5th Grade Art
Fifth grade students study Art for nine weeks each year as part of their fine arts rotation that includes Art, Choir, Drama, and Strings.
During the nine-week period devoted to art, students are exposed to the elements of art: line, shape, form, color, space, and texture. A variety of media is used, such as drawing, oil pastels, water media (watercolor, tempera, acrylic), collage, clay, paper-mâché, and mixed media in creating works of art. Students study artists as they relate to the art project. They also critique their own artwork.
6th Grade Art
Sixth grade students may choose Art as an elective. Students complete assignments using the elements of art: line, shape, color, form, space, and texture. Value is introduced to the students.
A variety of media is used, such as drawing, oil pastels, water media (watercolor, tempera, acrylic), collage, clay, paper mache, foil works, weaving, printmaking, and mixed media in creating works of art. Students study artists as they relate to the art project. They also critique their own artwork and those of other students.
7th Grade Art
Seventh Grade Art is a one-year course that offers a variety of experiences in design, color theory, basic drawing techniques, and 3-D. The course also integrates art history from the prehistoric period to the Renaissance.
Many media are used such as colored pencils, watercolors, oil pastels, and tempera. Weaving, sculpting, paper mache, photography, computer graphics, and print making are interspersed throughout the course. Unique style is encouraged.
8th Grade Art
Eighth Grade Art is a one-year course based on an in-depth study of art history from the Renaissance to the present day. The principles and elements of design continue to inform creative decisions. A variety of media is explored including wire or cardboard sculptures, mobiles, clay, collage, print making, and sewing.
Each student learns to use a potter's wheel to make a vessel. Drawing encompasses a large-scale mural, realistic portraits, and intricate scratch boards. Students study photography and computer graphics as forms of art.
5th Grade Choir
Fifth grade students study Choir for nine weeks each year as part of their fine arts rotation that includes Art, Choir, Drama, and Strings. During the nine weeks devoted to Choir, fifth grade students focus on the vocal technique, music literacy, and music performance.
Students use a Kodaly-based curriculum as they continue to learn to read music and understand editorial markings in musical scores. The course culminates with a performance for friends and family of skills and techniques learned during the course.
6th Grade Choir
Sixth grade students may choose Choir as an elective for one semester. Students build upon their previous knowledge as they expand their foundation, allowing them to understand music and singing on an intermediate level. In addition to reinforcing the knowledge and skills introduced in the fifth grade nine-week rotation, sixth grade students explore solo performance as well as group performance.
Students in grades seven and eight may choose to take Concert Choir as their elective for the year. Students study and rehearse different types of music for mixed voices. Fundamentals of choral music are taught to help students develop vocal skills and sight reading ability in preparation for the rehearsal and performance of more difficult and sophisticated music at the upper school level.
5th Grade Drama
During the rotation, 5th grade students are introduced to foundational concepts in Theater Arts. Students experience warm-up techniques, improvisation, and pantomime. Students learn the importance of voice and body control. Public speaking skills are emphasized, Fifth Grade Drama class is very participatory and encourages interaction and cooperation, respect and empathy among students.
6th Grade Drama
Sixth grade students may choose Drama as an elective for one semester. Students begin to refine their skills as they learn to express emotions and ideas using interpretive movements and dialogue, dramatize literary selections in pairs or groups, and participate in skits and scenes. Concepts of design, direction, and theater production are integrated throughout the semester. Public speaking skills are emphasized, and students use these skills as they make presentations in other courses.
Upper House Middle School Drama
Seventh and Eighth Grade Drama is a one-year course in which students develop and refine dramatic skills. Public speaking skills continue to be reinforced. Students address plot, setting, and character in both improvised and scripted scenes, and determine specific technical elements to safely provide support to both character and action. Students memorize lines, understand and follow stage directions, and use proper techniques for voice and body control. Students prepare scripted works throughout the year that they produce for family and friends
5th Grade Language Arts
This course is designed to present a thorough study of language arts using an integrated approach that will provide a balanced coverage of reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Students develop reading comprehension and analysis skills through active reading, both during and outside of class.
Literary analysis is used to help students engage with the text and develop as readers and writers. Grammar, vocabulary, and writing are reinforced through a variety of projects and assignments. Students learn to problem solve, work independently, and collaborate with their peers through daily and group work.
6th Grade Language Arts
Sixth Grade Language Arts furthers students’ knowledge of grammar, vocabulary, literature, writing, and research. Students develop reading and writing skills through an integrated approach to language arts that unites reading, writing, speaking, and listening.
Students will learn literary appreciation and reading comprehension through spoken and written analysis of middle reader texts. Students will enhance their vocabularies and grammatical knowledge through direct instruction, gathering new words and techniques while reading, and varied forms of practice.
Students will develop as writers in their analysis and composition of written pieces that target a range of audiences, purposes, and contexts.
7th Grade Language Arts
The seventh grade English curriculum promotes student growth in reading, vocabulary, language usage, and expression through literature. Students identify elements of literature and make inferences as they read.
Seventh grade students read Walk Two Moons, The Martian Chronicles, Night, Tangerine, and Give Me Liberty. Additionally, students read short stories and poetry from the anthology. The Language of Literature (McDougal Littell publishers). In their study of grammar, students hone punctuation and capitalization skills and identify direct and indirect objects, predicate nouns, and predicate adjectives.
8th Grade English
This course presents a continuous, steady discovery of literature, writing, and critical thinking. Literature is studied by genre and used as a model for good writing. Students will become aware of the patterns in both literature and writing. Grammar is studied for structured writing, and the effect it has on the meaning of a text. At the end of this course, a thorough understanding of grammar is expected. Most writing will shift to a focus on the analysis of literature.
8th Grade Honors English
This course presents a steady discovery of literature, writing, and critical analysis. With literature, students’ awareness of the patterns within a work will begin to accumulate into a synthesized understanding of great literature. Literature is studied not only for content, but analyzed for purpose and meaning.
Good literature is used as a model for good writing. Writing is focused on analysis of literature, while developing voice and style. Grammar is reviewed in relation to composition. Projects are used to stimulate creativity and illustrate the understanding of literary topics and concepts.
Inquiry-Based Capstone (IBC)
The 8th Grade Inquiry-Based Capstone (IBC) experience engages students in a year-long project that challenges them to choose a personally relevant historical topic and bring together their classroom knowledge and real-world experience.
Students spend the year experiencing history through a variety of speakers, field trips, and research. Throughout the year, students will have a variety of research, writing, and public speaking experiences to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the relevant historical topics.
This class will culminate in a historically based research project and presentation that clearly demonstrates their research and writing abilities, historical knowledge and synthesis, and public speaking abilities.
5th Grade General Science
The fifth grade science course is an introductory course for chemical and physical sciences, using Nancy Larson Science. Lab experiments include chemical experimentation, physical observation, data collection, and analysis. Proper lab techniques and safety are stressed. Students study chemistry and physics. In the chemistry section, students explore atoms, matter, chemical formulas, chemical equations, reactions, behavior of subatomic particles, the periodic table, acids, and bases. In the physics section, students learn about Newton's Laws of Motion, forces, and electricity.
6th Grade Earth Science
Sixth grade earth science focuses on the fields of geology, meteorology, oceanography, and astronomy. Proper lab techniques and lab safety continue to be stressed, and students will complete a lab overview and assessment for each experimental investigation. Geology explores rocks and minerals, plate tectonics, volcanism, earthquakes, the rock cycle, and geologic time. Students also dive into a meteorology unit, where they investigate weather patterns, forms of precipitation, cloud development, thunderstorms, tornadoes, and hurricanes. With respect to oceanography, students study the diversity of sea life, food chains and food webs, trade winds, the Coriolis Effect, lunar effect, characteristics of waves and tides, ocean pollution, and conservation of marine resources. In astronomy, students learn about telescopes, satellites, eclipses, comets, meteoroids, asteroids, constellations, the sun-earth-moon system, lunar phases, the solar system, planets, and galaxies.
Current events and relevant topics are regularly explored to advance and reinforce the understanding of subject matter discussed in class.
7th Grade Life Science
The Life Science course continues to emphasize proper laboratory techniques and use of the scientific method as students explore various life forms and the life processes and body systems of these organisms. Students learn about the findings of Pasteur, Oparin, Redi, and other famous scientists and discuss the scientists and history leading to cell theory.
Students learn to identify and explain the functions of each part of both animal and plant cells, compare organic and inorganic compounds, describe the processes of diffusion and osmosis, distinguish between active and passive transport, and contrast photosynthesis and respiration.
Students study sexual and asexual reproduction, the human reproductive system, the parts of a DNA molecule, Mendel's contributions to the study of genetics, Linnaeus's theory of classification, viruses, bacteria, protists, fungi, and numerous other topics.
8th Grade Physical Science
The eighth grade physical science course is devoted to two primary areas of study - chemistry, and physics. Topics include, for example, use of the periodic table, balancing equations, Boyles' Law, Charles' Law, Archimedes Principle, solutions, reactions, acids, bases, forces, acceleration, velocity, resistance, energy, Newton's Laws, waves, and magnetism. Identification of experimental variables and sources of error are integral to the laboratory experience.
8th Grade Honors Physical Science
The eighth grade honors physical science is an accelerated program devoted to the study of chemistry and physics. Topics include, for example, use of the periodic table, balancing equations, Boyles' Law, Charles' Law, Archimedes Principle, solutions, reactions, acids, bases, forces, acceleration, velocity, resistance, energy, Newton's Laws, waves, and magnetism. Identification of experimental variables and sources of error are integral to the laboratory experience. Observation, collection, and analysis of data, lab safety, and proper laboratory technique are all stressed.
5th Grade Spanish
The Spanish curriculum in grade five emphasizes speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills. With regard to vocabulary, students do a thorough review of vocabulary topics studied throughout lower school and expand upon those. These include such topics as family, school, sports, food, weather, parts of the body, and others.
The study of culture is integrated into the course and includes the study of geography, cities in Spain, schools in the Hispanic world, holidays, sports, Don Quixote, and Gabriela Mistral. Grammar topics include a thorough review of topics covered in lower school, including all regular present tense -ar, -er, and -ir verbs, and the irregular verbs ser, estar, ir, dar, ver, tener, venir.
Additionally, students learn present tense stem-changing verbs, ir + a + infinitive, tener + que + infinitive, and the use of gustar, interesar, and aburrir.
6th Grade Spanish
The Sixth Grade Spanish course builds upon knowledge and skills students have acquired in the fifth grade class. Vocabulary is expanded with the study of words related to health and the doctor's office, beach and summer activities, snow skiing and winter activities, camping, movies, museums, airports, trains and train stations, food, and restaurants.
The study of culture is integrated into the course and includes the study of Las lineas de Nazca, Antonio Gassett, el AVE, Machu Picchu, and Spanish Masters. Grammar topics include uses of ser and estar; object and direct object pronouns; the preterite tense of regular -ar, -er, and -ir verbs; the irregular preterite verbs ir, ser, dar, ver, hacer, querer, poder, poner, saber, estar, venir, and tener; verbs that end in -gar, -car, and -zar; and stem changing verbs. Students learn to use reflexive verbs and to distinguish between saber and conocer.
7th Grade Spanish
Students in Seventh Grade Spanish increase fluency in speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills. Vocabulary is expanded with the study of additional and more sophisticated words related to themes previously studied such as travel, restaurants, and leisure time activities using the foundation already established in the language to enhance communication.
English is used only for clarification or the introduction of new grammar concepts. While the conjugations of regular and irregular verbs were introduced in grade six, increased fluency in the use of the preterite and imperfect tenses is a focus in grade seven. Additionally, students study the present progressive tense and more sophisticated uses of infinitives such as following querer or saber.
8th Grade Spanish
Students in eighth grade build upon knowledge from previous Spanish classes to increase fluency in speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills. Vocabulary is expanded with the study of additional and more sophisticated words related to themes previously studied using the foundation already established in the language to enhance communication.
English is used only for clarification or the introduction of new grammar concepts. After a thorough review of regular and irregular preterite verbs, students learn the imperfect tense and how to distinguish when to use the preterite as opposed to the imperfect to communicate in the past tense. Additional tenses learned in grade eight include the future and conditional tenses with both regular and irregular verbs and the subjunctive mood.
Students learn the use of por and para in the correct contexts, the use of past participles after estar, and the use of demonstrative adjectives.
The Transitional Spanish course serves seventh or eighth grade students new to The Oakridge School who have no prior Spanish language experience. Students acquire a thorough foundation in basic grammar, vocabulary, and culture while building reading, writing, and speaking skills.
Seventh grade students enroll in Eighth Grade Spanish, and eighth grade students enroll in upper school Beginning Spanish after completing the course. With regard to vocabulary, students learn numbers, colors, greetings, days of the week, months of the year, the alphabet, and classroom objects. Additionally, students study words pertaining to clothing, restaurants, transportation, weather, hobbies, the body, houses, and families.
Culture is integrated throughout the course and includes holidays and festivals, food, travel, famous artists, Don Quijote, and Spanish-speaking countries and their capitals. The study of grammar includes adjective placement and agreement; definite and indefinite articles; subject, object, and possessive pronouns; regular present tense -ar, -er, and -ir verbs; and irregular present tense verbs including tener, venir, hacer, poner, salir, dar, ver, oir, traer, and decir.
5th Grade Beginning Orchestra
Fifth grade students study stringed instruments for nine weeks each year as part of their fine arts rotation that includes Art, Choir, Drama, and Strings. The course is introductory, and no prior knowledge or experience with a stringed instrument is necessary.
Students may use school-owned instruments during the course. In strings class, fifth grade students learn how to hold the violin, viola, cello, or bass and how to hold the bow. They learn proper techniques for storage and transport of the instruments. Students learn to tune the instrument and develop proper playing posture. They master basic finger patterns and the first position on all strings in the keys of D. Students are taught to recognize and match pitches as well as read music.
6th Grade String Orchestra
Sixth grade students may choose strings as an elective for one semester. During the semester, students build upon previous skills and add, for example, the bow techniques of detache, staccato, and slurring. Students recognize and apply terms for tempo such as allegro, andante, and moderato as well as style terminology such as legato, staccato, and fine. Additionally, students learn basic key signature, time signatures, and terms for expression such as f, P, and crescendo.
Upper House Middle School Intermediate String Orchestra
Students in grades seven and eight may choose to participate in the Upper House Middle School (UHMS) string orchestra as their elective for the year. The intermediate strings class is designed to meet the needs of violin, viola, cello and bass students in an orchestra setting. These students will ideally have at least six months to one year of previous experience on their instruments. The curriculum is designed to develop their existing technique, teach more advanced techniques such as shifting and vibrato, and provide group performance opportunities. This orchestra generally performs at least six times per school year.
5th Grade French
French in grade five is a beginning level course designed to develop speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills with speaking and listening skills emphasized most heavily. Students learn vocabulary for basic greetings, the French alphabet, expressions of courtesy, numbers to 100, colors, calendar, family members, classroom objects, pets, weather, time, food, and parts of a home. Cultural and geographic topics are integrated into the course and include, for example, holidays, the educational system, currency, and important cities and regions.
6th Grade French
Sixth grade French students build upon previous skills while focusing on vocabulary expansion, speaking and listening skills, with increased emphasis on reading and writing skills. Students learn vocabulary for numbers to 1,000,000, expressing agreement and disagreement, likes and dislikes, leisure activities, sports, clothing, physical descriptions, and restaurants. Cultural and geographic topics are integrated into the course and include studies of France, Canada, and other French-speaking nations. Grammatically, students study present tense -er and -re verbs; present tense of etre, avoir, aller, prendre, vouloir, faire; and expressions using faire.
7th Grade French
Seventh grade French students continue to hone speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills and are formally introduced to French phonetics. Students expand their vocabulary with the study of words pertaining to compliments and criticisms, asking for and receiving directions, introductions, accepting and rejecting invitations, vacations and transportation, telephone courtesies, discussing plans, and giving advice. Cultural and geographic topics are integrated into the course and include studies of Paris, Provence, and other French-speaking regions.
8th Grade French
Eighth grade French students build upon knowledge from previous French classes as they expand their abilities to speak, listen, read, and write in French. Vocabulary is expanded with the study of words pertaining to expressing concern, extending good wishes, describing places, asking for and giving directions and information, asking for and receiving suggestions or opinions, paying and responding to compliments, and relating a series of events. Culture studies focus on the Loire Valley, Quebec, and other French-speaking countries. Grammatically, students study all regular present tense verbs, passé composé and the imparfait, reflexive verbs, direct and indirect object pronoun placement, and the partative.
5th Grade World History I
Using the Five Themes of Geography as a basis for developing geography skills, the Fifth Grade World Geography course helps students understand geography's effects on history and culture.
Course content focuses on advanced map skills, study and research skills, critical reading and writing skills, and recognition of standards of ethical and moral conduct.
Students learn to use and judge web sites and discuss the impact of the Internet on ethical and moral conduct.
6th Grade World History II
Following a chronological and geographical sequence through history, sixth grade students focus on recurring themes of human civilization in each geographical region and historical period studied. Students study Ancient Mesopotamia, Ancient Egypt, Greece, the Middle Ages and the Crusades, the Renaissance, the Reformation, European explorers to the 15th century, the Industrial Revolution, the French Revolution, the concept of nationalism in the context of World War I, alliances in both world wars, and the concept of imperialism.
Note-taking and essay writing skills are emphasized. Each spring, sixth grade students complete an extensive research project on a foreign country on which the world history and language arts teachers collaborate for the research writing portion of the project.
7th Grade American History
The seventh grade American History course is a survey of American history from the period of discovery through American Industrialization. Students continue to develop skills in critical reading, note-taking, and research and essay writing as well as oral presentation skills.
Students study the earliest inhabitants of North America, the American Frontier, the Colonial Period, the American Revolution, the U.S. Constitution, the Civil War and Reconstruction, the early years of the Industrial Revolution, and the emergence of big business in America.
Inquiry-Based Capstone (IBC)
The 8th Grade Inquiry-Based Capstone (IBC) experience engages students in a year-long project that challenges them to choose a personally relevant historical topic and bring together their classroom knowledge and real-world experience. Students spend the year experiencing history through a variety of speakers, field trips, and research.
Throughout the year, students will have a variety of research, writing, and public speaking experiences to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the relevant historical topics. This class will culminate in a historically based research project and presentation that clearly demonstrates their research and writing abilities, historical knowledge and synthesis, and public speaking abilities.
5th Grade Mathematics
Fifth Grade Mathematics is designed to solidify skills in the basic operations of whole numbers and develop skills with fractions, decimals, and percent. Students also study content within each of these topics: number theory, integers, ratio, proportion, measurement, geometry, probability, statistics, charts, and graphs. Appropriate mathematical vocabulary is practiced with each topic, and apps on the iPads are used for reinforcement. Students analyze problems by identifying relationships, discriminating between relevant and irrelevant information, and developing strategies for problem solving.
6th Grade Mathematics
Students in Sixth Grade Mathematics strengthen their number sense by studying roots, absolute value, integers, scientific notation, rates, and percents. Algebraic concepts are introduced: simplifying and evaluating expressions along with writing and solving equations and inequalities and applying ratio and proportion. Angles, polygons, symmetry, congruence, nets of solids, and the coordinate plane are included as part of study of geometry. Students learn to calculate perimeter and area of basic polygons and surface area and volume of prisms in addition to the Pythagorean Theorem in a unit of measurement. Data analysis includes probability, graphic displays, basic counting techniques, and applications of measures of central tendency.
6th Grade Honors Mathematics
Prerequisite: Students must be recommended for this course.
Students taking Sixth Grade Advanced Mathematics study all of the concepts presented in Sixth Grade Mathematics with a focus on SAT readiness in addition to enrichment topics. The enrichment topics include learning how to evaluate expressions using higher order radicals and negative exponents; finding the perimeter and area of irregular figures; finding area of sectors, converting rates using dimensional analysis and a more challenging level of application problems throughout the course.
The Pre-Algebra course is designed to provide more exploration with data analysis and an introduction to the concepts of algebra and geometry, moving from concrete to abstract thinking, while solidifying basic arithmetic skills. Students learn to identify subsets of numbers and perform all operations with rational numbers while working also studying with irrational number concepts. Students also practice writing and solving multi-step equations, inequalities, and direct variation problems. While exploring number and algebra relationships, students are introduced to simplifying and factoring algebraic expressions and learn to apply the distance and midpoint formulas. The geometry content includes perimeter, area, surface area, and volume along with the Pythagorean Theorem and its applications. The students’ sense of ratio/proportion is expanded by studying indirect measurement. Basic properties of polygons and lines as well as construction techniques are included. Data analysis includes measures of central tendency, compound probability, counting techniques, and graphic organizers.
Prerequisite: Students must be recommended for this course.
Students in Honors Pre-Algebra study all of the concepts in Pre-Algebra with a focus on SAT readiness, plus they get to dabble in additional topics. Such content includes inverse variation, negative exponents, dimensional analysis, counting subsets, special right triangle properties, probability without replacement, and an introduction to sampling methods, inferences, and absolute deviation. Problem solving contests are included in the curriculum of honors pre-algebra.
Algebra I is a student’s first experience with a thorough and rigorous upper level math course. Previous skills with number are expanded with discussions of set theory, counting, probability, and operations with matrices. Students write and solve complex complex equations, inequalities and systems of both. Linear, quadratic, absolute value, radical and exponential functions are explored in depth both algebraically and graphically. Negative and rational exponents are included with a study of exponents, and higher order polynomials are emphasized when factoring. Students build on their understanding of proportions with rational expressions, equations, and variation. When studying roots and radicals, students not only perform operations and solve equations, they also apply the Pythagorean theorem and explore basic trigonometric functions. The study of algebra is infused with opportunities to apply content to real-world scenarios in addition to exploring ideas using technology.
Honors Algebra I
Prerequisite: Students must be recommended for this course.
The honors course includes the content of Algebra 1 but through a lens of SAT/ACT preparation so the problems are more challenging. Students in the honors level course also study additional topics during particular units. These topics include permutations, combinations, calculating odds, special right triangle relationships, and composite functions. Honors students also write quadratic and exponential functions given certain parameters. Problem solving contests are included in the curriculum of honors algebra.
Prerequisite: Students must be recommended for this course.
As only advanced mathematics students are eligible to take geometry in 8th grade, an honors section is offered in the middle school.
The honors course includes the content of Geometry but through a lens of SAT/ACT preparation so the problems are more challenging. Students in the honors level course also study additional topics during particular units. These topics include analyzing truth tables, using matrices to explore transformations, applying special right triangle relationships to circles, investigating trig identities, applying the Law of Sines and Law of Cosines, studying other trig functions of cosecant, secant, and cotangent, and exploring advanced probability. Problem solving contests are included in the curriculum of honors geometry.
Upper House Middle School Athletics
Students in grades 7 and 8 participate in an interscholastic competitive athletic program. The Oakridge School has a "no cut" policy, ensuring that all students have the opportunity to participate regardless of skill level.
The athletic year is divided into three seasons, and each student must participate on a competitive team at least two of the three seasons.
Lower House Middle School Physical Education
Students in grades 5 and 6 have physical education (P.E.) class every day. Starting in grade five, boys and girls participate in physical activities separately.
The course is designed to teach the rules and skills of the sports offered at the upper house middle school and upper school levels in a safe, positive, and appropriately competitive atmosphere while also emphasizing the overall importance of health and fitness.
Varsity and junior varsity coaches teach the courses and develop positive relationships with students while enjoying the opportunity to develop students' skills in advance of competitive play that begins in grade seven. Instruction is offered for both boys and girls in cross country running, basketball, soccer, tennis, and track and field events.
Girls receive instruction in volleyball, field hockey, and softball. Boys receive instruction in football and baseball. In addition to individual skill development, effective team play is encouraged. Good sportsmanship is a consistent focus.