Curriculum

Middle School Classroom

English

Grade 6

Sixth grade English is designed to reinforce the foundational concepts of grammar and sentence diagraming through a review or teaching of all the parts of speech and primary parts of the sentence. Students are exposed to classical and time-honored literature through the study of short stories, novels, poetry, and non-fiction, and vocabulary enrichment words are taken from the literature, from words introduced to English from other languages, and from literary terms. Writing assignments are varied and numerous and will often relate to one specific skill; quality and content rather than length are the focus.
 
Topics covered: 
  • Introduce proper sentence diagraming from simple subject and verb sentences through adverb clauses.
  • Reinforce knowledge of all parts of speech and parts of the sentence.
  • Focus on ways to improve and strengthen comprehension skills continue to enrich vocabulary with words from reading and supplementary sources.
  • Emphasize basic writing skills, including composing strong topic and concluding sentences, writing quality sentences following specific formulas, composing short in-class assignments, and offering opportunities for creative writing.

Grade 7

Seventh grade English builds on the grammar foundation established in sixth grade, introducing more advanced grammar and diagraming skills. Literary terms and tools are examined and discussed critically through the use of varied works and genres of literature. Students will work on components of a basic five-paragraph, thesis-based essay.
 
Topics covered:
  • Introduce advanced grammar concepts and diagraming: participles, gerunds, infinitives, noun clauses, and adjective clauses.
  • Improve note-taking skills, especially annotating, through the reading of classic novels and short stories.
  • Continue to enrich vocabulary with words from reading and supplementary sources.
  • Produce oral presentations related to the literature. 
  • Emphasize paragraph organization, strong introductions and conclusions, proper use of quotations, and original expression.

Grade 8

In English 8 students develop their ability to learn from great thinkers and to articulate their ideas in writing and speech. Each semester includes one book, that will challenge the most astute readers, and two essays based on the reading. Compositions practice the foundations of powerful communication: organization, detail selection, strong vocabulary, proper grammar, and revision, a staple in every writer’s life.
 
Topics covered:
  • Improve sentence fluency from a foundation in diagraming.
  • Practice annotation and note-taking from a variety of texts.
  • Use new vocabulary from readings.
  • Practice posing and probing questions in Socratic-styled discussion.
  • Compose original essays that interrogate an aspect of the literature or test an author’s tactic.

Life Elective

This course is designed to promote the qualities of Kindness, Manners, Respect, and Responsibility (KMRR) through fun and meaningful stories and films and by sharing activities with other divisions.

Mathematics

Grade 6

Provides students in key middle grades a strong foundation of mathematical concepts and skills.

These topics are covered:

  • Representing and interpreting data
  • Geometry concepts
  • Applications with fractions and decimals
  • Operations with integers
  • Patterns, measurement
  • Number theory
  • Ratio
  • Proportion
  • Percent
  • Probability
  • Problem solving

Grade 7/Pre-Algebra

Provides a review of Math 6 topics and extends those topics to include a thorough Algebra readiness curriculum.

These topics are included:

  • organizing, displaying, and analyzing data
  • patterns in geometry
  • integers and variable expressions
  • algebraic equations and inequalities
  • graphing in coordinate plane
  • patterns
  • rational numbers
  • applications of proportion and percent
  • probability
  • measurement
  • number theory
  • problem solving

Grade 8/Algebra 1

  • the real number system and its properties
  • solving and writing equations in one and two variables
  • solving and graphing inequalities
  • systems of linear equations, exponents and radicals
  • radical equations
  • quadratic equations
  • polynomials and factoring
  • exponential functions
  • problem solving
  • logical reasoning
  • algebraic applications using technology

Computer Science

Grade 6

Computer science provides students with an array of experience within the world of computers.

Topics covered: 
  • Basic computer operation
  • Keyboarding skills
  • Digital citizenship/Internet safety
  • Google apps for education suite
  • Creation of multimedia presentations
  • Photo/video production
  • Graphic art/animations
  • Web page creation
  • Computer programming/coding

No prerequisites required for this course.

Web Page Creation

For grades 6th-8th, Web Page Creation provides students with coding languages and digital skills to learn how to create their own web pages.
 
Topics covered: 
  • HTML
  • CSS
  • Javascript
  • Adobe Suite

No prerequisites required for this course.

Science

Grade 6/Earth Science

Covers scientific probing of nature, observations, recording of laboratory data and analysis, astronomy, oceanography, meteorology, geology, and related sciences.

Grade 7/Life Science

Covers scientific probing of nature, introduction to biology, observations, recording of laboratory data and analysis, integration of biological and health sciences, and ecosystems.

Grade 8/Physical Science

Scientific method

  • observation
  • laboratory data
  • analysis

Metric system

Chemistry

  • periodic table
  • atomic structure
  • chemical reactions and processes

Physics

  • light
  • sound
  • mechanics

Competitive Science Elective

Grades 7-8

Places emphasis on understanding and using skills for students to gain confidence in becoming active learners. Students observe, inquire, question, formulate, and test hypotheses; analyze data, report and evaluate findings.

Social Science

Grade 6 World History

This course examines the major intellectual, political, economic, and social movements that have influenced the development of people and their cultures in the ancient and medieval world. This course introduces students to the major civilizations and world religions through approximately 1500 C.E. Because the world has always been largely interdependent and interconnected, the program stresses comparisons among various civilizations and events. Additionally, students analyze the connections between geography and historical events as well as the lasting influences of the Ancient world on our world today.

Topics covered:
  • Stone Age and Early Culture
  • River Valley Civilizations: Mesopotamia, Egypt, Indus River Valley, China
  • Premodern China: Tang-Ming Dynasties
  • Ancient Hebrews
  • Ancient Greece and Rome
  • Islamic World
  • Early African Civilizations
  • Early American Civilizations
  • Medieval Europe

Grade 7 World History

In this course, students examine some of the significant historical events and trends in World History. This course is designed to help students understand how civilizations, peoples, and societies develop and change over time. Students examine the interrelationships between resources, social structures, and the daily life of specific populations. Students also practice crafting and supporting arguments regarding historical topics.
 
Topics Covered: 
  • European Renaissance and Reformation: Exploration, Cultural Diffusion, New Ideas.
  • The Enlightenment: Challenging Absolutism, Scientific Revolution, Spread of New Ideas.
  • The French Revolution: Causes and Impact on Europe and the New World.
  • Nationalism and Revolution: Changes in Political Thought, Development of Nation States.
  • Industrial Revolution: Why England First? Consequences of Industrialization.
  • Imperialism: How Nationalism, Industrialism, and Empire are connected.
  • Transformations Around the Globe: China Resists the West, Japan Modernizes, Global Tensions, and WWI.
  • Revolutions and Nationalism: Russian Revolution, Totalitarian Regimes, Nationalism in India and Southwest Asia, WWII.
  • Decolonization: Policies Implemented After WWII Around the Globe.

Grade 8 U.S History

This course, 8th Grade U.S. History: Multiple Perspectives, provides an advanced survey of the history of the United States as a frontier, from exploration to the twenty-first century. Students study political, social, cultural, economic, and environmental aspects of the building of the United States.
 
Topics Covered: 
  • Meeting of Cultures: European contact and interaction with Native groups.
  • Empire: Colonization of North America.
  • Creating a Republic: Revolution, Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution.
  • Westward Expansion: Land Use, Indian Policy, War with Mexico, and the Civil War.
  • Industrialization: Urban Development, Railroads, Mining, Labor, and the Birth of the Progressive Movement.
  • Turn of the Century: Changes in Society, Two World Wars, the Great Depression, and the New Deal.
  • Modern America: Social Unrest, Civil Rights, Vietnam, and Changes to the Political Landscape.

Film Studies Elective

This class will discuss the political climate of when a movie was made and compare it with today's political and social climate. Film titles will change each semester.

Foreign Language

Spanish 6

Emphasizes proficiency through storytelling and reading, covers present tense, sentence and question formation, and short compositions and stories, along with various cultural aspects.

Spanish 7

Emphasizes proficiency through storytelling and reading, reviews present tense, covers negative commands, the future tense, sentence and question formation, short compositions and stories, along with various cultural aspects.

Spanish 8

Emphasizes language usage in the present and past tenses. Continues verb and vocabulary enrichment. Exposes students to Spanish in a variety of listening activities, including viewing television programs and composing and performing oral presentations. Concludes the year with the reading and discussion of a short novel.

LATIN 8

In Latin 8, students explore the presence of Latin everywhere around them as 21st-century Americans. The single biggest component of the course is English (and Spanish) vocabulary acquisition through the study of Latin word roots, but mini-projects investigating Latin’s role in topics ranging from science, law, and medicine to government, rhetoric, and argumentation punctuate the year. Secondary, but still sustained and concerted effort is exerted in understanding ancient Roman culture, not only on its own terms but also for how it both informs and can act as a foil for our own.

Topics covered:
  • English and Spanish vocabulary acquisition through the study of Latin word roots. 
  • Exploration of ancient Roman culture as a means to understand modern US culture.
  • Active engagement with Latin that has persisted into the 21st-century US in its language and institutions (especially scientific, legal, and medical terminology).

Latin I

Introduction to basic grammar and vocabulary, derivatives, Roman history, culture, and mythology. Emphasis is laid on mastery through the recognition and application of patterns (morphology) and grammatical rules (syntax). Successful completion allows for transition directly into Latin II Honors in the Upper School.

Performing Arts

Band 6

Sixth grade beginning band is for students just starting out with a wind, brass or percussion instrument.

Topics covered:
  • Rehearsal Behavior 
  • Characteristic Sound on the Horn
  • Breathing Routine for Focus and Timing
  • Fundamental Based Exercises
  • Articulation 
  • Changing Notes

Orchestra 6

Designed for students who already play or are interested in learning violin, viola, cello, string bass, guitar or piano. No previous music experience is required. The course includes the development of the skills necessary to become a musician and develop a life-long interest in music performance. Students will be introduced to classical music as well as other popular styles with a variety of performing experiences throughout the school year.

Topics covered:
  • Sight Reading
  • Performance Skills
  • Musical Skills Development
  • Form and Structure in Music Understanding
  • Composing and Arranging
  • Music Technology
  • Stage Presence

Orchestra 7 & 8

Designed for students who have experience playing violin, viola, cello, string bass, guitar or piano. The course includes the development of the skills necessary to become an independent musician and continues to develop a life-long interest in music performance. Students will be introduced to classical music as well as other popular styles with a variety of performing experiences throughout the school year.

Topics covered:
  • Sight Reading
  • Performance Skills
  • Musical Skills Development
  • Form and Structure in Music Understanding
  • Composing and Arranging
  • Music Technology
  • Stage Presence

Drama 7 & 8

Students will learn a myriad of skills in this hands-on participation based class that will help them develop trust, self-esteem, creativity, communication and social techniques.

Topics covered:
  • Improvisation
  • Character Development
  • The Ensemble
  • Movement
  • Voice and Acting Technique
  • Monologue & Scene Study

Theatre Performance 6

Theatre performance is a hands-on theatre experience for young actors. This class is designed to focus on the skill set of each of the students enrolled, enhancing their knowledge and empowering them to grow as young performers.

Topics covered:
  • Voice & Body Work
  • Staging
  • Improvisation
  • Musical Theatre
  • Playwriting
  • Ensemble Building

Theatre Performance 7 & 8

Theatre performance is a hands-on theatre experience for young actors. This class is designed to focus on the skill set of each of the students enrolled, enhancing their knowledge and empowering them to grow as young performers.

Topics covered:
  • Improvisation
  • Ensemble Building
  • Body Awareness
  • Stage Business
  • Monologue & Scene Study
  • Musical Theatre

Drama 6

Students will learn a myriad of skills in this hands-on participation based class that will help them develop trust, self-esteem, creativity, communication and social techniques.

Topics covered:
  • The Actor’s Tools
  • Improvisation
  • Pantomime
  • The 5 W’s
  • Sensory & Body Awareness
  • Scene Building

Theater Workshop

This course is a fusion of theatrical and artistic concepts. It is a hands-on course that will introduce students in grades 6-8 to several aspects of theatre that are not covered in Drama or Theatre Performance classes.

Topics covered:
  • Puppet Building & Performance
  • Stage Makeup
  • Costume Design
  • Voiceover
  • Prop Building
  • Tech Theatre

Band 7 & 8

Designed for the intermediate band student. The 7th and 8th grade Concert Band performs a Fall/Winter/Spring concert, at school sporting events, and at graduation. Various groups are developed from this level of instrumentalists.

Topics covered:
  • Music Pieces for Upcoming Concerts
  • Rehearsal Behavior
  • Characteristic Sound on the Horn
  • Breathing Routine for Focus and Timing
  • Fundamental Based Exercises
  • Articulation

Broadcast Technology 6-8

One-semester course, offered in fall and spring. TMS-TV or M-TV is an introduction to the world of broadcast journalism and to electronic news gathering (ENG), also known as "info-tainment." The course provides opportunities for students to develop skills and understanding in the concepts of the history of television, basic video camera operation, post production graphics, audio, and editing.

Visual Arts

Art 6

Students will be provided with a basic understanding of the elements and principles of design as emphasized through the production of original art and the study of art history and contemporary art.

Art 7

One-semester course, offered in fall and spring.

Introduces students to Fine Art at an intermediate level and is designed to expand their understanding of the elements and principles of art.

Art 8

One-semester course, offered in fall and spring.

Most advanced art class offered in Middle School, although students are not required to have taken an art class before.

Health & Physical Education

Grades 6 & 7

Students take PE Classes twice per week and must:

1. Participate on one School team.

– or –

2. Participate in a sport or activity not offered by the School which is competitive and meets at least three hours per week throughout the school year.

Physical Education class focuses on the sports that are in-season as well as teaching students how to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

All Middle School students need six Physical Education credits earned over three years to satisfy the Middle School PE requirement.

Grade 8

Students do not have a regularly scheduled PE Class and must participate in the following to meet the Middle School PE requirement:

1. Participate on two School teams.

– or –

2. Participate in a sport or activity not offered by the School which is competitive and meets at least three hours per week throughout the school year.

– or –

3. Take the Early Bird Fitness Class.

All Middle School students need six Physical Education credits earned over three years to satisfy the Middle School PE requirement.