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Middle School Curriculum Overview

The Middle School curriculum, departmentalized into six academic areas, enrichment classes, and an elective program uses a systematic approach to meet the needs of the adolescent that prepares students for high school and success in life.  The use of technology supports ongoing trends in education. Utilization of formative and summative assessments enables progress monitoring. Academic support is available at each grade level through the Student Success Team.

Reading/Language Arts

The Language Arts and Literature programs challenge student in writing, research, oration, and reading. The curriculum offers students a variety of genres in literature through whole class instruction, literature circles, and small groups. Literature classes read a variety of genres for a variety of literary studies. Students explore Shakespeare in depth that culminates with a program from the Shakespeare Play Company where students act out scenes they have studied during the year. The reading range of each student is established through the STAR test. Students in grades 6 & 7 participate in Accelerated Reader.

Vocabulary focuses on Greek and Latin roots in grade 6 and Vocabulary Workshop by Sadiler is used in grades 7 and 8. Spelling and building vocabulary are integrated into all subjects throughout the year. Grades 6-8 employ the Collins Writing Program and have formal grammar instruction applied to writing and speaking. The Writing Coach text and workbook by Prentice Hall guide written expression.

Middle School students participate in the Scripps Spelling Bee and the Modern Woodmen of America Oratorical Contest.

Math

Courses in grades 6-8 builds on a strong foundation as students become proficient in representing numbers, operations, and develop skills and techniques associated with measurement. Students analyze and summarize information about data sets, evaluate inferences, and make predictions based on data. The curriculum includes solving equations, inequalities, and developing an understanding of quantitative relationships using mathematical models.

Leveled math courses allow for qualifying grade 8 students the opportunity for Algebra I.  Enrichment and extra math challenge is offered through Redbird Advanced Learning, IXL for math reinforcement, Simple Solutions Math by Bright Ideas and Big Ideas Math published by Big Ideas Learning.

 Texts used to guide instruction are:

  • Prentice Hall Math Course 1 (grade 6)
  • Prentice Hall Mathematics Course 2 and Big Ideas Math (grade 7)
  • Prentice Hall Mathematics Course 3 Pre-Algebra and Algebra 1 (grade 8)

Faculty use formative assessments in creative ways where students construct models, problem solve in real life situations, participate in centers and on-line programs.  Ongoing review of student data by administration and faculty allows for differentiated instruction and improved student performance.

Science

The science curriculum is based on the Next Generation Science Standards and integrated with Catholic identity. Middle School students study the scientific method, engineering design, and life, earth, and physical sciences. Faculty integrate the teaching of crosscutting factors such as cause and effect, patterns, energy/matter, and stability/change. All grades focus on problem solving and higher-level thinking skills to analyze and interpret data, develop models, construct arguments supported by empirical evidence, and evaluate design solutions for real-life situations. 

In grade 6, students are offered an in depth study of Earth Science with opportunties for regular lab experiments and projects.  Students in grade 7 have an in depth study of Life Science with a focus on body systems. Students participate in a number of labs labs that include dissections.  Grade 8 students explore physical science with a concentration on chemistry and perform  a variety of experiments and build models each semester.

Science teachers incorporate project-based learning.  Students utilize labs and experiments to test hypotheses and design solutions, dissect, and participate in engineering methods and STREAM activities. STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Art, and Math) activities are prevalent with opportunities for robotics, engineering, art design, creating Rube Goldberg Machines or Artbots, and 3D printing activities. A dedicated STREAM lab is planned for 2019-2020. Faculty in Middle School use formative assessments in dynamic ways through projects, models, centers, and programs that reinforce the science curriculum. Math is integrated into science through the construction of graphs based on data collection.

The Interactive Science text by Pearson guides instruction.

  • Earth Science (grade 6)
  • Life Science (grade 7)
  • Physical Science (grade 8)
Social Studies

Social studies teachers use inquiry-based instruction, direct teaching, and provide opportunities for differentiated instruction. Students in various grade levels create political cartoons, write in journals, and develop videos or skits to further enhance the study of historic time periods. Technology is utilized for differentiation, research, instructional videos, projects, inquiry, reports, and student presentations. Teachers use cross-curricular activities that incorporate the visual arts, technology, and physical education.

Students in grade 6 are offered an in-depth study of the Western Hemisphere from ancient civilizations to present times with several project based learning activities incorporated each semester. In grade 7, students study the Eastern Hemisphere and are offered several project based learning activities each semester.  Grade 8 explores United States history from the Civil War to the present that include project-based learning activities each semester.

Texts to guide the curriculum and instruction include:

  • Western World by Houghton Mifflin and Harcourt (grade 6)
  • Eastern World by Houghton Mifflin and Harcourt (grade 7)
  • America: History of Our Nation by Prentice Hall (grade 8)
Religion

Rooted in the teachings and traditions of the Roman Catholic faith, Queen of Angels Catholic School fosters a love for and respect for God, God's creations, self and others. The Sadlier series, We Believe, guides instruction where students in grade 6 learn about God’s people from the early Church to today, grade 7 learn about discipleship from the first Disciples to being one in the Church today, and grade 8 explores what it means to be an active member of the Church. Students begin each day in prayer, pray during the day, attend weekly Mass, and various liturgies/ prayer services throughout the year.  Catholicity is integrated into all subject areas to instill in students knowledege, inspire spirtuality, develop critical thinking through a Catholic lens, and enable each to live as a disciple of Christ. 

Foreign Language

Spanish is offered three periods per week for students in grades 6-8. The curriculum is personalized using the Rosetta Stone Foundations Program.  Students are assigned a license and work at an individualized pace in developing lanugage skills through a predefined sequence and method using sounds, images, and text.  Students participate in interactive language instruction leveled to their learning progress. 

 

Technology

Students fully employ technology in all core subjects and have class sets of Chromebooks to have a 1:1 ratio as technology is incorporated into the middle school learning environment. Students attend computer lab once per week for instruction on various technology applications, coding and to improve their keyboarding speed.

Academic Enrichment/Middle School Electives

Middle school electives are a highlight and offere students the opportunity to participate in a variety of options that develop their unique gifts and talents.

  • Grade 6 students choose a music elective for the year: Band or Choir. 
  • Grade 7 and 8 students choose from a variety of electives that includes Band, Choir, Robotics, Video-Journalism, Advanced Art & Animation, Dramatic Speech, Coding, Future Cities, Robotics, and Graphic Arts 
  • Grade 7 students spend a semester studying the Junior Achievement Biztown Curriculum and attend Biztown for a real-world business simulation at the World Congress Center in the spring semester
  • Grade 8 students study the Junior Achievement Finance Park curriculum for a semester and go to Finance Park at the World Congress Center for a culminating experience in the spring semester.
  • Students learn to use a fully equipped TV studio and deliver the morning news daily to the QA community.
Academic Coaching 

Grade 7 Students discover                                                        

  • how the brain works
  • how to make cues in directions
  • how to build study skills
  • how to take notes
  • how to prepare for tests  
  • how to take tests 

Students also receive support for writing the research paper and preparing for finals.

Grade 8 Students Learn

  • how to improve their reading speed
  • to develop strategies for making educated guesses during testing
  • strategies for each section of the SSAT Test 
  • how to prepare for finals