Middle School

Middle School Curriculum

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5th Grade

Language Arts / Grammar 5

Language Arts encompasses grammar, mechanics, writing, and spelling.  Through the use of the Shurley Grammar method, students learn to classify the parts of speech as well as identify a word’s function in a sentence.  Vocabulary words are used as tools to identify synonyms, antonyms, and word analogies in order to gain a better understanding of the complexities of the English language.  Writing instruction includes expository, persuasive, descriptive, and narrative pieces.  Reliable spelling patterns and strategies that can be applied to familiar and unfamiliar words are investigated weekly.

Reading 5

Reading skills and concepts are developed through the reading of short stories and novels, and the use of the Great Books program.  Focus skills include: vocabulary development, structural analysis of text, using research materials, identifying and understanding literary elements, identifying cause and effect relationships, sequencing, visualizing, and examining literary devices.

Mathematics 5

This course is designed to strengthen and build upon skills and concepts mastered in lower school and to introduce students to the abstract concepts that will be encountered in middle school.   The course content includes:  working with whole numbers and decimals, reading and graphing data, employing number theory when using fractions, measurement, ratio, percent, graphing, and probability.  The course also includes geometry and introductory algebraic concepts.

Science 5

The comprehensive science course uses an inquiry-based approach that allows young scientists to become actively engaged in their learning.  FOSS kits, which provide versatility of instruction and experience, lend a fresh approach to science instruction and assessment.  Major units of study include: Working with Variables, Mixtures and Solutions, Environments, and Space and Rocketry.  The use of individual and group projects is employed, while students learn to keep an accurate lab notebook for experiments and observations.  Students participate in a Science Showcase in the spring.

History 5

This course is shaped around a question asked in Luke 10:29:  “Who is my neighbor?” History 5 is composed of units on World Geography; Ancient Explorers; East Asia; China; Africa; Durban, South Africa; and Immigration.  The students investigate history through books, magazines, pamphlets, simulations, maps, globes, films, field trips, projects, novels, and the Internet. The goal of the course is to open the students’ eyes to the wide, diverse world we have, and to places and people different from what they know, and to the idea that we are all—despite our differences—brothers and sisters in Christ.

Bible 5

The Bible course is comprised of three strands:  an overview of the Old Testament, an in-depth study of the lives of various characters of the Bible, and an analysis of the choices made by these people.  Application of the lessons from the Old Testament to the daily lives of students is emphasized.

Latin 5

This full-year course introduces students to the language and culture of ancient Rome.  Students expand their English vocabulary by learning Latin roots as they gain an understanding of the workings of language in general.  Cultural topics such as history, geography, mythology, and Roman daily life are explored.  Classroom activities that include oral and written work, group work, projects, songs, and games are aimed at developing the ability to read, write, hear and speak Latin.

Physical Education 5

This course is designed to challenge students physically and to give them an understanding of health, wellness, nutrition, and fitness.  Through various units students learn skills needed for both team and lifetime sports and activities while learning how to make healthy eating choices.

Fine Arts Rotation

Fifth grade students spend nine weeks in each of the following:

Art 5 – This course offers an exploration of the elements of art (line, space, texture, value, shape, form, and color) and the discovery of the principals of design (balance, rhythm, movement, proportion, variety, emphasis, and unity).  The elements and principles are implemented and executed through the study of various artists, their inspiration and their techniques.  A variety of mediums such as graphite, paint, watercolor, colored pencils, and pastels are used.  Besides creating 2D and 3D work, students are expected to participate in critiques, both verbal and written, and begin to explore what makes a composition work.  
 
Choir 5 – Each choral music student will be challenged to develop his/her abilities to their fullest potential while learning and enjoying quality musical literature and developing personal qualities that grow through the quest for excellence.  Music literacy, the backbone of any learned musician, will be exercised each day through sight-reading activities.  Students will learn the versatility to perform music in a stylistically appropriate manner, with emphasis on accuracy and quality.  
 
Creative Movement 5 – This course is designed to introduce the four basic movement concepts: body, space, effort, and relationship.  Students explore movement both physically and creatively as they learn to develop physical strength and flexibility.  Exercises designed to explore space and time will promote creativity within a group dynamic.  
 
Speech 5 – Speech is a nine-week course designed to build confidence and proficiency in public speaking.  Students evaluate speeches while identifying their components, and create their own presentations.  An emphasis is also placed on developing voice and body control in order to maximize the impact of daily public speaking opportunities.  

6th Grade

English 6

This course encompasses grammar, vocabulary, writing, and spelling.  Students learn grammar and writing through an interactive method that allows quick application to all types of writing.  The Shurley English – English Made Easy textbook provides a firm foundation in both grammar and writing mechanics through topics such as capitalization, punctuation, analogies, editing, kinds of sentences, synonyms, antonyms, subject-verb agreement, singular, plural, common and proper verbs and verb tenses.  Various types of writing are taught including point of view, expository, persuasive, and narrative styles.

Reading 6

In this course, students improve reading and communication skills by analyzing style, literary form, and the impact of an author’s style on the reader.  Through assigned reading and high-interest free choice books, students will engage in challenging reading that will be used as a basis for select writing assignments.    Literature selections from several different genres will be read, including works such as:  The Westing Game (mystery), A Wrinkle in Time (fantasy), and A Christmas Carol  (historical fiction). 

Mathematics 6

Math 6 is a comprehensive course designed to reinforce a firm foundation in mathematical concepts and terminology.  The goal of the course is to ensure understanding as well as proficiency.  The students will develop the ability to use the concept of ratio and rate to solve problems.  Rational numbers, including negative numbers, will be studied, as well as writing, interpreting, and using expressions and equations.  Building on their foundation of number sense, students will begin to develop their ability to think statistically.  They will also develop mathematical reasoning through study of area, surface area and volume.

Science 6

Sixth grade science is an introduction to the world of chemistry, physics, and earth science.  Lessons will provide an environment conducive to experiential learning and development through hands-on activities, group discussions, fieldtrips, and research activities to broaden student understanding and pique their interests.  Topics covered include matter, energy, sound, light, and earth resources, cycles, and systems.

History 6

American history is the exciting study of events that have shaped our country revealing God’s plan for our nation.  The sixth grade course is the first of a two-part middle school curriculum that results in a firm foundation for students.   This course begins at the time of the early Indians, providing students with an understanding of the people that have played a part in the development of our great nation, and ends at the era of Reconstruction.  Projects and field trips will be notable features of the course. The history of the state of Louisiana will receive special consideration throughout the course, where appropriate.

Bible / Logic 6

This Bible course is a topical study of subjects of interest to sixth graders. The topics covered include our identity in Christ, the armor of God, Biblical admonitions on speech, and forms of prayer. In the last semester the students will study part of the book of John. This will help them learn how to read and apply the scripture for themselves. The purpose of the course is to help students understand that God is a personal God who cares about them. 

This course also includes an introduction to the study of logic, one of the parts of the classical trivium.  Students will be introduced to the art of critical thinking per se, including approaches to problem solving.  Games, puzzles, and formal problem solving will be parts of the course.  Where possible, Bible and logic will be interwoven throughout the year.

Latin 6

This course is designed to further develop students’ understanding of the language and culture of ancient Rome.  Students expand their English vocabulary by learning Latin roots, prefixes, and suffixes as they gain an understanding of the workings of language in general.  Cultural topics such as history, geography, mythology, and Roman daily life are explored.  Classroom activities that include oral and written work, group work, projects, songs, and games are aimed at developing the ability to read, write, hear and speak Latin.

Physical Education 6

This course is designed to challenge students physically and to give them an understanding of health, wellness, nutrition, and fitness.  Through various units students learn skills needed for both team and lifetime sports and activities while learning how to make healthy eating choices.

Band 6

This is an introductory course in instrumental music in which students develop a musical foundation. Students will learn the basic concepts of rhythm, pitch, tone production, style, and dynamics, reading music through the use of concert band instruments. Concert performances in December and May are presented to the public.

Fine Arts Rotation

Sixth grade student students spend nine weeks in each of the following:

Art 6 – This course offers an exploration of the elements of art (line, space, texture, value, shape, form, and color) and the discovery of the principals of design (balance, rhythm, movement, proportion, variety, emphasis, and unity).  The elements and principles are implemented and executed through the study of various artists, their inspiration and their techniques.  A variety of mediums such as graphite, paint, watercolor, colored pencils, and pastels are used.  Besides creating 2D and 3D work, students are expected to participate in critiques, both verbal and written, and begin to explore what makes a composition work.  
 
Choir 6 – Each choral music student will be challenged to develop his/her abilities to their fullest potential while learning and enjoying quality musical literature and developing personal qualities that grow through the quest for excellence.  Music literacy, the backbone of any learned musician, will be exercised each day through sight-reading activities.  Students will learn the versatility to perform music in a stylistically appropriate manner, with emphasis on accuracy and quality.  Concerts in December and May will be presented to the public.  
 
Creative Movement 6 – This course is designed to introduce the four basic movement concepts: body, space, effort, and relationship.  Students explore movement both physically and creatively as they learn to develop physical strength and flexibility.  Exercises designed to explore space and time will promote creativity within a group dynamic.  Movement and dance refines critical thinking skills through ongoing problem solving, arranging and connecting patterns, experience of cause / effect, and understanding the relationship of parts to the whole.  Social interaction in a movement class allows for a freedom of non-verbal communication and cooperation unique to any discipline.  
 
Drama 6 – This course teaches students the fundamentals of communicating with an audience through both non-verbal and verbal techniques.  Actors will learn to utilize facial expressions, gestures, and body movements through a series of improvisations, monologues, skits, and role-play activities.  The goal of the course is to help students maximize the meaning behind their words as they gain the confidence to express themselves clearly.

7th Grade

English 7

This comprehensive course builds upon previously acquired skills by incorporating literature, grammar, and writing.  Chosen literature enriches the history curriculum as students deepen their content knowledge through the reading of select titles such as Lord of the Flies by William Golding.  Students review parts of speech, practice using various types of phrases and clauses, and refine writing skills through a variety of modes and exercises in conjunction with the 6 + 1 Traits of Writing methodology.  Concentrating on characterization and essential questions, students will build their writing skills throughout the year in order to write five (or more) paragraph essays while referring specifically to the literary texts.

Pre-Algebra 7

Pre-algebra introduces students to variables, algebraic expressions, equations, functions, inequalities, and their graphical representation.  Through various teaching methods, students develop the ability to explore and solve mathematical problems, think critically, work cooperatively with others, and communicate mathematical ideas clearly.

Science 7

This course is a hands-on, inquiry-based class that will require students to work in small groups as well as complete individual assignments.  Students study and develop an understanding of the cell – its structure, function, processes and responses to the environment.  The course concludes with a study of ecology focusing on the relationship of organisms living and functioning together within an ecosystem.  Labs and investigations are the basis of student exploration in this class.

American History 7

Students study the major issues and events that have formed our nation’s history from post-Civil War Reconstruction to modern times. To enrich student learning, the course includes the use of maps, charts, illustrations, simulations, debates and projects along with integration of technology. Primary documents of American history will play a big part in the course.  A highlight of the course is the annual seventh-grade trip to Washington, DC.  Significant time in the spring semester is spent to prepare students with the background knowledge necessary to fully appreciate the national monuments that will be visited.

Bible / Logic 7

Bible 7 is a study of the life of Jesus Christ as presented in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The goal is not only to learn of the major events in the stories told, but also to explore their spiritual truths and how they apply to students’ lives today.

Building on the introduction to the study of logic in sixth grade, this course will ask students to push their critical thinking skills further through the use of formal problem solving, games and word and visual puzzles.  Where possible, Bible and logic will be integrated throughout the year. 

Foreign Language

Seventh grade students spend one semester in each course:

French 7 - French 7 is a seventh-grade introduction to French language and culture.  The semester-long course will expose the students to basic components that will allow them to make an informed decision when choosing their language of concentration for upper school course credit.  
 
Spanish 7 – Like the course outline mentioned above, this course will provide an introduction to Spanish language and culture.  It is a semester-long course designed to expose students to the fundamentals of the Spanish language, which will allow for an informed decision when choosing the upper school language of concentration.

Physical Education 7

This course provides the students the opportunity to learn through developmentally appropriate, comprehensive sequentially planned physical education program aligned with the Louisiana Physical Education Content Standards.  The content standards for the Middle School Cluster Level (grades 5-8) emphasize working cooperatively to achieve a common goal as well as recognizing differences among people in a physical activity setting.  The focus of this course is the development of movement skill combinations and movement skill knowledge; the assessment and maintenance of physical fitness to improve health and performance, and the knowledge of physical fitness concepts, principles and strategies; and the application of psychological and sociological concepts, including demonstrating responsible personal and social behavior in physical activity settings.  Units of activity include: physical fitness (jogging, sprinting & abdominal work), cooperative activities; throwing and catching skills and lead-up games (flag football); racket skills and lead-up games (badminton & pickle ball); volleying skills and lead-up games (volleyball); and dribbling skills (basketball & soccer).

Intermediate Band 7

This is an intermediate course in instrumental music in which the basic concepts of rhythm, pitch, tone production, style, dynamics, and reading music are reinforced through the use of concert band instruments and Concert Band arrangements. The concepts learned in beginning band are expanded upon and each student’s musical vocabulary is broadened. Concert performances in December and May are presented to the public.

Fine Art Rotation

Seventh grade students spend nine weeks in each of the following:

Art 7 - This course offers an exploration of the elements of art (line, space, texture, value, shape, form and color). Students will also discover the principles of design (balance, rhythm, movement, proportion, variety, emphasis and unity). These elements and principles will be implemented by studying various artists, their inspiration and their techniques. A variety of mediums such as graphite, paint, watercolor, colored pencils, pastels and clay will be used. Besides creating 2D and 3D work, students will be expected to participate in verbal critiques and begin to explore what makes a composition successful.
 
Choir 7 - Students sing a variety of age-appropriate choral music, are exposed to sight-singing techniques and basic music theory through the repertoire, and become familiar with various periods in music history. Concerts are held at the end of each semester in which 7th grade choir participates.  Students will also perform occasionally in chapel.  
 
Dance 7 - This course introduces classical ballet technique, concepts and vocabulary.  Students learn the fundamentals of technique at the barre and through centre work.  Students refine technique through repetitive execution of exercises and sequence work.  Performance opportunities will be offered to students throughout the semester.  Previous training is not required.
 
Theatre 7 - The overall objective for this class is to enable the student to: cultivate creativity, use and understand the tools of the actor, practice vocal and movement techniques, appreciate theatre as an art form that reflects the human experience, experience the preparation necessary to perform as well as the discipline of performing, and engage in appropriate audience behavior. While primarily a hands-on, on-your-feet class, students may be required to complete daily assignments, projects, papers, solo and group performances.  

8th Grade

English 8

In eighth grade, middle school students grapple with the theme of identity, recognizing who they are and the presence of Christ in each of them.  They study a diverse range of literary genres and time periods as they are introduced to the Harkness discussion method of learning.  To Kill a Mockingbird is a core text of the course; it entices each student to find his voice right along with Scout, the narrator, as she grows up. The literature aligns with the eighth-grade Ancient Civilization study in January as students walk in Odysseus’ shoes in Homer’s Odyssey. Students’ exploration of the literary worlds selected offers not only discussion opportunities but also continual written reflection.  The eighth grade year both creatively and formally explores writing. The aspects of literature, discussion, writing and technology combine to help each student leave middle school with a clear sense of his identity and the presence of Christ in his life.

Algebra I

Algebra I expands the students understanding of algebraic properties and operations, application of concepts, solving equations and inequalities, and graphing. Topics covered include: real numbers, equations and inequalities, proportions, exponents and exponential functions, polynomials, factoring, rational expressions, radicals, and quadratic equations and functions.

Algebra I is offered at 3 levels:  College Prep, Part A and Part B, and Honors

Science 8

This course continues to follow the experiential approach to science.   Classes will include activities, exercises and interactions that allow students to investigate scientifically.  Major units of study include:  chemistry, anatomy, biotechnology, and geology (focusing on constructive and destructive forces).    In addition, students will participate in the Future City competition throughout the school year.

History 8

This course is a study of civilizations of the Ancient world including the cultures and peoples from the Sumerians to the Romans.  Students will encounter the history and peoples of Egypt, Babylon, China and Greece along the way.  For each civilization, important factors such as geography, economics, and government will be considered. This course is meant to give students an understanding of the earliest humans and their development towards a civilized society.

Bible / Logic 8

Eighth grade Bible/Logic integrates the two subjects.  The course focuses on the Bible and life applications of its truths. Topical studies include:  Who Am I?; What does God Expect?; Practical Christian Living; and Man’s Search for Wisdom.  The books of Ecclesiastes, James, and I Corinthians are studied in detail.   Through various activities students have the opportunity to develop logic skill (definitions, testimony, comparison, relationship, and circumstance).  Social and cultural topics are analyzed and discussed to encourage and foster a Christian world-view.  Essay writing is an integral part of the course.  Formal arguments are developed and presented in class.

French I

The main focus of this course is vocabulary and verb conjugations in present and past tenses. Emphasis is on developing the four skills: writing, reading, listening and speaking. Students will learn how to write on specific topics, read related passages for meaning, listen for meaning in topic-related listening activities and speak in class and with partners using structures and vocabulary covered.

Latin I

Latin I provides an introduction to the Latin language and Roman people through reading, writing, grammar, and ancient Roman culture.  Students are introduced to short readings from ancient authors such as Horace, Catullus, and Cicero, as well as other Latin resources.  Latin I students will take the National Latin Exam.

Spanish I

Spanish I is the introduction to the study of the Spanish language and culture.  Students study basic vocabulary and grammar structures in the present and past tense through listening, speaking, reading, and writing activities. Students will learn how to write on specific topics, read related passages for meaning, listen for meaning in topic-related listening activities and speak in the target language in class using structures and vocabulary covered.

Physical Education / Health 8

This course provides the students the opportunity to learn through developmentally appropriate, comprehensive sequentially planned physical education program aligned with the Louisiana Physical Education Content Standards.  The content standards for the Middle School Cluster Level (grades 5-8) emphasize working cooperatively to achieve a common goal as well as recognizing differences among people in a physical activity setting.  The focus of this course is the development of movement skill combinations and movement skill knowledge; the assessment and maintenance of physical fitness to improve health and performance, and the knowledge of physical fitness concepts, principles and strategies; and the application of psychological and sociological concepts, including demonstrating responsible personal and social behavior in physical activity settings.  Units of activity include: physical fitness (jogging, sprinting & abdominal work), cooperative activities; throwing and catching skills and lead-up games (flag football); racket skills and lead-up games (badminton & pickle ball); volleying skills and lead-up games (volleyball); and dribbling skills (basketball & soccer).

The Health component of the course is designed to assist students in obtaining accurate information, developing lifelong positive attitudes and behaviors, and making wise decisions related to their personal health.  Study will include personal and community health; mental, emotional, and social health; injury prevention and safety; nutrition and physical activity; alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs; and growth and development. Central themes are the acceptance of personal responsibility for lifelong health, respect for and promotion of the health of others, an understanding of the process of growth and development, and informed use of health-related information, products, and services.  

Advanced Band 8

This is an advanced course in instrumental music in which students explore various styles of music while developing individual musical expression. Selections from various styles including Classical, 20th Century March, and Pop are used in order to challenge development on each particular instrument. Music theory and music history are also incorporated into many of the lessons in order to create a more eclectic knowledge of music. In the fall, students play at various school-related activities such as pep rallies and home games. Concert performances in December and May are presented to the public. In the spring, activities include pep-band for sporting events, Concert Festivals, and Special School performances.  Previous experience in Band is required.  Private lessons may constitute previous experience.

Choir / Theatre 8

Eighth grade students spend one semester in each course:

Choir 8 - Students sing a variety of age-appropriate choral music, are exposed to sight- singing techniques and basic music theory through the repertoire, and become familiar with various periods in music history.  Concerts are held at the end of each semester in which 8th grade choir participates. 
 
Theatre 8 - The purpose of this course is to provide an understanding of the fundamentals of theatrical improvisation and a guide to improvisational choices through the use of theatre games and exercises. This course will emphasize artistic perception and creative expression.  It will promote understanding of aesthetic valuing, historical and cultural awareness and the interconnections of the arts and other disciplines. Students will be trained in the fundamental skills of the theater arts, including acting techniques, body control, voice, diction, pantomime, creating of character, projection of ideas and emotions, and acting of improvisational scenes.

Art / Dance 8

Eighth grade students spend one semester in each course:

Art 8 - This course offers an exploration of the elements of art (line, space, texture, value, shape, form and color). Students will also discover the principles of design (balance, rhythm, movement, proportion, variety, emphasis and unity). These elements and principles will be implemented by studying various artists, their inspiration and their techniques. A variety of mediums such as graphite, paint, watercolor, colored pencils, pastels and clay will be used. Besides creating 2D and 3D work, students will be expected to participate in verbal critiques and begin to explore what makes a composition successful.
 
Dance 8 - This course introduces classical ballet technique, concepts and vocabulary.  Students learn the fundamentals of technique at the barre and through centre work.  Students refine technique through repetitive execution of exercises and sequence work.  Performance opportunities will be offered to students throughout the semester.  Previous training is not required.