St. Paul’s Middle School takes an appropriately challenging, creative, and collaborative educational approach that is tailored to this gender and age group’s unique needs. In all that we do, our goal is for each boy to develop a specific set of behaviors and habits that lead to mastery of essential content. Through careful curriculum planning, we focus on mastery of what matters most in each subject. Ample, engaging activities prepare boys for assessments that are designed to apply and extend learning. Acknowledging that the learning process contains setbacks as well as successes, our Middle School is the perfect place to develop resiliency while being supported every step of the way by a nurturing faculty whose goal is progress over perfection.
The Middle School faculty is made up of professionals who have dedicated their careers to this rewarding age group “in the middle.” Our teachers, trained in brain research, recognize that pre-adolescents are not miniature high school students. Confidence and competence are built in a safe emotional climate that frames assessments, both formative and summative, as checkpoints for adjusting instruction and welcoming mistakes along the way as opportunities for growth. In dozens of activities, from Woodworking Club and STEM to our 21 middle-school athletic teams, St. Paul’s teachers connect deeply with their students, forge long-lasting relationships, and model what it means to be a St. Paul’s gentleman.
Middle School Curriculum
St. Paul’s Middle School, which encompasses grades five through eight, is an all-boys experience. As boys transition through the Middle School our goal is that they develop a greater understanding and application of the learning process. Our curriculum is designed so that each boy can develop a strong work ethic and the academic resiliency that will lead to ongoing academic success. During this process, boys understand their strengths, recognize their weaknesses and then develop the appropriate skills that will allow for them to take on greater academic rigor. Throughout the middle school years, each student is supported by dedicated teacher-mentors well-versed in the challenges unique to boys in these early adolescent years. There are many essential aspects to a middle school experience: academics, athletics, arts, chapel, friendships/social learning, character building/leadership opportunities, responsibility, and learning organizational skills and processes. The St. Paul’s Middle School is not about any single one of these elements; it is about all of them.
The St. Paul’s Middle School English faculty believe that middle school readers are empowered through choice reading. When they have control over what they read, they are more likely to find the right books and other media that will deepen their love of reading. The books they choose are used in the English classrooms as springboards for teaching the reading skills that are crucial for all middle schoolers to develop: making inferences, learning vocabulary in context, character analysis, et al, as well as studying the style of authors in order to emulate their approach in our own writing.
The choice reading program also motivates students to see that reading does not have to be some unpleasant chore or dreaded class activity. Instead, students realize that reading is a pursuit that can expand their horizons; instill empathy and compassion; and enrich their lives for the better.
We believe fifth grade boys need to understand the benefits of a reading and writing process. Emerging readers and writers improve with exposure to worthy texts in different genres. We want each boy to embrace rich, varied novels while improving vocabulary, learning to read aloud for expression, and growing in comprehension skills.
Boys also need to know the importance of grammar and the mechanics of writing, which come more easily to those who value reading. Through fifth grade English, we help boys see the value and direct correlation of reading and writing, and we leverage this connection to offer them the opportunity to explore new ideas and genres as writers.
English Six uses a project-based approach to get boys as interested as possible in reading and writing, and to develop basic skills that they will use every day of their lives. Boys learn to imitate high-interest pieces of writing in a number of genres, tearing apart how they work and figuring out what makes them good, as well as what they mean and why. Each boy is challenged to see a number of pieces of his writing through the writing process until they represent his best possible work, at which point he creates his own professionally-printed anthology.
Additionally, they record audiobook readings in which they're able to develop fluency and comprehension through expressive reading for an authentic audience. Always running in the background are the nuts and bolts that are so important: using appropriate writing mechanics (spelling, grammar, and punctuation), recognizing how pieces of writing are put together and why, and attending to the details in all that they read and write. Most of these activities are shaped by authentic challenges that require them to address a real problem and a real need with these very literacy tools. This also requires them to be collaborative and to seek answers and resources in ways that reflect the approaches we use as adults in the real world.
Seventh grade is a year when students have the opportunity to foster a true love of reading and writing while simultaneously working towards mastery of key literacy skills in authentic ways. Seventh graders express their creativity and analytical skills through deep investment in course material and having “skin in the game” when it comes to all class activities. Whole-class texts such as Monster by Walter Dean Myers, Refugee by Alan Gratz, and Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell allow students to make connections every day between authors’ messages and themes and “real-world” phenomena, something that is critical to the academic development of adolescent boys.
Throughout the school year, students craft short stories, essays, articles, and speeches as a means of communication, entertainment, and personal expression. They also produce high-quality podcasts, TED-Talks, and journals in order to hone their craft; develop their voice; and write with clarity, precision, and accuracy.
Finally, students develop their persuasive writing and grammar/mechanics skills through weekly “Article-of-the-Week” assignments. These assignments involve reading an assigned article before annotating it thoroughly and writing a comprehensive response paper. The weekly articles address a variety of different topics and issues, and students practice discussion and debate skills in a respectful and safe environment.
Overall, the goal of seventh grade English is for students to become better readers, writers, speakers, thinkers, and listeners by working hard, having fun, taking appropriate academic risks, and learning each and every day.
Eighth grade is the year of critical thinking and discussions, immersive choice reading experiences, and writing across disciplines with a focus on craftsmanship. Our motto, “Do it as well as you possibly can,” permeates everything we do, from potentially mundane grammar exercises to expansive writing processes.
Students read, discuss, and write about world issues, essays, short stories, novels, and philosophical/moral questions on a weekly basis, with great focus placed on the skills of summarizing an author’s main points accurately and expressing their own perspectives succinctly. The students also interact with these ideas in community through roundtable discussions in the classroom. Inevitably, disagreements arise, and focus is placed on using the appropriate tone and language in both written and verbal communication in order to further conversation rather than shut it down.
As readers, students put together all of the strategies and vocabulary they learned in the lower grades as they begin to tackle more complex texts--such as Elie Wiesel’s harrowing Night and Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451--and participate in formal literary analysis, both orally and in writing. We get them ready—with ample practice and support—for the next level.
They also write across genres, and at different points in the year they can be found composing recaps of St. Paul’s sports games, personal essays, short stories, research papers, and scripts to one of the several podcasts each student produces as an 8th grader. Focusing on audience, structure, and elaboration, 8th graders take cues and moves from great writers—the authors of the books, stories and articles they read—and apply them to their own work.
The fifth-grade History course, “Introduction to Geography and Ancient Civilization,” examines content on the formation of Earth through the fall of the Roman Empire. This course surveys the development of ancient civilizations by examining them through the lens of geography, the environment, law & society, government & politics, religion, and science & technology. Following the World History for Us All curriculum, students will gain a global perspective of ancient history by examining civilizations on the six inhabited continents. While we will engage with content focusing on the cradle of Western society, the Mediterranean region, this course will also serve to broaden students’ exposure to non-Western culture and thought. Through the study of ancient civilizations, students will develop skills in reading comprehension, writing, vocabulary, public speaking and research. Some of the things students can look forward to this year are reading Percy Jackson and The Lightning Thief, conducting research projects, acting and holding class debates. This humanities course will serve as a strong base from which to leap to success in sixth grade.
The sixth-grade History course continues the progression of historical skills begun in fifth grade. By the end of the year, students will be able to examine and evaluate primary and secondary sources; answer historical questions using thesis statements supported by specific historical evidence; create and explore independent historical questions; and determine cause(s) and effect(s) of important events in U.S. History. Students will be exploring these skills through topics ranging from the Revolutionary War to World War I. Students will be able to demonstrate their progression and mastery of these skills through a variety of projects including an independent President project, various classroom debates, mock trials, and a Civil War Re-enactment project. This course and curriculum seeks to further each student's progression of historical skills, and ultimately, help students to explore how history has shaped our nation of today.
The seventh-grade World Geography and Contemporary Issues course introduces students to general aspects of physical and cultural geography through the study of the interplay between the environment, natural resources, culture and government on each of the planet’s seven continents. In this class, students will study different regions of the world based on what is currently happening there. Although current political boundaries and other map skills will be emphasized, this class will mainly deal with current happenings in the regions covered. Students take the “next step” in their reading and writing journey by analyzing materials and writing justification paragraphs that support a certain point of view. Students complete three different research projects including the summative “Adopt a Country” project at the end of the year. The course seeks to impress in each student an awareness and an appreciation for the interplay and diversity of physical and cultural geography throughout the world.
The eighth-grade History course examines American History from World War I to the present day. Skills are further developed and practiced with connection to the skills practiced from 5th grade to allow each student a successful transition into the ninth grade. The exploration of American History in the eighth grade allows for a further understanding of the United States and its place in World History, which is studied in the ninth grade. Through cross curricular projects with eighth grade English, topics such as World War II, Genocide, Civil Rights, and the United States are explored and researched. Each student will have a better understanding of American History through past and present experiences. Students will be asked to write paragraphs and papers supporting their own thoughts on debatable topics through research of secondary and primary sources. Students will also develop ideas and express them through well-organized projects while working with classmates towards a universal goal. This work will help students develop analytical skills, which will allow each to read different types of material with a deeper sense of understanding. Topics studied will be compared to current events in the United States and the World at large.
Studies Group – Student who have ERB scores of 3 and lower & teacher recommendation. Emphasis will be placed on redo and retakes. Redo are available for tests and quizzes at the teacher’s discretion.
Middle Group – Students must maintain a B- or higher, ERB scores of 3 or higher & TEACHER RECOMMENDATION. Redo will be offered for tests only at the teacher’s discretion. Homework must be completed on time.
Accelerated Group – Students must maintain a B+ average or higher, ERB scores of 6 or higher & TEACHER RECOMMENDATION. No redo tests, quizzes or assignments. Students must consistently complete homework assignments and projects.
To move up a level, a Student must maintain an A or A+ each Quarter without Retakes and an A or A+ on the Final Assessment, ERB’s of 6 or above, plus TEACHER RECOMMENDATION.
Math Studies 5 and Practice
The Math Studies 5 and Practice class will emphasize mastering the basics of elementary school math. Key topics will be Whole Numbers, Decimals, Number Sense, Fractions, and Geometry. Real world application will be used throughout each unit, practicing basic facts to help establish the building blocks and creativity of math.
Math Studies 5
The Math Studies 5 class will master basic skills of elementary school math. Key topics will be Whole Numbers, Decimals, Number Sense, Fractions and Geometry. Emphasis will be placed on mechanics of multiplication, division, properties, and simple fractions. Patterns will be examined. Real world application will be used throughout each unit using problem solving. Simple Algebra skills will be introduced.
Accelerated Math 5
The Accelerated Math 5 class will challenge students beyond the basics of elementary school math. Key topics will be Whole Numbers, Decimals, Number Sense, Fractions, and Geometry. Real World application and problem solving will be used in every unit. Simple Algebra skills will be introduced.
Math Studies 6
The Math Studies 6 class will focus on Number Theory with all operations and relationships of numbers especially positive integers. Number sense will be emphasized with repetition and manipulatives. Students will explore decimals and fractions in depth before moving onto some Geometry topics and simple Algebra skills. Foundation skills will be emphasized and integrated with problem solving investigations. Word problems will be used to extend understanding of concepts.
Intro to Pre-Algebra
The Intro to Pre-Algebra class investigates math connections using manipulatives, analysis and practice. The sixth grader masters arithmetic with whole numbers, decimals and fractions. Number theory underlies the comprehension of math; prime factorization, divisibility rules, greatest common factor and least common multiple, and exponents. The system of ratio numbers including negative numbers is explored. These are the foundation of math knowledge and its understanding. The relationships of decimals, fractions and percent are explored through real-life application in word problems and through repetition. Math concepts are explored through simple problem solving to complex analysis of word problems and Algebra scenarios. Word problems are used to extend concept,s and real world problems are explored.
The Pre-Algebra class investigates math connections using manipulatives, analysis and practice. The sixth grader masters arithmetic with integers, decimals and fractions. Number theory underlies the comprehension of math; prime factorization, divisibility rules, greatest common factor and least common multiple, and exponents. These are the building blocks of math knowledge and its understanding. The relationships of decimals, fractions and percent are explored through real-life application through word problems and repetition. Math concepts are examined through simple problem solving to complex analysis of word problems and algebra scenarios. This class will explore each unit at an in-depth level with extensive challenge problems.
Math Studies 7
Students will review Whole Numbers with Order of Operations. Integers and all forms of Rational Numbers are the main emphasis. Perimeter and Area of Geometric figures will be used in investigating Rational Operations. The fourth quarter will emphasis Equation solving. Practice using the foundation of math skills will be included.
This course begins with a heavy emphasis on Integers and Order of Operations. A range of One Dimensional elements such as points, lines, and rays are explored. Two Dimensional shapes are studied, and students will be able to master perimeter and area. Visual thinking and inductive reasoning skills are used to analyze these geometric figures. A strong foundation of Exponents, Expressions, and multistep Equations will be built. Rational numbers in all forms will be manipulated and the equivalent relationship between decimals, fractions, percent, ratios, and proportions will be studied. This year focuses on the layering of foundational skills.
This course begins with an Introduction on Finite Systems and Mathematical Properties. Students will examine a variety of sets and their relationships. A range of One, Two, and Three Dimension Geometric lessons from points, lines, rays, and angle relationships to polygons and circles to solid figures are explored. The second semester will include Evaluating Expressions, Rules of Exponents, Solving Multi-Step Equations, Literal Equations, and real World Applications. Throughout the year, students will have opportunity to demonstrate mastery of proportional relationships and operations with Rational Numbers.
This course begins the year focusing on Integers, Rational Numbers, and Rational Operations. The course will also use Geometer Sketchpad to hit key Geometry topics. The second semester will focus on Rules of Exponents, Solving Equations, Linear Equations, and Real World Applications of Algebra.
The Algebra 1 course emphasizes mastering essential Algebra skills. The students investigate Expressions, Equations, Inequalities, Linear Equations, Systems of Equations, Polynomials, Factoring, Quadratic Equations, Rational Expressions, and Irrationals. They also use Geometer Sketchpad to re-examine important geometry concepts from the previous two years. Finally, they work on real-world problem solving skills in preparation for the Upper School.
Accelerated Algebra 1
The Accelerated Algebra 1 course emphasizes mastering essential Algebra skills. The students investigate Expressions, Equations, Inequalities, Linear Equations, Systems of Equations, Polynomials, Factoring, Quadratic Equations, Rational Expressions, Irrationals, and Functions. They also use Geometer Sketchpad to re-examine important geometry concepts from the previous two years. Finally, they work on real-world problem solving skills in preparation for the Upper School. The Honors course works at a quick pace and ends the year investigating some Algebra 2 topics.
5th grade is the first year that science is introduced as a core subject. The fifth-grade curriculum utilizes life science as the vehicle to introduce students to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and the skills necessary to find success throughout their time in middle school. The students work on a variety of skills throughout the year including: reading comprehension, note-taking, observation and inference, and critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Additionally, the students explore the scientific method. Finally, a strong emphasis is placed on developing and honing the students’ executive functioning skills.
The Chesapeake Bay serves as the focal point of the curriculum. By examining the environment, ecology, and evolution of the bay, the students gain a better understanding of the world around them. Students will delve into the plant and animal kingdoms to explore a variety of subjects including: trees, flowers, arthropods, mollusks, fish, and birds. Furthermore, hands-on activities and project-based learning are integral to the curriculum and serve to generate meaningful educational experiences for the students as they explore the bay and its environment. Finally, students will consider their own role in the surrounding environment and reflect on the impact that their decisions have on the world around them.
6th Grade:The sixth-grade year in Health Science begins with an understanding that students are entering a stage of development where they are beginning to have more and more control over their lives. Healthy decisions and habits can be responsible for a higher quality of life. With this understanding, students begin to explore the major systems of the body from a health perspective. “What can I do to promote maximum health for this body system?” is the question posed as students learn about how the overall wellness of the human organism is dependent upon good, knowledge-based choices. Students will explore the following units: Lab Safety, The Metric System of Measurement, The Scientific Method, The Generalized Cell, The Skeletal System, The Circulatory System, Civil War Field Medicine, The Digestive System, The Reproductive system, The Nervous System & PTSD Research, and will conduct a Disease Research Health Fair. Content from readings, including textbook and online resources, is reinforced with lab investigations and projects that reinforce the skills necessary to do science. Study skills are emphasized, and students have a variety of assessments along their unique journey. Also, note-taking is taught during research for projects following the Big 6 Research Method.
7th gradeScience students in the seventh-grade endeavor to utilize the scientific method to explore and model the fundamental principles of the Earth’s Land, Atmosphere, Space, and Oceans. Most importantly, they utilize the NGSS skill framework to continue building a solid foundation of success in science making interconnected relationships shaping people and the environment. Using the lens of “Earth-Environment-Evolution” students will explore the following topics; climate, weather, natural disasters, oceans, rivers, solar system, galaxies, constellations, sun, moon, rocks and minerals, plate tectonics, and natural resources. Most importantly, seventh graders will examine the interconnected relationship among humans, the planet, and beyond. Students will reinforce the essential skills of science through guided and open-ended investigations, as well as participate in numerous demonstrations and lab investigations.
Eighth-grade Robotics is a quarter-long introduction to programming that utilizes VEX IQ robotics as the vehicle to teach important problem-solving skills. This class has a strong focus on project-based learning that fosters the responsible use of technology and the development of a strong foundation of the skills necessary to define a problem and iterate through to a solution. They will put these skills to the test as they build a VEX IQ robot that responds to their commands to compete against each other in various challenges. At quarter’s end, the boys will have acquired a framework to build upon as they pursue robotics, computer science, and other IB programs in the Upper School.
Students in Physical Science endeavor to utilize the scientific method to explore and model the fundamental principles of chemistry, physics, and engineering. Most importantly, they utilize the NGSS skill framework to continue building a solid foundation of success in science as they begin their first year of the three-year science sequence aligned to the Upper School science department. Topics covered include the foundations of chemical reactions, atomic theory, periodicity, classical physics, electricity, engineering design, iterative processes, and design thinking. Students reinforce content from reading and lecture through guided and open-ended investigations, as well as participate in numerous demonstrations and lab exercises.
Middle School students study both the Japanese language and culture. In 5th and 6th grades, students learn how to read and write hiragana, katakana, and they also are introduced to basic kanji from. They build on this base in 7th and 8th grades. Students learn how to communicate in a variety of different situations, such as how to offer a simple self-introduction and how to describe their vacations. Songs, mnemonics, games, and other methods are used in class to help students learn the language. Authentic Japanese artifacts are brought to class to help students practice the language and to offer tangible connections to the language and culture. Students are always encouraged to be creative and proactive. Additionally, they complete numerous projects to help develop their reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. Projects include creating a PowerPoint presentation of themselves in Japanese, teaching simple expressions to family or friends, and even visiting a lower school class to serve as little teachers for burgeoning Japanese students. Upper School Japanese students visit class to serve as conversation partners and assistants in class activities. Students enjoy exchanging diaries with SPSG students in seventh grade. In eighth grade, both SPS and SPSG students go to the Japanese New Year Festival in Washington D.C. for an exciting field trip. Students also enjoy a farewell dinner party at local Japanese restaurant to mark the end of the Japanese experience in the Middle School. Finally, the Japanese Fair that takes place every few years serves as an authentic and engaging opportunity for students and the entire St. Paul’s community to learn about Japan and Japanese culture.
SPANISHIn fifth grade Spanish, our objectives are to introduce the students to the Hispanic world and culture through individual country investigations, videos and online investigations. We also hope to instill a love of learning and create a desire to further their studies. In sixth grade, Spanish students will begin an in-depth study of the language in a progressive manner throughout the year at a level appropriate for a student of this age and developmental level. Students will continue their language studies in the seventh and eighth grades at a more demanding pace while building on their speaking, listening, reading and writing abilities. All material is presented in a meaningful communicative context, making it immediately useful to the students. The Standards for Foreign Language Learning provide a framework to guide the teaching and learning of foreign languages, preparing students to meet the demands for competence in their new language. A variety of instructional strategies are used in the classroom so that all students are provided with the opportunity to develop proficiency in Spanish.
Crusader ConService is a cornerstone of the St. Paul’s Middle School experience, and one of the essential skills for boys to develop during their middle school years is the ability to speak confidently and clearly in front of an audience. The St. Paul’s 8th Grade Capstone Project is the natural culmination of both. Throughout the year, the students explore and learn about a local issue that is relevant and meaningful to them. The students identify, partner and serve with organizations that are working to fix the various problems in the community. Each eighth grader then composes, revises, and prepares both a podcast about his issue and a TED-style speech based on his experiences.
The process as a whole is a collaboration between the eighth-grade History and English teachers, and the final products build on the skills students have honed throughout their 8th-grade experience. The podcasts are published and shared with the wider St. Paul’s School network, and their TED-style talks are given during a special convention-style event, Crusader Con. Crusader Con takes place each May and involves much of the St. Paul’s community as well as leaders from all across the Baltimore area, many of whom have been integral parts of the students’ service-learning experiences throughout their time in the Middle School.
6th gradeThe sixth-grade Religious Studies course, Exploring the Old Testament, introduces students to the structure and content of the bible with a focus on the old testament. They learn the books of the Hebrew scriptures and how to use the resources found in the bible. The course will then cover the stories of creation and other important events and figures such as Abraham and Moses. Students also spend some time learning about Israel as a monarchy, under both the united and divided kingdoms. They also touch on wisdom literature, especially the book of psalms.
8th gradeFoundations of Faith, the quarter long course for the 8th grade, is designed to provide a basic understanding of Judeo-Christian history and traditions. Students move at a fast pace in their exploration of the Biblical narrative of the Hebrew people as presented in the Old Testament. The course then moves into the New Testament and focuses on the teachings and ministry of Jesus in the historical context of 1st century Palestine under Roman rule. The boys also learn about St. Paul and his significance to the early formation of the Christian faith. By the end of the quarter the students will understand how the Jewish and Christian religions are closely related yet unique in their beliefs and practices.
The Middle School Physical Education Curriculum begins in fifth grade with a progression from the Lower School. The curriculum rotates between basic skills such as throwing, catching, striking different implements and locomotor movements such as running, jumping, and more. This is in line with what the students have learned in lower school and prepares them with the foundation needed to take on more advanced concepts and progressions in 6th, 7th, and 8th grades. Each student is evaluated on each skill before and after the curriculum is executed.
In 6th and 7th grade, the skill focus begins to extend. For example, instead of working on throwing as a basic skill, we work on throwing to moving targets and throwing to targets while moving. Along with this, we begin to employ concepts of sport such as 2v1, 3v2, pick and roll, understanding passing lanes, and moving without the ball. These advanced concepts are developmentally appropriate and are a component of a Sport Education format. In sport education, each student takes on a role as they participate in the game. Students experience roles as captain, coach, fitness instructor, publicist, manager, or leadership council. Each person executes this role as well as officiates and keeps stats and score while they are not playing. In this team-oriented atmosphere, students are able to learn, interact, and take responsibility for classroom management. Within this framework, teachers are able to work with individuals to improve their skill and concept development.
In 8th grade, Students take a more scientific approach to physical education. Students learn their major muscles and exercises to develop each muscle group. They discuss weight room safety and proper form, as well as how to set up and execute a weight-training plan for improvement in a specific sport. Agility, heart rate, flexibility and other nutritional concepts that benefit a healthy lifestyle and lifetime physical activity are reinforced. There are also important opportunities for play and interaction between the students to raise their social acumen and prepare them for upper school sports and team dynamics.
The Arts program in the Middle School is designed to challenge and captivate students through a comprehensive range of curricular and extracurricular offerings. Students in grades five through seven study visual art, (including painting, drawing, ceramics, and additional 2D and 3D forms), Theatre, music, and woodworking, while eighth grade students have the opportunity for advanced study in two of these four disciplines. On any given day, for example, you may find students rehearsing the Middle School production, crafting a wooden sculpture in the Woodworking shop, learning stage combat in one of our two black box theaters or the Ward Center Theater, attending a choral festival off campus, presenting at an arts exhibit at a local museum, or working with guest artists from the greater Baltimore community.
The Middle School Visual Art program encourages students to explore art through various media,to engage in creative problem solving, to take risks and challenge themselves and to understand and appreciate the process of making art. Through a series of assignments that explore different art forms, students are exposed to the basic elements of art: line, form, shape, texture, color, space, and value. They are also introduced to the principles of balance, pattern, contrast, rhythm, emphasis, unity, and movement, which are also integral aspects of art making.
Students engage in projects that encourage individual expression and reflection, and foster the ability to think more creatively and broadly about the visual world. Evaluation is a key component to each art project where personal effort, engagement with the material, and progress in the studio will form the basis for assessing skills and knowledge of various art techniques.
Fifth-grade Visual Arts introduces the concepts of color theory, emphasizing creative expression along with technical skills. Students will be confident in understanding how different elements of art contribute to their overall work.
Art History Focus: Survey of Art History
Sixth-grade Visual Arts reinforces elemental concepts previously learned and additionally introduces more advanced concepts. Through guided questions, students are encouraged to actively participate in creating purpose in their work.
Art History Focus: The Ancient World
Seventh-grade Visual Arts introduces advanced techniques and skills to encourage individual exploration and growth. Students will become confident in discussing and critiquing works of art. Students will study realism in both 2D and 3D forms.
Art History Focus: The Italian Renaissance
Art History Focus: Modern Art-Post Modern Art
Woodworking classes are designed to introduce students to wood as a natural resource, as a building material, and as a medium for artistic expression. An awareness of environmental concerns, plant biology, math, engineering, historical context, sequencing, problem solving, design, and conceptual creativity are all introduced as necessary components for successful work. In particular, the projects students undertake emphasize the "how to" aspects of working with wood as well as the creative opportunities such projects offer. There is also an emphasis on respect for tools and their safe and appropriate use. Regular exhibitions of student work on campus, as well as the welcoming of guest artists into our courses, are a capstone of our program.
Fifth-grade Woodworking is designed as an introduction to wood, hand tools, and craftsmanship. The projects incorporate very basic joinery and serve as a foundation for future work.
Sixth-grade Woodworking is designed to reinforce the lessons taught in the 5th grade but challenges students further through the scope of the projects given. New tools are also introduced, including some basic power machinery.
The primary focus of the 7th-grade woodworking class is Design Process. For each project, students will be challenged to research design possibilities, present a variety of ideas in the form of drawings and/or mock-ups, focus on a single idea, and flush-out the technical details before they begin building. This process, while critical to success in project building, can be applied in more general terms to all forms of creative challenges, in academics and beyond.
After a review of the general shop safety rules and safety rules specific to the lathe, drill press, band saw, and other power machines, we will start right into the first project. This will be a relatively quick assignment, intended to help returning students review and refresh their previous wood experience and to help new students become accustomed to the tools and materials. Our second project will be the major project for the semester. This is where our focus on Design Process will guide students through all of the steps necessary to find success on a project that will be both technically and conceptually challenging. The third project will offer students a chance to work with fresh-cut lumber, which while it can be wonderful to turn and carve, presents its own challenges as it dries. Students will have some choice here as to the nature and scope of this project.
In addition to design, reflection, and the numerous woodworking processes taught, attention will also be paid to the biologic nature of wood as an organic material and its critical importance as an environmental resource.
This course will begin with an extensive introduction and review of shop safety rules, followed by an introduction of tools and techniques not covered in the lower grades. Students are required to complete a minimum of two projects. These are designed to challenge students both technically and creatively. The first assignment will focus primarily on methods of joinery and quality craftsmanship. The second assignment will challenge students to work intuitively through techniques of shaping, carving, and texturing. There will also be an extensive focus on turning on the lathe.
The choral music tradition at St. Paul's School is the primary focus of our comprehensive Middle School Music program. Students are also exposed to instrumental performance, as well as music theory, sight-singing, and improvisation in a variety of musical genres. An extra-curricular ensemble, the Crusader Choir, is an auditioned group of boys from all grades (five through eight) who maintain a highly active performance schedule in various venues throughout the region and at an adjudicated festival each year.
Fifth grade Music students receive instruction in vocal technique, music theory, stage deportment, and musical interpretation as they engage in the preparation of a concert performance as a choral ensemble at the end of each semester. They will encounter numerous elements of music theory (dynamics, musical expression, tempo, time signature, etc.) and will encounter Kodály-based sight-reading examples. Students will perform repertoire from a variety of genres, cultures, and time periods.
In addition to their continued development as performing singers, sixth grade Music students are also introduced to hand bells. This instrumental offering builds the sense of ensemble while also gaining independence and responsibility. The boys continue to have extensive studies with vocal technique and sound production while also be exposed to training in music theory and sight-reading.
7th Grade Crusader Choir
This is the elite choral ensemble for St. Paul’s Middle School. More subtle elements of musical expression and increasingly challenging music theory are incorporated into instruction. Kodály-based sight-reading continues to be a hallmark of the program. Vocal instruction will address the emerging male voice, and help students further discover their vocal possibilities. The Crusader Choir maintains a highly active performance schedule throughout the region including an adjudicated festival at the conclusion of the year. In addition to choral singing, the 7th-grade class will also perform various handbell repertoire ranging from classical selections to modern pop songs.
8th Grade Crusader Choir
This is the elite choral ensemble for St. Paul’s Middle School. More subtle elements of musical expression and increasingly challenging music theory are incorporated into instruction. Kodály-based sight-reading continues to be a hallmark of the program. Vocal instruction will address the emerging male voice, and help students further discover their vocal possibilities. The Crusader Choir maintains a highly active performance schedule throughout the region including an adjudicated festival at the conclusion of the year. Students will learn the fundamentals of music theory to compose musical passages and songs. Students will also be exposed to different music writing technologies (Finale, Sibelius, Noteflight, Garageband)
Theatre classes give our students the opportunity to experience leadership and teamwork in a different way than they might in the academic classroom or on the athletic fields. There are many exercises and improvisations designed to encourage the boys to work together efficiently, think creatively, and explore the concept of empathy in order to better understand the world around them and discover the range and depth of possibilities that are inherent in the Theatre arts. Students have the unique extra-curricular opportunity to audition for our Middle School Musical, produced in collaboration with the St. Paul’s School for Girls.
5th Grade Theatre
In Theatre 5, there is a strong emphasis placed on “ensemble” and the ability to collaboratively build earnest and meaningful universes on stage. Through a wide-array of acting techniques, improvisation, and scene work assignments, students begin to understand the principles and functions of stage performance, playwriting, and overall storytelling.
6th Grade Theatre
Theatre 6 reinforces the various concepts covered in Theatre 5 but with a wider scope of repertoire that includes Period Acting as well as introductions into the various disciplines of Musical Theatre. The course culminates in a live evening performance of scenes and demonstrations.
7th Grade Theatre
In the semester length course of Theatre 7, students will both explore and interconnect the various disciplines within the art form more thoroughly. These disciplines include but are not limited to: acting, playwriting, directing, stage management, lighting design, Theatre history, and Musical Theatre (performance, choreography, composition, and lyric writing). Lastly, students will synthesize these disciplines further through the culminating performance of a one-act play.
8th Grade Theatre
In Theatre 8, students will further explore and employ the philosophies and practices of various great Theatre coaches such as Stanislavski, Spolin, Meisner, and Hagen in order to authentically create more realized universes of characters and story. The course will culminate in the performance of multiple play performances uniquely tailored to the enriching of every individual student within the class.