In English courses throughout the Middle School, certain goals remain constant as students develop and progress. All English courses help students to read intelligently, write well, speak effectively, and listen attentively. Students are taught to analyze, criticize, judge—with eye, ear, mind, voice, and pen to express these skills in an appropriate fashion. Since students make use of their analytical, critical, evaluative, and judging capacities in all disciplines, the English Department coordinates with other Departments to provide students with many opportunities for practical application of their knowledge and skills throughout their courses.
Activities that train students to analyze, criticize, evaluate, and judge are the mainstays of the language arts: reading, writing, speaking and listening. In our English courses, students develop a sense of the chronology of literature and of one’s heritage, which includes elements of Greek, Roman, and Judeo-Christian civilizations, as well as the diverse cultures that constitute aspects of both our diverse student population and our American experience. Through the use of essential questions, the English Department seeks to provoke deep thought, lively discussion, sustained inquiry, and new understandings within its students, as well as spark meaningful connections with prior learning and personal experiences. At the heart of all the English Department’s activities is the conviction that reading, writing, speaking, and listening demand a high degree of intellectual sophistication, emotional conviction, and personal discipline, which we address in developmentally appropriate ways as the students progress throughout their years at SRDS.
In the English program each course builds on the skills and experiences students acquire in previous grades. Throughout the Middle English courses, students learn vocabulary and grammar; explore the reading and writing of major literary genres including poetry, short story, drama, essay, memoir, graphic novels and traditional novels; and hone their oral presentation skills with presentations to their classmates and larger audiences. Every Saddle River Day School student takes at least one English course every year.
English Grade 5
In fifth grade English, students build and strengthen their reading skills with a combination of class novels and independent reading books. Students will practice close reading, noting how authors develop themes in fictional works, higher level nonfiction, and explore the genre of fantasy. Writer's workshop allows students to practice and hone their writing skills in various genres. They will begin the year with a reflective personal narrative, then they will move on to research reports, and also explore the concept of memoir writing. Students investigate and utilize proper mechanics and style, while developing their ability to think, speak, and write critically. Additionally vocabulary, spelling, and grammar are incorporated throughout the year.
English Grade 6: Human Rights in Literature
The aim of the English 6 course is to give students a firm foundation in the close reading of and written response to literature and nonfiction, with an emphasis on developing active reading strategies. Through the reading of diverse texts, students will gain an understanding of worldwide social issues. They will consider essential questions such as: What is acceptance? What are human rights and why are they important? What is my role in the world today? How can I help others? Much of the writing done for class is driven by the compelling literature read together, as well as independent reading, and the various ideas and issues these works prompt. Writer’s Workshop will introduce students to narrative writing, the literary essay, and informational writing. Using the writing process and learning revision strategies will be a key part of Writer’s Workshop. Parts of speech and grammar rules will be emphasized, as well as the usage of new vocabulary, including root words, prefixes, and suffixes.
English Grade 7: Identity in a Changing World
English 7 is designed to encourage students to grow from literal to figurative thinkers capable of reading, writing, listening and speaking critically. Students will read and respond to multi-layered texts in a variety of genres and media. The essential themes examined include identity, culture and community, social justice, and dealing with conflict and change. In Writer’s Workshop, students will carefully consider purpose and audience as they write fiction, literary essays, and persuasive pieces. Integral to our reading and writing, developmentally appropriate grammar and vocabulary are also taught and reinforced.
Who am I? Answers to the Question in Literature
Eighth grade English is a reading and writing intensive class. In-class writing and journal writing are exercised to make a smooth transition into the five-paragraph essay. Students develop writing skills such as the creation of strong theses, developed paragraphs with specific supports and logical conclusions. Expository and creative writing grow out of the literature discussions and analysis. Through creative writing prompts, students are encouraged to experiment with developing their own literary voice. As we move through the writing process, students begin to identify their own personal strengths and improve on their weaknesses. Grammar, vocabulary, and spelling are enhanced by challenging students to look closely at the assigned reading. Participation is essential to exploring and challenging oneself on a regular basis. Cooperative group work, discussion, in-class writing, peer editing, and presenting are all used to develop critical reading and writing skills.
The Middle School math program has three main components. The arithmetic component is designed to build basic skills and expand their applications. The two other components incorporate basic skills in algebra and geometry. Math 5 utilizes the Dimensions Mathematics program to help the students enhance their problem-solving skills. In Grade 6, students take Pre-Algebra. In Grade 7, students take Algebra I or Algebra I Honors. In Grade 8, students will take Geometry or Geometry Honors. This opens up a range of future possibilities for students.
Starting in Middle School, all students are taught to use the graphing calculator. They are required to purchase an appropriate graphing calculator to use in the classroom and at home.
Summer Academy - Students looking to further advance their math study can also sign up for many of these classes through our Summer Academy. Classes usually run for six weeks from the end of June - early August.
Building upon concepts and skills taught in Lower School, Math 5 paves the way from elementary math to a more concrete study of sophisticated math. Students will gain an in-depth understanding, fluency with skills, and confidence in problem solving. They will have the opportunity to explore concepts through daily classwork and challenging examples, and then hone their understanding of the concepts more deeply through math games and projects. Topics of study include: whole numbers, geometry, algebra, decimals, fractions, proportional relationships, integers, and measurement. Critical thinking skills will continually be enhanced throughout the year, and the students will complete many application-based problems that are specific to topics being learned.
Pre-Algebra, Grade 6
This course builds upon arithmetic concepts and skills and is designed to ease the transition from arithmetic to algebra. The properties of integers are studied first and then expanded to include rational numbers and real numbers. Students explore the concepts of solving multi-step equations and inequalities, performing operations with fractions, and simplifying expressions using exponent properties. They study rational numbers, ratios, proportions, probability, and percent, as well as graphing in the coordinate plane. Additional topics that are included in the course are squares and square roots, the Pythagorean Theorem and its applications, probability and statistics, and properties of triangles and quadrilaterals. Problem solving strategies, communicating mathematically, and utilizing mental math are stressed throughout the year. Students master these topics through a variety of ways while developing note-taking skills, their ability to express in words their processes and conceptual understanding, a variety of projects and labs, and more formal assessments like tests and quizzes. The Pre-Algebra course challenges students to enhance their critical thinking skills in order to promote further analytical and mathematical thought. Graphing calculators and computer technology are used extensively to enhance the mastery of concepts in the curriculum.
Algebra I / Algebra I (Honors) Grades 7, 8, or 9
Algebra I integrates algebraic skill development with the broader framework of developing concepts. Functions and relations (including linear, quadratic, polynomial, and exponential) are used as a main theme in this study of algebra. Application-based problems are introduced throughout the curriculum. Graphing calculators and computer technology are integrated into topics to assist in understanding and visualizing statistics and data, linear equations, and other algebraic functions. An introduction to radicals is the concluding topic of Algebra I.
Algebra I Honors includes the entire Algebra I curriculum at a more enhanced cognitive level. Additional topics include a more comprehensive study of radicals, as well as a study of rational expressions and a more in-depth look at functions and their graphs. Students are expected to maintain and utilize a high level of critical thinking skills.
Prerequisite: Pre-Algebra, and recommendation by the department for honors level
Geometry / Geometry (Honors) Grades 7, 8, 9, or 10
Geometry offers the student a comprehensive study of two-dimensional Euclidean geometry. The language of geometry, polygons, and circles are studied in depth. The understanding of proof is an objective of the course. Additional topics of study are: area of plane figures, constructions (where applicable), transformations, and right triangle trigonometry. Algebraic and geometric concepts are reviewed in tandem to reinforce their mathematical connections. Applications are studied throughout the curriculum. Graphing calculators are used where appropriate.
Geometry Honors includes the entire Geometry curriculum, with a much more extensive study of proof. Students are expected to maintain and utilize a high level of critical thinking skills.
Prerequisite: Algebra I, plus departmental recommendation for honors level.
Algebra II / Algebra II (Honors) Grades 8, 9, 10, or 11
Algebra II reviews, sustains, and extends the knowledge of the real number system introduced in Algebra I. Polynomials, factoring, and graphing are discussed and explored in depth. Mathematical models are utilized in the discussion of coordinate geometry, problem solving, and in the detailed study of linear and quadratic functions. Also included is the study of irrational and complex numbers, fractional exponents, systems of equations, matrices, logarithms, and rational equations. Graphing calculators and computer technology are integrated into the course to assist in the understanding of solutions of equations and functions.
Algebra II Honors includes the entire Algebra II curriculum, as well as units on trigonometric functions and conic sections. Students are expected to maintain and utilize a high level of critical thinking skills.
Prerequisites: Algebra I and Geometry, plus departmental recommendation for honors level
The science department's courses are designed to be comprehensive as well as diverse in order to meet the needs of every student. Middle School science begins to take the students deeper into the specific topics of human biology, life science, earth science and conceptual physics.
Accelerated Science Track - Started in 2022-2023, advanced rising 7th-grade students may test into the Accelerated Science Program to place into Science 8 or Honors Biology. Advanced rising 8th graders may be placed into Honors Biology. Upon successful completion of Honors Biology, students may continue on the advanced track by taking Honors Chemistry in their 8th or 9th-grade year.
Summer Academy - Students looking to further advance their science study can also sign up for many of these classes through our Summer Academy. Classes usually run for six weeks from the end of June - early August.
In fifth grade science students will take a hands-on, discovery approach to learning 21st century skills in a laboratory setting. The inquiry-based curriculum fosters critical thinking skills and creative problem solving. During the course of the school year topics will come from each of the following categories, earth science, life science, and physical science. Students will investigate the interactions in an ecosystem and learn how a change in the interactions can upset the ecosystem. Next, students move on to an introduction to physical science as they learn how to identify physical properties and changes of matter. Students will finally journey to space and learn about the solar system and how interactions between our sun and moon affect things around our planet such as seasons, day vs night, and phases of the moon.
In sixth grade science students continue to discover and problem solve as they explore an integrated curriculum of earth, life and physical science. Topics in physical science include forces and motion and students will understand how forces affect our daily lives through Newton’s Laws of Motion. Students will then explore simple machines and how these help make our lives easier. Life Science topics focus on the human body systems and how the systems interact with one another to perform daily functions. Students end the year learning about the history of the Earth and how the movements of plates cause several natural events such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and tsunamis and how changes in the earth’s geography continue to affect our planet.
Science 7: Physical Science
Science in 7th grade is a hands-on, inquiry based approach to understanding the nature and structure of matter and the interactions of matter and energy. The focus of the curriculum is on the application of Physical Science principles and developing 21st century skills. During the first half of the year, students explore topics that include the atomic structure of matter and how matter changes physically and chemically, and the organization and use of the periodic table. STEM projects such as building boats and creating superheroes are highlights of the first trimester. The second half of the year focuses on how matter interacts with energy. Topics include forces, and motion; and the concept of energy: how it is transferred, and how the amount of useful energy in a system decreases over time, resulting in the need for energy sources. Projects include building race cars, roller coasters and solar powered devices.
Science 8: Applied Science
The curriculum for 8th grade science centers around an understanding of the natural and physical world in which we live. Real world connections are made as students explore topics in Physical Science, Life Science, Chemistry and Engineering. The hands-on, project based curriculum allows them to engage in lab activities and design projects which will not only enhance their skills in communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity, but will help prepare them for the rigors of upper-school science.
Biology Honors: Grade 7 and 8 on Accelerated Science Track
Biology focuses on the study of life from an evolutionary and sociological perspective. The students will explore selected topics through lectures, experiments, and inquiry based activities. A basic appreciation of biological science is emphasized through real life examples wherever possible. Topics covered may include, but are not restricted to evolution, ecology, genetics, cell structure, and cell processes.
The honors level course is a molecular approach to biology. Course material will cover a wide range of biological topics, using a molecular thematic approach, essential for a comprehensive understanding of general biology. Students will learn and be able to apply the scientific method through the development and conduction of laboratory investigations.
Chemistry Honors Grade 8 - Accelerated Science Track
Chemistry focuses on the study of natural processes from a physical and observational perspective. Students explore selected topics through investigation, experimentation, and inquiry-based activities. Chemistry is emphasized through real life examples wherever possible. Topics covered may include, but are not restricted to; stoichiometry, periodic properties, reactions in aqueous solutions, nomenclature, solutions, and gases.
The Honors Chemistry course studies the nature of change as it relates to chemistry and the world, using both qualitative and quantitative methods of analysis through problem solving, experimental design and cooperative group learning activities. Specific topics include matter; electron configuration; bonding; gas behavior; mole concept; stoichiometry; redox reactions; acid-base; equilibrium; and solutions.
Prerequisites: For Chemistry Honors, completion of Biology or Biology honors AND completion or concurrent enrollment in Algebra II or Algebra II Honors with teacher recommendation and permission of the Department Chairperson.
Computer Science I - 8th Grade Elective
This computer science course provides students with an introductory level understanding of computer programming. Students learn the fundamentals of program design and programming languages. Projects are assigned for each topic that allow students to gain and develop proficiency at planning, writing and executing programs.
Computer Science Principles - 8th Grade Elective
Computer Science Principles is a course that teaches the principles, big ideas, and practices of computer science. The goal is to ensure that all students are introduced to the broad spectrum of these that make up the essence of computer science. This course enables students to experience the creative and intellectual possibilities—the“beauty” of computing through their participation. Students will become proficient in the computational thinking practices that are embedded within this curriculum.
Prerequisites: Computer Science I
The purpose of the study of history and the social sciences is to help students understand themselves and their relationships to history and culture through an investigation of the varieties of the human experience. The History and Social Sciences Department curriculum emphasizes a world perspective, which asks students to appreciate the global connectedness that has existed for most of human history. The curriculum in the middle schools provides opportunities for students to investigate many areas of this experience: intellectual, aesthetic, religious, philosophical, political, economic, social, and psychological.
In the history and social sciences program for grades five through twelve, each course builds on certain skills students have acquired in previous grades. For example, students learn to analyze critically both primary and secondary sources. There is a strong emphasis in all courses on developing students’ abilities to express themselves clearly and logically, both verbally and in writing. Many courses use art, literature, and music to enrich understanding.
5th Grade United States History: The United States- Beginnings Through the Civil War
The main goal of fifth grade history is to give students an appreciation and understanding of the significance of people, places and events that relate to the unique history of the United States. As the fifth grade year begins, students strengthen their map skills by focusing on the Americas. They look at how the variety of landforms, climates, and vegetation regions made the Americas so attractive to immigrants with different goals. We will continue on into exploring the Americas and the race to colonize. Next, the students will take an in depth look at the American Revolution, as well as the formation of the United States of America and its government. After that, the students will examine the pioneers who ventured throughout the New World and the effects westward expansion had on the people, environment, and the political, economic, and cultural realms of the United States. Finally, we discuss the positives and negatives of the Industrial Revolution, and the impact the Civil War had on American society.
6th Grade World History: The Ancient World Through the Renaissance
As the sixth grade year begins, students will explore the world's early people, and how they lived and adapted to new environments over time. Next, the students will complete an in depth study of Mesopotamia, Ancient India, Ancient China, and a variety of other ancient civilizations. A thematic approach will allow the 6th graders to understand what made empires thrive and decline by making connections in the fields of geography, government, history, economics, and culture. We will use these themes as a framework for studying the world – its people, environments, cultures, and their interaction with one another. They look into the past, observe the present, and speculate about the future. The study of geography extends beyond maps, and the sixth grade geography course prepares students to be global citizens. Students utilize technology and traditional sources of information to research and gather data to analyze and apply theories to draw conclusions, growing as critical thinkers in examining the world.
7th Grade Word History: World Civilizations
As the seventh grade year begins, the students will continue their study of ancient civilizations, but progress into Eastern Europe and Asia, studying the cultures of south and southwest Asia. Next, they will move on to Early Americas and the Middle Ages, moving into the Renaissance and Reformation periods. Finally, they will focus on the Age of Exploration and how life changed after the fall of Rome, as well as how Enlightenment principles influenced radical changes in governments around the world. Throughout the year, the students will explore questions regarding identity, community and society while engaging in the research and writing process. Students will continue to read and take notes from a variety of sources (primary and secondary), participate in cooperative exercises, research and synthesize information, write descriptively and analytically, and articulate thoughts through formal public speech and debate.
8th Grade US History: Civil War to the Present
This eighth grade course covers the time period from the colonial era through the present day, focusing on civics, government, and connecting these themes to current events. Students will start the year off looking at westward expansion and the Industrial Age, identifying how immigration and rapid urban growth shaped life in the United States. Next, the students will look at how World War I impacted America and transformed Europe. Additionally, students will study the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression, and discuss how society changed during these two vastly different periods in American history. Finally, they will explore the twenty-first century and how the United States is different today compared to 1776. Other themes to be explored include: identity; culture and community; social justice; and conflict, adversity, change and transition.
Business & Entrepreneurship, Grade 8 elective
This course introduces students to the dynamic processes and activities in Business and Entrepreneurship. The course develops student understanding and skills in the functional areas of business, entrepreneurship, marketing, business law, communication skills, customer relations, economics, human resources management, and operations. Current technology will be used to acquire information and to complete activities. Throughout the course, students are presented ethical dilemmas and problem-solving situations for which they must apply academic and critical-thinking skills. Students learn the proper foundations of turning an idea into an opportunity from ideation and pitching and idea to the elements of a business plan.
The principal goal of the World Language Department is to instill a love of language and an appreciation of the cultures beyond these languages. We encourage our students to achieve an excellent level of communication in speaking and in writing. Listening comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing are the traditional skills that are stressed throughout the world language experience. Field trips and trips abroad may be offered as further enrichment.
The middle school program offers students the opportunity to study Spanish in 5th and 6th grade. They may choose to continue to study Spanish or choose French or Arabic in 7th and 8th grade and sometimes may be able to continue with two languages (based on their individual skills).
Emphasis will be placed on oral proficiency; however, students will also be reading and producing limited writing. The general goal of this course is to continue to familiarize students with the spoken language (a continuation of the Fourth Grade program). Students will engage in simulations, projects, and activities that will place them in real-life situations and reinforce the subject matter. This one-year program will prepare students for entry into Spanish 6. There will be some overlap of material learned in fourth grade for review and to allow for new students to experience the language.
Emphasis will be placed on oral proficiency; however, students will also be reading and producing limited writing. The general goal of this course is to continue to familiarize students with the spoken language (a continuation of the Fourth and Fifth Grade programs). Students will engage in simulations, projects, and activities that will place them in real-life situations and reinforce the subject matter. This one-year program will prepare students for entry into Spanish 7. There will be some overlap of material learned in fourth and fifth grades for review and to allow for new students to experience the language.
This course for Middle School students is an introduction to the traditional high school Spanish Level I curriculum. It is for students in the 7th grade who are beginning or continuing their study of Spanish. Instruction emphasizes development of listening comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing skills in Spanish with a primary focus on oral proficiency. Students will engage in simulations, projects, and activities that will place them in real-life situations and reinforce the subject matter. An awareness of and appreciation for the Spanish speaking community is a supreme objective of instruction at all times. Materials include written text, short novels, live audio and online resources.
This course for Middle School students is an introduction to the traditional high school Spanish Level II curriculum. It is geared towards students who did well in Spanish 7 during the course of the previous year. Instruction emphasizes development of listening comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing skills in Spanish with a primary focus on oral proficiency. Students will engage in simulations, projects, and activities that will place them in real-life situations and reinforce the subject matter. An awareness of and appreciation for the Spanish speaking community is a supreme objective of instruction at all times. Materials include written text, short novels, live audio, and online resources.
This course is for students who have not had Spanish or for those students who experienced difficulties in Spanish 7. The topics covered will be those included in the traditional high school curriculum for introductory Spanish. Instruction emphasizes development of listening comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing skills in Spanish with a primary focus on oral proficiency. Students will engage in simulations, projects, and activities that will place them in real-life situations and reinforce the subject matter. An awareness of and appreciation for the Spanish speaking community is a supreme objective of instruction at all times. Materials include written text, short novels, live audio, and online resources.
This is an introductory level course. For students who are experiencing foreign language instruction for the first time, this is a fundamental course which allows those students the opportunity to learn cooperatively. Awareness of and appreciation for the French speaking community and its culture are among the ultimate objectives of instruction.
French II and French II Honors
This course expands upon concepts presented in French Level I. Much more emphasis will be given to structure and verb tenses; new vocabulary acquisition will be a constant goal as will development of conversational ability. Awareness of and appreciation for the French speaking community and its culture are among the ultimate objectives of instruction.
Prerequisite: Successful completion of level I or teacher recommendation.
Arabic Language and Culture I
This introductory course starts with learning the Arabic alphabet and focuses on the reading, writing, listening and speaking of Modern Arabic. It also explores cultural topics from the regions where Arabic is spoken.
Arabic Language and Culture II
This course continues the introduction to Arabic. The goal is to engage with the Arabic language by studying and exercising speaking skills in Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) and Levantine dialect, by studying and exercising reading and writing skills in MSA and by exploring relevant cultural traditions. Students also research modern life in the Arab world.
SRDS has a dynamic and diverse instrumental music program that provides a solid foundation of the skills needed to play an instrument and to perform with it in an ensemble. Instruction begins in the Lower School, continues through the Middle School, and culminates with our students participating in our Upper School Band, Jazz Ensemble, String Ensemble, and Guitar Ensemble.
The choral program is designed to provide the opportunity for each student in grades Pre-K-12 to learn the proper vocal techniques and skills needed to perform various vocal repertoire. Special emphasis is placed on learning rudimentary skills such as proper air support, proper resonance, sight-reading, audible acuity, blending, style, and showmanship. Participation in an SRDS choir provides opportunities for the students to express their personal creativity, build their self-esteem, learn self-discipline, and master a variety of skills which can be applied to their lives both on and off the stage.
Fifth Grade Band and Strings
All fifth grade students learn to play a woodwind, brass, string or percussion instrument which they play in the Fifth Grade Band or String Class. In addition to their ensemble rehearsal, each student receives lessons with other students on the same or similar instruments. The Band and String Class play two concerts each year.
Middle School Choirs: Grade 5 and 6-8
There are two Middle School choirs: one for students in grades 5 and 6 and one for grades 7 and 8. Rehearsal time is spent learning the different pieces, establishing proper vocal techniques and gaining fundamental musical knowledge. The concert pieces include arrangements of selections from Broadway shows, current popular songs, classical choral pieces and pieces written for student choirs. The students are encouraged to take part in the programming process of performances. The choir performs at least two concerts each year.
Sixth Grade Band
Woodwind, Brass, and Percussion students in the sixth grade may join the Sixth Grade Band. The group continues the laying of a solid foundation of musical skills that was started in the Fifth Grade Band. More complex pieces of music are explored and the students develop the techniques necessary to play in The Middle School Band (Grades 7-8.
7th and 8th Grade Band
Middle School students who have played a woodwind, brass, string or percussion instrument for at least one year may register for 7th-8th Grade Band. The repertoire of the group includes classic and contemporary music written for middle school students as well as arrangements of popular music and large-ensemble jazz selections. The band performs at least two concerts each school year.
Middle School Strings Grades 6-8
Middle School students who have played the violin, viola, cello, or bass violin for at least one year may join The Middle School Strings. The repertoire is primarily classical music, with some pop/jazz pieces played occasionally.
8th Grade Theater Arts
Eighth Grade students may register for 8th grade Theater Arts. In this course, the students study the many elements of a theater production, including set design and building, lighting design and operation, stage management, as well as acting and directing. This class can fulfill an eighth grade student’s performing arts requirement. The class meets once per week.
The visual arts are a means to gain personal satisfaction through individual accomplishment in the creation of images and forms. The program is solidly based on a respect and understanding of where students are creatively, what they require from their work, and the means to move them from one developmental stage to another as they become more expressive, inventive, and perceptive. The program focuses on artistic creation as the central component throughout, with perceptual and reflective elements growing out of the students’ active involvement with materials and processes. Through expressive/creative experiences, students become familiar with such facets of artistic thinking as; the ability to formulate problems and create multiple solutions, the ability to pursue a project over time, the willingness to solve problems inventively, the ability to take risks, and finally to reflect critically on one’s own work. Students develop a way of thinking that functions beyond the studio into other areas of the curriculum.
The program focuses primarily on the uniqueness of the individual, fostering and valuing the specific expressive qualities and interests of each student as she/he progresses through K - 12. Collaborative work exists, but its goals are secondary to the individual.
Art Grade 5
The visual arts require students to participate in art production, creating imagery or objects by means of drawing, painting, printmaking, and sculpture. Throughout the year, Fifth grade students will develop an enhanced understanding of the elements of art; Line, Shape, Color, Value, Form, Texture, and Space. And the principles of design; Balance, Contrast, Emphasis, Rhythm, Movement, Pattern and Unity. Art activities will focus on expanding their knowledge of these elements & principles while engaging the students in an experience that will not only be rich in itself, but lead to personal growth. Projects involve the students in imagining, exploring, reasoning, and inventing while experimenting with a plethora of materials and techniques. Students will create artwork inspired by art history, diverse cultures, and their perceptual awareness of their environment. Fifth grade meets for art class twice a week, and their artwork is exhibited in the school wide art show at the end of the year.
Graphic Design 5
Fifth grade students will build a foundation of graphic design. After being introduced to the basic functions of a Mac computer and the safe usage of the internet, the students produce imagery through project based learning, using design programs including Adobe Photoshop, a photo manipulation and digital painting program, and Adobe In Design (a design and layout program). Some photography and the use of existing photographs is incorporated into the class projects, and the students learn to manipulate digital images by using a variety of software applications. Project ideas include digital painting, art parody, self -portraits, manipulation of art history, logo and poster design, book making, advertising, textile design and packaging. The students are introduced to historical and modern day artists, and all projects reinforce the student’s knowledge of the elements of art and principles of design. The overall goal of the graphics course is to enhance student’s critical thinking skills and confidence by exposing them to the unlimited possibilities that digital art has to offer.
Art Grade 6
The grade six Art course continues to build upon and reinforce basic skills learned throughout the Lower School Art Program. The elements and principles of design are the building blocks of art study. These concepts will be expanded on as the students grow through a variety of projects, techniques and materials presented. The students will learn about a number of artists, styles and cultures throughout the middle school years. This class meets twice a week. The students will receive a numerical grade based on a point system.
Graphic Design 6
In the Graphic Arts course sixth grade students will build the foundations for graphic design. They are introduced to the basic functions of the Macintosh computer, the safety of the Internet, and working back and forth between programs. We use the programs Adobe Photoshop, Photobooth, Microsoft Word, and stock photography websites. Students use a range of programs, in order to create diverse projects involving poster designs, book covers, print advertisements, color masking, photo retouching, corporate identity and packaging design. Students are introduced to historical and modern day artists. In this program students learn the principles and elements of design. Students learn the importance of sketching their ideas on paper first before starting to design on the computer. Some projects will also be integrated with their visual arts class.
Art Grade 7
This class meets twice a week. The course takes the students through a creative experience by the use of a variety of media. They will explore and experiment with basic art elements and principles and they will develop artistic skills through the systematic introduction to 1) the sensory properties of objects - color, line, shape; 2) the format properties of design - balance and rhythm, harmony; 3) the technical properties of tools and materials, 4) the expressive properties of moods, feelings, and ideas; and 5) the introduction of technology as a tool to generate art. The students will receive a numerical grade.
Graphic Design 7
In the Graphic Arts course seventh grade students will build the foundations for graphic design. They are introduced to the basic functions of the Macintosh computer, the safety of the Internet, and working back and forth between programs. We use the programs Adobe Photoshop, Photobooth, Microsoft Word, and stock photography websites. Students use a range of programs, in order to create diverse projects involving poster designs, book covers, typography booklets, print advertisements, color masking, photo retouching, corporate identity and packaging design. Students are introduced to historical and modern day artists. In this program students learn the principles and elements of design. Students learn the importance of sketching their ideas on paper first before starting to design on the computer. Some projects will also be integrated with their visual arts class.
Art Grade 8
This course is the culmination of the middle school art program. Through creative experiences, students become familiar with such facets of artistic thinking as: the ability to formulate problems and create multiple solutions, the ability to pursue a project over time; the willingness to solve problems inventively, the ability to take risks, and finally to reflect critically on one’s own work. Students develop a way of thinking that functions beyond the studio into other areas of the curriculum. The students are required to keep a sketchbook and will receive a numerical grade.
Graphic Design 8
In the Graphic Arts course eighth grade students will enhance their graphic design skills. They will improve their Macintosh computer skills, knowledge of safely using the Internet, and working back and forth between programs. We use the programs Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Photobooth, Microsoft Word, and stock photography websites. Students use a range of programs, in order to create diverse projects involving poster designs, CD booklets, type and vector portraits, magazine covers, print advertisements, photo retouching, corporate identity and packaging design. Students are introduced to historical and modern day artists. In this program students learn the principles and elements of design. Students learn the importance of sketching their ideas on paper first before starting to design on the computer. Some projects will also be integrated with their visual arts class.
Enrichment: Digital Curriculum & Capstone Projects
The general aim of physical education is to aid in the maximal development of each student's mental, emotional, physical, and social competencies through the media of selected physical activities. These activities, selected as to need and value, shall help each student find a pattern for living, which will serve them well today and in their future. Furthermore to give each student a sense of enjoyment and appreciation of sport as it relates to their emotional health.
Digital Citizenship, Grade 5
Students studying Digital Citizenship explore the concepts and skills required to thrive in a constantly evolving technological landscape. The curriculum is based upon the standards developed by the International Society for Technology in Education. The year will be divided into 7 mini-units with students learning about the safe, responsible and ethical use of technology both inside and outside of school, designing and developing solutions to different problems with the technology available and understanding how technology can communicate information in various formats.
Digital Literacy, Grade 6
Students in Digital Literacy explore the idea that there are various ways to learn new things, as well as different strategies to do so. Humans are constantly learning and relearning, designing and redesigning. Sixth graders are encouraged to explore their own learning process. Reflection and evaluation are important parts of this process. Throughout the year, the sixth graders will design an independent project based on something they have always wanted to learn.
In conjunction with their Capstone project, they will practice research, communication, problem-solving and critical-thinking skills while exploring how technology and digital information can be utilized in meaningful ways.
After creating an elevator pitch and project plan, they use various resources and modes of data collection to get to work.They practice using different sources to gather information (book, website, interview). Through writing, photos and videos, students practice keeping track of their own progress. They keep a digital journal with video and photos to keep track of their progress/process. The final project includes creating a video tutorial to teach others what they have learned. They present their final project and tutorial video in the Spring.
Digital Fluency, Grade 7
Students studying Digital Fluency will continue to develop the skills required to thrive in a constantly evolving technology landscape, building on work they started in 5th grade, combined with the design thinking and project management skills they developed in 6th grade. The curriculum is based upon the standards developed by the International Society for Technology in Education. The year will be divided into short units with students implementing the safe, responsible and ethical use of technology, designing and developing solutions to different problems with available technology and developing understanding of how technology can communicate information in various formats.
In each unit the students will be given a problem to solve or scenario to explore using available technology. They will work independently or in a team to design and develop an outcome, which they will share with their classmates.
The Capstone project is an opportunity for MS students to dive deeper into a topic guided by the SRDS core values. 100% of Middle School students will conduct original research at SRDS. Students present their year-long research projects at the Middle School Steam Expo in May.
Grade 5: Work on a STEAM project of their choice, connecting the Science skills they utilized in 4th grade with the curriculum they explored in 5th grade.
Grade 6: Students will embark on a project involving the core value “Everyone Counts.
Grade 7: Students will pick a topic related to the SRDS value “love of learning.” Their individual topics will answer the question- “What do I want to know more about and what do I want to share with others?''. These projects will utilize the research and writing skills they have learned in English.
Grade 8: Having learned the basics of research and writing, students will apply their skills to topics of their choice related to SRDS’ mission to “inspire each child to achieve personal and academic excellence and to become a caring and ethical contributor to society.” Their capstone project topics will stem from the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and an exploration of what our desirable future world could be and our part in achieving this goal.
Health and Physical Education
The general aim of physical education is to aid in the maximal development of each student's mental, emotional, physical, and social competencies through the media of selected physical activities. These activities, selected as to need and value, shall help each student find a pattern for living, which will serve them well today and in their future. Furthermore to give each student a sense of enjoyment and appreciation of sport as it relates to their emotional health.
Health Grade 5
The grade five Health course aims to introduce the students to a basic knowledge and understanding of the world of health as it pertains to this age group. The lessons attempt to remove any misconceptions and misinformation as well as to instruct the student in correct and appropriate subject matter.
Health Grade 6
The grade six Health course aims to introduce the students to a basic knowledge and understanding of the world of health as it pertains to this age group. The lessons attempt to remove any misconceptions and misinformation as well as to instruct the student in correct and appropriate subject matter.
Health Grade 7
The grade seven Health course aims to assist the student in developing a broader knowledge and understanding of the world of health as it pertains to this particular age group. The lessons attempt to expand the comprehension of the subject matter.
Health Grade 8
The grade eight Health course aims to assist the student in developing a broader knowledge and understanding of the world of health as it pertains to this particular age group. The lessons attempt to expand the comprehension of the subject matter.