Junior High Curriculum (Grades Six, Seven, and Eight)
The junior high course of study requires that students change classes and follow their own schedule. The academic courses of study are described below. The junior high literature, English, science and mathematics curriculums are academically advanced and build on a strong foundation in the elementary grades. The MLA bibliography style is taught and used throughout the junior high curriculum. The offering of less-rigorous “on grade level” junior high classes is determined on a year-to-year basis, based on the needs and numbers of students who would benefit from such classes. All students in grades six through eight have access to a Chromebook with Google Classrooms during school hours. Student use of the Chromebook is included in most classes. Students may check out a Chromebook overnight if needed. Some curricular materials are provided electronically, especially course materials for science and social studies. Students are assigned to multi-grade “houses.”
Sixth and seventh graders utilize the reader, Elements of Literature, and most eighth graders utilize a high school literature book, Elements of Literature, Third Course. In coordination with their English class, eighth graders may receive high school credit for English I or English I honors. Literature is aimed at fostering the students’ appreciation for a wide variety of reading texts. The main focuses of literature classes are the development of the multi-skills needed to comprehend, interpret, analyze, and evaluate what is read, the continued development of vocabulary, and a deeper understanding of the literary elements and genre of literature. On-grade level reading/literature is offered, as needed.
One goal of English in the junior high is to improve written and oral communication, working intensively in grammar, usage, and the mechanics of the English language. All eight parts of speech are covered, as well as punctuation and essential elements of a sentence. Composition skills include paragraph development, journal writing, friendly and business letters, essays, and poetry. Research skills are developed in coordination with other subject areas. Spelling and vocabulary are taught in the literature classes. Students build skills in the areas of public speaking. Sixth and seventh graders use Voyages in English, Loyola University Press. Grammar and composition in the eighth grade are integrated in English I studies.
Spelling & Vocabulary
Seventh and eighth graders utilize Barron’s 1100 Words You Need to Know (2013). The vocabulary course of study takes two years and provides a strong foundation in vocabulary and the application of cumulative spelling skills.
Sixth graders continue their math studies by using the Middle Grades Math Course 2, Prentice Hall, textbook. The text develops proficiency in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division with whole numbers, fractions, decimals, integers, and rational numbers. Students work with equations, trigonometry, exponents, ratios, percents, proportions, geometry, and problem solving strategies. Seventh graders, and some sixth graders, utilize Holt McDougal’s Pre-Algebra. Eighth graders continue their math studies by taking Algebra I, a high school course. The text used is Algebra I, Holt Rinehart Winston, 2011. Students who successfully complete pre-algebra in sixth grade complete Algebra I in seventh grade and Geometry in eighth grade. For students meeting the course requirements, local high schools recognize Algebra I and Geometry for high school credit.
Sixth, seventh, and eighth graders utilize a variety of materials in religion, with the goal of achieving deep, active faith in Jesus Christ. Through selected stories, questions, reflections, and clarifications by outstanding saints, theologians, and laymen, students learn to relate Christian moral life to their own situations. In sixth and seventh grades, the core textbooks are part of the Faith and Life series (Ignatius Press). Eighth graders use Chosen (Ascension Press). The junior high religion curriculum also includes units on morality, human sexuality, abstinence, and chastity.
Sixth graders learn about the world and ancient civilizations and their impact on western culture. Their studies include Egypt, India, China, Early Americas, Greece, Rome, and African Empires and incorporate geography, citizenship/government, history, economics, and cultures. Seventh graders study the Middle Ages and Renaissance, the Reformation and Age of Discovery, Exploration and Colonization, Enlightenment and Revolutions, Imperialism and Colonial Empires, World Wars, the Cold War Era, and the Modern Era. Eighth graders study American history from exploration and colonization to the present, with a focus on South Carolina’s role in the US. Junior high students are required to participate in the social studies fair each year. Projects include a formal report, a backboard, and an optional display.
Earth, life, and physical sciences are studied in sixth, seventh, and eighth grades. Students participate in regular labs and develop skills in utilizing science equipment safely, conducting labs, writing lab reports, and working in pairs or teams to investigate science. All junior high students participate in a school-level science fair and winning projects are submitted to the regional science fair.