Each year of middle school, students take the following courses.
BOSQUE MIDDLE SCHOOL CURRICULUM
All middle school students take the following courses: Social Studies, English, Math, Science, Spanish, Fine Arts, Performing Arts, and Physical Education. During their Performing Arts block, students enroll in Choir, Drama, Band, or String Ensemble. Eighth graders also have the option of enrolling in Drama Tech. All middle school students are also involved in Service Learning, which meets as a class once every two weeks. In order to complete middle school successfully, all students must meet the academic requirements of each of these courses.
MIDDLE SCHOOL FINE ARTS
Fine arts courses are an integral part of the middle school curriculum. Sixth, seventh, and eighth graders all take fine arts for the entire academic year. The classes meet regularly, for the same amount of time that other courses meet. The middle school fine arts curriculum sets goals and standards for skills, techniques, and knowledge. The goals in every art class include both objective skills and innovative design and creation. Group and individual projects are designed to foster delight, serious observation, introspection, and growth in design and skill. Students complete a variety of projects including mosaics, paper crafts, batik, printmaking, color work, painting, ceramics, pastel drawings, mural making, and sculpture. Basic drawing lessons teach value, contrast, whole-page composition, contour, perspective, and observation. All students learn how to participate in constructive critiques and are introduced to historical and contemporary art and artists. Throughout the three years of middle school art, students are encouraged to think in innovative and creative ways, and the importance of play and experimentation is never forgotten.
MIDDLE SCHOOL PERFORMING ARTS
Performing arts play an essential role in shaping the learning experience of all students at Bosque School. As part of the core curriculum, participation in the performing arts will engage students in content and skills that will provide meaningful and successful life experiences. Bosque School offers a rich variety of performing art disciplines which include drama, technical theatre, choir, string ensemble, wind ensemble, dance, and guitar. All Performing Arts activities at Bosque lead to performance opportunities where students build self-confidence and a sense of pride in their accomplishment.
6th, 7th, and 8th GRADE BAND
Instrumental ensembles in the middle school teach the students the subject of music through performance. Each level of ensemble provides a unique learning experience to strive for musical excellence and challenge the individual to grow as a confident musician. Ensemble classes cover a wide variety of subjects, including music theory, music history, form and analysis, improvisation, and composition. The goal for all ensembles is to develop a lifelong appreciation for music, beginning with performance.
MIDDLE SCHOOL STRING ENSEMBLE
Middle School String Ensemble teaches the students the subject of music through performance. Each level of ensemble provides a unique learning experience to strive for musical excellence and challenge the individual to grow as a confident musician. Ensemble classes cover a wide variety of subjects, including string technique, music theory, music history, form and analysis, improvisation, and composition. The goal for all ensembles is to develop a lifelong appreciation for music, beginning with performance.
MIDDLE SCHOOL CHOIR
Middle School Choir focuses on teaching music through performance, movement, singing games, sight-reading, basic music history, and music theory. There are three choirs in the middle school and each increase in grade level increases the degree of difficulty of the music and music theory involved. Students in middle school will learn what it takes to become part of a group that fosters a sense of community and how to be self-evaluators. The choral program encourages students to take creative risks, develop independent thought and creative problem-solving, develop tolerance and sensitivity toward others, and respect the work of their fellow students while developing an acceptable, productive voice.
MIDDLE SCHOOL DRAMA
Students in this course develop acting skills through a study of technique, improvisation, theater games, mime, camera work, and scene study. In addition, theater history is introduced in a general survey, exposing the students to the themes, styles, and the development of dramatic arts. Each grade has a different area of concentration: 6th—improvisation; 7th—mask and contemporary drama; 8th—Shakespeare. All courses culminate in a performance at the end of the year.
EIGHTH GRADE DRAMA TECH
This class is intended to give students a broad experience in stage design, scenery, props, lighting, sound and stage management. Students will learn the components of stage production including safety, history, lore, etiquette, and protocol. Every student will learn the proper use and care of tools and equipment in each discipline. During the course of the year, production needs will be supported by the work done during class. Students will increase the depth of experience as a working member of the stage crew on at least four Bosque productions.
MIDDLE SCHOOL ENGLISH
SIXTH GRADE ENGLISH
Sixth grade is a time of significant transition for students as they move from being elementary students to becoming middle school students. This is also a time for students—who hail from a diversity of schools and backgrounds-- to forge friendships and to become members of a community that is new to them, Bosque School. With that in mind, many of our readings in sixth grade will focus on adolescent characters who also are going through changes of their own--changes in how they live their lives, in what they believe and with whom they form connections. In sixth grade, students will read from a variety of texts, including poems, novels, myths, articles, and speeches. Students will learn to read text carefully by using “close” reading strategies, such as focusing on the main details, making inferences and making connections between what they are reading and with other texts they have read. They also will strengthen their reading comprehension skills through discussion of texts. With writing, much of our work in sixth grade will be on students finding their voice as writers. They will be encouraged to write often about topics that interest them, and they will have ample opportunities to complete both creative and analytical pieces. Students will spend significant time sharpening their paragraph writing skills and crafting written responses, both imaginative and analytical, to the texts they read. Grammar instruction and revision work are interwoven into writing instruction in the sixth grade.
SEVENTH GRADE ENGLISH
The unifying theme for seventh grade English is Diversity in Community. Our exploration of literature will be framed by the essential question, “What is the role of an individual in a community?” We will build our literary repertoire by reading and writing in a variety of genres, including poetry, short stories, novels, essays, and speeches. Students will advance their reading and writing skills as they refine their thinking about themselves and the world around them. Class discussions and homework assignments are designed to stimulate the students' personal responses to both the literature and their world at large and to provoke independent thinking and analysis; the emphasis remains on developing each student's ability to construct meaning from the text. Throughout the year, students are introduced to more complex rhetorical strategies as they develop their skills at writing the expository essay and continue to work on articulating and supporting their ideas, maintaining the unity and coherence of their focus, and finding confidence in their voices. The core of our reading will be a thoughtful representation from traditional and young adult novels with strong adolescent protagonists and diverse perspectives within a historical setting. Seventh grade readings include Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman, The Last Snake Runner by Kimberly Griffiths Little, Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson, The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, and Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. Students will also be expected to read independently from a list of thematically appropriate novels.
EIGHTH GRADE ENGLISH
During eighth grade English, we will explore the relation between the self and society. We will look at how various thinkers have understood the self, and we
will examine how different characters establish their selves in relation to family, history, religion, fate, race, and culture in a variety of short stories, essays, poems, and novels. We will look at characters’ struggle against society as they search for better worlds, flee broken worlds, and inhabit a variety of utopian and dystopian spaces. Just as we will read across a variety of genres, we will also write in a range of genres. In preparation for high school, one primary focus will be becoming comfortable and competent writing analytic essays. In addition, we will immerse ourselves in a study of poetry and short fiction in preparation for Writers' Cafe.
Some of the longer works that we will likely read this year include Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya, Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, The Road, by Cormac McCarthy, The Giver, by Lois Lowry, To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak, American Born Chinese, by Gene Yang, and William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.
MIDDLE SCHOOL HISTORY/SOCIAL STUDIES
The middle school social studies curriculum is designed to help young people develop the ability to make informed and reasoned decisions for the public good as citizens of a culturally diverse, democratic society. Through the exploration and study of historical events, as well as significant themes and ideas throughout history, students gain the information and tools necessary to become critical and informed thinkers about their world. Throughout the three courses, middle school students are taught basic research skills, mapping skills, essay writing, how to make a formal presentation, note-taking, and the art of meaningful discussion and debate.
SIXTH GRADE: BE THE CHANGE: THE INDIVIDUAL IN SOCIETY
Throughout the year students will learn about famous and everyday individuals that helped shape our society. Among these individuals are Mahatma Gandhi, Cesar Chaves, and Martin Luther King. Students will become familiar with the struggles that people have faced and the different ways that they have overcome obstacles. In addition they will also follow current news events and strive to develop a greater understanding of the world in which they live. A special emphasis will be given to Africa and Asia. Through reading, research, discussion, and writing, students are encouraged to find meaningful answers to the following questions: Can the actions of an individual make a difference? Why should I seek to understand different cultures and perspectives? What are my roles and responsibilities to the wider community? This course does not use one specific text but draws information from a variety of sources such as primary documents, biographies, encyclopedias, atlases, field trips, short essays, and multimedia resources.
SEVENTH GRADE: THERE’S A “NEW” MEXICO? A SURVIVAL GUIDE TO THE LAND OF ENCHANTMENT
The seventh grade social studies course focuses on New Mexican history and culture. The course is inquiry based and centered on student driven projects. The class begins with an examination of the geology and geography of the region with an emphasis on “sense of place” and the challenge of an increasing demand for a finite set of natural resources. Students are challenged to identify what makes New Mexico unique in history and culture. The second unit of study focuses on the first inhabitant of the Southwest and their developing cultures. Special attention is paid to the Anasazi, and the ancestral Navajo, Pueblo, and Apache tribes. Next, students examine the period of Spanish colonization, the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, and the Spanish return. The focus then shifts to the Americanization of the region with the Mexican-American War. This unit culminates with the students reading the novel Bass Reeves by Gary Paulsen. This outstanding book tells the story of a fugitive slave who hides out in Indian Territory before becoming the most successful Federal Marshall in the West. It addresses all the themes that emerge in the earlier units: cultural identity, relationship to the land, and the quest for personal freedom. The next unit of study focuses on New Mexico’s transition from a territory to statehood. The last historical unit focuses on New Mexico’s role in World War II, specifically the development of the Atomic Bomb and the role of the Navajo code talkers. Finally, the students finish with an individual research project in which they research an issue in contemporary life and make suggestions about how to improve our society or culture.
EIGHTH GRADE: CIVICS IN ACTION (CIA)
The success of our American Republic depends on an educated citizenry. Without the mindful engagement of an educated population our system falls prey to those who want to usurp power from the people. As John F. Kennedy once said, “the ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all.” Therefore, 8th Grade Social Studies builds on the middle school theme of civic engagement by demonstrating to the students that “we all matter.” In the first semester, this course covers our American system of government by looking at the structure, founding documents, influences on our republic, and issues confronting our federal system. Second semester we delve into the concept of global citizenry and look at role and responsibility the
individual has as a citizen of the world. Here we compare political systems, explore international organizations, and tackle issues plaguing our planet. Simulations and current events inspired debates will be an integral part of this course.
Grade 8 Social Studies does not rely on a specific text, but rather utilizes a multitude of resources including primary and secondary sources, guest speakers, short essays, multimedia resources, historical fiction, field trips, as well as group and individual projects. Strong emphasis is placed on strengthening the tools necessary for success in higher level history classes. These skills include writing, researching, debating, cooperative learning and note-taking. Students will also be expected to analyze critically and synthesize the information presented.
MIDDLE SCHOOL LANGUAGE
Spanish is required each year at the middle school level.
SPANISH FOR HERITAGE SPEAKERS
This course is made up of sixth, seventh and eighth grade students who have a high command of oral Spanish by having been brought up in a Spanish-speaking household, having lived in a Spanish-speaking country, or having attended a dual language program during elementary school. The course will focus on the specific language needs of these types of speakers. Students will work to enhance their cultural background and to improve their reading, writing, speaking, skills through reading and discussing a variety of literature from Latin America and by studying Latin music, oral tradition, history, and shared values. In-class activities will include small group discussions, storytelling, small performances, writing activities, art projects and music.
SIXTH GRADE SPANISH
Sixth grade Spanish is all about community. Students work on listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills through studying the community in which they live. They learn to talk about themselves and their families and study the lives and traditions of people from different Spanish-speaking communities. The course is designed to inspire students to learn a second language by using music, food, dance, and art in everyday classes. The class is taught primarily in Spanish, providing constant exposure to the sounds of the language and continual practice in listening and understanding. A large part of the curriculum integrates concepts and vocabulary from other subjects (science, English, and social studies) in thematic units.
SEVENTH GRADE SPANISH
The focus of seventh grade Spanish is “Everything New Mexican.” We begin by working with the seventh grade team to create meaningful activities surrounding the summer reading. We are focusing on the fusion of European and indigenous cultures in the Southwest. We will look at place names in New Mexico and discuss their origins. We will discuss local traditions, and we will also be learning several traditional stories. Students will learn how to talk about their own lives and experiences in structured contexts. They will also have the opportunity to compare traditional New Mexican food with the cuisine of other Spanish-speaking areas of the world.
EIGHTH GRADE SPANISH
The driving theme of eighth grade Spanish is “Art as Social Commentary.” We will be exploring the work of artists representing social issues throughout the Spanish-speaking world. We will journey to Spain and study the works of Velázquez, Goya, and Picasso. Students will also study the works of the great Mexican artists Diego Rivera, David Siqueiros, and Frida Kahlo. In addition to these artists, we will study popular and folk art as it represents the societal and political concerns and values of people in Spanish-speaking communities throughout Latin America and the United States. Students will have opportunities to investigate the artistic elements and styles, as well as the social contexts and historical events surrounding each artist and their pieces. Additionally, students will have ample opportunity to create art following the masters’ personal styles. As a result, they will also be using vocabulary pertinent to these studies.
MIDDLE SCHOOL MATHEMATICS
The courses in the mathematics department represent a rigorous curriculum that strives to challenge students while instilling an excitement for math. Ultimately, students are prepared for college-level mathematics. The department places an emphasis on exploring ideas from numerical, algebraic, graphical and contextual perspectives. The variety and sequence of courses, as well as the multiple entry points for the advanced courses, support our department philosophy: "Every student in the right place at the right time."
SIXTH GRADE MATH
This course is intended to reinforce basic arithmetic skills, to introduce algebraic concepts such as evaluating variable expressions, and to strengthen each student's problem-solving skills. The curriculum covers such diverse topics as operations with fractions and decimals; statistics; probability; two- and three-dimensional geometry; dealing with negative numbers, ratios, and proportions; and solving an equation with a variable. Rather than merely being given a set of rules to memorize in a lecture format, students discover mathematical principles for themselves and are therefore encouraged to participate actively in class discussions. This process is supported by homework assignments and various individual and group activities and projects. Students work primarily from the textbook, Holt McDougal Mathematics Grade 6, but material is supplemented as needed.
ADVANCED SIXTH GRADE MATH
This course is designed to accelerate mathematically talented sixth grade students. Participants are identified through a teacher-created, above-grade-level exam administered in the spring prior to entering sixth grade. The exam looks for advanced conceptual, arithmetic, and problem-solving skills. Topics include operations with integers, fractions, decimals and exponents; solving equations and inequalities; rates and ratios; geometry of two-and-three dimensional objects; linear equations; and probability. The text for this course is Mathematics Grade 7 published by Holt McDougal. One day each week is spent on solving problems from the Mathcounts and Math Olympiad competitions. Students are invited, but not required, to participate in these as well as other competitions sponsored by the school.
SEVENTH GRADE MATH
This course is designed to assist students as they make the transition between the concrete subject of arithmetic and more abstract subjects like algebra and geometry. This is accomplished by working with variables, variable expressions, equations, inequalities, and formulas. Subjects covered in earlier math courses such as fractions, ratios, percents, exponents, radicals, and probability are studied in greater depth for further mastery. The students also explore the geometry of polygons and similarity. The course is taught so that a wide range of abilities is challenged through riddles, puzzles, and more complex mathematical problems supplementing the daily coursework. In addition to the specific arithmetic, algebraic, and geometric skills and concepts mentioned above, this course begins to develop students’ ability to communicate mathematical knowledge through symbols. The text for this course is Mathematics Grade 7 published by Holt McDougal .
ADVANCED SEVENTH GRADE MATH
This course is designed to accelerate mathematically talented seventh grade students. Participants have either completed the sixth grade accelerated math class or been identified in 6th grade through teacher recommendation and an above-grade-level exam administered in the spring of their 6th grade year. The exam looks for advanced conceptual, arithmetic and problem-solving skills. Seventh grade students will, at a minimum, cover the eighth grade algebra curriculum. For the specific topics covered in the class, please see the eighth grade algebra course description. The text for this course is Algebra I published by Glencoe McGraw Hill. One day each week is spent on solving problems from the Mathcounts and Math Olympiad competitions. Students are invited, but not required, to participate in these as well as other competitions sponsored by the school.
EIGHTH GRADE MATH
This course uses Connected Mathematics, a middle school series developed with funding from the National Science Foundation. This integrated curriculum helps students develop further understanding of important concepts, skills, procedures, and ways of thinking and reasoning in preparation for Algebra 1. Topics include linear, exponential, and quadratic functions; area, volume, and perimeter of polygons and solids; and writing and solving equations and inequalities. Conceptual learning is balanced with ongoing skills review. These include operations with whole numbers, integers, fractions, decimals, exponents, and percentages.
This class covers the fundamental concepts of beginning algebra. Algebraic concepts are viewed from varied perspectives to help students develop their abilities with abstraction and generalization; application of knowledge is fundamental to each topic. This course includes real-world problems with relevant uses of elementary algebra, statistics, probability and geometry. The content of the course focuses on the concept of variables; the four basic arithmetic operations from an algebraic perspective; linear equations and inequalities; the geometry of lines in the plane; and the concepts of distance, square roots and absolute value. The course also studies the algebraic descriptions of lines in the plane, using slope-intercept, and linear combination forms of lines. Other topics include powers, compound interest, exponential growth and decay, operations with polynomials, linear systems and quadratics. The textbook for the course is Algebra I published by Glencoe McGraw Hill.
MIDDLE SCHOOL PHYSICAL EDUCATION
The Middle School Physical Education curriculum focuses on each student's continuous development of physical fitness attributes and movement skills. Five themes are central to the program: fitness integrated (coordinated) movement, striking, throwing and catching, body management, and group initiatives. The actual activities used to address six physical education performance standards, which stress physical, social, and intellectual development, vary each year. Both formal and informal procedures are used regularly to assess the students' movement skill performances and knowledge. Students are given opportunities to develop leadership and to work in small groups to solve problems or accomplish tasks. Diverse capabilities and social needs of individual students are addressed in the physical education program. Through purposeful learning activities, students are guided to refine motor, social, and intellectual skills which serve to promote a fit and active lifestyle for the future. Health-related fitness is also addressed through Current Teen Health as well as other resources that serve to enhance a student’s breadth and depth of knowledge in various areas.
MIDDLE SCHOOL SCIENCE
Bosque School’s middle school science program is a field- and community-based curriculum. It is designed to engage students in real, inquiry-based science. Students are given the opportunity to contribute to the larger world of science by participating in actual research and applied science projects. Whenever possible, students work and share their data with government, university, and other scientists. Students experience their local landscape in ways that allow them to build direct, personal, and visceral connections with it. These connections lay the foundation for students to construct scientific understanding from authentic experiences. The coursework is consistent with national science standards established for middle school, including the practices, cross-cutting concepts, and core ideas of the Next Generation Science Standards (April 2012). Assignments and working methods are designed to create a relevant and appropriate learning progression of skills and concepts over the three middle school years. Sources for these courses are current scientific literature from both governmental and private entities.
SIXTH GRADE SCIENCE
In 6th grade, students work along the Rio Grande, in our riparian forest known locally by its Spanish name bosque. Mostly brought on by human activity, the Rio Grande bosque is undergoing tremendous transformation. Students study this change in the field and classroom. Students participate in the Bosque Ecosystem Monitoring Program (BEMP), a research project for long-term environmental monitoring of the bosque ecosystem. BEMP is a joint effort coordinated by the University of New Mexico (UNM) and Bosque School, and is sponsored by the Black Institute for Environmental Studies at Bosque School. Through this program, students participate as real scientists doing real scientific research! During a variety of field activities, students collect data to study the biodiversity and ecosystem changes in the bosque: local weather conditions (e.g., rainfall and temperature); amounts and types of leaf litter that fall to the forest floor; depth to the groundwater table; small mammal trapping; surveys of ground-dwelling arthropods; and tracking porcupines. In addition to BEMP, students engage in various inquiry and hands-on learning experiences to make science relevant to their everyday lives. These group and individual activities are designed to spark students’ curiosity and observation skills, strengthen their knowledge of our living environment, and help them plan, carry out, and communicate their scientific investigations.
SEVENTH GRADE SCIENCE
In seventh grade, students expand their studies outward from the Rio Grande and engage in a watershed-wide exploration. On a monthly basis, students
monitor the biological, chemical, and physical characteristics of their home watershed. Research findings will be shared with other students, natural resource agencies, UNM, and other scientists. Students will be engaged in activities that facilitate the learning of science process skills and the scientific method. Students conduct their surface monitoring through participation in a New Mexico Department of Game and Fish-sponsored Watershed Watch program. In it, students are part of a state-wide network of student monitors. The surface water research sites include a high mountain stream northeast of Albuquerque, a small stream in Albuquerque’s eastern foothills, two merging streams in the Jemez Mountains, and the main channel of the Rio Grande. Seventh grade science students share their data with other researchers and the community at large. Students make formal presentations to other students from other schools. Student field work is supported by laboratory, classroom, and computer lab activities.
EIGHTH GRADE SCIENCE
In eighth grade, students expand their knowledge of the environment by exploring topics in earth science. They also are required to apply the scientific method and science process skills to problem solve. These scientific principles are tied back to the students’ everyday experiences and ongoing fieldwork. Students probe more deeply into their surroundings, participating in a variety of group projects, such as an atom film project, a volcano project, the complex machine project, and building solar ovens and cars. Students also complete several individual research projects, write formal lab reports, and create presentations for peer review. By the end of eighth grade science, students have a strong understanding of the relationships between math, engineering, technology, and science. They improve upon the laboratory and research skills learned in seventh grade, while functioning in a more formal laboratory setting. Students also have the opportunity to see how their local experiences connect to the larger global context.
MIDDLE SCHOOL SERVICE LEARNING
All Bosque School middle school students attend twice-monthly Service Learning class that is integrated into the core curriculum. Each grade focuses their time on projects associated with a particular theme. Bosque School 6th graders focus on their school and local environmental community. They manage the recycling and lost and found program on campus, while learning about stewardship of the environment surrounding our campus. The 7th graders explore the causes and imp
lications of hunger and poverty at local, national and global levels. Students volunteer at local community gardens, food pantries, food banks and other community-based services. Eighth graders delve into strengthening literacy among our community’s at-risk children. Through partnerships with local Head Start programs, our students read and do other literacy-building activities with pre-schoolers, building friendships with their young “buddies” as mentors, and inspiring them to develop a love of reading.