Goals for students:
To be lifelong learners
To see themselves as readers and writers
To utilize a variety of resources in the pursuit of knowledge
To produce various forms of writing
To read daily
To be intrinsically motivated to learn
To feel successful in their efforts to learn
To meet the needs of students and the variety of ways in which they learn, many teaching strategies will be implemented. Before learning new material, students will first assess what they already know. Cooperative learning structures will be used to practice what is being taught. Whole group activities will bring together what has been done in small groups. Individual conferencing will also be used to further meet students’ needs.
Students’ writing will serve as a basis for lessons to be taught. All middle school students will learn the 6+1 Traits of Writing and apply these skills to writing narratives, essays, research papers, and other informational compositions. Students will develop process skills including prewriting, drafting, responding, revising, editing, and publishing. Stress will be placed on the development of content and the proper use of conventions. In addition to the craft of writing, students will also learn how to write with integrity, attributing material to the proper source and avoiding plagiarism, the wrongful appropriation of another author’s language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions.
Students will study literature using the Prentice Hall Literature textbook as well as reading novels. Students will be given the opportunity to grow to appreciate literature during Reading Circle to help them become lifelong readers.
There are three major components of language arts in middle school at St. John LaLande. The first of these is Daily Oral Language (DOL). The students copy two sentences from the overhead containing multiple errors. From an incorrect end mark to a syntactical error, the mistakes are apparent. It’s the job of the students to, as a whole group, find and fix the various gaffes. This practice is essential for sharpening editing skills and is excellent preparation for the high school placement test in which there is an entire section devoted to this exact routine.
The second area covered in language arts is grammar. All three grades work from a textbook entitled Writing and Grammar published by Prentice Hall. Grammar tests are given by the chapter; quizzes are given throughout the chapters; memorization of frequently used parts of speech is expected as well. The eight parts of speech, correct usage of the parts of speech, and basic sentence parts are covered.
Sixth, seventh, and eighth graders will study vocabulary with the Sadlier-Oxford program, Vocabulary Workshop. Additional practice through the Internet can be found at Sadlier-oxford.com/vocabulary/words. Students are expected to prepare for these tests at home to supplement the reviews done in class.
Students are expected to arrive to class on time; complete DOL on his or her own before the class corrector arrives at the overhead; complete and turn in homework when it is due; work appropriately in groups; work quietly in class; and to respect classmates and teachers.
Each sixth grade student will be participating in the sixth grade math programs: Saxon Math—Course One. This program is designed to allow students to understand the use of math in everyday life. Through studies in problem solving, algebra, statistics, decimals, fractions, percent, proportion, integers as well as geometry and probability, students will begin to explore and master each individual concept.
Seventh grade math is designed to extend the concepts covered in the sixth grade math program: Saxon Mathematics—Course Two. Seventh grade students participating in this class will continue to explore such concepts as problem solving, decimals, statistics and data analysis, fractions, geometry, percent, proportion, and probability. New concepts to these students will include integers, functions, and graphs and an introduction to algebra. Once again, the idea of the program is to help students understand the use of math in the everyday world and master the concepts at hand.
Prentice Hall Mathematics Algebra Readiness is the book used in the pre-algebra program. Pre-algebra is an introductory class to the algebra class. This program is a building block that helps students with the basic understandings of algebraic concepts. These concepts include solving one step equations and inequalities, factoring numbers, rational number patterns, percent, proportion, ratio, linear functions and graphing, geometry, and data analysis. The goal of this class is to move students through concepts at a rate in which students are successful and achieve mastery in most concept areas.
The algebra program is a continuance of the pre-algebra class with the book Prentice Hall Mathematics Algebra I. Students in this class will review some concepts learned in the previous class and go on to explore other algebraic concepts. These concepts include formulas, real numbers, solving two step equations, factoring binomials as well as trinomials, functions and relations, and combing rational expression. Students will move through concepts at a rate in which students are most successful and achieve mastery. The overall goal of this class is to prepare students for high school math.
Each student is held accountable for his or her own work. Each night, students will receive a homework assignment and will be expected to complete that assignment to be turned in the following day, unless given other directions. Parents should expect students to have approximately twenty to thirty minutes of math homework a night (depending greatly on how well students use given class time).
Your child’s grade will be determined by daily assignments, quizzes, and chapter tests.
One requirement is that your child has a 3-ring binder to be used exclusively for math. Daily notes explaining what the assignment is about will be given. Sample problems will be done together to gain understanding of the material, and then your child will independently be able to do his or her homework assignment. All assignments are to be completed using a pencil. All of us make mistakes, and they are best corrected in pencil.
Holt’s Science and Technology, copyright 2007, is the textbook series that will be used this year. This series presents material in a natural progression of Life Science for the sixth grade, Earth Science for the seventh grade, and Physical Science for the eighth grade.
Life Science will consist of a study in the following topics: science process skills; scientific method; cells and the cell theory; heredity, evolution, and classification; plants; animals; ecology; and the human body. The class will learn the parts of a microscope and how to prepare a wet slide.
Earth Science will consist of a study in science process skills; rocks, minerals, and energy resources; weather and soil erosion; oceanography; astronomy; scientific method; plate tectonics, earthquakes, and volcanoes; and weather. The seventh grade will participate in two units using curricula developed by the Jason Project. Monster Storms and Earth and Mars will incorporate hands-on activities along with on-line videos and lab work.
Physical Science will consist of studying the following topics: science process skills; scientific method; matter and interactions; motion and forces; machines and work; electricity; sound; light; atoms; elements, compounds, and mixtures. Grants from the Kauffman Foundation will enable the class to learn from three hands-on units: motion using motion sensors and graphing on the computer; electricity using batteries, bulbs, wire, and voltmeters; and magnetism using magnets, iron filings, and computer simulations.
All students will be graded on homework, lab activities and experiments, completion of chapter folders, quizzes, and tests.
The sixth grade course is designed to introduce World History studies using the text World History: Ancient Through Early Modern Times. During both the first and second semesters, the students will study the earliest human societies including Mesopotamia and the Hebrew Kingdoms. They’ll explore the Ancient Civilizations of Egypt, Kush, India, China, Greece, Rome, and Africa. Finally, they will learn about the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.
The seventh grade course is designed to introduce American History from about the 1100s through the early 1800s using the first half of the text The American Nation. The students will study topics during this time period such as settling the Americas, colonization, the American Revolution and the early presidents. There will also be a strong emphasis on geography. Students are expected to take notes over assigned readings.
The eighth grade course will use the text The American Nation to study American History from the first government through Reconstruction. The students will focus on topics such as slavery, early American leaders, westward expansion, immigration, and the Civil War. There will be an emphasis on government in which an analysis of the Constitution will be included. Students are expected to take notes over assigned readings.
Grades will be based on daily geography, quizzes, News Bowl participation, homework, tests, and projects.
All students will explore current events through weekly participation in News Bowl activities. Students will be required to keep handouts, returned assignments, and any information for future tests, reports, and ongoing assignments in their school binder or notebook. Seventh and eighth grade students will also keep a spiral notebook for note taking and bring it to class each day. All daily geography questions will be kept in a Daily Geography folder which will remain in the classroom. Most homework is an extension of what is done in class or an assignment designed to enhance comprehension of the text. Homework may also consist of work required to complete papers or projects, as well as assigned readings and note taking.
The Christ Our Life Series from Loyola Press is used in all grade levels. Throughout the series, every aspect of Christian life is addressed. Based on a spiral curriculum, it integrates Scripture, Catholic doctrine and Tradition, and the Church’s social teachings into each lesson. Scripture is at the center between the four fundamental themes of the Catechism of the Catholic Church: Creed, Sacraments, Morality, and Prayer. Supplemental programs including Circle of Grace and Theology of the Body also will be used.
The sixth grade text, God Calls a People, focuses on the Perfection of God, Roots and Symbols of the Sacraments, Old Testament, The Sacred, and Psalms.
The seventh grade text, Jesus the Way, the Truth, and the Life, focuses on Jesus Christ, the Seven Sacraments, New Testament, Respect for Justice, and Journaling. Students also will learn the prayers of the Rosary.
The eighth grade text, The Church, Then and Now, focuses on the Holy Spirit and the Church, the Life of the Church, Acts of the Apostles, Respect for Life, and the Liturgy of the Hours. Students also will learn the Mysteries of the Rosary so that they may lead a weekly rosary as well as the Anima Christi prayer.
The objectives of the classes are
- to help students become more committed to their faith and stronger members of the Church.
- to increase the desire for truth and goodness, especially by studying the lives of the saints.
- to provide students a solid foundation of knowledge on which to base their faith.
Spanish enrichment will be offered weekly to all middle school students. Students will be tested weekly on 10-15 vocabulary words (spelling and definitions) and common conversational phrases. In addition to building vocabulary, students will learn about the Hispanic culture through study and sponsorship of and communication with a child through the Christian Foundation for Children and Aging.
Grades reflecting content knowledge and participation will be given for Spanish.
Middle school music students are graded in a variety of areas. 25% of the grade is based on music theory,the nuts and bolts of music: time signatures, notation, note values, terminology, scales, and key signatures.
Singing (participation and proper vocal technique) will account for 50% of the grade. This will be reviewed during class time. Sight singing, a skill that allows students to see and sing music without rehearsal or prior preparation, will be taught as well. Playing of whole note to sixteenth note rhythms will be practiced.
Seventh and eighth graders will begin syncopation this year. One-fourth of the grade is based on melodic and rhythmic dictation, a musical skill that allows students to write what they hear. This ties in with notation, sight singing, and rhythmic work.
All work and worksheets will be completed in class. Any make up work will have to be finished outside of class time. Students are responsible for material covered in class at all times.
Testing on theory and melodic and rhythmic dictation will be done in class. Any missed dictation tests cannot be made up during class time. Students need to arrange a time to make up a test.
If a student is asked to sit down during vocals or asked to leave due to disruptive behavior, it will affect his or her participation grade. Students will be responsible for material covered that day.
Physical Education in the middle school will be focused around fitness and exercise through different games and activities. Students will be exposed to a variety of sports such as football, volleyball, basketball, and soccer along with other activities which promote a healthy body and mind.
Grades will be based on dressing out, effort and sportsmanship in class. All students are expected to come with a positive attitude. Students will also be expected to dress out for proper participation. PE dress should include tennis shoes that tie (no slip on shoes), t-shirts that are not worn under their uniform shirt, and black, PE issued shorts (purchased for $10) with SJL logo; uniform shorts are not acceptable. Anyone not in appropriate PE dress may not be able to fully participate in class that day.
Any student unable to participate in PE for an extended amount of time will need a note from a parent explaining the reason and the length in which they must refrain from participation.
Middle school will have PE on Mondays and Wednesdays throughout the year.