Students make dramatic leaps forward in the third through fifth grade years as they build on solidifying the skills presented in the core curriculum, English/Language Arts (ELA -Writing, Reading, Phonics, Spelling, English, Grammar), Math, Religion, Social Studies, and Science.
The curriculum is supplemented and enhanced by classroom experiences in Art, Challenge (Gifted and Talented), Guidance, Library/Media, Mac Lab, Music, Physical Education, and Spanish. The Middle Division curriculum includes and focuses on the development of critical and creative thinking, with a concentration in project and time management.
Fluid verbal expression is encouraged through a rigorous creative writing focus, as well as with frequent public speaking opportunities. Students move seamlessly between large group, small group, and individual activities to maximize potential learning opportunities. A diversity of learning styles and talents is embraced in all subject areas by a caring and committed faculty.
The Middle Division math program requires students to further develop and master skills in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division in ways that go beyond the standard algorithm. Students become capable of distinguishing units of measure within the metric system and customary system. Geometric terminology is learned and utilized to identify figures (plane and solid) and to find the area, perimeter, and volume of given objects. Concepts related to fractions and decimals, such as identifying fractional parts and converting one form to the other, are reinforced and mastered. Graphs of various kinds are interpreted and created to convey information. Algebra is introduced within the division. All of these topics are reinforced within the context of solving real world problems, requiring students to apply their knowledge using a variety of research-based, word problem solving strategies.
The Middle Division language arts program develops the student’s ability to read for content and comprehension while developing reading skills including fluency, making connections, questioning, visualizing, inferencing, and synthesizing. The development of these skills occurs within small group settings where teachers engage students in guided reading, literature circles, and independent reading.
Grammar, Spelling, and Vocabulary
Students work to learn the fundamentals of grammar including the parts of speech, punctuation, types and parts of sentences, and how to properly create compound subjects, predicates, and sentences. The spelling program coincides with the weekly phonics lesson which helps the student to recognize vowel patterns, dipthongs, blends, and digraphs. Vocabulary is taught as part of a balanced literacy program and across the content areas.
Writing is an integral part of the language arts program. Using a writer’s workshop approach which includes children’s literature of various genres as inspiration, students are given a writing assignment. Developing writers learn how to effectively work through the writing process from prewriting, drafting, editing, revising, and finally publishing their work. Time is allowed for students to edit and share their writing with their peers from beginning to end. Writing conferences with teachers help students to improve their techniques and develop their voice as writers. As students progress through the division, they begin to increase and expand their narrative and expository writing abilities through the weekly writing assignments. 1:1 Chromebooks and Mac Lab allow for the publication of the students' writing at every grade level.
The Middle Division science program allows students to explore the earth/space, as well as life and physical sciences. Our curriculum provides students with the opportunity to explore the fundamentals of each of these areas and how they affect the world around us. The students explore topics, such as plant cycles and the systems of the human body, through hands-on learning experiences and completing research. This approach enables students to produce projects such as Third Grade Biome Presentations, a cross-curricular assignment which is differentiated to allow students to research an ecosystem of interest and share their findings in a creative way, such as costumes, biome-inspired projects, shape poems, and tri-folds; the project culminates with a presentation to peers and parents.
The Middle Division Social Studies program allows students to explore major parts of various communities throughout the United States and the rest of the world. While learning terminology related to this sociological discipline, the students are exposed to the customs, history, language, and pastimes of the people in each community. The history of our nation is magnified as students begin to learn about major explorers of North America, colonization, as well as the crucial innovators and events that impacted the history and people of the United States.
The fourth grade spends much of the first trimester focusing on Pennsylvania's history, which culminates in a PA Day celebration in which the students research, dress up as, and deliver a speech as a famous Pennsylvanian. Meanwhile, the fourth grade's second trimester focuses upon the five regions of the United States highlighting the history, geography, and people. At the end of the year, United States Fair Day allows the students to present their research on a state to an audience in the form of a trifold poster and a food associated with that state. The fifth grade focuses on early world history and colonial America. Students engage in a variety of project based learning experiences as they learn about the development of the United States.
The Middle Division religion program allows the students to learn about the life and teachings of Jesus in conjunction with the teachings of the Church, the major parts of the Mass, the seasons of the liturgical year, and the sacraments. The students relate to these topics through reflection of how God and the Church affects their lives as well as through skits which allow the class to become part of the story of Jesus' life. The third grade focuses on Catholic Identity and living out our faith as friends of Jesus. The fourth grade emphasis is on the Ten Commandments that help us to live as followers of Christ. The fifth grade studies the Sacraments of Initiation and the Sacraments of Healing and Service as they begin their preparation for Confirmation.
All Middle Division students attend liturgies and prayer services sponsored by Campus Ministry. They have opportunities to participate throughout the school year as readers, singers, and altar servers, as well as school-wide community outreach projects such as Thanksgiving baskets for local food pantries and Christmas gifts for inner-city parishes. Students generously give their time and talents by participating in Student Government sponsored activities, which raise money for various charities. By giving to others, students develop a greater appreciation for their blessings and a social awareness for the needs of other people.