Middle School Curriculum Progression

Browse through the disciplines to see the continuum of each academic course from sixth grade through eighth grade in the Middle School. 

Language Arts/Social Studies

Grade: 6
Language Arts/Social Studies
In language arts and social studies, students take an in-depth look at the government, history, culture, traditions, and geography of local communities. They read and analyze books, primary sources, newspaper articles, and photographs to gain insight into literature and history. They participate in literature circles to foster individual expression of ideas and the development of speaking and listening skills. Grammar and composition skills are honed through the use of writing workshops, during which students focus on a particular genre such as poetry or historical fiction. Students complete several research projects, working to develop reliable and effective research skills, as well as critical and creative thinking skills. While focusing on local studies, sixth-grade students develop an understanding of place and time and its effect on individuals and communities. They study both the past and present people of the Southern Appalachians and the roles Western North Carolinians have played in American history. Sample units of study:
  • Poetry Unit, culminating in a poetry cafe for friends and family
  • Writing Workshop
  • Local Government Unit, including a city council simulation activity
  • WNC History Unit, beginning with a visit to a local archaeological site and ending with a walking tour of downtown Asheville
  • Family History Project
Grade: 7
Language Arts/Social Studies
The seventh grade language arts and social studies program helps students develop skills for effective communication, collaboration, and analysis of content.  The underlying themes for the integrated courses are independence, change, and unity, which directly align with the students’ study of American history as well as their own developmental experiences. These three themes will expose the students to a wide variety of literature and resources, allowing them to think about literature and history through a new lens. Emphasis is also placed on helping students develop ownership of class material through real-world activities such as literature circles, peer conferences on writing, and student-led presentations. Students also use writing and the writing process to explore and express their own ideas. Seventh-grade lessons and discussions highlight creativity, connections, and critical thinking. Assignments include e-portfolio reflections, creative projects, poems, stories and academic essays. Sample units of study:
  • Story in Literature and History
  • First Contact
  • Nationhood: Revolution & Constitution
  • Civil War
  • To Kill A Mockingbird
  • Expanding Rights: “We hold these truths to be self-evident”

Grade: 8
Language Arts/Social Studies
The eighth grade Language Arts/Social Studies curriculum is designed to prepare students for a successful upper school experience. The language arts and social studies are often integrated in such a way that the social studies serve as a springboard for the language arts. The emphasis for the social studies is global studies, giving students the opportunity to explore the geography, history, and current events of the global community. Readings in language arts include novels, historical narratives, short stories, plays, and poems that enhance historical and cultural lessons. Students enrich their communication skills by writing persuasive essays, creative short stories, book reviews, and research papers. They also write and perform dramas, create documentaries, and debate controversial topics. Class time is given for students to engage in discussions, helping them develop their critical thinking, speaking, and listening skills. Sample units of study include:

  • Middle East and the causes and effects of the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks
  • Europe and the causes for the European Union and recent financial crisis
  • Africa and the impact of European imperialism on current affairs,
  • Asia and the factors leading to recent rapid economic development
  • Central and South America and the impact of the illegal drug trade on regional stability

Mathematics

Grade: 6
Sixth Grade Mathematics
This course is designed to strengthen and expand arithmetic skills with fractions, decimals, percents, and integers. New concepts are developed, with an emphasis on problem solving skills, real world applications, technology, spatial reasoning, and finance math. Sample units of study:
  • Numeration
  • Operations and computations
  • Data analysis and probability
  • Geometry
  • Measurement
Grade: 6
Enriched Sixth Grade Mathematics
This section of math encompasses all of the topics covered in the regular Sixth Grade Mathematics course but at a greater depth and faster pace. Emphasis is placed on problem solving skills, real world applications, technology, spatial reasoning, and finance math.   

Grade: 7
Seventh Grade Mathematics
Students are introduced to and continue to develop many foundational concepts in mathematics. They hone their skills and further enhance their understanding of concepts through cooperative problem solving, individual projects, use of technology, and continued opportunities for applications to their science curriculum, including robotics and engineering.  Sample units of study:
  • fractions and decimals
  • ratios, rates, proportions and percents
  • manipulating algebraic equations
  • statistical analysis and probability
  • geometry and spatial reasoning
Grade: 7
Enriched Seventh Grade Mathematics
This course covers all of the topics in the regular Seventh Grade Mathematics course but at a greater depth and with student independence. In addition, there is an emphasis on patterns, logic, lateral thinking, math applications to real world problems, opened ended problems, and spatial problem solving.

Grade: 8
Integrated Math 1
Integrated Math 1 advances students’ understanding of mathematics through interwoven strands of algebra and functions, statistics and probability, geometry and trigonometry, and discrete mathematics. These strands are unified by fundamental themes, common topics, mathematical practices, and by mathematical habits of mind. Developing mathematics along multiple strands help students develop a connected understanding of mathematics and nurtures their differing strengths and talents.

The problem-based curriculum emphasizes flexibility and adaptability in thinking through mathematical modeling, which includes the processes of data collection, representation, interpretation, prediction, and simulation. This allows students to experience mathematics as a means of making sense of data and problems that arise in real-world situations and in diverse contexts, and it gives them a venue for mathematical investigation and discourse to deepen their understanding. Units of study include:
  • Patterns of Change
  • Patterns in Data
  • Linear Functions
  • Discrete Mathematical Modeling
  • Exponential Functions
  • Patterns in Shape
  • Quadratic Functions
  • Patterns in Chance
Grade: 8
Enriched Integrated Math 1
This course covers the same general units of study offered in the regular Integrated Math 1 course but at a greater depth and at a faster pace. Particular emphasis is given to problem seeing, information gathering, and solving.   

Science

Grade: 6
Science
Sixth grade science focuses on the major themes of sixth grade: identity, generations, and community, through various units of inquiry and study. Emphasis is placed on understanding how science works through a variety of experimental laboratory activities. Students will face challenges that mimic real world scientific investigations, while developing skills in classification, experimental design, data collection, and analysis. Sample units of study:

  • Human body systems
  • Genetics
  • Environmental science
  • Native plants
  • Forestry

Grade: 7
Science
Throughout the year students are challenged to use methodical, sound processes in a variety of tasks, whether applying principles of the scientific method to their own experimental design or adhering to the engineering design process by prototyping a straw earthquake tower. As students continually tweak and improve their approach to research, experiments, and projects, they develop resiliency and flexibility in their thinking, a major goal of our science program, and learn to solve problems both individually and collaboratively. The course is highlighted by an extensive robotics unit, during which students are charged with completing a series of challenges, including programming a robot to successfully navigate a maze and starting and stopping a robot with hand claps. Topics in 7th grade math are naturally woven into the science curriculum through analysis, measurement, conversion, and proportional reasoning. Sample units of study include:

  • Experimental design
  • Cosmology and scale
  • Programming and robotics
  • Structural engineering

Grade: 8
Science
Eighth graders focus on physical science concepts related to motion and energy. Problem solving skills are developed as students confront content-related design and engineering challenges. Projects include building balloon jet cars, water bottle rockets, and solar houses. Students develop critical thinking skills and familiarity with programming tasks during a LEGO robotics unit, which builds on the robotics skills learned in 7th grade science. Additionally, eighth graders explore sustainability topics related to energy consumption and examine proposed energy alternatives. Sample units of study:

  • Measuring bodies in motion: speed, acceleration, and momentum
  •  Beyond Oil: an alternative transportation study
  •  Blasting off with Galileo and Newton: gravity and the laws of motion
  •  The future of energy: coal, nuclear, wind, and solar power

French

Grade: 6
French
Sixth grade French class begins the journey toward becoming functionally fluent in French. We use the technique of TPRS (teaching proficiency through reading and storytelling) which is the way students learned their first language. Music, stories based on student input, acting, poetry, and simple French history all combine to give them rich acquisition of French. Students also read and discuss their first reader, Pauvre Anne - Poor Anne Daily conversations throughout the year include:
  • Greetings
  • Weather
  • Weekend activities
  • Animals and habitats
  • Pastimes
  • Family
  • Clothing
  • Mealtimes at home and in restaurants
Grade: 7
French
Seventh grade French class continues the process of acquiring French, building on what was learned last year. Most input is through the written and spoken word, but students begin to pay more attention to writing. We will read and discuss two readers, which may include Fama va en Californie and Presque Mort. These books will provide a platform for comparing the student lives with those in the books. Daily conversation continues as does music. Students showcase what they have acquired with spontaneous responses and commentary as well as prepared presentations. Additional topics can include:
  • School life and subjects
  • Family chores
  • Differences between cultures
  • Body parts and health
Grade: 8
French
This third year of French prepares students to move into a level 2 high school French class. Students begin to notice and use  language in several tenses. Reading and discussion make up more of the curriculum. Students read a novelette on their own for homework. Students are encouraged to read on-line in the areas of their own interests so they can start to acquire specialized vocabulary that is meaningful to them. If students are traveling to France during the 8th grade year, time will be taken to plan the trip in class. Otherwise they plan a projected trip. The curriculum continues to focus and build on the students as they acquire more language to be able to talk about themselves and relate to their peers and others in French. Music and stories are the arenas for much input. Possible topics besides travel can include:
  • Goals for the future
  • Expectations from teachers and parents
  • Choices in personal time and money
  • How to do something (giving instructions)

Spanish

Grade: 6
Spanish
The instructional emphasis for middle school Spanish is on conversation and communication. Building upon the learning that occurred in lower school, students engage in a variety of activities to help them acquire vocabulary. Students become more connected with the Spanish-speaking world through the use of technology and exposure to real world scenarios. Learning about the different cultures Spanish-speaking countries also takes a front seat, and students dive into some basic grammar, which will help them use the language more comprehensively. Sample units of study:
  • Me, my family, and my friends
  • Daily routines at home and school
  • Expressing likes and dislikes
  • Geography and the Spanish-speaking world
  • Community life and moving around a city
Grade: 7
Spanish
In seventh grade Spanish we continue vocabulary building, and grammar is emphasized in more depth. Conversation, debates, projects, and games enliven the units of study. Students become more connected with the Spanish-speaking world through the use of technology and exposure to real world scenarios. Classes provide frequent opportunities to practice the basic skills of language acquisition: reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Sample units of study:
  • School life and free-time activities
  • Comparing Mexican and Spanish foods and learning how to order in restaurants
  • Family relationships and living accommodations
  • Clothing, fashion, and shopping
  • Reading, writing, and acting out stories
Grade: 8
Spanish
Eighth grade Spanish students expand upon their language foundation to communicate more independently. There is a greater focus on grammar, which allows students to express themselves in a more sophisticated and complex manner. Students become more connected with the Spanish-speaking world through the use of technology and exposure to real world scenarios. At the end of the eighth grade year the students have the opportunity to travel to a Spanish-speaking country, where they participate in a home-stay and visit several sections of the country. Sample units of study:
  • Planning and implementing travel
  • Maintaining good health
  • History and geography of Spain
  • Current events and pop culture
  • Influential individuals in the Spanish-speaking world

Visual Arts

Grade: 6
Visual Art
Sixth grade art projects relate directly to the core curriculum of local and regional studies; Appalachian crafts will be a focus for many of the art projects and instruction. The ceramic face-jug project is the main focus of the second and third trimester, which further enhance the core curriculum. Art criticism and self-reflection are utilized as tools for understanding the principles and elements of design. Art History is taught as it relates to the individual projects.  Projects may include:

  • Drawing
  • Printmaking
  • Weaving
  • Sculpture
  • Painting
  • Ceramics  

Grade: 7
Visual Art
Seventh grade art students begin the process of developing skills in self-reflection and the use of visual language to critique their own work and the work of peers. Students will become familiar with American artists, and they will use ideas and concepts from these artists to develop projects. Drawing skills are emphasized throughout the year, and students are introduced to basic photography using pinhole cameras during the third trimester, which coincides with Worldwide Pinhole day on the last Sunday of April every year.  Projects may include:

  • Spirit animal designs
  • Animation metamorphosis
  • Silkscreen
  • Ceramic relief design
  • Collage portraits

Grade: 8
Visual Art
The global perspective of the eighth grade curriculum offers great opportunities to study Western, Asian, African, and Oceanic art. A major focus in eighth grade is photography, with emphasis on compositional skills and the process of taking and developing black and white photos. Photography allows students to utilize the skills of self-reflection and group critique as ways to grow as an artist. Projects may include:  

  • B/W photography
  • Figure drawing
  • Acrylic painting
  • Batik
  • Film
  • Self-directed independent projects.

Performing Arts

Grades: 6, 7, 8
Performing Arts
In the middle school, performing arts classes three times a week help students develop their ability to participate in music, dance, and theater. All students participate in two yearly concerts showcasing choral singing, dancing; there are also performances by hand chime groups, a dance team, the Carolina Day Choristers, and the 7th and 8th grade advanced chorus. When available, guitar, strings, brass and woodwind chamber music groups also prepare pieces for the concerts.

Music
In music, students in all three grades work toward understanding the concepts of rhythm, pitch, melody, harmony, form, dynamics, and tempo. Genres studied are classical, musical theater, country, folk, blues, jazz, pop/rock, and world music. Ongoing units of music study include:
  • Solfege and sight-singing
  • Performance and analysis of choral literature
  • Guitar
  • Piano
  • Drums (hand drums and drumset)
  • Bass
  • Hand chimes
  • Orff mallet percussion
Dance
Dance in all forms, from improvised movement to choreographed routines, is part of each Performing Arts class. Dance units include:
  • Swing
  • Salsa
  • Square dance/country line dance
  • Traditional folk dances
  • Hiphop
  • Musical theatre dance styles
Theatre
Theatre training gives every middle school student the opportunity to work on public speaking, risk-taking, and communication skills in a fun, safe setting. Theatre units include:
  • Scene work
  • Monologue preparation
  • Improv comedy
  • Theatre games
Grades: 6, 7, 8
Theatre Production
Middle School Theatre Production is an extracurricular program open to sixth, seventh, and eighth graders. The annual winter musical provides an exciting opportunity for an introduction to the world of theatre. Whether students participate on stage or as part of the tech crew, they learn teamwork, communication skills, leadership, flexibility, and how to prepare for and meet deadlines.

Physical Education

Grade: 6
Physical Education
Students participate in physical education classes three day a week. The program concentrates on a student’s physical fitness level with an emphasis on improvement. There is a focus on the continued development of affective and psycho-motor skills learned through competitive and cooperative games. The students will wear pedometers as a fun way to monitor distance moved throughout the year. Activities include:
  • Soccer
  • Team Handball
  • Dance
  • Pickleball
  • Juggling
Grade: 7
Physical Education
Students participate in physical education classes three days a week. The program concentrates on a student’s physical fitness level with an emphasis on improvement. There is a focus on the continued development of affective and psycho-motor skills learned through competitive and cooperative games. During seventh grade, students will build on fundamentals learned in sixth grade and begin to apply them in a more competitive environment. The students will wear pedometers as a fun way to monitor distance moved throughout the year. Activities include:
  • Football
  • Lacrosse
  • Ultimate Frisbee
  • Volleyball
  • Basketball
Grade: 8
Physical Education
Students participate in physical education classes three day a week. The program concentrates on a student’s physical fitness level with an emphasis on improvement. There is a focus on the continued development of affective and psycho-motor skills learned through competitive and cooperative games. Students will revisit skills learned in sixth and seventh grade and will begin to develop team strategies for success. The students will wear pedometers as a fun way to monitor distance moved throughout the year. Activities include:
  • Bowling
  • Bocce
  • Cageball
  • Basketball
Grade: 6
Health
This fourteen-lesson unit teaches students the importance of being an informed consumer and making healthy lifestyle choices. Topics covered include:
  • Healthy Eating Pyramid
  • Reading food labels
  • Nutrition assessment
  • Food group relay race
  • Portion size comparison

Study Support

Grade: 6, 7, 8
Study Support
This class provides a structured approach to learning and using effective strategies for success in the middle grades, leading students toward the practice of self-advocacy to become independent learners. Students will find and use resources, set and measure both short and long term goals, and effectively use the skills they obtain to break wholes into parts to make learning easier. The Middle School Study Support class assists students with:
  • Organization/time management
  • Effective note taking
  • Reading comprehension strategies
  • Test preparation- how to study for a variety of tests
  • Study techniques & memory strategies

 

2016-17 Course Descriptions

 

 

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