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Health 6

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Spring semester

Health 8

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Fall semester

8th Grade Health

English 6

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In 6th grade English, students read at least six major texts in various genres of literature, including short story, poetry, essay (descriptive, narrative, expository, and persuasive), and novel. Most of the major texts are read in the literature circle format, meaning that students choose their own reading materials, set their own reading calendars, engage in small group discussion about their books, and present a group oral book project after finishing the book. All reading selections are chosen with an eye on issues of gender, ethnicity, and cultural diversity as they exist in our contemporary world. While reading, students strengthen literal comprehension of texts as well as an ability to draw inferences from implied meanings. They also analyze how a text is structured and how an author employs story elements. Students do a fair bit journaling on their reading in a Moodle Wiki format on the Inside.Catlin site. As writers, students produce poems, stories, and essays for class, taking all major pieces through the writing workshop process: prewriting, drafting, peer responding, revising, proofreading, and publishing. Students use the laptop writing-lab in class to work on keyboarding and other technology skills, saving their work to the Inside.Catlin Moodle and Google Docs domains. They also have many grammar, spelling, and vocabulary lessons over the course of the year in order to enrich their own writing and make it more sophisticated and polished. At the end of the year, each student produces a personal Heroic Journey Anthology of her 6th grade academic year. Last, an overarching theme of the 6th grade is harvesting, and to this end students are given many opportunities to go outside and work in the organic garden, greenhouse, and apple orchard. The sixth grade team is in charge of two major Catlin Gabel concerns: the apple orchard and the Spring Festival plant sale fundraiser. Sixth grade teachers work together to teach a variety of interdisciplinary lessons on such topics as seed collection, photosynthesis, pollination, the foundations of human civilization, wheat harvesting in Mesopotamia, pizza baking in the garden cob oven, and sweetness in apples. Students grow food for the lunch salad bar in the Barn, and they learn how to compost back into the garden to complete the circle. Throughout these interdisciplinary lessons, students are reading and writing across the curriculum—writing for history lessons and reading for science lessons while in Language Arts.


History 7: World Cultures

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World Cultures continues the study of civilizations begun in sixth grade.  Students learn to think critically about historical eras, analyze primary sources for accuracy and bias, define problems, and relate historical events to the modern world.  Students acquire the patterns needed to read actively for both the main idea and increase their vocabulary.  Students focus on writing as a process. Students concentrate on the process of developing their essays through such stages as pre-writing, outlining, and first and second drafts. Students extend the depth and detail of their writing and practice writing introductory paragraphs, topic sentences, and strong conclusions.  Beginning the year in a large group, they learn the skills necessary to complete projects independently, including planning, time management, outlining, and research.  Research involves interviewing, reading for specific information, and using both print and electronic research.  In the course of the year, students practice speaking skills including, exchanging ideas; debating, and honoring ideas of others. Units include geography and the human experience with an emphasis on current world geography; Middle Ages in England, China, Middle East, North Africa, and Japan with an emphasis on mapping of culture, impact of religion, and development of political systems; and revolutions in science, Enlightenment, America, France, and Estonia.  Spring brings planning a trip to a country in the Eastern Hemisphere with an emphasis on studying the culture of a country through travel. The final unit of study involves the history of Mt. St Helens.

Science 8

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 Eighth grade science is an introduction to physical science. Topics include volume and mass, mass changes in a closed system, characteristic properties, and solubility. In this laboratory-based class, students further refine their application of the scientific method and improve their ability to observe and record; to make and refine hypotheses; and to design, run, and write up lab-based inquiries. In an eagerly anticipated final project students use the skills, theories, and techniques learned throughout the year to separate “sludge,” a mixture of numerous solids, liquids, and gases. The year ends with the formulation of the atomic theory of matter.  It is a smooth transition to the high school science program as 9th grade picks up where we left off on the atom and the nature of bonding. Students are expected to be thoroughly engaged in inquiry, curious, respectful and invested in their learning.