Middle School Curriculum Guide for The Woodward School

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Middle School Curriculum
Teacher Assisting Student with Paper
Woodward’s Middle School English curriculum supports student learning as they discover the world and grow as individuals. Middle School students build foundational skills through reading and discussion of formative texts, both fiction and non-fiction. Students develop writing and editing skills through a variety of writing assignments, journaling and creative projects. Vocabulary, grammar and spelling develop in the context of reading and writing assignments. Middle School English classes are aligned with Middle School History and Social Studies content to build an integrated humanities curriculum.

By the eighth grade, students will transition from studying narrative writing to focusing on the style and impact of speeches and poetry.  They will delve into the historical context and social movements which inspired these writings, determining what makes an effective speech or a poem powerful. They will study persuasion, rhetorical techniques, poetic structure, and figurative language. By the end of the year,  students will prepare to recite works of their choosing by American poets during Woodward’s Annual Founders’ Night event.
Woodward’s Middle School History Department strives to teach students about historical events, institutions, historic figures, and social and cultural differences of humanity throughout History.

Students will explore the history of civilizations, such as Greece, China and the Incas focusing on the allocation of global resources and how this has shaped geography, culture and the philosophy of civilization.
They then move into the History of Empire which examines the history of empires across the world, such as the Spanish, British, and American Empires. Students will focus on the colonization of people and resources within these empires.

By grade 8 students will delve into the foundation of the United States government on a federal, state, and local level. Students will be tasked with studying and proposing solutions to complex local and global issues, while learning about economics and its connection to the government.
All Woodward students study Latin in Grades 6 & 7. Students may continue to study Middle School Latin in Grade 8 or choose the option to study Spanish I or French I.
Students gain a solid understanding of the syntax, vocabulary, and grammar of the Latin language translating challenging sentences and ultimately Latin text. Students will explore in-depth knowledge of the culture, religion, and history of the classical world.

Latin 1

Using Jenney’s First Year Latin, students will learn the classical pronunciation of the Latin language and the syntactical similarities and differences from the English language. Students will begin to recognize English words that derive from Latin and acquire insight into the history and culture of the Roman people.

Latin II

Latin II begins with a thorough and rapid review of the previous year’s work in Latin I using  Jenney’s text. After mastery of the necessary forms, grammar and vocabulary, the class reads extensive selections of Latin prose from either Ritchie's Fabulae Faciles or Heatley’s Gradatim.

Latin III

Students choosing to continue with Latin will increase their vocabulary and practice their  translation. Students will translate adapted Latin selections from Ovid and the Labors of Hercules. They will also study the real-life heroes of the ancient Romans, both male and female. 

French-Grade 8 

This course introduces vocabulary, grammar and expressions while building oral and written proficiency. In language acquisition, the focus is on speaking, grammatical structure and reading works of literature in the original language, with a focus on understanding of cultural context. 

Spanish I – Grade 8
This course provides basic vocabulary, grammar and builds oral and written proficiency. A cultural study of Spain and the Hispanic world is incorporated with various classroom projects. Students will build conversational skills, comprehension of vocabulary, grammar, and cultural information. 
The Middle School Mathematics program emphasizes the importance of thinking strategically when solving a math problem. Students learn through hands-on activities and scaffolded instruction. Throughout the middle school years, students investigate and perform operations with integers, fractions, decimals, and percentages. The curriculum also focuses on the study of geometry, probability and statistics while making mathematical connections in real-world situations.

Math Grade 6

In grade six students are building a solid foundation solving word problems involving ratios and rates, understanding of operations with whole numbers, decimals, and fractions. Other topics covered include integers, displays of data and statistics, and geometry. Students are also introduced to algebraic expressions and begin to solve algebraic equations. 

Math Grade 7

Seventh grade students explore various mathematical concepts such as, variables, expressions, integers, solving equations and inequalities, simplifying expressions with exponents, probability, and data analysis. In addition, functional relationships and graphs of lines are introduced along with mathematical reasoning and problem-solving skills.

Algebra I Grade 8

In Algebra 1, students study linear, absolute value, quadratic and exponential functions. This includes solving multi-step equations and inequalities, graphing functions, and performing operations with polynomials. Reasoning and making mathematical connections are emphasized as well as applying their knowledge to real world situations.
The Science Department guides students to see the world from an observer's perspective.  They use scientific inquiry methods to analyze information and apply it to decisions they will make about their immediate and global communities. Through hands-on learning, Middle School students develop the scientific skills needed for success in Woodward’s high school science courses.

Earth Science

Students study the basic structure of the Earth, including fresh water, oceans, and atmosphere. Topics include rocks and minerals, volcanoes, plate tectonics, water and the atmosphere, and climate. Emphasis is placed on the process of science by studying the various tools scientists use to measure, graph, and model. The scientific method is studied using a variety of projects, including a Science Fair.

Life Science

Students study all aspects of life from the tiniest cells to the most complex function of living organisms. Topics include cell structure and function, photosynthesis, cellular respiration, the cell cycle, basic genetics, and evolution. Students also study basic animal body systems such as the digestive, respiratory, circulatory, excretory, and reproductive systems. 

Physical Science

Students study matter, energy, substances, and how they combine and change. Topics will include the periodic table, atoms and bonding, chemical reactions, the Laws of Motion, energy, electricity, magnetism, and electromagnetism.
Students will gain knowledge, understanding, and skills in computing and technology, through computer usage, coding and programming. A core objective of the program is to guide students in learning to articulate and define problems clearly and precisely.  They use a research-based process to select the best technology devices, tools, and solutions to those problems. 

As each student masters these fundamental proficiency skills, they will move into the exploration phase of the year with introductions of coding and programming, graphic design, and 3D design and implementation. Students will engage in three coding languages —Swift, Python, and Java — and understand the history of coding and programming, its advancements, and possible future applications.

Students will also explore graphic design using Adobe Creative Cloud Suite, the leading graphic and video design software used by industry professionals around the world. Students will get a feel for Adobe Photoshop for the first time alongside understanding photography techniques that can capture the world as they see it. Lastly, students will tackle the 3-Dimensional space of architecture and industrial design through AutoCAD, a leading software in modeling, 3D Printing, and rendering.
The Arts, both Visual and Performing, are core elements of Woodward’s Middle School curriculum. Students study the artwork, music, and dramatic work of those who have gone before, while exploring and developing their own individual creative skills and identities.

Visual Arts

Middle School visual art courses are designed to expose students to a variety of art concepts, materials and the art-making processes, including acrylic, watercolor, charcoal, block printing, fiber arts and basic drawing techniques. Students learn new techniques and develop individual expression, while studying significant periods of time and artists. 

Middle School Art I

MS Art I artists will study the elements of art and the principles of design. The study of contemporary artists and art history are incorporated into every lesson. Some of the artists discussed include Georgia O'Keefe, Chuck Close, Andy Warhol, Wayne Thiebaud, Henri Rousseau, and Ansel Adams while learning about basic color theory and drawing techniques. They will also create work in monotype, acrylic, tempera, watercolor, pen and ink, collage and various drawing media including charcoal.

Middle School Art II

In Middle School Art II, students will learn more technical aspects of drawing, including linear perspective and design. They will explore artists from the Op Art movement, Cubism, Surrealism and Fauvism, as well as works from Outside Artists and the Arts and Crafts movement. Students will create artwork in media that includes printmaking, drawing, painting and sculpture. 

Middle School Art III

Middle School Art III is geared towards the exploration of self, and communicating ideas visually through paint, sculpture and drawing. Students will learn a basic art vocabulary and a variety of art-making techniques, as they examine historical and contemporary artworks. Students will be challenged to use knowledge from previous art courses to create thoughtful, well-crafted artworks. 
This course is an opportunity for students to learn more about music by primarily singing with a group ensemble/choir. Additionally, we explore the basic tenets of music theory and vocal technique though vocal warm ups, and 2 and 3 part harmony singing. This is achieved while simultaneously building a song repertoire book for public performance. We are currently learning music for our upcoming holiday stroll.