Curriculum: Middle School

For students 12 through 15 years old, seventh and eighth grades

The Montessori approach to this two-year program for Middle School students is a thematic, interdisciplinary approach to studies that provides large blocks of time for group and individual work.

Areas of academic studies include mathematics, language, social studies, foreign language, science, speech and drama, technology and physical education..

  •  Mathematics studies include Algebra with a focus on solving problems in a real-world setting.
  • The language curriculum includes literature discussion, vocabulary development, grammar, and spelling. Writing skills are developed through the teaching and use of the writing process. All areas of writing are addressed including expository, creative, persuasive, research and poetry.
  • Spanish is the focus of the foreign language program. Students learn vocabulary (spoken and written) and sentence structure in conversation and in writing.
  •  Dramatic performance begins with in-class performances and culminates with an annual Middle School Dinner Theater production.
  •  Physical education is planned in six-week segments and includes training for the President’s Fitness Challenge.

The Middle School curriculum also includes a week-long challenge course with group exercises and individual high-ropes challenges, a student-run business, a week-long business internship program, and an adventure trip.

Graduates are prepared to easily transition into traditional college preparatory High School academic programs.

Language Arts

Language Arts include the study of vocabulary, literature, grammar and mechanics, writing, and speech.

  • Vocabulary is presented across the curriculum and is formally approached by learning the word elements and in Wordly Wise 3000 vocabulary reinforcement program.
  • Literature includes the study of literary elements and  reading in all genres of literature. Each cycle students read works from an anthology, a novel focused on the cycle theme, and a novel of personal choice. Literature discussions follow the format of Socratic discussion.
  • Grammar, Mechanics and Writing are presented during each cycle in writing workshops. These workshops focus on types of writing as well as writing in science, social studies and health. Students write a daily literature response and must publish at least two pieces of writing each cycle. In publishing a written work students follow a set format: rough draft, writer’s questions, revision, editing and final draft. Feedback in revising and editing is received from peers as well as teachers.
  • Communications Seminar includes a daily communications lab that, over the course of the year, focuses on grace and courtesy, listening skills, note taking, active participation in group discussions, articulating ideas and making formal presentations. Students learn a variety of communication skills such as acknowledging others, active listening, goal setting and group decision-making. Students are able to practice these communication skills daily by participation in class meetings, class committees, small group cooperative projects, and peer teaching activities. During each cycle students participate in group presentations as well as individual presentations.

Mathematics I & II

The integrated mathematics program provides students the opportunity to study traditional topics including algebra, geometry, and probability and statistics in a connected and problem-centered approach.

Students are expected to describe and translate among graphic, algebraic, numeric, tabular, and verbal representations of relationships and use those representations to solve problems. Appropriate technology, from manipulatives to calculators and application software, is used regularly for instruction and assessment.

Physical Education and Health

Physical Education class focuses on team sports, individual sports and aerobic activities. Sports include basketball, dance, running, soccer, ultimate frisbee and volleyball. Additionally, students participate in cooperative games and exercises. All students are included in all activities.

Health is the study of issues pertinent to the needs of early adolescents. Students explore topics such as belonging, friendships, adolescent development, stress management, self-esteem, peer pressure drug education, sexuality, nutrition, and balanced living. Time is set aside for personal reflection each day.

Science, Physical

Physical and Life Sciences are incorporated in the Natural World curriculum and are emphasized in alternating years. The structure of this course allows students to research Overview Questions looking for patterns and integration among all disciplines. Students work individually and in small groups. Students develop creative projects and make presentations. The information is then added to a cumulative timeline.

The physical science curriculum focuses on the following topics that are derived from the cycle themes.

  • Forces – Motion and Four Fundamental Forces
  • Structures- Nature of Science and the Structure of Matter
  • Power – Energy and Waves
  • Changes – Work and Machines
  • Balance – Chemistry

Science, Life

Life and Physical Sciences are incorporated in the Natural World curriculum and are emphasized in alternating years. The structure of this course allows students to research Overview Questions looking for patterns and integration among all disciplines. Students work individually and in small groups. Students develop creative projects and make presentations. The information is then added to a cumulative timeline.

  • Connections – Cells and Living Things
  • Exploration  - Prokaryotes, Protoctista, and Fungi
  • Identity – Comparative Anatomy and Genetics
  • Systems – Human Systems
  • Interdependence – Ecosystems

Service Learning and Career Education

Several service-learning days are scheduled during the school year. Combining service to the community with the classroom curriculum increases student mastery of classroom material and fosters civic responsibility. Reflecting on service-learning experiences helps students to strengthen personal convictions and to see themselves as active contributors to their community.

Each year Middle School students spend a week interning at a business in order to gain valuable real life experience. These internships are a great learning experience and give the student invaluable insight into skills and personal qualities needed to be successful in the working world.

Social Studies

This course includes geography and history and is incorporated in the Social World curriculum. Social Studies I and Social Studies II are studied in alternating years. The structure of this course allows students to research Overview Questions looking for patterns and integration among all disciplines. Students work individually and in small groups. Students develop creative projects and make presentations. The information is then added to a cumulative timeline.

The geography curriculum includes the study of the themes of location, movement, regions and interaction of people and their environment.  A final project is the drawing of the world on a grid and labeling political and physical information.

The history curriculum focuses on the progress of people and the following topics that are derived from the cycle themes.

Social Studies l Focus

  • Forces – Revolutions
  • Structures- Governments and US government
  • Power – Civil War and Reconstruction
  • Changes – Industrial Revolution
  • Balance – War and Peace
Social Studies ll Focus
  • Connections – Native Americans
  • Exploration and Perspectives Identity – Immigration
  • Systems – Economics and Economic Systems
  • Interdependence – Ecology and Future Visions

Foreign Language:

Spanish l provides a basis in written and oral Spanish and is designed to create an interest and appreciation of Spanish culture and civilization.

Spanish ll builds on the skills developed in Spanish 1 course. Grammar rules necessary for basic oral and written communication are practiced. Additionally, students experience Spanish literature and culture through a variety of in-class projects.

Student Entrepreneurship

Middle school students participate in a student-run business. Students are responsible for the economic and business structure of the enterprise including marketing, sales, preparation, customer service, collecting monies and ordering inventory. The most popular enterprise is  weekly Pizza Lunch for Students. Proceeds from the student-run business support the end of the year Adventure Trip.

Technological Literacy

Technological Literacy includes the use of word processing, spreadsheets, databases, presentations, graphics, academic programs and simulation games. All of these activities are integrated into all subject areas. Students have the opportunity to work with other equipment and use the internet to gather data and communicate with other schools.

Theatre and Visual Arts

Drama: For the second cycle immersion students plan and produce a Dinner Theatre. The students plan and cook the dinner that follows the theme of the play. The students stage, produce and act in the chosen play.

Art: Lessons in in a variety of art media are offered to Middle School students on a weekly basis. Students hone their artistic abilities with an eye toward illustrating classroom work and projects.