Upper Middle School Curriculum

Upper Middle School Curriculum

 

7th grade

Math

Two math curriculums are implemented: one produced by Holt McDougal Publishing and the other by Prentice Hall.   The 7th and 8th grade texts (Holt McDougal) will be used in 7th grade math and Pre-Algebra respectively.  This curriculum is a bit more stream-lined than our older books with more flexible pacing and provides a wider variety of problems ranging in complexity.  Teachers will be able to incorporate more hands-on learning experiences in the classroom and challenge students at their individual levels while keeping everyone moving forward.  These follow the Common Core Standards and also closely ally with the TEKS standards used in Texas public schools.

Algebra classes will be using the Prentice-Hall Classics Algebra I text by Paul Forester (used at LASA, St. Andrews, and other high schools).  While this text is less colorful than others, the level and pacing is far superior to other curriculums and goes above and beyond the TEKS standards set for Algebra in Texas.

All math classes also use supplements from a wide range of sources including Singapore math which has been adopted as the main math program for grades K through 5th grade at St. Francis.  Additional themes this year include word problem proficiency and strengthening number sense.

Resources

1)      7th Grade math  Mathematics Grade 7 Holt-McDougal 2012

2)      Pre-Algebra  Mathematics Grade 8  Holt-McDougal 2012

3)      Algebra I  Algebra 1 Classics Edition  W. Forrester Prentice-Hall

4)      New Elementary Math Singapore Math texts for Middle School and Algebra

5)      New Syllabus Math Workbooks (Singapore Math)

6)      Cooperative Learning Pre-Algebra by Kagan cooperative learning series

Science

Curiosity makes the best scientists!  Building on what students already know, we’ll be asking questions and learning methods and processes to seek answers this year.

 

Here are some questions we’ll be exploring as we study 4 main topics:

Earth’ Surface

What can we discover from learning about mapping and Geographic Information Systems (GIS)?

What processes create landforms?

What do underlying rocks and minerals tell us about an area?

Tectonics and Energy Resources

How do Earth’s processes create the natural resources we use?

How do we produce energy for our needs?

Space Science

What processes formed the Solar System?

How has technology been developed to explore space?

Earth’s Waters

Why is fresh water such a precious substance?

What happens in Earth’s Oceans and what plants and animals live there?

 

In addition, 7th grade Earth Science includes exploring engineering and technology topics.  The Technology we use every day was designed by a team of Engineers all relying on the foundations of Mathematics and Science along with their imaginations to create our cool gadgets, and modern cities.  We call that STEM – Science Technology Engineering Mathematics.

 

Book Resources

McDougal Littell: Earth Science

Other Resources

Engineering by Design – Invention and Innovation.  In this 7th grade course, students learn the core concepts of technology and vari­ous approaches to solving problems, including engineering design and experimentation. Students will apply their creativity in the invention and innovation of new products, processes, or systems.  Students also develop skills in researching for information, communicating design information, and reporting results.

Explore Learning Gizmos – interactive on-line simulations provide introduction and reinforcement of the hands-on labs we’ll be doing in class.

Google Earth – this application allows us to explore the globe, virtually visiting exciting destinations.

GeoMapApp – This is a powerful Geographic Information System that lets us take cross sections of land forms and the ocean floor.  It will also help us understand latitude, longitude and topographic maps.

Data Collection – We’ll have lots of practice exploring data – What is data and how can we use it to understand our world.  Students will go to certain websites to find the answers to 10 questions.

Quizlet  – on-line vocabulary support.  Students can make flashcards, play games, quiz and test themselves.

Social Studies

 

During our daily history class 7th graders will pick up where 6th grade left off, with the fall of Rome, and move into the Medieval Period.  We will study the change and turmoil that engulfed much of the world upon the decline of the great classic civilizations, including the following:

-Europe
-The Middle East
-Africa
-Asia
-The Americas

During an afternoon lab period once a week, 7th graders will review the high points of Texas history, including the following:

-Ancient Texans
-Historic Texas Indians
-European Explorers
-Spanish Missions
-Revolution
-Texas as Republic
-Texas as State

 

Language Arts

 

7th grade Language Arts is designed for discovery. Using a workshop setting for both reading and writing, students are empowered to make choices on a daily basis. The tools they learn allow them to be independent readers, writers, and thinkers for the rest of their academic careers (and hopefully the rest of their lives).

The beginning of the year is about discovering each student as an individual. This allows for guidance in choosing their reading materials. High expectations are set, requiring a certain number of books in a variety of genres. In class, we read and discuss different types of literature as students are introduced to the elements of fiction: shorts stories, plays, poetry, mythology, and novels. Students also examine a variety of non-fiction texts and learn how to interpret and analyze different styles of writing.

 

In writing workshop, students are guided in discovering your own voice. By looking at a variety of model texts, they learn to write a number of different styles. They are also taught to find their own personal writing process. Knowing how to approach and improve upon writing allows students independence in future writing projects.

 

 

Resources:

 

  1. Reading
    1. Elements of Literature (literature anthology)
    2. Adventures in Reading (literature anthology)
    3. The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller (teacher resource)
    4. An extensive classroom library
    5. An exciting and extensive Upper Middle School Library

 

  1. Writing
    1. Writer’s Choice (writing & grammar textbook)
    2. Write Beside Them by Penny Kittle (teacher resource)
    3. An extensive collection of teacher resource books on grammar, writing workshops, and vocabulary

 

  1. C.     Vocabulary
    1. Wordwise series (vocabulary books using etymological bases)
    2. The SAT Word Slam

 

Foreign Language

 

Spanish

 

Foreign language studies open doors into the global communities. Learning a foreign language is not only to enrich one’s education by studying culture, religion, society, history and geography. It really goes much further when students are reached on a deeper level. It is to gain a new soul.

 

Our current Spanish programs utilize a fascinating combination of humanistic approach (based on Suggestology-Desuggestive teaching, known as Accelerated Learning Methodology) with the most recent technology in language acquisition.

 

 

Spanish IA

The objective of this course is to introduce the student to basic vocabulary and grammatical structures of the Spanish language as well as to Hispanic culture abroad and here in the United States. The course prepares a foundation in each of the four language skills of speaking, writing, reading and listening comprehension. Situational dialogues, paired activities, role play, skits and oral evaluations allow students to develop their communicative skills in Spanish. Students also receive a strong grounding in the grammar of the language and acquire a broad range of vocabulary that enriches their communication and expression.

The foundation of language learning will be based on comprehension (listening and reading skills). The students’ speech will be allowed to emerge in stages and will be corrected only indirectly. Our goal is for the students to enjoy Spanish and to build a strong foundation.

 

Resources

Textbook:

2008 Holt Rinehart Winston, Book Holt Spanish 1 !Exprésate!., and supplemental readings.

 

Work-book:

2008Holt Rinehart Winston, “Cuaderno de actividades” Level 1 Student Edition online

 

Topics to be covered

 

Chapter 1

Using subjects and the verb “to be”in sentences (p. 12)

Using Subject Pronouns (p.14)

The verb ser (p.24)

Punctuation marks and written accents (p.26)

 

Chapter 2

Using ser with adjectives (p.48)

Gender and adjective agreement (p.50)

Questions and question formation (p.52)

Using nouns with definite articles (p.60)

Using gustar, ¿Por qué?, and porque (p.62)

Using the preposition de (p.64)

 

Chapter 3

Using gustar with infinitives (p.86)

Using pronouns after prepositions (p.88)

Present tense of querer with infinitives (p.90)

Using regular –ar verbs (p.98)

Using ir and jugar (p.100)

Using weather expressions (p.102)

 

Chapter 4

Using indefinite articles, ¿Cuánto?, mucho, and poco (p.124)

Present tense of tener and some tener idioms (p.126)

Present tense of venir and a la/las + time (p.128)

 

Chapter 5

Possessive adjectives (p.162)

Steam changing verbs o-ue (p.164)

Steam changing verbs e-ie (p.166)

Using estar with prepositions (p.174)

Negation with nunca, tampoco, nadie, and nada (p.176)

Using tocar and parecer (p.178)

 

Latin

 

Latin 1A & 1B

 

Two years of Latin at St. Francis is equivalent to one year of high school Latin. We follow the Cambridge Latin Course which is used by most of the High Schools in the Austin Area, so students will have the same base of knowledge no matter which high school they choose. Students tend to follow two paths. Those who devote themselves to mastering the morphology of Latin go on the complete their HS requirement in Latin. Students who go on to study other languages in high school nonetheless “learn how to learn” a foreign language. By studying Latin, students will, of necessity, learn and practice the nuts-and-bolts of language: parts-of-speech, vocabulary, grammar and syntax. Because Latin is highly “Synthetic” (word endings and infixes are of paramount importance), while English is “analytic”(word order takes priority),  former students have found that a previous knowledge of Latin has helped when studying synthetic Languages such as Russian or German or even Sanskrit or Ancient Greek as well as many other  Indo-European Languages that use noun case-endings and verbal inflections. Students who later study Japanese have found that the Japanese particle system works similarly to the Latin case endings.

 

In addition to reading and translation students complete projects such as building a model of a Roman home or an ancient temple. Students also create “re-imaginations” where we read a selection from Homer or Vergil in translation, then each student reimagines the story it whatever medium of art they choose: poetry, drawing, painting, sculpture, making a movie, or writing a song. At the end of Seventh grade we write a speech of praise. Students will choose a real person who is no longer living.

 

Grading: common 70%, morphology 20%, game 10%. During class we have games such as “Agmen” a vocabulary and morphology contest and “Roman Hold’em” a sentence composition contest. There is a morphology quiz every Wednesday, stage quizzes every two-three weeks, a translation final at the end of every semester.

 

 

 

8th grade

Math

Two math curriculums are implemented: one produced by Holt McDougal Publishing and the other by Prentice Hall.   The 7th and 8th grade texts (Holt McDougal) will be used in 7th grade math and Pre-Algebra respectively.  This curriculum is a bit more stream-lined than our older books with more flexible pacing and provides a wider variety of problems ranging in complexity.  Teachers will be able to incorporate more hands-on learning experiences in the classroom and challenge students at their individual levels while keeping everyone moving forward.  These follow the Common Core Standards and also closely ally with the TEKS standards used in Texas public schools.

Algebra classes will be using the Prentice-Hall Classics Algebra I text by Paul Forester (used at LASA, St. Andrews, and other high schools).  While this text is less colorful than others, the level and pacing is far superior to other curriculums and goes above and beyond the TEKS standards set for Algebra in Texas.

All math classes also use supplements from a wide range of sources including Singapore math which has been adopted as the main math program for grades K through 5 at St. Francis.  Additional themes this year include word problem proficiency and strengthening number sense.

Resources

1)      7th Grade math  Mathematics Grade 7 Holt-McDougal 2012

2)      Pre-Algebra  Mathematics Grade 8  Holt-McDougal 2012

3)      Algebra I  Algebra 1 Classics Edition  W. Forrester Prentice-Hall

4)      New Elementary Math Singapore Math texts for Middle School and Algebra

5)      New Syllabus Math Workbooks (Singapore Math)

6)      Cooperative Learning Pre-Algebra by Kagan cooperative learning series

Science

 

Curiosity makes the best scientists!  The 8th grade students will be learning by doing. As they progress through a sequence of laboratory and field activities, they will learn how scientists develop new knowledge. They will build on concepts and skills previously investigated, and be encouraged to wrestle with problems and pursue their intuitions.

 

We will be investigating four main topics throughout the year:

  Matter and Energy-

Discover what happens to matter during physical and chemical changes.

Investigate density and how it is related to submarines.

Discover the difference between an endothermic and exothermic change.

Investigate the difference between temperature, thermal energy, and heat.

Use specific heat capacity to calculate amount of heat transferred.

Waves and Light

  Compare and contrast the different types of waves.

Identify and describe wave properties.

Investigate how the properties of waves are related to one another.

Discover how light interacts with matter.

  Chemical Interactions

  Investigate models of atoms

Describe how elements are arranged on the Periodic Table.

Describe and model chemical bonding.

Investigate four types of chemical reactions.

Motion and Forces

 Investigate speed, velocity, and acceleration.

Test Newton’s three Laws of Motion.

Determine how Newton’s Laws can be used to build a working roller coaster model.

 

 

In addition, 8 grade Physical Science includes exploring engineering and technology topics.  The Technology we use every day was designed by a team of Engineers all relying on the foundations of Mathematics and Science along with their imaginations to create bridges and roller coasters as a team.  We call that STEM – Science Technology Engineering Mathematics.

 

Book Resources

McDougal Littell: Physical Science

Fast (Fundamental Approaches in Science Teaching

Other Resources

Explore Learning Gizmos – interactive on-line simulations provide introduction and reinforcement of the hands-on labs we’ll be doing in class.

 

Social Studies

America:

American Revolution

US Constitution & Founding Presidents

The Jackson Era & Manifest Destiny

Road to War

The Civil War & Reconstruction

Western Expansion

Gilded Age & Age of Reform

American Imperialism & First World War

Roaring Twenties

Great Depression & New Deal

Second World War

1950s and the Cold War

Civil Rights Movement

1960s and the Vietnam War

The Modern Era

 

The primary text is Prentice Hall’s America: History of Our Nation.

Language Arts

Our curriculum is centered upon preparation for success in High School the next year. To abide within our school’s mission statement of creating an individualized learning environment, we offer multiple approaches to each major assignment and each unit. We begin with a focus on autobiography which each student reads and then writes and creates his or her own on power-point. We are reading short stories at the same time and creating vocabulary lists from the the books they read. We follow this with a study of biography which they read and then write a peer biography while beginning an analysis of the novel which they continue going in depth throughout the rest of the year. The students will write personal narratives, research papers, compare and contrast, and persuasive essays as well as journals. Work is edited and rewritten until a high level of content and grammar efficiency is produced. There is an interactive Hero’s Journey Unit which includes cartography, mask-making and creative imagining reporting and drawing.

Resources:

A.)  Reading

  1. Elements of Literature text book
  2. The Pearl, Frankenstein, A Separate Peace, The Alchemist, A Wizard of Earthsea, To Kill A Mockingbird, Night

 

B.)  Writing and Grammar

  1. Writer’s Choice text book

 

Foreign Language

Spanish

Spanish IB

The objective of this course is to review the material studied in Spanish 1A and to learn new language functions while introducing more complex grammatical concepts and vocabulary. The course continues to work on each of the four language skills: speaking, writing, reading and listening comprehension. Situational dialogues, paired activities, role play, skits and oral evaluations allow students to develop their communicative skills in Spanish. Students also receive a strong grounding in the grammar of the language and acquire a broad range of vocabulary that enriches their communication and expression.

The foundation of language learning will be based on comprehension (listening and reading skills). The students’ speech will be allowed to emerge in stages and will be corrected only indirectly. Our goal is for the students to enjoy Spanish and to build a strong foundation.

Resources

Textbook:

2008 Holt Rinehart Winston, Book Holt Spanish 1 !Exprésate!., and supplemental readings.

 

Work-book:

2008Holt Rinehart Winston, “Cuaderno de actividades” Level 1 Student Edition online.

 

 

Topics to be covered

 

Chapter 6

Using ser and estar (p.200)

Steam changing e-i, pedir and servir (p. 202)

Steam changing  preferir, poder and probar

Using direct objects and direct object pronouns(p.212)

Affirmative informal commands (p.214)

Affirmative informal command with pronouns (p.216)

 

Chapter 7

Using verbs with reflexive pronouns (p.238)

“               “    “  infinitives (p.240)

steam changing verbs (review and new ones)

 

 

Chapter 8

Costar and numbers to 1 million (p.276)

Demonstrative adjectives and comparisons with adjectives (p.278)

Using Quedar (le) (p.280)

The preterite of –ar verbs (p.288)

The preterite of ir (irregular) (p.290)

Review of the preterite of –ar verbs with reflexive pronouns (p.292)

 

 

Chapter 9

Preterite of –er and –ir verbs (p.314)

Review of the preterite  (p.316)

Using pensa que an pensar with infinitives (p.318)

Using direct object pronouns (p.326)

Using conocer and the personal a (p.328)

Using present progressive (p.330)

 

Chapter 10

Review of the preterit (p.352)

Preterite of spelling change verbs –car, -gar, -zar (p.354)

Preterite of hacer (p.356)

Negative informal commands: spelling-change and irregular verbs (p.364)

Review direct object pronouns (p.366)

Review of verbs followed by infinitive (p.368)

 

Latin

Latin 1A & 1B

Two years of Latin at St. Francis is equivalent to one year of high school Latin. We follow the Cambridge Latin Course which is used by most of the High Schools in the Austin Area, so students will have the same base of knowledge no matter which high school they choose. Students tend to follow two paths. Those who devote themselves to mastering the morphology of Latin go on the complete their HS requirement in Latin. Students who go on to study other languages in high school nonetheless “learn how to learn” a foreign language. By studying Latin, students will, of necessity, learn and practice the nuts-and-bolts of language: parts-of-speech, vocabulary, grammar and syntax. Because Latin is highly “Synthetic” (word endings and infixes are of paramount importance), while English is “analytic” (word order takes priority),  former students have found that a previous knowledge of Latin has helped when studying synthetic Languages such as Russian or German or even Sanskrit or Ancient Greek as well as many other  Indo-European Languages that use noun case-endings and verbal inflections. Students who later study Japanese have found that the Japanese particle system works similarly to the Latin case endings.

In addition to reading and translation students complete projects such as building a model of a Roman home or an ancient temple. Students also create “re-imaginations” where we read a selection from Homer or Vergil in translation, then each student reimagines the story it whatever medium of art they choose: poetry, drawing, painting, sculpture, making a movie, or writing a song.

Grading: common 70%, morphology 20%, game 10%. During class we have games such as “Agmen” a vocabulary and morphology contest and “Roman Hold’em” a sentence composition contest. There is a morphology quiz every Wednesday, stage quizzes every two-three weeks, a translation final at the end of every semester.

 

Social Emotional Learning:

Our St. Francis Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) curriculum consists of the five core competencies of Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness, Relationship Skills, and Responsible Decision Making. We are engaging our students in school-wide programming such as grade-level chapel presentations, an anti-bullying campaign, compassion/outreach projects, and family involvement.  In addition, our students in grades K-4 will have regular visits from the counselor for specific guidance lessons on various SEL topics and mindfulness. Students in grades 5-8 participate in workshops on topics specific for middle school. As an educational community we have embraced both the Nurtured Heart (Howard Glasser) and Conscious Discipline models and draw from these models to inform our classroom management and teaching practices. These SEL models are embedded in our student learning standards and expectations.


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