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Our Middle School students at BFS, grades 6-8, are given more independence to demonstrate a comprehensive array of academic skills. The academic transition from elementary to high school is reinforced through our staff personalizing the curriculum within each course based on students’ interests, academic skills, and standardized assessments.

Our core subject areas – Mathematics, English Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies – are designed to engage and challenge all students and promote personal academic confidence as they continue their schooling here or elsewhere.

Within the elective subject areas, the students in the Middle School – for the first time in their BFS experience – can choose classes of interest in the Arts, Physical Education, World Languages and other subjects. Here students sample many disciplines, which may prove to be a passion or interest in the future. In the elective program, we believe that by offering the best courses based on faculty talents and student interest, we best prepare our kids for all future academic challenges.

The course descriptions for the 2017-18 school year can be found here.

Grade 6 English Language Arts

READING WORKSHOP

This course will provide students with a solid foundation in reading narrative, informational, and persuasive texts.  Students will acquire skills to help them tackle tough texts, learn critical reading strategies and analyze techniques used by authors of both fiction and nonfiction.  The workshop model empowers young readers through a variety of techniques including whole group instruction, read aloud, literature circles, individual conferences, and book clubs.  Students will also have daily opportunities to focus on grammar and vocabulary, deepening their knowledge through the study of roots, prefixes and suffixes.

WRITING WORKSHOP

Students will write original narrative, informational, and persuasive texts by practicing and following the steps of the writing process.  The workshop model provides students with a structured environment where students can write extensively and grow as authors.  Students will be given frequent opportunities to share their writing through conferences, peer editing, group reads, and publishing of texts.  Writing Workshop is closely aligned with the Reading Workshop scope and sequence; therefore, students can apply the strategies they have learned as readers to their own writing.

Grade 7 English Language Arts

READING WORKSHOP

In 7th grade reading workshop, students will increase their agency and independence while reading through a variety of genres. Students will create and present book trailers, book talks, and will engage in book clubs. Students will also learn a variety of vocabulary prefixes and bases to help to "divide and conquer" words to improve their reading comprehension.

WRITING WORKSHOP

In 7th grade writing workshop, students experiment with both narrative and expository writing, increasing their understanding of focus, specific details, and voice. Students work on identifying and correcting grammar errors through weekly practice.

Grade 8 English Language Arts

READING WORKSHOP

Reading workshop continues in 8th grade as students read and master more challenging texts. Students practice developing inferential thinking, while supporting their ideas and claims with relevant textual evidence. Students tackle multi-genre projects and practice digging deeper into the texts they read.

WRITING WORKSHOP

In 8th grade writing workshop students can expect to take their writing to a more polished level, both in terms of grammar and style. Students get an opportunity to experiment with expressing their perspectives effectively. Literature circles and reading responses continue here, as well as higher level Latin and Greek vocabulary.

Mathematics

Three Courses are offered as part of the Middle School Mathematics Block.

Grade 6 Mathematics Course 1

In this enriched class, students will investigate and explore fraction operation, two- and three-dimensional measurement, rational numbers, similarity, proportional reasoning, integers, exponents, variables, equations, linear relationships, and probability. Emphasis will be placed on fully communicating mathematical work, understanding mathematical notation, and multiple representations, i.e., exploring mathematical concepts simultaneously through graphs, tables, equations and written explanations.

Grade 7 Pre-Algebra

In this enriched class, students will investigate and explore rational and real numbers, integer and exponential operations, data analysis and probability, plane geometry, proportional reasoning, equations and inequalities, slope, sequences and functions, polynomials and logic and discrete math. Emphasis will be placed on fully communicating mathematical work, understanding mathematical notation, and multiple representations, i.e., exploring mathematical concepts simultaneously through graphs, tables, equations and written explanations.

Grade 7, 8, 9 Algebra I

In this enriched class, students will investigate and explore equations, inequalities, functions and linear functions, systems of equations and inequalities, exponents and polynomials, factoring polynomials, quadratic functions and equations, data analysis and probability. For advanced students, some of Algebra II topics will be introduced (exponential, radical and rational functions and equations). Emphasis will be placed on fully communicating mathematical work, understanding mathematical notation, and multiple representations, i.e., exploring mathematical concepts simultaneously through graphs, tables, equations and written explanations.

Social Studies

Different subjects are taught per grade level in the Social Studies block:

Grade 6 Ancient History

The Ancient World History course covers the birth of humanity and growth of civilizations from Mesopotamia and Egypt to Greece and Rome. The course will include a discussion of characteristics of civilizations including the development of agriculture, governments, division of labor, social hierarchies, and culture. Students will focus on causes, effects, and turning points in the rise and fall of various civilizations. They will investigate major religions including Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam and their impact on governments, society, and culture. The course should be rigorous and relevant with instruction that integrates thinking skills, historical processes, and content so that students are able to apply their learning to their own lives. Instruction should include the integration of concepts and principles from history, economics, geography, civics, and the humanities.

Grade 7 Geography A

Geography is the study of the world, its people, and the landscapes they create.  During this year, we will be learning about the people of the world and their interactions with their environment.  We will be examining the physical geography, history and culture of countries and regions throughout the world.  At BFS, World Geography is a two-year course taught in the seventh and eighth grades.  In World Geography 7 we will learn the themes and essential elements of studying geography and cover The Americas, Europe, and Russia.

Grade 8 Geography B

Geography is the study of the world, its people, and the landscapes they create.  During this year, we will be learning about the people of the world and their interactions with their environment.  We will be examining the physical geography, history and culture of countries and regions throughout the world.  At BFS, World Geography is a two-year course taught in the seventh and eighth grades.  In World Geography 8 we will learn about Asia, Africa, and the Pacific.

Science

Depending on the grade level of the student, different subjects are taught to Middle School students.

Grade 6 Earth Science

The primary focus for this course will be on earth sciences; Students will have the opportunity to explore the interesting world of science by participating in a variety of activities and differentiated assessment that cater to the different learning styles of individual students, while still encouraging the development and utilization of new skills and study techniques. There is also a strong emphasis on the scientific method which will be reinforced via laboratory work where students will learn and practice the procedure for conducting experiments. The units of study for this course are Mapping, plate tectonics, earthquakes, volcanoes, erosion, weather factors, and astronomy.

Grade 7 Life Science

The primary focus for this course will be on life sciences; however we will cover some earth and physical sciences also. Students will have the opportunity to explore the interesting world of science by participating in a variety of activities and differentiated assessment that cater to the different learning styles of individual students, while still encouraging the development and utilization of new skills and study techniques. There is also a strong emphasis on the scientific method which will be reinforced via laboratory work where students will learn and practice the procedure for conducting experiments. The units of study for this course are geologic time, evolution, cell processes, genetics, and structure and function in living things.

Grade 8 Physical Science

The primary focus for this course will be on physical sciences, which is composed of chemistry and physics. Students will have the opportunity to explore the interesting world of science by participating in a variety of activities and differentiated assessment that cater to the different learning styles of individual students, while still encouraging the development and utilization of new skills and study techniques. There is also a strong emphasis on the scientific method which will be reinforced via laboratory work where students will learn and practice the procedure for conducting a controlled experiment. The units of study for this course are motion, forces, waves, electricity, magnetism, structure of matter, elements, the periodic table, atoms and bonding, chemical reactions, acids and bases, and carbon chemistry.

Within the elective subject areas, the students in the Middle School can choose classes of interest in the Arts, Physical Education, World Languages and other subjects. Here students sample many disciplines, which may prove to be a passion or interest in the future.

General

Grades 6, 7, 8 Urban Agriculture

Learn about plants, and the joys of growing them for beauty and food. Join your classmates in an exploration of local community farming and sustainability practices. Field trips will be a part of this course. Hands-on products and projects will help students to gain knowledge and understanding of topics including basic plant physiology, organic farming and permaculture, tree fruits and pruning, growing vegetables for harvest, organic farming practices, preparation of food stuffs and canning, harvesting of kelp and other seaweeds for food, seed harvest and storage for replanting, composting, mycology, garden planning and other topics.

Grades 6,7,8  Physical Education / Health

Physical education for MS students consists of individual activities, group/team activities, and outdoor educational activities. Health-related physical fitness and wellness activities are promoted and supported throughout the curriculum. Health education using Fitness for Life will be embedded within the Physical Education course including nutrition, fitness testing and goal-setting, anatomy and physiology of the human body, disease prevention, safety, and communication and self-esteem unit.

Technology Skills

Grades 6,7,8  Maker Space: Design and Engineering

This year long, project-driven course is devoted to solving problems and creativity. Students will analyze problems, create solutions, and test their designs. They will learn to use a variety of materials from paper-craft, traditional wood construction, Lego robotics, and 3D printing as well as others to solve tasks. These tasks will be a combination of practical problems to be solved for the benefit of BFS, problems posed by the teacher, and problems and designs that the students will come up with on their own. Activities will include identifying possible construction projects, determining materials needed, learning the safe and proper use of hand and power tools, working both independently and collaboratively, and the basic use of circuits and programming to accomplish tasks.

Computer Science

Grades 6, 7, 8 MS Computer Science 1

As technology continues to grow and evolve, computers are being more and more integrated into society. As they continue to fill all sorts of roles, it becomes more and more important for us to know not only how they work, but how to use them. How do we talk to them and tell them to do what we want them to? Learn the basics of computer science, programming, and computational thinking with Karel the Dog. Students give commands to the dog to practice foundational concepts and solve programming puzzles. Nearly every website you have ever visited employs Javascript in some form or another! This course will use CodeHS (codehs.com), a Javascript-based educational platform designed to teach coding easily and efficiently. This is a great first course for middle school students.

Grades 6, 7, 8 MS Computer Science 2

This is a project-based computer science course that teaches students how to build their own web pages and understand computing ideas. Using CodeHS (codehs.com), students will learn the languages HTML and CSS, and will create their own live homepages to serve as portfolios of their creations. With a unique focus on creativity, problem solving and project based learning, students will have the opportunity to explore several important topics of computing using their own ideas and creativity and develop an interest in computer science that will foster further interest in the field.

Arts

Grades 6 – 12 Studio Arts

This is a class designed with the serious art student in mind. We will emphasize art as an ongoing process that involves you making informed and critical decisions while working in a number of different artistic realms: drawing, 2-D and 3D pieces. You will add to your technical artistic skills and become more aware of all aspects of visual artistic elements. Students will create projects that range from the political to the personal and whimsical by using a variety of media – for example, a collage that makes a powerful visual statement about an important issue or a Picasso-like sculpture splashed with color and pattern. A key focus is the language of art, known as the Elements and Principles of Design. Some key art movements are studied as well as the larger question: “What is Art?” Feedback and reflection are other important parts of the learning process, facilitated by our art teacher. This class will open students’ eyes to new ideas about art and creativity.

Grades 6 – 12     Orchestra A/B

This performance based class includes music composed for small instrumental ensembles and performed without a conductor. Traditionally intended for performance in a room or reception hall, often solely for the performers' own pleasure, chamber music is now often heard in concert halls. Students will hone their musical skills and perform publicly numerous times throughout the year. Students may take Orchestra A (Period 1) or Orchestra B (Period 7), but not both.

World Languages

Grade 6-8 MS Spanish 1

This first-year Spanish sequence will introduce students to the basics of the language and help to develop their expressive confidence. Through stories, songs, games, and other activities, students will communicate about their family and friends, likes and dislikes, school, food, and the world around them. Lessons will focus on specific strategies to help students improve in the four skill areas of listening, reading, writing, and speaking.

Grade 6-8 MS Spanish 2

This second-year Spanish sequence will build on skills learned in Spanish I, expand vocabulary, increase literacy skills, and give students confidence to express themselves in the Spanish language. Students will work individually and collaboratively in groups to communicate about their personal lives, their communities, and the world around them. Lessons will focus on specific strategies to help students improve in the four skill areas of listening, reading, writing, and speaking.

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