Southern Middle School
Curriculum Guide 2023-2024
In this course, students practice reading, writing, speaking,and listening skills.. Students read works of literature, strengthen writing skills, learn new vocabulary words, and practice grammar in this student-centered, technology-enhanced course. Students work on their analytical and inferencing skills as they examine fictional and nonfiction readings. Grammar topics cover more advanced parts of speech, sentence structure, and common grammatical errors. Other skills addressed involve speaking in a group setting. Writing instruction in this course focuses on the components of writing effectively for the purposes of argumentative essays, expository essays, and text-dependent analyses.
This course increases the student's writing abilities to include paragraph, essay, and text dependent analysis development in all modes of writing. Grammar, usage, conventions, and organization are reviewed as part of the writing unit. In addition, there are weekly vocabulary units, and literature units that focus on the literary elements. Literature units will focus on fiction stories, non-fiction stories, dramas and novels. Additionally, students will experience the research process during the second half of the school year.
LANGUAGE INSTRUCTION EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM (LIEP)
Language Instruction Educational Program (LIEP), previously known as English as a second language (ESL), is its own content area. The course focuses on meaningful and contextualized language learning. The curriculum is designed to develop the English language proficiency of English Learners (ELs) so that they are able to use English in social and academic settings and access challenging academic standards. This course involves teaching listening, speaking, reading, and writing at appropriate developmental and proficiency levels with little or no use of the native language.
Health and Physical Education
Health 7 introduces students to foundational health concepts and provides opportunities to practice health skills that can lead to wellness-enhancing behaviors in the areas of mental, social, emotional, and physical health; introduction to physical fitness and nutrition concepts; basic first aid; the effects of alcohol, tobacco products, and other drugs can have on overall health and wellness; provide resources and tools to encourage good consumer health. Students are involved in a variety of skills-based activities to reinforce a healthy life-style.
Health 8 explores the following topics: developing positive mental health habits, facilitating healthy relationships, emotional regulation through the utilization of proper coping strategies, maintenance of body systems; substance use/abuse and their impact on the individual and their family/relationships, human development, core fitness concepts, nutrition and its impact on wellness, disease prevention and treatment, and basic first aid. Students are involved in a variety of skills-based activities to reinforce a healthy life-style.
PHYSICAL EDUCATION 7 and 8
Physical Education 7 and 8 fosters student growth and development in the areas of motor skills and movement patterns, movement concepts and performance, physical fitness, cooperative skills and positive behavior, value of physical activity, emotional control and sportsmanship. Physical Education increases the awareness of the necessity of lifetime personal fitness and the impact that daily physical activity has on individual and community well-being. Students participate in team activities as well as personal fitness activities to provide them with a broad understanding of the various options available to them for managing personal wellness.
This is a pre-algebra course that covers topics in the 7th Grade Pennsylvania Core Standards. These topics include the number system, ratios and proportional relationships, expressions and equations, geometry, and statistics and probability. This course will prepare students to either take Algebra (Grade 8) or MATH 8 during their 8th grade year.
MATH 8 (Grade 8)
Math 8 is an eighth grade course designed to prepare students for a rigorous college preparatory algebra. The lessons in the course meet all of the content standards and embed the “Mathematical Practices” of the Common Core State Standards. The concepts covered include: problem solving, simplifying expressions, linear equations and systems of equations, transformations, similarity, exponents, functions, bivariate data, Pythagorean Theorem, and volume.
ALGEBRA (Grade 7 or Grade 8)
Algebra is the foundation for all further math courses. Topics include: graphing and interpreting data, linear equations and systems of equations, inequalities and systems of inequalities, quadratics, factoring, bivariate date, and probability. This course replaces Math 7 in grade 7 and Math 8 in grade 8. It is a rigorous, high school level course and is contingent on teacher recommendation and student achievement. Students who successfully complete this course will receive one high school ELECTIVE credit.
GEOMETRY (Grade 8)
Students will explore topics including intuitive and deductive reasoning; properties of lines, angles, polygons, circles; parallel lines; congruency; indirect proof; ratio; and proportion with similar polygons and solids. The class moves at an accelerated pace and requires students to apply and expand on concepts covered in Algebra 1. This course is designed to prepare students for Honors Level Math Courses in the High School. Students must successfully complete Algebra 1. The course is considered a rigorous, high school level course and is contingent on teacher recommendation and student achievement. Students who successfully complete this course will receive one high school MATH credit.
Music- General and Performing Music Programs
GENERAL MUSIC 7
The purpose of the class is to expose and involve students in a wide variety of musical activities, which include direct listening, performing, and composing. This involvement provides skills and insights to give students an ability to understand, react to, and evaluate the music they hear daily. A number of assessment and teaching styles are employed. Students have the opportunity to experience and use various learning strategies to understand the place music occupies in American culture.
Middle School Band is a continuation of the Elementary Band program in that it continues to develop skills previously learned. Additional performance concepts are systematically taught while individual musicality is fostered. Sectional rehearsals are an adjunct of the program. As in the elementary program, students are scheduled for a sectional every cycle. The 7th and 8th Grade Band participates in three evening performances a year: Band Night, Winter Concert, and Spring Concert.
CONCERT CHOIR 7/8
Concert Choir is a class in which students will learn and develop healthy vocal technique, increase knowledge in music theory, and learn a wide variety of choral repertoire (songs). Concert Choir is open to any student in Southern Middle School that enjoys singing or is curious about using their voice to make music. Students in Concert Choir must attend one sectional (approx. 20 minutes) per cycle on a rotating period basis. Active participation in daily rehearsals and attendance at all performances, as published in the Secondary Choral Handbook (distributed at the start of each school year to all students enrolled in the class), is required.
Orchestra at SMS is a continuation of the instrumental learning process from elementary school. Orchestra meets each day of the six-day cycle. During class, instruction focuses specifically on bowed string technique and ensemble playing in a group setting. Students learn concepts such as music history, music theory, musical vocabulary and musical expression. As part of the orchestra, students will perform in at least 4 concerts each school year. In addition to attending orchestra class, students are required to attend sectionals. Sectionals, much like elementary lessons, are also a large part of the SMS orchestra experience. The students are required to attend sectionals on a regular basis. Sectionals provide individualized instruction to each student so that they can progress through the orchestra program. Along with orchestra and sectional participation, students will be assessed by means of playing tests, smart music assignments, rhythm assessments, and written work throughout each marking period. The orchestra performs concerts that are scheduled during evenings. Attendance at all performances and rehearsals is mandatory.
MUSIC PERFORMANCE Band/Concert Choir (BC)
Students who are in both the band and the choir should register for this course. Please see the descriptions for Band 7/8 and Concert Choir for details on the individual courses.
MUSIC PERFORMANCE Band and Orchestra (BO)
Students who are in both the band and the orchestra should register for this course. Please see the descriptions for Band 7/8 and Orchestra 7/8 for details on the individual courses.
MUSIC PERFORMANCE Concert Choir and Orchestra (CO)
Students who are in both the choir and the orchestra should register for this course. Please see the descriptions for Concert Choir and Orchestra 7/8 for details on the individual courses.
MUSIC PERFORMANCE Band/Orchestra and Choir (BOC)
Students who are in all three music ensembles (band, choir, and orchestra) should register for this course. Please see the descriptions for Band 7/8, Orchestra ⅞, and Concert Choir for details on the individual courses.
BAND, Marching Band (8th Grade Only)
This is the band course for all woodwind, brass, and percussion students who have an interest in performing in the marching band. A visual and musical performing ensemble that consists of students who have an interest in performing music with choreography on a wind or percussion instrument. Its purpose is to develop and maintain an organization of sufficient skills and proper balance of instruments to play a variety of works for marching band; to supply music for school and community events; to afford its members the pleasure of performing with a group; and to provide practical experiences for those students who wish to participate in musical organizations in the school and the community. These students are required to attend all performances, rehearsals, including those outside the school day, such as band camp, football games and competitions. Membership as a woodwind, brass, or percussion player in a band is on an audition or teacher recommended basis. Performances and rehearsals are scheduled during evenings and/or weekends. Attendance at all rehearsals and performances is mandatory/required.
BAND, Color Guard (8th Grade Only)
A visual and musical performing ensemble that consists of students who have an interest in performing music with choreography. Color Guard is part of the marching band and performs with flags, sabers, and other visual equipment. Performances include all marching band events. Students interested in this who also play a band instrument should schedule “Band, Marching Band.” Performances and rehearsals are scheduled during evenings and/or weekends. Attendance at all rehearsals and performances is mandatory/required.
ART (7th-8th Grade)
Students will explore different art mediums and techniques in 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional formats. They will understand the elements of art and how to apply them to their own work as well as learn about different artists around the world. Students will have the opportunity to work with materials such as clay, paint, pencils, etc. to produce authentic, original art they can be proud of. Students will participate in class critiques where they will be given feedback from peers on their artwork. In this course students will debate on their own view of what is art.
DIGITAL LITERACY (7th Grade)
Students will learn how to effectively leverage the capabilities and features of the three core Google applications: Docs, Sheets and Slides. The focus will be on applying knowledge to increase productivity when using the Google Platform.
DIGITAL LITERACY (8th Grade)
Students are introduced to the field of computer science and the concepts of computational thinking, through the creation of mobile apps. Students are challenged to be creative and innovative, as they collaboratively design and develop mobile solutions to engaging, authentic problems. Students experience the positive impact of the application of computer science to society as well as to other disciplines, particularly biomedical science. The unit provides students opportunities for self-expression. Teams identify a personal or community problem of interest to them that can be solved with a mobile app solution. The problem can address issues such as health and wellness, the environment, school culture, emergency preparedness, education, community service—the options are endless.
ENGINEERING BY DESIGN (EBD): 7th Grade - "Designing and Modeling”
Students discover the design process and develop an understanding of the influence of creativity and innovation in their lives. They are then challenged and empowered to use and apply what they’ve learned throughout the unit to design a candy dispenser. Students will learn about the various approaches to solving problems, including engineering design and experimentation while applying this knowledge through hands-on activities.
ENGINEERING BY DESIGN (EBD): 8th Grade - "Technological Systems"
This course provides students with an understanding of how technological systems work together to solve problems and capture opportunities. A system can be as small as two components working together or contain millions of interacting parts. Students learn how to break these systems down into sub-systems to better understand the overall system. Students explore different types of systems but concentrate on the connections between them while applying this knowledge through hands-on activities dealing with systems and subsystems.
FAMILY AND CONSUMER SCIENCES (7th-8th Grade)
The Academic Standards for Family and Consumer Sciences focuses on the practical problems that individuals and families encounter in everyday life. FCS classes help the student identify, evaluate, and create alternative solutions to manage these problems. Seventh Grade curriculum covers: Decisions and Goals, Consumerism, Basic Nutrition and Food Choices, Food Preparation, Textile Construction/Application. and Social Development/Interaction. The Eighth Grade curriculum consists of: Personal Leadership, Living Environments, Food Choices, Food Preparation, and Consumerism. Classroom experiences allow students to develop the knowledge and skills needed in making choices to meet their personal, family, and work goals.
EARTH SCIENCE 7
This course gives students an introduction to principles of the Earth Sciences as well as the nature of scientific study. Students explore issues related to the Earth’s place in the universe, its atmosphere, oceans and physical geology. Students examine how these topics relate to mankind on both the local and global scales.
LIFE SCIENCE 8
This course gives the students an inquiry-based life science curriculum where students generate ideas, make observations, test ideas, gather evidence, carry out investigations, and communicate with one another. Topics of study include the nature of science, the characteristics and needs of living things, cell theory, genetics, plant science, classification, evolution / natural selection / adaptation, and ecology. Labs may require additional work and analysis. Projects may have a stronger emphasis on a written demonstration of understanding.
SOCIAL STUDIES 7
In this course, students study the world’s major civilizations and regions. The major thematic strands within the subject include history, geography, government, economic, and culture/belief systems. This course engages students in the study of the ancient world and the Renaissance as well as analyzes how those civilizations impact our world today. It provides students the opportunity to develop an understanding of the factors that affect the rise and fall of civilizations. Students learn about these civilizations through collaborative and internet-based activities, reading assignments, independent library research, and project-based learning experiences. Students develop higher-level historical thinking skills and become more independent, creative, and analytical through an exploration of topics and key concepts. The course provides students the opportunity to challenge themselves with projects that match their learning styles and interests.
SOCIAL STUDIES 8
This course covers United States History (1400 - 1865), the Native American period to the conclusion of the American Civil War. Domestic policy and history of major political, economic and social events are examined in this course. At the conclusion of this course, students will have a better understanding of the events and forces that have created the political, economic, and social institutions of our nation. There are reading, writing, and research assignments. These assignments allow students to develop higher-level thinking skills and become more independent, creative, and analytical through an exploration of topics and key concepts.
EXPLORATORY WORLD LANGUAGE
An introduction to the French, Latin and Spanish languages and cultures. Students examine each language and analyze unique customs. Students will explore the following for each language: alphabet, numbers, colors, greetings, simple phrases, and other beginner vocabulary.
FRENCH I (8TH GR ONLY)
French I students begin their exploration of the French language through immersion in the language. Students learn the structure and vocabulary through reading and speaking the language. Many social and cultural experiences accompany the coursework to further integrate the overall understanding of the language. Students receive a high school elective credit for successful completion of this course. This credit may not count as college admission requirements regarding two years of a world language. Students should plan on taking 2 years of a world language at the high school to satisfy this requirement. Students taking a world language course at the middle school should be those planning on taking level 4 and 5 of the language.
LATIN I (8TH GR ONLY)
Latin I students are introduced to the Latin language by developing the foundation of the language through vocabulary and sentence structure. Students begin basic translations and simple paragraph formation. Connections to the English language are emphasized and reinforced. Students also learn about daily life in ancient Roman times, Roman religion and festivals, as well as the Roman gods and goddesses. Students receive a high school elective credit for successful completion of this course. This credit may not count as college admission requirements regarding two years of a world language. Students should plan on taking 2 years of a world language at the high school to satisfy this requirement. Students taking a world language course at the middle school should be those planning on taking level 4 of the language.
SPANISH I (8TH GR ONLY)
Spanish I is designed to develop the key foundational elements for speaking the language. Students will spend significant time learning the vocabulary and sentence structure of the Spanish language. Simple conversation will be incorporated throughout the year. Elements of culture and connections to the English language will be explored and emphasized. Students receive a high school elective credit for successful completion of this course. This credit may not count as college admission requirements regarding two years of a world language. Students should plan on taking 2 years of a world language at the high school to satisfy this requirement. Students taking a world language course at the middle school should be those planning on taking level 4 and 5 of the language.
Any schedule change after the beginning of the school year would be granted as a result of school error or an incomplete schedule or with a doctor’s note. Administrative approval may be needed.
Schedule changes must meet the following criteria:
1. The schedule change will not overload any class sections
2. Parent permission is required
3. The following types of changes cannot be made:
Change of lunch period
Request for a specific teacher
Change of course from one period to another
Request for a course for which the student does not have the prerequisite
High School Credits Earned During Middle School
Students who pass Algebra 1, Spanish 1, Latin 1, and/or French 1 while attending middle school will receive a high school elective credit for successfully completing the course. The course, credit, and final grade will be listed on the students’ high school transcripts, but will not be factored into the students’ cumulative grade point averages. Students who pass Geometry while attending middle school will receive a high school math credit. The course, credit, and final grade will be listed on the students’ high school transcript, but will not be factored into the students’ cumulative grade point averages. Any course beyond Geometry or the first level of a World Language taken while at Southern Middle School will be listed on the students’ high school transcript. The student will receive a high school credit in that subject area. The high school course’s weight will be applied and the course will be factored into the students’ cumulative grade point averages. Credit will only be given for courses taken at other schools, including middle schools, if that school awarded the student credit.