Middle School

Welcome to Middle School!

In Middle School, we focus on foundational building: building students’ content and skills knowledge, building smart study habits, building critical thinking, building a curiosity about learning that will carry them through high school, college and beyond. Students actively engage in core academic classes through Socratic discussions, labs, debates, collaborative work, and receive feedback through the use of rubrics to improve their performance. During these years, the annual Third Quarter Presentations (3QP) will increasing build research and presentation skills beginning with humanities studies in the 5th grade and extending into STEM subject throughout the rest of their middle school years.

In addition to core academic classes, all middle schoolers participate in choir, piano, and life skills. Our life skills classes are structured to help students learn more about themselves, their unique learning styles and their strengths. We help students improve the way they learn, participate effectively in team settings, and collaborate with peers. We track student progress through a variety of assessments that help us evaluate critical thinking skills, including verbal and writing skills.

The skills and concepts explored during these years are focused on college and life preparation and are aligned with college freshman orientation seminars. Our students develop organizational, planning, writing, and communication skills in college prep classes to ensure their journey to college and to a career is a seamless one.

During these transitional years as student life becomes more demanding, we want them to learn how to learn, to have fun as they build the habits and confidence necessary to tackle the rigor and discipline required for academic and artistic success.

COURSE SEQUENCE DOWNLOAD

English – Ms. Amanda Birch

5th grade students read a wide selection of literary genres including realistic and historical fiction, persuasive, functional and expository texts as outlined by the Arizona State and Common Core Standards. We focus on writing skills including the development of proper grammar and spelling. Students of both Standard and Advanced English are expected to actively participate in our inquiry-based discussions, projects, and activities. The advanced section moves at an accelerated pace and utilize more complex literature.

Social Studies – Ms. Lisa Speck

5th grade Social Studies investigates the exploration and colonization of the Americas by Europeans including the beginning of global trade, the growing conflicts between American Indian populations and European colonists, and the expansion of the African slave trade. We explore how the European colonies in North America began to organize a new democratic form of government and engaged in the Revolutionary War that culminated in their independence. Students also simulate Lewis and Clark’s expedition into the Louisiana Territories and explore current American geography.

Science – Ms. Mary Snider

5th grade students participate in a hands-on, integrated science curriculum that focuses on the development of scientific method skills. The students will apply these skills in their investigation of Life, Earth, and Physical Science. Students study traits of scientists, forces and motion, simple machines, the solar system, space exploration, and the human body.

Math – Ms. Tracy Ryan

5th graders focus on three critical areas: (1)  developing competency in dividing and fluency in multiplying whole numbers through the application of understanding of place value; (2)  developing understanding in performing operations with fractions and decimals to hundredths; and (3)   developing understanding of volume.

*Accelerated Math is offered each year for qualifying students. This course moves at a quicker pace, including work above grade level.

Life Skills – Mrs. Nicole Coleman

5th Grade Life Skills curriculum is centered on organization skills, study skills, and teamwork. Throughout the year, students explore the following topics: communication, research, public speaking, financial literacy, stress management, and nutrition. In addition, students are continually challenged to create a culture of proactive kindness both inside and outside the classroom.

Piano – Mr. Ron Rhode or Ms. Angelica Prado-Stern

Class Piano instruction occurs during academic hours for middle school students. 5th grade students focus on basic fundamentals of piano, using the classroom piano book (included in the piano bundle) to practice applying these concepts. 6th grade students explore a wider range of the keyboard and build on the skills developed in 5th grade. 7th and 8th grade students explore practice strategies, musicianship skills, and ensemble playing. A piano or full-size keyboard with pedals at home is highly recommended. Students will be expected to practice outside of class time.
All students in grades 5-8 will be automatically enrolled in Class Piano.

Please note: Class Piano in middle school is not intended to replace a private piano instructor, but rather to support the basic fundamentals and techniques used at all levels of good piano performance. Students whose piano skills are beyond the class level will be identified by the teacher during the first few weeks of school and given additional challenges within the class curriculum appropriate to their skill level.

English – Ms. Ginette Rossi

6th graders improve critical reading skills and interact with assigned texts. We focus on grammar, proper punctuation, and sentence structure in written work. Students learn both formal and creative writing and are required to write properly structured essays as well as creative stories carefully plotted in a narrative voice.

*Advanced English is offered each year for qualifying students. The advanced course moves at an accelerated pace utilizing more complex literature.

Social Studies – Ms. Melissa Kuhlman

6th grade Social Studies works in conjunction with the sixth grade English and is writing intensive. We build critical thinking and summary skills, comprehension skills and annotation skills, and presentation skills. Using the five themes of Geography, students explore the Ancient Civilizations of Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece, and Rome. Students are encouraged to grow in their ability to manage themselves both behaviorally and academically.

Science – Ms. Jamie Bellian

6th grade students participate in a hands-on, integrated science curriculum that focuses on the development of scientific reasoning skills and experimental design. Students study many disciplines of science throughout the year under the theme of ͞Our World of Wate : chemistry, earth science, and marine biology. Also, this course incorporates human-environment interaction in collaboration with the humanities teachers and emphasizes graphing and data analysis skills in partnership with the math program.

Math – Ms. Taylor Dutro

6th grade math focuses on four critical areas: (1) connecting ratio and rate to whole number multiplication and division, using concepts of ratio and rate to solve problems; (2) division of fractions, extending the notion of number to the system of rational numbers, including negative numbers; (3) writing, interpreting, and using expressions and equations; and (4) developing understanding of statistical thinking.

*Accelerated Math is offered each year for qualifying students. This course moves at a quicker pace, including work above grade level.

Life Skills – Mrs. Nicole Coleman

6th Grade Life Skills is a course that focuses on organization, study habits, group work, nutrition, and entrepreneurial skills. Students are introduced to strategies for stress management, goal-setting, and peer conflict resolution. In addition, students build skills in both formal and informal public speaking. 6th grade students are challenged to begin developing leadership skills by working with 5th grade students throughout the year.

Piano – Mr. Ron Rhode or Ms. Angelica Prado-Stern

Class Piano instruction occurs during academic hours for middle school students. 5th grade students focus on basic fundamentals of piano, using the classroom piano book (included in the piano bundle) to practice applying these concepts. 6th grade students explore a wider range of the keyboard and build on the skills developed in 5th grade. 7th and 8th grade students explore practice strategies, musicianship skills, and ensemble playing. A piano or full-size keyboard with pedals at home is highly recommended. Students will be expected to practice outside of class time.
All students in grades 5-8 will be automatically enrolled in Class Piano.

Please note: Class Piano in middle school is not intended to replace a private piano instructor, but rather to support the basic fundamentals and techniques used at all levels of good piano performance. Students whose piano skills are beyond the class level will be identified by the teacher during the first few weeks of school and given additional challenges within the class curriculum appropriate to their skill level.

English – Dr. Amy Brady

7th grade English students engage critically with challenging texts and ideas (one of our English Department’s core values). They read a variety of literature (classic novels, short stories, poetry, Shakespeare, informational texts, and modern literature) and analyze methods used by authors to create unique reader experiences. As part of third quarter presentations, students research and establish connections between 20th Century American culture and comic book culture. They must prove society’s influence on their character’s actions, values, or creation story. The ultimate goal is to enhance students’ abilities to write clearly, creatively and express ideas supported by evidence (another of the English Department’s core values).

*An Advanced English course is offered each year for qualifying students.

Social Studies – Ms. Annalee Poureetezadi

In 7th grade Social Studies, students begin to analyze political ideologies, motivations, and the effects of politics on humanity. Students explore how governments around the world function and interact. They examine war and why it occurs. Students also learn about the ideology behind revolutions throughout history, social change and its impact on society, culture, and the individual. Seventh grade students gain a comprehensive understanding of the political and social climate that lead to human rights abuses.

Science – Ms. Beth Wootten

7th grade science students participate in a hands-on, integrated science course that utilizes Scientific Method skills. Using Environmental Science as the central theme, students apply these Scientific Method skills in their investigation of our world: how it formed and why it looks the way it does. We study the physical processes that shape our world, compare the changes in plants and animals throughout our history, and examine the current health of our ecosystems and biomes. During the course of the year, we analyze the role human beings play in the sustainability of our environment and resources.

Math – Ms. Anna-Lisa Kersch

7th grade math introduces mathematical reasoning and proofs. Students begin writing formal explanations of how math works using definitions, theorems, and symbols. Instructional time focuses on four critical areas: (1) understanding and applying proportional relationships; (2) developing understanding of operations with rational numbers and working with expressions and linear equations; (3) solving problems involving scale drawings and informal geometric constructions and working with two- and three-dimensional shapes to solve for area, surface area, and volume; and (4) drawing inferences about population based on samples.

Accelerated students in 7th grade are enrolled in Math 8. In Math 8, the foundations of mathematical reasoning and proof are introduced. Students begin writing formal explanations of how math works using definitions, theorems, and symbols. Instructional time will focus on three critical areas: (1) formulating and reasoning about expressions and equations, including modeling an association in bivariate data with a linear equation, and solving linear equations and systems of linear equations; (2) grasping the concept of a function and using functions to describe quantitative relationships; (3) analyzing two- and three-dimensional space and figures using distance, angle, similarity, and congruence, and understanding and applying the Pythagorean Theorem.

Life Skills – Ms. Lizzie Baggleman

7th Grade Life Skills is a class that works with students on personal development:  learning to work with others on a team, building healthy friendships through positive communication, developing effective study/work habits with library and internet research, taking care of oneself through good nutrition and stress reduction, and creating a plan for reaching goals and achieving excellence. One of the foundational structures in Life Skills is cooperative learning, discovering how to work with others collaboratively utilizing the unique strengths of one’s team members.

Piano – Ms. Dianne Cangelosi or Ms. Aiko Mancini

Class Piano instruction occurs during academic hours for middle school students. 5th grade students focus on basic fundamentals of piano, using the classroom piano book (included in the piano bundle) to practice applying these concepts. 6th grade students explore a wider range of the keyboard and build on the skills developed in 5th grade. 7th and 8th grade students explore practice strategies, musicianship skills, and ensemble playing. A piano or full-size keyboard with pedals at home is highly recommended. Students will be expected to practice outside of class time.
All students in grades 5-8 will be automatically enrolled in Class Piano.

Please note: Class Piano in middle school is not intended to replace a private piano instructor, but rather to support the basic fundamentals and techniques used at all levels of good piano performance. Students whose piano skills are beyond the class level will be identified by the teacher during the first few weeks of school and given additional challenges within the class curriculum appropriate to their skill level.

English – Ms. Ann Kaufman

The objective of 8th grade English is to prepare students for high school level English. The majority of time will be spent on further strengthening writing, grammar, and punctuation skills. We will also work on reading competencies and literary analysis. ASA places a high level of importance on community and cooperation in learning. Discussion and participation skills will be taught, practiced, and assessed on an equal basis with the other academic language arts skills. An advanced English section is offered each year for qualifying students.

Social Studies – Ms. Emma Popish

8th Grade Social Studies is a cross-cultural exploration of themes of social injustice, human rights, and social movements. Students will incorporate prior foundational knowledge of government and revolution in order to analyze the motivations and reactions to social injustice across countries, cultures, and eras. Themes and topics may include: Persecution and Civil Rights, Contemporary Issues, World War II and the Holocaust, Genocide, Spanish Inquisition, Japanese Internment Camps, Propaganda.

Science – Mr. Derrick Ngo

Students participate in a hands-on, integrated Science course that focuses on the development of scientific reasoning skills. Using Matter and Energy as the central themes, students then apply these scientific reasoning skills in their investigation of Life and Physical Science.

Math – Ms. Dana Webb

In 8th grade, students build upon mathematical reasoning and proofs acquired in 7th grade. Students write formal explanations of how math works using definitions, theorems and symbols. Instructional time will focus on three critical areas: (1) Formulating and reasoning about expressions and equations, including modeling an association in bivariate data with a linear equation, and solving linear equations and systems of linear equations; (2) Grasping the concept of a function and using functions to describe quantitative relationships; (3) Analyzing two- and three-dimensional space and figures using distance, angle, similarity, and congruence, and understanding and applying the Pythagorean Theorem.

Accelerated students in 8th grade will be enrolled in Algebra 1. In Algebra 1 the foundations of mathematical reasoning and proof are introduced. Students will begin writing formal explanations of how math works using definitions, theorems and symbols. Instructional time will focus on five critical areas: (1) Relationships Between Quantities and Reasoning with Equations; (2) Linear and Exponential Relationships; (3) Descriptive Statistics; (4) Expressions and Equations; (5) Quadratic Functions and Modeling.

Life Skills – Ms. Elizabeth Kuhl

8th Grade Life Skills focuses on the application of good study and work skills; time management with long-term assignments; team building; leadership (participates in a mentoring experience); college and career exploration; dealing with peer pressure; and continuing to apply a plan for reaching goals and achieving excellence. One of the foundational structures in Life Skills is cooperative learning. Students work in teams to continue applying how to work with others collaboratively utilizing the unique strengths of one’s team members.

Piano – Ms. Dianne Cangelosi or Ms. Aiko Mancini

Class Piano instruction occurs during academic hours for middle school students. 5th grade students focus on basic fundamentals of piano, using the classroom piano book (included in the piano bundle) to practice applying these concepts. 6th grade students explore a wider range of the keyboard and build on the skills developed in 5th grade. 7th and 8th grade students explore practice strategies, musicianship skills, and ensemble playing. A piano or full-size keyboard with pedals at home is highly recommended. Students will be expected to practice outside of class time.
All students in grades 5-8 will be automatically enrolled in Class Piano.

Please note: Class Piano in middle school is not intended to replace a private piano instructor, but rather to support the basic fundamentals and techniques used at all levels of good piano performance. Students whose piano skills are beyond the class level will be identified by the teacher during the first few weeks of school and given additional challenges within the class curriculum appropriate to their skill level.