Curriculum

RELIGION

This year, the students will study the sacramental life of the Catholic Church. Students will learn that the Church is the sacrament or sign of Christ in the world. They will come to appreciate the difference Jesus makes in our lives. Students will learn that there are many signs of Christ’s loving presence in our daily lives. People, especially, but also special or sacred things, places and times reveal the presence of God. Strands from Scripture, Church, Trinity, Morality and Prayer are interwoven into course content. Special attention is given to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Opportunities for its regular reception will be provided.

Text:
Sadlier We Believe

LANGUAGE ARTS AND LITERATURE

In writing students are asked to produce expository pieces that contain arguments that support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence from credible sources. While establishing and maintaining a formal style, students create texts that include thesis statements, topic sentences, transitions that clarify relationships, concrete details with accompanying commentary to add analysis to the relevant content, as well as concluding statements to reiterate the arguments made throughout their text. All writing undergoes the processes of planning, revising, editing, and re-writing both with peers and adults through the online program, NoodleTools. This online resource allows students to produce and publish writing, as well as interact and collaborate with others, while at the same time enhancing their technological skills and creating a digital portfolio of all of their writing.

The language content of the program utilizes the Easy Grammar series to reinforce the conventions of standard English. This includes students demonstrating the command of prepositions, nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, and adverbs in both speaking and writing. More specifically, students are asked to recognize and correct inappropriate shifts in subject verb agreement, as well as noun and pronoun number and person. In addition to these areas, students are also asked to demonstrate basic grammar conventions such as capitalization, punctuation, and spelling in all of their writing, which should also include a variety of sentence patterns that incorporate a specific style and tone that is maintained throughout. In regards to vocabulary acquisition and use, students utilize the Sadlier Vocabulary Workshopseries, as well as content specific words and phrases to obtain mastery in this area. Through the use of consulting context clues, reference materials, and inferred meaning, students are taught to demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.

Texts:
Sadlier Vocabulary Workshop
Easy Grammar

MATH

Our middle school math program’s goal is to coach and inspire students towards math success. Our program strives to create an environment that is engaging, differentiated, challenging, and gets our students prepared for high school and beyond.

In 7th grade we offer three different math courses: Grade Level, Accelerated Grade Level, and Above Grade Level. This allows for smaller classes sizes and more individualized instruction. All three math classes are supplemented with hands on activities, manipulatives, projects, labs, and games, which makes learning math engaging.

 7th Grade Grade Level Class: In this class teaches the 7th Grade Common Core Standards, instructional time will focus on four critical areas: (1) developing understanding of and applying proportional relationships; (2) developing understanding of operations with rational numbers and working with expressions and linear equations; (3) solving problems involving scale drawings and informal geometric constructions, and working with two- and three-dimensional shapes to solve problems involving area, surface area, and volume; and (4) drawing inferences about populations based on samples.

This class uses the McGraw-Hill Math Course 2 textbook 

7th Accelerated Grade Level Class: This class compacts the 7th and 8th Grade Common Core Standards. Instructional time will focus on four critical areas: (1) developing understanding of and applying proportional relationships; (2) developing understanding of operations with rational numbers and working with expressions and linear equations; (3) solving problems involving scale drawings and informal geometric constructions, and working with two- and three-dimensional shapes to solve problems involving area, surface area, and volume; and (4) drawing inferences about populations based on samples. *This course will move at an accelerated pace.

This class uses the McGraw-Hill Accelerated Pre-Algebra textbook

7th Grade Above Grade Level Class: This class covers the 8th Grade and High School Algebra Common Core Standards, instructional time will focus on four critical areas: (1) deepen and extend understanding of linear and exponential relationships; (2) contrast linear and exponential relationships with each other and engage in methods for analyzing, solving, and using quadratic functions; (3) extend the laws of exponents to square and cube roots; and (4) apply linear models to data that exhibit a linear trend. This course will also have a strong emphasis on problem solving.

This class uses the Prentice Hall Algebra 1 textbook

SCIENCE

In 7th grade, students explore the life sciences.  This includes the study of cell biology, genetics, evolution, and the structure and function of living things. Students complete various hands on activities and labs to supplement instruction.  The student textbooks are consumable and include an online component that contains virtual labs, reviews, and activities. The scientific method is reinforced as students develop their own questions and conduct investigations that are presented at the Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair.

SOCIAL STUDIES

The students will study life in Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire, the feudal system, the growing power of the Catholic Church, the Crusades, the Renaissance, the Reformation, the Scientific Revolution, the Age of Exploration, the Aztec and Inca conquests, the rise of parliamentary power in Tudor and Stuart England and the establishment of colonies in North America by England and France.

DEVELOPMENT OF SOCIAL SKILLS

Students at Stella Maris Academy are exposed to and familiar with the Boys Town Social Skills Curriculum in grades TK-8. The Boys Town Social Skills curriculum focuses on empowering students to problem solve, make better choices, and self-advocate. Social skills are a daily part of our school community. Social skills include: following instructions, greeting others, getting the teacher’s attention, accepting no for an answer, accepting a consequence, staying on task, disagreeing appropriately, listening, working as a team, sharing, asking for permission, and saying an apology.

SOCIAL EMOTIONAL LEARNING PROGRAM

The Sanford Harmony Program is implemented in grades TK-8 and its core value is to build healthy peer relationships inside and outside of the classroom. The goal of Sanford Harmony is to create inclusive classroom communities, where teaching takes priority over resolving personality conflicts or issues among students. Students are empowered to communicate, cooperate, connect, embrace diversity, and resolve conflict. Students are taught meaningful and productive ways to interact and express themselves, which are irreplaceable skills that will last a lifetime.

TECHNOLOGY

Technology at Stella Maris Academy goes beyond the computer lab. All of our buildings are networked and well-equipped; each classroom has at least 3 computers, eBeam interactive white board technology, a document camera and an LCD projector. Technology-based projects are integrated throughout our curriculum. SMA buildings have wireless Internet access across the entire school campus. Stella Maris Academy uses iMacs and students utilize the Office 2012 as well as a variety of educational software and Web-based subscription programs. Students in grades TK-8 have access to a class set of iPads and ChromeBooks as well.  Technology is integrated into every component of our curriculum at Stella Maris Academy. Using technology in our daily learning prepares students for the real world environment, especially as our nation becomes increasingly more technology-dependent.  Students are prepared for their future careers, and are given opportunities to interact with classmates through collaboration.

PHYSICAL EDUCATION

Our physical education curriculum is composed of physical fitness fundamentals, motion skills and movement, social skills and sportsmanship. Basic skills that enhance balance, endurance, strength and agility activities, ball-handling skills individually, with partners and in groups, and rope jumping are taught. Each skill involves creative thinking, sportsmanship, fairness, cooperation and following directions.

FINE ARTS

Stella Maris Academy provides a challenging, coherent, and relevant art curriculum, the goal of which is to help students experience and appreciate art and the beauty of the world around them, and to lead them to discover unique and constructive methods of self-expression.    In keeping with the diocesan guidelines for a fine arts curriculum, Stella Maris Academy includes in its visual arts curriculum for each grade level elements of four components:  (1) exploration of the visual elements and principles of art and design, including line, color, shape, and composition, (2) creative expression through experimenting with various materials and processes, (3) examination of the cultural and historical contexts in which art is created, exploring cultural themes, works of significant artists, styles and processes; and (4)  development of skills and vocabulary for looking at and discussing art in terms of design elements, characteristics and appreciation.

Seventh graders explore (1) visual elements and principles of art and design emphasizing color theories of hue, value, and intensity, and using tints, shades, complimentary and analogous colors in a color scheme, using line to create space by acquiring an understanding of linear perspective, and  learning to understand and use the design concepts of balance, repetition, positive/negative shape, movement,  emphasis, and unity in a two or three dimensional composition; (2)  creative expression by demonstrating the ability to work with a variety of media including drawing with pencil, colored pencil, marker, pastels, painting with tempera and watercolor, collage, printmaking, relief sculpture in tooling foil repousse, and sculpting with clay; (3) visual arts heritage by learning to appreciate abstract painting, heraldry as an art form from the cultural perspective of the Middle Ages, the art work of the Renaissance, and the royal portrait as an art form from the cultural perspective of the Baroque period.  (Also, each seventh grade student completes an in-depth study of a Renaissance artist of his choice, culminating in a report with visual and written components.);  (4) analysis and interpretation by learning to recognize design elements and characteristics in the art work of peers, significant artists, and in various cultures, including the Renaissance.

SPANISH

Seventh grade Spanish consolidates knowledge learned in previous years and sets the stage for more complex concepts. Joy is an integral part of the entire Spanish sequence at Stella Maris, because we recognize that happy children learn best. While standard verb and grammatical structures are covered, readings and cultural traditions are also guided by class interests. In addition to praying, seventh graders use their Spanish to write to the Pope. Instruction is differentiated for native speakers at every grade level.

LIBRARY

The Stella Maris Academy Library/ Media program is built on understanding core knowledge instruction while also learning essential skills for critical thinking, problem solving, communication and collaboration.  Stella Maris Academy’s Library/ Media program fundamentally aligns itself with Common Core State Standards while working directly with each classroom teacher to align curriculum.  The main component of the Library Media program centers on building strong content knowledge and focusing literacy instruction directly to the text. Students in all grades (TK-8) are encouraged to draw direct evidence from the text itself in order to promote comprehension and cite evidence accurately and correctly.  A key component to the program includes an emphasis on interpretive and analytical skills within a range of texts, digital information and internet/ media.

In middle school, students continue to learn how to use print and electronic resources accurately and effectively. The Library Media Center is designed to work closely with the Middle School Language Arts and Social Studies programs to align curriculum and student needs. Students learn how to use MLA format in order to cite information correctly and accurately when writing research papers. Middle school students learn how to find and validate print and electronic information based on their specific research goals.

MUSIC

The music program at Stella Maris Academy exists to provide students with a safe environment in which to experiment with and perfect the God given gift of their voices.  Students will be encouraged to sing accurately, in tune, together, and separately.  They will be provided with a variety of performance and leadership opportunities through school productions, after school activities, and church services.  We want to give our students the opportunity to do something GREAT!