Extended Studies Program Information

Extended Studies Program


This year’s Extended Studies program endeavors to:

  • Provide highly motivated, skilled and independent student learners with additional time during the school week for further exploration and deeper development of topics and subjects that address grade level standards for learning.
  • Allow for collaboration between educators in grades 5 and 6 and specialist subject teachers, in order to create extension units that share the responsibility of addressing learning standards presented in regular classroom curriculum units with students in the Extended Studies program.
  • Support classroom curriculum by developing and executing extensions of learning in core subjects;  ELA, Social Studies, and Science, as they address both Common Core and State Standards of learning.
  • Differentiate instruction with a small group of students.

Who should apply to the Extended Studies program?

  • Students enrolled in grades 5 and 6 for the 2016-2017 school year, who are highly motivated, skilled and independent learners.
  • Students enrolled in grades 5 and 6 for the 2016-2017 school year who consistently receive grades of all 3’s in all academic subjects, specialist subjects, and in Learner Qualities on their report cards. (Report cards with other grading systems from students who are new to Spofford will be viewed and grades converted accordingly.)

How do students apply to the Extended Studies program?

  • Students apply to the program during the one-week application period before the start of each Extended Studies term.  This period will be announced in their homeroom classrooms with a presentation from the Specialists Team.  
  • There will be a signup sheet in each of the fifth and sixth grade classrooms for interested students.  It is the expectation that students will sign up on time in order to be considered to apply to the program.
  • Interested students will apply online using a Google Form, in a designated classroom during RTI, under the supervision of members of the specialist team and from the grade level team.

What happens in an Extended Studies class?

  • Students will create, along with a small group of up to (5) other students who have similar interests and strengths, an Independent Investigation Project, with instruction and mentoring from specialist teachers.
  • Students will be expected to work on their independent investigations during the other four (4) RTI blocks in the school week, as well as at home, as necessary.

When do Extended Studies classes happen?

  • There are (3) Extended Studies terms, each is held for approximately 10 weeks.  

Term 1  Fall

Term 2  Winter

Term 3  Spring

  • Extended Studies classes meet once a week for 30 minutes, for approximately (10) weeks during the RTI block.

May a student apply for all 3 terms of Extended Studies?

  • Students may apply for any term.

Families should to refer to the “Planning Ahead” section below, in order to make an informed decision about which of the the curricula being offered in each of the three (3) Extended Studies terms for this school year best meets their student’s interests and strengths.

Often a student has more than one strong interest and strength.

In Extended Studies, though the main theme for the term may be science, for example, a student with equal interest and strength in art as in science will be encouraged to use art in his/her independent science investigation.

Should a student apply for Term 1 and not be accepted, he/she is encouraged to apply again in Terms 2 and 3.

Term 1 Fall – September – December

Grade 5 – Mentored Independent Student Explorations in Energy using the Scientific Method of Learning.

Grade 6 – Mentored Independent Student Explorations of Europe and the five themes of geography using the Inquiry Method of Learning.

Important dates for Term 1 – Fall

September 19 – September 21 – Informative presentation to students and teachers about the program, to be held in grades 5 and 6 classrooms.

  • For 5th grade – 1:20 – 1:40

9/19 Monday- Mrs. O’Brien and Mrs. Nitchie

9/20 Tuesday- Mrs. Medugno and Mrs. Bouffard

9/21 Wednesday- Mrs. Cummings and Mrs. Wiles-Stasko

  • For 6th grade – 1:45 – 2:05

9/19  Mon:  Mrs. Magee and Mrs. Sierpina   

9/20 Tues:  Mrs. Stewart and Mrs. Mrs. Economos

9/21 Wed:  Ms. Boyle and Mrs.Sheldon

September 26 October 3 – Online application period for interested students in grade level classrooms during the RTI block.

October 7 – Acceptance letters go out to students and families

October 11 – December 19 – Term 1 Classes Meet  

Planning Ahead . . .

Winter Term  Themes – January to Mid- March

1:10 – 1:40 Gr. 5 – Social Studies

1:40 – 2:00 Gr. 6 – Science

Spring Term Themes –  Mid- March to June

1:10 – 1:40 Gr. 5 –  ELA

1:40 – 2:00 Gr. 6 –  ELA

Further Information

The websites below provide more information regarding Project Based Learning and Independent Student Investigation Projects.  These will be incorporated into the Extended Studies experience.

Edutopia Inquiry Based Learning

Edutopia Project Based Learning

Math, Science, Music Project Resources

STEAM and Project Based Learning