Our middle school core curriculum includes Language Arts, Mathematics, Religion, Science and Social Studies. Textbook-based lessons are augmented with multi-sensory and digital resources.
Grades 6-8 use the Prentice Hall literature series combined with Educator's Publishing's Wordly Wise 3000 to help increase vocabulary and improve spelling. Students also discuss and complete activities as they read novels together, to enhance comprehension. 6-8 grade students learn to construct cohesive, well organized, logical multi-paragraph essays with strong introductions and conclusions using the Step Up to Writing curriculum. The program also includes instruction on effective note-taking and creative story writing.
As part of our school-wide STEM focus, math instruction is based on Common Core Standards. All grades are taught from the Pearson Envision/Digits textbook series, ensuring continuity as learning progresses. Students in grades 5-8 are instructed in leveled groups, enabling more one-to-one teacher/pupil interaction. Gifted students may place into advanced math groups in grades 7 and 8. Graduates of these advanced groups usually qualify for 10th grade math upon entering high school.
Children of all faiths are welcome at Our Lady of Mount Carmel School. All students are expected to participate in religious studies, daily prayer experiences and monthly school liturgical celebrations, and students in grades 2-8 attend Mass weekly. Religion instruction includes social-emotional learning topics on respecting all living things, multi-sensory projects and group activities. All grades use RCL Benziger programs. In grades 5 and 6, developmentally appropriate content about puberty and human sexuality are covered in a respectful way designed to complement what parents are teaching their children at home.
All grades use TCI Science, a NGSS-aligned and lead students in the doing of science and engineering.
Social Studies instruction follows California and National Standards, exposing children to gradually more complex concepts about the world, it's people and institutions. Social Sciences include history, geography, civics, economics and culture. Grades 6-8 uses McDougal-Littell and Pearson publishers. Group activities, stories and research-based instruction help students discover the past.
In addition to our full Enrichment Curriculum, our middle school students have several elective choices.
Study Skills and Organization
Working to learn important study skill habits such as note taking, highlighting (annotating), how and when to study, making a plan, taking things a little bit at a time when prepping for a test. Using various websites to aid in studying, such as Quizlet. And how to stay organized! Clearly labeled binder, color coded subject dividers, etc.
Globally looking at organizations that give microloans to individuals in emerging countries to help them with their independence. Planning ways to fundraise for the loans and choosing recipients. Locally looking at our school community and the Bay Area. Choosing an area of need and deciding how to contribute in a positive way. This will involve off-campus visits to organizations. Students will build skills in research, planning, and budgeting while gaining a perspective on social justice.
Academic Junior High Decathlon
An academic competition designed for Catholic students in grades 7 & 8. There are ten events that take place within the one-day competition. Two of the events are collaborative team efforts including the Logic Quiz and the Super Quiz. The other eight events are individual events including Religion, English and Spelling, Literature, Science, Mathematics, Current Events, Social Studies, and Fine Arts (Art and/or Music). The ten team members work together on both the Logic Quiz and the Super Quiz. There are eight team members who also take individual tests and two team members designated as the Members at Large who only compete in the team events. Learn more.
In the Acting Enrichment Pod you will learn to access your own personal voice and your unique take on the human experience as you play different scene characters and roles. We will discuss the difference between stage acting and film acting as we explore a variety of scenes.
Home Economics will be built on four pillars: Cooking, Cleaning, Budgeting, and Sewing & Textiles. Students will learn about food preparation and the importance of safety and cleanliness of a work space. Instruction will be given on measurement, temperature & time, handling, and storage of food, following directions, recipes, and creating their own dishes. Financial budgeting will focus on the value of a dollar, the difference of need versus want, and how best to manage money earned and saved. Sewing and Textiles will be introduced as a basic skill taught with the intent and focus on everyday repairs and tasks that are good to know. The love and care you invest in your work will not only prove beneficial now but will produce dividends for a lifetime.
Chess is Life
Life is like a game of chess–wins and losses are a part of it. Expect the unexpected. Every move and or decision you make can bring an advantage or a disadvantage. Sacrifices are made at some point. Don't regret your decisions because there is always a lesson to be learned. Students will get life skills while learning the game of chess. Goal: Students will be able to understand the basic rules of chess, how-to play, and have fun while learning more about themselves and why the game of chess is like life.
Leadership - Empowerment - Advocacy
Students will learn about Leadership and what it takes to be an upstander. Building, modeling, and supporting through Leadership. Watching, talking, and demonstrating what leadership looks like and sounds like will be the focus. Students will watch, read, and act out what leadership is and how to help not just themselves but their peers. Types of activities to expect, Random Acts of Kindness to encourage fellowship, teambuilding, creating safe spaces for all voices to be heard and to speak, and enthusiastic support of personal growth through achievement small and large.
Mindfulness for Reducing Stress
Life for teens today can be stressful! The demands of social life, school, extra-curricular activities and family can easily become overwhelming. Technology and social media can add to these feelings. It is important for teens to have tools that help them to cope with stress they may be feeling. This course will focus on learning and using ‘Mindfulness,’ which is defined as being present, in the moment, without judgement. By the end of the trimester, students will have learned to identify and understand their stress better. They will have practiced many mindfulness strategies that they can use in day to day life in order to feel more able to handle stress as it arises.
This group will provide a place where you can discuss and process different areas of your life that you are struggling with from family, school, sports, friendship dynamics and the pressures of growing up! The purpose of the group is to help you better understand yourself in the context of your relationships (friends, family, teachers, etc) so that you can make more informed and healthy choices based on a deeper awareness of your feelings, reactions and patterns. We will help each other create a "tool box" to pull from when we encounter stressful situations or revisit negative patterns of behavior.
The "Reel" World
Looking at how the media teaches lessons of empathy, morality, and spirituality. In this course, we will sample different types of visual media and discuss and reflect on positive messages that may or may not be obvious.