ClearWater Academy embraces a philosophy of using the most advanced methods of teaching and learning. These methods include thematic instruction, in which educational experiences are tied into designated themes that help students form connections more readily. We also use an integrated curriculum approach. Activities in reading, social studies, science, writing, math and technology are related to our themes and to one another.
An Example of Thematic Instruction and Integrated Curriculum
If the theme is discovery, a student may:
- read about a famous explorer
- use math to plan for the amount of provisions needed
- construct a map in art to illustrate a route and depict the new plants and animals encountered along the way
- physically go on an expedition in a wooded area and make measurements of trees for both math and science
- Prepare a written log of the expedition that will be converted to a PowerPoint presentation
We Validate Learning with Authentic Assessment
ClearWater also uses authentic assessment, offering a variety of ways a student can show mastery of material including presentations, portfolios, drama, and of course the more traditional assessments.
We Celebrate Multiple Intelligences
The concept of multiple intelligences also serves as a guiding force in teaching and learning for our students. This concept recognizes that there are many ways of being “smart,” that we all have individual best ways of learning and best ways of showing what we know. The focus is on enhancing strengths while building areas that need strengthening.
We Understand Special Needs
ClearWater Academy provides targeted, specialized instruction in particular areas of academic weakness for students. For example, ClearWater Academy uses research-proven techniques for helping students struggling with initial decoding in reading, and for improving reading comprehension. We also use a highly-researched approach for helping students who struggle with math to assure that students master necessary skills before proceeding to later concepts. This specially-designed approach targets the way students who have difficulty with math best need to learn.
We Teach How to Learn, Not Just What to Learn
ClearWater Academy has adopted the concept of Strategic Learning Coaching to meet the needs of individual students. This concept recognizes that it is just as important–and often more important–to teach students how to learn rather than just what to learn. Recognizing the most recent advances in neuroscience, our program guides students in ways that build neural connections as students approach repeatable academic tasks in school. We consistently reinforce an approach to tasks that incorporates personal goal-setting, planning and organization, strategy selection, and reflection. Students and teachers develop specific strategies for repeated use, matched to the student’s particular learning characteristics, so that the process becomes more automatic and, therefore, more durable. The use of Strategic Learning Coaching is embedded continuously into the curriculum, teaching methods and the school day for our students.