Middle School Curriculum (Grades Six, Seven, and Eight)
The middle school course of study requires that students change classes and follow an eight period day. The academic courses of study are described below. The middle school English and mathematics curriculum is academically advanced and builds on the strong foundation from the elementary grades.
The goal of middle school English is to develop effective writing, reading, research, and communication skills within an integrated curriculum that fosters the growth of grammar, composition, spelling, vocabulary, research, and critical reading skills in preparation for high school, college, and life. Students partake in an intensive study of English language grammar, usage, and mechanics that encompasses the study of 8 parts of speech – including sentence diagramming; punctuation; essential elements of simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex sentences; and phrases and clauses. Voyages in English, Loyola University Press, is the English grammar textbook. Written composition skills include paragraph development with the use of effective introductions, conclusions, transitions, and thesis statements in the writing of formal compositions. The following forms of formal compositions are completed: comparison/contrast, persuasive, process, classification, explanatory, descriptive, characterization, as well as various forms of creative writing. Spelling and vocabulary are taught in the English classes through both the use of Sadlier-Oxford’s Vocabulary Workshop Levels A-C and selected words from literature study. Research skills are developed through the completion of M.L.A. style research papers that include works cited lists and in-text citations. Reading comprehension instruction focuses on the development of expository and critical reading skills as well as the appreciation of literature and literary elements through a series of poetry, short story, and novel studies.
During the three years of middle school, students study the main concepts involved in Earth, Physical and Life Sciences each year. Sixth grade focuses on the nature of science, introduction to metric measurement, minerals, rocks and the classification of living things. Seventh grade delves into the types and features of waves, electricity, and magnetism, with the remainder of the year spent studying the various systems of the human body. Eighth grade spends an equal amount of time on basic chemistry and physics concepts, and then the study of the universe. Earth Science is also taught throughout the year. The Glencoe Science Voyages Series is used in all three grades. All middle school students thoroughly study the scientific method in context by completing individual science fair projects. They then are required to participate in a school Science Fair held in the spring. Labs are performed throughout the year with more extensive experiments performed in the eighth grade.
Middle school students make use of the Faith First- RCL program, The Catechism of the Catholic Church, and the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Sixth grade focuses on the creed/profession of faith, mysteries of the rosary, and a brief overview of the Old Testament Salvation History during the first half of the year. The second half emphasizes the seven sacraments, the life of grace and morality, and the life of prayer. Seventh grade spends half of the school year on Scripture studies, especially Genesis, Exodus and the early Old Testament books. The second half of the year is dedicated to the greatest liturgical time of the year: Lent and Paschal Time. The eighth graders first study the sacraments and then spend a semester on moral theology in preparation for their Confirmation, which usually takes place sometime in May of every year. All middle school students study the lives of the saints and participate in a November All Saints Quiz Bowl. The eighth graders lead the all -school Living Rosaries and act out the Stations of the Cross during Lent. Seventh and eighth grade students spend an extensive amount of time learning the ancient symbols of Our Faith and travel to St. John of the Baptist Cathedral in Savannah, Georgia to participate in a symbol hunt. The life of virtue and prayer is a continual focus in the middle school and times for adoration and the sacrament of confession is made available to the students.
Sixth graders begin their math studies by using the Glencoe Applications and Concepts Course 1, McGraw Hill, textbook. The text develops proficiency in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division with whole numbers, fractions, decimals, integers, and rational numbers. Students are introduced to algebraic equations, exponents, ratios, percents, proportions, geometry and problem solving strategies. Seventh graders continue their math studies by using the Glencoe Applications and Concepts Course 2, McGraw Hill, textbook. This further develops concepts encountered in 6th grade with greater complexity. A strong emphasis is upon basics that prepare students for Algebra.
Eighth grade students continue their mathematics studies by taking either Algebra 1 or Pre-Algebra. The Algebra I course is a full-year program intended for students who have excelled in 7th Grade Math and have passed the algebra placement test. The course begins with a brief review of variables, properties of the number system, types of equations, numbers on a line, and addition, subtraction, multiplication and division of real numbers. It then covers solving equations and problems, polynomials, factoring polynomials, fractions, applying fractions, systems of linear equations, inequalities, rational and irrational numbers, and quadratic functions. The Algebra 1 students use the McDougal Littell Algebra 1 textbook, a high school course textbook. The Pre-Algebra students use the McDougal Littell Pre-Algebra textbook. All middle school students utilize technology through the use of calculators and mathematics websites. In the seventh and eighth grade, more emphasis is made in general operations and uses of a scientific calculator. Annual opportunities to demonstrate math abilities occur with the local SCISA Middle School Math Meet held in the fall and the national Math League Contest held in the spring.
Sixth graders learn about the world and ancient civilizations and their impact on western culture. These studies incorporate geography, citizenship/government, history, economics, and cultures. Seventh graders study American history from the first Americans through Reconstruction. Eighth graders study American history from Reconstruction to the present. Textbooks used in middle school are The World, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, and The American Republic, Glencoe McGraw Hill.
Middle School Curriculum (Grades Six, Seven, and Eight)