It approaches Languages Arts as part of an integrated Humanities course. Students are taught vocabulary, comprehension, phonemic awareness, handwriting, spelling, reading, study skills, writing, grammar, speaking, and listening skills. These components will be addressed using the primary sources in social studies, short stories, poetry, and novels. Vocabulary lessons are taught weekly and may include challenging words.
Students will be exposed to a variety of writing forms that include expressive, imaginative, analytical, informative, and persuasive writing. They are challenged to produce an excellent product. Fifth graders continue to use the writing process throughout the year. Students will master writing well-organized, five-paragraph structure essays that include a variety of sentence structures and a rich and varied vocabulary.
The English program has been designed to prepare students for complex studies of literature in high school. The fundamentals of reading comprehension and written expression are accentuated, with special attention paid to developing the formal essay. An emphasis is placed on symbolism and analysis of text. The ability to do close reading of literary writings is stressed throughout the year. Opportunities for creative writing are provided through the use of varied writing compositions including the writing of short stories and poetry. A wide range of topics is covered over the next three years. The reading curriculum represents a variety of genres and interests. This year’s reading list invites the students to learn from social conflicts, tragedy, the art of survival, and overcoming obstacles. In addition to the Wordly Wise vocabulary workbook, much of the vocabulary studied is taken straight from our novels. This will help them to have a greater understanding of the material they will be reading.
The following four broad goals summarize the aims of the course:
A. To help students become more perceptive and skilled readers.
B. To develop fluent and proficient written expression.
C. To foster critical and conceptual thinking skills.
D. To cultivate an awareness of the beauty and value of writing and literature.
Sixth Grade English
This year students will be using a workshop model for writing. This model is geared toward helping students to try new strategies in their writing and pushes them to write across a variety of genres. In addition, it will help them deepen their understanding of the writing process and skills they learned in fifth grade. In reading we will be reading novels and deepening our understanding of story elements, especially in the area of themes.
Seventh Grade Honors English
The Seventh Grade Honors English Class is designed to give students who excel in English the opportunity to develop their skills and be challenged by course material. They will be taking the Eighth-Grade curriculum, with attention given to broadening their world views and strengthening their writing. In addition to writing skills, students will experience timeless classic novels that will challenge and engage them to prepare them for a more rigorous High School Curriculum.
Eighth Grade English
Eighth Grade ELA is designed to prepare students for High School. In addition to reading timeless classics, students will work on their writing and vocabulary skills. They will write, edit, close read, and research. These fundamental skills are enhanced and focused on throughout the year, which will prepare them for their final Capstone project.
Students become proficient in using non-negative rational numbers to solve problems. They apply previously learned procedures to measure a variety of geometric figures and to collect, organize, and analyze data. Students solve problems involving area and perimeter and further develop algebraic sense through writing and interpreting numerical expressions and open sentences. The concept of volume, as well as relating volume to multiplication and addition, is taught through geometric measurement. Students also learn to graph points on a coordinate plane to solve real-world and abstract problems.
Students will deepen their understanding of decimals and fractions by using different operations to solve problems. They will expand their knowledge of fractions by using them to create and understand ratios and proportions. They will also continue using the order of operations, adding exponents to this process. Students will expand their knowledge of rational numbers with the introduction of negative numbers. They examine the concepts of volume, area and surface area, as well as learning to convert measurements. Students begin to analyze and interpret statistical data.
Students complete their development of the rational number system with the inclusion
of negative decimals and fractions. They are expected to be fluent with all operations on non-negative rational numbers, as well as being proficient with addition and subtraction of all rational numbers. The concepts of proportional reasoning and similarity will be used to solve problems. Students will explore percentage in real-world applications. Students will also locate points in any of the four quadrants on the coordinate plane and translate linear relationships in table, graph, and equation forms. Students extend their understanding of probability into multiple events. Algebraic sense also develops as students solve two-step equations in one variable.
Students will become proficient in computation with all rational numbers and use proportions to solve a variety of problems. They will understand the need for precision when measuring and use derived units of measure. Students will understand the concept of distance and the relationship between distance and the Pythagorean Theorem. They will recognize three-dimensional shapes represented in two-dimensional drawings and apply transformations to geometric shapes in the coordinate plane. Eighth graders find probability of compound events and analyze bivariate data sets. They also understand recursive forms of linear and exponential relationships and solve two-step equations and inequalities.
The Junior High School Honors Math Program is designed to give students who excel in math the opportunity to develop their skills and be challenged by course material. In the Sixth Grade, students take the Seventh-Grade math course, with attention given to covering the skills needed to bridge the gap between the Fifth and Seventh Grade curricula.
The first half of the year is devoted to Algebra. To ensure mastery, a review of decimals and the place value chart is given. Students then explore negative and positive integers and rational and irrational numbers. They learn order of operations, how to write and evaluate variable expressions, and how to simplify and solve multi-step algebraic equations and inequalities. They also cover scientific notation, exponents with positive and negative bases, and negative exponents.
In the second half of the year, students delve into the relationship between decimals and fractions, and learn how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide negative and positive fractions. A unit on Coordinate Geometry follows, where students work with equations with two variables, and graph linear equations and rigid motions. The year ends with a unit on Geometry, where they explore square roots, Pythagorean Theorem, angle measurements, and pairs of angles.
This is a Pre-Algebra course and is designed to prepare students for Algebra 1.It builds on many of the previous course’s topics and advances them much further.
Students begin the year by exploring and learning to find the area and volume of various figures. Students then delve into translating word phrases into variable expressions, creating legends, and eventually solving word problems. They explore the properties of numbers and simplify and solve multi-step algebraic equations and inequalities with fractions and decimals.
They learn ratios, proportions, and percent, and work on becoming fluent in converting between decimals, fractions, and percent. They also explore beginning probability, and do more advanced work with scientific notation and multiplying and dividing exponents.
In the second half of the year, students explore and learn how to simplify, add, subtract, multiply, and divide fractions with variables. They also learn how to solve equations with variables on both sides of the equal sign and how to work with literal equations.
A unit on functions and graphing follows, where students learn function notation, how to transform linear equations from mx+b form into standard form, how to graph functions, and how to tell if a relation is a function. They identify and explain the relationship between the domain and range and discover how to write a rule for a linear function from both a table and a graph. Students also learn how to graph linear inequalities on the coordinate plane.
The year concludes with learning how to add, subtract, and multiply polynomials, and how to factor and find the roots of quadratic expressions.
Students take the 9th Grade Algebra 1 Common Core Regents course, with the goal of passing the Algebra 1 Regents at the end of Eighth Grade. This course incorporates the use of an eTextbook and a graphing calculator.
The year is broken down into four overall units:
1. The Relationship Between Quantities and Reasoning with Equations and Their Graphs, which entails working with functions, solving equations and inequalities, and creating equations and inequalities to solve word problems.
2. Linear and Exponential Functions, which covers sequences, graphing, transformation of functions, and using functions and graphs to solve problems.
3. Polynomial and Quadratic Expressions, Equations, and Functions, which delves into quadratic expressions, using different forms for quadratic functions, and function transformations and modeling.
4. Descriptive Statistics, which encompasses working with univariate and bivariate data.
Particular attention is paid to the development of understanding the language needed to dissect a question, and how to explain and justify how a problem is solved.
This general science course introduces the major concepts that will be studied in greater depth in Junior High School. In the Fifth grade, students will learn about the following topics: Ecosystems, The Water Cycle, The Solar System and Chemical Reactions/Properties of Matter. In the Ecosystems unit, students explore how organisms depend on one another and form an interconnected ecosystem. They will investigate food chains/food webs and the importance of producers/consumers and decomposers. In the Solar System unit, students explore the Earth, Sun, Moon and stars using observations of shadows and changing patterns in the sky. They will also explore planets in our Solar System and begin to consider what might lie beyond. In the Water Cycle unit, students investigate the distribution of water, how it cycles through the Earth’s system and explore how it effects of human societies. Lastly in the Chemical Reaction unit, students investigate the properties of matter by dissolving everyday chemicals to make solutions and by exploring simple yet surprising chemical reactions. Through these investigations, students begin to build conceptual models for the particulate nature of matter.
In the Sixth grade, the students are introduced to the Earth as a system within the solar system. Students are introduced to the planets in the solar system and consider them in the context of their distance from the Sun and their size and composition.
This course continues with a study of plate tectonics. Students will study earthquakes, including forces in the Earth’s crust, seismic waves, and how earthquakes are monitored. They learn about the Earth’s layers, their composition, and how the Earth’s subsurface processes affect its surface features. Students learn about the properties and identification of minerals, different types of rocks, and the rock cycle.
The year concludes by studying human impact on the environment and how the use of natural resources can impact the environment.
In the Seventh grade, students study Life Science, including human body systems, an introduction to cells and heredity, and the diversity of life.
Students will learn how we can promote the growth and development of plants and animals, and how changes in ecosystems affect interacting relationships among organisms in an area.
The year will conclude with of evidence of common ancestry and diversity and changes in organisms over time.
In their final year of Science at LES, eighth graders will focus on Physical Science. Students will learn and be able to describe how chemical reactions can be used to describe the law of conservation of mass, how the transfer of thermal energy affects different types of matter, and how forces impact motion in our daily lives.
At the end of the year, we will focus on potential and kinetic energy as well as energy transfer in temperature. Students will be able to answer questions about how kinetic and potential energy interact in a system and how to maximize thermal energy transfer in a system.
The fifth grade will spend the year discussing the theme of “Freedom” in United States history. What does it mean to be free? What have people throughout our history been willing to do to attain freedom, and protect it? Building upon their course work in the fourth grade, the course will begin with the relationship between Native Americans and westward expansion. Units of study will also include slavery and the Civil War; women’s suffrage; World War II and the Holocaust; and the Civil Rights Movement.
Sixth Grade approaches Social Studies as part of an integrated Humanities course. Students will study of Ancient Civilizations and the influence they have on modern times. As they learn about the Sumerians, Egyptians, Assyrians, Chaldeans, and Persians, we focus on many of the same themes and questions: How did geography influence their culture; what were their contributions to modern day architecture, engineering, and science; what was the role of religion and government; and how did their military support their efforts?
Their study of Greece and Rome dominates the second half of the year. They continue with the same themes and questions but spend additional time studying cultural contributions as they expand to language development, art, poetry, science, philosophy, and law.
Seventh & Eighth Grade
Through the use of historical reenactments, mock trials, simulations, field trips, and primary source document analysis, students learn about the most important events and movements throughout American history through the eyes of everyday Americans. Students are encouraged to think critically and understand the context of historical events by comparing multiple perspectives-European explorers and Native Americans; colonists and the British government; farmers and merchants; city dwellers and pioneers. Students are introduced to overarching themes that run throughout history and connect different historical events, moving beyond the “what?” and “when?” of history, to a greater understand of “how?” and “why?”
Grade 7 Social Studies begins with Columbus’ journeys that led up to colonial settlement. Students study the changing relationships with the colonies and England, setting the stage for the Revolutionary War. We will focus on the important battles of the war that establish a new nation and all the hardships that ensued. We familiarize ourselves with how a young inexperienced government runs a growing nation with vast regional differences. While focusing on themes of division and compromise, we set the stage for the Civil War.All of the above is achieved and learned by mock trials, battle reenactments, simulations, field trips and studying primary source documents.
Eighth grade begins with discussing the founding of our nation. Students analyze the precedents set by our founding fathers as we examine the aftermath of the Revolutionary War, and set the stage for the War of 1812 and later, the American Civil War. During our study of the Civil War, students dive into the lives of both soldiers and everyday citizens to gain a deep understanding of what life was like in both the North and the South. We explore the question, “How do you heal a wounded nation?” when learning about Reconstruction, and debate whether it was a success or a failure in accomplishing many different goals. Students get the opportunity to be a “guest lecturer”, studying an aspect of post- Civil War expansion and preparing a lesson for their classmates, working on important research and presentation skills. We explore the significant changes in our country through expansion and industrialization, laying the foundation for America looking outward to expansion overseas, and WWI. We discuss the economic growth and challenges of the Roaring 20s, and the Great Depression, and then investigate the underlying causes of WWII, highlighting American experiences throughout the War, and laying a foundation for a study of post-War America.
The year ends with a Capstone project, an interdisciplinary research project. Students choose their own research question, based on a book read by the Class in Language Arts, to investigate, gathering and synthesizing information and writing a research report. Working with an advisor, students learn how to evaluate sources, synthesize information, write a research report, and create a PowerPoint presentation to share their findings with their classmates and faculty, in an engaging presentation.
Past topics have included:
- Production and consumption
- Book: The Omnivore’s Dilemma
- How have the lessons of WWII impacted the world today?
- Book: The Good War
- The causes, effects, and aftermath of The Civil Rights Movement.
- Book: Just Mercy
- The Impact of Immigration in the World Today.
- Book: The Far Away Brothers: Two Young Migrants and the Making of an American Life
The overall theme of the Sixth-Grade religion course is God’s Love in Our World.Through art, music, classroom discussions, and the reading of Bible passages, students explore the role God plays in their lives and that everyone, regardless of circumstance, is precious to God. Students’ complete homework assignments and create art projects that explore and deepen their own personal relationship with God and reinforce the concept that nothing can separate them from God’s love.
With the knowledge that God loves them unconditionally, students explore what it means to live a meaningful human life. They delve into concepts such as being peacemakers, spreading God’s love, and dealing with the conflicts that inevitably arise in their daily lives.
Students also acquire an understanding of the historical events and cultural norms that contributed to the events of the Bible.They read in detail about the birth, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus and see how societal factors influenced the circumstances of Christ’s life. They further discuss what impact Jesus’ life has on their own.
The Seventh Grade religion course furthers explores the role of God in the life of a child in the 21st Century. Students begin by exploring who God is—their Creator, Protector, Loving Parent, Helper, and Shepherd. Through Biblical and contemporary stories, music, art projects, and writing, they then examine where God is in their lives and explore the concept that God has no limitations. They also study God’s promises, with a particular emphasis on the fact that He has a plan for their future.
Students delve into Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and analyze what this says about their own behavior today. They also follow the Acts of the Apostles after Jesus’ resurrection and discover how the Holy Spirit transformed ordinary men into extraordinary leaders and teachers. Students then question and explore how God can affect change in their own lives. Through discussions of current events, they also examine the role of God in the world around them.
Before Christmas, the concept of The Trinity (God The Father, God The Son, and God The Holy Spirit) is introduced. With a new understanding that God Himself was born in a stable, students read the complete Christmas story. They spend time focusing on all the modern-day symbols and music of Christmas and discover the religious significance of the decorations that adorn their homes.
Similarly, later in the year they read the events of Holy Week with the new understanding that it was God who died and rose for them. They also analyze all the contemporary symbols of Easter.
The year ends with a unit on prayer, where a study of The Lord’s Prayer culminates with students translating it into modern, kid-friendly language. They discuss God’s answers to prayer, how to hear and understand His answers, and how to see prayer at work in their own lives. They are encouraged to branch out and understand that there are multiple ways to pray, and that prayer does not have to be “boring” (or even involve words!).
Eighth Grade: Christian Living
The goal of the Eighth-Grade religion course is to develop in our students a sense of what it means to live their lives faithfully. Religion cannot be just stories and concepts from sacred scripture written 2,000 to 4,000 years ago. Our Christian faith needs to be lived daily and our journey through life becomes fulfilling when we are being guided by our faith. Our relationships with God and each other will be positive when our faith is applied to our real-life experiences.
The curriculum for the course is flexible. We begin by getting feedback from our students with respect to what is important to them and what is a concern for them. The lessons address these concepts and issues. We learn the difference between a debate and a discussion, and it is made clear that our class time will involve discussions, not debates. We listen to one another and learn to value each other’s opinions. There is no win/lose. The objective is growth in our faith traditions and our journey through life with God.
Students will be responsible for both in class assignments and homework that will prompt them to think about biblical concepts and apply them to their everyday life. The focus is not on intense research, but rather on assisting the students to make a practical connection between God’s guidance in scripture and the decisions we make every day.
Comparative religion is a major section in our curriculum. We study four of the world’s major religions (Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, Christianity) and discuss how each deals with significant issues such as war and peacemaking; equality between men and women; the Afterlife; social injustice; and attitudes towards other religions. The students work in groups to research and present these various issues for each religion. Each issue discussed ends with a summary of the similarities and differences between the religions and conclusions with respect to how we should live faithfully. The year concludes with a discussion regarding what topics were most meaningful to each of the students and what we learned that truly helped us to live our lives faithfully.
New this year, Spanish is a graded class, taking into consideration the following:
- Tests: at the end of each unit seen in the textbook an exam will be applied. Before the exam there will be a review of the chapter in class and the preparation for the exam.
The student should be able to understand the following parts in the exam:
- -interpretive (escuchar/to listen)
- -interpersonal (hablar/to talk)
- -interpretive (leer/to read)
- -presentational (escribir/to write)
- -cultures/comparison (comparer culturas/compare cultures)
- Homework: Most written/artistic work will be completed in the classroom. However, some unfinished work may need to be completed for homework. Homework assignments expected to be completed for the next class.
- Effort and participation: Spanish class takes place three times a week for 45-minute blocks of time.Spanish is taught in an interactive, authentic, audio-visual way that completely engages the students in the learning of foreign languages.The primary reason we learn another language is so that we can communicate with others; therefor the students need to be active and engaged learners.
Also, for a better understanding of Spanish I would like to include technology by using free applications such as:
- Duolingo App
- ConjuGato App
- Spotify App
- Autentico App (from the textbook)
- Google Art and Culture App
As an addition, LES is incorporating Spanish as a second language to fifth grade. Fifth grade is the transition year from elementary to middle school Spanish. The focus of our language curriculum remains in the knowledge of the Spanish Language (writing, grammar, oral and comprehension components) as well as the culture of Latin American Countries and Spain. Reading and writing activities are used frequently in order to properly prepare students for middle school next year. In order to eventually become fluent in a language it is important that these skill levels be attained and practiced. Spanish classes will be held two times a week. Fifth grade Spanish is a pass/fail class, taking into consideration the following:
Respect in the classroom: We are all learners of language in the classroom. A safe environment in the classes that encourages students to express themselves in Spanish. Spanish is a supportive, collaborative and engaging class.
Homework: Most written/artistic work we will try to complete in the classroom. However, some unfinished work may need to be completed for homework. Homework assignments are to be completed promptly.
Effort and Participation: Spanish class takes place two times a week for 45-minute blocks of time. Spanish is taught in an interactive, authentic, audio-visual way that completely engages the students in their learning of foreign languages. The primary reason we learn another language is so that we can communicate with others; therefore, the students need to be active and engaged learners.
Grades (pass/fail): Student performance is based on the following: homework, participation, effort, oral and written work, respect for the class and students. Each of these areas is modeled throughout the school year so that students have a clear understanding of how they can achieve success in Spanish. Consistency, support and respect is the foundation of strong growth in the knowledge and understanding of the Spanish language for students.
Also, for a better understanding of Spanish I would like to include technology by using free applications such as:
- Duolingo App
- ConjuGato App
- Spotify App
- Autentico App (from the textbook)
- Google Art and Culture App
Fifth grade students will learn the fundamentals of performing in a percussion ensemble. Students will continue learning to read and perform more difficult rhythms with contrasting parts. They will learn about contemporary and classical music in addition to all the things a true percussion ensemble can accomplish, from complex chamber music to bombastic show stopping drumline cadences performed commonly at football games.
The Senior Choir is voluntary and is open to students in Grades 6 – 8 who want to fine-tune their musical abilities.The focus shifts to developing individual skills—proper breathing, posture, mouth position, and diction.Students learn to sing in small groups to develop two- and three-part harmony. The Senior Choir performs multiple times during the year, at Chapel Services during holidays and for special events.The year culminates with The Musicale, where they perform multiple songs from a variety of genres. This is a mandatory performance.
Fourth and Fifth Grade students are part of The Junior Choir, where they are introduced to the skills needed for group performances. They learn diction, how to follow a conductor, and how to blend together as a group. They also learn how to work with the Senior Choir to create harmony. The Junior Choir performs multiple times during the year, at Chapel Services during holidays and for special events. The year culminates with The Musicale, where they perform songs from different genres. This is a mandatory performance.
Students will continue to explore traditional media of colored pencils, crayons, markers, and paint. They will study different styles of art, based on various artists. In addition, they will be introduced to string art in the forms of lanyard, cross stitch, and embroidery. Students will understand that art can be created in many forms and learn how to combine different media to create one piece of art.