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Middle School Curriculum

Mankato Area Public Schools' middle school experience reflects the attributes identified within a middle school model that supports the success of young adolescents.  The middle school model establishes a mentor relationship between teacher and student, creates a small community of learners, and implements a flexible interdisciplinary curriculum that encourages active and personalized learning. Mankato middle school students continue to develop their skills and knowledge in the core areas of English Language Arts, Math, Social Studies, Science, and Health.  

Choir students on risers at concert

In addition to the core classes, students have a wide variety of educational experiences in the exploratory classes of Art; Communications; Family and Consumer Science; Project Lead the Way; Physical Education; and Music. Accelerated offerings and differentiated instruction allow students' needs to be met at individualized levels.  Our staff works to ensure that all students learn at high levels and meet their fullest potential.To accomplish this, they use ongoing formative assessments and work in Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) to analyze student data to address individual needs.

Philosophy


 

The philosophical foundation of the middle school model is grounded and centered on what is best for the young adolescent student. In a 1963 address at Cornell University, Dr. William Alexander spoke of a new model of teaching for students between the ages of 10 and 15. This new model called for relevant curriculum and essential learning processes that were developmentally appropriate for the unique needs of this age group. Adopting this philosophy across much of the nation, middle schools have grown and evolved over the past 50 years to become progressive learning environments in the American school experience.

 

The basic foundational elements of an effective education for young adolescents includes providing experiences that are developmentally responsive to their unique needs; appropriately challenging curriculum and learning for all learners; strategically preparing students for their future; and purposely creating an equitable experience for all.

  • Middle school students are emerging adolescents who are experiencing profound changes in the intellectual, physical, social and emotional areas of their lives. It is vital for middle level educators to understand and strategically address the unique needs of this age group.
  • Curriculum and instructional practices must be challenging so that all learners can achieve high levels of success. Middle level students need opportunities to explore and expand their understanding through interdisciplinary studies so they can fully understand the how the world is connected in so many ways.
  • The education of middle level students also needs to focus on empowering students by providing them with a skill set that will transfer into the 21st century. Students need to continue developing their skills through high school in order to be ready for the workforce, and the work students experience in middle school provides the foundation.
  • A high-quality middle level education should be available to all children under the same conditions. Ensuring access and equity for learners means providing them with opportunities to learn based on their individual needs, preventing their personal circumstances from becoming a barrier to learning, and helping each child strive and grow into their potential.
 

What makes this a successful model of education for young adolescents is a school community that includes adult advocates who are committed to doing what is best for middle level students; guidance and support services that are available to support and reinforce healthy choices; and families who are invited to actively participate in the educational process.

 

The 16 Characteristics of Successful Schools

 

Association for Middle Level Education. (2010). This we believe: Keys to educating young adolescents. Westerville, OH: Association for Middle Level Education.

Grade 6

In their first year of middle school, 6th graders embark on a new journey in their schooling, and with that come new challenges and changes. In many ways, 6th grade is a year of significant transition for students as they use the skills they have previously learned and apply them to more complex and independent learning in deeper and more rigorous ways. The specific texts and topics studied in 6th grade vary across states, districts, and sometimes schools. Consult your local state standards, school, or teacher for more details regarding the texts and topics your child will be studying. In addition, see the guide below for sample texts recommended by the common core for 6th-8thgraders.

Often, the structure of a school day for 6th graders varies greatly from that of elementary school. Rather than being taught by one (or mainly one) teacher, teachers in middle school usually vary by subject, and the students switch classrooms. With this new structure, students must be more aware of their own schedules and belongings than they ever were in elementary school.

Grade 7

The middle school experience fosters students' academic, social and emotional development.  To support students' academic development, they are assigned to teams and receive instruction in the core areas of English Language Arts, mathematics, physical education, science, and social studies within their teams.  Differentiated instruction and accelerated offerings allow students' needs to be met at individualized levels. 

Seventh grade students are provided a variety of learning opportunities with an exploratory focus. Two periods each day are dedicated to exploratory classes. Exploratory classes include Communications; Family and Consumer Science; Gateway to Technology; Health; and a music offering.  Students choose between band, orchestra, and vocal music.

Self-worth and a sense of belonging are very basic social and emotional needs of middle school students.  The Homeroom Teacher/Advisor program provides a setting that strives to meet these needs.  This program emphasizes the human relationship skills required for positive interactions.

In Homeroom, students have the opportunity to participate in activities designed to develop positive self-image, improve study skills, better peer relationships, and learn cooperative participation and other skills needed to be successful.  Homeroom also provides a time for teachers, referred to as teacher/advisors, to be aware of the academic and social progress of their advisees and to interact with them individually. In addition to advisement activities, Homeroom provides a time for student business, school elections, intramural activities, and other special events.  

Homeroom Teacher/Advisor Program Objectives:

•To meet the social and emotional needs of students.
•To encourage student-involvement 
•To provide time to connect with an adult outside of the regular class time

Grade 8

The middle school experience fosters students' academic, social and emotional development.  To support students' academic development, they are assigned to teams and receive instruction in the core areas of English Language Arts, mathematics, physical education, science, and social studies within their teams.  Differentiated instruction and accelerated offerings allow students' needs to be met at individualized levels. 

Eighth grade students are provided a variety of learning opportunities with an exploratory focus. Two periods each day are dedicated to exploratory classes. Exploratory classes include Communications; Family and Consumer Science; Gateway to Technology; Health; and a music offering.  Students choose between band, orchestra, and vocal music.

Self-worth and a sense of belonging are very basic social and emotional needs of middle school students.  The Homeroom Teacher/Advisor program provides a setting that strives to meet these needs.  This program emphasizes the human relationship skills required for positive interactions.

In Homeroom, students have the opportunity to participate in activities designed to develop positive self-image, improve study skills, better peer relationships, and learn cooperative participation and other skills needed to be successful.  Homeroom also provides a time for teachers, referred to as teacher/advisors, to be aware of the academic and social progress of their advisees and to interact with them individually. In addition to advisement activities, Homeroom provides a time for student business, school elections, intramural activities, and other special events.  

Homeroom Teacher/Advisor Program Objectives:

•To meet the social and emotional needs of students.
•To encourage student-involvement. 
•To provide time to connect with an adult outside of the regular class time.

Middle School Departments

Art

Students will:  

  • understand and use art vocabulary. 
    3 girls working on an art project
  • analyze and interpret artwork from a variety of time periods and cultures.  
  • compare visual arts to other art forms. 
  • use artistic processes to create a variety of visual art contexts.
  • express and communicate ideas using the components of visual arts. 
  • generate ideas for artistic expression in visual arts.
  • make and explain artistic choices in creating visual art.
  • use feedback to revise artistic expression in visual art.

 

Communications

Communications

In Communications, students learn how to give introductory, informative, and persuasive speeches. Cooperative group activities also enhance students’ understanding of the communication process. In the media literacy unit, students evaluate the content and credibility of articles found on the internet and they evaluate and analyze a variety of print and non-print media messages.

 

Communication 7 is a nine-week course that was created to address two main English curricular areas: Speaking, Listening and Viewing and Media Literacy.

Course Objectives

SPEAKING, LISTENING AND VIEWING
At the end of the course students will be able to…

  1. Participate in and follow agreed-upon rules for formal and informal discussions in large and small groups.
  2. Apply listening rules that maximizes retention of information.
  3. Orally communicate information, opinions, and ideas effectively to different audiences for a variety of purposes.
  4. Perform expressive oral readings of prose, poetry, or drama.
 

MEDIA LITERACY
At the end of the course students will be able to…

  1. Identify distinctions in how information is presented in print and non-print materials.
  2. Evaluate the accuracy and credibility of information found on Internet sites.
  3. ​​Make informed evaluations about television, radio, newspapers and magazines with regard to accuracy of information, the purpose of the selection, what bias may be present, what the message is, and who is the target audience.
 

Communication 8 is a nine-week course that was created to address two main English curricular areas: Speaking, Listening and Viewing and Media Literacy.

Course Objectives

SPEAKING, LISTENING AND VIEWING
At the end of the course students will be able to…

  1. Actively listen and comprehend messages.
  2. Participate effectively in group meetings. (pair, small, and large group)
  3. Analyze a speaker's argument.  Determine the position statement, supporting points, type of reasoning, supported or unsupported evidence, intended audience and effectiveness of argument.
  4. Distinguish between speaker’s opinion and verifiable facts and analyze the credibility of the presentation.
  5. Orally communicate information, opinions and ideas effectively to different audiences, adjusting delivery and language for intended audience and purpose.
  6. Apply self-assessment criteria to prepare and give oral presentations.
 

MEDIA LITERACY
At the end of the course students will be able to…

  1. Critically analyze the message in different media including:  advertising, news programs, web sites, and documentaries.
  2. Evaluate the content and effect of persuasive techniques used in print and broadcast media.

 

 

English Language Arts

English Language Arts

 

English 7
In English 7 students develop their comprehension skills by reading and studying a variety of literary genre including fiction and nonfiction. Students expand their reading, listening, and speaking vocabularies through study in Greek and Latin roots, prefixes, and suffixes, content area and academic vocabulary, analogies, similes, and metaphors.  They also study grammar through creating informative, expressive and persuasive writing pieces.

English 8

In English 8 students continue to develop their reading and writing skills through work that focuses on answering these essential questions:

  • What are some definitions of family?
  • How does the environment impact me and the world around me?
  • How has the violation of human rights impacted the world around me?
  • Is it our differences or similarities that matter most?

 

In addition, 8th grade English builds upon and extends students’ literary analysis skills from seventh grade by using more complex text and writing assignments.

Family & Consumer Science

Family & Consumer Science

 

Our world is changing fast. There's always a new and improved gadget to help us keep in touch and stay organized. We're bombarded by messages about what to eat, how to exercise, and what products to buy. As we approach adulthood, how do we learn the skills and savvy to make the right choices?
 

The implementation of our STEAM program allows students the opportunity to learn through real-life applications. Students become engaged in hands-on projects where problem solving, collaboration, and the results of their efforts make the lessons more relevant than a textbook alone ever could.  Students create real things that “matter".                   


7th Grade FACS will focus on the following areas:

Foods and Nutrition
Students will understand nutrition principles and practice food preparation techniques that will keep them healthy for life.

Child Development
Students will learn to care for children, parents/caregivers/babysitters, need to understand how they grow and develop.

Consumer Studies
Students will learn be an informed consumer, you need to manage money, consider all resources and analyze consumer products.

Interpersonal Relationships and Career Awareness
Student will understand oneself can lead to better decision making and a sense of well-being in order to choose and be happy with a career.

 

8th Grade FACS will focus on the following areas:

Foods and Nutrition
Students will learn that taking responsibility for one’s own health is an essential step towards developing and maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle.

Finance
Being independent does not mean being alone.  Your goal should be to develop to your fullest potential in order to contribute to your family and society, while also understanding what they provide for you.

Interpersonal Relationships And Career Goal Exploration
Career exploration helps you identify and explore your career options, so that you can wisely plan for your future education and work experiences.

Interior Design
Living spaces should be managed to meet physical, emotional and social needs by applying the elements and principles of design.

Gateway to Technology

Gateway to Technology (GTT)

 

Gateway To Technology’s (GTT) cutting-edge program addresses the interest and energy of middle school students, while incorporating national standards in mathematics, science, and technology. GTT is "activity oriented" to show students how technology is used in engineering to solve everyday problems in units of study. There are currently four instructional units that excite and motivate students to use their imaginations and teach them to be creative and innovative, while gaining the skills they need to develop, produce, and use products and services.

         

The Gateway To Technology 7 program for seventh graders focuses on showing - not telling- students how engineers use technology to solve everyday problems. The course is comprised of two units that focus on the development of stronger math, science, and technology problem solving skills. Through the Design and Modeling unit students will use geometry, problem-solving, teamwork and project management skills to design and develop product prototypes. Through the Science of Technology unit students design and build projects that teach the principles of motion, such as weight support and energy absorption. These units prepare the students for the elective Gateway to Technology course offered at the 8th grade level.

The Gateway To Technology 8 program for eighth graders focuses on showing - not telling- students how engineers use technology to solve everyday problems. The course is comprised of two units that focus on the development of stronger math, science, and technology problem solving skills. Through the Science of Technology unit students design and build projects that teach the principles of motion, such as weight support and energy absorption. Through the Automation & Robotics unit the student will acquire the knowledge and skill to solve engineering problems.  These two units help prepare the students for the elective Introduction to Engineering offered at the 9th grade level.

Health

Health Education

 

In Health 7 we will explore a variety of health topics that are very real to 7th grade students.  Some of the topics that we will learn about may have an impact on a 7th graders personal life in the future, may have happened in the past or is happening now in the present.  Promoting healthy and safe behaviors among students is an important part of the fundamental mission of the Mankato Area Public Schools Health Education.  We aim to provide young people with the knowledge and skills they need to become healthy and productive adults. 

Units Include:

Health and Wellness
Personal Safety
Tobacco, Alcohol and other Drugs
Sexual Health


In Health 8 we will explore consequences of daily life choices in regards to personal health and wellness, chemical use, and sexual behaviors, as well as psychological issues such as depression, suicide, and eating disorders.  We focus on good decision-making skills with an emphasis on making choices based on an understanding of the life-long consequences.

 

Personal Health and Wellness
Overview of Health Education
Teen Health Risk Behaviors
Values
Decision Making
Goal Setting

Mental Health
Recognizing Signs of Stress and Personal Stressors
Constructive Ways to Deal with Stress
Interpersonal Communication Skills
Warning Signs of Depression
Sources of Help in Dealing with Depression
Eating Disorders

Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drug
Physical Effects of Drug Use
Psychological Effects of Drug Use
Social Effects of Drug Use
Refusal Skills

Human Sexuality I
Prevention of STDs, including HIV/AIDS
Abstinence
Contraception
Fetal Growth and Development
Birth of a Baby

Human Sexuality II
Defining Sexuality
Identifying Values Concerning Sexuality
Abstinence
Resisting Pressure to Sexually Active
Guidelines for Healthy Relationships
Guidelines for Dating
Consequences of Teen Pregnancy

Mathematics

Mathematics

 

Grade 7 Mathematics
Students will be studying Pre-Algebra from Holt McDougal Mathematics Course 3.  Pre-Algebra reinforces the use of basic math skills while challenging students to think more abstractly in preparation for Algebra I.  This course emphasizes positive and negative rational numbers, exponents, variable expressions, equation solving, functions, proportional thinking, and problem solving.

Grade 8 Mathematics
This course will cover Algebra I topics. By the end of this course students should be able to understand the language and tools of algebra; perform operations with equations, formulas, proportions and percents; solve, graph and write inequalities; graph, write, and apply general functions; identify characteristics of and use linear functions; solve systems of equations and inequalities; use the properties of exponents and polynomials to solve problems; factor polynomials; identify, graph, and solve quadratic, exponential and radical functions; and analyze data and solve probability problems.  

Music

Music

 

Choir students perform 
Mankato West Choir performance

 

Orchestra
Orchestra is available to students who play a string instrument (violin, viola, cello, bass). The groups meet in large group rehearsal, and also receive a small group lesson once a week. The orchestras perform main concerts during the year. The orchestra may also participate in field trips, or play in the community or at other events.  Students who are new to the district, or who haven’t been a part of the string program should contact the director when registering for the orchestra.

Band
Band is available to students who play a wind or percussion instrument.  The bands meet in large group rehearsals, and also receive a small group lesson once a week.  The bands perform main concerts during the year. Students often have the opportunity to perform in ensembles, festivals, talent show and in state and/or regional honor bands in the winter or spring.  Students who are new to the district, or who haven’t previously been a part of the band program should contact the director when registering for band.  Some band students may also participate in Jazz Band. 

Choir
Choir is available to students who like to sing.  The students meet in large group rehearsals during the week. Through rehearsal and performance of a variety of choral music, students learn to develop artistic expressiveness, self-confidence, and the joy of working together and achieving goals. The choirs participate in main concerts per year.  In addition, students have the opportunity to perform in the State Honors Choir or at the regional honor choir festival. Students may also participate in field trips to sing in the community or at other events.

Physical Education

Physical Education

 

The mission of MAPS Physical Education is to empower all students with the knowledge and skills to be confident in sustaining a physically active and healthy lifestyle.


Mankato Area Public Schools physical education program is designed with both the physical and cognitive development of the student in mind. It focuses on the development of motor skills, strength, cardiovascular fitness, aerobic and anaerobic energy systems, and flexibility while the student is involved in activities that develop creative thinking, problem solving and appropriate social behavior. Physical education serves a unique purpose in providing students with knowledge, skills, and fitness that will empower them to develop and maintain a healthy lifestyle.


The purpose of Physical Education 7 is to provide students with the knowledge and skills to prepare for an active lifestyle. Physical Education 7 will build upon student knowledge and understanding of the F.I.T.T. principles. The course will provide 7th grade students with opportunities for individual and group fitness activities to improve their overall healthThe focus in grade seven is on strategizing and energizing. A good planner knows when and where to make adjustments. Good health and fitness contributes to a person’s productivity. Healthy competition can positively affect technique, behavior, attitude, and performance.

Sample Weekly Rotation

Monday- Weight Room
Tuesday- Games/Activities
Wednesday- Games/Activities
Thursday- Games/Activities
Friday- Pool

 


The core Physical Education 8 curriculum includes individual and team sports, dance, fitness activities, fitness testing, and self-improvement activities. In each unit, lifetime fitness activities will be incorporated on a regular basis. During your child’s experience in physical education, he/she may be involved in the following activities: Tennis, Ultimate Frisbee, soccer, Flag football, Tchoukball, track & field, Fitness/Weight lifting, Swimming/Water activities, Volleyball, and recreational activities.


Sample Weekly Rotation:
Monday – Moving Mania
Tuesday – Team Day
Wednesday- Work up skills & teams play
Thursday – Pool Day
Friday – Fitness Weight Room Day (Weight room or body weight workout)

Schedule – 8th grade PE will alternate quarters with Health. 1st and 3rd Quarter student will have PE and 2nd and 4th student will have Health. 

Science

Science

 

7th grade science is an introduction to the ideas involving living things. Students will learn what makes living organisms different from other processes on Earth. Some topics include Cells, Genetics, Microorganisms, Relationships Between Species, Evolution and Ecology. A strong focus of the course is on using writing, diagrams, data and graphs to represent information and sequences of events. Furthermore, many activities require students to use the scientific method and other synthesis skills to use information and draw innovative conclusions. In short, 7th grade science is a course focused on using scientific skills to explain the biosphere of our planet.

The 8th grade earth science course is an inquiry and standards based class. Through the use of WICOR strategies, lab investigations and differentiated lessons, students actively engage individually, through small groups and in full class activities. Throughout the year, students ask and investigate scientific questions, acquire a comprehensive scientific vocabulary and engage in note-taking and reciprocal teaching lessons.

Social Studies

Social Studies

 

United States Studies 7 follows the new Minnesota Department of Education Social Studies Standards for the 7th Grade. The course covers US history, geography, and economics from 1800 – to the present day.

Global Studies 8 students will explore geography and contemporary world history by using geographic information from print and electronic sources. They will analyze important trends in the modern world such as demographic change, shifting trade patterns, and intensified cultural interactions due to globalization. Students participate in civic discussions on contemporary issues, conduct historical inquiry and study events over the last half century that have shaped the contemporary world. They will analyze connections between revolutions, independence movements and social transformations, and understand reasons for the creation of modern nation states. Students will also learn that governments are based on different political philosophies and serve various purposes. By learning economic principles of trade and the factors that affect economic growth, students understand why there are different standards of living in countries around the world.

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CONTACT

Department of Teaching & Learning
Curriculum & Instruction
Tracy Corcoran, Coordinator
10 Civic Center Plaza, Suite 3
Mankato, Minnesota 56001
507-387-7353
tcorco1@isd77.org