Click on each grade below to view individual write-ups for each grade.
Religion (Grade 8)In Grade 8, Religion classes focus on the formation of the early Church and how our current Traditions have arisen from early Church practices. Students in Grade 8 also prepare to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. Students learn that through Confirmation, they have responsibilities as Catholics to use the Gifts of the Holy Spirit to serve others as Jesus did, evangelize, and be part of the Catholic family.
Foreign Language at St. Mary SchoolThroughout all grade levels, the focus on the importance of learning a new language is emphasized. In the elementary school, we begin with an introduction to the basic and most common Spanish phrases and vocabulary. Students will be able to identify family members, animals, and certain everyday objects and their colors in another language. Building on these terms in the middle school, we compare the well-known English language to examine the similarities and differences in every aspect of the Spanish language; such as culture, grammar, and vocabulary. Preparing the students for the use of Spanish in their lives outside of the classroom is our main objective. It is a wonderful ability to be able to speak multiple languages and communicate with people of different backgrounds.
Social Studies (Grades 6-8)The middle school social studies program at St. Mary School seeks to teach students how to study and analyze the world, both past and present, while emphasizing the themes of perspective, bias, relativism, diffusion, and differing ways in which people exercise power. The curriculum begins in Sixth Grade with a study of how civilization began and then a survey of history and society, from past to present, in several different case studies from around the world. The Seventh Grade curriculum then begins a survey of United States history up until the beginning of the Civil War and Eight Grade continues that survey from the Civil War onward. Throughout the curriculum students are consistently asked to engage in the analysis of primary and secondary sources, large class discussion, small group discussions, self-directed research, persuasive argument, and a variety of other projects designed to encourage critical thinking.
Science (Grades 6-8)Middle school students question and predict through observation and experimentation in the science lab. The science curriculum covers concepts in Life, Physical, and Earth sciences. Students also expand their knowledge of engineering and design concepts through STEM (Science Technology Math and Engineering) projects. St. Mary School holds an annual science fair from which ten 7th and 8th grade projects are chosen to compete in the annual Connecticut Science and Engineering Fair. Our students have been selected as finalists in various categories of math and science at the fair.
Art at St. Mary School
The art program at St. Mary school is unique in the aspect that the students from the elementary grades through the middle school grades follow a stepping stone like program that allows students to build upon art skills learned in prior grades. Students in the younger grades are introduced to a variety of media as we explore art elements and design through drawing, painting, printmaking and three dimensional design that includes weaving , clay, mixed media sculptures and paper-mache. Students are also introduced to a great variety of cultural and historical art styles integrating science, history and math and religion into their art projects. Each student is encouraged to develop his or her own artistic style through a fun creative process. Students in the middle school grades build onto these basic skills as they prepare for the more academic rigors of a high school art curriculum. Six grade students work on units in ancient and medieval art history corresponding to their world civilization/social studies curriculum. Seventh grade students focus on drawing techniques as they explore perspective, graphic design and illustration. Eight grade students develop their own compositions inspired by contemporary and past artist’s styles including surrealism and impressionism; culminating in a portrait unit. The middle school grades also work on more sophisticated three dimensional projects including basket weaving, clay sculptures and metal embossing.
Students have their work displayed throughout the year and finally in our large art show towards the end of the school year. During the school year we also work on set design for the school musical and large scale gym decorations for our concerts coordinating with our music department. The students are given the opportunity to compete in various poster and art competitions in the community throughout the school year.
English Language Arts
The English Language Arts Curriculum is literature-based, with a strong emphasis on reading comprehension, writing, vocabulary and grammar. With each successive grade, the students are exposed to more complex reading material. Literature instruction focuses on the structural characteristics and literary elements, as well as analysis and interpretation of literature. The students then bring their new level of understanding to their own writing. Similarly, expository writing is taught by exposing students to well written model texts.
Also, we use iPads and Smart-Board technology during lessons. This engages students, and assists them in creating, evaluating and analyzing through project-based instruction. It also supports teachers' efforts to differentiate the curriculum. Additionally, the students are directed to become critical thinkers and speakers. In these ways, they gain relevant skills for the 21st Century.
Math (Grades 6-8)Middle school math takes St. Mary School students from introductory algebraic concepts through the completion of standard algebra I topics. Sixth graders start with a review of basic skills involving fractions and decimals, and build on those skills with simple equations and inequalities, ratios, proportions, percents, introductory geometry, statistics, and probability. Using an eighth grade level pre-algebra text, seventh grade students work with the Pythagorean Theorem and the coordinate plane. They learn to solve and graph linear equations, and work with functions, exponents, informal geometry, and problem solving applications. Using an algebra I text, eighth grade students expand on the concepts learned in seventh grade with an emphasis on linear equations and inequalities, functions, and coordinate geometry in the first semester, and operations with polynomials, factoring, operations with rational and radical expressions, and quadratic equations during the second half of the school year. While learning the mathematical concepts of algebra, students start to move from a concrete to a formal level of thinking.