7th - 8th Grade Curriculum Mrs. Banach - Mr. Turco - Mrs. Ruggiero - Mrs. McNally (Spanish) Saint Mary of the Hills Grade 7-8 program prepares our students for the rigors of high school. We teach them to think critically and ask questions. Students are given many opportunities to work independently, collaboratively, and are encouraged to present research findings to their peers. This is done using the latest technology which also prepares our students for the skills needed in the 21st century. Our graduates have been accepted into incredible high school institutions such as Milton Academy, Roxbury Latin, St. Sebastian’s, Fontbonne Academy, Ursuline Academy, Notre Dame Academy, Thayer Academy, and Newman Prep just to name a few. These acceptances often come with scholarship money as we prepare them to not only achieve academically but also spiritually, and socially. 7th and 8th graders are given the opportunities to be leaders of our school community. They are members of the Student Council and National Junior Honor Society and have a huge impact on the community inside and outside of our school. Spanish - Grades 7 & 8 meet four times per week, covering material normally presented in a high school level one course--vocabulary and grammar. Based on the “five C’s” (Communication, Culture, Connections, Comparisons, and Communities) of the national standards, our Spanish program at St. Mary of the Hills allows students to acquire a strong foundation to achieve success with the Spanish/Hispanic language and culture. Language Arts - The seventh grade Language Arts curriculum at St. Mary of the Hills prepares students to think critically by engaging in reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Students will read a variety of texts, such as novels, short stories, informational texts, poetry, and plays, that all focus on the theme of courage, faith, and survival in relation to utopian and dystopian societies. Literature that seventh graders read includes The Giver by Lois Lowry, The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Shakespeare. Students will learn and utilize research-based active reading and comprehension strategies that will prepare them for more complex literature in eighth grade. The eighth grade Language Arts curriculum at St. Mary of the Hills prepares students for the demands of a high school English class. Building upon the skills they learned in seventh grade, eighth graders begin to think deeply about prejudice in various societies throughout the world. The theme of eighth-grade literature is overcoming prejudice and breaking free of social expectations, both high and low. The two primary novels that eighth graders read are To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and The Diary of Anne Frank. Accompanying these texts will also be short stories, non-fiction, informational texts, and poetry that focus on the themes of the Civil Rights Movement in America and the Holocaust in Europe. Students learn to work collaboratively in small groups to discuss the issues that characters face in these works. In addition to a rigorous reading program, both seventh and eighth graders also write using the Collins Writing Program. Through formal and informal writing experiences, students master the writing process with a strong emphasis on what constitutes quality academic writing. Writing is a communicative process and students will develop both written and oral communication skills necessary for high school and for life. Science - In seventh grade, students focus on Properties of Matter, Elements, Compound, Mixtures, Motion and Forms of Energy. In eighth grade, students learn about Classification of Organisms, Structure/ Functions of Cells, Systems in Living Things, Heredity, DNA and Biodiversity. In the spring, students in focus on a long term independent project in preparation for the Middle School Science Fair, which encourages them to think critically, perform research, and present their findings. Field trips and guest speakers enhance the learning in the classroom. Students are required to do research projects and presentations. Religion - The seventh/eighth grade curriculum is presented in a manner appealing to junior high students without compromising the integrity of the Scripture and teachings of the Catholic Church. It reflects the love of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and centers on the person of Jesus Christ, our Savior in a climate of prayer and nurtures a faith that is expressed in prayer. Emphasis this year will be on the awareness of mission and action in the world today and invites the students to reflect on personal experience in light of growing in relationship with God. In the fall of 2016, the Archdiocese of Boston released detailed Faith Formation Standards for use in all Archdiocesan schools. St. Mary of the Hills is currently using these standards to evaluate the content and objectives of our current Religion curriculum to ensure alignment with these standards for Grade 6 through 8. See the curriculum page of our website for the Faith Formation Standards. Math - In seventh grade, students learn Pre-Algebra. Students will receive a strong foundation in algebra while also preparing for future study of geometry, probability, and data analysis. Students will become better at taking notes and taking tests. The course will be supplemented with Khan Academy videos and exercises that will enhance lessons. In eighth grade, students take Algebra. The content of Algebra 1 is organized around families of functions, with special emphasis on linear and quadratic functions. As students learn about each family of functions, they will learn to represent them in multiple ways – as verbal descriptions, equations, tables, and graphs. They will also learn to model real-world situations, using functions in order to solve problems arising from those situations. in addition, there will be lessons on probability and data Social Studies - 7th Grade United States History - In this class, students study early United States History through the beginning of the Civil War. Students explore historical events, notable figures and important places as well as how these details have connections to our society today. Throughout the course, an emphasis is placed on the development of critical thinking skills. 8th Grade United States History - In this class, students study the Civil War through the Civil Rights Movement. Students explore historical events, notable figures and important places as well as how these details have connections to our society today. Throughout this course, an emphasis is placed on the development of critical thinking and debate skills.