The middle school at St. John Berchmans begins to departmentalize but still focuses on self-contained classes in 4th and 5th grade. Students start their day off with morning meetings, making the classroom more than just their daily learning environment, but also a close-knit community. We use the Responsive Classroom model to create a positive learning environment for all. Additionally, students at the middle school level switch classes for math, social studies, and language arts. Beyond academics, our middle school students are becoming independent, confident, able students and growing socially and emotionally every day.
English Language Arts
Our Language Arts classes at the middle school level incorporate many elements on a daily basis, including spelling, grammar, writing, and literature. Throughout the year, the 4th and 5th grades will read a variety of novels and short stories, and participate in literature circles and literacy centers. Students are encouraged to approach literature and writing through critical, analytical thinking, while fostering their creativity.
Science in the middle school grades focus on scientific inquiry, investigating problems, and conducting experiments. Students are learning about four major areas of science: life, physical, earth, and space sciences. From studying the tiniest parts of life at the cellular level, to the grand scale of the galaxies, students continue these focuses while studying the ins and outs of our world. Our scientists take a close look into the water cycle, conservation of our natural resources, the animal kingdom, plants, and the human body. The middle school Science program prepares students for future scientific studies in junior high and high school.
Religious studies at the middle school level include a variety of topics. Students begin by focusing on living life the way Jesus and his disciples did. We work on positive social interactions, social justice, and making good choices. We use the Ten Commandments to guide our lives in learning and friendship. Then focus moves towards the Seven Sacraments, and the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy.
Mathematics in our middle school is a continuation of our primary school with an emphasis on problem solving skills and strategies. Key topics range from basic computation skills to more complex computation skills with fractions-decimals-percents, ratio, perimeter, area, volume, pre-algebra and geometry. We use math centers with hands on activities and activities that involve everyday problem-solving situations where students learn to use math skills as tools to use in everyday life.
Middle school starts with a basic view of United States history and then a focus on our state and local geography, history, and economy of our state. Basic skills are refined (map reading, types of landforms and timelines) as students begin a better understanding of the history of the United States. Then students have a more in depth study of United States History. This learning is enhanced by authentic learning activities such as creating a front page of a colonial newspaper, making butter like a pioneer, or constructing Native American dwellings.
Students in our middle grades participate delve deeper in weekly Spanish, P.E., Art, and Music classes. Instruction focuses on art history and genres, team sports, and the opportunity to participate in school choir.