In the middle school, our teachers work to encourage a sense of self-confidence, academic competence, and a loving connection to the community through our dynamic and multifaceted middle school curriculum. Subject and main lesson topics call upon the growing child to use their hands, heart, and head to deepen their studies of the natural world and the history of man, and are asked to use their budding observations and developing critical thinking skills to expand their knowledge and understanding of the world in which they live. Throughout middle school, students progress, evolve, and grow in many ways, and gain academic skills, a love of learning, and a sense of global citizenship, preparing them to enter the wider world with confidence and enthusiasm.
Main Lesson and Language Arts
The sixth grade student is at the dawn of pre-adolescence. At this age, Waldorf curriculum is focused on the encouragement of healthy social dynamics, cultivating individuality and confidence, and providing challenging and engaging academics. In main lesson, the students study various subjects, including the rise and fall of ancient Rome, astronomy and geology, physics, economics and much more; throughout these subjects, the themes of order, polarites, and law are woven to meet the child at this complex developmental phase. Sixth grade curriculum becomes more focused, formed, and direct in many ways, but as in the lower grades, mathematics, science, and history are enlivened with movement, discussion, art, and dynamic activities.
In language arts, students are guided through intensive projects that require multi-paragraph, structured essays, and also learn to write persuasive, narrative, expository, and descriptive written pieces. Grammar rules are further reinforced and reviewed, and new topics, such as predicates, subjects, direct and indirect objects are introduced as well. Quality pieces of literature are read, recited and studied, including poetry, ballads, tales of chivalry, biographies and more. In general, the sixth grader self-generates a large portion of main lesson work, and often, different grading techniques are used by the teacher to bring a sense of order, expectation, and standard to class work.
Geometry and economics are brought in main lesson by the class teacher. For the first time, students use a compass and straightedge to construct different geometric forms, and in economics, classes explore the concepts of business math, including the origins of money, banking, and interest. In these blocks, vocabulary is expanded, and the curriculum is reinforced with the studies of cause and effect, order, and precision. In sixth grade at Davis Waldorf School, math classes are no longer taught by the main lesson teacher, but are instead taught by the math specialist throughout the week as a subject class. The sixth grader intensely studies the relationship and conversion between decimals, fractions, and percentages, the metric system, and more, leading into simple algebra.
Subject Classes and Activities
Art and music are an important and ever-present aspect of sixth grade. Charcoal, pastel, and watercolor painting are regularly incorporated into the curriculum. Individual style is developed, and teachers aim to include artistic activities that speak to the inner development of the budding pre-adolescent child. In music, recorder, both soprano and alto, are taught in main lesson, and students may choose to continue with their stringed instrument in the orchestra or join the band program. Our subject classes in sixth grade include Handwork, Woodwork, Strings or Beginning Band, Art, Games, Eurythmy, Math and Spanish. Students have the opportunity to participate in our athletics program, which includes Basketball and Flag Football.
Main Lesson and Language Arts
Seventh graders are eager to explore, debate, and be newly challenged in their academics. This time in development can be a tumultuous, as so much is changing and transforming for them physically, emotionally and spiritually. With all of this to consider, the class teacher aims to use the curriculum to meet the child at their place in development, and works to inspire, provoke critical thinking, and raise standards in an appropriately challenging and engaging manner. The Renaissance, Reformation, and Age of Exploration are studied in-depth, and these blocks provide ample opportunity for questions, debates, and discussions around how the consequences of these time periods have manifested today in the modern world. The vase continent of Africa is explored, and students are often assigned a country project that allows for deeper study into ancient cultures, customs, and language. Science blocks include chemistry, physiology, and physics, and students are stretched to use their observational and thinking skills to make conclusions about the laws of nature. Topics in these blocks include combustion, acids and bases, simple machines, and nutrition.
In language arts, formal research techniques are applied to multi-paragraph research papers, and creating bibliographies, using citations, and properly quoting is practiced regularly. The first formal creative writing block is included in the curriculum, where poetry, storytelling, and literary devices are introduced. Grammar and punctuation rules are continually reinforced, and students are expected to write multiple drafts, proofread, and incorporate peer and teacher edits into their writing. Works of Shakespeare, Arthurian legends, historical novels and other quality literature is brought throughout the year.
Seventh grade math continues to be taught by our math specialist as a subject class, and areas of study include area and perimeter of simple and complex polygons and circles, square roots, integers, and word problems. Students are continuously expected to exhibit neatness and care in their work, show and explain their thinking process, and develop and apply time management skills.
Subject Classes and Activites
In art, students study perspective drawing, and continue their work with different mediums, including watercolor painting, charcoal, pastel, pencil, and ink. Speech, poetry, singing, soprano/alto/tenor recorders and drama continue with more advanced exercises, and students are encouraged to participate in school athletics. Our subject classes in seventh grade include Handwork, Woodwork, Strings or Advanced Band, Art, Games, Eurythmy, Math and Spanish.
Main Lesson and Language Arts
Eighth grade is the culmination of many years of work, curriculum, and development, and students experience many milestones that are set aside for this special year. As always, Waldorf curriculum works to speak to the developmental experience of the child; in eighth grade, students are eager for transformation, change, challenge, and wish to enter the wide world in their uniquely individual way. In history, the eighth grader connects to the idea of revolution, and the American, Industrial, French, and Technological Revolutions are studied and discussed in complex and engaging ways. Throughout, biographies of key historical figures are introduced, including those of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Frederick Douglass, Marie Curie, Abraham Lincoln, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to name a few! The study of science in the eighth grade includes human anatomy, organic chemistry, physics, and meteorology. World economics and geography is studied by way of exploring common goods and their impacts in our everyday lives; students trace the history, trade routes, processing methods, and economics of items such as cacao, cotton, salt, or sugar.
In language arts, the eighth grader is assigned various writing assignments of length and subject, and proofreading, editing, and the many skills they have previously learned are practiced and reinforced continuously. Grammar and punctuation rules are further studied, and students incorporate literary devices and research techniques throughout the year. Short stories and other quality literature are read and explored together and assigned individually. The Eighth Grade Research Project remains a culminating milestone for the year as each student presents their topic of study and work to the school community, through an oral and visual presentation. As well, this project includes a significant research paper that includes reflections of personal experience, well chosen academic sources, and a bibliography formatted according to MLA guidelines.
Eighth grade math continues to be taught by our math specialist as a subject class, and topics include the study of platonic geometric solids, Pre-Algebra, and depending on the class and/or individual’s abilities, Algebra I. Students are continuously expected to exhibit neatness and care in their work, show and explain their thinking process, and develop and apply time management skills.
Subject Classes and Activities
Speech, poetry, singing, and soprano/alto/tenor recorder continue with more advanced exercises. Our subject classes in eighth grade include Handwork, Woodwork, Strings or Advanced Band, Art, Games, Math, and Spanish. Eighth graders enjoy connecting with their first grade buddies, and are often participate in special activities reserved for this final year at our school. They participate in the school-wide Halloween festival, present Eighth Grade Projects, and perform individual musical solos to the community. The eighth grade field trip is a special experience, and is often taken at the end of the school year. The students close the year with weaving the maypole ribbons during our May Faire Celebration, and are honored at our Closing Ceremony and Graduation.
In middle school, the art curriculum spans many mediums and techniques, and the teacher balances lessons with freedom and form throughout the grades. Teachers choose the artistic curriculum carefully, and incorporate developmentally appropriate and meaningful activities for their specific group of students. Watercolor, colored pencil, ink, charcoal, and pastel are worked with regularly. As well, clay modeling, figure drawing, calligraphy, perspective drawing, portraiture, and color studies are explored, and teachers work to cultivate a sense of personal style and confidence within their students. Drama and music are continuously incorporated into the school year, and poetry, speech, and public speaking skills are developed through the middle school grades.