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Curriculum

Eighth Grade

Religion

The eighth grade curriculum uses the Finding God text published by Loyola Press. The focus of this year is Catholic church history extended by a belief that the students are “a chosen people” who are called to be Christ’s disciples to the modern world. There are five units that are widely supported with worksheets, hands on projects, art projects, and both classroom and small group discussions. Lessons include Confirmation preparedness and Catholic Social Teaching. Eighth graders also complete a “Little Kids’ Bible” for their kindergarten buddies. This project allows them to both evangelize and catechize their buddies as they break open God’s work themselves.

Literature

Literature by Holt McDougal seamlessly weaves the Common Core State Standards for reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language into a relevant, engaging course of study utilizing age-appropriate fiction and informational text for eighth graders. Students are challenged to think critically and independently, write persuasively while backing up their writing with sound evidence, write creatively, and use language intentionally to express their thinking. This text increases the complexity of the tasks begun in sixth and seventh grades, and prepares students for a successful transition to high school and beyond.

Accelerated Reader (Reading Renaissance)

The Accelerated Reader program uses computer based testing to check students' comprehension of story lines and vocabulary. This program is used to assess both students' ability to read longer works and to assess their vocabulary growth. The books students read are "leveled" by the authors of this program and the levels are generally reflective of the length of book, the complexity of the vocabulary, and the length of sentences.

English

Writer's Choice (Glencoe/McGraw Hill)

This book combines the fundamentals of English grammar with various modes of writing. The writing process is taught as are descriptive, narrative, and persuasive writing. The text is supplemented with selected lessons utilizing the Six Traits of Writing.

Vocabulary Workshop (Sadlier-Oxford)

This systematic approach to vocabulary focuses on the words themselves, their meaning (both literal and figurative), their ranges of application (or usage), and their relationship to other words. The program is designed to provide students with the vocabulary skills they will need in order to achieve higher-level reading proficiency and to succeed at standardized tests.

Step Up to Writing (Maureen E. Auman)

This approach uses existing curriculum to teach students writing skills in the context of their content areas. They learn how to write summaries, paragraphs and essays with multiple types of topic sentences. Students also learn how to write speeches, take notes, write stories and work on reading and listening strategies.

Science

Science, by definition, is a way of learning about the natural world through observations and logical reasoning; leading to a body of knowledge. This year in Eighth Grade we will be studying several topics through the use of FOSS Delta Education (delta-education.com). The 8th Grade modules include Weather and Water (Earth Science), Force and Motion (Physical Science), and Populations and Ecosystems (Life Science). Labs are an important part of our science classes. Each student keeps a science lab notebook to properly document all the phases of an experiment. The FOSS developers are dedicated to the proposition that students learn science best by doing science. Teachers and students do science together when they open the FOSS kits, engaging in enduring experiences that lead to deeper understanding of the natural world. 8th Grade is the third year for science fair and is an important part of Science and Engineering Practices. Each section in science will have its own set of vocabulary words. The students will be graded on their study cards and they will be evaluated on their knowledge of these words. The vocabulary is based on the highly researched six step Marzano’s approach to learning vocabulary. The technique teaches the formal definitions and students create non-linguistic representation of the word to deepen understanding and retain longer understanding. The Textbooks used with this course are Life Science, Physical Science, and Earth Science (Glencoe).

Math

Algebra Structures and Method (Houghton Mifflin)

This course explores the following math topics: variables and equations, working with real numbers, solving equations with one variable, add/subtract/multiply/divide polynomials, factoring perfect squares, factoring difference of two squares, factoring square of a binomials, factoring patterns, factoring by grouping, factoring to solve equations, proportions, add/subtract/multiply/divide algebraic fractions, quadratic functions, solving equations in two variables, graphing ordered pairs, slopes, graphing linear equations, graphing inequalities, square roots, and add/subtract/multiply/divide radicals.

U.S. History

The American Journey, National Geographic Society

This class begins with the early people of the Americas. We continue to colonial settlements and through the civil war and reconstruction, as well as World War I and II. We continue to integrate the social and economic diversities that have made the USA what it is today. Current events pertinent to the United States are also discussed.

Physical Education

The Middle School curriculum emphasizes the concepts of physical fitness: strength, flexibility, and endurance. Sports skills are practiced and developed along with the concepts of teamwork and sportsmanship. Middle School girls may participate in the school team sports of volleyball, basketball and track, while team options for boys are flag football, basketball, and track.

Physical education is an integral part of the total education program. Through the enhancement of individual skills, as well as learning to be part of a team, students are given opportunities to increase self-esteem and to view exercise as an important component of a healthy lifestyle.

Spanish

All middle schoolers (Grades 6, 7, 8) at St. Mike's are offered the opportunity to learn Spanish. The textbook that is used for 6th-8th grade is called ¿Cómo te va? Nivel Verde by Glencoe/McGraw Hill. It is a program that aims to develop the communication skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing in Spanish. Classroom lessons and activities are designed with the goal of communication for real purposes. Grammar covers adjectives and adjective agreement, present tense of regular and most irregular verbs, an introduction to stem-changing verbs and the vocabulary of everyday life (family, body, home, school, food, sports, pastimes). Goals for learning Spanish and its application in the real world are themes that are foremost throughout the school year. Students are also introduced to examples of hispanic culture at every opportunity.

Electives

Students in 6-8th grades have elective class options that include Language and Math Boosters, art, technology, choir, band, yearbook, organizational skills, and Green Team.

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