Middle School

Middle School is the time when our students really come into their own.  By this time, students have mastered the basics and learning progresses in leaps and bounds.  ITBS test results show that the longer a student stays at Holy Family, the stronger they perform. By the time they leave us in 8th grade, most students are testing well above the national average.  Many will take honors classes in high school.  Others will go on to the International Baccalaureate Program in Palisade.  So many of our alumni return to tell us how well we prepared them for the challenges of high school and even college.  Below you will find a summary of the academic program at Holy Family Middle School.

Religion:  As a Catholic school, Religion is at the heart of who we are.  We join together as a whole school for morning prayer.  School Masses are held throughout the year with each class getting the chance to serve as greeters, lectors, choir members and servers.  Reconciliation services are held twice a year during Advent and Lent.  Each middle school class participates in a class retreat once a year.  Our students are also expected to participate in various service activities as part of their religion grade.All of our students have a daily Religion class.  These classes have a strong academic curriculum which follows the Sadlier religion series We Believe and We Live Our Faith.  6th grade follows We Believe:  We Are God’s People, which focuses on the Old Testament and our journey as the people of God.  7th grade follows We Live Our Faith as Disciples of Jesus which focuses on God the Father, the life of Jesus, the Sacraments and Discipleship.  8th grade follows We Live our Faith as Members of the Church.  This year the focus is on Morality, Church History and what it means to be a Catholic.

Science:  Science classes contain many exciting projects for the students to get involved in.  Students learn how to use the scientific method and  have the opportunity to participate in a school wide science fair. Many will also compete in the regional science fair held at Colorado Mesa University.  6th grade students focus on earth science, studying geology, oceanography, meteorology and astronomy. Some of the projects 6th grade students look forward to participating in include: LEGO Robotics, making solar cookers, and an egg drop. 7th grade students focus on biology.  Students learn about living things, their structures and their environments.  Students get to perform dissections to help them understand body systems and functions. 8th grade students focus on physical science.  They learn about the properties of matter and energy.  They will learn about light, sound and electricity.  Students make hot air balloons as part of their investigation  of density.  Students in 8th grade are also mentored by some avid ham radio volunteers who help the students to each get his/her own ham radio operator’s license.  They learn about computer components and build a computer for the classroom.  They have even gotten to contact the International Space Station! 8th grade students also learn about forensics and participate in a crime scene investigation.

Social Studies:  All students enjoy learning countries and capitals by playing Around the World and participating in the National Geographic Geography Bee. 6th grade Social Studies focuses on World History covering the time of the Stone Age until World War II.  Students are introduced to the classical world of the Greeks and Romans, the medieval world and the Renaissance. 7th grade Social Studies focuses on World Geography.  Students learn the locations of countries and capitals as well major geographic features.  Students draw maps of countries and continents and give speeches about places they would like to visit if given the chance. 8th grade Social Studies focuses on American History from the Civil War until the 9/11 attacks.  Students in this class learn about the civil war battlefields,  create a Monopoly game of American History from 1920-1945 and create an interview with their favorite person from American history.

Language Arts:  Middle School Language Arts consists of spelling, grammar, and writing.  The sixth grade spelling textbook teaches many skills including analogies, words in context, root words, and definitions.  Grammar is taught with an emphasis on diagramming sentences and carrying over what is learned into their writing pieces.  For example, seventh and eighth grades students might be asked to write three sentences using gerund phrases as subjects in a piece of writing.  In order for them to do this, they must have a basic understanding of grammar.  Throughout middle school, students focus on specific skills (depending on the type of writing), build strong sentences using a variety of techniques, and incorporate literary devices to improve writing.All students complete narratives, creative stories, and compare/contrast papers.  They also enter several essay contests during the year.  In eighth grade, students spend one quarter on an Integrated Thematic Unit which involves research, writing, math and art.  Another quarter is devoted to writing a research paper and defending a thesis.

Literature:  The Middle School literature classes are designed to introduce students to different book genres and to instill a love of reading that students will carry with them throughout their lives. Students have access to an extensive classroom library as well as the school library. Students in the sixth grade are introduced to the novel through excerpts from novels that illustrate the elements that make up good literature. Then they read example novels such as Tom Sawyer and Tuck Everlasting. We complete the year with Legends of King Arthur. Seventh graders enjoy an extensive study of Greek and Roman Mythology with presentations and projects. We read the novel The Outsiders and write a research project in conjunction with their geography class. We also learn Wonder Words, a vocabulary study from the SAT list. In eighth grade, students read a version of the Trojan War and the Odyssey to complete their study of Mythology. We explore the Civil Rights movement through a timeline series of speeches and we study the Holocaust through literature. We read The Diary of Anne Frank as a Readers’ Theater, Night by Elie Wiesel, witness video interviews and clips and write a reflection paper and project from what we learned. SAT words are our vocabulary. We also have a special writing project entitled “Write Your Life” for parents at graduation.