Students focus on vocabulary development, grammar, literature, writing, spelling and organizational skills. The students study the Age of Exploration through the end of the Revolutionary War in a unique way. Students learn history not only through simulations, presentations, and field trips, but also through the historical fiction they read in their English class. Novels include Sign of the Beaver, Island of the Blue Dolphins, The Witch of Blackbird Pond and Johnny Tremain.
Language Arts and History are also integrated in sixth grade. Students learn important historical events from the Continental Congress through the Civil War while building and strengthening their comprehension, grammar, vocabulary and writing skills. In-class activities, role-playing, simulations, cooperative learning activities, brainstorming, evaluations, direct instruction, and group discussions integrate themes with academic needs.
Language arts consists of three main parts: literature, writing and vocabulary. Reading, writing, thinking, speaking and listening are the key components of the program. Literature study is based on a variety of genres. Students read novels and plays, short stories, poetry, biography and autobiography from the anthologies. There is a strong emphasis on class discussion of material read. Students write every day. Their writing is often integrated with, and flows naturally from, their reading. In addition to their daily response journal, they attempt a variety of forms of writing: book review, literary analysis, research paper, speech and creative writing. Grammar is taught in relation to their writing.
In seventh grade, the students study physical and cultural geography. They learn the five themes of geography, the different types of maps, and related vocabulary. Work with maps includes labeling, scale, symbols, latitude and longitude. Students also compare cultures by exploring the material goods and circumstances of different societies. At the end of the year, students research one “Wonder of the World” and create a presentation and model.
Eighth Grade English is roughly divided into three, inter-related subjects—grammar, composition and literature. The composition component begins with an in-depth study of sentence structure, moves into paragraph and essay structure, and culminates with a research paper in the spring. Throughout the year, there are special topics in creative writing—including short plays and short stories—speeches, and practice in “response” essays for secondary school testing and admissions. The grammar component covers a variety of topics needed to prepare the students for a strong ninth grade grammar curriculum.
For the literature class, conflicts that create plot are used as a basis to develop themes that reflect the thinking and questioning of adolescents. The literature selections are integrated with the Grade Eight History curriculum (1900-present). Students read novels, plays, and selected short stories and poetry, and strong emphasis is placed on group discussion of material read. Novels/plays include Our Town, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Diary of Anne Frank and Fahrenheit 451.
Eighth Grade Students study twentieth century history, from the dawn of the Industrial revolution through the tragic events of 9/11. Using primary and secondary resources, news footage, interviews, simulations, and trips to the Newseum and the Holocaust Museum, students learn the modern history that shapes who we are as a nation. The careful selection of literature and historical topics facilitates engaging classroom discussion in which all student voices are heard and valued.