Grades 5 Through 8
I. Course Overviews
Reading, writing and speaking become mutually supportive across the English curriculum. Our literature-based program exposes students to a wide variety of genres and authors. Students read literature and respond through creative and analytical writing such as stories, poems, plays, and literary essays. They also respond through oral contributions, including discussions and dramatic readings. Grammar, spelling, and vocabulary are taught during skill lessons and are integrated into the reading and writing assignments. Middle School places importance on the theme of citizenship and the ways an individual can contribute positively to society. Technology is integrated into the curriculum to engage students in their learning and help them develop word processing, digital media, and connectivity skills.
Mathematics during Middle School includes a diverse and challenging program to meet the needs of students at different stages of development with different levels of ability. The goal is to equip students with the skills, knowledge, and understanding to be mathematically proficient by:
• Working successfully in individual or cooperative learning situations;
• Computing fluently and having good number sense;
• Being creative problem solvers who are willing to take risks;
• Reasoning logically; and
• Engaging in mathematics and seeing it as useful, sensible, and usable.
Each grade level includes individual, small group, and class instruction through different methodologies: discovery and cooperative learning, class discussions, technology, and hands-on application projects. Students have a balanced mathematics curriculum, including significant amounts of algebra, geometry, probability, and statistics — and their interconnections with each other. Algebra readiness concepts are introduced early and integrated throughout the program. Students go beyond equations as they work with graphs, tables, and algebraic patterns. The program provides students with opportunities to dig deeper and explore algebraic concepts to build conceptual understanding. Students focus on the language of mathematics. Problem-solving instruction is included in every lesson to help practice and reinforce problem-solving skills and strategies.
The curriculum of history, heritage, and culture prepares students for a diverse and ever-changing world. Topics of discussion, assignments, and projects are developed dependent upon student interest. The curriculum allows for flexibility in incorporating current events and how they relate to, or stem from, the past. Students develop their research and critical thinking skills by exploring a broad range of issues taught in U.S. History, World History, Economics, and Civics. In correlation with our Judaic principles and teachings, emphasis is placed on a sense of responsibility and service to our local, national, and world communities.
The science program ensures that each student acquires a general understanding of the scientific world. There are basic scientific concepts and skills encountered every day in our technological society. This program introduces students to these fundamental principles. The curriculum emphasizes factual information and illustrates scientific ideas through a hands-on approach. Skills employed in this approach include making observations; hypothesizing; conducting experiments; gathering, recording and analyzing data; and forming conclusions. This method of science instruction also involves both critical thinking and problem-solving skills, which challenge the students to explore new avenues. In addition, it generates a high level of interest and motivation in students, which increases their rate of academic success.
Our students encounter the riches and complexities of Judaism through analyses of primary texts and other resources. The curriculum focuses on teaching meaningful and relevant topics and themes in Judaism, History, and Literature with practical moral and philosophical lessons.
Students develop and participate in community service projects and discover how their lives are influenced by and connected to the broader world.
Middle School students take part in the NETA Hebrew language curriculum. It fully immerses students in the vitality of the Hebrew language, with an emphasis on becoming fluent Hebrew speakers and readers. Modern Hebrew is taught as a living language. Students learn to be conversational speakers, not merely translators of text, and acquire a love of Hebrew literature and poetry. Students are grouped according to their proficiency level.
Study skills are integral to the curriculum. In the beginning of the school year, students receive direct instruction and guidance in maintaining lockers, using a planner effectively, and planning long-term assignments. Embedded into each area of study are the specific skills of organization: outlining; note-taking; time management; test-taking strategies; study skills; listening to, reading, and following directions; and learning to use reference materials.
The Physical Education department focuses on the development of skills in a wide variety of sports that will allow all students to participate in Middle School and Upper School competitive athletic teams. We believe the benefits of physical education and athletics extend beyond the establishment of good habits with respect to physical activity. Participation in athletics is a key component in the development of good social skills in young persons. Students who participate in athletic activities learn how to interact with others in a positive way during competitive situations, learn good sportsmanship, and learn how to work as part of a team. All of these skills play important roles in the development of a successful and well-adjusted young adult.
Additionally, students are introduced to noncompetitive, lifetime physical activities, and the principles of healthy living and overall fitness. This program and our health curriculum give students the tools to live a healthy lifestyle well beyond their participation on athletic teams at the high school or even collegiate level.
Physical Education Units
Team Building: Students learn rules for the PE areas, safety procedures, and develop an environment of inclusion and teamwork.
Swimming: Three sections of swimming throughout the year progressively improve student comfort in the water and ability to properly execute strokes.
Fitness: Three sections of fitness throughout the year teach students safe and effective ways to maintain overall fitness. Student fitness is measured to assess progress.
Dance: Students learn to follow a structured choreography while gaining body control and coordination along with an appreciation for dance and the role it can play in overall fitness.
Volleyball: Students learn the skills, rules, and rotations to play volleyball.
Basketball: Students learn the skills and rules to play basketball.
Leisure: Students learn games that are less strenuous but can be part of a healthy lifestyle throughout their lives.
Yoga and Jump Rope: Students learn the skills of yoga and jumping rope.
Wiffle Ball: Students learn the skills and rules of softball and baseball utilizing a Wiffle ball setting for safety and to allow for success.
Tennis: Students learn the skills, rules, and court positioning to play tennis.
Indoor Hockey: Students learn the boundaries of the indoor hockey pitch, the skills of stick handling, and rules for playing.
Students have the option to choose from numerous electives in art, music, theatre, computers, constructive design, creative writing, historical studies, Jewish life, speech and debate, and math problem solving. Courses change each quarter and focus on the current needs and interests of the students.
FEMALE ART THROUGHOUT THE AGES
Students conduct an in-depth study of lesser-known female artists and the various issues that compelled them to create art. Students craft art pieces based on a compare-and-contrast analysis of works from women from different eras. Through biographical study and practical application, students understand that art is created for a reason.
Students learn about Artemisia Gentileschi, the 17th-century feminist painter; Judy Chicago, the 20th-century feminist artist; Sofonisba Anguissola, the 16th-century portrait painter; Tamara de Lempicka, the 20th-century portrait painter; Hannah Hoch, the 20th-century conceptualist artist; and Kara Walker, the present-day conceptualist artist.
Students create a wall masterpiece by learning all the steps of painting a tempera mural from beginning to end. This art elective focuses on crafting one mural by having the students learn how to brainstorm for themes and images, prepare a surface, create an image, grid the surface for transfer of the image, transport their materials, mix and store their paints, apply their medium, manage their time in order to return and store their materials for next-time usage, and protect their surface upon completion.
With advertisements all around us, children are bombarded by print ads created to convince them to purchase a wide variety of products, from jeans to iPods to soda. This class teaches students the basic components of a print advertisement and asks them to create ads for five different invented products: a nonviolent video game, a piece of clothing that uses breakthrough technology, a “green” product that serves a basic purpose while still being good for the environment, a healthy fast-food restaurant and a unique mode of transportation.
Students go into greater detail regarding the use of specific drawing and painting materials (pencil, charcoal, watercolors, tempera, and acrylic paints). This elective provides an in-depth focus on specific art “isms”: Fauvism, Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Pointillism and Abstract Expressionism. Students study specific artists and emulate their art styles.
Students have the opportunity to explore topics in astronomy in more depth, with a focus on unmanned and manned space travel. Students explore what it takes to prepare astronauts and equipment for trips into earth orbit and beyond. They will complete a NASA mission project.
Each elective focuses on different computer software, peripherals, programs and applications, including:
Microsoft Office 2008
Digital Still Cameras
Digital Video Cameras
Depending on the course, students complete projects creating movies, infomercials, slideshows, podcasts, multimedia presentations, web pages, newsletters, and more.
In this elective, students learn the art of persuasion. They learn to formulate clear and concise points to support their thinking, thereby enhancing their critical thinking skills. Students complete in-depth studies and analyses of current events and then participate in local competitive debates.
DESIGN AND CONSTRUCT
Students study and apply topics in engineering design. These topics include measurement, elements of design, problem solving, sketching, and a review of force and motion as it applies to projects. Students apply these units to two projects during the 10 weeks: a magnetic levitation vehicle and a bridge. Students also complete a research project on an invention.
HISTORY OF THE HOLOCAUST
In the face of injustice and suffering, it is understandable to ask, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” or “How can civilized people torture and murder?” In this elective, students have the opportunity to engage in difficult discussions and address such questions. They learn about the events that led up to the Holocaust, Hitler’s rise to power, the nature of concentration camps, and the resistance movement.
Students explore world Jewish communities through geography, history, music, and cooking. Some communities that students learn about include Greece, Morocco, Yemen, Argentina, Spain and Ethiopia.
MATH — SPECIAL PROJECTS
Students stretch their minds by deciphering math puzzles and using their math skills to solve problems and complete exciting projects.
Students have the opportunity to enjoy varied kinds of musical experiences. They learn that playing an instrument is a powerful type of self-expression. The students learn to play wind instruments with a focus on instrument fundamentals. Learning to play an instrument involves skill development in rhythm, music notation, fine motor skills, and cooperation with a group.
Students learn to use their bodies and voices as a means of self-expression. In this elective, students learn to develop their skills in producing tone, posture, and correct breathing. Students learn to identify standard notation terms for pitch, rhythm, dynamics, and tempo. They also acquire the skills to sight-read a piece with proper rhythm and pitches. The choir performs for students and parents throughout the school year, particularly at times to honor specific holidays and celebrations.
This elective provides an introduction to chords and reading music on a guitar. Students learn to read music notation on the fret board, memorize basic chord fingerings, and learn strumming techniques for certain songs. In addition, students learn basic terms and principles so that they are then able to comprehend many of the guitar instruction books available for self-study.
This class offers a competition-free environment where students can cast away their inhibitions and find their voices. Students act, sing and dance while working on a script.
Students learn production design and set design, lighting, audio techniques, special effects, and costume design. They develop an appreciation for the work that occurs “behind the scenes.” Students work in conjunction with those in the Performance elective to create a final production.
Writer’s Workshop is an interdisciplinary writing technique. This method builds students’ fluency in writing through continuous exposure to the process of drafting, conferencing with peers and teachers, revising, and publishing. Children develop their unique styles and discover that writing is one of the most powerful forms of self-expression.
Enjoy these educational Powerpoints describing more about our art and technology programs: https://connect.adelsoncampus.org/groups/stacycolwell/wiki/d3636/Summer_Enrichment_2012.html
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