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.
Grade 6 English Language Arts
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.
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. The 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
In 7th Grade Reader’s Workshop, students will read and study a variety of different written works that span the many different genres of literature. They will read together as a class and in literature groups analyzing the components that make up good writing. Students will increase their vocabulary, build understanding of the author’s craft, and develop foundations for continued study in literature and nonfiction.
In 7th Grade writing workshop, students develop their writing skills in a variety of genres including narrative, expository, poetic, and argumentative. They demonstrate their learning by producing written work and receive and give feedback to their peers through the writing process. Students improve understanding of English grammar and language structure through direct instruction and practice.
Grade 8 English Language Arts
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 in preparation for High School literature classes.
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. Students will continue to give and receive feedback on their writing and will be expected to produce quality work for assessments. In addition, students will be expected to present their written work in a variety of formats including Socratic circles and presentations.
Three Courses are offered as part of the Middle School Mathematics Block.
Grade 6 Mathematics Course 1
Students will begin the year with an introduction to positive and negative integers and rational numbers. We will compare, order, and perform operations with those numbers. Then, students will thoroughly study ratios and rates while using their learning with unit conversions, circle graphs, and finding percents. In the second semester, students will explore algebraic topics with exponents, writing and comparing algebraic expressions, and looking at multiple representations of expressions using a graph, table, and equation. Next, we will work with polynomials by graphing, finding distances, and area of shapes. Then, we will conclude the geometric unit by looking at nets and surface. Finally, the year will conclude with data collection and analysis. We will look at data displays and measures of center and spread.
Grades 7, 8 Pre-Algebra
In this 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.
Grades 7, 8, 9 Algebra I
In the beginning of the year, there will be a review of rates, proportions, and simplifying expressions while practicing algebraic reasoning. Then, students will extensively study the solving of linear equations and graphing. In the second semester, the study of linear equations is extended to graph and solve linear inequalities in one and two dimensions. Then, students will solve systems of linear equations and inequalities. The year will conclude with studying exponents and quadratics. Throughout the year, there will be focus on algebraic reasoning and generalizing relationships between variables. Students will actively investigate mathematics and work with peers to communicate their findings. Then, as a class, we will summarize the findings in a clear and concise method.
Grades 8, 9, 10 Geometry (Math Credit)
This course involves the student as a problem solver, one who can reason mathematically and who can communicate and make connections among various mathematical ideas, including the following: points, lines, planes and angles, parallel lines and planes, transformations and congruence, congruent triangles, similar polygons, right triangles, circles, areas of plane and solid figures, volume and surface area of solids, organizing proofs logically and using formulae to solve problems.
Different subjects are taught per grade level in the Social Studies block:
Grade 6 Ancient History
Ancient History 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 will 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 Middle Ages History
Middle Ages History explores the legacy of civilizations from Europe, Africa, and the Middle East to Asia and the Americas. The course will include ancient Rome, the Byzantine Empire, feudalism, the Crusades, the Renaissance, and Enlightenment. Students will explore the histories of West Africa, China, Japan, and the Americas during Medieval times. 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 8 World Geography
Geography is the study of the world, its people, and the landscapes they create. This course will explore both physical and human geography in a case-study approach. Students will focus on how the physical landscape impacts humanity’s development and how people live. Students will focus on the culture and history of regions to assess how cultures, religions, and major historical events shape the world we live in. Students will develop their spatial and critical thinking skills to evaluate data-heavy sources, current events, and primary and secondary sources.
Depending on the grade level of the student, different subjects are taught to Middle School students.
Grade 6 Earth Science
In Grade 6 Science, students will develop their understanding of Earth Sciences concepts. They will investigate Earth’s place in the universe, explore how geoscience processes such as plate tectonics, volcanoes, and erosion can change Earth’s surface both gradually and suddenly, and consider how human activity both affects and is affected by Earth’s systems. As a crucial part of this exploration, students will practice inquiry and the application of the scientific method through laboratory work, where they will learn and practice experimental skills such as performing scientific procedures, making observations, and analyzing results.
Grade 7 Life Science
Grade 7 Science focuses primarily on Life Sciences. Students will investigate the contribution of cell processes to the function of living organisms, interdependencies and interactions of organisms within ecosystems, the inheritance of traits between generations of living beings, and how organisms change over time in response to changes in the environment. These understandings will be supported with further exploration of geologic time. Students will continue to build on their scientific inquiry skills through planning and carrying out investigations, developing and using models, and constructing explanations that are supported with evidence.
Grade 8 Physical Science
Grade 8 Science focuses primarily on Physical Sciences. Students will consider how atomic and molecular structure and chemical reactions explain observable properties of matter, describe interactions between physical objects by applying an understanding of forces, motion, electricity, and magnetism, consider factors that affect the transfer of energy between systems, and develop an understanding of waves and their use in information transfer. Students will continue to build on their ability to develop and use models, analyze and interpret data, and evaluate and communicate information through laboratory work and other investigations and activities.
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.
Grades 6, 7, 8 Physical Education / Health
Physical Education for MS students consists of individual sport-specific skill training with an emphasis on volleyball & basketball rules, skills, techniques, and strategies for competition. This course ties in well with our school’s SKAC league sports seasons in semester 2. Additionally the course focuses on health-related physical fitness concepts based on the Fitness For Life program, which utilizes a textbook and supplemental online ancillary resources.
Grades 6,7,8 Maker Space: Design and Engineering (students choose either semester 1 or semester 2)
This is a semester-long and project-driven course 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 frompaper-craft, sewing, 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.
Grades 6, 7, 8 MS Computer Science
Grades 6 ~ 12 Studio Arts (MS Semester 1 only)
These middle and high school classes are 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, 2D, 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, 7, 8 MS Choir
The middle school Choir class is designed to develop the musical, creative, and expressive abilities of students. Chorus students will learn to use their vocal instrument to create a correct and pleasing singing sound. In addition to learning proper vocal singing technique, students will also learn music reading and listening skills, sight-singing skills, and performance etiquette. Students will begin to develop their mastery of solfege, major and minor scales, and 2 and 3 part harmonies. Students will learn to create and experience music as a musical ensemble. Students will develop an understanding and appreciation of music from different cultures and periods of time. Students will have the opportunity to develop team building and leadership skills as they prepare for school and regional performances. This is a performance-based class. Participation in concert performances outside of regular class hours is required.
Grades 6 – 12 Beginner Band (HS Arts Credit/Elective)
Beginner Band is offered to middle and high school students. All of the students in this class should be beginners on their instruments. Students will learn how to read music and develop strong fundamental skills on their instrument of choice. We will play a variety of music ranging from Grades 0.5 to 1 and perform multiple times throughout the year. For this class, students will choose from the following instruments: flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, and trombone. Later in your musical journey, there will be opportunities to branch into other instruments.
BFS has a number of instruments available to rent for the school year. For more information, please talk to Ms. Harris.
Grades 7 – 12 Intermediate Band (HS Arts Credit/Elective)
This ensemble is for students who have had at least one year of experience playing in a concert band. If you have completed the Beginner Band class at BFS, this is the next step! We will play a variety of music ranging from grades 1-3 Incoming intermediate band students should be able to read music and feel comfortable playing in the keys of Bb, F, and Eb. Students will have multiple performance opportunities throughout the school year. While rental instruments are prioritized for Beginner Band, we may have instruments available to rent through BFS.
Grades 7 – 12 Advanced Band (HS Arts Credit/Elective)
Advanced Band at BFS is a course designed for students who would enjoy playing in an advanced wind ensemble setting. At least two years of experience playing an instrument is necessary to be in this band. Members must be able to play their instrument at an intermediate level and comfortably read music. The reading level will start at Grade 2.5 and go up to Grade 4 You must be comfortable playing in a variety of different keys. Students will have multiple performance opportunities throughout the year and will represent BFS at the highest level of musicianship. While instrument rentals are prioritized for Beginner Band, we may have instruments available to rent through BFS. See Ms. Harris if you are interested in this class. As this course will be offered outside the regular timetable, HS students who complete a full year of the course will receive. 5 fine art credit towards graduation.
Grade 6-8 MS Spanish 1
This first-year middle school 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. Students should continue with MS Spanish 2 the following year.
Grade 7-8 MS Spanish 2
This second-year middle school Spanish sequence will build on skills learned in MS Spanish I, expand vocabulary, increase literacy skills, and give students the 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.
During this course students will gain self confidence to express their opinions and points of view about current topics in the target language. Lessons will focus on specific strategies to help students improve in the four skill areas of listening, reading, writing, and speaking. Students who successfully complete this course will be eligible to take a placement test to determine their level for HS Spanish classes. MS students who complete this course will be eligible to take a placement test to determine the level of Spanish they will take in High School. Please note that students will still need to complete two years of language study in high school to meet graduation requirements.
Grades 6-8 Korean for Non-Native Speakers
This introductory course is for non-native Korean speakers and is a one year only course.The class is designed for students to understand the Korean alphabet, Hangeul, and to speak basic Korean Language needed on a daily basis for more practical uses. Students will be able to satisfy a limited number of immediate needs such as greetings, self-introduction, buying things, ordering food, etc. Through individual and collaborative activities, students will communicate and develop vocabulary, literacy, listening and speaking skills, which helps broaden their understanding of Korean society and culture.
Grades 6 ~ 8 ELL Language Development
This non-graded class is designed to further develop the listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills of English Language Learner (ELL) students based on the WIDA English language proficiency assessment. Students work toward their individual language goals through a variety of hands-on, one-on-one, and partner activities. Students develop their knowledge of English in relation to vocabulary, comprehension, and fluency to succeed in and out of their classes. ELL class time can be used to supplement academic content that has been introduced during a student’s core classes.