Middle School Curriculum Overview
Grades 6 through 8 comprise St. John’s Lutheran School's Middle School Program, which is designed to provide students with an introduction to the experiences of high school. Students are challenged and encouraged to grow in scholarship throughout each day and year, beginning in 6th grade as students begin a new schedule of changing classes and manage an increase in personal responsibility for organizing and completing work. The learning environments of our classrooms thrive best when students are leading the experience in collaboration and critical thinking and are facilitated by instructors. In addition, students in middle school serve as examples and helpers for younger students. Our students accept the social responsibilities of being the “oldest” students in the school. Making Christ-centered decisions is essential to this group, resulting in students who are less likely to be swayed by peer pressure outside the school and in future years of schooling.
- Religion — Middle school students continue to grow in their relationship with God and strengthen their foundation and beliefs. Old Testament and New Testament Books are studied, memory work reinforces lessons, and Bible verses are an everyday integral part of the curriculum to help students learn how they can apply these lessons to everyday life and make Christian choices.
- Literature — Literature, grammar, and communications-based courses are vital to student development. Literature helps students define and recognize the significance of different styles of writing. They read, interpret, and evaluate both non-fiction and fiction literary works, including fables, fantasy, drama, and mystery, novel, novella, poetic and dramatic work, short story, and essay. They continue to apply their critical thinking skills by analyzing elements of literature. They connect their own reading to how and what they write and to their own understanding of universal concepts, human nature, and human conflict.
- Grammar - Students continue to polish their skills in grammar, organization, and coherence as they become effective communicators on a wide range of topics to a variety of audiences. By 8th grade, students are able to apply their research and communication skills by composing a culminating expository essay. Most importantly, students learn to use the language arts as a tool for the discovery and expression of self and of their unique place in a world created by a loving and personal God.
- Communications - Courses emphasizing spoken communication are also crucial for student growth. Such courses at St. John’s include drama, speech, art, and debate. These are offered on a rotating basis. Students are encouraged to acquire new skills in formal speaking by practicing the basic skills of speech delivery. Students learn to communicate visually in art class, beginning with the six elements of art, identifying these and the principles of design in fine art, and finally studying fine artists and reflecting on ways they can portray a message visually in a variety of media. Students are also introduced to some team building and leadership skills.
- Math — The middle school math curriculum provides students with a sequential study of algebra, measurement, geometry, number sense, statistics, and probability. Students continue to develop their problem solving and critical thinking skills by making connections to what they have already learned in math and also in other subject areas. An interactive whiteboard and online math activities enhance students’ understanding. Students who excel in math may be given the opportunity to take Algebra I in eighth grade.
- Science — Students develop understandings of scientific inquiry and gain necessary abilities to use scientific inquiry. Students study Life Science, Physical Science, Earth Science, and Space Science. Students enhance their understanding of science and technology.
- PE — The fourth thru eighth grade physical education curriculum is based on exposing students to a lifestyle that includes sportsmanship, health/fitness knowledge, and skill development. Our goal is to instill the knowledge that will allow students to lead a productive and healthy life. Fitness is a daily theme in class. We expect students to participate in a variety of fitness activities including cardiovascular fitness, strengthening, flexibility, and agility.
- Spanish — Students meet twice a week to learn more about the Spanish language and the Spanish culture and how it influences us today.
- Technology - Students practice keyboarding skills, gain experience using Microsoft Office applications, and collaborate to complete WebQuest projects. Students learn how to safely navigate the internet and discuss the ethics of digital citizenship.
- Music — Students can volunteer to participate in choir, band, and/or hand bells. They also are involved in music classes during the school week.
- Service Projects - Middle school students participate in quarterly service projects as a way to show gratitude for the many blessings they have received. Projects include raking leaves for elderly members of the community, volunteering to work for a day at Walcamp, packaging food at Feed My Starving Children, and other activities on campus.
- Class Trips - Each middle school class participates in a special trip each year.
- 6th Grade - Outdoor education is experienced by the sixth grade middle school students in the spring of each year. Traditionally held at Walcamp Outdoor Ministries in Kingston, IL, this five-day trip weaves a wide-variety of academic, social, and spiritual activities into the lives of the students.
- 7th Grade - Students are excited each year to journey to two of America’s prized historical destinations: Abraham Lincoln’s Springfield, IL and the boyhood home and stomping grounds of Mark Twain in Hannibal, MO. From the solemn visit to Lincoln’s tomb to the exciting ride on a Twain-era Mississippi riverboat, our annual three-day trip in April is a high point of the year, full of countless connections to literature, history, science, and communications.
- 8th Grade - Students in eighth grade prepare throughout the school year for an educational five-day trip to Washington D.C. by studying U.S. History, the U.S. Constitution, and the significance of the sites that they will visit including monuments, memorials, Capitol Hill, Arlington National Cemetery, and Gettysburg among others. While in Washington D.C. students experience the nation’s capital from a Christian perspective.