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. As always, please contact your student's teachers for specifics on assignments or log into Jupiter Ed for secure messaging directly to our staff.
Students will study, read, and write texts which cover themes such as identity, immigration, civil rights, and human rights. Students will be exposed to these themes through a variety of genres, including realistic fiction, poetry, historical fiction, news articles, biographies, poetry, and informational text. Programs used include Patterns of Power, No Red Ink, Write Source, and Notice and Note.
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.
Students will learn about the history of the United States using primary and secondary sources. Topics will include geography and map skills, Native Americans, early explorers, American colonies, Africa and the Transatlantic slave trade, the American Revolution, government, and current events. The curriculum integrates inquiry-based instruction and supports culturally responsive education. Students will analyze the reasons behind events and the impacts of the events. They will learn about these events through multiple perspectives and make connections to their own lives.
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, the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) guide our curriculum design for science. Our objectives will also include technology, engineering, art design and mathematics representing an enriching STEAM curriculum. The main themes explored throughout this year include scientific investigation and reasoning, matter and energy, force and motion, Earth and space, and organisms and environments.
Sixth-grade scientists explore the world of biology, including concepts such as ecology, cell structure and function, and genetics. Project-based learning allows the students to use inquiry and creativity while applying their scientific knowledge in hands-on, practical ways. Research, communication, and collaboration skills are woven into each unit in the form of projects, field experiences, team assignments, and laboratory investigations.
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.