In the Lower Middle School, we continue our philosophy of meeting the unique needs of every student. Our research-based curriculum allows for differentiated teaching, which in turn gives students the opportunity to succeed in their own individual ways.
In the fifth-grade students build upon skills they have already developed. They further develop their identities and skills as readers and writers. Themes addressed through the curriculum include identity, diversity, human rights, and social action.
The sixth-grade curriculum is designed to strengthen communication skills through reading, writing, speaking, and the general study of the world around us. Students explore cultural contexts and alternative narratives in order for each of them to develop a purposeful and critical perspective of society.
Fifth grade continues with the highly-acclaimed Singapore Math program that teaches “the whys” of math. The foundation of this program focuses on developing problem-solving strategies, an understanding of mathematical principles, and a strong number sense form. Mental math is greatly emphasized and concepts are reinforced using a variety of math manipulatives. Instruction moves from the concrete, to the pictorial, and then to the abstract. We use the Dimensions Math version of Singapore Math.
Sixth grade math is based on the McGraw-Hill Glencoe Math textbook, Course 1 for 6th grade and Course 2 for 7th grade. Students will continue with this series through the 8th grade. Early on, students will be introduced to basic algebraic equations and will learn to apply them to decimals, fractions, and integers. The class will also explore other math topics, such as geometry, data collection and coordinate planes.
Topics studied in the fifth grade include: U.S. Geography, American Indians, Age of Exploration, Colonial Times, The Declaration of Independence, The Revolutionary War, The Constitution, The Bill of Rights, and our Government.
The sixth-grade study several ancient civilizations as well as cultures that pre-date civilization itself. These include our early human ancestors along with the development of agriculture, and the civilizations of ancient Mesopotamia, Canaan, Egypt, India, China, Greece and Rome.
In the fifth grade we use the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) approach. STEM encourages collaboration, communication, research, problem solving, critical thinking and creativity. The topics covered are weather, vertebrate and invertebrate marine animals, matter, plants, and the solar system and beyond.
The students in the sixth-grade students discover and explore science concepts including prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, genetics, adaptations, cycles of matter, ecosystems, and biomes. Students will use inquiry-based, hands-on activities while incorporating digital media in meaningful, effective, and practical ways.
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.