Middle School: 6-8

Welcome to the Middle School, where students are engaged in active, hands-on learning, both inside and outside the classroom.

Rigorous academics

The academic core of the Middle School program is rigorous in content, adaptable to the needs of students, and wide in its breadth of offerings. Students in the Middle School are required to take a minimum of five academic classes, including courses in English, math, history, science, and a world language, either Spanish or French. In the 7th Grade, many students add Latin to their course of study. As the leading outdoor middle school in New Haven County, our students are engaged in a variety of additional programs and subjects, including STEAM, Outdoor Education, leadership training, physical education, art, instrumental and choral music, drama, service learning, and public speaking.

Curriculum Overviews

English

6th Grade

Curricular Theme: Leadership

Reading and Writing Workshop
The workshop model is the conceptual foundation for teaching and learning in Middle School English. Through one-on-one work with teachers, class mini-lessons, partner shares, read-alouds, and guided book clubs, students will develop stamina and skills to understand and enjoy longer, more complex titles. Reading a variety of genres, setting personal reading goals, and tracking their progress throughout the year, students will write regular letter-essays to reflect on their reading and practice their critical thinking skills. Students will write expository, argument, narrative, and descriptive pieces as well as poetry. They will participate in writing workshop in addition to writing assignments based on their independent reading.

Grammar and Vocabulary
Through mini-lessons in writing workshop, students will imitate authentic model sentences from the greats to deepen their grasp of grammar and to build spelling automaticity. Students will apply their grammar lessons to their weekly vocabulary sentences and in their written work. Using web-based software, students will practice classical roots, common SAT words, and known and unknown literature-based words. This individualized program also layers in spelling and allows for in-depth grammar practice.

Poetry and Shakespeare Study
Students will deepen their understanding of poetry through an extended unit that includes learning about poetic terms, writing poetry, listening to and reciting poetry. This unit culminates in the school’s oldest tradition, the MacLane Poetry Recitation. Shakespeare provides a bridge between poetry and our in-depth study of Shakespeare’s dramatic works. Using a reader’s theater model, students share the language and drama of these plays (Julius Caesar in 6th, Romeo and Juliet in 7th, and Macbeth in 8th), providing an engaging culmination to the year.

Classroom Expectations
The theme of 6th Grade English is Leadership. Many of our texts will center around characters who display the quality of leadership in many different ways. Students are expected to treat both the course material as well as their classmates with the greatest of respect and are regularly asked to stretch their minds and open their hearts. Throughout the school, we lean heavily on the Responsive Classroom values of Cooperation, Assertion, Responsibility, Empathy, and Self-Control. When in doubt, we ask students to remember The Country School’s three simple rules:

  • Be kind.
  • Respect everyone's right to learn.
  • Take responsibility for yourself and your world.

Public Speaking
Threaded through all learning strategies is a required public speaking expectation. Students leave The Country School with a great deal of confidence in this realm following numerous opportunities to practice this important skill, including but not limited to:

  • Sixth Grade leadership speeches
  • MacLane Poetry Recitation
  • Eighth Grade graduation speeches
  • In-class presentations and informal share-outs

Homework
Homework will be assigned and discussed each day in class and will always be posted on the electronic Class of 2021 homework calendar. All homework should be completed to the best of a student’s ability and in a timely manner. Unexcused late assignments will not receive full credit. We will be using Google Classroom for many assignments, and all longer pieces of writing will be handed in (typed) through this system. Google Classroom is a great tool for helping us all stay organized and on the same page.

Regular homework will consist of reading every day and our vocabulary program, Word Voyage, which will be assigned each week on Monday and due on Friday. Weekly Reading Responses will be assigned and collected on Mondays. Projects and writing assignments, both small and large, will be layered in as the year progresses. With good time management skills, the work load should feel challenging but doable.


7th Grade

Curricular Theme: Acceptance of Difference

Reading and Writing Workshop
The workshop model is the conceptual foundation for teaching and learning in Middle School English. Through one-on-one work with teachers, class mini-lessons, partner shares, read-alouds, and guided book clubs, students will develop stamina and skills to understand and enjoy longer, more complex titles. Reading a variety of genres, setting personal reading goals, and tracking their progress throughout the year, students will write regular letter-essays to reflect on their reading and practice their critical thinking skills. Students will write expository, argument, narrative, and descriptive pieces as well as poetry. They will participate in writing workshop in addition to writing assignments based on their independent reading.

Grammar and Vocabulary
Through mini-lessons in writing workshop, students will imitate authentic model sentences from the greats to deepen their grasp of grammar and to build spelling automaticity. Students will apply their grammar lessons to their weekly vocabulary sentences and in their written work. Using web-based software, students will practice classical roots, common SAT words, and known and unknown literature-based words. This individualized program also layers in spelling and allows for in-depth grammar practice.

Poetry and Shakespeare Study
Students will deepen their understanding of poetry through an extended unit that includes learning about poetic terms, writing poetry, listening to and reciting poetry. This unit culminates in the school’s oldest tradition, the MacLane Poetry Recitation. Shakespeare provides a bridge between poetry and our in-depth study of Shakespeare’s dramatic works. Using a reader’s theater model, students share the language and drama of these plays (Julius Caesar in 6th, Romeo and Juliet in 7th, and Macbeth in 8th), providing an engaging culmination to the year.

Classroom Expectations
The theme of 7th Grade English is Acceptance of Difference. Students are expected to treat both the course material as well as their classmates with the greatest of respect and are regularly asked to stretch their minds and open their hearts. Throughout the school, we lean heavily on the Responsive Classroom values of Cooperation, Assertion, Responsibility, Empathy, and Self-Control. When in doubt, we ask students to remember The Country School’s three simple rules:

  • Be kind.
  • Respect everyone's right to learn.
  • Take responsibility for yourself and your world.

Public Speaking
Threaded through all learning strategies is a required public speaking expectation. Students leave The Country School with a great deal of confidence in this realm following numerous opportunities to practice this important skill, including but not limited to:

  • Sixth grade leadership speeches
  • MacLane Poetry Recitation
  • Eighth grade graduation speeches
  • In-class presentations and informal share-outs

Homework
Homework will be assigned and discussed each day in class and will always be posted on the electronic Class of 2020 homework calendar. All homework should be completed to the best of a student’s ability and in a timely manner. Work that comes in late will lose five points a day. We will be using Google Classroom for many assignments, and all longer pieces of writing will be handed in (typed) through this system. Google Classroom is a great tool for helping us all stay organized and on the same page.

Regular homework will consist of reading every day and our vocabulary program, Word Voyage, which will be assigned each week on Monday and due on Friday. Projects and writing assignments, both small and large, will be layered in as the year progresses. With good time management skills, the work load should feel challenging but doable.



8th Grade

Curricular Theme: The Use and Abuse of Power

Reading and Writing Workshop
The workshop model is the conceptual foundation for teaching and learning in Middle School English. Through one-on-one work with teachers, class mini-lessons, partner shares, read-alouds, and guided book clubs, students will develop stamina and skills to understand and enjoy longer, more complex titles. Reading a variety of genres, setting personal reading goals, and tracking their progress throughout the year, students will write regular letter-essays to reflect on their reading and practice their critical thinking skills. Students will write expository, argument, narrative, and descriptive pieces as well as poetry. They will participate in writing workshop in addition to writing assignments based on their independent reading.

Grammar and Vocabulary
Through mini-lessons in writing workshop, students will imitate authentic model sentences from the greats to deepen their grasp of grammar and to build spelling automaticity. Students will apply their grammar lessons to their weekly vocabulary sentences and in their written work. Using web-based software, students will practice classical roots, common SAT words, and known and unknown literature-based words. This individualized program also layers in spelling and allows for in-depth grammar practice.

Poetry and Shakespeare Study
Students will deepen their understanding of poetry through an extended unit that includes learning about poetic terms, writing poetry, listening to and reciting poetry. This unit culminates in the school’s oldest tradition, the MacLane Poetry Recitation. Shakespeare provides a bridge between poetry and our in-depth study of Shakespeare’s dramatic works. Using a reader’s theater model, students share the language and drama of these plays (Julius Caesar in 6th, Romeo and Juliet in 7th, and Macbeth in 8th), providing an engaging culmination to the year.

Classroom Expectations
The theme of eighth grade English is The Use and Abuse of Power. Students are expected to treat both the course material as well as their classmates with the greatest of respect and are regularly asked to stretch their minds and open their hearts. Throughout the school, we lean heavily on the Responsive Classroom values of Cooperation, Assertion, Responsibility, Empathy, and Self-Control. When in doubt, we ask students to remember The Country School’s three simple rules:

  • Be kind.
  • Respect everyone's right to learn.
  • Take responsibility for yourself and your world.

Public Speaking
Threaded through all learning strategies is a required public speaking expectation. Students leave The Country School with a great deal of confidence in this realm following numerous opportunities to practice this important skill, including but not limited to:

  • Sixth grade leadership speeches
  • MacLane Poetry Recitation
  • Eighth grade graduation speeches
  • In-class presentations and informal share-outs

Homework
Homework will be assigned and discussed each day in class and will always be posted on the electronic Class of 2019 homework calendar. All homework should be completed to the best of a student’s ability and in a timely manner. Work that comes in late will lose five points a day. We will be using Google Classroom for many assignments, and all longer pieces of writing will be handed in (typed) through this system. Google Classroom is a great tool for helping us all stay organized and on the same page.

Regular homework will consist of reading every day and our vocabulary program, Word Voyage, which will be assigned each week on Monday and due on Friday. Projects and writing assignments, both small and large, will be layered in as the year progresses. With good time management skills, the work load should feel challenging but doable.

Global Language

French

Our French program is based around a method of learning called Comprehensible Input (CI). The goal of CI is for students to acquire the language, not just learn about a language or the grammatical structures of a language. We will help students acquire French in much in the same way that those around us taught us our first language, by listening and connecting words and meaning naturally. Because of the nature of CI, we will not depend on a textbook but will depend on students being able to understand the meaning of what is being said or presented to them. It does not mean that teachers must use only words that students understand. In fact, students learn a new language best when they receive input that is just a bit more difficult than they can easily understand. In other words, students may understand most, but not all, words the teacher is using. We will provide students with a variety of sources for comprehensible input, ranging from student created characters and stories, news articles, movies and the Internet. We will also focus on developing reading skills, since this is one of the most valuable sources of input for students. Graded readers and dedicated reading time in class will help students transition into reading authentic texts over the course of their studies. We will also continue to fold in short lessons on grammar and culture. Our primary focus will be on listening and reading, helping students grow into the skills of speaking and writing.



Spanish

8th Grade

Eighth Grade Spanish will be an expansion of Spanish from the previous years. Students will continue reviewing and learning new vocabulary and grammar tenses.
Particular focus will be on -er, -ir and -re verbs in the present, past and future tenses, and stem-changing and irregular verbs as well. In accordance with their textbook, students will explore Spain and Cuba. Students will gain confidence in their language ability through interactive activities integrating listening, reading, writing and speaking.


Latin

7th - 8th Grade

Word Study
Our textbook, Ecce Romani, introduces the students to the language of the Ancient Romans. For each chapter, vocabulary lists are studied and copied into each student’s notebook. We not only work on vocabulary for retention and translation, but also study the etymology of the words and search for English derivatives.

Grammar and Mechanics
Grammar is the other core part of Latin. Students will be introduced to the sentence structure, terminology, and design of the Latin language so as to be able to translate and ultimately write in the Latin language. Early Latin I grammar includes the nominative, accusative, dative and ablative cases. Students also study the tenses for verbs, the first and second declensions for nouns, and adjective-noun agreement.

Translation
Each chapter of Ecce Romani includes a translation passage that utilizes new and past vocabulary as well as building on new and previous topics in grammar. The goal is to have students read and translate for understanding, speed and accuracy. The Romans Speak for Themselves is another text that allows students to translate the works of ancient Latin authors, but the grammar and vocabulary is adjusted for where they are in the course.

Culture
Throughout the course, the culture and history of the Roman Empire is further investigated. Reading primary sources in the target language is one way students are introduced to the ideas and events of Ancient Rome. Students also look at mythology and legends connected to the Romans. We also study modern examples where Latin is found today.

Speaking
Although Latin is no longer a spoken language, students will learn some of the basic terms used to speak in the target language. Emphasis is placed on proper pronunciation and usage.

History

6th Grade

Students will embark on their study of civilization through the lens of some of the largest modern religions. The religions studied in the 6th grade include Hinduism and Buddhism from ancient India, Judaism from ancient Israel and Christianity from the Roman Empire. The class will also dive deeply into the history and culture of the ancient Romans. The seventh grade studies the history and origin of Islam.

Writing
Students will be writing on a weekly basis in history. They will learn how to respond to factual and inferential questions. Critical thinking skills will continued to be developed. They will have to write a formal research paper, persuasive essays and creative writing assignments utilizing historical fiction. Spelling, grammar, organization and content are all part of these assessments.

Reading
Many of the assignments will require the students to read and respond to questions or outline the section they are reading. Essential questions will guide their reading and aid in comprehension. Skills such as reading comprehension, vocabulary building, interpreting sources, and drawing inferences from their reading will be focused on.

Study Skills
Woven into the content of the history course will be an emphasis on study skills. The class will explore their responsibilities as learners, time management, organization, active learning, note taking, self-advocacy, reading for meaning, test preparation, and learning strategies.

Class Participation
At the core of a good history course is discussion. Students are encouraged to share ideas, opinions, ask questions, and work cooperatively with peers to gain a greater understanding of the course material. They will hone these skills through informal discourse, collaborative work, and oral presentations.

STEAM
Steam activities (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics) will be woven into our curriculum throughout the year. During their study of earthquakes and volcanic activity in science, the students will look at the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 CE and its impact on the people of the time and importance to archaeology. As a part of their Leadership Expo, the students also create technology based share outs for their research and portraits of their leaders.

Elmore Leadership
In supporting the initiative for leadership, we will explore the leadership styles of several notable leaders from history. In the fall, the students will read a biography, create a presentation and write a speech in the voice of the leader of their choosing. This will culminate in the Leadership Expo, a perfect way for us to kick off the importance of leadership for the year.


7th Grade

Students will continue their study of World History by looking at the legacy of civilizations from Europe, the Middle East and the Americas. This course is designed to help students appreciate the importance of diverse cultures and their influence in shaping our world view.

Students will explore:

  • Thinking Like a Historian
  • Medieval Times
  • Spread of Islam & Muslim Innovations and Adaptations
  • Mayas, Aztecs, Incas
  • Europe’s Renaissance and Reformation
  • Age of Exploration & Scientific Revolution

Within the history study, students will also explore leadership styles, current events (presented through various resources including Time Edge), civics, geography, government, and economics.

Resources

  • History Alive: The Medieval World and Beyond
  • In addition, a variety of historical fiction and nonfiction, video clips, poetry, music, art, and primary sources will be used throughout the units to help the students develop an understanding of the events of our past.

Harkness Method & Class Participation
The Harkness Method encourages students to listen carefully, speak respectfully, interact with other minds, question, wonder, and think deeply all in a collaborative setting that encourages students to engage in their own learning and to develop empathy for others. Students are challenged to actively discuss (and quietly reflect), rather than passively digest, to discover answers and defend conclusions. (Phillips Exeter Academy on the Pedagogy of Harkness). Students are encouraged to share ideas, opinions, ask questions, and work cooperatively with peers to gain a greater understanding of the course material. They will hone these skills through informal discourse, collaborative work, and oral presentations.

Reading
Many of the assignments will require the students to read and respond to questions or outline the section they are reading. Essential questions will guide their reading and aid in comprehension. Skills taught include understanding text features, reading maps and timelines, finding main ideas and details, using evidence to support their thinking, understanding new vocabulary, analyzing sources, and drawing inferences. Students will also be asked to choose an independent book each trimester based on the area of study.

Writing
Students will be writing on a weekly basis in history using several different formats. They will learn how to respond to factual and inferential questions. Students will work on a variety of creative assignments and specific skills will be aligned directly with their 7th grade English class. When applicable, graphic organizers and rubrics will be provided with modeling.

Study Skills
Woven into the content of the history course will be an emphasis on study skills. The class will explore their responsibilities as learners. This includes practice with time management, organization, note taking, self-advocacy, reading to understand, and test preparation.

Elmore Leadership
In supporting the initiative for leadership, we will explore various forms of leadership of several notable leaders from history and throughout the course of study students will engage in conversations regarding different styles. In addition, students will experience learning about the roles in the judicial system and will take part in a mock trial experience.


8th Grade

Students will be immersed in a powerful journey through the history of the United States from its earliest foundations to later events shaping our nation.

Students will explore:

  • Colonial America - Events leading to the Revolution
  • Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, & The Bill of Rights
  • New Republic, Indian Removal Act & Trail of Tears
  • Slavery and Civil War: Our Divided Nation
  • Immigration Then & Now
  • WWI / The Great War/ League of Nations
  • Roaring Twenties / Great Depression
  • WWII / Holocaust

Within the history study, students will also study leadership styles, current events (presented through various resources including Time Edge), civics, geography, government, and economics.

Resources

  • History Alive: The United States Through Industrialism
  • In addition, a variety of historical fiction and nonfiction, video clips, poetry, music, art, and primary sources will be used throughout the units to help the students develop an understanding of the events of our past.

Harkness Method & Class Participation
The Harkness Method encourages students to listen carefully, speak respectfully, interact with other minds, question, wonder, and think deeply all in a collaborative setting that encourages students to engage in their own learning and to develop empathy for others. Students are challenged to actively discuss (and quietly reflect), rather than passively digest, to discover answers and defend conclusions. (Phillips Exeter Academy on the Pedagogy of Harkness). Students are encouraged to share ideas, opinions, ask questions, and work cooperatively with peers to gain a greater understanding of the course material. They will hone these skills through informal discourse, collaborative work, and oral presentations.

Reading
Many of the assignments will require the students to read and respond to questions or outline the section they are reading. Essential questions will guide their reading and aid in comprehension. Skills taught include understanding text features, reading maps and timelines, finding main ideas and details, using evidence to support their thinking, understanding new vocabulary, analyzing sources, and drawing inferences. Students will also be asked to choose an independent book each trimester based on the area of study.

Writing
Students will be writing on a weekly basis in history using several different formats. They will learn how to respond to factual and inferential questions. Students will work on a variety of creative assignments and specific skills will be aligned directly with their 8th grade English class. When applicable, graphic organizers and rubrics will be provided with modeling.

Study Skills
Woven into the content of the history course will be an emphasis on study skills. The class will explore their responsibilities as learners. This includes practice with time management, organization, note taking, self-advocacy, reading to understand, and test preparation.

Elmore Leadership
In supporting the initiative for leadership, we will explore various forms of leadership of several notable leaders from history and throughout the course of study students will engage in conversations regarding different styles. In addition, students will experience learning about the roles in the judicial system and will take part in mentoring with a mock trial experience.

Math

6th Grade

Pre-Algebra

Curriculum
We will explore units on problem-solving, number sense/patterns, decimals, integers, rational numbers (all operations with fractions included), geometry, percents, ratio and proportion, equations, data analysis/statistics, and probability. McDougal Littell Math Course 2 (Larson) is the primary texts, and I will be supplementing with other resources to teach the curriculum. Students can expect projects, paired and group activities, and writing assignments to enhance learning.

Homework
Students will be assigned daily homework which is designed to be completed in approximately 20- 30 minutes. Mathematics is one of those subjects in which doing quality homework is really important! Homework is absolutely necessary since pre-algebra continually builds upon past learning; each lesson is an important piece of the puzzle. Homework will keep you invested in your learning! As such, homework will be graded daily and will be a significant part of the overall grade for each marking period.

Pre-Algebra Honors

Curriculum
The Pre-Algebra II program will explore units on problem-solving, rational numbers (only the name is scary), geometry, percentage, equations and inequalities, graphing and data analysis and probability.

The class will be structured around cooperative groups. Students will be provided with foundational material through lectures, discussions and readings. You will then tackle the reinforcement activities and lessons collectively in groups of four or five. It is my hope that this design will empower you to take ownership of your learning and be active rather than passive in the process. I want a classroom of students analyzing and discussing math. As groups dissect problems and work to a common understanding, learning is truly enhanced.

Homework
Students will be assigned daily homework which is designed to be completed in thirty minutes. If you work slowly or are having trouble finishing a given assignment in the allotted time, be sure to sample problems from all over the page. Needless to say, all work must be submitted promptly by the due date. If you are unable to complete a given assignment by the deadline, you will be required to finish it by the end of the day at penalty. According to the new TCS homework policy, the third late work students will be assigned an academic detention that day lasting for one hour.


7th Grade

Pre-Algebra

Curriculum
The Pre-Algebra II program will explore units on problem-solving, rational numbers (only the name is scary), geometry, percentage, equations and inequalities, graphing and data analysis and probability.

The class will be structured around cooperative groups. Students will be provided with foundational material through lectures, discussions and readings. You will then tackle the reinforcement activities and lessons collectively in groups of four or five. It is my hope that this design will empower you to take ownership of your learning and be active rather than passive in the process. I want a classroom of students analyzing and discussing math. As groups dissect problems and work to a common understanding, learning is truly enhanced.

Homework
Students will be assigned daily homework which is designed to be completed in thirty minutes. If you work slowly or are having trouble finishing a given assignment in the allotted time, be sure to sample problems from all over the page. Needless to say, all work must be submitted promptly by the due date. If you are unable to complete a given assignment by the deadline, you will be required to finish it by the end of the day at penalty. According to the new TCS homework policy, the third late work students will be assigned an academic detention that day lasting for one hour.

Honors Integrated Algebra I

Curriculum
This is the second part of Integrated Algebra in which students will study the following topics: functions, operations with complex rational expressions, direct and indirect variation, similar polygons, applications of Pythagorean theorem, trigonometry, using the graphing calculator, exponential functions, scientific notation (in conjunction with the integrated math/science project), areas of polygons on a graph, data analysis and statistics, probability, permutations and combinations, introductory geometry concepts, logic, and the formal proof. We will be using The Arlington Integrated Algebra Project and the text, Geometry for Enjoyment and Challenge (Rhoad, Milauska), and supplementing with other resources to teach the curriculum. Students can expect projects, paired and group activities, and writing assignments to enhance learning. Students will also be involved in an integrated math/science project throughout the year.

Homework
Students will be assigned daily homework which is designed to be completed in approximately 45-55 minutes. Homework will be graded daily and will be a significant part of the overall grade for each marking period. Homework assignments will be posted on my website daily.

Honors Integrated Algebra I

Curriculum
This course is a full year algebra I course covering graphing on the coordinate plane, problem solving, operations with real numbers, multi-step equations, all operations with polynomials, factoring polynomials, algebraic fractions, ratio/proportion, systems of equations, linear inequalities, rational and irrational numbers,operations with square roots, linear and quadratic functions, data analysis, and probability. We will be using Algebra Structure and Method (Brown, Dolciani) as the primary text, and supplementing with other resources to teach the curriculum. Students can expect projects, paired and group activities, and writing assignments to enhance learning. Students will be involved in an integrated STEAM project throughout the year.

Homework
Students will be assigned daily homework which is designed to be completed in approximately 40-50 minutes. Mathematics is one of those subjects in which doing quality homework is really important! Homework is absolutely necessary since algebra continually builds upon past learning; each lesson is an important piece of the puzzle. Homework will keep you invested in your learning! As such, homework will be graded daily and will be a significant part of the overall grade for each marking period. Homework assignments will be posted on the homework calendar daily.


8th Grade

Algebra I

Curriculum
This year’s eighth grade mainstream math program will be Algebra I. It will be presented at a rigorous level with the expectation for most students to be a competitive Geometry program their ninth grade year. The approach to this course will be developmental with additional time granted for repetition and practice as needed.

The class will be structured around cooperative groups. Students will be provided with foundational material through lectures, discussions and readings. You will then tackle the reinforcement activities and lessons collectively in groups of four or five. It is my hope that this design will empower you to take ownership of your learning and be active rather than passive in the process. I want a classroom of students analyzing and discussing math. As groups dissect problems and work to a common understanding, learning is truly enhanced.

Homework
Students will be assigned daily homework which is designed to be completed in thirty minutes. If you work slowly or are having trouble finishing a given assignment in the allotted time, be sure to sample problems from all over the page. Needless to say, all work must be submitted promptly by the due date. If you are unable to complete a given assignment by the deadline, you will be required to finish it by the end of the day at penalty. According to the new TCS homework policy, the third late work students will be assigned an academic detention that day lasting for one hour.

Honors Geometry

Curriculum
This course will explore the following Geometry topics: basic geometry terms, concepts, and the proof, congruent triangles, lines in the plane, parallel lines and related figures, polygons, similar polygons, the Pythagorean theorem and its applications, circles, area, surface area/volume, and coordinate Geometry. We will be using Geometry for Enjoyment and Challenge (McDougal Littell) as the primary text and supplementing with other texts and activities to teach the curriculum. Students can expect projects, labs, group activities, and writing assignments to enhance learning.

The students will have an independent research project (IRP worth 150 points) assigned in the last trimester. I will notify parents the dates of the presentations in May so that you may visit the classroom to observe your child’s presentation.

Homework
This is an advanced level course and will require hard work. Students will be assigned daily homework, designed to be completed in approximately 40-50 minutes. Mathematics is one of those subjects in which doing quality homework is really important. Homework is absolutely necessary since Geometry continually builds upon past learning (a great deal of algebra); each lesson is an important piece of the puzzle. Homework will keep you invested in your learning! As such, homework will be graded daily and will be a significant part of the overall grade for each trimester.


Science

6th Grade


7th Grade

The 7th Grade Life Science curriculum:

  • Ecology (interactions of life, the nonliving environment, and ecosystems)
  • Life’s Structure and Function (exploring and classifying life, cell structure and function, cell reproduction and heredity).
  • Human Body Systems (structure, function and interrelationships between body systems).

Laboratory Work
Laboratory experimentation is a large part of all science classes at TCS. Throughout the year students will improve their skills at predicting outcomes, collecting qualitative observations and quantitative data, analyzing data, and making inferences and drawing conclusions. Students will also hone their skills in communicating their research in written laboratory reports.

Technology
Students will use technology in all aspects of this course, including the use of Google Docs for creating and posting written assignments, Excel for analyzing data, and PowerPoint for preparing presentations. Students are encouraged to bring appropriate technology into the classroom as a daily resource (ie. laptops and iPads). Additionally, the class website contains a wealth of information and resources for students and parents.


8th Grade

STEAM

6th Grade

Elmore Leadership Expo
Students research a leader, create a slide presentation, and write a speech in their leader’s voice about a 21st Century issue. They read a biography for English, complete their research project in history and science, evaluate statistics in math, and examine an issue related to a environmental or engineering problem of the 21st Century. They even create a piece in art that represents their leader.

Shake, Rattle and Roll
Overview: Students compile, organize frequency tables and analyze real time earthquake data. They learn to display data graphically (circle graphs, bar graphs, histograms) in math classes. In science, they study types and intensities of seismic waves and build models of seismographs. In the art studio, students learn about artists who were influenced by natural disasters like earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Field experiences include a visit to an architecture firm to learn about earthquake-proof engineering methods and building materials, and a related design challenge allows students to draw scaled blueprints, use 3D design programs in technology class, then build models of earthquake-resistant structures of their choice.

Details: Using current earthquake data and Google maps to locate active earthquake regions in math classes, students marked these locations on maps. Then they analyzed and graphed earthquake data and decided which region and fault they wanted to further study. In science classes, students learned how to graphically represent an earthquake-proof house of their own design using Google Sketch Up. The science and STEAM teachers introduced currently used architectural designs that provide structure and support in the event of an earthquake. In science classes, students created a computer slideshow of their fault system and their earthquake-proof house design while in English classes, students wrote pantoums, a Malaysian poem with a repeating formula, that included the name of the fault the student was studying, rich language, and five of the poetic devices discussed in class.

In our math curriculum, 6th Graders study an entire unit on data analysis, learning to organize, display, and graph data. This authentic STEAM project allowed students to become totally invested in their learning by applying real world data, which in turn made the learning experience more interesting and enjoyable. Clearly evident in our classes, students were engaged and focused throughout the process. They could relate to the information because of natural disaster stories in the media, and they gained a deeper understanding of earthquakes. Students also used the computer for research and for creating models. They learned a great deal of world geography in the process and also gained knowledge about architectural and structural design. Students worked well collaboratively because the goals of the project were outlined clearly, and their teachers were working in tandem on the project. The students were involved in their learning; they were motivated and willing to put forth the effort needed to produce superior work as evidenced in their final presentation.


7th Grade

Global Language Expo (French, Latin, Spanish)
Students travel through history and across various countries to explore innovations that have shaped the modern world. Students prepare slideshows and speeches to highlight their language skills and use mixed media to bring their innovations to life.

Environmental Engineering Challenge
Students investigate, re-engineer, and build a prototype in order to solve a current environmental engineering problem in our Country School community. The prototype solution must embrace environmental concepts of sustainability, conservation of energy, and reduction of carbon footprint.

Students consider current environmental concerns: The human population on Earth is now more than 7.5 billion, and growing quickly. With more and more of us living an energy-intensive, modern lifestyle, the environmental stresses from human activity continue to increase. Greenhouse gases leading to global warming, and fertilizer runoff resulting in marine "dead zones," are just two examples of large-scale environmental impacts from human activity.

Students are charged with designing and then engineering one of the following:

  • Solar air heater
  • Zero energy water filter
  • Efficient rooftop gardens
  • Rain water collection system
  • Solar powered water desalination (turn salt water into fresh water)
  • Alternative sources for paper fiber
  • Efficient lighting in the The Country School’s Elmore Library

Or determining how to do one of the following:

  • Capture energy from wind
  • Extract fresh water from air
  • Conserve water for crops with an electronic soil moisture sensor
  • Invent a way to keep trash (e.g. plastic) out of our oceans
  • Design an eco-friendly school locker
  • Redesign an everyday object to make it more environmental friendly and efficient
  • Redesign a classroom as a model for learning and that is environmentally friendly and efficient
  • Redesign the dining hall as a model for learning and that is environmentally friendly and efficient

The project entails writing a detailed lab report, an oral presentation, and designing a marketing pamphlet to accompany the prototype. One project titled, “TCS Goes Solar,” spearheaded enough interest in The Country School community, that now solar panels will be installed.


8th Grade

House of the Future (Integrated Algebra)
Students design a house of the future, taking into consideration population constraints and energy efficiency. The project involves scale drawings, geometry concepts and constructions, 3D scale building, and study of alternative energy sources with a mechanical engineer.

Integrated Algebra I and Integrated Algebra II
A major STEAM project is incorporated over two years. Integrated Part II worked on the House of the Future Project: Design a house for a family of four living in 2075, taking into account factors like population growth, urbanization, energy efficiency, and use of space. A mechanical engineer and architect came in to support the students in understanding the components of energy efficiency and design elements. In 2014-2015, the project is on energy. Students studied the “greenhouse effect” and subsequently learned about personal and global energy consumption. Students conduct research on all energy sources that are available currently, and visit local homes/businesses that either have solar and/or wind power and develop an understanding of how these systems work, and the estimated associated costs. Students conduct research on various electric cars and give powerpoint presentations to defend their choice.

Integrated Algebra completed a two year STEAM project on Energy in which they studied the greenhouse effect and carbon dioxide emissions, the various forms of energy, with a concentration on green energy, specifically solar. Students made presentations on electric vehicles in year one and in year two estimated the costs of putting in solar panels at a local marina (Bayberry Creek Marina in Guilford). Students worked in teams (architect/engineer, cost estimator, manager, communications/video) to make scale drawings and models of the marina with the solar panels on the roof and estimated the cost savings to the owner.

Integrated II students completed the Curriki House of the Future Project where students designed houses for 50 years in the future based on population studies and energy constraints. Students did both scale drawings (blueprints) of their houses as well as 3D models to scale. They researched the various forms of energy to use for their houses and analyzed cost and efficiency. A mechanical engineer helped them to understand and conceptualize BTUs, CO2 emissions, and their personal energy footprints.

Makey, Makey
Students learn about music circuitry, programming, sound waves, sound, physics of strings, vibrations, design and make their own instrument.

The Impact of the Railroad
Students study how the development of the railroad changed the development of America. Classwork includes mapwork via railroad, the railroad’s environmental impact, statistical analysis, passive train control, and the cost/benefit analysis/growth of cattle industry.

Library-Media

Middle School students come to the library regularly for guided research, as well as for a weekly technology class.

The core curriculum for the library adds depth to all other curricular areas for each grade level. We seek to foster a love of reading in our students by sharing literature and engaging in book discussions. We believe that research and information literacy skills are vital to success across every subject area. Guided by standards outlined by the American Library Association, we teach students how to find and access information effectively and efficiently, how to critically evaluate information and its sources, how to incorporate research into their own work, and how to properly cite information gathered through this process in their own work.

Technology

This curriculum incorporates the basic skills that lay the foundation for all future learning, those of reading, math, science, problem solving, analytical thinking, effective communication and the ability to work well with others. In addition, the curriculum includes those essential skills, which are vital to future learning within this specific content area, critical for mastery of the course, and specified within the scope and sequence of technology education.

Students participating in the Technology program at The Country School will be able to demonstrate the following performance competencies:

  • Develop strategies to identify and solve basic problems that occur during every day classroom activities.
  • Use specific tools, software, and simulators to support learning and solve problems.
  • Apply the productivity/multimedia tools, programs, and peripherals to support personal productivity throughout the educational curriculum.
  • Collaborate with others to investigate, develop, and use information for products and presentations both inside and outside the classroom.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the practical applications to learning and problem solving.
  • Develop attitudes, knowledge and habits relative to personal and environmental safety.
  • Show a knowledge of current changes in technology and the effects those changes have on global societies and cultures.
  • Understand the ethical behaviors that should be used when dealing with technology issues.

The goal of technology education is technological literacy for all students. Technology is about doing and developing solutions to real-world problems or products that address human needs and desires. Technology education provides a vital link to the math/science/ technology triangle to assist with understanding, living, and working in our advanced technology-driven Information Age. Its interdisciplinary nature and process orientation also helps students to comprehend and apply these concepts in the natural sciences, mathematics, social sciences and humanities. Technology consists of invention, innovations and other creative, “engineering-like” activities for producing physical objects and performing technical services through the application of organized knowledge and problem solving techniques. Industrial Technology focuses on a systems approach to develop technological literacy. The systems in material processing, energy and power, and communication provide broad content areas of study.

Grades 6-8

  • Programming
  • Technology & History
  • Engineering Design
  • Visual Communications
  • Digital Photography
  • Photo Composition
  • Advanced Google Apps
  • Technology Problem Solving
  • Advanced Web Search
  • Effects of Technology
  • Introduction to CAD
  • Using & Maintaining Computer Networks
  • Network Architecture
  • Goodbye Stranger
  • Python programming for 8th Grade

Growth opportunities

At The Country School, Middle School students have countless opportunities to develop and pursue their interests through clubs and other extracurricular offerings. In addition to our interscholastic athletic teams, which typically engage 90 percent of our students each year, and our Chorus, Chamber Chorus, Band, and Middle School musical, we offer the following teams and clubs: Robotics, Math Counts, Science Olympiad, Model UN, and TEDx. In recent years students have opted to participate in a statewide Diversity Leadership Conference, regional Spanish Spelling Bee (where they awarded first and third place trophies), foreign language poetry recitations, and choral and instrumental music recitals requiring auditions.

Exceptional teachers

The Middle School teachers are rich in experience and diverse in expertise, and they truly come to know their students as individuals, through their interactions inside and outside of the classroom and through our advisor system. The combination allows for an academic and social experience that inspires students to reach their highest — academically and personally — and offers a ballast in today's chaotic and ever-changing world.

The advisor system is a cornerstone of Middle School experience at The Country School. Advisors provide guidance to students on academic and affective education matters and closely monitor the academic, social, and emotional growth and well-being of each advisee. They are the link between home and school and, as such, serve as conduits of information on student progress.

Through our advisor and life skills program, we also develop timely and effective programs to address areas of potential growth, with an eye towards benefiting both individuals and the group as a whole.