Curriculum and Instruction
Classes are differentiated to allow all students to progress at their own rates. Differentiation means that all students’ learning needs are met within a single classroom in order to meet learning targets and standards. Our students are not tracked in ability-level courses.
At St. George, all students take all course offerings, except band*. Students do not need to choose between allied arts classes as “electives” as we make time in the schedule for all allied arts.
*Note: Band enjoys a high rate of participation. More than 75% of our students play in band.
All classes are grouped by grade. Flexibility is built into the schedule to arrange for small group instruction as needed.
Subjects: Language Arts, Math, History/Social Studies, Science, French, Health, Art, Tech Ed, Phys Ed, Music/Chorus, Band
Beginning again in 2015-2016, St. George School plans to rejoin Expeditionary Learning. Our curriculum will be project-based and integrated as much as possible.
CREW – Crew time is a fixed time in our schedule, a half an hour first thing in the morning, every day. It is a time we are adapting to meet different needs. One function of Crew is to help students be connected with a specific adviser who knows your children well and will help them in whatever ways are needed. Students and advisers will sometimes use this time for the class community to hold meetings, make decisions, or plan/give community service. We will be dedicating some regular time to extend and individualize learning through guided tasks, enrichment, remediation, and support services. We also will use Crew to prepare for student-led conferences with reflection, progress reporting and goal-setting activities, as well as for celebrations.
Acceleration blocks will be built into the schedule to allow for remediation and advanced skill work.
Support Services: Resource Room, Response to Intervention (Title 1), Gifted and Talented/Enrichment, Guidance, After-school Homework Club, Periodic pullout for completion of work and/or second-chance learning, called “Intensives.”
Technology is integrated into all classes. Teachers are well-trained in the MLTI apps and learning tools. Students are adept at creating multi-media presentations and St. George has a reputation for innovative products and careful handling of the devices.
Extra-Curricular: Yearbook, Civil Rights, Student Council, Math Counts, Sports
What will 8th Grade look like?
Eighth is a capstone year that builds through the middle-level organization of grades 6-8 reflecting academic, social and emotional developmental needs.
What will eighth grade look like? While exploring, making connections and protecting our community are common expedition topics for us, the eighth-grade year will be a year to leave one’s mark. Eighth-grade students will do research on an issue of local interest and explore how other places in the world have dealt with that issue. Global research will be conducted and a solution-based project will be designed to leave to the community. Students will also explore career options and opportunities to help make informed decisions about the paths ahead of them.
Our goal is for students to leave St. George School as confident participants in larger communities. We want for them to be active citizens wherever they may go, care about others and become advocates for environmental stewardship. They will have practiced lifelong learning skills and habits that will continue to open doors to future learning, discovery and self-actualization.
A Program of Studies for Eighth Grade:
Math: Eighth grade math is focused on three major areas: (1) Linear equations and algebraic expressions, (2) functions, (3) two- and three-dimensional geometry – including exploration of the Pythagorean Theorem. Math class and its five additional RTI/Algebra blocks will not be limited to one specific curriculum or to these topics however. Students will be introduced to realworld problems directly related to businesses,
organizations, and individuals residing in our community and beyond as they surface naturally through explorations in math class, ELA/Science/SS, Allied Arts classes, or their learning expeditions in general. While the main focus will be on acquiring new skills and concepts, previously mastered targets or those not met yet from earlier grades will be assessed and supported throughout the year with a variety of resources.
ELA: Eighth grade language arts will include all modes of writing and reading: expository and narrative. Research will be conducted using primary sources under the theme of community, as described above. (Students will not be able to “google” the topics.) Writing will be directed to authentic audiences to address real life problems and solutions. For example, a letter might be directed to the Maine DOT regarding the placement of a culvert appropriate to encourage the passage of alewives to and from the marsh. Or a student might make a proposal to the select-board with ideas about affordable housing and/or how to attract young families to town. Other projects might include ideas to improve recreational opportunities in St. George. Reading will include non-fiction related to the research and fiction from traditional 8th grade literature. The grammar and vocabulary skills, as well as the history and structure of language, will be addressed by studying Latin as it relates to English and the modern Romance languages.
Science: The eighth grade science year builds on themes that spiral through the middle grades (6-8) with a strong emphasis on life and environmental sciences while integrating related physical and earth sciences. Reading, writing, math and critical thinking skills will also be integrated with deliberate collaboration with other teachers. During this year, students actively become involved in community issues, conduct field studies and communicate their findings. For example, students might conduct field research relating to climate change and lobstering, invasive crabs and clamming, or work with the town’s Conservation Commission to conduct surveys and contribute to public outreach and conservation goals, including restoration of alewives to our Marsh. Other “real science” opportunities for students may include Citizen Science initiatives where citizens contribute observations to larger research projects and collaborate with scientists. An example of a Citizen Science project is “S’Cool”; students upload observations of clouds to NASA to help “ground truth” satellite observations when it passes over our geographic area in their effort to better understand how clouds affect climate.
Students will leave St. George School positioned to enjoy academic success in future coursework with a strong foundation of inquiry skills and knowledge of life, physical, earth and space sciences (guided by national documents such as the Framework for K-12 Science Education and The Next Generation Science Standards)
Social Studies: The overarching goal is for students to become better citizens in our own school and local community with an eye towards better global citizenship. Content includes the foundations and structures of governments (US & World), current events, and World Geography. Students will complete group and individual projects connected to community and global issues. Focus skills in Social Studies will include speaking and presenting in front of audiences, research and note taking from texts and internet sources, conducting interviews, and writing essays.
Band: The St. George Middle Level Band is unique in that we are a 6th grade through 8th grade band. Even though each grade level is at various stages musically, we must perform as a unified ensemble. Every 8th grade band member serves an important role toward reaching this goal, not only as role models/mentors to the incoming 6th graders, but also as the leaders of the band. I rely heavily on their musicianship and experience and feel that this is the key to the success of the St. George Middle Level Band. In addition to their participation in the Full Band, the 8th grade band members perform as their own ensemble. This allows me to program music at a higher level of difficulty. It also provides excellent opportunities to perform outside of the St. George school community as a small ensemble. 8th grade band members may choose to participate in the District III Honors Band festivals and are actively encouraged to prepare and perform solos and ensembles for band concerts and/or community meetings.
French: The 8th grade French curriculum will prepare motivated students to place into French II when they enter high school. The focus of the curriculum will be on developing the skills needed to communicate with people in a native French-speaking environment. They will be asked to learn hundreds of new vocabulary words, memorize several verb conjugations, read and write in French, and above all, try out speaking with people whose first language is French. Throughout the year students will interact with our French teaching intern. In addition, students will have opportunities throughout the year to communicate with French speakers in a variety of countries around the French-speaking world. The capstone project will be a trip to Quebec that includes a visit to a French-speaking school.
Art: By weaving art into other subject matter we bring new ideas and insights to our students. We must ensure that our children can think creatively, skillfully and “outside the box”. The creative skills our students will develop while integrating art with other subjects will carry them toward new ideas, new experiences and new challenges as well as offering personal satisfaction. Art is a fundamental tool that will be used at the Saint George School, which will help strengthen our students’ potential to become active contributors to our society as artists and non-artists. The art room will provide a platform for our students to be able to think, reason and understand the world and its many cultures as well as prepare them for the future ahead. Students will work with a variety of art materials and tools while learning about artists from the community and beyond. It is my vision to inspire all students through the creation of art and to wake their minds up to the beauty of people, nature and traditions of other cultures. Visual art is essential to implement into all classrooms as it opens doors of communication and helps connect people to other fields of knowledge. Art is a language that is spoken worldwide and will be integrated with other subjects in order to instill critical thinking skills and creativity.
Health Education: 8th grade health education class will be the capstone year, the year the students put what they have learned over the past three years into practice. We will take a holistic, local, state and worldwide view of some previously learned topics, as well as some new ones. Students will share their expertise through a project-based approach. This may include presenting to elementary classes, educating the local community and creating a school and community resource guide. Students will create projects, in a health area of their choice, to demonstrate their ability to identify, research, and share local and statewide resources. A gallery of student projects will give the class an opportunity to share their expertise. Students will also explore health from a worldwide perspective and compare some international data with that of North America to gain an awareness of the bigger world around them. As part of the Middle Level careers focus, students will explore career choices in the fields of Health and Recreation. Field expeditions and guest speakers will be a part of this exploration as will individual or small group research.
Physical Education: The focus of 8th grade Physical Education will be on team and individual sports and life-long fitness including activities that may be enjoyed well into adulthood. Team and individual sports will be practiced in tournament and recreational formats including all necessary support roles. Origin, history and activity rules will be covered and assessed as well. Personal fitness will be assessed in the fall and goals will be set to improve a specific area of fitness. Students will plan, and practice a personal fitness workout and then re-assess in the spring to measure improvement. School and community “Play Days” are a possible activity to be organized and run by the 8th grade class.