Eighth Grade at Calvary Day Middle School


Eighth graders at Calvary Day School are one step away from joining the “big leagues” of High School, and they savor their time at the top of the Middle School totem pole. However, eighth graders still enjoy the company of their peers at various Middle School functions, whether at a special breakfast or the annual Spring Fling.

The curriculum in eighth grade becomes more advanced as students grow confident in their ability to analyze, interpret, and assess information from a variety of sources within their environment, and they test what they are learning by taking the Otis-Lennon 8 and the Stanford 10 achievement tests. The eighth grade class trip to Washington, D.C. is always an enriching opportunity for students to apply history lessons learned in the classroom to a personal experience.

Eighth graders are eager for the upcoming promotion to High School, and Calvary’s teachers and staff provide the academic and spiritual foundations that enable each student to soar to his or her fullest potential.

Grade 8 English (also offered at the honors level)

In the eighth grade English course at Calvary Day School, students continue to polish their communication skills in preparation for the more advanced assignments of High School. This course is designed to help students become more thoughtful and critical readers, more deliberate and skilled writers, and more involved and responsible young adults. This course is based on various types and styles of literature and non-fiction. It is writing-intensive and asks students to participate actively, whether individually or in groups. Grade 8 English students comprehend, analyze, and evaluate a variety of texts through written and verbal responses. Over the course of the year, students read and respond to all types of texts, including novels, short stories, nonfiction articles, poetry, essays, informational text, consumer and workplace documents, and literature. Grade 8 English students focus on The Outsiders; A Christmas Carol; The Diary of Anne Frank; Night; and To Kill a Mockingbird. Grade 8 Honors English students read, discuss, write about, and design projects based on The Pearl; The Outsiders; The Diary of Anne Frank; and poems and short stories by authors such as Ray Bradbury, Edgar Allan Poe, Roald Dahl, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., and many more.

Student writing reflects the processes of prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing as well as the consideration of the target audience, the use of appropriate organizational structures, and the adherence to standard conventions of grammar and usage. This course broadens student reading and critical thinking experiences through analysis of works within various genres of literature. Eighth grade students may be found evaluating poetry, completing book reports, writing a major research paper, and writing daily journal entries. Students refine their research skills and vocabulary in order to give more sophisticated group presentations that reflect maturing speaking abilities. By the end of this course, students have not only witnessed the necessity and importance of written and spoken language in the academic realm, but in the social and emotional experiences of daily life as well.

Honors Algebra I

The eighth grade algebra course is designed to increase the student’s ability to think algebraically and apply the resulting ideas to practical situations. Students use the order of operations involving addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division as a springboard into higher mathematical operations. Major topics also include solving equations, solving systems of linear equations, graphing linear equations and inequalities, and factoring. This class incorporates areas of problem solving, reasoning, and the communication of mathematical concepts. Students learn to assimilate concepts while discovering unknown information.

Grade 8 Math

Grade 8 Math students review decimals and scientific notation, the order of operations, and measurement and variables. Students use this information as a springboard into the mastery of problem solving; the identification of patterns in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division; and the completion of calculations such as the area, the volume, and the surface area of various geometric shapes. Students use scientific calculators along with traditional pencil and paper to calculate answers to problems involving graphs, equations, inequalities, integers, and exponential powers.

Physical Science (also offered at the honors level)

Eighth grade students study the world through the lens of physical science. This course develops student understanding of the nature of matter; atomic theory; the laws of energy, matter, motion, and force; and energy transformation. Students explore the historical development of scientific thought surrounding the physics and chemistry of our world in addition to improving their scientific investigation skills. Much learning in this course is done through inquiry, especially concerning how the different laws of motion, force, and energy apply to everyday life. Students conduct work in major topics such as the organization and use of the periodic table; physical and chemical changes; nuclear reactions; temperature and heat; sound; light; electricity and magnetism; and work, force, and motion.

U.S. History (also offered at the honors level)

Eighth grade students employ historical and geographical analysis to explore the ideas and events that created the early history of the United States. As students study in detail the periods of change and continuity in the United States from pre-exploration times until 1877, they continue to improve upon their fundamental knowledge of civics, economics, and geography. They examine the foundation of American ideals and institutions as presented in documents and speeches from this period in addition to examining the standards of daily life for people living during this time. This course covers the following historical periods:

    • Exploration to Revolution: Pre-Exploration Times to the 1770s
    • Revolution and the New Nation: 1770s to the Early 1800s
    • Expansion and Reform: 1801 to 1861
    • Civil War and Reconstruction: 1860s to 1877

This course not only presents vital historical information, but it also emphasizes the development of intellectual skills required for responsible citizenship. Our eighth graders learn to interpret ideas and events from differing historical perspectives and to extract meaning from patriotic slogans, speeches, and documents. Students improve their geography skills as they familiarize themselves with the geographic regions of North America as well as the bodies of water essential to the creation of early U.S. history. By the end of this course, students are fully equipped to make present connections to the past and to analyze the implications of those connections.

Successful Christian Choices

Successful Christian Choices, the eighth grade Bible course, responds to the emerging challenges in students’ lives. Students define the concept of stress and identify personal stresses. Students are exposed to biblical perspectives in order to provide moral solutions. They explore various biblical accounts, including the stories of Adam and Eve, Joshua and Caleb, Leah and Rachel, Nehemiah, Mary, Abraham, Absalom, Ruth, David, Isaiah, Joseph, Joash, and Peter. Students also examine the writings of Paul and extract relevant truths that enable success over stress. They apply biblical principles to practical issues such as broken relationships, family stress, self-control, and the uncertainty of life’s events. By the end of this course, eighth grade students are equipped with God’s necessary tools to resolve conflict and thrive during life’s many challenges. Students are also given the opportunity to serve others by performing community service hours.

Electives:

Art ERG (nine-week elective)

The Middle School art courses at Calvary Day School emphasize four components of art: artistic perception, creative expression, historical and cultural context, and aesthetic valuing. We believe that a comprehensive Art program enriches students’ lives and allows for discovery and creative problem-solving. Art students gain a broader perception of their environment and a greater understanding of historical and cultural perspectives. Our Art program cultivates active learners who make positive and thought-provoking contributions to society. The eighth grade art class is named Art ERG because students study art from the Egyptians, the Romans, and the Greeks. Students learn about the styles, the architecture, the sculpture, and the other contributions that we still use today from these civilizations. All of this is studied while students create beautiful pieces of original art.

MS Band (year elective)

The sixth, seventh, and eighth grade band courses at Calvary Day School aim to enrich students’ lives through the study of music, instrumental performance, music history, theory, and culture. Students begin each course by learning or reviewing the correct playing position, posture, and performance techniques appropriate to their instrument. Students learn to respond appropriately to conducting techniques, to participate effectively as a member of a performing ensemble, to read and sight-read music, as well as to evaluate and critique music performed by the ensemble. The band courses also provide students with necessary music vocabulary and instruction about composers of selected musical repertoire. In addition to learning how to perform a piece, students also learn the historical and cultural context.

Song and Stage III (nine-week elective)

Calvary Day School’s Song and Stage III program builds upon the principles studied in sixth grade in the Song and Stage I program and in seventh grade in the Song and Stage II program. It continues to acquaint students with various musical styles, music theory, vocal technique, and theatre. Students perform, recognize, and appreciate different styles of music. Students begin by developing and using correct singing posture and breathing skills. Class exercises establish proper vocal tone, diction, intonation, as well as the use and care of the voice. Students are familiarized with a repertoire of vocal literature and are instructed how to read and notate music. Performances are solo, in small ensembles, or in large groups, and teach students how to evaluate themselves individually and as a performer among many. The Song and Stage program aims to establish within each student a sense of citizenship through group endeavor. Whether a student performs in the Spring Musical or at an event in a nursing home, working effectively as a responsible team member is a required skill that promotes all students to success in the Song and Stage program and in life.

Grade 8 Physical Education (nine-week elective)

Physical Education (P.E.) is an integral part of the Middle School curriculum at Calvary Day School. It provides unique opportunities for personal development in creativity and in physical skills that promote an active lifestyle. Students are introduced to fitness through a variety of physical activities that they may pursue in the years to come. Students gain experience in learning to lead, to follow, and to contribute. The ultimate goal of this course is to develop a well-adjusted individual who will be able to live a satisfying and active life. The following are examples of the physical activities offered in eighth grade P.E.: basketball, flag football, soccer, wiffleball, volleyball, Ultimate Frisbee, War Ball, Capture the Flag, Colony Ball, Pillo Polo, and fitness.

Introduction to PowerPoint (nine-week elective)

Introduction to PowerPoint is a nine week course that provides students with the basics of creating a Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 presentation. Students do a review keyboarding lesson to build upon their speed and skill for the first three weeks and then focus on an introduction to PowerPoint. While in PowerPoint, students learn how to insert and format pictures, insert shapes, use WordArt, and format various elements of slides. They also use transitions and animation for their slide presentations. Students create their own ten slide presentation with the skills they have learned throughout the course.

French Exploratory (nine-week elective)

In French Exploratory, students get their first glimpse of French culture, geography, vocabulary and grammar. Using mostly French during class, students learn French language basics such as numbers, greetings, days of the week, months of the year, family member vocabulary, adjectives, professions, how to tell time, etc. Students who choose to study French in High School can bring this basic knowledge into French I.

Sports and Civilization (nine-week elective)

This course introduces the  sociology of sport and its role in famous civilizations of the past, leading up to ours. We will look into various sports played in Ancient Greece, Rome, Medieval Europe, Ancient Central American People, and Early/Modern America and what the culture of these sports and their fans tell us about each civilization.

Cultures (nine-week elective)

In Cultures, students explore the cultures of Spanish speakers, French speakers, and Mandarin speakers. Students watch movies about each of these cultures, make presentations, and enjoy a Food Day. For Food Day, students work in groups to find a recipe that they want to prepare for their classmates. Each group then prepares and serves their food to the class. The goal of the course is to open the eyes of students to see that the world is a bigger place than just what they see in their everyday lives.