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Heathwood Hall

Middle School Curriculum Guide


Middle School Curriculum Guide for 2017 - 2018


#mindfulinthehall - Middle School Mindfulness Program

In Middle School, practicing mindfulness is an important approach for our students. Focusing on one’s breath, good posture, and thinking can increase focus, academic and athletic performance, health, happiness, gratitude, and resilience.

Each week, students are given directions for one mindful exercise and the opportunity to practice that strategy. A quiet room is offered every day during recess as an alternative to playing outside. Teachers have the opportunity weekly to attend a meditation class on Wednesday mornings as a part of their personal practice.

Mindfulness is not a curriculum or formal class. It is an everyday approach to interacting with students as we nurture relationships and teach everyone in our community strategies to decrease stress and anxiety.


1:1 iPad Program

The Middle School has a one-to-one (1:1) iPad program with every student in grades 5 through 8 using an iPad in classes for assignments, projects, and homework. Students use their iPads on a varied list of activities, including working collaboratively with teachers and classmates on documents and essays, interacting with mathematical equations and graphs, recording and editing plays they have written, creating movies and presentations, and using the iPads in conjunction with scientific probes to measure speed and temperature. By bringing iPads into the classroom, every student is given access to the limitless resources of the Internet and can benefit from using these technologies as they learn and grow during these formative years.


5th Grade - The Class of 2025


Fifth Grade English emphasizes the cross-curricular skills of reading comprehension and fluency, writing, editing, publishing, vocabulary, and critical thinking. Students are introduced to the different narrative forms, sentence structure, grammatical constructs, and paragraph formation. Spelling patterns and vocabulary are taught based on our study of Greek and Latin roots.

Students have the opportunity to develop their reading and comprehension skills through literature that connects to content in history and in science. Novels include Pedro’s Journal, Pocahontas and the Strangers, and Hoot, and short stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle are also enjoyed. Students also have a choice of novels focused on The American Revolution and Westward Expansion. Students are also offered choice when preparing for their book reports, enjoying one pleasure novel of their choosing each month. Since we know that literature can build empathy and change the way children view the world around them, students are asked to ponder details in each text, such as symbols, settings, and characters’ emotions and motivations. Students are also asked to garner details and facts, adding to their explicit language skills. Assessments range from nightly reading questions to book reports, short answer quizzes, and longer paragraph reflections. Students write in various ways, including the production of shorter in class reflections, book reports, opinion pieces, persuasive arguments, and their very own eco- mystery.


Fifth Grade Math is designed to cultivate mathematical understanding and competency through the study of number and number operations, algebra, geometry, measurement, data analysis, probability, and problem solving. This study includes estimation and calculation, fractions, decimals, percentages, and ratios. Students are also introduced to fractional multiplication, division, percentages and rates. Problem solving is used to develop higher order thinking while showing understanding of computations.


5th grade science includes a yearlong exposure to environmental science. Environmental science incorporates many disciplines, so for roughly the first semester, students will learn about Earth’s four spheres (atmosphere, hydrosphere, geosphere, and biosphere), and the interconnectedness of these spheres. Included in the lessons, students will also learn about the ecological processes (biotic and abiotic influences, carbon and nitrogen cycles, food chains, classification system, and energy transfer) that takes place within and between Earth’s spheres. The later part of the first semester, students will study Earth’s biomes. During the second semester, students will engage in lessons relating to the uneven heating of the Earth’s surface (resulting in seasons) and how the changes in insolation creates changes in the environment. Environmental issues related to changes in the each of Earth’s spheres (water quality, air quality, and land use) will be

researched. For approximately the last two months, students will apply their knowledge relating to the Earth’s environment to the habitats on the Heathwood Hall campus. Students will measure and log water quality, changes in biotic life, and create pages for a website. As a community service project, 5th grade students, will take part in composting and recycling project using our Earth tub that is designed to reduce the amount of waste landfilled from the Heathwood Hall campus, making the campus more environmentally friendly.


The 5th Grade history course is a study of early American history through the use of an online tech-book. Beginning with a unit on the migration of the Paleo-Indians, the course then examines explorers and their travels to Canada, South America, and North America. Students reflect on the desire and need to explore, developing an understanding of charters and territories.

Using timelines and sequencing, the class will delve into an in-depth study of North America from the Colonies and the American Revolution to the Civil War. This class parallels the study of novels in English that are closely connected in themes and topics. Students think deeply about the inspirations and consequences that motivate historical figures. Students make connections by comparing and contrasting various cultures, looking at cause and effect, and examining the role and value of natural resources in building a stable nation. Essential questions include: What inspires humans to migrate? What motivates a person to take such risks in uncharted lands? What was unique about the American Revolution? Why was it so hard for our early leaders to compromise? How does the early history of our land echo to us today? Student write factual responses and well as lengthier creative writing pieces from the perspectives of historical figures.


Fifth Graders continue to build their Spanish vocabulary and grammar. Students have the opportunity to become proficient in the oral aspects of the language by listening and speaking. Understanding the variety of Hispanic countries and their unique cultures in another focus of 5th Grade Spanish. Students learn about the traditions of these countries by doing projects and learning songs and dances. Fifth grade students have Spanish class twice a week.


In Enrichment, students focus on several facets of middle school life, including goal setting, organization, reading comprehension practice, and study skills. Students use the time together to

create vocabulary flashcards, to organize binders, to record deadlines in agendas, and to simply discuss ways to approach larger tasks. Students learn about stress management through mindfulness as well. Typing lessons will also be incorporated this year. Enrichment is shaped to meet the needs of the grade as the year unfolds and as the core teachers identify needs of the class with regard to core curriculum.

5th Grade Reading Comprehension

In this quarter long class, students will take some time to reflect on their reading skills and pinpoint some problem areas. We will practice these skills using a variety of methods. Special attention will be spent on the skills that are tested on the ERB testing in the spring. Students will also have time to read for enjoyment and talk within their groups about healthy reading habits.


The Fifth Grade classes go to the library once a week for the entire school year. Using their iPads, students learn how to access and search the library catalog, as well as DISCUS and other subscription database resources. They review academic library organization and how to navigate the library’s print resources. Topics covered include safe search methods, evaluation of sources, and citation basics. Other topics are covered per teachers’ requests in conjunction with classroom assignments. In addition to research skills, students are introduced to a variety of genres and platforms for recreational reading; they will download ebooks and audiobooks using the Overdrive app, and will explore digital, print and graphics-based works of many authors and genres, deepening their proficiency in and enjoyment of reading.


Fifth Grade classes study the Episcopal Church’s Book of Common Prayer, which is used in all Heathwood chapel services. Lessons include learning the Seasons of the Christian year, how Easter is determined, and how the Lectionary is used by the Episcopal Church. Students also study prayer. They learn about the different kinds of prayer and then write their own prayers. Regular discussions about the chapel services give students the opportunity to ask questions about Heathwood’s religious and spiritual practices and about religion in general.

Fifth Grade Class Trip (Cowpens, King’s Mountain and Historic Brattonsville)

Fifth grade students have an opportunity to put themselves squarely into the middle of the skirmish as they visit significant Revolutionary War battleground sites in an effort to relate to the theme in their History class: “Why America is Free.”

Students visit sites at Cowpens National Battlefield, King’s Mountain National Military Park, and Historic Brattonsville (a site made famous by the filming of the Mel Gibson movie “The Patriot”). Classroom lessons come to life on these famous battlegrounds as students imagine themselves as loyalists or patriots, carrying muskets, and either defending the Crown or pursuing freedom.

Students stay in cabins at the Bethelwoods Presbyterian Camp and Conference Center, located near York, SC. Students also eat a series of deliciously nutritious meals prepared in the dining hall at Bethelwoods.

Specific Objectives for this event are:

To promote an understanding and appreciation for difficulties faced by those living in

America during Revolutionary War times by visiting local sites of interest and taking part in a series of initiative activities designed to help students understand how individuals depended upon each other during this significant time in the history of the United States. 

To foster feelings of self-confidence and self-reliance (both personal and group) in a semi-wilderness environment by engaging students intellectually, socially, and emotionally in an outdoor arena.

To reinforce classroom themes in History in real life settings with hands-on experiences.

To create an experience that gives the 5th grade class an opportunity to engage socially outside of the classroom. 



6th Grade - The Class of 2024


In sixth grade, students will be immersed into a study of vocabulary, spelling, grammar, writing, and literature. Our vocabulary study looks at Greek and Latin roots and how they form the basis for many of today’s words. Prefixes and suffixes are studied in depth along with common spelling rules. Vocabulary Workshop introduces new words that ultimately help with reading comprehension.

As the Middle School, we intentionally scaffold our study and instruction of grammar to reflect the learning stages of emerging adolescents. The levels of mastery for grammar and writing vary based on a student’s reading level, maturity level, and ability to think abstractly and critically.

The Middle School English Department works closely with our Upper School English faculty to fully understand the writing expectations to prepare for the rigors of the culminating Senior Exhibition.

We will write frequently in class using different modes of writing, including expository and narrative writing. In sixth grade, students begin to learn the longer essay structure and to refine their editing skills. The 6th grade writing curriculum is structured around the ROOTS project and includes many types of writing, encouraging students to write about the subjects they know best —themselves and their families!

During the year, we will read four novels as a class, which have been chosen to enhance the history curriculum. We visit the library and read biographies and historical fiction, but also find time for “free reads” as well. Students will review literary elements throughout the year.
There are several projects in the 6th grade including the ROOTS project. The ROOTS project is a year-long writing endeavor where the students do an in-depth study of their families. The culmination is a scrapbook that will be presented in the spring. Other smaller projects include creating an iMovie that goes along with Tom Sawyer, creating a snack made from prefixes, roots, and suffixes, along with other smaller projects that are warranted with our study.

Sixth grade English is designed to take all students where they are and prepare them for what is to come.


Sixth Grade Math introduces students to all operations with whole numbers, fractions, decimals, and integers. This is a year to review and master math facts, concepts related to decimals and fractions, as well as introducing algebraic concepts and students given exposure to problems that encourage higher order thinking skills. Students learn measurement with both standard and metric systems, perimeter, area, surface area, volume, angles, and angle relationships. Students cover probability, ratios and percentages, statistics and graphing. A variety of class projects reinforce skills and applications. In addition to sixth grade math, some students are invited to take 6th Grade Pre-Algebra. This course is designed to provide the transition from arithmetic to algebra and geometry. Problem solving is emphasized throughout the course. Heavy emphasis is placed on patterns, relationships, and functions as well as working with algebraic expressions, equations and inequalities.


Sixth grade science introduces students to Earth Science. The course expands upon the elements of scientific inquiry, scientific concepts and terminology, the Scientific Process, and laboratory use. The skills are developed through an interdisciplinary study of fossils and geologic past, plate tectonics and earth’s movements, weather, water, rocks, human impacts on the planet, and solar system, . Creative and critical thinking skills are further developed through project based instruction and interactive notebooks. Technology is utilized for research and assessments, and the course utilizes a TECHbook through Discovery Education. Experiential activities and field work are incorporated throughout all investigations and topics of study.


Sixth Grade history focuses on our roots as a country and as individuals, as well as the connections between events in history. Using timelines and sequencing, the class does an in- depth study of America from the Civil War to present day. The course is largely paperless through the daily use of our iPads as well as our ever current TECHBook through Discovery Education. This class is closely paralleled to the novels read in English, which are connected to themes and topics like the Civil War and World War Two. Students are required to think deeply about the inspirations and consequences that motivated historical figures and the causes and effects of major historical events.

Modern and Ancient Language

Students choose either Latin or Spanish in the sixth grade. These classes meet three times per week.

Sixth Grade Latin is an introductory course in which vocabulary, derivatives and grammar are emphasized and studied through the lens of the ancient Romans in Pompeii in 79 A.D. Students also learn to conjugate verbs in the present, future and imperfect tenses, and to decline nouns in the nominative, accusative, and cases.

In Sixth Grade Spanish, students study vocabulary and structures useful to describe themselves and their world. Basic grammatical concepts are introduced with the objective of developing strong listening, speaking, reading and writing skills. There is an emphasis on oral communication with an ultimate goal of using simple Spanish in different contexts. Students identify elements of culture from the countries in which Spanish is spoken.


The Sixth Grade is divided into four groups, each of which has library class once a week for one quarter. Students further refine their catalog and database search skills and review citation methods including using multiple sources for research projects in conjunction with class projects.

Students are introduced to authors who write for older middle-school students and are encouraged to read more challenging books in both fiction and non-fiction to increase their reading proficiency and enjoyment.


Sixth Grade classes study the Episcopal Church’s Book of Common Prayer, which is used in all Heathwood chapel services. Lessons include learning the Seasons of the Christian year, how Easter is determined, and how the Lectionary is used by the Episcopal Church. Students also study prayer. They learn about the different kinds of prayer and then write their own prayers. Regular discussions about the chapel services give students the opportunity to ask questions about Heathwood’s religious and spiritual practices and about religion in general.


While students use various forms of technology every day, studies show that without guidance they are fairly limited in their understanding of how technology works and how to engage it in a thoughtful and productive manner. In this 9-week course, students will spend time learning how to effectively use Google’s suite of productivity apps on computers and their iPads. They will spend time learning how these tools can help them in their classes, studies, and project creation.

Sixth Grade Class Trip (Camp Thunderbird)

Students spend two days at Camp Thunderbird, scenically located on Lake Wylie near the SC/ NC border. Here, students work with scientists at the camp in a study of deep ecology. Specifically, students explore an educational garden, tracing origins of their food and studying soil by analyzing soil properties like erosion, horizon, particle size, permeability and porosity, and testing soil temperature, pH and moisture. Students also immerse themselves in aquatic ecology by measuring a number of factors that affect the quality of a body of water, including temperature, pH, clarity, plankton production and dissolved oxygen content. Additionally, students become involved in an intellectual debate as they work in teams to create an alternative operation at Camp Thunderbird that is economically and environmentally sustainable. They then formally present their findings to a panel.

Students stay in cabins at Camp Thunderbird and eat meals in the dining hall.

Specific Objectives for this event are:

To promote an understanding environmental sustainability through a series of interactive

scientific experiments and intellectual debate.

To foster feelings of self-confidence and self-reliance (both personal and group) in a semi-wilderness environment by engaging students intellectually, socially in an outdoor arena.

To reinforce and enhance classroom themes in Science in real life settings with hands-on experiences.

To create an experience that gives the sixth grade class an opportunity to engage socially outside of the classroom. 


7th Grade - The Class of 2023


Seventh Grade English is an integrated reading and writing approach to benefit all phases of language development. Vocabulary study incorporates words from our literary selections, along with the vocabulary workbook. Our grammar/usage study provides practice in parts of speech, sentence structure, verb forms, and subject-verb agreement, along with speaking, listening, and writing skills. Students learn the ten-step approach to research writing, incorporating key elements for organizing and revising their research papers. An integrated research unit connects English and science classes involving the topic of polio/virus as students share their writing through their QR presentation. The following books provide the core of our literature reading: The Outsiders, The Hobbit, Devil’s Arithmetic, The Moon is Down, Small Steps: The Year I Had Polio. Other selected readings that support our development of The Hero’s Quest include To Be A Hero, Best Short Stories, I Never Saw Another Butterfly, and Smoke and Ashes.

As students read our class novels, they are given comprehension questions to complete using their iPad or paper. The novels also have a detailed study guide for review before the test, so students can practice the literature analysis writing prior to the test. Our grammar study follows a scaffold approach in mastering the four levels of grammar, with each level building and reinforcing the other. Students enjoy reviewing these concepts in our “board challenge” game which also serves as the study guide. Our writing practice continues the workshop pattern of brainstorming, rough draft, revisions, conferencing then final draft using a detailed rubric for the format of that writing. A daily five minutes writing activity on a topic provides a sustained focus and receives a teacher written response or clarifying question. Students complete vocabulary cards on paper or their iPad which reinforce the grammar and usage of the word as we connect the vocabulary words to our grammar and literature study. Again this year students will create and publish a “hero” book for their Lower School buddies, taking their study of the Hero’s Quest by Joseph Campbell’s, A Hero with a Thousand Faces, into their own writing.


The goal of Pre-Algebra 7 is to prepare students for algebra and geometry while reviewing the basic math skills taught in Fifth and Sixth Grades. Students transition from concrete to abstract mathematical operations through games, lectures, manipulatives, group work, word problems, drills, and practice. Communicating mathematically is a focus of the class, as students work in groups, explaining solutions verbally to classmates, showing detailed work for problems, writing explanations for solutions, and writing reflections.

Pre-Algebra Advanced parallels the curriculum in Pre-Algebra with additional content taken from the Algebra curriculum With a quicker pace, and a more in-depth analysis of the content, it addresses the needs of the student who is on the cusp of being ready for the content and speed of Algebra.

In Algebra I, students learn traditional algebra topics, including number systems, linear and quadratic equations, polynomial, rational, and radical expressions, factoring, equations, inequalities, and systems of equations and inequalities. Emphasis is placed on solving word problems, and the development of problem-solving skills. Algebra I provides high school credit based upon a student’s ability to pass the class with a B+ (87%) average or better.


Seventh grade science exposes students to a wide variety of topics in life science including organisms and processes that occur at microscopic levels; genetics; classification, anatomy, and physiology of living things, virus, bacteria, and disease. Students practice organization, attention to detail, precision and accuracy, generation of meaningful questions and connections, research, data collection and analysis, laboratory safety and procedure, and wrestling with unfamiliar ideas and concepts. Material is presented during classroom discussions and activities, homework assignments, collaborative lab activities, online textbook, and student-led independent projects. Students keep a lab notebook throughout the year. Labs include observation of living plants and earthworms; dissection of earthworms, starfish, frogs, and owl pellets, as well as a crime scene investigation.


Seventh Graders take a journey around the world through their study of history. Focusing on the regions and nations of the Western Hemisphere, students critically explore the history, geography, and culture of the Earth’s citizens by asking Who, What, Where, Why and When. The course is 95%-paperless through the daily use of our iPads as well as our ever current TECHBook through Discovery Education. Over two semesters, students study the Five Themes of Geography, world geographical skills, water and climate, the people of the world and the ways they live, the countries of North America, the countries of Central America and the Caribbean, the countries of South America, the nations of Europe, and an introduction to Asia and Africa.

Students also read selected articles from CNN, The Christian Science Monitor,, and some reputable newspapers to keep up with the day-to-day occurrences around the world, but especially, dealing with the regions and nations we will be studying and covering throughout the school year.

Modern and Ancient Languages

Seventh Grade students begin a language study of Spanish, French or Latin. These classes provide Upper School credit.

Latin 1A

Latin students, working from Wheelock’s Latin, 7th edition, cover the grammar, vocabulary, and derivatives from chapters 1-8. They study verbs from the first three conjugations in the present, imperfect, and future tenses, nouns in the first three declensions in six cases, adjective agreement with nouns, and prepositional phrases. They apply their knowledge of the grammar and vocabulary by translating sentences and longer passages, utilizing text from ancient authors.

Spanish 1A

Students study the Spanish language and culture through a variety of thematic units, including vocabulary and structures, basic grammatical concepts and communicative competence. With an emphasis on listening, speaking, reading, and writing, students work towards the goal of effective comprehension and comprehensibility. Students also study the cultures of specified regions in the Spanish-speaking world and compare and contrast these cultures with each other and with their own.

The course will be, as much as possible, conducted in Spanish so that students become comfortable hearing and using basic forms of the language. Students are required to interact with each other and participate enthusiastically in class activities.

French 1A

Seventh grade French focuses on communicative skills with an emphasis on speaking and listening through a variety of thematic units that include chapters on friends and family, a comparison between the French and the American school system, French cuisine and culinary traditions, leisure activities and sports. The class focuses on the National Standards for Foreign Language Learning, which emphasize communication, culture, connections with other subject areas, communities, and comparison and contrasts of different languages and customs.


Students will be introduced to the world of computer coding through simple coding programs that work on iPads and computers. During the first portion of this class, students will use Scratch, an introductory coding program developed by MIT, as they create interactive animations and music. In the second half of the class, students will use their iPads to program small indoor drones. This will help students see how coding is being used in the real world, the jobs and fields that are growing out of the world of programming, and connect what they are learning in class with some of the innovative and exciting things they are seeing on television!

Yoga (7th grade)

The primary intention of this course is to introduce students to the vast practice of yoga as a means of physical health and wellbeing. An emphasis will be placed on mindfulness, breathing techniques, and asanas (yoga postures). Yogis will play collaborative yoga-style games designed to refine co-operation and listening skills, which are essential for success in school. Our goal is to develop strong minds and bodies while learning to release tension and relax, which helps keep the spirit bright. In each yoga class, developmentally appropriate yoga poses are incorporated to stretch, strengthen, and improve the balance of young growing bodies. Fun, curiosity, and laughter are cultivated and encouraged!

Seventh Grade Class Trip - (Asbury Hills)

The entire seventh grade class travels to Asbury Hills, located on Matthews Creek, nestled snugly between Table Rock and Caesar’s Head State Parks in South Carolina, where they participate in experiential learning activities designed to foster self-confidence, self-reliance, and team building by taking advantage of a seventh grader's inherent energy and desire for adventure and challenge.

Zip lining, hiking, and adventure racing among other activities offer physical, intellectual, and emotional challenge, and opportunity for reflection, group discussion, and journaling. Students are tasked with creating a story based on a Hero’s Quest when they return to the classroom. The story is derived from their journal entries on the trip and how they saw their friends, and themselves, as heroes throughout the trip. In addition, students are introduced to native animal species in a hands-on animal show presented by Carlton Burke, a naturalist with Carolina Mountain Naturalists, and students learn to dance in a traditional way during the trip.

Specific Objectives for this event are:

To promote an understanding heroism through a series of experiences including zip

lining, adventure racing, and initiative activities in a pristine mountain environment. 

To foster feelings of self-confidence and self-reliance (both personal and group) in a semi-wilderness environment by engaging students intellectually, socially, physically and emotionally in an outdoor arena.

To reinforce classroom themes in writing in real life settings with hands-on experiences.

To create an experience that gives the seventh grade class an opportunity to engage socially outside of the classroom. 


8th Grade - The Class of 2022


English 8 is primarily a study of American Literature, including short stories, drama, poetry nonfiction, and novels. Students read To Kill a Mockingbird, Animal Farm, Anthem, The Pearl, Romeo and Juliet, as well as various novels of their choice. Students will also read a novel in preparation for our Washington, DC field trip. Students work on grammar, vocabulary, writing, collaborative learning, and research, and have various assignments and projects incorporating technology. A focal point of the class is the Eighth Grade Exhibition Research Project – something or someone that has made a significant impact on society and the world. Students work through the research process of outline, notecards, rough draft, and final draft. Students also present their Exhibition Research Project.


In the Eighth Grade, students take one of three levels of mathematics – Algebra Transition, Algebra 1, or Geometry, depending upon their developmental proficiency with mathematical concepts, computational ability, work ethic, and maturity. Both Algebra 1 and Geometry provide high school credit based upon a student’s ability to pass the class with a B average or better.

Algebra Transition covers the first part of a high school Algebra curriculum. Students will gain mastery of basic math concepts, as well as functions, real numbers, exponents, equations, and inequalities. Upon completion, students will have the foundation they need to be successful in Algebra 1 in the Ninth Grade.

Algebra 1 is for students who have mastered the fundamentals of arithmetic and are ready for a more in-depth study of functions, real numbers, linear equations and inequalities, systems of equations, exponents, polynomials, quadratic functions, and rational equations. Technology will be used to enhance the students’ understanding of the concepts.

Geometry is for students who have mastered the fundamentals of arithmetic, as well as Algebra 1. Students will learn how to reason mathematically using formal proofs. Students will also study in-depth properties of parallel and perpendicular lines, congruent triangles and relationships within triangles, quadrilaterals, similarity, transformations, area, surface area and volume, and properties of circles. Trigonometry will also be introduced within an extensive study of right triangles.


Students in the Eighth Grade take Physical Science, covering chemistry in the Fall semester and physics in the Spring semester.

During the Chemistry unit, students explore the following concepts: measurement and laboratory techniques; properties of matter; atoms and the periodic table; types of chemical reactions; acids and bases; and carbon chemistry. The physics unit explores forces and motion: energy, work, and machines; electricity; and light and sound.

The inquiry approach and collaborative laboratory work is an essential component of the Physical Science course. Each student completes approximately 20 labs per semester.
Eighth Graders are also required to participate in a science project. Students design their own topic about a particular area of science, form a hypothesis, conduct research and carry out experimentation to explore their hypothesis.


Eighth Grade History is the study of Civics -- the rights and duties of citizenship. In this course students investigate the foundation of American citizenry, the workings of our national government, and various aspects of law, economics, and local government. Throughout the course, current events are used to stimulate discussion and relate concepts learned in class with events happening around the world. During the second semester, students participate in the Stock Market Game, which gives them the opportunity to learn about investing and personal finance and to compete with other schools across the state in a simulated stock exchange. Beginning this year we will also incorporate lessons that directly relate to activities we will participate in on our class trip to Washington D.C..

Modern and Ancient Languages

Eighth Grade students continue with the language they began in the Seventh Grade. One high school credit is given for the two year sequence in 7th and 8th grade.

Latin 1B

Continuing from their seventh grade language course of study, Latin students continue working from Wheelock’s Latin, 7th edition, covering the grammar, vocabulary, and derivatives from chapters 9-16. They study verbs from the fourth conjugation; demonstrative pronouns and adjectives; personal, reflexive, and intensive pronouns; perfect active system of all verbs; third declension adjectives; and further uses of the ablative and genitive cases. They continue to apply their knowledge of the grammar and vocabulary by translating sentences and longer passages, including work from ancient authors.

Spanish 1B

Spanish continues to reinforce and build on the concepts learned in Spanish 1A. Students learn a wider variety of vocabulary and structures in order to talk about activities and daily routines. With an emphasis on oral communication and an ultimate goal of effective comprehension and comprehensibility, students use grammatical concepts to communicate needs and ask and answer questions on everyday topics. Reading and writing skills also continue to be developed, and students are asked to demonstrate evidence of personal use of the Spanish language beyond the classroom. The class will be conducted in Spanish primarily, so students will become comfortable hearing and using different forms of the language.

Students also study the cultures of specified regions in the Spanish-speaking world and compare and contrast these cultures with each other and with their own.

French 1B

In 8th grade, students will continue to focus on oral and written communication. Our study will include chapters on air travel, the train system, sports, hobbies, leisure activities, vacation, daily routine, and health. As in 7th grade, this class will focus on the National Standards for Foreign Language Learning which emphasizes communication, culture, connections with other subject areas, communities, and comparison and contrasts of different languages and customs.

8th Grade Electives

Yoga (8th grade)

The primary intention of this course is to expose students to the breadth of yoga as a method for becoming more physically, mentally, energetically, and emotionally fit. Yogis will play cooperative yoga-style games and practice group poses to develop trust and team building skills.

In a non-competitive and nurturing environment, students will practice a sequence of poses, play fun and challenging yoga-style games, and learn skills & techniques for self-calming and stress relief. Thematic ideas such as peace, respect, gratitude and acceptance will be introduced through literature and discussion. This class provides a fun-filled way to cultivate self-esteem and body awareness.


This elective is for students who are interested in learning formal computer coding. Girls, please don't think this course is just for the boys! No coding experience is required, and everyone is welcome. Students should not choose this course expecting it to be fun in the same way as playing a fast-paced video game. Coding is much more like solving a puzzle, and it takes serious effort and focus. Students will learn how think logically and how to break complex problems into smaller pieces in order to solve them. We will start by using the CodeHS online curriculum, which introduces students to the Javascript coding language.


This elective will have a goal of producing a news show. Students will determine what segments to create and how the final product will be distributed. Students will assume the roles of news anchors, field reporters, investigative journalists, editors, producers, and directors. We want to produce better writers and public speakers. This class will utilize the Green Room, digital collaboration, and various forms of technology. We hope to expose students to various career opportunities by having speakers involved in both written and digital media from the Columbia area.

Mindfulness for Stress Relief

This class will take a more in depth look into the ways in which mindfulness practices can promote happiness, heartfulness, and overall health and wellness. Students will learn different ways to practice mindfulness, including breathing techniques, mindful walking, and mindful eating. Additionally, this class will encourage students to find other healthy ways of dealing with stress and anxiety that will allow them to leave with a “toolbox” of strategies to use from this point on in their lives. Students will keep a weekly journal with thoughts, reflections, and questions on the week’s lessons.

Public Speaking

Students are introduced to public speaking as an important component of their academic work. They study types of speeches ( informative, persuasive, extemporaneous, and entertainment )

and develop skills as courteous, fair, and critical listeners of spoken information. Students read and listen to models of speeches, and prepare and present their own speeches. Students learn to choose speaking topics and adapt them for specific audiences, to research and support their ideas, and to benefit from listener feedback. They study how to incorporate well-designed visual and multimedia aids in presentations and how to maintain a credible presence in the digital world. Students also learn about techniques for managing public speaking anxiety.

Fine Arts (all grades)

Students in 5th and 6th grade choose either band or chorus. Band and chorus are offered as electives for 7th and 8th grades.


Students are taught the fundamentals of their chosen instrument and music reading through classes that meet two days per week in the 5th Grade and three days per week in the grades 6-8. An emphasis on overall musicianship is achieved through preparation for performances as a large ensemble and with smaller groups. Band members have the opportunity to participate in the Heathwood Percussion Ensemble, Pep Band, Jazz Ensemble, and Chamber Ensemble as well as opportunities to participate and/or audition for statewide festivals and ensembles.


The Middle School chorus program focuses on basic vocal techniques which are explored in a wide variety of musical styles, including introduction to part- singing, music reading, and theory. Culminating performances are a meaningful and mandatory component of this class.

Students will:

Sing music representing diverse cultures

Perform music which represents diverse cultures 

Identify and define elements of music 

Analyze the use of musical elements in diverse genres of music 

Develop criteria to evaluate a piece

Articulate the connections between music and other subjects 

Compare and classify the role of music and musicians in diverse cultures


Every Middle School student participates in the Heathwood Drama Program. Fifth and sixth graders take drama class two times each week for a full academic quarter, and seventh and eighth graders have the option to take Drama as an elective for a semester. Fifth and sixth grade drama classes focus on the fundamentals of performance, including ensemble building, storytelling, improvisation, and beginning scene work. Seventh and eighth grade drama classes build on the previous years by incorporating theatrical styles, movement, puppetry, theater history and appreciation, and intermediate scene work. Each grade level class culminates with a group presentation during the school day. Parents and family are encouraged to attend if possible. All MS students (including those not enrolled in drama) will also have the opportunity to audition and participate in the Spring Middle School Musical, showcasing the talent of our students in fifth through eighth grade. We will cast both singers and non-singers - all are welcome! Past MS productions include “Annie”, “The Spell of Sleeping Beauty”, “Seussical”, and “The Magical Lamp of Aladdin”.


The Middle School Visual Arts Program is designed to engage students in the act of creating, inventing, and problem solving. Each student will be taught to cultivate sight, experiment with 2D imagery and form, on multiple surfaces with a variety of materials. Technique will be identified through the context of supplying solutions for the demands of the student’s work, including the process of making the work. Development of aesthetics will come by a sense play and ingenuity, the study of nature and 2D design principles. Each student will be guided by their own artistry to create unique works of art that contain a strong sense of authorship. 5th grade meets once per week, in three rotations, for the duration of the school year; 6th grade meets three times per week in one rotation for each quarter; while the 7th and 8th grade meets three times per week in one rotation for each semester.

Physical Education

Middle School students participate in Physical Education during their four years in the division. The purpose of the program is to engage students in a variety of activities that promote a healthy lifestyle. Students focus on developing skills such as flexibility, strength training, and cardiovascular fitness. These components of fitness are introduced through team and individual sport activities. In addition, students also have a unique opportunity to experience the benefits of our PEAK outdoor program, located on campus. A small group of students rotate every six weeks to the outdoor education program to be engaged in an active and experiential learning setting. Students will develop basic skills, interest, and knowledge in a variety of adventure activities including: archery, backpacking, mountain biking, canoeing, and climbing. Students will also explore a few topics on the wilderness, environmental issues, and leadership development.

School Counseling and Skills

All Middle School students participate in the Skills for Adolescence curriculum, which offers a developmentally appropriate and systematic approach for sharing and applying information to help students succeed academically, socially, and vocationally. The class also focuses on what young people need to know in order to make their preadolescence an understandable and positive time. The intention is to foster an environment where positive social behavior (kindness, self- discipline, responsibility, good judgment and getting along with others) can be taught; an appreciation of others and self-knowledge can be expanded; and, problem solving and cooperation within the class can be practiced. The acquisition of these skills and attitudes contributes to the social, emotional and cognitive growth of middle school youngsters and helps them reach their potential today and in the years to come.