The focus in the grade 7 & 8 social studies curriculum is to build the students' awareness of the history of the United States and the Principals that guide our government. Teachers create a variety of academically integrated activities focused on major events from Columbian times to modern history. Grade 7 focuses on events up to and including the Civil War and Grade 8 studies U.S. post-Civil War history. Integrated activities include field trips, role-playing, debate, literature readings, primary source analysis, instruction on research techniques and film or documentary study. Additionally, middle school students at Saint Paul study a variety of civics curriculum through the We the People program. This civics programs involves intense instruction on the role of elected leaders and provides real-world opportunity for students to engage with our government through Project Citizen and a mock congressional hearing.
The Skills Program at Saint Paul's consists of two distinct programs. The first is direct vocabulary instruction and the second is creative writing. The framework for the vocabulary instruction is the Sadlier-Oxford Vocabulary Workshop. The students engage in a rigorous program that involves the study of word choice, the Principals of grammar in context, spelling, sentence fluency, and analogies. The creative writing program focuses on the six traits of good writing which include; organization, voice, word choice, sentence fluency, conventions, and presentation. To practice these skills, each student endeavors to create a writing portfolio, which includes: a how-to essay, a persuasive essay, an autobiography, a research paper, and a cause-effect essay. Each portfolio is assessed on improvement shown over time and all students are encouraged on their path to becoming published authors.
Middle School Science Curriculum
The strengths of the middle school science curriculum begin by challenging students to become active participants and to take responsibility for their learning. In addition to the teacher?s dedication to the subject, students are encouraged to be actively involved. The text books used, which are published by Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, are the most up to date at this time, as are the pedagogical methods utilized. By differentiating instruction in order to meet individual student needs, and embrace the varied levels of interest, maturity and motivation, students are guided through the middle school science curriculum. The text books use a clear outline-style method to allow the ability to find information easily, and are accompanied with web sites associated with each chapter to further enhance student understanding. Students are given the opportunity to exhibit their scientific knowledge through an annual science fair as well as various projects and experiments in which they participate.
Beginning in the sixth grade with Life Science, students learn the abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry. From studying the structure and function in living systems to the Earth?s Ecosystems, students build from this foundation as they enter the next grade level.
In seventh grade science students carry on where they left off, studying Environmental Science. They begin with science and the environment, reinforcing the scientific method and exploring the Earth and its biodiversity.
In the eighth grade, students embark on Physical Science, along with Earth and Space Science. Beginning with the Earth?s atmosphere and origins of the universe, the students move onto machines and energy. Based on and in compliance with, the National Science Education Standards, the curriculum is designed to provide students with the skills and knowledge they need to successfully prepare them for the transition from middle school, onto high school.
Middle School English Language Arts
- The Middle School language arts program consists of 3 components, direct vocabulary instruction, creative writing and the study of classic and modern literature. The vocabulary instruction is conducted using the highly acclaimed Sadlier-Oxford Vocabulary Workshop. This spiral curriculum gives students multiple opportunities to study units of 20 new words on a weekly basis. In addition to the vocabulary exercises in the text, there is a website that provides opportunity for learners to use and play with words in many ways. Teachers also provide numerous opportunities for word play activities through fun and creative review activities, le Jeopardy and Concentration.
The Creative Writing program focuses on seven traits of good writing: Ideas, organization, voice, word-choice, sentence fluency, conventions and presentation. Each student is guided through each step and is often given the opportunity to write on subjects of personal interest. Exercises to foster the traits of good writing include lessons on draft revision, editing and proofreading. Students also are required to write in different genres, including persuasive essays, how-to articles, compare and contrast articles and research papers. A writing portfolio is kept and assessment is based on student progress throughout the semester.
Middle school literature focuses on reading comprehension along with response to literature. Through the use of grade level and age appropriate novels and short stories, students build on their reading fluency and understanding, as well as their listening and oral communication skills. Students read from a variety of genres in addition to choosing novels based on their own interests, to analyze in written form and in oral presentations.
The Middle School Math curriculum is structured to build upon skills developed in the elementary grades, to guide students to independent learning, and to prepare students for the challenge of higher mathematics. This new program places a priority on the key skills and concepts needed to develop algebra proficiency. Eighth grade Math opens with a review of material presented in seventh grade. Multi-step Algebraic equations and inequalities are introduced, discussed, and practiced. Usage of positive and negative exponents in conjunction with Scientific Notation is taught. Formulas are introduced as methods to be used in problem solving.
The entire curriculum is designed to introduce mathematical skills, to develop those skills, and to maintain and apply them as appropriate.
Morality and Church History are the topics addressed in the eighth grade Religion course. Moral choices are discussed within the framework of learning and understanding the Ten Commandments, The Great Commandment, and the Beatitudes. The second part of the course focuses on the history of the Church from the time of the apostles to the present discussing its? growth, its? challenges, and its? reforms.
One 1-inch, 3-ring binder
Six 3-hole punched pocket folders (one for each major subject)
2 boxes Kleenex
6-12 blue or black pens only
Pocket dictionary and thesaurus (Great Option- Collins Cobuild Student?s Dictionary)
2 Packages of loose leaf paper
2 packages of 3x5 index cards
Plastic storage container (12x7) for art supplies
1 Roll of transparent tape
1 Package Crayons
Non-Toxic, erasable markers
One bottle of school glue or glue sticks
Scissors (rounded edges)
Students should have all supplies with them on opening day. Students will keep all handouts, assignments and tests in a 3-ring binder for better organization. Binders will be inspected periodically. Students will also be provided with a planner at the start of the school year. Additionally, all students are expected to come to each class, throughout the year, prepared. Please check with your student periodically to make sure they have all necessary supplies.
Following please find a recommended list of books for your middle school student. Summer reading may not be at the top of your son?s or daughter's list, but it can be with your help. Although these are only a few suggestions there are hundreds of books for middle school students to choose from. Along with helpful hints to get your child started you can check the internet; a good start is education.com. Please note those books intended for middle school are level (M).
In addition to these suggestions for summer reading, students entering or returning to middle school will be required to read at least two books, on which they will be assessed upon their return to school. One of the books will be required for social studies and the second for literature. School begins on Wednesday August 31, 2016; the assessments will be given some time during this first week of school, and will be your child?s first test grade for the year in both literature and social studies.
Eighth Grade Required Reading
1. The Giver, by Lois Lowry ( literature )
2. Lyddie by Katherine Patterson ( social studies )