Students at Marin Horizon develop extensive research skills, beginning with simple book-based reports in lower elementary, moving to step-by-step research projects in upper elementary, and culminating in complex, multiple-resource projects and multi-media presentations in middle school. As a result, our students emerge as confident learners and critical thinkers, who are not only able to answer important questions, but to ask them as well.
At Marin Horizon School, we use technology as a tool to amplify student learning. Technology is not taught in isolation, but is integrated into the curriculum to create a real world and challenging learning environment for all.
We continually evaluate our use of technology to support exploration and innovation, both within and beyond the classroom. Students begin to use computers in 2nd and 3rd grade to prepare final written reports and stories using Word. Keyboarding is taught in 4th/5th grades when students complete more elaborate final projects using their computer skills in word-processing and graphics. Middle School students learn to use Excel spreadsheets in math and science classes, and in 8th grade they complete mastery projects using PowerPoint.
Study skills are explicitly taught in grades 1-8. Students learn different approaches to mastering subject matter, and how to use the library, complete a research project, read for different purposes, and prepare for tests. Homework packets are weekly from first through third grade, where the expectation is that students learn to complete homework independently and on a schedule of their own design. In upper elementary, nightly homework includes longer-term assignments and research projects. In middle school students learn to manage much more complex study calendars.
Time Management Skills
Our goal is to help students become independent managers of their studies and homework. We begin in first grade to introduce time management skills around completion of classroom work and homework. By middle school, students manage a complex workload that includes short and long-term assignments. At this age, we work closely with students on:
- calendar management
- fitting homework into busy schedules
- pacing long-term and major assignments
- using day timers
In this manner our 8th graders are well prepared to independently manage the challenge of busy high school schedules.Media Literacy
Our librarian teaches a dynamic course to older students on how to be savvy consumers and how to appraise advertising and information on the Internet critically. This course links the importance of media awareness to health and consumerism and also to the integrity of the research students do for other subjects.