Middle School – Courses and Curriculum

Grades 7-8

Middle grades are a time for self-exploration and building content knowledge and skills.

English Language Arts is an integrated, literature based curriculum focusing on the development of reading, writing and speaking skills aligned to PA Common Core standards for English Language Arts. The goal of the middle school ELA class is to foster student’s development as skilled readers and writers, who are able to analyze other’s work as well as their own while developing a love for learning through literature. The literature selections are thematically organized around the essential questions for each grade:

  • 7th: Who am I?
  • 8th: Who do we want to be as a community?

Students are engaged in reading activities during each unit that include discussions, text annotations, journals, blogs, learning reading skills and strategies to improve comprehension, special projects, creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking to apply and make interdisciplinary connections. Students produce writing in narrative, informational, and persuasive modes focusing on the development of interesting leads/openings, using sensory details and vivid imagery, utilizing action verbs for succinct and powerful sentences, choosing organizational schemes that best fit the writing, developing voice and style, and choosing appropriate audiences for real world publication to give meaning to writing. Grammar instruction includes mechanical focus on proper format, use of complete sentences, proper nouns, capitalization, and correct punctuation. Sentence structure, including phrases, clauses and syntax, and instruction in identification and proper use of parts of speech such as nouns, verbs, adjectives, pronouns, and adverbs are also a focus. Grammar practice is taught and practiced daily. Vocabulary instruction focuses on using both essential worlds to understand text as well as enhancing words to allow students to talk and write about texts they are reading.

Mathematics is designed to continue students’ development of mathematical fluency, problem-solving skills, mathematical reasoning, and the ability to communicate mathematically. The curriculum focuses on the following four strands aligned to PA Common Core Mathematics: Numbers and Operations, Algebraic Concepts, Geometry, and Measurement, Data, and Probability.

Science is designed to provide students with inquiry-based curriculum where knowledge builds from basic understanding of science concepts about Earth, physics, chemistry, and living organisms. The curriculum is aligned to PA Academic Science, Technology, Environment, and Ecology standards. Next Generation Science Standards and PA Common Core standards in math, reading, and writing have been used to frame skill building not only in scientific concepts, but in understanding that reading, writing, and math are important within this field of study for understanding and communicating what you know. Non-fiction and fiction books are integrated throughout to add Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematical (STEM) reading experiences that correlate to concepts learned.

Social Studies is designed for students to further their understanding in historical analysis and skills development, Pennsylvania History, World History and Geography, and U. S History through the American Revolution. The curriculum focuses on the following PA Academic Standards: Civic and Government, Economics, Geography, and History as well as PA Common Core Standards for Reading and Writing in Social Studies. Social studies is block scheduled for one semester.