Curriculum Grades 6-8

St. Martin’s Middle School strives to develop well-rounded students by promoting academic achievement, character education, and spiritual growth.  Teachers work as a team to help students make cross-curricular connections and become life-long learners.

Mathematics

The middle school math program is designed to help learners develop a positive attitude toward the continued learning of mathematics by incorporating lessons that are engaging and educational. We want our students to appreciate the usefulness, power and beauty of mathematics, and recognize its relationship with other disciplines with everyday life. Students are exposed to a variety of technological resources including access to pdf. versions of their text, videos of their teacher working out in class examples, and other online resources and apps. We help students transition from the concrete concepts of arithmetic to the abstract concepts of algebra needed for later success in math. Our students graduate with a firm understanding of algebraic principles and the patience and persistence required to solve complex, real world problems.

Science

The middle school science curriculum is an inquiry based learning program producing students with strong critical thinking skills and a firm foundation in all areas of science. The school year is broken into six units: scientific method, physics, chemistry, life science, earth science, and environmental science. All grades are immersed in these six units throughout each year, with the knowledge base building upon each year. A science fair is also held each year. In the St. Martin’s science room we teach through doing. Each concept is introduced to the students followed by extensive hands on activities, group and independent investigations, action projects, and demonstrations.  Earth Day is celebrated as an entire school family and every class works to maintain St. Martin’s “Green School” title.

English

The English program promotes effective writing, speaking and listening skills. Students are exposed to comprehensive vocabulary, focusing on pronunciation, spelling, definitions, parts of speech, synonyms, and antonyms. Through the writing process, students create a variety of essays while learning how to target a specific audience and understand purpose. They learn how to conduct effective research and write well-written research papers following the Modern Language Association (MLA) guidelines. Grammar is studied in mini-lessons during writing projects as well as in units devoted to particular categories of grammar study. Main units covered are parts of speech, sentence structure, usage, proper punctuation, and mechanics. Moreover, students are exposed to a stimulating literature program in which they study comprehensive reading, participate in meaningful group discussions, reflect and make personal connections, write about works of non-fiction and fiction, and complete creative projects, both individually and in groups. Students also learn to question what they read, think critically, delve deeply, and appreciate literature and life.

Social Studies

The Middle School Social Studies curriculum is designed to look at World History, World Geography and U.S. History from five different content areas: historical, geographical, economic, political and cultural perspectives.  6th grade World History students examine historic events, figures and movements that contributed to the development of European and American nations from early civilization to modern times.  7th grade World Geography students look at geography from a physical and a human perspective.  The perspectives blend an understanding of location, resource use, landscape change and human use that determine how Earth is shaped and why it matters to people. 8th grade students explore U.S. History from beginnings to 1877. All grades are exposed to a “hands on” history approach through multiple field trips, projects, on line textbooks and integrated technology. Students are taught skills for inquiry, problem solving, reflection and analysis and what it means to live in a democratic society.

The middle school enjoyed a field trip to see the Hispanic Flamenco Ballet and to eat Mexican food.

Spanish

¡Bienvenidos a la Clase de Español! Welcome to Spanish 1! This course provides students with a general introduction to the Spanish language, pronunciation, and functional vocabulary related to everyday life, cultural information and basic grammatical structures. Emphasis is on the acquisition of four skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. In essence, we integrate the Maryland State Standards for foreign language Learning, Communication, Cultures, Connections, Comparisons, and Communities in our Spanish program.  By the end of eighth grade, students are able to offer opinions, and make requests and suggestions in Spanish since the class is taught in Spanish.  Sixth, seventh and eighth graders have class three days per week.

Art

Local museums, Annual Student Art Show, School Art Gallery Website featuring student artwork and Artist in Residence programs are all a special part of the Art experience at St. Martin’s.  Students in middle school explore more in-depth and thorough applications of the Elements and Principles of Art in both 2-dimension and 3-dimensional artwork – integrating curriculum whenever possible.  Emphasis is on individual ideas and creativity.

Music

The three-year Middle School music cycle consists of guitar, ukulele/jazz, and theory/keyboarding. The curriculum is Music Theory/Piano Keyboarding for the 2013/2014 school year.  We will spend time preparing for the Middle School Variety Show in the spring. What will this year’s theme be? Will it be Disney or the Beatles or Motown or something else?

Physical Education

Students are exposed to various Team Sports, Individual Sports, and Lifetime Sports that they may choose to get involved with during Middle School and High School as well as after their High School years to help them maintain healthy bodies throughout their life.  Focus is given to striking skills used in Volleyball, Tennis, and Handball.   Students learn the importance of maintaining cardiovascular endurance through jogging.  Bowling, Shuffleboard, Gym Dollies, and Skill relays can be beneficial to reduce stress.