Our middle school includes grades 6-8, and features small class sizes and a close-knit community. Students are taught according to their academic level, and receive the kind of individualized attention that is only possible in small-class settings. Our students alternate between our two teachers: Mr. Bannerman, who teaches Math and Science, and Mr. Quintanilla, who teaches Language Arts and Social Studies. They also participate in our Foreign Languages Program; all students take Spanish three days per week, and another language--either Mandarin or Arabic--two days per week. They also have weekly specials including Art, P.E. and Music.
Academics are the focus of our middle school program. Our students receive the help they need to catch up, understand, and excel in core subjects. Our small class sizes enable students to focus on their learning rather than peer or social pressure.
In language arts, our sixth grade students utilize the Collection for Young Scholars, through which they experience literature that includes time-honored and contemporary classics, as well as award-winning fiction and non-fiction. The reading selections are organized into powerful learning units focused on important, engaging, and complex concepts that are designed to encourage the students to think, raise questions, and learn. There are three types of learning units: social studies, science, science, and units of universal interest.
Sixth grade social studies focus on making a connection between history and geography. We employ a map study program and a digitally based curriculum and platform from Pearson to emphasize the centrality of geography to the unfolding of history.
Applications and Concepts, the sixth grade math text, helps students understand that mathematics will aid them in becoming problem solvers in other areas of life.
In the sixth grade, students are introduced to the formal writing process and the steps involved in preparing and writing research papers. Students also develop summaries, and paraphrase and synthesize information from two or more texts. Sixth grade readers correctly use text features such as captions, charts, diagrams, headings, sub-headings, maps, and graphics and are able to analyze the elements of short stories. These readers continue to gain fluency in a variety of literary genres.
In the sixth grade, the students begin instruction in a middle school environment that allows for peer grouping, small group instruction, and one-on-one support in the classroom. Students actively engage in the problem solving process and apply their math skills to solve word problems. The students build on basic math skills solving process and apply their math skills to solve word problems. The students build on basic math skills and develop more advanced knowledge of concepts including rational numbers, whole numbers, integers, fractions, and decimals. Students also work with proportional reasoning and problem solving, and use concrete, pictorial, and abstract representations as a part of learning math. The students also build skills in math using the ALEKS online learning program.
The sixth grade continues to utilize our hybrid science curriculum to study the Earth and space, energy sources, the Sun, the Earth's atmosphere and surface, atomic properties and matter, uses of water, air properties, watershed systems, and environmental public policy. On a weekly basis, sixth grade students conduct experiments in the science lab. Each sixth grader must plan, conduct, and present a science fair project. Through increasingly hands-on, inquiry-based lessons, students sharpen their research skills and problem-solving techniques.
United States History: 1865 to the Present
Sixth grade students continue to explore the historical, geographical, political, and social contexts that shaped the United States, from the Reconstruction era to the present. Students learn about the Civil War, the industrial revolution, World War I, World War II, and the economic and social impact of the Great Depression. Students also study how the United States responded to the Civil Rights Movement, the Vietnam War, and other major challenges and movements of the 21st century.
Students learn and employ effective planning methods for compositions using thumbnail sketches and clear project proposals. Bookmaking techniques are covered, and students make their own sketchbooks to maintain throughout the year. Students also study the history of art from different cultures of the world.
Students conduct research using various types of text- and media-based resources. They also can demonstrate how to cite digital resources when developing nonfiction reports and presentations.
Middle school students demonstrate appropriate choral behaviors. The students sing melodies written in traditional notation on the treble staff, in unison, or in two parts. At this level, students are exposed to a variety of musical styles and musical works from different periods of music history, and continue to develop an understanding of the relationship of music to history, culture, technology, and other fields of knowledge. Students gain a cultural perspective of music and the value of music in society.
Our middle school students also continue to develop strength, endurance and flexibility by participating in a wide variety of individual and team-based activities. They also learn about the importance of developing good health habits, and of regular exercise. They participate in team sports, including soccer and basketball.
Students enhance their listening comprehension, and engage in expressing their own thoughts through dialogue. They also read paragraphs describing simple objects, and write basic sentences. Students engage in oral presentations to demonstrate knowledge of subject-verb agreement, infinitive verbs, and definite and indefinite articles. They enhance their conversational language skills via computer technology, and are introduced to cultural dances. Students learn about various cultures, traditions, and holidays.
Language teachers engage their students in singing songs that develop a child's musical talent and ear for correct pronunciation and intonation. Three times a year, students participate in special performances for their parents during the Winter Program, Mother's Day program, and an end-of-the-year program.