Middle School General Studies
Middle School (grades 6-8)
Overview of middle school
The general studies program approach is one that exposes students to a wide range of material, and pursues selected topics in depth for more analysis. Mathematics and English Literacy are the core of the program, with the greatest amount of time devoted to them. Science, Social Studies and visual art are also taught comprehensively, rounding out a high-quality program. Study skills and the ability to read for information, undertake research, and communicate in writing and verbally are key to student success in middle school, thus they underpin each subject.
English Language Arts:
The language arts program uses a balanced literacy approach, incorporating reading, writing, speaking, grammar and conventions, vocabulary, and communication skills. Students are expected to achieve a high degree of literacy and be able to write for information and impact.
Each class reads at least four novels together each year, along with a robust independent reading program. Beginning in sixth grade, students read for information, pleasure, and sharing literary analysis. They write narratives, creative fiction and description. They are introduced to research skills and they complete research reports and projects. Seventh graders continue the development of reading and writing skills with a more complex approach and a focus on writing across the curriculum in all academic areas. Eighth graders solidify writing skills and research techniques, and reading focuses on classic literature. Reading is sometimes integrated with Social studies themes to integrate learning in a humanities approach.
Use of the Wordly Wise vocabulary program and word study from student reading, as well as grammar study, round out the language arts program.
Sample novels for the middle school level have included: Number the Stars, Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry, Call of the Wild, 12 Angry Men, and The Little Prince.
The foundation of our math program is based on both national mathematics recommendations and common core standards, and students study math daily. 6th grade math is a synthesis of elementary computation and concept skills, number sense, geometry and an emphasis on relationships between fractions, decimals and percentages. Algebraic thinking is integrated into problem solving and the language of math. 7th grade is a continuation of earlier skills with an emphasis on pre-algebra, proportions, and the application of mathematical ideas. 8th grade is the second year of pre-algebra and an introduction to first year algebra. Understanding and using equations is central to the study. In addition, students learn the basics of geometry. The Eureka Math Program provides a comprehensive approach which reaches every student.
Information about our world, its history and its peoples is inspiring to young people. The Social Studies program emphasizes information and skills needed for further study in high school. Topics generally follow state and national practices, with 2-year cycles when classes are combined.
Themes over the 3 years include:
World Geography, World history and cultures, emphasizing both early civilizations and more modern cultures, over a period of two years. There is an emphasis on Europe from the Middle Ages to the end of the Renaissance and the Industrial Revolution.
Early American History and Civics, with an introduction to the Constitution and how our government works. The 50 states and geographic regions are reviewed.
Students read, write and do research and hands on projects to create a real understanding of the subject matter. Various texts and other written materials are used, as well as social studies simulations from the Interact company.
Middle School age students enjoy discovering how and why things work, and can begin to understand and use complex ideas and theories. Science study in the middle school covers basic knowledge regarding Earth Science, Biological Science, and Physical Science, as well as an introduction to chemistry and the elements. Various texts and teaching kits as well as hands on activities from varying sources inform the study and content of each class.
Science study begins with an understanding of the scientific method, and emphasizes critical thinking and hands on skills wherever possible. 6th graders begin with an introduction to chemistry and complete the year with an emphasis on earth science including topics such as weather and geology.
7th and 8th graders in a two year cycle study Biology/Life Science and Physical science, gaining concepts and knowledge that will inform later study.
Science fairs and exhibitions provide an opportunity for individual research and experimentation and display of work achieved.
Visual art is taught both as a study and a practice; for both the enjoyment of the arts and to learn about art history, methodology and theory. Our art teacher works with colleagues to relate art to what students study in their classrooms and integrate subject matter with art.
Students participate in physical education classes several times per week. They enjoy time outdoors, learn sportsmanship and athletic skills, and develop healthy exercise habits. Students also have the opportunity to participate in extracurricular sports and in dance classes.