Junior High 6th – 8th Grade Curriculum

The Education in Virtues guide us and are incorporated into all levels of curriculum.

ART

6th Grade

Our sixth graders will be exploring the earliest images of prehistory through ancient civilizations until Classical Greece. We will be using materials of clay, charcoal, plaster, and much more; scale and proportion will be part of the year’s curriculum focus, as will the study of values and space. This is a very hands-on year!

7th Grade

1st Trimester: Rockin’ Rome to the Face of Jesus

2nd Trimester: Knights in Armor to the Construction of Cathedrals

3rd Trimester: Classical Leonardo to the Bling of Baroque 

8th Grade

1st Trimester: No Selfies Here! The Painted Face of Early America

2nd Trimester: Engraving or Paint? Techniques of Impressionism

3rd Trimester: Photography and Beyond

 

English Language Arts (ELA)

6th Grade

Students will progress through the writing process as they plan, draft, revise, edit, and publish their own specific types of writing. These writing types include persuasive, informative, and narrative. Students are required to draw upon and write about evidence from literary and informational texts. Different writing projects are infused throughout the year, which often answer specific questions, draw on several sources, and sharpen the focus based on research findings. Through their writing tasks, students will grow in their mastery of written academic English and their knowledge and practice of academic oral speaking skills.

7th Grade

This course teaches the literacy skills of writing, speaking, listening, comprehending, and thinking. Students practice grammar, punctuation, and organizational writing skills. Assignments include persuasive, narrative, expository, and descriptive composition. The writing process includes ideas and content, organization, sentence fluency, and voice. The class will be planned and coordinated with the seventh grade literature class so connections can be made, and deeper understanding can be achieved and expressed. Vocabulary instruction and growth is emphasized throughout the year.

8th Grade

Eighth grade English coordinates with its corresponding Literature class and other subject-specific classes. The focus of the class encourages further development of academic writing skills by clearly presenting supported ideas and concepts, using correct writing conventions, developing complete and varied sentence fluency by incorporating colorful and specific word choices, and cultivating a voice of their own. A wide variety of writing experiences and activities along with cross-curricular connections help facilitate the writing experience. This class also connects to students’ current life experiences and interests while building skills and an understanding of what is needed in the 21st century.

Literature

6th Grade

The sixth grade Literature course teaches essential comprehension skills and strategies. Students will read closely and cite evidence from grade-level fiction and nonfiction to support an analysis of main ideas. Students apply skills learned from earlier grades to make sense of longer, more challenging books and articles. Students develop a rich vocabulary of complex words, and use them to speak and write more precisely and coherently. They must work together, express and listen carefully to ideas, integrate information from a variety of multimedia sources, and evaluate diverse compositions.

7th Grade

Students will actively participate in the discussion and analysis of a variety of texts. The texts will cover the themes of character, perseverance, courage, survival, science fiction, and reflection over the course of the school year. Classwork will consist of participation in speech, drama, reading, and analysis of selected works chosen by the teacher covering those specified themes. Homework will consist of completing any work that is not completed in class and participation in Scholastic Reading Counts (SRC), in which each student will need to read three books of their choice, according to their lexile score, per trimester.

8th Grade

Students will actively participate in discussions and analyses of a variety of texts, including informational, narrative and prose. Content of the texts will come from all across curricular subjects areas. Classwork will consist of participation in speech, drama, reading, and analysis of selected works from specific themes; homework will be given for work not completed in class, written assignments and long term projects. Students will be encouraged to read three books per trimester; this will be achieved through teacher selected Literature themes and personal choice novels, according to their lexile scores.

Mathematics

6th Grade

By 6th grade, students should be proficient and fluent with all their multiplication and division facts. Students in this class will focus on four critical areas:

  • Connecting ratio and rate to whole number multiplication and division, and using concepts of ratio and rate to solve problems.
  • Completing understanding the division of fractions, and extending the notion of number to the system of rational numbers, which includes negative numbers, and writing.
  • Interpreting and using expressions and equations.
  • Developing understanding of statistical thinking.

 

7th Grade

In this class, there are four critical areas to cover:

  • Developing an understanding of and applying proportional relationships.
  • Developing an understanding of working with rational numbers, and working with expressions and linear equations.
  • Solving problems involving scale drawings and information geometric constructions, and working with two- and three-dimensional shapes to determine surface area and volume. 
  • Drawing inferences about populations based on samples.

 

8th Grade

In this class, there are three critical areas to cover:

  • Formulating and reasoning about expressions and equations, including modeling an association in bivariate (2 categories) data with a linear equation, and solving linear equations and systems of linear equations.
  • Grasping the concept of function and using functions to describe quantitative relationships.
  • Analyzing two- and three-dimensional space and figures, using distance, angle, similarity and congruence, and understanding and applying the Pythagorean Theorem.

As needed, students will be invited to begin algebra in order to get a good start on high school mathematics. As the high school math programs are in transition from the traditional sequence, we are committed first to the 8th grade standards. Any algebra work beyond 8th grade will be considered a solid foundation for the high school classes as they are developed.

Music

6th Grade

The sixth grade students will be exposed to the music of ancient civilizations in conjunction with their Social Studies curriculum. In addition, the students will continue to develop their performance skills and knowledge of ministry through singing in the Advent Program, Living Stations of the Cross and weekly Mass.

7th Grade

1st Trimester: Liturgical Singing and European Music in the Medieval and Renaissance Eras

2nd Trimester: Oratorio and Performance

3rd Trimester: Opera Rocks!

The study of music transitions from oratorio to opera throughout history, including important works from The Messiah to Jesus Christ, Superstar! and the role opera played in the development of the American Musical (to be studied in depth next year.) Important composers and their contributions to the evolution of many musical forms will also be studied.

8th Grade

1st Trimester: Liturgical Singing and Music in Colonial America

Eighth grade students begin their year of musical studies singing for an All School Mass(we will want to reword this) and comparing and contrasting the music of the modern Catholic liturgy with that of religious services in Colonial America. 

2nd Trimester: War Music

After completing the preparation and performance of the annual Advent Program, students study the characteristics of music as it relates to war in subject matter, function, and psychological effect, beginning with the wealth of music preserved from the Civil War through modern times.

3rd Trimester: The American Musical

Students will study the American Musical as an art form from its inception through its evolution to the modern musical form. There will be a primary focus on the most prolific and popular era of musicals and those that made the most significant contribution to the genre.

 

Physical Education

6th Grade

Sixth grade students use skills and combinations of skills appropriately in the context of actual performance. Mature patterns should be performed in all basic manipulative, locomotor, and nonlocomotor skills, while the student is beginning to acquire the basic skills of selected sports and dance. The student should be able to apply movement concepts and principles. The student should be able to recognize and use basic offensive and defensive strategies. Students begin to take on physical activities outside of class that exhibit a physically active and healthy lifestyle. Sixth grade students demonstrate understanding and respect for differences among people in physical activity settings. Students understand physical activity provides opportunity for enjoyment, challenge, self- expression, and social interaction.

7th Grade

The seventh grade student demonstrates competency in many movement forms such as modified versions of team sports, individual sports, and dance. Individual sports are being introduced as well as skill proficiency in those particular sports. Students begin to understand and apply more advanced movement and game strategies, and critical elements of advanced movement skills. The student should be able to recognize and use basic offensive and defensive strategies. Students will be able to set individual fitness goals and exhibit a physically active and healthy lifestyle. Seventh grade students demonstrate understanding and respect for differences among people in physical activity settings. Students understand physical activity provides opportunity for enjoyment, challenge, self-expression, and social interaction.

8th Grade

The eighth grade student is expected to acquire and demonstrate competency in many movement forms such as modified versions of team sports, individual sports, and dance. Students gain competence in the basic skills and their application. This is exemplified through their growing understanding and application of more advanced movement and game strategies, critical elements of advanced movement skills, and highly skilled performance. Concepts of practice in relation to performance can be understood and applied. Individual sports are being introduced, as well as skill proficiency in those particular sports. Students will be able to set individual fitness goals, and exhibit a physically active and healthy lifestyle. Eighth grade students demonstrate understanding and respect for differences among people in physical activity settings. Students understand physical activity provides opportunity for enjoyment, challenge, self-expression, and social interaction.

Science

6th Grade

In Life Science, students will conduct an investigation to provide evidence that living things are made of cells: either one or many different numbers and types of cells. They will develop and use a model to describe the function of a cell as a whole and ways parts of cells contribute to the function. They will gather and synthesize information that explains how our brains convert sensory messages into memories.

Students will focus on inheritance and why genes mutate and how these mutations may prove harmful or beneficial to the organism. They will develop and use a model to describe why asexual reproduction results in offspring with identical genetic information, and sexual reproduction results in offspring with genetic variation.

In Earth Science, students will learn about the Earth’s place in the universe. They will develop a model of the Earth-sun-moon system to explain patterns of rotation and lunar phases, eclipses of the sun and the moon, and the seasons. They will also discover the role of gravity in our universe among the planets in our solar system. Additionally, they will study how the motions of air masses result in our changing weather conditions. 

Focusing on the Earth, students will discover and describe the cycling of the materials and the flow of energy in the Earth that drives this process. Lastly, the focus will be on the Earth and human activity. Here, students will interpret data on human use of natural resources in an effort to design a method for monitoring and minimizing our human impact on the environment.

In Physical Science, the focus will be on energy. Students will discuss potential energy, kinetic energy, thermal energy transfer, and the law of conservation of energy. They will construct, use, and present arguments to support the claim that when the kinetic energy of an object changes, energy is transferred to or from the object.

7th Grade

In Life Science, students will learn about biological evolution through investigating patterns in fossil records that document changes in life forms throughout the history of life on Earth. They will analyze displays of pictorial data to compare patterns of similarities in the development of multiple species.

Students will also learn about ecosystems – how they interact, how energy moves within it, and the dynamics of the system. They will construct explanations that predict patterns of interactions among organisms across ecosystems. They will examine various ecosystems to construct food chains, food webs, and how human impact affects the balance of these delicate systems.

Students will analyze and interpret data on the properties of substances before and after the substances interact to determine if a chemical reaction has occurred. Then they will develop and use a model to describe how the total number of atoms does not change in a chemical reaction and thus mass is conserved.

8th Grade

In Life Science, students will develop and use a model to describe why structural changes to genes (mutations) located on chromosomes may affect proteins and may result in harmful, beneficial, or neutral effects to the structure and function of the organism. They will also gather information about the technologies that have changed the way humans influence the inheritance of desired traits in organisms.

Next, students will analyze data for patterns in the fossil record that document the existence, diversity, extinction, and change of life forms throughout the history of life on Earth. They will construct an explanation for the anatomical similarities and differences among modern organisms and fossil organisms. Students will compare patterns of similarities in the embryological development across multiple species to identify relationships.

Finally, students will construct an explanation based on evidence that describes how genetic variations of traits in a population increase some individuals’ probability of surviving and reproducing in a specific environment.

 

Social Studies

6th Grade – Ancient Civilizations

Students will learn about the following civilizations: early humans, Ancient Egypt and the Near East, Ancient India, Ancient China, Ancient Greece, and the beginnings of Ancient Rome. Students will study the geography, the daily life, the government, the architecture, and the contributions and the effects of these civilizations on today’s world. Students will study major world religions in a historical context. Students will compare and contrast ancient civilizations to other ancient civilizations and modern civilization. Students will learn what led to the rise and fall of these ancient civilizations.

This course is based on the California History-Social Science Framework and Content Standards, and Common Core Standards for Language Arts in Social Studies for the 6th Grade. This course presents a chronological history of the world from prehistory to the rise of the Roman Empire.

Arts Integration Projects are also used to help students construct and demonstrate understanding through the use of various art forms, and to develop their artistic talents and critical thinking skills. The goal of this course is for students to become active participants in mastering the standards and to inspire further exploration.

7th Grade – Medieval and Early Modern

This course covers the Middle Ages. Students will learn about the following: the fall and legacy of the Roman Empire, Europe during medieval times, the rise of Islam, the culture and kingdoms of West Africa, Imperial China, and Japan during medieval times, civilizations of the Americas, Europe’s renaissance and reformation, the age of exploration, and The Enlightenment. Students will study the geography, the daily life, the government, the architecture, major historical figures, and the contributions and the effects of the Middle Ages on today’s world. Students will study major world religions in a historical context. Students will compare and contrast cultures of the middle ages and modern civilization. Students will learn what led to the modern age.

8th Grade – American History

This course covers the development of the United States from the framing of the Constitution to World War I. Course study includes: exploration, colonization, the thirteen English colonies, the Revolutionary War, the Constitution and early government, Westward Expansion, the Civil War, Reconstruction, the early Industrial Revolution, the progressive era, and The United States becoming a World Power.

This course is based on the California History-Social Science Framework and Content Standards, and Common Core Standards for Language Arts in Social Studies for the 7th Grade. Arts Integration Projects are also used to help students construct and demonstrate understanding through the use of various art forms, and to develop their artistic talents and critical thinking skills. The goal of this course is for students to become active participants in mastering the standards and to inspire further exploration.

Civics – American Government Test
All 8th grade students must pass (with a score of 80%) the American Government Civics Test before graduation. This test is based on the same test taken to obtain United States Citizenship. There are practice tests, video tutorials, and flash cards available on the United States Citizenship and Immigration Website.

There will be three dates to take the test. The first will be in the middle of January, the second in middle of February, and the third in the middle of April.

In preparation for this test students are expected to research the answers outside of class time, (Independent Study). The test will be multiple choice and short answer. This test must be passed before graduation.

Spanish

6th Grade

This course is designed to build upon instruction from previous years. The content focuses on comprehensive written and spoken Spanish by developing listening, speaking, reading, and writing language skills. Students will be exposed to the geography and cultures of the Spanish-speaking world which is increasingly important to the global community. Your child will be participating in Spanish class twice a week. Students are encouraged to participate individually and as a whole class through cooperative learning activities. Your child will be utilizing the Aventuras Textbook and workbook that is provided by St. Mary School until the end of their 8th grade year. Quizzes and exams will be taken in class. Homework, class work, and active