The middle-school years at St. Francis are fun, challenging and productive. There are many curricular and social activities that make these years memorable. Seventh and eighth graders have the exciting job of making the critical transition from elementary school to middle school and eventually to high school. This means more independence, increased responsibilities, higher expectations, balancing school life with busy home schedules and dealing with those very special emotional, social, and physical changes that occur during these years. St. Francis School believes that the K-8 structure builds leadership, confidence and compassion in middle-school students. At the foundation is a commitment to growing in faith and love of God. They are actively involved in service and weekly liturgies. The highly qualified and committed staff is keenly aware of and sensitive to the unique needs of these students during their middle-school years.
Middle-School Core Curriculum
Textbook: Decision Point published by The Dynamic Catholic Institute.
The eighth-grade Religion program focuses on choices, decision making, and Catholic truths on the road to becoming young adults. The eighth-grade course of study in Religion focuses on both the message of Jesus, lives of saints, and the preparation for the sacrament of Confirmation. They will work in and out of the classroom completing service hours and written requirements. Retreats are also a piece of the Confirmation sacrament.
Textbook: Easy Grammar Plus: Student Workbook published by Easy Grammar Systems.
The eighth-grade English curriculum focuses on both grammar and writing. The students review the pieces of grammar learned in the seventh grade year, and add to that knowledge through writing. While mastering the four basic sentence structures, the students experience the following forms of writing: descriptive, narrative, expository, persuasive, and research writing. Students have opportunities to share their writings while improving their public speaking skills.
Textbook: Algebra 1 published by Glencoe Mc-Graw-Hill.
This is an accelerated class that requires a high degree of effort. The course covers all of the topics included in a basic, high school first-year algebra class. Some of the concepts covered include solving and graphing linear and quadratic equations, inequalities, proportions, multiplying polynomials, factoring, systems of equations and inequalities and functions.
Textbook: Math Accelerated – Pre-Algebra published by McGraw-Hill.
This class reviews integer and rational number operations, proportions and percents. It introduces algebraic inequalities, linear and nonlinear functions, polynomials, statistics and probability and geometry. Students who master the content of this class should excel in high school Algebra.
Our middle-school science curriculum is based on Project-Based Inquiry Science, our cutting-edge science series designed to give students the skills and practice they need to think and act like scientists. Each unit includes a big question or challenge related to a real-world problem in which students have to apply scientific skills to gather, organize and analyze data, use critical thinking, develop explanations and work collaboratively. They have opportunities to do the work of scientists: run experiments, design and build models, research, examine data sets, use technology and make presentations. In the process, they learn the scientific concepts and skills they need to answer the big questions and address the challenges.
Students continue their study of life and physical sciences. They begin the year with a launcher unit, Animals in Action, in which they explore the practices of scientists while observing animal behaviors and designing animal enclosures. Second, students study chemistry through investigations and case studies in Air Quality. They apply their knowledge to investigate air quality and pollution in different communities as well as writing a recommendation to implement technology in order to improve the air quality in the Ann Arbor area. Third, they study Genetics, in which they learn about heredity, natural selection and the promises and dangers of genetic engineering as they come up with a plan to grow more rice to help alleviate world hunger. Finally, students learn skills to design a Rube Goldberg invention in the Energy unit. They learn about different types of energy, as well as how energy is transferred and transformed.
Textbook: Vocabulary Workshop, Levels A, B, and C published by Sadlier-Oxford.
The sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-grade classrooms use the Sadlier-Oxford Vocabulary Workshop books, levels A, B, and C. The fifteen (15) units in each book focus on definitions, context, synonyms and antonyms. The online component of this program includes an audio program and interactive games and puzzles.
Textbook: Literature: Timeless Voices, Timeless Themes published by Prentice Hall, Inc. (Gold Edition).
Throughout the year, students read in the following genres: short stories, nonfiction, drama, poetry, myths, tales, ballads and legends. It is anticipated that the students will read The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain, To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, The Pearl, by John Steinbeck, and A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens. Other authors that may be studied are O. Henry, Shirley Jackson, Ray Bradbury and Edgar Allan Poe. Students frequently use the Internet for research, Microsoft Power Point for presentations and Google Docs for collaboration. Students are expected to learn new vocabulary words and incorporate them into their writing. Students study vocabulary from the Sadlier-Oxford Vocabulary Workshop, Level C, as well as context reading.
Textbook: The American Nation Civil War to the Present published by Prentice Hall, Inc.
Eighth-grade social studies is a continuation of the study of United States history from the end of the Civil War up to the present. Emphasis is placed on important themes — forging a national identity, improving economic and technological capacity and becoming aware of patterns of growth, war and expansion.
Textbook: ¡Avancemos! (Levels 1A and 1B) published by Holt McDougal.
¡Bienvenidos al maravilloso mundo del espaῆol!– Welcome to the wonderful world of Spanish!
Learning the Spanish language and Spanish culture is a journey that starts in the elementary grades at St. Francis of Assisi. The middle-school Spanish program prepares our students’ transition to year 1 or year 2 of a high school Spanish program as a freshman.
The entire ¡Avancemos! Level 1 curriculum at St. Francis focuses on the three areas of language acquisition: listening, speaking and writing. This program is equivalent to a first year of high school Spanish divided in Level 1A and Level 1B and it covers topics at the basic level. Appreciation and respect for the cultures of Spain and Latin America are included as an important element of the Spanish curriculum at St. Francis.