The Canterbury Episcopal School

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Academics » Middle School

Middle School

Middle School
Grades 7 - 8
In The Canterbury Episcopal School Middle School one immediately feels the collective energy of students and teachers engaged in activity – writing and then rewriting essays under the watchful eye of a teacher, learning the language of the natural world in math, physics, chemistry, and biology, sketching from life on our beautiful campus, acting out newly learned Spanish words, practicing and preening for the Middle School musical, or serving, receiving, and passing a volleyball.
The Middle School program emphasizes the importance of learning through doing. A challenging curriculum guided by a caring faculty nurtures in students a lifelong love of learning. A healthy dose of laughter and levity is included, as adults and students create a community which supports the learning of skills and acquisition of learning habits critical in the Middle School years. The serious challenge to middle schoolers of reaching their potential and becoming that they are is made achievable in our cooperative, nurturing environment.
The Middle School years, long overlooked by the academic community, have emerged as foundational years for students. These are the years in which study habits and foundational knowledge across the curriculum are enhanced and reinforced.
Canterbury’s Middle School experience combines academic excellence with a safe and supportive environment to help each child feel connected in meaningful ways to the school community and fellow students. Advisory classes provide each student with an adult advocate and programs are designed to encourage higher-level thinking and discussion about a variety of topics relevant to adolescents.
Students in Grades 7 and 8 have classes in composition and literature, history, mathematics, science, Spanish, fine arts, religion, and physical education. In addition to classroom activities, Middle School students participate in a variety of co-curricular activities including sports and community service.
The Middle School years are ones of great transition, fun, challenge, and maturation. The Canterbury Episcopal School works with families to navigate these formative years in children’s development.

Fine Arts 7/8
With a semester of visual arts and performing arts, Middle School students are challenged to explore more deeply and expand upon the talents developed in Fine Arts 6. The visual arts include sculpture, pottery, fabric, carving, and sketching. The performing arts include those vocal and instrumental talents developed earlier, but also a study of musical notation, technical instruction, simple music theory, and vocal training.
Computer Applications 7
Students in Middle School complete a semester each year of Computer Applications to earn their high school technology credit.  Computer Applications is designed to provide students with the working knowledge of computer hardware as well as the main software applications associated with Microsoft. Students will be introduced to the inner workings of the computer including the hard drive, and related components. Students use a variety of software tools including Word, Excel and PowerPoint, to create and modify solutions to various problems and demonstrate proficiency in the use of multimedia programs by creating projects incorporating text, audio, video and graphics. Students practice more advanced uses of common software applications to enhance their coursework and ability to conduct well-rounded computer research. 
Physical Education 7/8
The year-long course is a positive growth experience that emphasizes individual growth within a group process. Students will be challenged by various activities on a daily basis. Tasks include, but are not limited to athletic training, rules and regulations, strategy, fitness enhancement, cooperative behavior, and a lifelong commitment to a healthy lifestyle.
Seventh Grade Course Descriptions
English 7
The course emphasizes the acquisition of language arts skills designed to improve reading comprehension, formal writing, active vocabulary, and a love of good literature. Students are challenged daily through traditional grammar instruction, quick-write (journal) assignments, and grade-level appropriate formal assignments in conjunction with students’ work in other courses. Students research and write a research paper in MLA format, using topics that link to their history course, and participate in weekly, focused writing assessments. Students read a variety of classic and contemporary short stories, novels, and dramas, including Shakespeare.
Math 7 Pre-Algebra
The course emphasizes the quick and accurate computation skills required for the study of Algebra. The course reviews and extends the concepts of computation and estimation utilizing decimals, fractions, percentages, exponents, and graphs. The ability to translate word problems to numeric expressions is a crucial aspect of the course. Basic number properties, ratio and proportion, elements of probability and number theory, perimeter and area, and geometric constructions are also included.
Science 7 Fundamentals of Life Science
Seventh grade science is focused on life science. One reason for this focus is the students’ own biological and behavioral transition into early adolescence. Young adolescents make decisions that can have an enormous influence on their lives. The study of life science provides a knowledgebase upon which they can make well informed and wise decisions about their health and behavior.  Another important reason for the focus on life science in seventh grade is to encourage young adolescents to continue to build their knowledge of the natural sciences. A foundation in modern biological sciences is essential for many career fields, including technology.
Topics in the History of Texas and the Southwest
The course examines the major historical events of the Southwest with an emphasis upon Texas and the Native American culture. The objective is to instill in students a sense of being and place in Southwestern culture based upon historical, cultural, and social events. The course emphasizes critical thinking as well as expository and critical writing.
Spanish 7
The course is designed for those students who have an ability to begin a more advanced level of language study. Communicative skills are expanded and enhanced through an integrated language and cultural focus. Activities include Latin American culture, listening comprehension, grammar review, compositions, and class discussions.
Religion 7 Old Testament
This semester-long course is a study of the Old Testament. Students will explore the religious, historical, cultural, and political components from which Christianity developed. A special emphasis is placed upon the people of the Old Testament as well as the influence of the Bible on Western culture.
Eighth Grade Course Descriptions
English 8
The course emphasizes the acquisition of language arts skills designed to improve reading comprehension, formal writing, and active vocabulary. Areas of concentration include a formal research paper in conjunction with their study of American History. Students develop a love of literature through study of novels, the short story, poetry, and drama, including Shakespeare. Students will participate in weekly, focused writing assessments to develop mechanical, organizational, and analytical writing skills.

Math 8 Algebra I
The course is designed to prepare students for advanced level studies of mathematics. Topics include real numbers, variables, functions, graphing, equations and inequalities, polynomials, rational expressions, linear equations, exponents, radicals, and word problems. An emphasis upon real world application is pervasive.
Science 8 Fundamentals of Physical Science
This course is an introduction to physics. Topics covered include the study of work, energy, momentum, power, temperature, heat, electricity, magnetism, nuclear energy, and light in preparation for upper level physics.  Students practice computer skills, observation, and calculator and measurement skills in analyzing and reporting research results.  Field experiences are required.
Topics in U.S. History
The course examines the major events of United States history. Students will investigate the social, political, economic, and cultural aspects of the maturation of the American character. Through the study of the early settlers and pioneers, students learn of government formation, sectionalism, slavery, the frontier, and the industrial revolution.
Spanish I
The course is designed for those students who have an ability to begin a more advanced level of language study. Communicative skills are expanded and enhanced through an integrated language and cultural focus. Activities include Latin American history, listening comprehension, grammar review, compositions, and class discussions. This course is high school level equivalent and earns high school credit for first year Spanish.
Religion 8 New Testament
This one semester course allows students to explore the New Testament and its deep connections to art, literature, history, law, and modern rhetoric. Students will focus on the four Gospels and the key teachings of St. Paul as presented in the Acts of the Apostles and his letters to the early Christian communities.
This high school level course supports students ability to understand the importance of a healthy lifestyle and the importance of good nutrition, exercise and a positive outlook on life.  This course earns a high school credit (0.5) for high school health.