• Southern Middle School
    Curriculum Guide
    2018-2019

    English
    ENGLISH 7 Academic
    In Academic English 7​, students practice reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills while highlighting topics
    such as the Middle Ages and mythology. Students read works of literature, strengthen writing skills, learn new
    vocabulary words from Greek and Latin roots, and practice grammar in this student-centered,
    technology-enhanced course. Grammar topics cover parts of speech, sentence structure, and common
    grammatical errors. Other skills addressed involve argumentative writing, tracing archetypes in literature, and
    speaking in a group setting. All students are required to read 25 minutes each night. In this course, writing
    instruction covers the foundation for strong paragraphs, parts of an essay, and text-dependent analyses.


    ENGLISH 7​ Accelerated
    In Accelerated English 7​, students practice reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills while highlighting
    topics such as the Middle Ages and mythology. Students read works of literature, strengthen writing skills, learn
    new vocabulary words from Greek and Latin roots, and practice grammar in this student-centered,
    technology-enhanced course. Some literature in this accelerated course may be above grade level. Grammar
    topics cover more advanced parts of speech, sentence structure, and common grammatical errors. Other skills
    addressed involve tracing archetypes in literature and speaking in a group setting. All students are required to
    read 25 minutes each night. Students in accelerated English move more quickly through the writing process, and
    are able to handle more responsibility for reading and writing outside of class. Writing instruction in this course
    focuses on the components of writing effectively for the purposes of argumentative essays, expository essays, and
    text-dependent analyses.


    ENGLISH 8​ Academic
    The course is designed to help the students gain a solid foundation in the areas of reading, writing, vocabulary,
    and grammar. Reading strategies include summarizing, understanding conflicts, and identifying character
    development. Writing instruction begins with the basics of paragraph and essay structure. Grammar lessons
    throughout the year are taught in conjunction with writing units so the students have strategies for improving their
    style and mechanics. Weekly vocabulary units expand the student's’ word choice and allow the students more
    appropriate word selection throughout the writing process. Additionally, students will experience the research
    process during the second half of the school year.


    ENGLISH 8​ Accelerated
    This course increases the student's writing abilities to include paragraph and essay 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.


    Reading
    ELA SUPPORT - GRADE 7
    The Reading Support Grade 7 is designed for students who require moderate reading support and meets
    throughout the year. Students learn and apply reading strategies to improve reading proficiency and
    comprehension, build confidence, and improve reading rate and fluency. Students are supported in vocabulary
    development, summarization, the use of graphic organizers, and content area reading. Selections from a variety of
    genres of fiction and non-fiction texts are read in order to reinforce the strategies presented. Students are expected
    to read and discuss materials, to demonstrate their understanding by completing formal and informal assessments,
    and to respond to writing prompts.


    ELA - GRADE 7
    Reading Grade 7 is a course that provides direct instruction to readers who are generally reading on or above
    grade level. The purpose of the class is to reinforce reading strategies and to develop higher level thinking skills.
    Students are expected to read and discuss materials, to demonstrate their understanding by completing formal and
    informal assessments, and to respond to writing prompts. Specific comprehension skill development includes
    direct lessons in inference, drawing conclusions, analyzing literature, citing evidence, and vocabulary
    development.


    ELA SUPPORT - GRADE 8
    The Reading Support Grade 8 is designed for students who require moderate reading support and meets daily
    throughout the year. Students learn and apply reading strategies to improve reading proficiency and
    comprehension, build confidence, and improve reading rate and fluency. Students are supported in vocabulary
    development, summarization, the use of graphic organizers, and content area reading. Selections from a variety of
    genres of fiction and non-fiction texts are read in order to reinforce the strategies presented. Students are expected
    to read and discuss materials, to demonstrate their understanding by completing formal and informal assessments,
    and to respond to writing prompts.


    ELA – GRADE 8
    Reading Grade 8 is a reading program that provides direct instruction to readers who are generally reading on or
    above grade level. The purpose of the course is to target reading comprehension skills and vocabulary
    commensurate with the student’s grade placement. Students work in large group settings for reading experience in
    drama, science fiction, historical fiction, contemporary stories, and a wide range of non-fiction selections.
    Students are expected to read and discuss materials, complete writings and assessments, and are encouraged to
    read independently to further strengthen their reading skills. A review of reading strategies and additional
    practice of research based reading strategies is included. Techniques in summarization and extended thinking,
    along with the use of graphic organizers are incorporated. Specific comprehension skill development includes
    direct lessons in inference, drawing conclusions, analyzing literature, citing evidence, and vocabulary
    development.


    ELA INTERVENTION - 2 PERIOD
    This two period course is designed to provide support for the student who has reading and writing challenges that
    require additional intensive remediation of skills. It consists of small classes of approximately 15 students. In this
    setting, students receive individualized and small group instruction in reading, writing, vocabulary, and grammar.
    The students in this class utilize technology for portions of the instructional time and spend concentrated time in
    small reading discussion groups. The reading selections in this course are specially tailored to the interests of
    middle school students and instruction is focused on bringing the students to a higher level of proficiency.
    ELD (English Language Development) formerly known as ESL (English as a Second Language)
    English language development instruction (ELD), otherwise 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.


    World Languages (8​th​ grade option only)

    This should be considered a fifth core class, as it will require significant outside work from each student.


    FRENCH I
    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. 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
    Latin I is an introductory level language course designed to help students develop 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 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
    Spanish I is an introductory language course 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. 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.


    Mathematics
    CORE CONNECTIONS II (Grade 7)
    This is a pre-algebra course that serves as a companion course to Core Connections I. The concepts covered
    include: probability, operations with fractions, operations with integers, graphing, interpreting graphs, area of
    shapes, solving equations, and proportions.


    CORE CONNECTIONS II with Algebra (Grade 7)
    This is a pre-algebra course that serves as a companion course to Core Connections I and offers compaction of the
    pre-algebra concepts with the introduction of algebra concepts. The concepts covered in the first part of this
    course include: probability, operations with fractions, operations with integers, graphing, interpreting graphs, area
    of shapes and proportions. The concepts covered in the second half of the course will include: analyzing data,
    solving equations, using proportional relationships, graphing equations and solving systems of equations.


    ALGEBRA CONNECTIONS (Grade 7)
    This course is designed for students with excellent mathematical ability. This is a rigorous course for students
    who plan to further their education in a science or math-related field or for those who demonstrate a special
    aptitude for math. Topics include: graphing and interpreting data, solutions to linear equations, inequalities and
    systems of equations, quadratics, factoring, systems of open sentences in two variables, and proportions.
    Students who take this course bypass CORE CONNECTIONS II​. Students who successfully complete this
    course will receive one high school elective credit.


    CORE CONNECTIONS III (Grade 8)
    Core Connections III 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, angles, Pythagorean
    Theorem, surface area and volume.


    ALGEBRA CONNECTIONS (Grade 8)
    Algebra Connections is the foundation for all further math courses leading to the high school. All students should
    successfully complete this course with a grade of C or higher before moving on in the math sequence. Concepts
    include: graphing and interpreting data, solutions to linear equations, inequalities and systems of equations,
    quadratics, factoring, systems of open sentences in two variables, and proportions. Students who successfully
    complete this course will receive one high school elective credit.


    GEOMETRY CONNECTIONS (Grade 8)
    This course is designed for students who desire to continue in the academic sequence. Students must have
    completed Algebra Connections with a C or higher grade. Topics include intuitive and deductive reasoning;
    properties of lines, angles, polygons, circles; parallel lines; congruency; indirect proof; ratio; and proportion with
    similar polygons and solids. Students who successfully complete this course will receive one high school
    MATH credit.

    MATH 7 and MATH 8
    These courses are designed to strengthen conceptual understandings of problem solving while reviewing
    foundational and operational skills. The curriculum is based on Core Connections II and Core Connections III. A
    variety of supplementary resources aligned with PA Mathematics standards are also utilized to meet the individual
    needs of students.


    Science
    EARTH SCIENCE 7 Academic
    This course gives students an introduction to basic 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.


    EARTH SCIENCE 7 Accelerated
    This course gives students an introduction to basic 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.
    Accelerated classes are differentiated in terms of expectation, pace, and depth of coverage.


    LIFE SCIENCE 8 Academic
    This course gives the students an inquiry-based life science curriculum. Students learn science when they
    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, ecology, evolution / natural selection / adaptation, and ecology.


    LIFE SCIENCE 8 Accelerated
    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, ecology, evolution / natural selection / adaptation, and ecology Accelerated classes are
    differentiated in terms of expectation, pace, and depth of coverage. Labs may require additional work and
    analysis. Projects may have a stronger emphasis on a written demonstration of understanding.


    Social Studies
    SOCIAL STUDIES 7 Academic
    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 Middle Ages, 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.


    SOCIAL STUDIES 7 Accelerated

    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 Middle Ages, as well as an analysis of how those civilizations
    impact our world today. It targets students who have a strong interest in history and are proficient readers and
    writers. 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 Academic
    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.


    SOCIAL STUDIES 8 Accelerated
    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. The accelerated course targets
    students who have a strong interest in history and are proficient readers and writers. There are numerous
    independent 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.


    Health and Physical Education
    HEALTH 7​
    Health 7 introduces students to vital health concepts and provides opportunities to practice health skills that can
    lead to health-enhancing behaviors. Informative photos, visuals, charts, graphs, organizers, diagrams, and use of
    technology engage student interest and facilitate learning. Students produce projects which reinforce the
    importance of a healthy lifestyle. This is a year long course, meeting every other day.


    HEALTH 8
    Health 8 curriculum focuses on mental health; systems of the body; drugs and their impact on the individual and
    their family; human sexuality; fitness; nutrition; disease; and environmental health. Students are involved in a
    variety of activities, which includes the use of technology, that reinforce concepts they need to know and
    understand in order to make healthy choices that encourage a healthy lifestyle. This is a year-long course that
    meets every other day.


    PHYSICAL EDUCATION 7 and 8​
    Physical Education 7 and 8 fosters student growth and development in the areas of physical activity, social
    interaction, emotional control, and sportsmanship. Physical Education increases the awareness for the necessity
    of lifetime personal fitness. Students participate in team activities as well as personal fitness awareness activities.
    The fitness results are tracked through the WELNET fitness program. This is a year-long course that meets every
    other day.


    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
    directed 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.


    GENERAL MUSIC 8
    The class uses the advent of recorded sound in the late 1800’s as a framework for the study of popular music in
    America. Various styles studies include jazz, country, pop and rock. The fundamental elements of music are
    reviewed as a basis for comparing and contrasting the unique nature of the different genres studied. Students work
    independently on several different projects including a piano unit and a pop-rock biography. As a result of taking
    this class, students acquire additional music appreciation and a sense of historical perspective.


    BAND 7/8
    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. A student may be excused from attending a sectional if a test is being given
    or if a student is having academic difficulty in the class a student is to be excused from. Additional sectional
    attendance information is included in the course syllabus.


    BAND, Marching Band (8​th​ Grade Only)

    This is the band course for all woodwind, brass, and percussion students who are 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. Students
    receive a 0.5 credit/term high school elective credit for successful completion of this course. Membership as a
    woodwind, brass, or percussion player in 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.” Students receive a 0.5 credit/term high school elective
    credit for successful completion of this course. Performances and rehearsals are scheduled during evenings and/or
    weekends. Attendance at all rehearsals and performances is mandatory/required.


    CHORUS 7/8
    Students will build, develop healthy vocal technique, increase skill in music theory, and learn a wide variety of
    choral literature. Acceptance and continued membership is contingent upon basic performance skills and
    appropriate conduct. Students in chorus are required to participate in an individual voice assessment twice per
    year as part of a sectional performance. Students must attend one sectional per cycle on a rotating period basis.
    The choir performs two evening performances per year, the winter and spring concerts. Attendance at all
    performances and rehearsals is required.


    ORCHESTRA 7/8
    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 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 3 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 expected 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 and possibly written work throughout each marking period. The orchestra performs concerts that are
    scheduled during evenings. Attendance at all performances and rehearsals is expected.


    Practical Arts
    ENGINEERING BY DESIGN (EBD): 7th Grade - "Invention and Innovation"
    This course provides students an opportunity to apply the design process in the invention and innovation of a new
    product, process, or system. Students learn all about invention and innovation. They study the history of
    inventions and innovations, including their impact on society. Students 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 sub-systems.


    ART 7/8
    “The ART of Life” – This course focuses on character development as we explore areas that inspire a creative
    mind by making connections to ART and examine how it relates to everyday life decisions. Defining the self,
    with a personal journey in creativity, allows for complete expression to discover each moment through the eyes of
    an artist.


    FAMILY AND CONSUMER SCIENCES
    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, Career Investigation, and Social Development/Interaction.
    The Eighth Grade​ curriculum consists of: Personal Leadership, Living Environments, Nutrition, Food Choices,
    Food Preparation, Money Management, Consumerism, and Textile Construction/Application. Classroom
    experiences allow students to develop the knowledge and skills needed in making choices to meet their personal,
    family, and work responsibilities.


    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 will expand on the knowledge gained Google Applications while being exposed to a vast array of cutting
    edge “Web 2.0” tools. The focus will be on learning how to find and effectively use 21st Century technologies to
    research, communicate and collaborate.


    Special/Gifted Education
    Study Skills/Social Skills/Gifted Seminar
    Southern Middle School offers a wide range of special education and gifted education services, from replacement
    level classes, through supported and inclusion classes. These courses are driven by the Individualized Education
    Plan and Gifted Individualized Education Plan based upon the needs and strengths of the child. Study skills and
    social skills classes are designed to provide support for needs of the Individualized Education Plan goals. Gifted
    seminar meets four times per week during the Intervention-Enrichment Period with additional time arranged
    through collaboration of the regular classroom teacher and the gifted teacher, as deemed appropriate.
    Recommendation for these courses is determined by the student’s Individualized Education Plan.