Following the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts, students are provided a variety of opportunities to develop skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language, through experience with print and digital resources. During an eighty-four minute literacy block of instruction, a substantial amount of time is devoted to students reading a wide range of text, varying in levels of sophistication and purpose. Through print and non-print text, they develop comprehension strategies, vocabulary, as well as high order thinking skills. They read a balance of short and long fiction, drama, poetry, and informational text such as memoirs, articles, and essays and apply skills such as citing evidence, determining theme, and analyzing how parts of the text affect the whole.
During the literacy block, students learn about the reading-writing connection by drawing upon and writing about evidence from literary and informational texts. Writing skills, such as the ability to plan, revise, edit, and publish, develop as students practice skills of specific writing types such as arguments, informative/explanatory texts, and narratives. Students write for a variety of purposes and audiences.
Throughout reading and writing experiences during the literacy block, students develop skills of flexible communication and collaboration as they learn to work together, express and listen carefully to ideas, integrate information and use media and visual displays to help communicate their ideas.
Students learn language conventions and vocabulary to help them understand and analyze words and phrases, relationships among words, and shades of meaning that affect the text they read, write, and hear.
Word Study and Vocabulary
The focus of vocabulary study in 5th through 8th grade is on the words, their meanings, their ranges of application, and their uses in context. The vocabulary workshop approach is systematic as it begins with and builds upon a word list drawn from vocabulary that students will encounter in their reading. It provides students with the vocabulary skills they will need to achieve higher-level reading and writing proficiency.
Across Central School, we have selected core academic words to focus on across content areas. The AWL is a list of words which appear with high frequency in English-language academic texts. The list was compiled by Averil Coxhead at the Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. Teachers have been trained to provide explicit instruction utilizing a multi-modal approach. The foundation for our academic word lessons was based on literacy research and best practice for ensuring a stronger vocabulary foundation.
Each grade is responsible for the instruction of grade level academic words. Our goal is to increase student mastery as they read, write and use in verbal communication.
The University of Chicago School Mathematics Project began in 1983 and is still centered at the University of Chicago. Everyday Mathematics’ goals and objectives meet the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics “Principles and Standards for School Mathematics,” published in 2000, and the current Common Core State Standards. The standards define practices that should permeate instruction and assessment at all grade levels, Kindergarten through Grade 12.
The Standards for Mathematical Practice are:
Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
Model with mathematics.
Use appropriate tools strategically.
Attend to precision.
Look for and make use of structure.
Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning.
In addition, articulation among grade levels and increased opportunities for formal training have provided strong support for teachers. Communication among New Trier Township teachers of mathematics has contributed significantly to our students’ mathematical success. Components of an enrichment program designed by the University of Chicago to coincide with the Everyday Mathematics Program are utilized when appropriate.
Mathematics - fifth and sixth grade
Students in the fifth and sixth grades possessing exceptional skills in the standards for mathematical practice are invited to participate in the Accelerated Mathematics Program. This program functions as a self-contained mathematics class, which meets during the regularly scheduled math time at each grade level. Students in this program study the standard curriculum. In addition, students use units of study and materials that have been specifically designed to challenge higher level thinking skills in diverse areas of mathematics. The intent of the Accelerated Mathematics Programs is to provide students with challenging and rewarding experiences reaching well beyond the required mathematics curriculum.
Operations and Algebraic Thinking: Write and interpret numerical expressions and analyze patterns and relationships.
Number and Operations in Base Ten and Fractions: Use equivalent fractions as a strategy to add and subtract fractions and apply and extend previous understandings of multiplication and division to multiply and divide fractions.
- Measurement and Data: Convert like measurement units within a given measurement system, represent and interpret data, understand concepts of volume and relative volume to multiplication and to addition.
- Geometry: Graph points on the coordinate plane to solve real-world and mathematical problems and classify two-dimensional figures into categories based on their properties.
Operations and Algebraic Thinking: Understand ratio concepts and use ratio reasoning to solve problems.
- Number and Operations in Base Ten and Fractions: Apply and extend previous understandings of multiplication and division to divide fractions by fractions, compute fluently with multi-digit numbers and find common factors and multiples, and apply and extend previous understandings of numbers to the system of rational numbers.
- Expressions and Equations: Apply and extend previous understandings of arithmetic to algebraic expressions, reason about and solve one-variable equations and inequalities, and represent and analyze quantitative relationships between dependent and independent variables.
- Geometry: Solve real-word and mathematic problems involving area, surface area, and volume.
Statistic and Probably: Develop understanding of statistical variability and summarize and describe distributions.
Mathematics - Seventh and eigHth grade
The seventh and eighth grade mathematics curriculum are aligned to the Common Core State Standards and are taught using a spiral approach which allows the students to be exposed to probability, statistics, geometry, algebra, logic, data analysis, percents, decimals, and fractions on a regular basis. This two-year math program forms a strong foundation for the study of a modern high school math program.
In addition, articulation among grade levels and increased opportunities for formal training have provided strong support for teachers. Communication among New Trier Township teachers of mathematics has contributed significantly to our students’ mathematical success.
Individual student abilities are met through optional enrichment materials, short-term ability grouping for review of skills, and help from resource teachers outside the regular classroom. There is also available a Math Assistance class offered as one of the activity classes students can opt to take each quarter to provide additional support.
Ratios and Proportional Relationships: Analyze proportional relationships and use them to solve real-world and mathematical problems.
The Number System: Apply and extend previous understandings of operations with fractions to add, subtract, multiply and divide rational numbers.
Expressions and Equations: Use properties of operations to generate equivalent expressions and solve real-life and mathematical problems using numerical and algebraic expressions and equations.
Geometry: Draw, construct and describe geometrical figures and describe the relationships between them, and solve real-life and mathematical problems involving angle, measures, area, surface area, and volume.
Statistics and Probability: Use random sampling to draw inferences about a population, draw informal comparative inferences about two populations, and investigate chance processes and develop, use, and evaluate probability models.
The Number System: Know that there are numbers that are not rational, and approximate them by rational numbers.
Expressions and Equations: Work with radicals and integer exponents, understand the connections between proportional relationships, lines, and linear equations, and analyze and solve linear equations and pairs of simultaneous linear equations.
Functions: Define, evaluate and compare functions and use functions to model relationships between quantities.
Geometry: Understand congruence and similarity using physical models, transparencies, or geometry software, understand and apply the Pythagorean Theorem, and solve real-world and mathematical problems involving volume of cylinders, cones, and spheres.
Statistics and Probability: Investigate patterns of association in bivariate data.
Students, who have met certain criteria, including scores obtained on standardized tests and teacher recommendations, are eligible to take the pre-algebra/algebra course sequence. In seventh grade the course of study is pre-algebra followed by algebra in eighth grade. Two levels of pre-algebra and algebra are offered: the equivalent of New Trier’s four-level and three-level courses. The material covered in the algebra course includes inequalities, graphical representations of data and formulae, translation of words into symbols and symbols into words, probability, matrices, geometry, trigonometry, and finding solutions to equations and systems of equations by using the quadratic formula, graphing, completing the square, and factoring. A graphing calculator is mandatory for this class. Placement into second-year high school math is arranged for students successfully completing algebra in eighth grade.
Science learning is maximized through hands-on experiences, reading, and research activities. Students are able to manipulate objects and materials, observe, measure, record data, predict outcomes, and make connections. Students are given many opportunities to communicate what they have learned through written and oral presentations. Using the Next Generation Science Standards students begin to develop an understanding of the four disciplinary core ideas:
Earth and space sciences
Engineering, technology, and application of science
The following is a link to more detailed information on the Progressions Within the Next Generation Science Standards
Continuing with the Next Generation Science Standards, by the end of 8th grade, students are able to demonstrate grade-appropriate proficiency in developing and using models, planning and carrying out investigations, analyzing and interpreting data, using mathematics and computational thinking, engaging in arguments from evidence, and obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information; and to use these practices to demonstrate understanding of the core ideas in of Physical Science, Life Sciences, Earth and Space Sciences, and Engineering and Design.
Our Central School 6th grade classrooms have worked closely with the school garden and the Glencoe Community Garden to integrate the study of climate and human impact into their learning.
Structures and Properties of Matter
- Matter & Energy in Organisms and Ecosystems
- Earth's Systems
- Space Systems: Stars & the Solar System
- Engineering and Design
- Human Impact
- Natural Selection & Adaptations
- Space systems
- Waves & Electromagnetic Radiation
- Engineering & Design
- Human Impacts
- Matter & Energy in Organisms & Ecosystems
- Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems
- Natural Selection & Adaptations
- History of Earth & Earth Systems
- Structure, Function, & Information Processing
- Growth, Development, and Reproduction of Organisms
- Engineering & Design
- Human Impacts
- Structure & Properties of Matter
- Chemical Reactions
- Forces & Interactions
- Engineering & Designs
- Human Impacts
The middle grades provide a bridge between the elementary and high school experiences. The structure of the middle grade social science standards is unique. Unlike the elementary and high school standards, the middle grade standards do not assign particular content to each grade level. Rather, these standards focus on the developmental need of middle grade students: to cultivate the critical thinking skills used by social scientists through the inquiry process. The disciplinary concepts of civics, economics, geography, and history are integrated within the curriculum (Illinois State Board of Education, 2016).
Students should be able to utilize the inquiry process to analyze foundational knowledge, develop questions (about the past, present, and future), apply tools to research, weigh evidence, and develop conclusions. Below are the topics that are explored each year in middle school.
- European Exploration
- Early English Settlements
- Comparing Colonies
- Colonial Life
- Causes of Revolution
Peopling of the Americas
- The Colonial Era
- Colonial Conflict
- Revolutionary War
- United States Constitution
- American Expansionism
- Industrial Revolution
- Civil War
Spanish American War
- World War I
- African American Civil Rights
- The Great Depression
- World War II
- Cold War
- Civil Rights
- Vietnam War