Middle School

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Middle school is a particularly challenging portion of any child’s development. The only time in our lives that human beings undergo more physical and cognitive change is during the first six months of our existence. At Saddle River Day School, we are poised to meet the needs of every unique adolescent that passes through our door. We believe that disciplines and departments are porous, andwe are responsive to the needs and learning styles of all of our students..  We encourage students to learn, access, and use skills that will benefit them across the curriculum.  The content of the curriculum is the vehicle through which we communicate these skills, but at the heart of the Middle School education at SRDS is the belief that we aid in the child’s journey from student to scholar, and from adolescent to adult.

To aid in their multifaceted development, every middle school student is part of an advisory group which meets regularly and discusses academic as well as social concerns. Advisory provides students with a time to fit in, to recognize that they do not travel this journey through adolescence on their own, to connect with the adults in the building on a different level, and an opportunity to interact with students not only in their own division, but also across the lower and upper schools. The advisory system is complemented by the peer leader program, during which middle school students meet in small groups with two or three upper school students to build community, develop interpersonal skills, and address issues from a different perspective. The goal of advisory and peer leaders is to provide young teens with many opportunities to interact with peers and adults as they adjust to becoming young adults.

Middle school classes in the traditional core areas and world language are required each year. Spanish is offered each year with French available to eighth-graders. In addition to academic classes, students participate in physical education and the arts – with electives of art, music, and band. Students have nightly homework in most subjects and are expected to do their best on each assignment. Extra help and support is available and advisors help to steer students toward that support when it is needed.

There is much more specific information about the middle school curriculum in the links below. I hope you will be frequent visitors to this site, and I encourage you to read through this information and more importantly to come and visit our school. You will see for yourself how each of our students is known, respected, and supported to reach his or her goals.

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Curriculum Grades 5 - 8

Grade 5 Approach and Curriculum

Grade five at SRDS is all about transitions and growth. Students are surrounded by caring teachers who establish a loving environment designed to cultivate students' talents, passions and growing independence. We look forward to partnering with families to provide the best support for children during this transitional stage.

HUMANITIES
English, geography and history are part of an integrated curriculum designed to develop the essential skills of reading comprehension, written communication, collaboration and critical thinking. Students build and strengthen their reading skills with a combination of class novels and independent reading books. Writer's workshop allows students to practice and hone their writing skills in various genres. Basic geography skills and a focus on the ancient civilization of Greece and Egypt round out the social studies curriculum. Research, note-taking and study skills are woven into each unit.

ΜΑΤΗ
Fifth-grade math begins with number concepts and theory, followed by a comprehensive study of fractions. In the algebra unit, students understand how to use variables in math, simplify algebraic expressions, and work with equations and inequalities. The geometry unit focuses on triangles: classifying them both by angle measure and side length, as well as calculating their area and perimeter. Students also investigate decimals, exploring how they relate to fractions, and learning the procedures for performing operations with them. Students will use their knowledge of the Singapore Math word problem bar model, in conjunction with critical thinking skills, to complete daily word problems. These problem-solving skills will be worked on and enhanced consistently throughout the year. 

SCIENCE 
Fifth-grade science is based on a hands-on, inquiry-based curriculum where students learn by doing. Students design and perform experiments using the scientific method. The course examines major scientific disciplines, including earth science, life science and physical science. Students learn how to design experiments, write lab reports and conduct research. 

SPANISH
Our fifth-grade Spanish curriculum focuses on written and oral communication, cultural appreciation and connections to other aspects of the school curriculum. Classes use the program Descubre el española con Santillana - Level F. Students use technology to record conversations and practice listening and speaking skills. 

TECHNOLOGY
Students are provided with Chromebooks as an organizational tool for research and for writing and presenting their ideas. Technology, including projects in the IDEAS lab, is integrated into the curricular areas. Students are enrolled in two trimesters of Digital Citizenship, a course designed to help them learn to navigate the complex world of the internet.

STUDY SKILLS, LIBRARY AND HEALTH
Students in grade five have courses focused on study and research skills, library skills, and mindfulness several times per week. Students engage in metacognitive and activities that build upon their own understandings of their strengths and weaknesses. In addition, students have one trimester of health class where they learn about adolescent development.

ARTS
Fifth graders take studio art, graphic design, chorus and instrumental music to round out their studies. Students receive small group instruction in an instrument of their choice and also participate in the Middle School band or orchestra. Students may also participate in drama, jazz band, percussion and musical theater through clubs and after-school programs. 

ADVISORY AND CLUBS
All Middle School students have a daily homeroom and once-a-week advisory period with an advisor and small group of students. Advisors help coach students on their social and academic lives and help them to become reflective learners. Students also have a choice of clubs twice a week within the school day, which allows them to pursue individual passions such as chess, coding, robotics, drama, student council and many more.

PHYSICAL EDUCATION
Fifth-grade students have gym class twice a week where they focus on skill development in various sports, including soccer, basketball and badminton. Students also have recess twice daily and are encouraged to play outside. 


 

Grade 6 Approach and Curriculum


Grade six at SRDS is all about growth and development. Students continue their individual paths while teachers instill the skills and knowledge they will need throughout their time at school. They are surrounded by the care and support of faculty members who understand their age group. Students are also challenged to transition their thinking to a global perspective and think critically about themselves and the world around them.

HUMANITIES 
Students continue with our integrated curriculum by studying the geography, history and cultures of three world regions: Africa, Asia and Latin America. They explore questions regarding identity, community and society while engaging in the research and writing process. Students build and strengthen their reading skills with a combination of class novels and independent reading books. Writing skills continue to develop through writer's workshop, which exposes children to narrative, persuasive and analytical writing.

MATH
This course builds upon arithmetic concepts and skills and is designed to ease the transition from arithmetic to algebra.  Problem-solving strategies, communicating mathematically, and utilizing mental math are stressed throughout the year. Graphing calculators and computer technology are used extensively to enhance the mastery of concepts in the curriculum. Further, the Pre-Algebra course challenges students to enhance their critical thinking skills in order to promote further analytical and mathematical thought.

SCIENCE 
Sixth-grade students explore earth science, chemistry and life science in an active, hands-on, inquiry-based approach. Labs support students' understanding of the scientific method and cultivate design and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) thinking. Students are introduced to research and scientific writing in collaboration with our research librarian.

SPANISH 
Students continue their study of Spanish through literature, music and culture.

TECHNOLOGY
Students join our BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) program in grade six and are expected to bring a personal computer for use throughout the school day. Students meet once a week in the IDEAS Lab for a course in Digital Literacy. In this course, students identify a project to research, build and design, and they implement that project throughout the year. The class allows students to practice design thinking, develop project management skills and explore important concepts in the ethics and proper use of the internet.

STUDY SKILLS
Students build upon the foundation of study skills established in grade five, prioritizing organization, test preparation strategies and metacognition. In addition, classroom teachers collaborate with our learning specialist to help students manage the important executive function skills required for success in Middle School, and bring these techniques into the day-to-day work in the classroom.

ARTS
Sixth graders continue with studio art, graphic design, chorus and instrumental music. They participate in our semi-annual concerts and annual arts show, and may participate in drama, jazz band, percussion and musical theater through clubs and after-school programs.

ADVISORY AND CLUBS
All Middle School students have a daily homeroom and once a week advisory period with an advisor and small group of students. Advisors help coach students on their social and academic lives and help them to become reflective learners. Students also have a choice of clubs twice a week within the school day, which allows them to pursue individual passions such as chess, coding, robotics, drama, student Council and many more.

PHYSICAL EDUCATION
Sixth-grade students have gym class twice a week where they focus on skill development in various sports, including soccer, basketball and badminton. Students also have recess twice daily and are encouraged to play outside. 

 

Grade 7 Approach and Curriculum

The grade seven program embraces students' developing ability to think conceptually and abstractly. It challenges students to evaluate their roles in the community and to analyze their relationship with the world around them. Student interest, inquiry and independence are all cornerstones of the seventh-grade educational program.

HUMANITIES
Grade seven continues with our interdisciplinary approach to English language arts and social studies. Students read novels geared towards understanding the individual in society and enhance their analytical and persuasive writing skills. Seventh graders study American government and use that as a lens with which to understand and grapple with current events. Critical reading and analytical skills are built while examining news articles, editorials and advertisements. Students learn to research current issues of interest to them, as well as to examine legislation pertinent to teenagers. Through the year, students become adept and critical consumers and producers of information. 

MATH 
Depending on their strength in mathematics, seventh-grade students may take either Algebra I or Algebra 1a, the first part of a two-year Algebra sequence. Both courses seek to develop the foundation of mathematical thinking while challenging students to apply previous concepts to solve new problems. 

SCIENCE
Students explore fundamental concepts in physics and chemistry such as matter, the periodic table, and properties of elements and motion. Seventh graders also learn about energy and environmental sustainability. Inquiry-based methods engage students in problem-solving and design thinking. 

WORLD LANGUAGE
Seventh graders embark on a two-year study of Spanish or French, which is equivalent to one year of high school study. They are immersed in the culture and spoken use of the language while building their skills of reading and writing. 

TECHNOLOGY
Seventh graders are expected to bring a personal computing device for use through the school day. As a result, students engage in technologies relevant to each curricular area. Teachers from all academic areas integrate IDEAS Lab resources, such as Tinkercad and 3-D printers, laser cutter, robotics and circuits into their curriculum. Such hands on experiences give students the opportunity to make connections between various disciplines. Students also have the opportunity to use technology in a trimester-long "Genius Hour" course in which students design and create an individual research-based project. 

ARTS
Seventh graders continue with studio art, graphic design, chorus and instrumental music. They participate in our semi-annual concerts and annual arts show, and immerse themselves in the arts in other curricular areas like Spanish and science. Students may also participate in drama, jazz band, percussion and musical theater through clubs and after-school programs. 

ADVISORY AND CLUBS
All Middle School students have a daily homeroom and once-a-week advisory period with an advisor and small group of students. Advisors help coach students on their social and academic lives and help them to become reflective learners. Students also have a choice of clubs twice a week within the school day, which allows them to pursue individual passions, such as chess, coding, robotics, drama, student council and many more. 

PHYSICAL EDUCATION
Seventh-grade students have gym class twice a week where they focus on skill development in various sports, including soccer, basketball and badminton. Students also have recess twice daily and are encouraged to play outside. 

HEALTH
Seventh-grade students have one trimester of health class where they learn about the human body and sexuality.

Grade 8 Approach and Curriculum

Grade eight at SRDS challenges students to explore the concept of leadership. As senior members of the Middle School community, eighth-grade students have the opportunity to take on a variety of formal and informal leadership roles both inside and outside the classroom. Classes emphasize the development of skills critical to success in the Upper School while remaining responsive to the unique needs of the age group. Grade eight culminates in a capstone three-day trip to Washington, D.C.

HUMANITIES
Adopting a high school mindset, eighth graders take separate classes for English and history, but teachers collaborate closely to emphasize similar reading, writing and research skills. In English, students cultivate their comprehension and analytical skills through reading both classic and contemporary texts. They explore a variety of writing genres, including personal narrative, literary response, graphic stories and blogs. Simultaneously, in U.S. History, students evaluate the world around them by investigating the events of the past. They learn to read primary sources and to analyze critical writings, speeches and political cartoons in order to understand important questions about the development of American economy, society and foreign policy. Students are also taught to write persuasively using historical evidence, and they end the year with a formal debate that integrates many of the research, writing and public speaking skills developed all year. 

MATH 
Depending on their strength in mathematics, eighth-grade students may take either Algebra I or Geometry or Algebra 1b, the second part of the two-year Algebra sequence started in seventh-grade. Both courses educate students beyond the formulaic approach to mathematics and help them apply essential mathematical concepts to solve problems in and out of the classroom. 

SCIENCE
Eighth-grade students explore physics and chemistry through labs and hands-on projects guided by the principles of engineering. This course challenges students to investigate topics such as force, acceleration and movement through real-world application and experimentation. It also continues to develop STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) skills by relying on student inquiry, design thinking and collaboration. 

WORLD LANGUAGE
Eighth graders may continue their two-year sequence of Spanish or French or begin Arabic in the Upper School. Students continue to build their linguistic skills through speaking, reading and writing. Either pathway allows students to achieve learning outcomes that will prepare them for the second level of Upper School world language in grade nine. 

TECHNOLOGY
Eighth graders are expected to bring a personal computing device for use through the school day. As a result, students engage in technologies relevant to each curricular area. Teachers from all academic areas integrate IDEAS Lab resources, such as Tinkercad and 3-D printers, laser cutter, robotics and circuits into their curriculum. Such hands-on experiences give students the opportunity to make connections between various disciplines. In addition, the state-of-the art video production studio at SRDS allows students to communicate using multimedia tools. 

ARTS
Eighth graders must take two art classes: studio art, graphic design, chorus or instrumental music. SRDS boasts one of the most in-depth digital arts programs and advanced facilities in the region; students may also take art classes in our first-class drawing and painting studio. Eighth graders may continue to participate in Middle School band, orchestra, and chorus. Students may also participate in drama, jazz band, percussion, and musical theater through clubs and after-school programs. 

ADVISORY AND CLUBS
All Middle School students have a daily homeroom and once-a-week advisory period with an advisor and small group of students. Advisors help coach students on their social and academic lives and help them to become reflective learners. Students also have a choice of clubs twice a week within the school day, which allow them to pursue individual passions such as chess, coding, robotics, drama, student council and many more. 

PHYSICAL EDUCATION
Eighth-grade students have gym class twice a week where they focus on skill development in various sports, including soccer, basketball and badminton. Students also have recess twice daily and are encouraged to play outside.