Preparing for High School in Middle School

Being caught in the middle is no fun – unless you’re an ICCS Middle School student.  With years of Middle School teaching experience, our teachers know when to comfort the child and when to reason with the emerging young adult. 

Our Middle School students are introduced to higher-level mathematics, work in a fully equipped science lab, complete STEM-based projects, and still manage traditional activities, such as spelling and geography bees.  They minister at school liturgies, participate in social events, and enjoy competing on our sports teams.

ICCS Middle School graduates are prepared for the next level and go on to excel in some of the best high schools in Memphis. 

Middle School Course Catalog:

English/Language Arts

The 5th - 8th grade ELA courses encompass a correlated study of literature, language conventions, composition, vocabulary, research, listening, and speaking based upon the TN state academic standards for reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Throughout the rising grades, students will also learn, practice, and aim to master argumentative and formal essay writing skills. These courses will prepare students in culmination to demonstrate success on the American College Test (ACT). These courses also require the reading of essential literature titles during the school year. Students will also study and explore numerous types of poetry while reading, writing, and reciting poetry.  In-depth studies of a broader spectrum of selected literary works will be complemented by numerous writing assignments and in-depth exploration of our students' identity, building and maintaining a safe community, and becoming an Upstander through the inclusion of the Facing History and Ourselves exploratory Curriculum.

Facing History And Ourselves

PEDAGOGICAL APPROACH

The Facing History research-based approach is a synthesis of compelling content and rigorous inquiry, not a specific sequence of lessons. Each Facing History class- ELA—is built around our core methodology, which integrates the study of history, literature, and human behavior with ethical decision-making and innovative teaching strategies.

This approach enables middle school teachers to promote students’ historical understanding, critical thinking, empathy, and other social-emotional competencies; develop students’ civic agency, and facilitate transformative dialogue in their classrooms. As students explore the complexities of history and human behavior, they reflect on the choices they confront today and consider how they can make a difference.


Mathematics

Course: Math 5

Grade: 5th Grade

Math 5 allows students to build on their basic math skills while pushing them towards higher-order and critical thinking. Units such as multiplying and dividing decimals, graphing data and statistics, working algebraic expressions, and finding the perimeter, area, and volume of different shapes supplement daily skills such as place value, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Throughout the school year, fifth-grade students become more in tune with their number sense and mathematical confidence.

 

Course: Math 6

Grade: 6th Grade

Math 6 reinforces basic mathematical concepts and introduces skills that are essential for all students. Concepts, procedures, and vocabulary that students will need in order to be successful in upper-level algebra and geometry courses are introduced and continually practiced. Students begin with a general review of the four basic operations. They are introduced to exponents, geometric formulas, algebraic concepts, ratios, percentages, and adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing signed numbers. 6th Grade Math students work extensively with fractions, mixed numbers, decimals, and data. Problem-solving strategies are also an integral part of the curriculum.

 

Course: Math 7

Grade: 7th Grade

Math 7 extends students’ understanding of numbers and computation to include integers and proportional reasoning. All concepts and skills are presented in the context of problem-solving that requires the use of reasoning and communication. Areas of focus include data analysis and probability; algebraic foundations such as equations and inequalities; functional relationships; arithmetic and geometric sequences; geometric precision, and measurement.

 

Course: Algebra Readiness

Grade: 7th and 8th Grade

Algebra Readiness prepares students for Algebra I and Geometry. Integers and algebraic concepts are applied to strengthen students' algebraic thinking skills as well as strengthen the skills learned in previous middle school math classes. Throughout the course, algebraic concepts are connected to arithmetic skills to build on what students know. Geometry units will cover transformations, angles, triangles, and formulas for three-dimensional figures.

Geometry concepts are also integrated when appropriate to foster connections. Students solve equations and use equivalent forms for expressions involving like terms and exponents. Students relate the rate of change, slope, and y-intercept to graphs and linear expressions. Visualization continues with consistent modeling of algebra expressions, percent, problem-solving, linear equations and inequalities, and functions. 

 

Course: Algebra 1

Grade: 8th Grade

This is an honors level course for 8th-grade students. Algebra 1 students strengthen their knowledge of the real number system, functions, and polynomials. Initially, students study the properties of real numbers and how to calculate them. Throughout the course, students learn to evaluate formulas; solve, graph, and write linear and quadratic equations and inequalities; solve systems of equations and inequalities; factor polynomials; and simplify radical and rational expressions. Additional topics that encourage and promote logical and critical thinking are also included as well as a focus on strengthening their number sense. This course will be counted on high school transcripts and will count toward the high school GPA.


Science

Students are introduced to a STEM Project focusing on a Science or Engineering Challenge that is integrated throughout instruction. Students assume the role of a scientist or engineer and are charged with the task of designing a solution to the STEM Project.

The ICCS Science curriculum for grades 5–8 is designed to spark your middle school students’ interest and empower them to ask more questions, think more critically, and generate innovative ideas. With the proven instructional framework, ICCS provides an in-depth, collaborative, evidence-based, and a project-based learning experience to place middle school science students on the path to career and college readiness.

By integrating physics, chemistry, earth science, astronomy, and biology. Students will uncover preconceptions with formative assessment science probes. Cross-curricular connections are embedded throughout with quick and easy references to specific literacy, math, and engineering skills being reinforced through the science investigations. ‚Äč

Students are also introduced to a STEM Project focusing on a Science or Engineering Challenge that is integrated throughout instruction. Students assume the role of a scientist or engineer and are charged with the task of designing a solution to the STEM Project.


Social Studies

Course: Geography Skills and History of the United States

Grade: 5th Grade

Initially, fifth-grade students will use geographic materials to locate and analyze information about people, places, and environments.  As the year progresses the course evolves to focus on United States History. Students will explore the growth of the nation from European exploration of the New World too, potentially, the Civil War. Students will explore the nation’s role in world affairs.  In addition, students will analyze the structure of power and authority.

 

Course: World History and Geography:  Early Civilizations Through the Fall of the Western Roman Empire

Grade: 6th Grade

Sixth-grade students will study the beginnings of early civilizations through the fall of the Western Roman Empire. Students will analyze the cultural, economic, geographical, historical, and political foundations for early civilizations, including Mesopotamia, Egypt, Israel, India, China, Greece, and Rome. The sixth grade will conclude with the decline and fall of the Western Roman Empire. This course will also teach students about the historical context of ancient and major world religions and will follow a common template for major world religions so as to not promote any religion.  Major world religions are introduced in either 6th or 7th grade.

This course will be the student’s first concentrated survey of world history and geography and is designed to help students think like historians, focusing on historical concepts in order to build a foundational understanding of the world.  Appropriate primary sources have been embedded in the standards in order to deepen the understanding of world history and geography.  Special emphasis will be placed on the development of government, including the beginning of democratic practices.

 

Course: The Middle Ages to the Exploration of the Americas

Grade: 7th Grade

Seventh-grade students will explore the cultural, economic, geographical, historical, and political changes in Western Civilization in Europe as well as the geographic regions of East Asia, West Africa, and Southwest Asia and Northern Africa.  Students will compare and contrast the history and geography of civilizations that were developing concurrently throughout Africa, Europe, the Americas, and Asia during the 15th to 18th centuries.  Students will examine the growth in economic interactions among civilizations as well as the exchange of ideas, beliefs, technologies, and commodities.  Students will describe the indigenous populations of the Americas and the long-term impact of European exploration in the New World.  Finally, students will analyze the influence of geography on the development of civilizations as they continue their study of world history and geography.  This course will also teach students about the historical context of ancient and major world religions and will follow a common template for major world religions so as to not promote any religion.  Major world religions are introduced in either 6th or 7th grade.

This course is a continuation of the 6th-grade survey of world history and geography and is designed to help students think like historians, focusing on historical concepts in order to build a foundational understanding of the world.  Appropriate primary sources have been embedded in the standards in order to deepen the understanding of world history and geography.  Special emphasis will be placed on the development of government, including the beginning of democratic practices.

 

Course: United States History and Geography: Colonization of North America to Reconstruction

Grade: 8th Grade

Eighth-grade students will study the European settlement of North America and the role geographic features played in the early settlement of Thirteen Colonies.  Students will examine the development and maturation of the Thirteen Colonies and the political, cultural, and economic influences that led to the American Revolution.  Students will analyze the major events and outcomes of the American Revolution as well as the individuals who played influential roles in the development of the new nation.  Students will follow the development of the United States and its government, continuing through the early 19th century.  Students will analyze the impact of the expansion and sectionalism of the U. S., including implications on domestic and foreign policy.  Students will also study policies that affected American Indians and African Americans.  Finally, students will examine the major events and issues leading to the Civil War, individuals and events that were significant during the war, and the resulting era of Reconstruction.

This course will place Tennessee history, government, and geography in context with U. S.  history in order to illustrate the role our state has played in American history.

This course is a yearly survey of U. S. history and geography and picks up where 7th grade finishes their study of world history.  This course is designed to help students think like historians, focusing on historical concepts in order for students to build an understanding of the history of the U. S. Appropriate primary sources have been embedded in the standards in order to enhance student’s understanding of the content.


Spanish

Course: Spanish 5

Grade: 5th Grade

Our Spanish program is designed for students to attain an acceptable level of proficiency in four basic skills: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. In Fifth grade, we improve students' language skills in reading comprehension, phonics, sentence structure, and functions and forms through the use of communication, culture, and comparisons. Students will perform a classic Spanish fairytale play in the second semester and have a variety of projects throughout the year.

 

Course: Spanish 6

Grade: 6th Grade

This course exposes students to the Spanish language. The course begins with the alphabet and works up from there so that students who have never had a foreign language course can start from the basics. Low-level vocabulary is introduced first, such as greetings, sayings, days of the week, etc. Vocabulary is then expanded. Students will learn basic grammar and will be able to effectively use the present tense, say what they like and don’t like, and explore authentic Spanish music, celebrations, cuisine, and more with technology and interactive lesson plans.

 

Course: Spanish 7

Grade: 7th Grade

In 7th grade Spanish, the first semester is spent building a foundation in Spanish. This is to solidify skills students already have or develop them in new students. Throughout the year, students will read and write in the target language, learn thematic vocabulary, and create cultural comparisons. At this level, students begin to present more in the target language and speak daily in class. Students read a basic novella, are exposed to Spanish cinema, and complete projects consistently using authentic resources.

 

Course: Spanish

Grade: 8th Grade

At this level, the goal is to prepare students for High School Foreign Language courses. We begin with a review of ar, er, and ir verbs then move forward into more advanced grammar. Students will read a novella and complete various extension activities based on the novel. Students will also watch multiple films and documentaries in the target language and complete projects. This class is taught the majority in Spanish to increase student’s input and output in the target language.


Theology     

Course: Theology 5

Grade: 5th Grade

Grade 5 of Christ Our Life encourages faith knowledge that helps children articulate their Catholic Faith. The Grade 5 curriculum prepares learners to participate in the NCEA IFG ACRE assessment (National Catholic Educational Association Information for Growth: Assessment of Children/Youth Religious Education). These needs of Catholic Education will be met through the study of their Knowledge of Faith, Liturgical Life, Moral Formation, Prayer, Communal Life, and Missionary Spirit. Not only are these topics part of Religion class, but they are an integral function of our Catholic Education as a whole.

 

Course: Theology 6

Grade: 6th Grade

The 6th-grade Religion program of the Christ Our Life series is devoted to the study of God’s saving love as it is revealed in Sacred Scripture, particularly the Old Testament. God Calls a People is designed to help the students increase their knowledge of salvation history so that they may respond to God with ever-deepening love and gratitude.

 

Course: Theology 7

Grade: 7th Grade

Theology for the 7th-grade aims to enhance the student’s spiritual development with prayer, spiritual study, and participation in Mass. The class focusses on the life of Christ, the New Testament, vocations, Confirmation preparation, and the development of a historical placement of Christianity. Students engage in in-class discussion, group work, individual work, and leading class prayer. Students complete assignments and are assessed based on material presented in class and general participation attitude.

 

Course: Theology 8

Grade: 8th Grade

The 8th-grade program of the Christ Our Life series is devoted to the study of God’s faithful love as it is revealed in the Church founded by Jesus Christ. The Church Then and Now is designed to help young teens grow in their knowledge and love of the Church. The students should come to a deeper understanding of the Church by studying its images, history, and members, grow in love for Catholic beliefs and rituals and strive to respond to God’s love through Christian morality, service, prayer, and witness.


Specials Classes

Course: General Music

Grade: 5th-8th Grade

General music classes at The Immaculate Conception Cathedral School follow the State of Tennessee Curriculum Guidelines and adhere to the Orff method of instruction, reinforcing the intertwining act of music and movement. Orff methodologies reinforce the continued valuable development of fine motor and social skills in youth. Students enjoy becoming increasingly fluent in solfège, a melodic and syllabic singing method that concurrently utilizes specific hand positions. Students also continue learning recorders, world drums, pitched and non-pitched percussion equipment, and other important aspects of music such as historical movements, music theory, and how to read the language of music.

 

Course: Middle School Choir

Grade: 5th-8th Grade

Choir at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral School has a long tradition of excellence. Weekly rehearsals focus on sacred music geared towards the rotating responsibility of performing at weekly mass, shared with the elementary and high school choirs. The middle school choir may also perform at various school functions such as holiday or fundraising events or school dinners as opportunities arise. Unique to this I.C.C.S. choir, there is an annual or biennial weekend choir trip, performing select sacred and secular works they have studied throughout the year. Past destinations have included New Orleans, St. Louis, and Knoxville, performing at other Catholic schools, cathedrals, churches, and colleges along the way.

 

Course: Physical Education

Grade: 5th-8th Grade

In Physical Education, the goal is to increase children’s physical and health literacy, which means that we want to create a desire to be physically active and to be healthy for life. Starting in the 5th grade, the P.E. lessons will be more focused on skill analysis and sport-specific tactics and strategies.

 

Course: Visual Arts

Grades: 5th-8th Grade

ICCS’s Visual Arts program incorporates 2D and 3D art, technical mastery of media and materials, arts integration, and the elements and principles of design through the historical and cultural lens of the Catholic Church. At ICCS, students are supported in their learning through a cross-curricular approach and encouraged to express themselves creatively. Our visual arts program develops students’ talents and abilities at all levels while also imparting perseverance, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. Every year, ICCS students participate in a variety of art exhibitions, museum visits, and contests. Our student’s proficiency is evident through hall displays and permanent installation projects. Middle School students have the opportunity to work on film projects.