Network of Sacred Heart Schools
Academics
Lower & Middle Schools

Middle School Curriculum

Rigorous and personally transformative, the curriculum for the Middle School is designed to form thoughtful leaders who can meet and embrace the challenges of living in the 21st century globalized world. Students are guided to become self-directed, self-advocating, independent learners who can work collaboratively as active participants in their learning journey. Instruction is geared towards promoting inquiry, critical thinking, and creativity in an inclusive learning environment that encourages each individual to thrive.

List of 9 items.

  • English

    GRADE 6
    Sixth-grade English includes both Language Arts and Literature, taught together and as separate subjects. This year provides the foundational study of grammar, vocabulary, critical thinking, literary analysis, and writing. Emphasis is placed on writing as a process which involves mechanics as well as evaluation, deliberation, and revision. The literature provides ample opportunity to begin learning analytical skills in age-appropriate works. Emphasis is placed on both the student’s academic growth and on ability to work well with her peers.

    GRADE 7
    Our seventh grade English course includes both English and Literature. The English component stresses the development of writing skills and the refinement of language usage and style. The Literature component emphasizes the comprehension and analysis of a variety of literary works. Throughout the course, critical thinking and analytical skills are honed and strengthened. Our analysis serves as a spring-board to the ongoing discussion of the students’ growing awareness of themselves in a greater society.

    GRADE 8
    The eighth grade course in English has as its primary goal the development of critical reading and writing skills in literature. The course heavily emphasizes reading comprehension, the analysis of literature and learning to write a critical essay. Literature is selected for both challenge and accessibility to the students. An essay writing rubric is taught and followed throughout the year to guide students through the rudiments of the critical essay. The course also includes a vocabulary program which emphasizes skills needed when encountering new words in the context of reading selections, with the special objective of increasing the students’ facility and comfort in dealing with abstract, conceptual vocabulary. The grammar component of the course stresses usage and aims to address those mechanics which students have not yet mastered in their own writing. While critical writing is stressed, opportunities for creative writing are included. Study skills necessary for the study of English are both taught and graded. Clear articulation and increased sophistication in the style and content of student speech are a constant emphasis.
  • Mathematics

    GRADE 6: MATH 6 & PRE-ALGEBRA
    Our Math 6 course are based on the Singapore method of instruction. Students focus on solidifying their understanding of numbers and their relationships through a concept mastery framework. Students gain a deep understanding of of how and why math works through a concrete-to-pictorial-to-abstract approach, metacognitive reasoning, and the use of bar models. In this program, students are taught fewer concepts in greater depth in order to develop a solid conceptual foundation for problem solving.

    Students in 6th grade focus on:
    • comparing and ordering positive and negative numbers
    • practicing operations with positive numbers, fractions, mixed numbers, and decimals
    • using ratios, rates, and percents
    • simplifying algebraic expressions, solving equations and inequalities, using coordinates to create graphs, writing linear equations, and using tables and graphs to represent equations
    • finding the areas of polygons and circles, finding perimeter and circumference, and finding the surface area and volume of three-dimensional shapes
    • applying statistical reasoning to data sets, and finding the mean, the median, and the mode of data sets
    Pre-Algebra provides students with an introduction to the concepts of algebra and geometry; at the same time, it solidifies their grasp of arithmetic concepts and procedures. The following concepts and skills are consistently integrated into the curriculum: the use of technology in the teaching and learning of math; logic and critical thinking skills development; problem solving; and the reading and writing of mathematics. Successful completion of this course gives students a firm foundation for the Algebra class that follows this course. Students must meet/exceed placements requirement to participate in this course.
     

    GRADE 7: 
    MATH 7 & ALGEBRA
    Our Math 7 course is based on the Singapore method of instruction. Students focus on solidifying their understanding of numbers and their relationships through a concept mastery framework. Students gain a deep understanding of of how and why math works through a concrete-to-pictorial-to-abstract approach, metacognitive reasoning, and the use of bar models. In this program, students are taught fewer concepts in greater depth in order to develop a solid conceptual foundation for problem solving.

    Students in 7th grade focus on:
    • The Real Number System
    • The Rational Number
    • Algebraic Expressions
    • Direct and Indirect Proportion
    • angle properties
    Students in the Algebra course will become proficient at solving equations and inequalities, graphing linear equations, and problem solving. Polynomials, quadratic equations, algebraic fractions, and systems of equations are concepts that will be introduced and practiced.
     

    GRADE 8: ACCELERATED ALGEBRA & GEOMETRY

    Students in  Accelerated Algebra course cover all of the material of our regular Algebra course at a more accelerated pace and in greater depth and complexity. As with the Algebra course, students in this class will become proficient at solving equations and inequalities, graphing linear equations, and problem solving. Polynomials, quadratic equations, algebraic fractions, and systems of equations are concepts that will be introduced and practiced. In addition, problem solving and applications will be stressed. Students must meet/exceed placements requirement to participate in this course.

    Geometry is offered to those students who have demonstrated mastery of Algebra prior to entering the eighth grade. Students will be introduced to the topics of plane, solid and analytic geometry, while continuing to use and extend,some of the concepts learned in algebra. Students will learn about angles, parallel lines, triangles and other types of polygons, congruence, similarity, circles, polyhedra, area and volume, coordinate geometry, and basic right triangle trigonometry. Students must meet/exceed placements requirement to participate in this course.
     
  • Science

    GRADE 6
    This course focuses on the study of the Earth Sciences and Environmental Science. Both basic and integrated process skills are enhanced to enable students to successfully conduct experiments, collect and analyze data, and effectively communicate results. An emphasis is made to relate topics studied in class to students’ life and experiences. Current environmental issues are discussed throughout the entire curriculum.

    GRADE 7
    This course offers study in the area of biology. Students will investigate various forms of energy and its transformations into new forms in living things. They will also analyze cells as they compare and contrast plant and animal cell details and some of the life processes each undergoes. Students will continue their investigation of cells as the basic unit of structure and function in living things as they study genetics, evolution, and human body systems. Problem solving skills are enhanced through the application of the Scientific Method to classroom labs and individual projects. Other skills development includes organization, collaboration, communication, and daily preparation for class.

    GRADE 8
    This course offers study in the areas of chemistry, motion and astronomy. Students will study basics of chemical interactions of matter, including work with the periodic table and writing and balancing chemical equations. They will also learn how to describe the motion of an object and the laws that govern such motions, along with the relationship between energy and matter as it pertains to motion. Later, we will examine the Earth and its place in the solar system, along with some of the other objects that orbit our sun. We conclude with an examination of stars, galaxies, and the universe. The Scientific Method will be applied to classroom work and individual projects.
  • Social Studies/History

    GRADE 6: SOCIAL STUDIES
    In this course, students will take a hero's epic quest through the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia, Egypt, India, China, Greece and Rome. Through the use of primary sources, literature and digital media, students will imagine, emphasize and communicate what life was like over 3000 years ago and utilize that awareness to take positive action in the world they live in today.

    GRADE 7: MEDIEVAL HISTORY 
    In this course, students study the social, political, and technological changes that occurred in Europe, Asia, and Africa during the “Middle Ages” and early Modern Era. There is an emphasis on developing key skill sets, including writing, research and reading primary sources. Students also learn the modern political maps of the regions we study.

    GRADE 8: U.S. HISTORY
    This course covers American history beginning with European exploration and settlement of the Americas, and includes an examination of the structure and foundations of American government. A strong emphasis is placed on developing critical thinking and analytical skills by examining past events and primary source documents. Students also practice “historical thinking” through class discussions, debates, presentations, and individual and group projects. The use of spoken and written academic language to access historical content is also emphasized. Frequent written assignments begin with single paragraphs and finish with a five-paragraph essay.
  • Religion

    GRADE 6
    In this course, students focus their religious studies on the Old Testament, also known as the Hebrew Scriptures, with special emphasis given to the Book of Genesis. Students are encouraged to analyze the relevancy of these ancient texts with present society. Through reading the Old Testament, students will also gain an understanding that we are persons created in God’s image and that the Bible is a history of God’s merciful love. In addition, insights gained through the reading of Old Testament stories will be applied to the process of moral decision-making, thus helping students to learn to meet personal challenges with a clear and positive moral attitude.

    GRADE 7
    Seventh-grade religion focuses on the New Testament and the life of Jesus. Students are encouraged to gain an appreciation for the message and mystery of Christ and the development of the Christian scriptures. What the New Testament is, where it comes from, and what its purpose is will be primary themes. Gospel values will be explored and studied as a model for living a Christian way of life. In addition, students will be exposed to various forms of prayer, as well as given the opportunity to write and share their own prayers.

    GRADE 8
    The eighth-grade religion course offers students an opportunity to examine and deepen their faith lives through discussion, reflection, and an active and thoughtful questioning process. With a respect for all religious traditions and openness to the ideas of others, students explore the possibility of developing a real and personal relationship with God. In addition, students investigate and debate relevant moral and social issues within a Christian framework.
  • World Languages

    Middle School students are required to study a world language. Sixth grade students may choose between FrenchLatinSpanish, or Mandarin, and will continue to study their selected language through the 8th grade. Students who have a serious, documented learning disability may be assigned to the Academic Support class as an alternative to a world language. Such students will begin their study of a world language at Level 1 during their freshman year of high school. These classes meet four times a week.

    Our sixth through eighth grade world language courses cover the equivalent of a Level 1 high school course. Students who successfully complete our world language program can usually expect to place in Level 2 or Level 2 Honors of that world language in their freshman year of high school. A variety of interactive and communicative activities will develop listening, speaking, reading and writing skills in French, Mandarin and Spanish and reading, writing and translation skills in Latin. Students will learn about the cultures, language and communities of the people within their world language of choice.
  • Fine Arts

    All sixth and seventh grade students participate in an engaging and inspiring fine arts rotation that includes a full semester of studio art and drama, and a year of music. Eighth grade students may choose to continue their study of the fine arts through our electives program.


    STUDIO ARTS
    The art studio is a creative, indoor and outdoor space where students can actively immerse themselves in the wonderful world of art. The goal of the Visual Art program is to develop in students an understanding and enjoyment of art, craft, and design. Students use a wide variety of tools and techniques to explore work in two and three dimensions while they experiment with printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, photography, drawing, painting, and textiles. Students are exposed to traditional and historical artists, art in the local community and develop their visual literacy through on-going discussions about their own work and that of others. In middle school, emphasis is placed on connecting work in the art studio with areas of study across other academic disciplines. Students will also explore art outside the classroom through a field trip to a local museum. Throughout the year, students will awaken their imaginations and strengthen their skills of observation and self-expression.


    DRAMA
    During their course of study, sixth and seventh grade students work to develop and fine tune a wide array of dramatic tools including body language, eye contact, facial expression, gesture, language, mask work, poise, tempo and voice. Exploration of the cultural, artistic and historical styles of African, Asian, Greek, Latino, Medieval and Shakespearean drama is incorporated. Students have ample opportunity to create, perform and respond to artistic work while reflecting upon their own personal connections to the arts. These explorations enhance creativity, improve self-esteem and develop collaborative work habits. Additionally, all middle school students have multiple performance opportunities each year.


    MUSIC - BAND & STRINGS

    GRADE 6
    Sixth grade students have two course offerings based on their proficiency level: Beginning Band/Strings and Concert Band/Strings. For both classes, a commitment to participate for an entire year is required, as is participation in two performances throughout the year.

    • Beginning Band/Strings is offered for students who have little or no experience. This course teaches the student basic musicianship (including how to read music) through learning to play a string instrument. The instrument choices for strings include violin, viola, cello, and double bass. The instrument choices for band include flute, clarinet, trumpet, trombone, baritone horn (euphonium) and mallet percussion. Students will have the opportunity to perform music selected from a wide variety of genres.
    • Concert Band/Strings develops the skills of the musician with more experience and musicianship. Students with one or more years of experience on an instrument may sign up for this course.

    GRADE 7
    Seventh grade students have two course offerings based on their proficiency level: Seventh Grade Band/Strings and Symphonic Band/Strings.

    • In Seventh Grade Band/Strings, students continue to develop the skills of the experienced musician. It is the natural progression for students successfully completing 6th Grade Beginning Band/Strings. Students with one or more years of experience on an instrument may sign up for this course. Students will perform music selected from a wide variety of genres.
    • In Symphonic Band/Strings for students who have successfully completing 6th Grade Concert Band/Strings. Students with two or more years of experience on an instrument may sign up for this course.


    MUSIC - CHORUS


    GRADE 6
    Sixth Grade Chorus is designed to be the introductory ensemble into the Middle School Chorus program, bringing together students with varying levels of choral experience. Emphasis is on building choral sound and proper vocal technique, along with focusing on individual musicianship and ensemble skills. The choral ensembles perform music representing a variety of styles and eras, while building the sense of community that is central to the Sacred Heart tradition. The goal of the program is to foster a love and appreciate for the arts, in the hope that our students will develop a desire to be lifelong musicians. Students commit to participate in this class for an entire year, as well as attend and participate in the winter and spring concerts.

    GRADE 7

    Seventh Grade Chorus course is designed to be the intermediate choir. It is the natural progression for students successfully completing Sixth Grade Chorus. Emphasis is on advanced repertoire in 3-4 parts. Progressive concepts of tone, vocal production, and choral sound are practiced and performed. The repertoire is diverse, representing a variety of styles and eras. Students commit to participate in this class for an entire year, as well as attend and participate in the winter and spring concerts.
  • Physical Education

    Consistent with the Goals and Criteria of Sacred Heart education, the Middle School P.E. program promotes the well being of all students and encourages a lifelong commitment to health. The P.E. curriculum offers a variety of individual and team sports and fitness activities including badminton, basketball, cross country, field games, flag football, flag rugby, lacrosse, soccer, swimming, tennis, track, water polo and volleyball. Students participate in circuit, core and strength training while learning to assess their individual level of fitness. Ultimately, students are able to identify exercises to maintain and improve their level of fitness in relation to aerobic endurance, muscular strength and endurance and flexibility. P.E. classes are single sex and meet four days per week. Students wishing to participate in additional athletic activities are encouraged to join LMS team sports.
  • Electives

    GRADE 8
    Eighth grade electives are unique learning experiences offered to students in their final year of middle school.  Electives are experiential learning opportunities, designed by faculty who often use these courses to share knowledge and interests outside of their recognized domain of expertise.   Electives are semester-long courses that meet 4 times a week, have both an experiential and an intellectual component, and culminate in a presentation of student learning that extends beyond the class itself.

    Electives offered for the 2015-16 school year:
    • Advanced Chorus
    • Competitive Civics
    • Creative Writing
    • Health and Wellness
    • Robotics
    • The (Visual) Art of Drama
    • Yearbook
    • Advanced Instrumental Ensembles
    • Learning to Fly
    • Introduction to Coding
    • Into the Woods
    • One Act Play Production
    • Visual Art Portfolios

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Where Scholarship and Values Matter
Founded by the Society of Sacred Heart, SHS is a Catholic, independent, co-ed day school for students in preschool through grade 12