades 7 students learn language arts (spelling, grammar, reading, writing), mathematics, history, and geography in their homeroom classes. Science, French, health & physical education, music, and art are taught by subject specialists in rotary classes.
Grade 8 students are are assigned to a homeroom. Each homeroom teacher is also a specialty teacher. Students typically spend 2 periods per day with their homeroom teacher and rotate classes throughout the day. Language arts, mathematics, history, geography, science, French, health & physical education, music, and art are taught in rotary classes. This helps prepare students for the class-by-class rotation in High School.
Homeroom classes travel to the OEC (Outdoor Education Centre in Muskoka) and attend field trips together. Parents receive a monthly phone call from the homeroom teacher.
Numeracy skills are at the foundation of the Mentor College Mathematics programme. We believe that before students can explore and manipulate the relationships between numbers, they must be able to add, subtract, multiply and divide with mastery. Our students do not use calculators. We follow grade level Ontario curriculum expectations and extend beyond these expectations where appropriate by having students learn to apply their mathematics skills to solve real life problems.
Mathematics is taught each day for 55 minutes. A typical math class begins with students taking up the previous night’s homework with their teacher, and with the teacher addressing any questions or concerns the students may have. A well crafted lesson that includes detailed study notes, examples and practice exercises on the topic of study is accompanied by a check for each student’s understanding. Students are assigned mathematics homework near the end of class so that they may practice at home the skills taught during the day.
The Language Arts programme consists of classes in reading, writing, spelling, grammar, oral communication, and media literacy. Students will typically have 80 to 110 minutes of language arts instruction daily.
In reading, students will read a wide variety of prose, short stories, novels, poems, non-fiction and media texts. We teach students how to identify the stated and implied ideas in these complex texts. They will learn to connect what they are reading to their personal experiences, to their knowledge of the world, to other texts and other disciplines, and to apply their understanding of figurative language and literary devices to understand the author’s message.
The focus in writing in grade 5 and 6 is expository paragraphs, while in grade 7 and 8, the emphasis is on essays. Students will use effective pre-writing strategies to organize ideas logically, sequentially or in an order of importance. They will learn to include relevant, clearly explained details to support each topic or thesis. They will revise each composition to ensure the content is accurate and relevant and clearly explained using an enriched vocabulary and grammatically correct sentences. Students will learn to be both precise and concise in their written communication skills. Our written language programme is enhanced by providing students with opportunities to develop their creative writing skills.
The purpose of teaching spelling and grammar as separate subjects is to ensure that our students have the knowledge and tools to express their ideas clearly in written form. Because we understand the importance of developing effective communication skills across all areas of the curriculum, our students’ spelling and grammar skills are evaluated in all subjects.
Students will also develop their oral communication skills throughout the year and in all subjects, culminating in a three-minute speech presented in front of their parents and peers.
Teaching students to understand how various media techniques effectively serve an intended audience is also a focus in our language arts programme and reinforced in our social science programmes.
Students will have 55 minutes of social studies every other day. We follow the expectations outlined in the Ontario curriculum. In grade 5, students will learn about First Nations and European Explorers in half of the year, and the Canadian government in the other half of the year. In grade 6 students will split the year between Canadian communities, past and present, and Canada’s interactions with the rest of the world. As well, students will be asked to apply their knowledge and understanding of historical events and issues to their knowledge and understanding of contemporary world events and issues.
The history programme follows the expectations outlined in the Ontario curriculum, and students will have one 55 minute class every other day. Students learn the story about how Canada became a sovereign nation. The focus in grade 7 is the years between 1713 and 1850. Grade 8 continues where grade 7 leaves off, and concentrates on the years, 1850 until 1914. Students will examine social and political change during these periods and discuss how they affected different groups of people. As well, students will examine Canada’s current political, social and economic landscape and learn how this landscape has its roots in Canada’s past.
As in history, students will have one 55 minute class every other day. Geography in grade 7 focuses on physical geography; whereas the grade 8 programme focuses on human geography. In addition to the text, students will examine current global concerns through newspaper articles, video clips, and other media.
Beginning in September 2019, all grade 8 students will take the grade 9 geography course and receive one credit towards their high school diploma.
From Grades 5-8, the topics are balanced between the biological and physical sciences. Students can apply their in-class knowledge in three grade level competitions.
In Grade 5, the students apply their understanding of forces and structures in an Engineering Design Challenge, while in Grade 6, the students apply the steps of the Scientific Method in Science Demonstrations Presentations.
In Grades 7 and 8, the Science Fair sees the well-researched projects presented at the school for fellow students, teachers and judges. Each year the top projects from the Mentor College Science Fair advance to the Peel Region Science Fair (PRSF) where they compete with projects from across the region, and typically come home with a handful of awards.
As well, students from Mentor College have placed in the top 12 at the PRSF, and therefore have qualified to represent the Region of Peel at the Canada Wide Science Fair in 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 - bringing them to places across Canada like Fredericton NB, Montreal QC, and Regina SK. As well, Mentor College has participated in the “First Lego League” regional contest since 2007.
The use of technology is integrated into all classes in the Intermediate Division. Using a combination of modern laptops and iPads, homeroom and specialty teachers are able to design lessons and activities that allow their students to learn important digital skills concurrently to meeting curriculum expectations. Each teacher is able to customize his or her use of technology to meet the specific needs of the students.
In the Intermediate Division, students continue their French language studies with a focus on reinforcing simple conversations and constructing more complex conversations. Students will also learn about the placement of parts of speech within the context of a sentence. The focus of French language studies is sentence construction, grammar rules, and oral competency as a part of the learning goal of French proficiency.
The Grade 5/6 curriculum allows students to use common phrases and expressions to have simple and structured conversations. Students learn about grammar and vocabulary associated with common themes such as personal preferences and interests, asking and answering questions, and Franco-Canadian communities in Quebec and other areas of Canada.
In Grades 7/8, students are conducting fuller conversations in French. They are engaging in spontaneous conversation and using compound sentences to express their opinions about themes such as media and shopping. Students are reading longer, more complex texts, and are producing paragraph responses. Students are also creating detailed presentations about the francophone cultures they are studying.
The Intermediate Division’s physical education programme helps students develop an understanding of what they need in order to make a commitment to lifelong healthy active living and to develop the capacity to live satisfying, productive lives. Our teachers support students in their journey to learn kinaesthetically; they learn about healthy active living primarily by ‘doing’, that is, through physical activity.
The Healthy Living strand helps students develop an understanding of the factors that contribute to healthy development, a sense of personal responsibility for lifelong health, and a respect for their own health in relation to others and the world around them. Students will develop health literacy as they acquire the knowledge and skills they need to develop, maintain, and enjoy healthy living as well as to solve problems, make decisions, and set goals that are directly related to their person health and well-being. Learning how to establish, monitor, and maintain healthy relationships is a key part of this strand.
Basic musical theory will be taught in Grades 5 and 6 and instrumental music is continued with the introduction of the guitar. A junior choir, intermediate choir and a guitar ensemble are formed for Grade 5 and 6 students in the fall when interest is expressed. In Grade 7 and 8, music theory, composition, and appreciation are enhanced, and students choose instruments in the different woodwind, brass, and percussion sections.
Music will be sure to play an important role in your child’s life. A voluntary after-school concert band is offered for those who wish to further pursue their proficiency. Every year, the various groups, ensembles, and classes stage a concert as part of the May Festival Of The Arts.
In the Intermediate Division, students visit one of two art rooms where they are taught by a subject specialist the elements of art and design. The programme provides students with the opportunity to work with a wide variety of drawing, painting, printmaking, and sculpting tools and materials. Students are guided to discover the skills and techniques to visually communicate their ideas. In May, their artwork is exhibited for the student body and parents at the May Festival of the Arts.