The Language Arts Workshop includes an individualized, project-based writing time, guided independent reading, and personal word study. We develop a community of writers and readers through lots of sharing, speaking, and listening as well. Enjoy considerable freedom in this class to read and write what your heart desires, with enough structure and one-on-one conferencing who ensure that a range of genres and grade-appropriate skills are addressed. Daily whole group lessons engage students in word play and shared readings for enjoyment, analysis, and practice with reading and writing strategies. In mixed-grade classes, we will incorporate 6th graders into the workshop while 7th and 8th graders will provide leadership, continue to advance at their individual challenge level, and enjoy a new yearly theme with fresh shared readings.
Cornerstone’s middle school offers four math classes as well as a math resource room for individualized instruction. Students in Everyday Math will continue to develop and master skills that will prepare us for higher level math classes. This is the final level in the program that CLC begins in kindergarten. It will be a fast-paced, exciting class. In Pre-Algebra, the first semester focuses on any integral skills and concepts from prior math classes that need to be reviewed and secured. Then algebraic concepts will be introduced in preparation for the next level. In Algebra, get ready for some excitement! Algebra is a challenging new subject for many, but it can be so much fun. In Geometry, we will review previously learned algebra skills and explore new ones during the first few weeks. Then we will dive into the exciting world of geometry. All math students can anticipate nightly homework and nifty projects throughout the year.
Science classes enjoy direct observation and inquiry-based investigation. Students are active scientists who by the end of their three years of middle school have strong experiences in earth science, life science, and the physical sciences. Earth Science begins with a study of the sun as a source of energy, Life Science begins with a study of genetics through crossing of fruit flies, and Physical Science begins with a study of the properties of matter. Students continually advance their scientific knowledge, processes of inquiry, ability to analyze results, and participation in scientific collaboration.
The social studies curriculum for Cornerstone’s middle school has an underlying emphasis on responsible citizenship and social justice. Students meet in multi-grade classes that use an inquiry- and project-based approach for exploring nationally recognized social studies themes. Skills in geography and active citizenship are interwoven throughout each course. Classes are offered on a three-year cycle (“US History,” “Civics and Economics,” and “World Cultures and Personal Identity”). Next year’s course is Civics. Umbrella concepts for this course include: how people create, interact with, and change structures of power, authority, and governance; how people organize for production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services; and the relationships among science, technology, and society.
Middle school students continue their study of Spanish, building on the vocabulary and concepts introduced throughout elementary school. Our Spanish courses incorporate the diversity of Hispanic culture into language instruction and rely on current second language acquisition research to teach Spanish using authentic texts. By the end of 8th grade, our students have earned credit for high school Spanish 1. This prepares them to continue with advanced foreign language courses as soon as they enter high school.
Year-long special area offerings include Music, Creative Drama, Art, Journalism (Yearbook/Literary Magazine), and Academic Competition. In addition, the Wednesday Wheel classes change each trimester. Examples of Wheel classes offered in the past include Salsa Dancing, Woodcarving, Small Engine Repair, Tennis, Wood Lore, Mythology, Novel Writing, Cooking, Stage Makeup, Mosaics, Archery, Photography, Beekeeping, Yoga and Pottery. It is always a fun surprise to see what will be offered each time!
We have woven service projects throughout our curriculum. These experiences combine academic goals with character development and community service. Many of our service leaning components continue weekly ormonthly, year after year, and thus promote long-term commitment in our students: Middle school students learn to initiate their own activism projects in social studies, environmental responsibility projects through science classes, and communication/literacy projects in language arts. By 8th grade, our students know how to approach service learning on a personal, independent level in preparation for a lifetime of self-directed community service.