Course Catalog Grades 6-8
6th Grade Core (English Language Arts/ Reading/ History-Social Science)
The 6th grade core curriculum is standards based and taught in a three period time block that blends the content of English Language Arts and History-Social Science. The courses are taught by one teacher and provide a transition from elementary to middle school. Through the writing process, students learn explicit strategies to help them find meaningful subjects to write about. In addition, they learn ways to structure their writing, revise, edit and publish. They also learn spelling strategies and proper conventions. Students discover meaning in literature and history by connecting their reading to personal experiences and prior knowledge. The English Language Arts program includes comprehension strategies in fiction and non-fiction and an exploration of genres. The integrated, activity-based History-Social Science curriculum begins with the study of early humans and focuses on ancient civilizations through the rise of the Roman Empire.
7th Grade Core (English Language Arts/History-Social Science)
The 7th grade core curriculum is standards based and taught in a two period time block, which blends the content of English and history-social science, reinforcing the reading, writing, and analytical-cognitive skills necessary for both. Skills in reading, writing, speaking, and listening are taught in the context of literature and medieval history studies. The English curriculum includes reading comprehension, literary analysis, and instruction in several standards-based writing types, including summary, persuasive, narrative and response to literature. Spelling, vocabulary, and grammar are also included in the course of instruction. The history-social science curriculum focuses on history from the fall of the Roman Empire to the Age of Reason in the beginning of the 18th century, and includes instruction on the Roman Empire; Medieval Europe; the rise of Islam; Medieval Africa, Japan, and China; Mesoamerica; Europe during the Renaissance; the Reformation and Scientific Revolution, the Age of Exploration, and the Age of Reason.
8th Grade Core (English Language Arts/History-Social Science)
The 8th grade core curriculum is standards based and taught in a two period time block which blends the content of English and history-social science, reinforcing the reading, writing, and analytical-cognitive skills necessary to both. Course content includes a study of novels, poetry, and state writing types integrated with the study and research skills necessary for analysis. While studying historical events from the founding of the nation to World War I, students will analyze the development of Constitutional Democracy, with an emphasis on individual rights, an understanding of the political system and ways in which citizens can participate in and influence government. Students examine the gradual expansion of the US and its subsequent shaping and influence on foreign policy. Emphasis is on cause and effect, chronology, and an appreciation for how the past influences current events.
See Middle School Catalog for a listing of all courses.
The focus of sixth grade science is Earth science in accordance with California science content standards. Included in this curriculum are the earth’s structures, plate tectonics, the shaping of the earth’s surface and energy in the earth’s system. In the study of plate tectonics and earth structure, students learn that plate tectonics accounts for important features of the earth’s surface and major geologic events. Student study many phenomena on the earth’s surface and in the atmosphere that are affected by the transfer of energy through radiation and convection currents. Physical science is integrated through the study of the flow of heat energy. Life science is integrated through the study of ecosystems.
The focus of seventh grade science is life science in accordance with California science content standards. Included in this curriculum are cell biology, genetics, evolution and structure and function of living things. Also included are earth and life history and physical principles of living systems. In their study of cell biology, students will learn cell structure and function.
The focus of eighth grade science is physical science in accordance with California science content standards. This course covers units including chemistry, physics, astronomy, and individual investigation and experimentation. Basic problem solving skills, scientific inquiry and the use of general laboratory equipment will be emphasized.
This course offers students an opportunity to go deeper into science topics related to the environment. Ecology, resource conservation, interdependence of organisms, recycling, alternative energy, and the importance of biodiversity are emphasized with hands on activities. Global challenges like population growth, climate change, and extinction are among the timely topics discussed. Students will look for solutions to problems as they find out that “I can make a difference!” The study of marine habitats, conservation and adaptations is a favorite in the class. Students also enjoy planting, maintaining and experimenting in our “outdoor classroom” which includes a greenhouse, composting and hydroponics. Digital labs, speakers, games, and field trips add to the variety of learning experiences offered in this class.
Prerequisite: Students must have completed 1st semester of Pre-Algebra with a B- or better.
In this class, emphasis is on understanding the underlying scientific theories of forensic science, with special emphasis on investigating skills such as hair analysis, DNA fingerprinting, and the casting of bite, tire, and shoe prints. The course will also feature guest speakers and the use of biotechnology equipment such as electrophoresis chambers.
Art 1 is an exploratory skills-based, visual art course that introduces students to a variety of media, skills and tools. Students will also learn about art history and the value of art in various cultures. Students will gain skills in understanding and valuing their own art and the art of others. Class assignments are based on the Visual Art Standards and introduce students to the Elements of Art and the Principles of Design.
Prerequisite: Successful Completion of Art 1 or by teacher recommendation
Students apply artistic processes and skills at a more sophisticated level, using a wide variety of media, to communicate meaning and intent to works of art based on the Elements of Art and the Principles of Design. Students continue to develop more advanced skills and compositional strategies based on the foundation of Art 1 to create more individualized works of art with more advanced applications. Assignments are based on the Visual Arts Standards.
Students who enroll in this class may explore in-depth digital drawing, databases, spreadsheets, desktop publishing, word processing, and multimedia software. In the yearlong course students may be exposed to web design, animation, sound, and music.
Computer Projects/Multimedia development and design
• Game Development
• 3D Graphic Design
Students who enroll in this class may explore state of the art software available today.
Computer Technology I-Semester
Students will become proficient in basic/advanced word processing, digital imaging, digital editing, and multimedia authoring, internet and research skills, and information and literacy theories. Computer programs used by the students may include: AppleWorks 6, Microsoft Office, Safari, HyperStudio, Alice, ComicLife, Netscape browser, and Composer. Students will learn how to use these applications to create high quality projects and presentations.
Computer Technology II-Semester
Students will explore different ways of creating multimedia projects using various forms of technology including digital images, music, and video using the iLife applications, as well as other software. Students will learn how to use these multimedia tools to create quality projects that can be used in other classes. Robotics lessons and challenges are a major component of this class where students will program and problem solve basic NXT robot control and data collection.
Home Page/Web Design-Semester
Learn HTML (“the language of the Internet”) and use Dreamweaver (the leading web development tool) to create your own web pages. Students will use a variety of software to make graphics, animated images, sound, and video for their web sites. This class will give students the opportunity to design, manage, and maintain web sites. Learning to create a website can help students communicate ideas about their activities such as school, hobbies, and sports. Designing a web site is an important skill for the future in business or for personal use.
Media and Graphic Design
The class is a hands-on introduction to the principals and techniques of graphic design for print and digital media.
Students work together collectively to create complex characters, develop well-structured storylines, augment acting skills, and give dramatic expression to their original ideas. The course focuses on structured group work, improvisation, character development, voice and speech training, analysis and interpretation of dramatic literature, and individual growth as a performer. In addition, students will explore past and present dramatic traditions and practices in various cultures and become familiar with stage terminology and acting conventions. This class may require after school rehearsals and performances.
Leadership engages in specific school and community activities related to spirit and service. These activities offer opportunities for the student to display and exercise skills of leadership, teamwork, networking, self-evaluation, responsibility and accountability. In addition, leadership students learn the basic concepts of accounting and presentation skills. Emphasis is placed on fostering ethics and self-esteem within the class, as well as the school and community. Leadership is responsible for student body funds, dances, spirit days, and community public relations activities. Leadership representatives sit on various groups and councils.
Foods A: Techniques and Methods-Yearlong
This program is designed for students to acquire the basic knowledge and technique to prepare healthy, wholesome meals for a lifetime. Students begin basic stovetop techniques and develop into preparing complex menus, including a weekly Fabulous Friday Feast. A wide range of kitchen equipment will be used to develop these skills.
Foods B: Baking-Yearlong
Designed for all beginning bakers, students will learn all aspects of bakery from sweet desserts to yeast bread dough. They will practice cake decorating skills and dessert presentation and get to eat what they bake!
Foods C: Breakfast-Yearlong
Tired of starting the day without breakfast? Students of any cooking experience level will learn and practice cooking dishes that are typically served in the early part of the day. We will explore recipes and menus from around the world.
Living Skills 1 (foods)-Semester
This is an introductory course to food preparation and nutrition. Students will study the basic food
groups, terminology, nutritional choices, sanitation, kitchen safety, etiquette, budgeting, care and use of kitchen equipment, and laundry. This program encourages team work and self-evaluation as kitchen teams are involved in practical cooking lab experiences.
Living Skills 2 (foods)-Semester
This is a hands-on food preparation course that builds on skills learned in Foods 1. Students will study nutrition, meal planning, etiquette, consumer economics, and advanced cooking techniques.
Students will also have the opportunity to plan and prepare individual courses as well as meals.
Publications/Yearbook-Yearlong (by application only)
The focus of this year long elective course is the production of the school yearbook. The class is open to students who complete an application process. The student staff is responsible for all aspects of the yearbook, including writing, photography, layouts, production, and distribution. Producing the yearbook involves careful planning, teamwork, writing, digital photography, and use of advanced technology. When the yearbook is completed, spring publications projects may include school calendar, photography techniques, movies, and various projects extending publication expertise. Homework is not regularly assigned, although students work under pressure of deadlines and must be able to work independently and as a team.
Journalism-Yearlong (by application only)
This course is designed to give students instruction and experience in journalistic writing skills. Editing and proofreading skills will be stressed and students will work on photography and layout as they produce the school newspaper. Students will also produce weekly, school wide, Stone Valley TV broadcasts.
SPEECH AND DEBATE
Speech and Debate-Semester
Public speaking is a tool to help students better understand effective communication. Critical thinking, thesis development and dynamic delivery skills are the foundation of all public communication. Students will learn audience analysis, and become equipped with the tools necessary to speak effectively in a number of formats. In Debate, students will gain confidence through learning the art of argument. Students will set aside biases and emotionalism that undermine effective arguments, examine issues systematically, and identify the merits of respective positions.
Prerequisite: application, teacher recommendations as well as possible interview and sample of student writing
The main goal of this class is to provide for school wide communication through a school news show that features announcements and clips of middle school life. In this hands-on class, students will learn the basics of television production, use of camera equipment, script writing, editing video/video effects/video graphics, designing and organizing both live and recorded programs.
Prerequisite: Motivated learner. It is highly recommended that students have and overall GPA of 3.0 or higher in history, English, math, and science.
This is an accelerated program designed to cover two years of middle school Spanish in one academic year. The course is an introduction to the four basic language skills: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Students will also learn cultural information about the Spanish-speaking world. Students will purchase two workbooks for personal use in the course. Please be advised that this is an academic elective and students will have quizzes, exams, and daily homework. Students completing Spanish 1/Jr. High with a C+ average or better, and receiving a teacher recommendation, will be placed in Spanish II as a freshman in high school. Successful completion of this course satisfies one year of the two-year minimum foreign language requirement for high school graduation.
The Community Service Learning Elective consists of activities that will provide the student the opportunity to participate in service to the community and reflect on these experiences as part of the learning process.