Curriculum

The middle school program meets the needs of children growing through years of intellectual and personal transition, combining structure and support with increasing academic challenge and independence.Students gradually move from self-contained classrooms to a fully departmental structure, in which they have different teachers for each subject. The curriculum focuses on skills critical to later academic success and reflects recent research on brain development. Children find many opportunities to explore emerging interests, strengthening their sense of individual identity and gaining experience in leadership roles.

ART

debhoffmanandlouis.jpg
The goals of these three years of studio art is to teach the formal skills of image making as well as to nurture the uniqueness and diversity of our studentsí growing aesthetics. Our program is set up sequentially, where students are introduced to concepts and appropriate skills in gradually increasing complexity.  Materials and technology are explored and integrated into various projects. Students learn appropriate art vocabulary and group critiques afford opportunity to hone critical skills and to embrace individual means of expression.   In addition, students learn art history by exploring how different artists have solved problems.  This required course meets once a week in grade 6, and four times a week for half the year in grades 7 and 8. READ MORE

 

ATHLETICS

In 6th grade, students may opt to play a sport in the fall and spring. In 7th and 8th grade sports are required for all children. They learn sportsmanship and teamwork and have fun in a nonacademic setting with their classmates and peers. In every season there is a non-competitive option available. READ MORE

CLASSICS

Latin I, an elective course, introduces students to the world of classical language and history. It focuses on developing student fluency in translation while grounding students in basic grammar,forms, and syntax. Students may opt for Latin as their primary language in 7th grade, which allows for more exposure to history,culture, and English vocabulary development in a two-year Latin I program, or choose a one-year intensive course in 8th grade as a two language option. READ MORE

ENGLISH

 

msenglish13.jpg
Students read, enjoy, and analyze short stories, novels, plays, epic poetry, and other poetic styles; many works are coordinated with their studies in history. From the spring of 6th grade onward, English becomes a departmentalized major. In expository writing, students begin with writing topic sentences, then paragraphs,and finally the formal essay. Grammar moves from usage and parts of speech through phrases, clauses and complex sentences. Each course also includes creative writing assignments. READ MORE

 

HISTORY

In 6th grade the course focuses on the meeting of cultures. Studies begin with the European Renaissance, turn to pre-Columbian America, and end with the European explorers. In the spring the 6th grade becomes departmentalized. 7th and 8th grade continues with a two-year American history course. The students develop research skills for oral reports and papers, work with primary sources, and develop their critical thinking. All courses coordinate with the English curriculum. READ MORE

INTERDISCIPLINARY STUDIES

The history and English curricula intersect in each of the three years. Students in the 6th grade read The Second Mrs. Giaconda in English, for example, while they study the Italian Renaissance. Other trips and projects cross several disciplines. The 7th grade, for example, takes a boat trip on the Delaware River on which they have a math project, visit Ft. Mifflin, and create a map for art. A Germantown research project serves as a springboard for Quakerism, English, and History. The 8th grade year ends with a media studies project, which also crosses disciplines.

MATHEMATICS

In 6th and 7th grades students consolidate their skills with fractions, decimals, and percents; they work with exponents,probability and ratios. 6th grade concludes with a departmentalized unit in geometry. 7th graders also learn some introductory algebra concepts, since the whole 8th grade takes Algebra I. The algebra course is taught at two levels, regular, and accelerated. READ MORE

MODERN LANGUAGE

Students may opt to take French or Spanish beginning in 7th grade. The Spanish and French courses develop student proficiency in speaking, listening, reading, and writing.Teachers conduct classes in the target language, so that the student’s experience simulates an immersion experience. The classes focus on the varied cultures of the Hispanic and Francophone worlds. READ MORE

MUSIC

 

msmusicacademics13.JPG
Music emphasizes both performance and classroom learning. At all levels, the students sing and perform for the rest of the school. In 6th and in 7th grade they also work with hand bells,recorders, xylophones, and percussion instruments. 7th grade has an additional focus on the elements of music theory, and 8th grade focuses more on music history and its context in various cultures.Student instrumentalists can choose to participate in the orchestra or jazz bands. In 8th grade students may also elect to sing in a choir. READ MORE

 

PHYSICAL EDUCATION

6th, 7th and 8th grade students participate in a wide variety of sport-related and movement activities with an emphasis on the refinement of individual skills and an understanding of basic sport strategies.  In 7th grade, students also take part in various group building, risk taking, and problem solving activities. 8th grade physical education has three separate components: a sports and activities class; sexuality education; and adventure education, which includes belaying, high ropes and/or rock climbing.  The Physical Education program complements the Athletic program. READ MORE

SCIENCE

The 6th grade science program begins with environmental science in correlation with a four-day camping trip. Studies then turn to human biology and physiology. In 7th grade students focus on physical science, exploring concepts of physical properties,chemical and physical changes, and atomic and molecular theory.The year ends with a unit on earth science. The 8th grade program is environmental science. All courses are lab-based and focus on the methods of scientific inquiry and experimentation. READ MORE

PROJECT TIME

Students in 7th and 8th grade also have Project Time once a week. 7th graders take Quakerism for one trimester. For the other two trimesters, they choose a community involvement project, such as working with nursery children at the Boys and Girls Club, or learning about deaf culture at the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf, and an activity like drama, woodshop, or photography. The 8th grade prepares and performs a musical review each winter; students may choose an activity for fall and spring.

TECHNOLOGY

Students use computers as a tool to enhance their learning in other subjects. 6th grade students have computer once a week, which is coordinated with their English and history curricula;they learn the basics of databases, work with spreadsheets and word processing, designing web-page, use presentation software and learn to create and manipulate images. 7th and 8th grade students continue to master applications through their work in all the various disciplines. Internet researching skills, for example, are taught through their history research projects, spreadsheets and graphs during a math project, digital imagery through art and English class, etc. READ MORE

BUDDING MICHELANGELOS

michelangelo16.jpg

Sixth Graders learn about the painting of the Sistine Chapel.