Seventh and Eighth

WELCOME TO MIDDLE SCHOOL!  

Buckle your seat belts and hold on tight because we are going on an adventure! You will learn new concepts and perfect old ones. You will make friends that will last a lifetime, and get closer to the one that will last through eternity. Prepare to be amazed at what God can do through you!

OUR DAILY SCHEDULE

I choose to open my classroom at 7:00am for an optional one-hour study hall.  Class begins at 8:00am with TAG time (Time Alone with God).  The students study their personal devotionals and respond in a journal.  Immediately after their daily devotional we begin worship.   Worship is student-led taken from the devotional they read during TAG time.  Following worship is the Language arts block.  

We write a 5-paragraph essay daily to reinforce writing skills and concepts learned in other subjects like Bible, Social Studies, and Science.  And yes, this is a Charlie Chaplin Film Festival year!  Students will learn to write descriptive narrative and then turn their story into a film based on the character of Charlie Chaplin.  After the grammar and spelling lesson we start math.  

The seventh and eighth grade students use different math curriculum but are taught using the same methodologies.  Students work independently (self-paced) at their individual ability level and they also work together on daily lessons.  We make math fun by working in pairs, small groups, playing math games, math computer apps, and weekly challenges.  After math the students go to PE.

When students return from PE they find a comfy place to work on their Self-directed Study Research Project.  In the past students have studied subjects like Photoshop, astronomy, the brain, a deep study of Moses, 3D printing, the Civil War, Desmond Doss, welding, woodworking, baking, calligraphy and more!  After SDS we begin our Bible block.  

This year we have an awesome new Bible curriculum!  Lots of discussions, games, role-play, and fun in store!  Our students memorize memory verses weekly.  After Bible we have lunch and recess.  After recess we start Social Studies.  

This year we are studying the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Enlightenment!  Yes, this is the year I bring professional medieval actors to my classroom so my students can experience what it was like to live in medieval times.   My students are knighted by Medieval Kings and Queens and even learn how to joust!  Our last subject of the day is Science.  This year we will be studying about living things, our bodies, and the solar system!!  Last year my students accepted the challenge of memorizing the names of all 116 periodic table elements. I wonder what the challenge will be this year?

I choose to end our school day the same way it begins, with an optional one-hour study hall after school.

OUR CLASSROOM CLIMATE

My students have a natural desire to learn about God and to be of service to each other and the community.  I nurture these desires through service outreach projects, peer teaching and cooperative learning groups in the classroom.  My students also have unique interests and curiosities beyond the classroom subjects, which I allow them to pursue in the classroom through my Self-directed Study Program.  I set time aside for students to explore subjects of interest to them personally.   The students record their findings in a daily research-log and deliver a presentation at the end of the research period. This program places them in the driver’s seat of their own learning.  It creates life-long learners and nurtures a climate of thinkers instead of mere reflectors of others’ thoughts.

CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT

Our classroom management is based on mutual respect.  When asked which commandment is most important, Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘...you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:28-31

I understand it may not be easy to like everyone, but we can treat each other and school property with respect. You know how to conduct yourselves; it is a matter of making the right choice. When a student is disruptive, it is not just an offense against the school; it is against every student’s right to learn. It is my responsibility to protect the rights of my students.

Upon 8th grade graduation, students are well prepared for the spiritual and academic responsibilities of academy life. The importance of making good decisions, managing time, dependability, and accountability are concepts that will be reinforced throughout the year. Students are expected to manage their own schoolwork duties: turn it in on time, complete missing work/late work, and ask for help when needed. Accountability is the key to help our students become academy ready.

FIELD TRIPS • CLUBS • EVENTS

Our classroom enjoys multiple opportunities to incorporate technology and real-world applications through STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) projects.   Our Robotics team enjoys working with computer coding and remote controlled robots.  They have even competed at the national level in California!  

We have enjoyed some interesting, hands-on field trips over the last four years like Shakespeare plays, Nissan North America Manufacturing plant and Corvette plants.  My students have volunteered by teaching art classes at Room in the Inn in Nashville,  prepared and distributed food at Nashville Rescue Mission and volunteered in the stock room at Portland Cares.  A crowd favorite was the "Compassion Experience";  A traveling walk-through experience of a third-world nation.  We also viewed the original Columbus documents at the Frist Museum and visited numerous historical sites.   We visited Nestle Water,  the water treatment plant in Gallatin and much more!  Our field trip locations are ever-changing based on what we are learning and what experiences become available and I am always on the look-out for memorable field trips!  The last field trip of the year is the 8th grade trip to Gatlinburg!  We always have a HUGE time exploring this beautiful region of our country.  

I wear many hats in the classroom: a facilitator of learning, coach of learning, mentor of learning, and sometimes a fellow in learning.  Whatever capacity I may fill, I do it with a gracious heart and a passionate spirit.  I am proud to serve alongside the Highland teachers  as the hands and feet of God.