Middle school language arts incorporates many subjects. In the language arts classroom, students study grammar, literature, vocabulary, and writing. Eighth grade offers an honors class for students based on test scores and teacher recommendations.
Eighth grade grammar is taught using Shurley Grammar. This program includes five sentence patterns. Students will learn and explore the eight parts of speech. Included in this study will be helping and linking verbs, transitive and intransitive verbs, natural and inverted sentences, direct and indirect objects, possessive nouns, subject, object, and possessive pronouns, and predicate nouns and adjectives.
The eighth grade honors grammar is taught using Prentice Hall Writing and Grammar Gold. The honors class is a more in-depth study of the eight parts of speech, independent and subordinate clauses, phrases, the four types of sentence structure (simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex), verb usage, pronoun usage, agreement, usages problems, capitalization, punctuation, and sentence diagramming.
Eighth grade literature concentrates on vocabulary, elements of plot, comprehension skills, and responding to literature. Prentice Hall Literature Gold is used in addition to novels. Students will study elements of a short story, poetry, and novels (And Then There Were None, A Night Divided, Nothing But the Truth, The Wind in the Willows). Eighth grade honors will read novels (And Then There Were None, Animal Farm, A Night Divided, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet) and delve deeper into the comprehension.
The writing program in middle school is based on a program called Teaching Writing: Structure and Style. This system concentrates on how the students are writing, not what they are writing. By taking away the stress of what to write, students can learn to vary sentence openers, sentence length, and word usage. Outlining and summarizing are also core parts of this program.
The pervading goals throughout the Middle School math program are the development of logical reasoning, problem solving, math application, and clear and convincing math communication. Eighth grade prepares students for further study of abstract thinking encountered in high school. Eighth grade students are placed in Algebra I or Geometry.
Algebra I Concepts: Algebraic expressions, multi-step equations, linear and quadratic equations, inequalities, systems of equations and inequalities, functions, properties, operations with polynomials, lines and curves of best fit, probability, and statistics
Geometry Concepts: Distance in one and two dimensions, parallel lines and transversals, triangle congruence, laws of logic, proofs, transformations, similarity and proportions, circles, parallelograms, other polygons, angle relationships in various polygons, perimeter, area, surface area, volume, and basic trigonometry.
PHYSICAL SCIENCE: This is a lab-based course, with the text used as reference. Topics include motion, forces, energy and work, thermal energy, electricity, magnetism, waves, light, mirrors and lenses, matter, solids, liquids, gases, atoms, and the periodic table.
Eighth Grade turns to an ambitious study of world history. This curriculum emphasizes early civilizations from Ancient Mesopotamia until the end of the Medieval Era. This course is designed to follow the Virginia SOL framework for 9th grade which allows the possibility of earning a high school credit. The coursework focuses on the various contributions of these civilizations to the modern world. Hands-on projects, like the mummification of a chicken, enhance the experience.
In Middle School Spanish classes, students read a variety of short chapter books in Spanish. These books are designed for the beginning learner and help students strengthen their comprehension of written Spanish. Each book is accompanied by vocabulary and grammar lessons that strengthen knowledge of the language while reinforcing reading and listening skills. Culture lessons and speaking practice are also integrated into the lessons with each book. Students are prepared to take Spansih II in high school after completing this course.
An 8th grade section of Spanish II is offered for Honors students. This class continues to strengthen vocabulary, grammar, reading, writing, and listening skills in Spanish through the reading of short chapter books. There is a heavier emphasis on grammar and writing in this course. Students who complete this course are well prepared for Spanish III in high school.
Middle school students continue with keyboarding lessons until a minimum of 45 wpm is obtained. Students focus on utilizing appropriate technology and refining techniques to convey a message. This means students will choose an application that best suits an assignment: infographic, presentation (PowerPoint, Keynote, Prezi), spreadsheet, word processing, etc. Emphasis is placed on creation that suits a particular audience. They are introduced to multi-faceted projects and exercises to develop abstract thinking skills as well as collaborative skills with others. Students are able to distinguish between copyrighted and public domain software and must be able to articulate both positive and negative aspects of computers and technology.
During the middle school years, students will develop their Studio Habits of Mind and will demonstrate how to use the tools, materials, and techniques of various media to make intentional choices in original art. Students will use size, placement, and overlapping to create depth and will experiment with tints and shades to create intensity. Characteristics of ancient art history periods and movements will be studied, as well as, contemporary artists.
Middle School students have music once a week for the entire year. In this class they sing songs from various genres of music to learn concepts of music theory and to improve vocal technique. They also continue their study of terminology and advance their skills at reading music. The Sullins middle school student will enjoy taking ownership of their programs by taking part in the creative process of a program by writing a “Pop Opera.” He/She will develop acoustic performance skills by learning about “busking” in the Busking/Street Entertaining module. They will learn about the recording studio by visiting the Birthplace of Country Music Museum. The Sullins graduate will leave with an appreciation of different composers of all genres, musical styles and develop their own “Giant Jam” session.
Eighth grade students are enrolled in a weekly class that involves completing various written essays, as well as research activities. Students are also introduced to some life skill experiences such as budgeting, banking, sewing, etc.
Middle school curriculum focuses on team sports, cooperation, team-building, and individual skills. Sports include volleyball, soccer, baseball,tennis, football, basketball, and hockey. Middle school students play hockey on rollerblades. Students participate in bi-annual fitness testing. Cross curricular projects include anti-tobacco posters in art and a language arts based research paper on famous athletes and their educations.