Middle School Curriculum
The Rectory School’s curriculum is fashioned to be consistent with the School’s mission and its set of beliefs about how children learn. Our students have diverse learning needs, and, within the scope of grade-level learning outcomes and course descriptions, the curriculum is designed to accommodate differentiated learning environments, which are provided through the various class sections in each grade.
The curriculum is intended to inspire creativity and inquiry while encouraging students to explore new areas of interest, as they progress through the grades. We foster the development of the whole child by engaging students with a core of foundational skills and competencies in the areas of reading, writing, quantifying, information and digital literacy, thinking, problem-solving, and communication
- Language Skills
- Related Arts Program
- Grade 9 related arts
- World Languages
- Computer Science
English is a core-curricular course required for all students.
In this course, students interact with literature and language in a process of engaging with the text and creating meaning. Students read for a purpose, interpret and respond to English literature, recognize literary elements, and analyze words. Furthermore, they are introduced to writing in a variety of genres, including response to literature, narration, description, exposition, and persuasion. Grammar skills are reviewed and practiced throughout the writing process. The objectives of the course are for students to become acquainted with English and American classics and multicultural literature, and to develop their literacy skills so that they can be responsibly engaged with their world.
Grade 5 - English
The course provides a study in the structure of the English language as well as the reading and writing processes. Overall objectives are to enhance English language skills, build vocabulary, and improve academic and creative writing skills. Direct instruction in reading comprehension, spelling, and writing is an integral part of this course. In this course, students read short stories and novels with themes of quest, courage, and friendship. The focus is on the story format, narration, and characterization. Students also study poetry and learn about figurative and sensory language. They are introduced to writing in various genres, including poetry and expressive, narrative, descriptive, expository and journal writing. The emphasis is on writing complete sentences and coherent paragraphs, as well as revising and editing. Grammar is taught through the writing process and formally through lessons and exercises.
- Grade 6 - English
The course provides a study in the structure of the English language as well as the reading process. Overall objectives are to enhance English language skills, build vocabulary, and improve academic and creative writing skills. Direct instruction in reading comprehension, spelling, and writing is an integral part of this course. Students read stories in which the setting highly affects the characters and plot of the story. They explore short stories and novels and examine nonfiction articles. Students write in various genres, including expression, narration, exposition, and fiction. The emphasis of the writing component is on form, mechanics, and usage. Grammar lessons are taught within the context of the students’ writing and presented through formal lessons.
Grade 7 - English
Through reading short stories, myths, poetry, memoirs, and articles, students explore their world. They consider point of view, reliability of narrator, and characterization. They continue to explore personal and scholastic writing through journals, short essays, research reports, a character-analysis project, and reading-response journals. The focus is on organizing ideas, considering audience and purpose, creating effective sentences, revising, and proofreading. Grammar lessons are primarily incorporated into the writing lessons.
Grade 8 - English
Students read stories, novels, and drama with themes of quest and courage in facing difficult life choices. They write to understand literature as they study point of view, voice, and mood. Furthermore, they continue to explore writing with an emphasis on developing essays and personal narratives, and they write for different audiences and for different purposes. Writing conventions are taught in the context of the student’s writing and practiced throughout the year. The focus is on sentence combining, revising, and proofreading.
- Grade 9 - English
In the ninth-grade English course, students study renowned short stories, classic American and multicultural literature, and Shakespearean drama. They analyze literary techniques, synthesize information from several sources on a single topic, understand how genre relates to theme, compare universal themes, and appreciate precise language. Developing the student’s voice on paper, exploring more complex grammar through writing, revising, and peer-editing are emphases throughout the year. By the end of the spring term, students compile a writing portfolio that documents and highlights their progress.
Language Skills is an elected core-curricular course that is offered in grades 7-9 in lieu of a WORLD language
The focus of the language skills course is on the structure of language and the development of written expression and reading comprehension. It is a skills-based English language course in which grammar, the writing process, and active reading strategies are directly taught and practiced. The objectives are to strengthen the English language skills of our students and to provide them with a foundation for future language study.
Grade 7 - Language Skills
In this course, students are directly taught the reading and writing processes. They are introduced to writing in various genres, including narration, description, reading response, and personal journals. The emphasis is on writing complete sentences, developing paragraphs, and revising and editing. Grammar is taught through the writing process as well as studied formally through lessons and exercises. Through a strategy-intensive approach, students build a repertoire of reading strategies.
- Grade 8 - Language Skills
In this skills-based English language course, the students are directly taught the reading and writing processes. They write in various styles, including, description, persuasion, exposition, and reading response. The emphasis is on improving analytical reading and writing tasks, and developing fluency. Grammar is taught through the writing process as well as studied formally through lessons and exercises. An emphasis is on sentence combining. Through a strategy-intensive approach, students build a repertoire of reading strategies, such as highlighting, clarifying, reacting, and connecting.
Grade 9 - Language Skills
In this skills-based English language course, the students are directly taught the reading and writing processes. They write in various styles, including persuasion, the formal essay, and reading response. The emphasis is on improving analytical writing tasks and developing fluency. Grammar is taught through the writing process as well as studied formally through lessons and exercises. The emphasis is on sentence combining, using precise language, and assessment. Through a strategy-intensive approach, students build a repertoire of reading strategies, such as highlighting, visualizing, questioning, predicting, clarifying, reacting, and connecting.
Acquainting our students with the story of humanity from earliest times is the overall purpose of the history department.
History is viewed as a continuing story of which we all are a part. We strive to make our students aware of the major themes and chronological continuity of history as well as the connections that are necessary to understand humankind in the modern age. We want our students to develop the ability to draw valid conclusions from the facts that they have read and to write their conclusions in a clear manner. We seek to improve our students’ abilities to write effectively.
Grade 5 - History: United States History, 1600-1850
The fifth grade United States history course begins with work on the key skills and resources required for historical study, including geography. Students learn about the cultures of the first peoples of the Americas and their initial contact with Europeans. They then study the periods of French, Spanish, and English colonization; including and the development of slavery in the Americas. The course proceeds through the French and Indian Wars, the Revolutionary period, the origins of the American Republic, American civics, including foundational documents and the structure and function of American government, and finishes with an examination of antebellum America and the beginnings of Westward Expansion.Throughout the year the course emphasizes reading and writing skills as part of historical study.
Grade 6 - History: World Geography, Five Themes of Geography
In the World Regions course, students begin their study with an introduction to geography to examine how geography helps us understand our world. This introduction also includes understanding how physical processes and features shape life on Earth, what factors shape Earth’s different environments, and what concepts help us understand the world’s people like culture, population, government, economy, and global connections. The five themes of geography provide a framework for the students’ study of the world and their understanding of history. Students study major regions of the world including Latin America, Africa, and Asia. Each region is analyzed through the study of its physical geography, history, culture, and current trends.
Grade 7 - History: United States History
The seventh grade American history course begins with an examination of the Civil War and Reconstruction. Then proceeds to the expansion of America as a global power, Immigration, the Industrial Revolution and Progressive Eras, Global Wars and the Great Depression, the Cold War, and the Civil Rights Movement. Students conclude the year by studying Contemporary Issues and Challenges. Student work focuses on political, economic, and social aspects of this history, as well as reading, writing, and research.
Grade 8 - History: Early Global Studies
The eighth grade early global studies course begins with an exploration of the development of humans through the Paleolithic era to the Neolithic revolution and the beginnings of urban communities. From these roots, students study a variety of ancient and classical cultures ranging from the areas of the Middle East, the Mediterranean region, Asia, Mesoamerica, and Africa. Historical narratives, cultural perceptions and worldviews are examined in relation to environmental, geographic, and the impacts that respective civilizations had on each other up through the beginnings of the Renaissance. Special attention is given at various times to archaeology, cultural achievements, and current controversies about of the regions being studied. Throughout the year, students develop skills in critical thinking and analytical essay writing.
Grade 9 - History: Modern Global Studies
The ninth grade modern global studies course begins with an exploration of the development of humans through the Paleolithic era to the Neolithic revolution and the beginnings of urban communities. From these roots, students study a variety of ancient and classical cultures ranging from the areas of the Middle East, the Mediterranean region, Asia, Mesoamerica, and Africa. Historical narratives, cultural perceptions and worldviews are examined in relation to environmental, geographic, and the impacts that respective civilizations had on each other up through the beginnings of the Renaissance. Special attention is given at various times to archaeology, cultural achievements, and current controversies about of the regions being studied. Throughout the year, students develop skills in critical thinking and analytical essay writing.
Goals of the mathematics department include preparing students to apply correctly the mathematical skills that they learn, developing their understanding of the relationships between the concepts and procedures that are studied, and understanding that the material covered in mathematics is cumulative.
The mathematics department requires that the students learn the basic mathematical facts concerning the four operations, and develop their mathematical thinking and problem-solving strategies. Critical-thinking skills are developed and reinforced through problem-solving exercises. There is a focus on writing out procedures, developing mathematical vocabulary and solving real-life problems.Students are instructed in the use of scientific and graphing calculators for algebra and geometry classes. The department is committed to using technology; interactive sites are used to demonstrate and animate algebraic and geometric graphs and diagrams.
Grade 5 - Mathematics
The fifth-grade mathematics course focuses on, but is not limited to, reviewing basic arithmetic and expanding the use of the four basic operations to solve standard mathematical and real-life word problems. An emphasis is placed on understanding problems involving place value, decimals, fractions and mixed numbers, graphs, metric measurement, ratios and percents, as well as perimeter, area, and volume. Computers are used for reviewing multiplication tables, prime numbers, and factors. Interactive learning games in the classroom are also part of the program.
Grade 6 - Mathematics
The sixth-grade mathematics course introduces students to a range of mathematical concepts and tools such as those used in basic algebra, geometry, and statistics. Basic arithmetical skills, including the use of decimals, fractions, estimation, measurement, and problem solving, are developed. This broad-based approach is designed to increase fundamental knowledge and to begin the process of using mathematical skills to solve real-world application problems. Computers are used for reviewing multiplication tables, prime numbers, and factors. Interactive learning games in the classroom are a part of the program.
A range of mathematics courses are offered for our students in grades six through nine.
Grade 7 - Mathematics
The objectives of the seventh-grade mathematics course are to build on and develop, through analysis and application, basic skill components of mathematics with an emphasis on interpreting data, understanding number theory, and learning about statistics. Fundamentals from algebra, geometry, statistics, number theory, graphing, and probability are used to solve real-world problems. Mathematical concepts are used to relate problem-solving skills to the students’ daily lives and interests. Computers continue to be used for reviewing multiplication tables, prime numbers, and factors. Interactive learning games in the classroom are a part of the program.
Pre-algebra is offered to students who have demonstrated advanced mathematical skills and a capacity for understanding more abstract concepts. The goal of the pre-algebra course is to prepare students for first-year algebra. The objectives of the course are to study mathematical operations and analyze equations. Topics studied in this course include but are not limited to integers, expressions, solving simple equations, number theory, rational numbers and expressions, ratios and proportions, inequalities, graphing in the coordinate plane, and polynomials. Additionally, geometry, statistics, and probability are formally introduced.
Algebra 1 is offered to qualifying students. In this course, the foundation laid in pre-algebra is expanded to include problems involving systems of equations and inequalities, quadratic equations, right triangles, and work involving polynomials. An emphasis is placed on simplifying expressions and solving and graphing different types of equations. The students work toward applying their knowledge to solve real-world problems. The use of tables, graphs, and algebraic expressions is employed throughout the year. Graphing calculators are used to demonstrate and to assist in learning the connection between equations and their graphs.
Geometry is offered to those students who qualify by having successfully completed a first-year algebra course. The objectives of this course are to study the relationships and measurements of lines, angles, structures, and solids. The studies of polygons, triangle relationships, angles, and three-dimensional geometry are stressed. In addition to work in geometry, a review of first-year algebra is included throughout the year to help prepare students for Algebra 2. Algebraic terms are included in geometry problems. Other topics covered include, but are not limited to, shapes in motion, measuring in the plane, measuring in space, reasoning and parallel lines, proving triangles congruent, quadrilaterals, similarity, right triangle geometry, and chords, secants, and tangents.
Many of the topics covered in Algebra 1 are reviewed and expanded upon to broaden the student’s understanding of algebra and its connection to geometry. This course covers linear, quadratic, polynomial, logarithmic, rational, and radical functions. The use of matrices, the study of conic sections, and probability are also covered. Trigonometric functions and graphs complete the course. This course covers all the topics generally taught in a high school Algebra 2 class.
Individualized Mathematics Instruction
In conjunction with the Individualized Instruction Program, the department makes available individual or small-group classes to work at a different pace, slower or more advanced, than that provided in the regular classroom setting. The goal in providing the special classes is to enable the students to reach certain grade levels in mathematics, whether it is for advanced achievement, or to receive additional or remedial support. The teacher may use auxiliary materials to reinforce classroom instruction.
The related arts program provides students with opportunities in performing arts and fine arts.
The related arts program provides students with opportunities in performing arts and fine arts. These courses are often “hands-on” classes requiring active participation and focusing on creativity; students learn to express themselves in a positive manner, to gain self-confidence, to make good decisions regarding their physical and emotional selves, and to take responsibility for their own actions. Classroom participation is paramount. The related arts program is mandatory for students in grades five through eight. Students rotate through the various offerings as they progress through the grades.
RELATED ARTS: PERFORMING ARTS
The philosophy of the performing arts department is to offer experiences in the performing arts to all students regardless of prior experience. In the general curriculum, students are given an introduction to music as it pertains to the world around them. This program is accomplished through examining jazz and rock music and their place in history and popular culture, as well as playing band instruments.
In addition to the required grade-specific courses, there is an extensive private instrumental music lesson program and many active performing groups. These groups include orchestra, band, jazz ensemble, chorus, RECapella, school musical, guitar ensemble and African drumming.
The goal of this course is to introduce students to beginning instrumental playing. All students learn to play a band instrument in an ensemble setting. They are members of the band, and rehearse two to three times per week with their class based on a seven day rotating schedule, throughout the year. Students rehearse as a full band (all fifth and sixth graders) in the weeks prior to a concert. Students also reinforce musical concepts by by using the music tutorial, Quaver Music.
Concepts covered are note-reading in the treble clef (and bass clef in playing trombone), rhythm-reading, embouchure technique, instrument fingerings, playing an instrument alone and with others, playing a varied repertoire, playing music of other cultures, and improvisational techniques.
The goal of this course is to develop those skills introduced in the fifth-grade music class. All students spend the term furthering their study of learning to play a band instrument in an ensemble setting. Students who are new to the school and have not played an instrument before are introduced to beginning instrumental playing along with the rest of the class. They are members of the band, and rehearse two to three times per week with their class based on a seven day rotating schedule, throughout the year. Students rehearse as a full band (all fifth and sixth graders) in the weeks prior to a concert.Students also reinforce musical concepts by using the music tutorial, Quaver Music.
Concepts covered are note-reading in the treble clef (and bass clef in playing trombone), rhythm-reading, embouchure technique, instrument fingerings, improvisational techniques, and compositional techniques. Students play an instrument alone and with others, explore a varied repertoire, and are exposed to the music of other cultures.
The goal of the seventh-grade music course is to provide students with an overview of the history of rock music in America and the role that it plays in their lives. Students examine popular music in America from 1950 – 1980 through the use of technology, research, portfolio assessment, music analysis, improvisation, and cooperative learning. There are ten units of study covering the following genres: Early Rock, Motown, Soul, Bubble Gum, Surf Rock, Folk Rock, British Invasion, Psychedelic Rock, Southern Rock, and Heavy Metal. Students then produce an authentic radio show incorporating historical elements as they pertain to each rock era. They are introduced to the Soundtrap website and they learn the foundations of music technology as it pertains to basic recording needs.
Grade 8 - Performing Arts:
Eighth graders will be required to choose one performing arts class and one fine art.
This course begins with a brief history of the ocarina, a wind instrument developed in many different cultures and countries over the last 12,000 years. The ocarina was made famous through the Legend of Zelda video games as well as having been featured in music from Lord of the Rings and the Wizard of Oz. Although there are many types of ocarinas, this course focuses on a twelve hole transverse ocarina. By the end of the term, students will be able to play a variety of popular and traditional music using a method book and reading music notation in a variety of western key signatures. In the process, they will learn the basics of reading music notation and the fundamentals of music theory. The perfect beginner instrument, this course is open to students of any (or no) level of musical ability. A method book and personal instrument will be provided to each student.
The World Drumming class explores the role of drumming in countries around the world with a focus on the drumming of Africa and Latin America. Students will learn drumming and rhythm patterns through rote methods and the reading of basic music notation. They will be playing on a variety of percussion instruments including djembe, bells, shakers, and other smaller hand percussion. Students will work independently and collaboratively. Where relevant, singing and the use of pitched instruments will be included. Within each lesson students will learn about the cultural connections and historical significance of the instruments being played and songs being taught. All instruments and materials will be provided for use in class.
Blues, Bop and Beats: The Journey of American Music
The goal of the eighth-grade music course is to provide students with an overview of the history of jazz music as well as popular music in America and its role in society and culture. Students will examine a variety of music in America (focused mainly on Dixieland, blues, and advancements in technology in later jazz) through the use of technology, exploration, analysis, improvisation, singing, and cooperative learning. There are four main units of study covering the following genres: Early Jazz Era, Swing Era, Bebop/Post Bop Eras and Connections to Modern Music. The curriculum is supplemented with the film Swing Kids as well as the history mystery What Happened to Glenn Miller?. Students will produce a variety of projects independently and together including, but not limited to: an authentic radio show, presentations using the Prezi program, loops and songwriting within the Soundation program, authentic blues songs (performed and written) as well as other in-class activities.
Introduction to Acting
This course is an introduction to the craft of acting that also includes a study of all elements of Broadway play production--from script development to opening night and beyond--and a variety of helpful information about life as an aspiring actor. Classes include regular sessions of improvisational theater exercises. Students also learn how to read and analyze play scripts and screenplays. Script study includes “table reads,” discussions, and “character conferences.” Students rehearse and perform (“on book”) excerpts in class. They will also write original scenes through the use of ensemble improvisation techniques. Finally, students will learn about auditioning, agents, the Actors’ Equity Association, continuing study, single productions and acting companies, commercials, high school and university theater training programs, publications and online resources.
RELATED ARTS: FINE ARTS
The fine arts program is designed to introduce students to a variety of art concepts and materials. The program is discipline-based and uses art production, art history, art criticism, and aesthetics to teach art concepts and skills. Students are graded on an art rubric that emphasizes individual effort, originality, and creativity.
Grade 5 - Fine Arts
The fifth-grade art program is broken into four units. Unit 1 focuses on creating art inspire by Faith Ringgold. Unit 2 gives the students an opportunity to explore clay. Unit 3 is devoted to Chinese brush painting where they will learn to manipulate a bamboo brush and grind sumi ink. Unit 4 introduces different watercolor techniques.
Grade 6 - Fine Arts
The sixth-grade art program is broken into four units. Unit 1 focuses on ceramics and further develops the students’ knowledge of clay. Unit 2 is devoted to exploring collage techniques. In Unit 3 students create artwork using positive and negative space.. Unit 4 focuses on creating art inspired by the Aborigines.
Grade 7 - Fine Arts
The seventh-grade art program is broken into four units. Unit 1 focuses on the elements of art so that the students will be capable of identifying them in works of art. Unit 2 provides the students further experience working with clay. Unit 3 is devoted to learning how to draw the human face. Unit 4 provides the student an opportunity to work with metal by introducing copper repousse.
Grade 8 - Fine Arts
Eighth graders will be required to choose one fine art class and one performing arts.
The Ceramics class will focus on the hand building techniques of slab, coil and pinch pot construction. Projects utilizing each of these construction methods will be completed during the term, with the specific type of each project being determined by the students’ interests. Once the projects are fired, glazing, painting and antiquing methods will be discussed and students will have a chance to experiment with different ways to color and embellish their creations. Students’ artwork will be displayed throughout the academic building during the school year.
Printmaking is a hybrid of drawing and painting that allows the artist to replicate one image numerous times and make changes along the way. In this class, we will explore some of the many ways to make prints including relief, silkscreen, dry point and experimental techniques. By the end of this course, students will have a body of work that includes prints on paper as well as fabric (like t-shirts)!
Exploring Art is a project-based class, where students will learn how to implement the elements and principles of art to create visually engaging work. We will begin the term working on the silhouette design, which allows students to express their interests and creativity in a two-dimensional format using a variety of mediums. Upon completion, we will move on to constructing a mask out of clay, which challenges them to think three dimensionally. The fascinating and tragic life of Vincent Van Gogh will be explored and a project based on his artwork will round out the term. Students’ artwork will be displayed throughout the academic building during the school year.
Woodshop will introduce students to the basics of woodworking. They will focus on safety, the understanding of terminology and techniques, and tools. Students will also learn the difference in wood types and their characteristics and uses. They will work on a variety of projects throughout the term and produce items that showcase their skills. Students will also work on a shared project with other classes during the year.
The philosophy of the ninth-grade Related Arts program is to provide an in-depth experience in visual arts, performing arts, or communications.
In these project-driven, performance-based courses, students are guided to become independent workers. Students are graded on the progress that they make during each marking period. The purpose of this course is to provide a high-school level credit in the arts or communications.
Current course offerings include guitar, instrumental ensemble, communications, drama, art, and photography.
The goal of the guitar class is to introduce students to the basics of guitar playing. In a group setting, students receive preliminary instruction from the teacher and work together to determine individual course goals. Students then work independently to practice the material provided by the teacher to reach these goals. Individual instruction is provided to each student on a rotating basis throughout each week.
The goal of the instrumental ensemble class is to introduce students to a variety of small ensemble repertoire through group and individual rehearsals and to prepare for several performances during the school year. Students will spend each class period practicing the music on their own with individual assistance from the teacher. The ensemble will rehearse as a group at least twice per week. Students in this class will be able to audition for statewide and New England music festivals at the high school level and will be encouraged to perform at community events such as development receptions and monthly chapel services.
This course uses technology to help students express themselves creatively in three disciplines: digital filmmaking, electronic media communications, and graphic design. Essentially, the classroom becomes the Communication Central for The Rectory School. Students learn to make their own audiovisual presentations through iMovie and WeVideo. Students will work with different departments of The Rectory School to create advisements for special events.
Coding & Programming
This course provides a basic introduction to computer programming skills. By moving at a self-guided pace, students will learn how to use Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to be able to design their own websites from scratch. Using this information as a primer, the students will then begin to work with programming languages, such as Python, for more advanced applications. Due to the nature of the curriculum, students that join after the first trimester will be able to begin learning without worry of being overwhelmed by advanced material.
Introduction to Art
The ninth-grade art program is designed to fulfill a high school art elective. The students may take art in any or all of the three terms. The program is discipline-based and uses art production, art history, art criticism, and aesthetics to teach art concepts and skills.
The program is divided into three terms. Each term focuses on one medium or area of concentration. The focus of the fall term is on developing 3-D techniques; the winter term, on working with various techniques of printmaking; and the spring term, on the human head working with clay and charcoal to create various pieces of artwork.
The ninth-grade photography elective is designed to introduce students to the basics of camera operation, film development, and darkroom printing techniques. As the term progresses and the students become more proficient, advanced shooting and darkroom techniques are introduced. Students have a chance to experiment with pinhole photography, making their own cameras out of paint cans. The history of photography and the impact of photography in today’s society are discussed throughout the term. Students are graded on the effort, enthusiasm, and creativity they display while working on the various projects.
The science department provides students with an opportunity to learn scientific principles in conjunction with essential life skills.
This goal is achieved through independent and cooperative learning experiences that include problem solving, experimental design, critical thinking, and risk taking. Not only is science a body of knowledge, it is also way of learning about the natural world, and students are encouraged to investigate and explore the world around them in order to gain an understanding of how scientific knowledge is established, refined, and revised. Using the classroom as a forum, they are challenged to discuss important issues, embrace a respect for life, and confront difficult choices. There is a focus on understanding important relationships and applying concepts rather than memorizing terminology. Students also use computers to access information and then think critically about what they find. Other technology tools are used to support scientific investigations.
Grade 5 - Science: Introduction to Science
The purpose of the fifth-grade science course is to introduce students to the vocabulary and concepts that they will study during their remaining years of middle-school science. During the fall term students learn some fundamental concepts of basic chemistry. They are introduced to the atomic theory of matter and its influence on some of the properties of matter. The winter term is spent learning about the classification of living things and the structure and function of the human body. A study of the planets launches our Earth Science unit during the final weeks of the winter term. During the spring term, a unit on weather wraps up our introduction to Earth Science, and the remainder of the year is devoted to an exploration of the concepts of physical science.
Grade 6 - Science: Life Science
The sixth-grade science class introduces students to the study of life. Using a hands-on inquiry approach, students learn the way scientists learn. Over the course of the year they are given “big science” questions to answer, which they resolve by making observations, exploring questions and challenges, investigating, experimenting, gathering evidence, and communicating explanations. They also collaborate with others on cross curricular projects which offer a meaningful way for students to transfer knowledge and skills learned in one context to other content areas. Throughout the year, students make use of computer tools that support their efforts in research, observation, experimentation, modeling, analysis, and reflection.
Grade 7 - Science: Earth Science
The purpose of this course is to provide a broad background in Earth science. Earth science incorporates all sciences that look to understand the Earth independently and as part of a larger system. The curriculum stresses the areas of geology, oceanography, meteorology, and astronomy.
The content includes an introduction to the subject of Earth science and its related fields. Use of the International System of Units and the scientific method is stressed throughout the course. The content focus is on the formation of rocks and minerals, the processes of erosion and weathering, and the theory of plate tectonics. Students undertake a study of the atmosphere through lessons that include the mixture of gases in our atmosphere and the role weather plays in shaping the Earth. They also study the relationship of our planet to other objects in the universe, the geologic events that shape the face of the Earth, the ways in which these events affect the Earth’s population, and the influence humans can have on natural processes.
The purpose of the eighth-grade science course is to give students an overview of the three primary scientific disciplines they will encounter in secondary school: physics, chemistry, and biology. The curriculum touches on the inter-relationship of these disciplines.
The content includes continued reinforcement of measurement skills (utilizing the SI units) as well as graphical representation of laboratory data and formal presentation of laboratory results using the standard scientific format. The fall term focuses on the nature of science, measurements, atoms, elements, the periodic table, property changes of matter, atomic structure, and chemical bonds. In the winter term, the students study the structures and functions of the cell. The human body systems are studied, starting with structure and movement and moving through nutrition, circulation, respiration, and reproduction. The spring term returns to physical science, when the topics of motion, speed, work, and power are covered and then incorporated into an exploration of simple machines and the concept of mechanical advantage. The climax of the term is an engineering design project that not only unifies the concepts taught throughout the term, but also emphasizes the complementary relationships amongst science, mathematics, and engineering.
Grade 9 - Science: Introduction to Physics
The ninth-grade science class provides a strong physics foundation and offers students the opportunity to build technological literacy as they continue to develop the skills and reasoning that characterize scientific inquiry. The content challenges students to develop further their approach to problem solving through the completion of comprehensive laboratory exercises and to communicate scientific information in writing. Students come to understand the scientific process through collaboration and group cooperative learning.
Core content in the fall term consists of the scientific method, graphs and measurement, Newton’s three laws of motion, universal gravitation, momentum and work, energy, and simple machines. The winter term focuses on forces in equilibrium, projectiles and center of mass, physical properties of matter, and temperature, energy, and matter. The spring term concentrates on energy flow and systems, electricity flow and measurement, simple electrical circuits, and the transfer of energy through waves. The year ends with a culminating “How Does It Work?” project.
The World Languages Department offers instruction in Spanish, Chinese, and French.
Course offerings are:
- Introduction to Spanish, Spanish 1A, Spanish 1B, Spanish 2
- Online World Language Course: Chinese 1
- Online World Language Course: French 1
- Online World Language Course: Latin 1
- Grades 5 & 6 - Introduction to Spanish
The fifth-grade and sixth-grade Spanish courses are an introduction to the Spanish language and culture. Using natural language, total physical response, storytelling, and online resources, the course is designed to develop a basic enrichment communicative competency in listening, speaking, reading, writing and writing to the Spanish language. The class is also introduced to the culture and traditions of many Spanish-speaking countries.
Grades 7-9 - Spanish
In this introductory course, the foundations of language acquisition skills are placed. The students gain familiarity with the sounds of the language by learning simple greetings and vocabulary and practicing, both orally and in writing, the conjugations of regular and irregular verbs. Auditory and pronunciation skills are strengthened through in-class discussions in the target language. To help develop their reading and writing skills in the language, the students translate simple sentences. They are introduced to the cultures of present-day Spanish-speaking cultures via short stories, brief videos, and online resources. The skills acquired in Spanish 1a lay the groundwork for the students’ continued acquisition of language in Spanish 1b.
In Spanish 1b, students develop the fundamental skills learned in Spanish 1a to aid in the development of their reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills in Spanish. Acquiring these skills involves continued work with conjugations of present tense verbs, as well as grammar, with a primary focus on reading and auditory comprehension. Students are also introduced to the past tense and are able to communicate using more developed conversations and vocabulary. An in-depth exploration of Spanish history and culture is studied through researching present-day Spanish-speaking countries primarily via online resources. In this class, through simple dialogue, students work on basic skills that are essential for the development of oral expression.
In Spanish 2, students refine the listening, speaking, reading and writing skills acquired in Spanish I through the continued study of everyday topics accompanied by related grammatical structures. The class will move at an accelerated pace to develop their advanced understanding of the language. To develop mastery in the language, the majority of the class is conducted in the target language. They are required to develop their oral skills through mini-dialogues and writing skills through weekly short compositions. In this class, students work on skills that are essential for the development of oral expression and fluency.
Grade 9 - Online Chinese 1
The Online Chinese 1 course aims to develop the students’ communicative ability in Chinese by learning language structures, functions, and related cultural knowledge as well as training their listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. The intent is to help students gain the skills they need in order to attain some fluency in the target language.
Grade 9 - Online French 1
The Online French 1 course aims to develop the students’ communicative ability in French by learning language structures, functions, and related cultural knowledge as well as training their listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. The intent is to help students gain the skills they need in order to attain some fluency in the target language.
Grade 9 - Online Latin 1
The Online Latin 1 course aims to develop the student’s comprehension of Latin. After an introduction to Latin grammar, syntax, elementary vocabulary and pronunciation, students learn noun and adjective paradigms of the first through third declensions, conjugations for regular verbs of the first through fourth conjugations, irregular verbs in the present and imperfect tenses, and the imperative mood.
Individualized Language Instruction
In conjunction with the Individualized Instruction Program (IIP), the department makes available individual instruction for those students who are prepared for a curriculum that is more advanced than our regular offerings. The goal in providing this option is to enable students to continue to learn the target language at their appropriate level. The teacher may use auxiliary materials to reinforce classroom instruction.
THE CREED PROGRAM BEGINS WITH SELF-SCIENCE, HEALTH, LIFE SKILLS and culminating in the 9th grade capstone project.
The objective of the CREED program is to grow student perseverance, self-advocacy and leadership, while nurturing the tenants of the Rectory Creed: responsibility, respect, honesty, compassion. These courses are often “hands-on” classes requiring active participation and focusing on creativity; students learn to express themselves in a positive manner, to gain self-confidence, to make good decisions regarding their physical and emotional selves, and to take responsibility for their own actions. Classroom participation is paramount.
Grade 5 - Self-Science
The goal of the self-science course is to develop a better understanding of oneself. Specifically, the aim is for students to learn how get in touch with their emotions through self-examination and by building a vocabulary commensurate with that new found knowledge. Trust – of themselves and others – is a natural byproduct of the class and another expected outcome. Through cooperative games and movement experiences, students are expected to gain a greater awareness of one another and themselves. They are exposed to personal differences through movement activities. The emphasis is on personal growth and team building.
Grade 6- Self-Science
The goal of the self-science course is to develop a better understanding of oneself. Specifically, the aim is for students to learn how get in touch with their emotions through self-examination and by building a vocabulary commensurate with that new found knowledge. Trust – of themselves and others – is a natural byproduct of the class and another expected outcome. The sixth-grade course is designed to serve as an introduction to empathy, the importance of that concept as a guiding principle, and the benefits of being empathic to others.
Grade 7 - Health
Health is designed to provide students with the necessary tools to make informed decisions about the challenges and choices they face as they develop into young adults. Predominantly a discussion-based course, the class encourages self-reflection, creative expression, and exploration through journal writing.
Grade 8 - Life Skills
Centered on multiple literacies for the 21st century, the eighth grade life skills course tackles issues and projects in global awareness and multiculturalism, environmental stewardship, health and social responsibility, current events, and life skills (personal care). Students develop skills in self-awareness and personal management through goal setting, teamwork exercises, and communication with their peers, elders, and juniors. Collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity are cornerstones of the process as students work on their presentation and public speaking skills. This hands-on course uses examples from popular media and classical literature, as well as role-play exercises and opportunities for personal experience. Students grow to understand the importance of the individual in community and society.
Computer Science 1: Students learn to create computer programs that will help them collaborate with others, develop problem-solving skills, and persist through difficult tasks. They will study programming concepts, computational thinking, digital citizenship, and develop interactive games or stories they can share. This course teaches the foundational concepts of programming using drag and drop blocks, students will create programs with different kinds of loops, events, functions, and conditionals. They will also investigate different problem-solving techniques and discuss societal impacts of computing and the internet. Students will build a strong foundation in the logical thinking and computational processes necessary to grapple with real code and hardware and be ready to begin creating real-world programming fundamentals.