Curriculum

Our curriculum is designed to prepare all students for success in secondary school environments, college, and beyond.  Our challenging curriculum, coupled with rich co-curricular and extra-curricular opportunities, provides spiritual, intellectual, social, and physical development for our students.  Students receive a strong foundation in traditional education infused with 21 st century skills.  We offer an accelerated program of study for our more advanced students, and we provide differentiated learning and support to ensure the curriculum is accessible to all.

 

Course Offerings

Religion
(God’s Word, God’s Presence, Sacraments)
The students explore the essence of Catholicism and study the lives of the saints. Students study the Mass, learning about the liturgy, its history, art, music, and its place in our lives today. The students study the seven sacraments, their history, symbolism, and importance. In addition, prayer, parables, and Church history are also studied.

Social Sciences/Geography
In this course, students study the principles of geography, map skills, graph and chart reading and interpretation, and the areas of the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, South America, and a world overview. On-line map skill programs, integrated technology, and on-line textbook sources are incorporated.

Mathematics
Students develop competency in the basic operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division with whole numbers, decimals, and fractions. Included in these basic operations are subtopics such as place value, estimation, compare and order, exponents, variables, order of operations, prime and composite numbers, greatest common factors, and least common multiples. Data analysis and interpretation are explored through solving problems involving range, median, mean, and mode. Students also develop problem solving strategies and practice word problems.

Science
The students are introduced to the tools of science and develop abilities that support scientific inquiry, especially critical thinking skills and research skills. The students explore earth’s weather and the various casual factors including heat energy, air pressure, air currents, and moisture. Students study the structure and function of cells, body systems, and heredity. The students acquire a solid base for future studies in biology.

Language Arts
The students are introduced to the rules of basic grammar, usage, and mechanics. Fundamental knowledge of the eight parts of speech, sentence analysis, capitalization, and punctuation is the major focus.

The course emphasizes the writing process of pre-writing, drafting, revising, proofreading, and publishing. The applications of writing skills are demonstrated through narrative, persuasive, and creative writing. The students analyze and evaluate the effectiveness of their written work, assessing strengths and need for improvement based on the six traits of effective writing: ideas, organization, voice, word choice, sentence fluency, and conventions. Poetry and figurative language are explored, and effective public speaking skills are acquired.

Reading
This course encompasses an in-depth analysis and investigation of novels and short stories. Students learn to take comprehensive notes while reading, and there is an emphasis on spelling skills and the building of vocabulary through reading. The students utilize word recognition and word meaning skills to read and comprehend text, such as context clues and word origins; roots, prefixes, and suffixes of words. Literature circles and other collaborative learning activities enable students to work cooperatively. Oral communication skills develop as students generate oral presentations throughout the year, including a presentation of a researched topic related to a novel read during the year.

Study Skills
Our school provides early adolescents with the skills necessary for future success. Our grade five study skills course enhances students’ organizational, study, and test taking skills and assists students in understanding and developing academic integrity. Concepts learned in study skills class are re-enforced throughout the curriculum, ensuring that our students are well-prepared for academic success now, in high school, and beyond.

Fine Arts
This is a survey art course which emphasizes studio production. Within this context, students apply media, techniques, and processes in creating their own artwork. Students identify and use the elements of design: line, shape, texture, and color. Within the drawing unit, students explore light and shadow, space, and some aspects of perspective. In addition, the students explore art appreciation and art criticism. Grant Wood, Thomas Hart Benton (American Regionalists), W.C. Escher, and Aboriginal Artists, as well as other type of art/artists as it relates to their studio art, are studied. Mediums include pencil, colored pencil, oil and dry pastels, markers, tempera paint, watercolors, and paper mache.

Performing Arts
Performing Arts Brochure

Physical Education
This course offers students a comprehensive program that includes instructional content which promotes the concept of individual student physical growth. The main emphasis is on the concepts and strategies of team sports. Students are introduced to the various components that are part of an active, healthy lifestyle.

Technology
Basic Parts of the Computer: computer navigation, proper ergonomics
Word Processing Software: Google Docs & Microsoft Word
Internet Etiquette & Safety: develop professional emails, understand how to stay safe on the Internet, avoid Spam and viruses, identify cyberbullying.
Spreadsheet Software: Google Sheets & Microsoft Excel
Presentation Software: Google Slides & Microsoft Powerpoint
Typing: students participate in intense training of the proper way to type on a keyboard. By the end of the year, students will be able to type at least 25 words per minute.
Coding: students use Scratch, a program built by students at M.I.T., to learn how animate a character using an algorithm.

Religion (Old Testament)

In this course, the students are provided with an overview of the Old Testament. The narrative history of the Hebrew people is followed. The Torah, the Wisdom Books, the Prophetic Books, and the Historical Books are studied in order to examine God’s covenant with His people. These ancient scriptures are studied in the light of their relevance to our lives today and in their connection to the New Testament. The students continue to examine the lives of the many men and women who answered God’s call.

Social Studies

General geographic information and map skills are reviewed in this course. Through various student generated projects, Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia are explored. Students study Asia, Ancient Greece, Rome, the Middle Ages, Africa, and the Americas. Students research and report on a modern country of choice (other than the United States) utilizing skills in source citation, bibliography writing, note taking, and primary and secondary source usage. Integrated technology and on-line textbook sources continue to be incorporated.

Mathematics

The students continue to develop competency in the basic operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division with whole numbers, decimals, and fractions. Students develop an understanding of division of fractions and extend the notion of number to the system of rational numbers, which includes negative numbers. Students begin to connect ratio and rate to whole number multiplication and division, and use concepts of ratio and rate to solve problems. Students are introduced to writing, interpreting, and using expressions and equations and develop an understanding of statistical thinking. Students in grade six also build on their work with area by reasoning about relationships among shapes to determine, area, surface area, and volume.

Science

This course focuses mainly on the field of biology. The students explore the traditional five and more updated six-kingdom classification system, including archaebacteria, eubacteria, protists, fungi, plants, and animals. Students become familiar with the diversity of life on earth and why, with the advent of new and more sophisticated technology, it is even more important to identify new species. Students explore a broad range of organisms from colonial unicellular prokaryotic monerans to multicellular eukaryotic animals through hands-on activities and the use of technology.

Language Arts

Students continue to develop and strengthen their understanding of the rules of grammar, usage, sentence diagramming, and mechanics of the English language. Students analyze and write poetry using poetic techniques (alliteration, onomatopoeia, etc.), and figurative language (simile, metaphor, personification, etc.), collecting samples in a poetry journal. Narrative, descriptive, expository, and persuasive forms of writing are focused on using the six traits of effective writing, improving skills in organization, content, and sentence and paragraph development.

Reading

The students identify, analyze, and apply knowledge of the characteristics of different genres (poetry, fiction, non-fiction, short story, dramatic literature) and provide evidence from texts to support their understanding. In addition to written summaries using a story map organizer, students give oral presentations through a chosen modality to explain books (e.g. interview of main character, timeline). Vocabulary is acquired through reading and from a basal series in which students study definitions, synonyms, antonyms, word analysis, etymology, prefixes, suffixes, and root words using them correctly in reading and writing.

World Language (Spanish/French)

The students are involved in a variety of activities designed to develop the four basic language skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Students learn vocabulary which encompasses numbers, colors, days of the week, months, and members of the family. They initiate and respond to greetings, paraphrase short paragraphs from the target language into English, and learn through projects such a creating family trees or menus.

Performing Arts

Performing Arts Brochure

Physical Education

This course is a comprehensive physical education program which includes learning experiences that meet the current and projected needs of individual students. Students continue to develop concepts and strategies for team sports that involve fundamental motor skills and the demonstration of proper social skills. Lifetime fitness and activity concepts are learned.

Technology

  • Parts of the Computer: Inside & Out
  • Word Processing Software: Students will be able to change the file format of documents, print via local networks, transfer files, and develop different kinds of documents.
  • Internet Etiquette & Safety: Identify inappropriate uses of the internet and how that affects real students.
  • Spreadsheet Software: understand how basic functions/formulas work.
  • Presentation Software: Students will learn more in-depth design tools.
  • Typing: Students will be able to type at least 30 words per minute.
  • Coding: students will use Scratch to code a children’s story using multiple sets of algorithms.

Religion (New Testament)

This course focuses on the Christian Scriptures (New Testament) and continues to build upon the students’ understanding of the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament). Students focus on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ as understood by the Roman Catholic Church. Within this context, students also learn more specifically about the Church’s social teachings in the hope that they will be able to apply their academic religious studies to their everyday lives as followers of Jesus Christ.

U.S. History I

The seventh grade U.S. History course begins with prehistory and continues through the mid 1800’s. Students are introduced to the events, themes, and a basic understanding of the times. The Constitution and the United States government are studied along with current events and basic economics. The ability to express knowledge and opinion in a clear, concise manner, both verbally and in an intelligent essay is an integral part of class.

Mathematics

The students continue to develop competency in the basic operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division with whole numbers, decimals, and fractions. Students also work with percentages and concepts of geometry such as linear and area measure. The solving of basic equations and the use of formulas with exposure to manipulations with variables will be studied. Students continue to develop problem solving strategies and to practice solving word problems.

Science

Students study environmental science, including populations and communities, ecosystems and biomes, and land, water, and air resources. This introductory series of studies concludes with an understanding of the natural history of Cape Cod. In subsequent units, the students embark on a journey “inside earth,” investigating the earth’s structure, plate tectonics, earthquakes, volcanoes, and the rock cycle. The students also study components of chemistry, including an introduction to matter, the periodic table, and carbon/life chemistry, in which students learn the basic structure of DNA.

Accelerated Science

Seventh-grade students who have demonstrated a strong work ethic and academic excellence in science and mathematics. This course covers the seventh and eighth-grade science curriculum in one year, and those who successfully complete the course take Honors Biology and Honors Algebra I at our high school in grade 8.

Language Arts

This course continues to expand and strengthen students’ knowledge of their language in the areas of grammar, vocabulary, written expression, and oral expression. The students review sentence structure and parts or speech, increase comprehension of phrases and clauses, and are introduced to the study of gerunds, participles, and infinitives. Sentence diagramming continues to be used as a tool to understanding. Written expression encompasses creative, descriptive, narrative, persuasive, and expository work. Students employ the writing process to develop, clear, well-organized, and intelligently expressed ideas. They learn to form thesis statements and to subsequently support them. Confident and competent oral expression is encouraged both informally through classroom discussion and formally through classroom orations and debates.

Reading

This course continues to introduce a wide range of classic and contemporary literature in order to foster a love and appreciation for reading. Classroom discussion and written reports are used to refine comprehension and critical thinking skills. Genres studied include novels, short stories, drama, non-fiction, and poetry, myths, legends, and folk tales. Students also read grade appropriate books of choice independently and are responsible for reporting on these books. Students study various literary terms and learn how these terms apply to the selections read. Vocabulary is expanded through new words encountered in reading. In addition, students read classic trade publications throughout the year. Students are responsible for taking comprehensive notes on these publications. To culminate the year’s study, students read, interpret, and discuss a full-length Shakespearean play.

Spanish

This course develops students’ basic vocabulary and grammar skills in Spanish. Students learn to describe themselves and others, communicate about home, school, food, likes and dislikes, make comparisons, and work in general toward achieving level one proficiency in Spanish. Skills in listening, comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing in Spanish are emphasized and assessed. Culture and customs from Spain and Latin American countries are built into the readings. Eighth grade students who achieve A’s and B’s are encouraged to enroll in Spanish II in grade nine.

French

Students in the seventh grade French course continue to improve their skills in the four basic areas of the language:

  • Listening, speaking, reading, and writing. They enlarge their vocabulary word banks, learn common idioms, learn verbs that enable them to compose simple sentences in the present tense, and read short stories and dialogues.

Performing Arts

Performing Arts Brochure

Fine Arts

This is a survey art course that emphasizes studio art. Students apply media, techniques, and processes in creating their own artwork. Students come to understand and use a variety of vocabulary with respect to the making of their studio art projects. Students identify and use the elements and principles of design. Students will draw from life, including outdoor sketching, portrait studies at home and in class, and figure studies. Each 7th-grade class produces a large grid drawing from a famous work of art to display at the Spring Arts Festival. Mediums include (but are not limited to) pencil, colored pencil, pen, oil or dry pastels, charcoal, markers, tempera paint, watercolors, and printmaking. Students participate in class critiques in order to enhance art appreciation and understanding of art criticism. In addition to studio art, art history subjects include Renaissance and Baroque art. Additional artists are studied as time permits.

Physical Education

This course builds on the physical education program from grades five and six. The content continues to provide learning experiences to meet the current and projected needs of individual students. Emphasis continues to include activities that encourage physical fitness and encourage proper social skills through team sports. Students learn and practice skills necessary for an active, healthy lifestyle.

Technology

Parts of the Computer: An in-depth study of peripherals, inputs, outputs, processors, motherboards, RAM, and more.

  • Word Processing Software: Students will learn how to create business tri-folds, MLA format essays, and how to cite websites for research.
  • Internet Etiquette & Safety: Deeper discussion of cyberbullying.
  • Spreadsheet Software: Students will be able to create a spreadsheet with data that includes formulas and charts.
  • Presentation Software: Intro to Prezi
  • Typing: students participate in intense training of the proper way to type on a keyboard. By the end of the year, students will be able to type at least 35 words per minute.
  • Coding: students will program LEGO Mindstorm Robots

Religion (Church History)

The curriculum focuses on the history of the Roman Catholic Church beginning with the founding of the Apostolic Church, and continuing to the present time. Students learn a theology of church and come to understand how the Church continues to develop under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Other Christian denominations are explored in order to investigate how they relate to the Roman Catholic Church. Lastly, students are introduced to the basic moral teachings of the Church as they apply to students of their age.

U.S. History II

The eighth grade U.S. History course begins with the 1800’s and continues through the twentieth century, with particular attention paid to the Civil War and Reconstruction. The students continue to study the Constitution and the U.S. government, along with basic economics and current events.

Accelerated Pre-Algebra

The students review the basic operations while developing an understanding of basic algebraic concepts with positive and negative numbers. Students build upon their skills of working with basic geometric concepts with the addition of the study of angles formed by transversals and the study of volume and surface area of solid figures. The students extensively practice solving equations and inequalities and experience a thorough review of percent.

Basic Algebra

Algebra I

Taken at St. John Paul II High School, the students acquire a firm understanding of basic algebraic concepts and applications, including variable operations with real numbers, solving equations with transformations, polynomials, factoring, algebraic fractions, linear equations and graphing, and solving simultaneous equations. Students continue to develop problem solving strategies and practice word problems.

Algebra I Honors

This course in an accelerated Algebra I class which offers students high school credits to students in grade 8. This course is intended for students with strong mathematics ability who are looking for a solid foundation in Algebra I so that they will be prepared for future honors and AP level courses. Topics include: operations with real numbers, order of operations, solving equations and inequalities, absolute values, exponents and polynomials, factoring, systems of equations, coordinate geometry, rational expressions, word problems, radicals, and quadratic functions and equations.

Science

Students explore various aspects of astronomy, including characteristics of the solar system, moon phases and tides, history of the studies of stars, and theories of the creation of the universe. Students are introduced to the study of physics. Laws of motion, force, and energy are learned. Students study Newton’s Laws of Motion, Universal Gravitation, Momentum, Projectile Motion, and Forces in Fluids, as it relates to pressure, hydraulics, buoyancy, and flight. Students also explore forces in relation to work and energy.

Honors Biology

Taken at St. John Paul II High School.

Language Arts

The students continue the development of usage, vocabulary, and communication skills to write and speak effectively. Students write in several different styles, including descriptive, narrative, and expository. The students write research papers using the MLA documentation style. Additionally, short writing projects are also completed. By the end of eighth grade, students will have mastered the use of complex sentences and verbals. Methodology includes extensive use of diagramming, drilling, and student writing. Usage, vocabulary, and mechanics are reviewed throughout the year. Finally, public speaking skills are reviewed.

Reading

The students will appreciate literature through the careful analysis of the author’s style and use of literary techniques. Instruction focuses on themes that specifically reflect Christian messages. Students are exposed to several different genres, including memoirs, plays, poetry, novels, and short stories. Emphasis is placed upon careful note taking from each work studied. Students are expected to analyze the works through oral and written means. The Socratic method of inspiring students to discuss the many universal themes presented is utilized.

Spanish

Students continue to expand upon the four basic skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Students use a Spanish e-text on their iPads. They learn through the interactive format, utilizing dialogue, video, and song. Vocabulary and grammar are stressed. Additionally, an appreciation for and understanding of the cultures of the Spanish speaking world is developed.

French

Students continue to improve their skills in the four basic areas of language:

  • Listening, speaking, reading, and writing. They continue to enlarge their vocabulary word bank, add their knowledge of idioms, compose more complex sentences with modal verbs, read more complex short stories, and write short compositions. During both years, seventh and eighth grade students do projects on many cultural aspects of the francophone world.

Latin

The Ecce Romani curriculum puts reading and comprehension before grammatical analysis. Unlike the student of modern languages, the Latin student’s only access to what the Romans have to say is by reading. The Ecce Romani approach, therefore, offers exactly that:

  • the language is experienced by the reading of whole passages for context and grammar simultaneously. The general topic of the stories [family life in ancient Rome] is deliberately chosen to provide a bridge across the centuries, a bridge that young learners find both interesting and accessible. Their study of Latin helps students to understand their own language better and gives them the ability to learn other Romance languages more efficiently.

Physical Education

A comprehensive physical education program that will continue to provide learning experiences to meet the current and projected needs of individual students. Emphasis will continue to do include physical fitness activities and team sports concepts at the highest possible level to enable students to demonstrate proper social skills in physical education and beyond. The emphasis on maintaining an active healthy lifestyle will be stressed to include nutrition and drug avoidance.

Performing Arts

Performing Arts Brochure

Fine Arts

This is a survey art course which emphasizes studio art. Students will apply media, techniques, and processes in creating their own artwork. Students will be expected to understand a variety of vocabulary with respect to the making of their studio art projects. Students will identify and use the elements and principles of design. An understanding of composition and space is emphasized with respect to art criticism and the students’ own artwork. Students will draw often from life, including – landscape (outdoors), still life, portrait studies at home and in class, and figure studies. Mediums include (but are not limited to), pencil, colored pencil, pen and ink, scratchboard, oil or dry pastels, charcoal, markers, acrylic paint, watercolors, printmaking, collage, wire sculpture, and clay. Class critiques are held as a way to enhance art appreciation and understanding of art criticism. In addition to studio art, art history subjects include Impressionism, Post Impressionism, and 20th-century art. During the 4th marking period, 8th graders are given the opportunity for independent study. They must choose from several of the media listed above.

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