Middle School Academics
The curriculum is comprised of a variety of areas which reflect the interdisciplinary approach of the Middle School. Many of the novels selected reflect the cultures and civilizations studied in history, as in The Golden Goblet set in Egypt. Reading is novel-based, emphasizing reading comprehension through identifying main ideas, sequencing, cause and effect, and comparison. Many of those same elements are practiced in the writing section of the curriculum. Students learn several forms of writing, including strong 6-and 8-sentence expository paragraphs and creative writing and poetry. Other components of the well-rounded curriculum include separate vocabulary and spelling texts, as well as a grammar text which are all used to enhance and strengthen both reading and writing.
A curriculum rich in a variety of literature has been selected because of its classic appeal, its relation to history, or its illustration of a genre being studied. For example, students read The Samurai’s Tale in conjunction with the study of Feudal Japan in history and I, Juan de Pareja while studying the Renaissance. Students have their first exposure to Shakespeare and read The Merchant of Venice, a comedy. Students analyze various types of literature and the different forms of writing used in fiction, non-fiction, narrative, descriptive, dramatic, and poetic language and literary terms using many different cognitive skills. The curriculum includes the direct study of grammar and sentence structures to give a strong basis for writing skills, a strong contextual vocabulary program selected from the literature, as well as the skills needed to analyze a piece of literature. The writing program includes learning to write effective 11-sentence expository paragraphs, research papers in conjunction with other subject areas, creative writing and poetry.
Building on the skills and practice begun in the previous grades, the curriculum continues to be enriching and challenging. The literature and writing skills have been selected because of their relevance to history. For example, while studying early New World settlements in history, students read The Crucible and To Kill a Mockingbird during the study of the Depression and post-Civil War segregation. Continuing their study of Shakespeare, students delve into the epic tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. The curriculum for analyzing literature, grammar, and sentence structures continues from the previous grades. The writing program includes learning to write effective five-paragraph expository essays, five-paragraph reports in conjunction with other subject areas, creative writing, poetry, and the narrative.