A coeducational day school serving students JK-12

Middle School Curriculum

I think Latin has one of the most challenging curricula out there, and one that helps my child reach her full potential as an academic and a person.

-- middle school parent

English

The primary goal of the middle school English program is to teach and model the skills necessary for students to effectively articulate responses to literature, the world and themselves. Students are taught to read, think and write in a careful, critical and creative manner. A student-directed Writer’s Workshop emphasizes prewriting, organizing, drafting, editing and revising. In Language Arts, students receive additional writing instruction. As they experiment with a variety of literary forms, students work on grammar, style, format and mechanics.

Fifth Grade
Reading, vocabulary, spelling, higher order of thinking and questioning skills, writing
Language Arts: Writer’s Workshop
Texts may include: Among the Hidden, Al Capone Does My Shirts, Tuck Everlasting, National Geographic’s Treasury of Greek Mythology

Sixth Grade

Literary elements, vocabulary, storytelling, writing (genres include mystery, historical fiction, realistic fiction, non-fiction, short story)
Language Arts: Writer’s Workshop
Texts may include: The Outsiders, The Fun Jungle Series, Keepers of the Earth, Shelf Life

Seventh Grade

Literature, expository and creative writing, grammar, short stories, myths, and poetry
Language Arts: Writer’s Workshop
Texts may include: Animal Farm, Diary of Anne Frank, Haroun and the Sea of Stories, House of the Scorpion

Eighth Grade

Literature, expository and creative writing, grammar, vocabulary, short stories and poetry
Language Arts: Writer’s Workshop
Texts may include: Romeo and Juliet, The Warmth of Other Suns, The House on Mango Street, March

History & Social Studies

The middle school social studies program uses the study of geography, ancient history, modern world issues and American history to explore the development of the global and local world from ancient to modern times. As social scientists, students hone their critical thinking, research and writing skills through a variety of projects using the Project Based Learning model. By focusing on the rights and responsibilities of global citizenship, Latin students will become better prepared to address the complex issues the U.S. and other countries face in a rapidly changing and increasingly interconnected world.

Fifth Grade

Units: Introduction to geography, core social studies concepts (government and economy, culture, population, religion), Ancient China, Ancient India, Ancient Greece

Sample project: Chinese dynasties project

Sixth Grade

Units: Early Humans, Early Societies, Guns, Germs & Steel, Ancient Sumer, the Punic Wars.

Sample project: Students investigate Ancient Sumer and create a Sumerian statue to stand in eternal prayer by utilizing skills taught in math.

Seventh Grade

Units: Migration and Its Global Impact on Society, Immigrants and Cultural Integration, Culture and Globalization: Global Impact of McDonaldization, The World in a Candy Bar: Chocolate’s Evolution From New World Currency to Global Addiction, Teaching Islam in a Post 9/11 World.

Sample project: Students bid for the World Cup using web based SIM to gain better understanding of the cultural and economic impact of hosting a major global sporting event.

Eighth Grade

Units: 9/11, Revolutionary War, Constitution, Civil War, World War I, The 1920s and America between the wars, World War II, Cold War and Communism, Civil Rights, Gay Rights, Oral History

Sample Project: Family History Project: students research, interview, and write about their own families over a period of months. They present the final product to classmates and family.

Mathematics

The middle school mathematics curriculum expands on the areas of number theory, geometry and other pre-algebra concepts and skills. As students are introduced to higher levels of abstract thinking, they are taught to apply previously learned skills to solve more complex problems. Students gain experience with technology including iPad applications, scientific and graphing calculators, geometry software, experience with coding and interactive whiteboards.

Fifth Grade

Math 5: Number theory; estimation and calculation; geometry; fractions, decimals and percents; coordinates, area and circles; pre-algebra concepts and skills

Sixth Grade

Math 6 Pre-Algebra: Operations with and uses of fractions, decimals and integers; scientific notation; metric conversions; order of operations; rates and ratios; percent; exponents and square roots; commutative and associative properties; dimensional analysis

Math 6 Accelerated Pre-Algebra: Additional topics: probability, multiplication and division with scientific notation, geometry, logic statements, translating words into algebraic expressions and equations

Seventh Grade

Math 7 Pre-Algebra/Algebra 1 (Part 1): Statistics and displays, ratio and proportion, introduction to geometry, probability, variables, rational numbers, solving equations and inequalities with one variable

Math 7 Honors Algebra 1: The real number system, polynomials and exponents, functions and relations, linear, quadratic, and exponential models, radical expressions and equations

Eighth Grade

Math 8 Algebra 1 (Part 2): The real number system; polynomials and exponents; functions and relations; linear, quadratic, and exponential models

Math 8 Honors Algebra 2: Functions and relations, conic sections, complex numbers, exponential and logarithmic functions, rational functions, sequences and series

Science

An experiential, inquiry-based approach is at the heart of middle school science teaching and learning. Middle school students discover and learn about biological, physical, Earth and space sciences. They also learn to observe, measure, experiment, think critically and communicate their scientific understandings through a variety of methods.

Fifth Grade

Chemistry: Properties of matter, atoms, periodic table
Physics: Simple machines, electricity, magnetism, engineering
Biology & Ecology: Water quality, plant growth and development

Sixth Grade

Cells: Microscope skills, cell structure and function, cellular life cycles
Animal Life: Classification, behaviors, characteristics, adaptations
Ecology & Environmental Science: Biomes, human impact, environmental solutions

Seventh Grade

Evolution: Natural selection, speciation, extinction
Heredity & Genetics: DNA, genes, proteins, cellular reproduction, cloning
Human Biology: Organ systems, structures, functions, anatomy
Physical Science & Perception: Optics and the brain, sound and the ear, learning and the brain; electromagnetic spectrum

Eighth Grade

Meteorology: Weather elements, systems and data analysis; extreme weather patterns
Geology: Plate tectonics, Earth’s interior, rocks and minerals
Astronomy: Moon, astronomical motions, planetary characteristics and geology, space travel
Climate Change: Environmental stewardship and conservation

Languages

The modern languages curriculum at Latin follow an oral proficiency program, which focuses primarily on speaking and listening. Using authentic texts, students develop their reading and writing comprehension skills as they become proficient speakers. The middle school Latin language curriculum prepares students to read authentic texts and introduces them to Roman civilization.

Fifth Grade

Latin: 5th - Translate the nominative, accusative and ablative cases in the first three declensions and verbs in the present tense
French: 5th - Basic greetings and salutations; describe friends, family, activities, a school day, basic meals
Chinese: 5th - Basic greetings and salutations; talk about family, pets and the Chinese zodiac; write and type Chinese characters
Spanish: 5th - Describe friends and family, activities, a school day and basic meals

Sixth Grade

Latin: 6th - Translate the genitive and dative cases, pronouns, and verbs in the imperfect, future, perfect, pluperfect and future perfect tenses.
French: 6th - Describe home, basic household chores, clothes, shopping and travel
Chinese: 6th - Describe personalities, appearances, country of origin and languages spoken, school, sports, hobbies
Spanish: 6th - Talk about clothes, stores and places; ask for directions; make travel plans

Seventh Grade

Latin: 7th - Translate verbs in the passive and active voices
French: 7th - Discuss holidays, parties, shopping for food, daily routines
Chinese: 7th - Discuss time, daily routines, weekend plans; extend invitations or ask permission
Spanish: 7th - Discuss daily routine and activities, past experiences and future plans

Eighth Grade

Latin: 8th - Translate verbs in the subjunctive, deponent verbs, participles, indirect statements; study Roman life and history
French: 8th - Discuss childhood experiences; life in the country vs. the city, feelings, health, art and literature
Chinese: 8th - Buy and negotiate prices; discuss food preferences; study Chinese culture through readings, class activities and presentations
Spanish: 8th - Talk about meal preparation; become familiar with foods and traditions; discuss community, the media and personal experiences

Physical Education

In middle school physical education, students participate in a wide variety of activities designed to develop skills, improve fitness, increase cognitive function and social development by encouraging leadership, cooperation and problem solving. The program’s goal is to establish lifelong fitness through unique and relevant experiences.

Fifth Grade

Units: Striking, throwing and catching, organizational games, swimming, racquet sports, fitness, yoga, diamond games, basketball, soccer, fitness challenge, Human Growth and Development

Sixth Grade

Units: Football, field hockey, volleyball, team building, fitness, swimming, yoga, ultimate games, unique games, softball, fitness challenge

Seventh Grade

Units: Volleyball, floor hockey, Frisbee, golf, swimming, unique games, fitness, fitness challenge, racquet sports, yoga/Pilates, basketball, track and field

Eighth Grade

Units: Team building, fitness, sport education (student led curriculum whereby each student has the opportunity to assume the various roles associated in a variety of sports and activities), fitness challenge

Performing Arts

The goal of the middle school performing arts program is to give students the time and opportunities to explore their artistic interests and talents. Students participate in band or chorus and dance and drama. They are introduced to the fundamentals and develop skills in each area. Throughout the year they perform in musical concerts, dance presentations, or in middle school theater productions.

Fifth, Sixth & Seventh Grades

Fifth through seventh grade students choose Band or Chorus (year-long), and have 1 trimester each of Drama, Dance and Visual Arts.

Band: Students are introduced to band instruments, reading music and ensemble performance and refine these skills, working on increasingly complex pieces.

Chorus: Students are introduced to the Solfege scale, basic posture, Bel Canto breathing; performance practice, one-part and two-part songs, note and rhythm identification and build on these skills.

Drama: Fifth through seventh grade students are introduced to story dramatization, pantomime, theatre vocabulary, character development; dramatic structure, stage direction, playwriting and theater history.

Movement/Dance: Students learn about the elements of movement; locomotors and axial movement; core; posture and alignment; dance technique, beginning choreography; folk dance, ballet and modern dance history.

Eighth Grade

Eighth grade students choose Band, Chorus or Arts Cycle.

Band: Students are introduced to band instruments, reading music and ensemble performance and refine these skills, working on increasingly complex pieces.

Chorus: Students are introduced to the Solfege scale, basic posture, Bel Canto breathing; performance practice, one-part and two-part songs, note and rhythm identification and build on these skills.

Drama: Students refine skills and work on units including: costume design, radio play and a study of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town.

Movement/Dance: Students learn about the elements of movement; locomotors and axial movement; core; posture and alignment; dance technique, beginning choreography; folk dance, ballet and modern dance history.

Visual Arts

In middle school, the visual arts curriculum focuses on skill development and the expression of individual ideas. Students are encouraged to increase their observational skills and become aware of visual art elements and principles. Students also learn to make connections between their world and their art.


Fifth Grade

Drawing the human figure, Greek mythology, still life drawing, value studies in black, white and gray, illuminated manuscripts, Impressionist painting

Sixth Grade

Self-portraits, optical effects, mannequins, cityscape, chalk drawings, digital dinosaur painting

Seventh Grade

Value painting of animals, Chinese Lattice design, Aboriginal dot painting, Chimera painting, genre drawing, color gradations

Eighth Grade

Abstract design, illusion of depth, collage, contour hand drawing, transformation drawing, color theory painting, Cubism, interior shaded drawing

Computer Science

The middle school computer science program aims to highlight the foundational concepts of computer science in a manner all students will find accessible and relatable. An interdisciplinary approach further illustrates the universal applicability of the discipline. Students will achieve an understanding of how digital information is encoded, how to approach problems algorithmically, and how programming can be used in both creative and problem solving capacities. Students will be exposed to a wide array of programming concepts and environments and will further explore these topics via “unplugged” activities and cross-curricular projects.

Library

The middle school library program is structured around two major components: the teaching of research and library skills and promoting the love of reading. While there are no separate library classes, the librarians work closely with faculty in developing units that integrate library and research skills into the curriculum.

Learning Resources

The goal of the middle school Learning Resources program is to create successful, independent learners who are capable of advocating for themselves and utilizing the resources available to them. Students receive support with class assignments, study skills and strategies and executive functioning skills.

Counseling

The wellbeing and safety of our middle school students are the Counseling program’s priorities. Counselors offer assistance and expertise to students who may be experiencing psychological stress, social difficulties and acute crisis, or are participating in high-risk behaviors. Latin’s counselors offer an open and accepting environment in which each student is treated with care. Counselors also serve as consultants and liaisons to parents, faculty, staff and administrators.

Only at Latin


Fifth Grade

Friends, Naturally: Fifth grade students participate in three days and two nights of outdoor education, team building, physical activity and a multidisciplinary understanding of the natural world at the Lorado Taft Field Campus at NIU

Sixth Grade

6 Degrees of Studies: Sixth graders research Sumerian culture in social studies, use dimensional analysis to measure their own bodies in math and then use those measurements to create a Sumerian sculpture in visual arts.

Seventh Grade

Goooal!: Seventh graders use the World Cup as a microcosm to gain a better understanding of globalization. During the simulation, students research countries, assume management roles within FIFA and have projects assessed by a panel of judges.

Eighth Grade

Fire Starters: Eighth grade science students discuss methane as a greenhouse gas and its use as heating fuel in the majority of Illinois homes. They then learn about risk taking in a controlled environment by using methane bubbles to set their own hands on fire.


Visit the Curriculum Highlights page for more Only at Latin classes.

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