Middle School

Curriculum

List of 4 items.

  • Class V

    ENGLISH: composition, creative writing, grammar, spelling and public speaking; reading includes The Witch of Blackbird Pond, Johnny Tremain and Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, as well as short stories and poetry in connection with work in American history.

    MATHEMATICS: continued development of number sense; computation with positive rational numbers in both fraction and decimal forms; percentage; probability; geometry, including area and perimeter; applications and problem solving.

    HISTORY: American history from the study of Native American cultures through the Civil War, with related work in English; introduction to global geography.

    SCIENCE: exploration of electricity, robotics and properties of matter. Activities include wiring a household circuit, building and programming a robot to complete a variety of challenges, and exploring physical changes and chemical reactions.

    MODERN LANGUAGES
    FRENCH: the beginning of a five-year integrated French curriculum, with initial emphasis on oral communication through the memorization of poems, dialogues and songs. Basic grammar and the reading of simple stories help to increase oral and written comprehension.

    MANDARIN: continued development of writing, listening and speaking skills through dialogue, poems, nursery rhymes, songs and games; exploration of Chinese culture and further work with simplified Chinese characters.

    SPANISH: the beginning of a five-year integrated Spanish curriculum, with a focus on listening and accurate pronunciation. Students develop their ear for the language while learning vocabulary and basic grammatical structures.

    READING AND WRITING PRACTICUM: the first year of a two-year sequence for students who benefit from reinforcement in language arts; focus on expository writing, close reading of increasingly complex material and the practice of study skills including outlining and note taking.

    DRAMA: exploration of the craft of acting through the rehearsal and performance of an adapted play by Shakespeare at an assembly in the spring.

    MUSIC: singing, solfège, theory fundamentals and group instrumental instruction. All students in Classes V–VIII have the opportunity to participate in extracurricular choral, jazz and orchestral ensembles, handbells and a recorder consort. Girls who study privately may perform in school-sponsored recitals.

    STUDIO ART: projects inspired by historical subject matter with attention to the basic elements of line, texture, shape and color; subsequent units take up world crafts, digital photography and an introduction to the design and creation of 3D prints.

    LIBRARY: development of personal reading taste through stories read aloud and selection of pleasure reading; practice of research skills in connection with student reports on the colonies and on world geography.

    TECHNOLOGY: final year of touch-typing instruction; transfer of files between home and school, file management, introduction to email and exploration of other software tools.

    PHYSICAL EDUCATION: transition from learning motor skills and movement concepts to learning how to use sport-specific skills in increasingly complex game play and performance situations; continued focus on social-emotional learning as students are exposed to the demands of competition and higher expectations for decision making, collaboration, and sportsmanship; fitness, dance—salsa, swing, jazz; monthly Red/White competitions that offer leadership opportunities and emphasize good sportsmanship.
  • Class VI

    ENGLISH: folktales, ballads and poetry, Genesis (KJV), Greek mythology, The Odyssey; analytical and creative exercises; a Greek or medieval mystery play.

    MATHEMATICS: review of fundamental operations with whole numbers, fractions and decimals; order of operations; negative numbers; ratios, rates and proportions; percentage, with practical applications; area and perimeter, volume and surface area; introduction to algebraic expressions and equations.

    HISTORY: complex ancient societies: Egypt; the development of Judaism from Moses through Solomon; the rise and fall of the Persian Empire; Greek history through Alexander the Great; Indian history through the Mauryan Dynasty; Roman history through Augustus; Chinese history through the Han Dynasty.

    SCIENCE: the human body; study of physiological systems with an emphasis on their interdependence and on the relationship between structure and function.

    MODERN LANGUAGES
    FRENCH: continued acquisition of basic grammar and ongoing practice in oral and written communication; introduction to cultural topics pertinent to France and francophone countries.

    MANDARIN: continued emphasis on communication through the use of authentic materials; more extensive classroom activities to develop speaking, reading, listening and writing skills and research projects to strengthen understanding of Chinese culture.

    SPANISH: continued emphasis on communication skills; present, preterite and present progressive tenses and introduction to cultural topics pertinent to Spanish-speaking countries.

    READING AND WRITING PRACTICUM: the second part of a two-year sequence (see Class V); researching and delivering an oral report; highlighting, outlining, mapping and note taking, informal debating.

    DRAMA: each English section presents an ancient Greek comedy or tragedy or a medieval English mystery play.

    MUSIC: continuation of program begun in Class V.

    STUDIO ART: continued work on the basic skills of visual expression through projects relating to the architecture and mythology of the ancient or non-Western world.

    LIBRARY: genre study including biographies, poetry and nonfiction titles; research skills integrated with history classes for a presentation on ancient Rome; instruction on and practice of media literacy skills.

    LANGUAGE: studies in grammar and composition; public speaking; the nature of language; introduction to philology through etymology and the relationship of English to other Indo-European languages.

    PHYSICAL EDUCATION: see Class V.

    TECHNOLOGY: an introduction to block coding and an intensive look at cyber safety and digital civics.
  • Class VII

    ENGLISH: poetry; grammar; Great Expectations; Julius Caesar; formal introduction to poetic terms; critical and creative writing.

    MATHEMATICS
    VII MATH: review of order of operations; solving equations, solving applications with equations; geometry topics including parallel lines, polygons, area, volume and surface area; set theory and inequalities; combinatorics and probability; equations and graphs of lines; computer programming; guided problem solving throughout the year to reinforce and deepen conceptual understanding.

    VII MATH EXTENDED: review of order of operations; equations with applications; geometry topics; set theory and inequalities; combinatorics and probability; graphs of linear equations and inequalities; systems of linear equations and inequalities; introduction to exponents, polynomial operations and factoring; computer programming with processing; graphing utilities used as needed; integrated challenges and active problem solving throughout the year to reinforce and deepen conceptual understanding.

    HISTORY: world history from 200 through 1500 C.E., including the origins of Christianity and the fall of the Roman Empire, The Byzantine Empire, the Rise and Spread of Islam in Asia, to India and to Sub-Saharan Africa on the Swahili Coast and in the Mali Empire, Hinduism and the spread of Buddhism to China, the Chinese Empire from Han to early Ming, China’s impact on Japan; the impacts of the Mongol conquests on Eurasia, ending with the emergence of Europe from feudalism through the Renaissance.

    SCIENCE: the first year of a two-year program on matter, energy and the atmosphere. Topics include the law of conservation of matter and energy; density; heat; wave energy; weather and climate change; Newton’s laws of motion.

    MODERN LANGUAGES
    BEGINNING FRENCH: introduction through oral and written exercises, skits and poems, using elementary grammar and vocabulary.

    FRENCH: for those continuing from Class V, further development of oral and grammatical skills through discussion, storytelling, reading, skits and oral presentations.

    MANDARIN: further development of listening, speaking, reading and writing; reinforcement of character writing and typing skills; reading of simplified stories; regular journal entries; oral presentations and multimedia projects.

    SPANISH: further development of listening, speaking, reading and writing, continued grammar immersion; reading of a short novel in Spanish.

    WRITING WORKSHOP: for students who do not study a modern language and who benefit from reinforcement in language arts, practice in organization, written expression, comprehension and analysis of fiction and non-fiction.

    LATIN: introduction through reading about daily life in a first-century Roman family, combined with practice in declensions, conjugations and elementary grammar using the Cambridge Latin program.

    MUSIC, DRAMA: Music and Drama collaborate to produce an operetta by Gilbert and Sullivan in the spring term; the class also attends a dress rehearsal at the Metropolitan Opera. The study of music also continues as it began in Class V, with the addition of percussion to the offerings in instrumental music.

    STUDIO ART: exploration of elements of design through layering patterns, simple printmaking techniques and the study of human figures. One museum study assignment is required.

    PUBLIC SPEAKING: lessons on practical application of public speaking skills, including interview etiquette; storytelling without filler language; introducing and greeting with confidence.

    PHYSICAL EDUCATION: see Class V.

    HEALTH: health-related topics such as drugs, nutrition, human sexuality, safety and peer pressure are integrated into the Middle School advisory program. This course follows guidelines established by New York State for health education and is taught through films and discussions.
  • Class VIII

    ENGLISH: short stories; grammar; Jane Eyre; poetry; Twelfth Night; formal introduction to narrative structure; critical and creative writing.

    MATHEMATICS
    ALGEBRA I: development of problem-solving skills and conceptual understanding of algebra; review of equations, inequalities and applications; polynomial and rational expressions; radicals; solutions of linear, quadratic and rational equations; quadratic functions and models; computer programming with Arduino boards; graphing utilities used as needed; guided problem solving throughout the year to reinforce and deepen conceptual understanding.

    ALGEBRA I EXTENDED: development of problem-solving skills and conceptual understanding of algebra; review of equations, inequalities and applications; polynomial and rational expressions; radicals; functions; solutions of linear, quadratic, rational and radical equations; quadratic models; geometry topics including coordinate geometry, algebraic proofs, constructions and locus; computer programming with Arduino boards; graphing utilities used as needed; integrated challenges and active problem solving throughout the year to reinforce and deepen conceptual understanding.

    HISTORY: global history from 1500 to the late nineteenth century. Topics focus on the emergence of globalization including the European conquest of the Americas; the Ottoman and Mughal Empires; Ming and Qing China; Tokugawa Japan; the American, French and Latin American Revolutions; the Industrial Revolution; nineteenth-century European imperialism; and the Meiji Restoration in Japan.

    SCIENCE: the second year of a two-year physical science program on matter, energy and the earth. Topics include an introduction to concepts of chemistry and geology and study of the conservation and sustainable use of the Earth’s resources.

    MODERN LANGUAGES
    BEGINNING FRENCH: for students who began in Class VII, development of listening, speaking, reading and writing through structured class conversations, skits, student-created videos, the reading of French texts and poetry, the study of grammar and the writing of narrative paragraphs using the past, present and future tenses.

    FRENCH: for students who began in Class V, emphasis on more advanced grammar skills through class conversations, written compositions, the reading of an extended narrative and the viewing of selected scenes of films.

    MANDARIN: continued development of skills through supplementary audio and video materials that present students with real-life situations and exercise their ability to listen and speak; further practice in character writing and enrichment of vocabulary; exploration of Chinese culture.

    SPANISH: continued development of listening, speaking, reading and writing; expansion of vocabulary and knowledge of syntax. Emphasis on the use of past tenses in narrative; introduction of the subjunctive. Students read a short novel.

    WRITING WORKSHOP: continuation of the program from Class VII.

    LATIN: continuing study of vocabulary and syntax, with attention to uses of the participle and subjunctive in subordinate clauses, in the Cambridge Latin program.

    MUSIC: see Class V.

    STUDIO ART: drawing and painting from direct observation of the natural world. Techniques may include collage and mixed media. One museum study assignment is required.

    PUBLIC SPEAKING: introduction to formal and extemporaneous skills of presentation and exchange, with applications in several disciplines throughout the year.

    PHYSICAL EDUCATION: a continuation of the program began in Class V, with the addition of one trimester of West African dance and spring electives designed by the students.

    HEALTH: discussion of health-related topics through the Middle School advisory program. Articles from periodicals serve as background, and the girls are encouraged to bring their questions to the groups. Topics include nutrition, body image, healthy diet, decision making, relationships with parents and peers, human sexuality and substance abuse. This course fulfills the New York State requirement for health education.
The Brearley School
610 East 83rd Street | 590 East 83rd Street
New York, NY 10028
(212) 744-8582
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