Middle School (6th-8th Grade)
St. John Middle School provides our students with an excellent academic and religious education allowing them to prepare for high school.
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Literature: During the school year we work on developing our vocabularies as well as participating in an in-depth analysis of literature through themed short story units, novels, mythology and Shakespearean plays. The following are example activities we may use:
- Class Discussion: Sharing thoughts and ideas, making predictions, asking questions and connecting with what we are reading are all important parts of the literature class. Through discussion, overall comprehension is monitored and strategies are implemented to clear up uncertainties.
- Vocabulary Development: Broadening one’s vocabulary is essential in developing both written and verbal communication skills.
- Responding to Literature: We will work on going beyond summarizing by making connections between our selections and real-life, putting ourselves in our characters’ shoes and delving into what may happen beyond the story. We will be working on expressing our responses not only orally but also in writing.
- Independent Reading: Students are expected to read independently for a minimum of 20 minutes five times a week. While some class time is set aside most weeks for silent reading and book report check-ins, it is expected that students always have their books with them in case they have a spare moment during the school day.
Language Arts: Through the study of the English language, students increase their communication skills by focusing on these areas:
- Grammar: Studying grammar raises students’ awareness of the rules of the English language. It helps them to communicate more effectively by developing a varied and interesting style of speaking and writing.
- Spelling: Students work with strategies they can use as they encounter spelling new words – not only with regular focused lists but also with words they encounter in their daily lives. This not only helps improve students’ writing, but also their reading fluency as they make connections between letters and sounds.
- Writing: Students use a multi-step writing process to develop, revise, evaluate and improve their written work. Within that process, students view writing samples and pieces of literature to discuss the qualities of good writing and how to improve these areas in their own writing. This includes idea development, organization, voice, word choice, sentence fluency and presentation. Overall, students gain the ability to express themselves more clearly in writing.
Math: We use CPM (College Preparatory Mathematics), and this curriculum uses problem-based lessons, collaborative student study teams and spaced practice with course concepts. Each student is given a key role, and over the course of three years they will learn to master each role:
- Facilitator/team leader: Helps the team get started on the problem or task by reading it aloud.
- Task manager: Keeps the team focused on the math problem, makes sure everyone is involved and monitors the team.
- Resource manager: Gets necessary supplies, calls the teacher over if the team has a question, explains how far they got and where they are requesting help and makes sure the team has cleaned up.
- Reporter/Recorder: Shares the team’s results, makes sure everyone is on the same page and presents to the class the team’s findings or assigns each person their role in a group presentation.
Science: Our science classes are divided by content: 6th grade focuses on Physical Science, 7th grade focuses on Life Science and 8th grade focuses on Earth Science.
- All three of the classes are a mix of traditional educational methods which include reading, writing, group work, project-based assessments, demonstrations, cross-curricular activities and appropriate field trips.
- Activities include time-honored favorites such as engineering an egg drop apparatus, a trip to the zoo and launching model rockets high into the air.
- Diversity and inquiry are the driving points in our science classes.
- Students will not only master scientific methods of inquiry and subject matter but will also advance in those tools needed for future success, such as note-taking, reading for comprehension, inference, teamwork, leadership and social skills.
- Faith is an important part of our classroom. Understanding that our Faith and science coexist is something we strive for with all our students.
Social Studies: In U.S. History, we deal mainly with the time period of early explorations (1400 AD) to after WWII (1960’s).
- We discuss the principles that our country is founded on and the important characters in history that helped create it.
- We use inquiry in history to understand all the events and causes and to identify all the aspects of the history from the viewpoints of everyone involved.
- We use hands-on learning opportunities to experience history on a hands-on level.
- We study the diverse peoples that make up our history, from the indigenous first Americans, to the migrations of war-torn refugees after World War II.
- The ability of our students to take a 360-degree look at history and to be aware of how the past has and will continue to influence the present is of utmost importance.
Religion: We focus on interacting with the Bible as much as possible. Our goal is to produce students with a firm understanding of what the Bible actually says as opposed to some of the common misconceptions that exist in modern culture. 6th grade focuses on the Old Testament, 7th grade focuses on the New Testament and 8th grade focuses on how the church has grown and evolved since the time of Christ. Highlights for the year include:
- Service work for our greater community
- Student-led masses
- Stations of the cross
- Participation in Feeding America
- 7th grade traditionally hosts a special event during Advent called A Day in Bethlehem