ENGLISH AND LANGUAGE ARTS
Eighth Grade students read and study: Touching Spirit Bear, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Outsiders, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Lord of the Flies. Additional works of literature may be studied. Students also read works by Washington Irving, Edgar Allen Poe, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, O. Henry, and Rudyard Kipling at various times throughout the year. Eighth grade students at Holy Trinity Middle School enjoy a varied English/Language Arts curriculum. Our belief in a literature-rich environment for our students drives the high standards we hold for both our students and our reading selections Language Arts instruction also includes: Vocabulary study focusing on Greek and Latin root words, key grammar concepts to better understand written language and improve analytical skills, and an assortment of Writer’s Workshops to improve composition skills in all genres of writing while maintaining focus on each grade level’s target standard.
The overarching theme for middle school science is “God’s splendor is shown in the energy of the earth and the universe”. Middle school is where students are exposed to science on daily basis with the goal for each student to be prepared for the rigors of a high school science curriculum. Science for all three grades is taught as integrated science which means that students are exposed to aspects of earth, life, and physical science each year. Activities, experiments, and projects are incorporated into the curriculum for hands-on learning. The cumulating learning experience for all students in middle school are the science fair, inventor’s fair, and technology fair which are held at the end of the year on a rotating basis so that a student in middle school is exposed to all three fairs. Collaborative projects involving the other middle school teachers is also a part of the science curriculum.
The concept of how God’s splendor can be seen through the energy that courses through all things continues to build in eighth grade. Concepts are almost all abstract which refines the student’s critical thinking skills. The study of chemistry which is the study of energy in the atom as well as energy in elements and compounds is introduced in eighth grade. After the study of chemistry, is the study of physics which includes energy waves including light and sound. Energy movement in the earth is studied by looking at the concepts of deposition and erosion as a continuous cycle. Energy movement in life science is studied at the basic level with cellular processes, genetics, heredity and changes over time. Math skills in science continue to honed.
Our philosophy for teaching math in middle school is in line with our mission of: “Building a foundation of character and a love of learning through daily Christian fellowship in a nurturing environment that promotes academic excellence.” We believe every student can learn math and every student can reach their potential in math. We know not everyone learns the same way, and as their teacher we must find out how to get them to see math in way that makes sense to them. We allow students to work at their own pace, but they must keep up with the minimum pace of the class. We pursue two curricula simultaneously in each grade. Each student, each year, will complete their grade level for Khan Academy online with help from their teacher in class as needed. Additionally, the sixth grade completes a year of Saxon Math, whereas the 7th and 8th grade complete McGraw-Hill Math Connects. With this self-paced, individual instruction format, we continue to have students who finish their current year math curriculum and work ahead into next year’s concepts.We deliberately tie our math and science concepts whenever possible, so students have confidence in both subjects. This has proven well as we were awarded Gold status for being 100% STEM certified by the ACT based on our 8th grade students' ACT Aspire test scores.
In Social Studies at Holy Trinity, we align each grade’s curriculum to the state standards. Additionally, with a small staff that works closely together we continually tie social studies concepts across the subjects. Additionally, each year we conduct a chapter of the National Geographic geography bee. For two years in a row, our school champion has qualified as one of the top 100 geography students in the state to compete at OU in the state bee.
For 8th grade, the state standards call for students to learn American history from pre-revolutionary days to post Civil War reconstruction. However, to understand the motivations of early colonists, we go back to the Lutheran Reformation and history’s examples of people searching for religious freedom. Throughout the year, students are introduced to the concept of document-based questions which they will see in high school Advanced Placement (AP) classes.