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Course Overview 5-8

Course Overview Grades 5-8

The curriculum for all of our grades and subjects not only meets but exceeds the New Jersey state standards. The faculty strives to provide an environment where all pupils can enjoy the learning process. We provide our students with the necessary resources to support their learning in and out of the classroom.

Here is a brief description of the topics we cover in each subject during the course of the school year.

Algebra, Grade 8

  • Algebra I is an accelerated course offered to those students who have met the specific credentials. Student is expected to have exceptional arithmetic skills and excellent working knowledge of fractions, decimals and other basic mathematical concepts. Student must possess strong independent-study skills.
  • Focus on understanding the big ideas of equivalence and linearity.
  • Learn to use a variety of representations, including modeling with variables.
  • Begin to build connections between geometric objects and algebraic expressions.
  • Use what they have learned previously about geometry, measurement, data analysis, probability, and discrete mathematics.

Art

The art activities are designed to spark students’ imaginations, promote their skill development, and encourage them to take risks as they engage in the creative process. The art program celebrates the creative thinking of the individual, the inventive and creative use of materials, and the impact of creativity on the school environment.

Financial Literacy, Grades 7 & 8

  • Focus on the students creating their own personalized budgets, financial plans and investing plans.
  • Students can immediately begin to apply the learned skills in their life.

Health Education

  • The primary goal of health education is to provide our children with the knowledge and skills necessary to initiate and maintain a healthy lifestyle that will continue into and throughout adulthood.
  • The health program at Avalon Elementary School follows the New Jersey Department of Education Core Curriculum Content Standards. The various topics covered are grade/age-related and the information builds year to year.
  • Topics covered include: mental and emotional health-character education, family and social health relationships, growth and development, pregnancy and childbirth, nutrition and dietary guidelines, personal health, violence and injury prevention, first-aid skills, alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, communicable and chronic diseases, consumer and community health, media influences and environmental health.

Language Arts and Writing, Grades 5-8

  • Reading: Pupils will read every day individually and as a group. Our ultimate goal is to encourage students’ higher-level thinking skills of analysis and evaluation. Other areas of focus include: story elements, literary devices, author’s purpose and genres of literature.
  • Writing: Students will write every day with a focus on narrative, descriptive, persuasive and expository forms. Students will learn to write essays that answer to the standardized tests.
  • Speaking, Listening and Viewing: Students will be encouraged to share their own stories and interests. Students will view various types of print and film media and learn to assess for credibility and bias.
  • Daily lessons in vocabulary, spelling, grammar, usage and mechanics.
  • Daily use of technology to enhance and expand instruction. Students will produce a variety of digital products related to novels, stories and writing assignments.

Library Skills grades 5-8
The Library program prepares students to be:

  • Effective readers who use appropriate strategies to construct meaning.
  • Critical thinkers who actively and skillfully interpret, analyze, evaluate, and synthesize information.
  • Effective researchers who use varied resources to gain or expand knowledge.
  • Responsible citizens who use information ethically and productively in a global society.
  • Active listeners who make meaning from what they hear by questioning, reflecting, responding, and evaluating.
  • Effective speakers who prepare and communicate messages to address audience and purpose.

Mathematics, Grades 5-8

  • Students will become confident in their ability to do mathematics in all areas, especially reasoning and probability, measurement, geometry, patterns, algebra, number sense, problem solving and estimation.
  • Students will use technology and other tools, including calculators, as an integral part of the mathematical process.
  • Students will communicate mathematically through written, oral, symbolic and visual forms of expression.

Music

  • General Music is available to all students grades 5-8, once a week for 50 minutes.
  • Grades 5-8 will follow the state curriculum standards for performing arts and further broaden the students’ horizons in music theory, music history, and drama.
  • Students will learn how to read, write and analyze music scores.
  • Students will be required to write and perform their own original composition.
  • Students will be introduced to famous composers and trace the development of Western music through historical story.
  • Students will have the opportunity to write and perform improvised dramatic scenes. They will learn stage terms as well as utilization of the facial masque and negative space.

Physical Education

  • All students will work on game skills, hand-eye coordination activities, physical fitness, sports skills, teamwork and sportsmanship.
  • Students will meet for physical education three to four times each week for 50 minutes.
  • Grades 5 and 6 will be introduced to dual and team sports and grades 7 and 8 will refine the skills needed for strategy and teamwork for these activities.
  • All students are required to wear running sneakers to class. Students will also be using the locker rooms throughout the school year.

Science, Grades 5 through 8

  • Four main units of study at each grade level including: Chemistry, Physics, Earth/Space, and Life Science.
  • Within each of the units STEM (Science, Engineering , Math and Technology) is integrated with a focus on engineering.
  • The cross-cutting concepts that provide an understanding of the core disciplinary ideas include: cause and effect, scale, proportion and quantity, structure and function, interdependence of science, engineering and technology and the influence of science, as well as engineering and technology and the influence on society and the natural world.
  • Students demonstrate grade appropriate proficiency in developing and using models, obtaining, evaluating and communicating information. Students also utilize scientific and engineering practices to demonstrate understanding of the core ideas within each of the main units of study.  These units align with the NGSS and state science standards.
  • The program utilizes a mix of inquiry-based science and problem-based learning.

Social Studies, Grade 5

  • The foundation of our nation: The 13 colonies, the Revolutionary War, the Constitution of the United States and the formation of the United States government
  • America’s expansion westward: Effects of gaining land west of the Mississippi and relationships with Native Americans

Social Studies, Grade 6

  • World Regions: How world regions compare and contrast to our own, as well as each region’s culture, religion, imports, exports
  • Governments across the globe

Social Studies, Grade 7

  • Ancient Civilizations: Ancient Egyptians – building pyramids, mummifying practices, characteristics of their culture; and civilizations in Mexico and Central America including Maya, Aztec and Inca
  • Medieval Times

Social Studies, Grade 8

  • The Civil War – battles, generals, advantages and disadvantages
  • World War I and II – events leading up to war, battles, outcome
  • The Roaring Twenties
  • The Great Depression
  • The Cold War
  • The Holocaust

Special Education

Our Special Education classes focus on math and language arts. The Orton-Gillingham supplemental approach to reading is used as well as the Davis Learning Strategies for reading and writing. Our program also includes handwriting, phonics, word attack, oral and silent reading, comprehension, vocabulary development and writing.

Technology

  • Project-based technology literacy classes strive to make students comfortable using technology in the 21st century.
  • We work with a variety of technologies to increase students’ confidence in an increasingly digital world.
  • Topics covered include productivity applications, web applications, digital photography, digital video editing, mobile devices and computing, basic computer use and management, and communication and collaboration software.

World Language: Spanish

  • Blending of the five C’s of communication, culture, connections, comparisons and communities will continue to receive attention.
  • Varied activities will empower students to learn to speak, read, write and comprehend spoken Spanish, and to do so in a culturally authentic manner.