English Language Arts
The middle school English Language Arts program is made up of many components. In sixth grade, those components include the study of fiction and nonfiction text, vocabulary, spelling patterns, grammar and writing with the goal of exceeding state standard requirements. Students learn sentence structure and grammar conventions through the Shurley method of English instruction while developing their writing skills through Writer’s Workshop. Writer’s Workshop is made up of whole class mini-lessons and individualized writing conferences in which students learn and practice applying the Smeken’s Six Traits of Writing across a variety of writing genres. In sixth grade, students read a variety of fiction and nonfiction text to develop comprehension skills, analyze text structures, make inferences, and respond to reading using textual evidence. Students also enjoy class novels and literature circles to enhance reading and vocabulary instruction. The Accelerated Reader program tracks students’ independent reading habits and ability.
In seventh and eighth grade, students study includes writing, grammar, vocabulary, and Literature. Students learn sentence structure and grammar conventions through the Shurley method of English instruction while they continue to develop their writing skills with mini-lessons and regular practice applying the six traits of writing. Argument, Narrative, and Expository writing as well as a research project integrated with Social Studies or Science are avenues for students to become proficient writers and technology users. Vocabulary studies are enhanced through Membean, an online program, as well as through a Literature textbook and novels which are the basis for learning the Indiana standards for Reading. Teacher-read novels, literature circles, and individualized practice through the Accelerated Reader (AR) program increase students’ reading skills in a variety of genres.
Science studies in sixth grade include topics from Life, Earth, Space, and Technology Sciences. Whether learning about phases of the Moon or the components of plant cells, students rediscover the majesty of God as they study His creation. In seventh grade science we spend a great deal of time on Earth Science. The students also explore the world of space, Physical Science, and some basic Life Science. Through the use of experiments and technology, the ideas come to life. Science for the eighth grade consists of life and earth science as well as some chemistry and physics. There are labs and experiments to go along with most topics as well as follow up instruction on the computer.
Students in the middle school use internet resources, manipulatives and group activities as they tackle math standards at and above grade level. Students learn through whole class instruction using individual white boards to practice, group work, and a variety of application activities. Sixth grade math topics include emphasis on decimal, fraction, and integer operations, as well as geometry and algebraic thinking. A few of the concepts studied in seventh grade are rational operations, geometry, and proportional thinking with an emphasis on pre-algebra skills. Students that excel in sixth and seventh grade will have the opportunity to take freshman algebra as eighth grade students. For those who need another year of reviewing, they will continue in a small group with eighth grade pre-algebra. A few of the concepts all learn as eighth graders are equation solving, slope, graphing and geometry.
Students study the history of the United States and the world beginning with early civilizations. Students are instructed how to determine the central ideas of history, the information of a primary or secondary source, provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions, and identify key steps in a text’s description of a process related to history/social studies. Students are also taught how to integrate visual information such as charts, graphs, maps, and photographs with other information. Geography of the world is stressed as well. Each grade level covers current events through a variety of methods.
St. Peter’s network includes two iPad carts and a lab with 30 computers as well as computers in every classroom. Our computer curriculum in the middle school years is project based utilizing classroom applications. These include learning Microsoft Office components such as Word, Excel, Publisher, as well as the Google for Education platform. Students use iPads as well. Technology is integrated into various subjects with individual activities and group projects. Students learn to design and introduce Power Point presentations, use apps such as Popplet, and make movies. In seventh and eighth grade students can become involved in our weekly worship services through technical aspects of computer and audio-visual components.
Art & Music
Opportunities for creative expression through music and art are offered in band, choir, strings, handbells, classroom music, and art class. Students have weekly classes in music taught by a music teacher. Middle school music provides other opportunities for students to learn about music, but still retain basic musical knowledge. Sixth, seventh, and eighth grade all participate in the 5-8 musical that happens every other year in spring. Lessons in elements of art and art expression include working with paint, oil pastels, paper, and other media. Our program, Artist of the Month, combines art appreciation with actual art techniques. Some lessons in art are taught through the program Art Attacks. This is a video-based program where students study lines, water color, drawing, pastels, and various other media.