Middle School Curriculum

 

Curriculum Overview

 

English

The middle school English and World Literature curriculum fosters critical reading and expression using a Socratic seminar through the study of a variety of genres and literary forms.  Students analyze classic literary works to reflect on identity, perspective, culture and community.   

 

Students also develop powerful and analytic writing using the approach in “Writer’s Workshop” with a focus writing mechanics, exposure to various writing styles, and supporting written statements with persuasive arguments.

 

Literature will include such works as:

 

“A Long Walk to Water” by Linda Sue Park

“Wonder” by R. J. Palacio

“The Giver” by Louis Lowry

“The Crucible” by Arthur Miller

 “The Odyssey” by Homer

“The Canterbury Tales” by Geoffrey Chaucer

 

 

Humanities/History – Taught in the target language, students continue to develop strong skills in listening, reading, writing, and speaking by discussing topics organized around themes by grade.

Grade 5 – Ancient World

Grade 6 – Geography – Religions and People

Grade 7 – Medieval World

Grade 8 – The United States through Modern Times

 

The global outlook of our students is strengthened by incorporating authentic resources from around the world, as well as documents supporting multiple perspectives.    At times there will be combined units with English language arts to on history by analyzing multiple perspectives in reviewing documentation from Stanford History Education group’s “Reading Like a Historian”.  Critical review and analysis is the focus, rather than memorization of facts. 

 

 

Target Language Arts – Mandarin learning will continue in middle school through the use of Better Immersion materials as well as authentic materials and literature.  Spanish learning will continue with Journey’s, as well as with local literature and well-known works such as “I am Malala”, read and analyzed as part of Grade 5 Spanish curriculum.

 

The target will be to continue students’ progress in reading, writing, speaking and listening to the intermediate high and advanced low levels. 

 

 

Math – We have the ability to group students into small flexible groups to be able to challenge and support students at various math levels.  Due to the effectiveness of this approach, our students are typically on a one to two year accelerated track for mathematics.  We use Singapore Math as a resource.  Math is taught in English.  Here is an example of a students’ experience on a one-year acceleration math sequence:

 

Grade 6 – general math

Grade 7 – pre-algebra

Grade 8 – algebra

 

Those on a two-year acceleration would complete Geometry in Grade 8.

 

Science – Science in middle school is an integrated curriculum involving earth, live and physical science aspects taught each grade.  We use hands-on projects designed to help students experience science through the five E model:  Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate and Evaluate.   The goal is to provide the basic understanding of scientific principles, followed by an understanding of the skills used in science discovery and exploration.  Science fairs are provided each year and students are encouraged to deepen their knowledge and practice in developing hypotheses and designing experiments to construct data and analyze results. 

 

 

Music –our music artist in residence supports each child’s learning of an instrument such as the recorder, or the guitar, the reading of music, and the appreciation for different types of music.   Students also develop skills in vocal arts and participate in concerts.

 

Art – students have an opportunity to continue deepening their enjoyment of art through experience drawing, painting, developing 3D ceramics, and photography while drawing comparisons of their work to historical and contemporary works of art.  Students are able to develop creativity, and self-expression through these studies.

 

 

PE – students continue to develop well rounded physical fitness skills and team sports experiences through the coaching of our resident PE teacher.  Each season we focus on different sports developing a building-block approach to skill development.

 

Fall – soccer, track/fitness

Winter – basketball, volleyball, dance, karate

Spring – baseball/softball, track

 

Health – for a six-week unit every year we cover aspects of nutrition, reproductive health, and substance abuse (tobacco, vaping, drugs) as part of ongoing discussion of what it means to be healthy.

 

Electives – each year students can select from a listing of electives.  The electives are taught three times per week.  Examples of electives are:  robotics/coding, drama, world language, debate, model UN.

 

Before or After school clubs – each year students can explore after school clubs such as running club, karate, dance, math club or creative writing.

 

Our middle school students, upon completion of this curriculum work towards receiving The Global Seal of Biliteracy.