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Upper School

Kestrel House Grades 5-6
Peregrine House Grades 7-8

As they embark on this time of young adulthood, students are prepared and eager, having built well-formed characters, strong personal values, knowledge, and skills. Upper School teachers then build further on this carefully crafted and formidable framework to help each individual prepare for secondary school, continued leadership, and greater achievement.

Grade 5 - Kestrel House

Mathematics
In grade five, students use the McDougal Littell math series, which is used throughout the Upper School. Students use real-life experiences, physical materials, and technology to construct meanings for numbers including:

  • All integers
  • All fractions as part of a whole, as a subset of a set, as a location on a number line, and as a division of whole numbers
  • All decimals

They also explore the use of ratios and proportions in a variety of situations; understand and use whole numbers as percents between 1 and 100; and use whole numbers, fractions, and decimals to represent equivalent forms of the same number. They also develop and apply number theory concepts in problem solving situations including: primes, factors, multiples, common multiples and common factors. Fifth-grade students select pencil and paper, mental math, or a calculator as the appropriate computational method in a given situation depending on the context and numbers. They also find squares and cubes of whole numbers, and apply the standard algebraic order of operations. And they continue to use estimation to determine the reasonableness of an answer.

The students at this level learn that study of geometry and measurement includes concepts involving lines and angles. They also identify, describe, compare, and classify polygons and circles; identify similar figures; understand and apply the concepts of congruence and symmetry; and compare properties of cylinders, prisms, cones, pyramids, and spheres. The students also identify a three-dimensional shape with given projections. They select and use appropriate units to measure angles, area, surface area, and volume; use a scale to find distance on a map; and convert measurement units. Fifth-graders begin to use protractors to measure angles and they apply formulas for determining the area and perimeter of polygons and the circumference and area of circles.

Fifth-grade students use the commutative, associative, and distributive properties to show that two expressions are equivalent. They evaluate expressions and they understand that variables represent numbers whose exact values are not yet specified. They construct and analyze tables and they use equations to describe simple relationships, e.g., (3x = y) shown in a table. Grade-five students continue to study with hands-on equations to provide a solid foundation for algebra readiness. Students are grouped by ability using results of the ERBs, the end of grade four final math assessment, pre-test scores, and teacher recommendations.
Course text: Math Course 1, McDougal Littell Publishers

Language Arts
In the fifth grade, students read a minimum of two independent books per trimester and a minimum of twenty-five minutes per day independently. This enables them to augment their understanding of and appreciation for a variety of texts. It also enables them to develop, refine, and apply an extended vocabulary through listening and exposure to a variety of texts. Through reading, students hone their ability to make inferences, understand the use of literary devices, such as simile and metaphor, and draw conclusions in their discussions and writing. Students are expected to address increasingly complex questions (related to interpretation, application, and evaluation) when reading texts. They also provide evidence to support their conclusions about a text and identify and synthesize critical events and details in fiction and nonfiction readings. And they demonstrate an understanding of how point of view influences a story’s meaning and structure and they understand transitions in writing.

Students at this level also write expository and multi-paragraph essays, synthesizing information from a variety of sources. As part of the writing process, students are expected to take notes effectively (bulleting, paraphrasing, and abbreviating); provide a logical sequence by refining organizational structure; develop transitions between ideas; revise drafts; and understand how to construct work that is mechanically accurate and meaningful. Students identify and correct sentence fragments and run-on sentences and distinguish among action, linking, and helping verbs. They also use the pronunciation key of a dictionary to decode new words, use increasingly complex sentence structures, and syntax to express ideas and identify direct objects and prepositional phrases.

Fifth-grade students achieve keyboarding proficiency of twenty-five words per minute, producing work with proper punctuation. They also write cursive fluently and speak effectively and comfortably in front of the class. They use organization, efficiency, and presentation aids, such as props, note cards, and computer-based tools, to persuade an audience of their ideas and to represent a point of view. Student audiences demonstrate an understanding of discussions by paraphrasing or adding information. They also listen politely and criticize or ask questions constructively.

Information Literacy and Technology
For fifth-grade students, the use of the library, technology, and media continues to be integrated with classroom projects and lessons. Students at this level use a variety of media and formats to communicate information and ideas to multiple audiences. They locate, organize, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and use information from a variety of sources and media with even more independence. They continue to process data and report results using an increasing variety of sophisticated tools.

In the fifth grade, students learn to apply guidelines for bibliographic citations. And their use of technology and media expands to include the selection and use of diverse applications, including word processing functions, graphing, multimedia presentation platforms, as well as collaborative learning environments, such as wikis and blogs. Fifth graders also learn to work with multiple applications simultaneously. In addition, students learn and practice safe, legal, and responsible use of information and technology by understanding of the meaning and impact of plagiarism and the importance of copyrights, network etiquette, and Internet safety. As fifth grade students, they are also poised to discern the validity and/or discrepancies of information found in a variety of sources and they learn to recognize the implications of copyrights and plagiarism in technology.

Social Studies: World Cultures
The fifth-grade social studies course focuses on world cultures and is designed to address the following overarching essential questions:
  • How do we define culture?
  • What are the forces that shape a culture?
  • How does studying different cultures provide an opportunity for self-reflection?

Latin America, Asia, and Africa are areas of focus. Fifth-graders engage in various integrated project-based learning experiences that are designed to enable them to delve actively into world issues and to hone their reading, thinking, and writing skills. Students will examine the geography and cultural history of these areas as well as understand that geography impacts the development of culture.

The study and interpretation of political, physical, and economic maps are integral parts of this course. Furthermore, students will know the location of major cities, countries, and geographical features of the target countries. In addition, they will explore the economic, social, and political aspects of these areas. Throughout our study, students connect the understanding of world problems to current events. A variety of teaching methods, projects, and assessments are employed throughout the course.

Science
Applying the scientific method, fifth-grade students acquire the vocabulary associated with controlled experimentation as they study and understand the concept of variables. They do this by designing and conducting controlled experiments and by recording and graphing data concretely, pictorially, and symbolically to discover relationships and to make predictions.

Students at this level also learn the fundamentals of basic chemistry through the study of mixtures and solutions. They measure solids and liquids with precision, compare the solubility of materials in water, understand the concepts of saturation and concentration, and compare materials before and after a chemical reaction occurs. Students study simple machines to gain an understanding of the relationships between the components of lever and pulley systems; recognize the concept of advantage as it relates to simple machines; and use spring scales to measure the force in newtons.

In their unit on marine studies, fifth-grade students learn the origin, names, location, and composition of the earth’s oceans, know the percentage of the earth’s surface area that is covered by oceans, and the properties of ocean water—its density and salinity. Students also gain knowledge on the characteristics of marine organisms and can identify their adaptations. They also learn to recognize the importance of ocean resources and exploration.

All fifth-grade scientists are expected to answer given questions using multiple resources, to take notes focusing on main ideas, to organize information into coherent sentences, and to present that information using current technology. As a capstone to their development as student researchers, fifth-graders attend a three-day field trip to Cape Cod, where they will participate in a whale-watching expedition as well as marine field studies. Many faculty members and administrators join the students on this trip, conducting community- and leadership-building experiences as other integral aspects of the fifth-grade excursion.

World Languages: Chinese (Mandarin) and Spanish
After reviewing last year’s lessons, students learn to identify numbers from eleven to ninety-nine in Chinese. They also study how to ask and respond to questions relating to dates, birthdays, and ages. Cultural facts on Chinese calendars and birthday traditions are discussed. The reading and writing of new characters are introduced, as well as more Pinyin pronunciations. Students learn about the structure of Chinese families and learn how to identify their own family members by studying how to ask and respond to questions relating to the number of siblings in their families.

Fifth-grade students review previously learned materials in Spanish, such as numbers, days, months, and time, with greater emphasis on visual recognition and writing. Further development of oral skills are also targeted. In preparation for upper school study, basic grammatical concepts, such as subject-verb and noun-adjective agreement, are formally introduced.

Music
Fifth-grade students continue to build on their note and rhythm reading skills through playing the recorder and keyboard. Using the Midi keyboard lab, students perform simple melodies using their recorder music and at the same time learn the correct hand position. Students complete their final year of the recorder and demonstrate their proficiency in playing in two-part harmony as well as performing individually. In addition, students perform in their grade-level play, the Holiday Concert, and the Closing Exercises. Students study pianist, Franz Liszt during our composer unit.

Fine Arts
A variety of repertoire is studied throughout the year and makes cross-curricular connections to the fifth-grade students’ study of whales. Students also explore improvisation, composition, and movement. Students understand and use symmetrical, asymmetrical, linear, and radial composition to create balance, rhythm, and motion in their artwork. Their projects demonstrate balance, complexity, and simplicity as they begin to use linear perspective, understand and apply contour, and use symbols to express moods, feelings, and ideas. Students recognize relationships between stylized and naturalistic shapes and forms and learn to differentiate between accidental and intentional processes in the creation of art.

Performing Arts: Theater
Fifth-grade students write, memorize, and perform their own original works with a special focus on the skills of vocal projection and inflection. They also portray a variety of emotions using proper diction, eye contact, and fluid stage movements.

Physical Education
Students in the fifth grade exhibit self-confidence as they master all locomotor skills and continue developing manipulative skills. In games and sports, fifth-graders identify the fundamental concepts and strategies used in games and sports as they continue practicing skills learned in the fourth grade. Students continue to focus on physical fitness as they identify and perform exercises to improve muscle strength and endurance, to strengthen their upper body, to stretch for flexibility, and to engage in cardio workouts. They also learn to identify their resting heart rate, pulse, and working heart rate and assess their level of fitness through participation on our challenge course.

Grade 6 - Kestrel House

Mathematics
MATHEMATICS 6: In Mathematics 6, students demonstrate an understanding of the real number system by incorporating the four basic arithmetic operations with whole numbers, decimals, and fractions. This includes applying procedures for performing with whole numbers with exponents, integers, fractions, decimals, and percents. Students demonstrate and apply:

  • the algebraic order of operations· an understanding of ratios, proportions, and percents
  • the use of scientific notation· an ability to solve equal fractions and decimals
  • an ability to solve ratio and rate problems
Students recognize, describe, extend, and create patterns involving rational numbers and integers. They understand variables and use them appropriately. They solve, check, and graph one- and two-step equations; solve inequalities; and write function rules (given x and y values); and graph the function. Students apply understanding of the coordinated plane to solve problems, given points within the four quadrants. They evaluate expressions involving square roots and solve equations involving squares. Continuing the study of geometry and measurement, students:
  • understand and apply properties of polygons
  • apply the Pythagorean theorem
  • find the area of parallelograms, triangles, and trapezoids
  • find the circumference and area of circles
  • classify solids
  • find surface area and volume of 3-D shapes
  • measure angles and find both complimentary and supplementary angles

In addition, students continue to review material to develop a solid foundation on which to build more advanced mathematical concepts as they prepare for Algebra 1.
Course text: Math Course 2, McDougal Littell Publishers

PRE-ALGEBRA: Students taking Pre-Algebra (grade six or grade seven) expand their understanding of mathematics as they continue to demonstrate their knowledge of numbers, patterns and functions, measurement and geometry, and fundamental concepts of algebra. Students in this course understand arithmetic operations in relation to all rational numbers. They write absolute value; find the greatest common factor and the least common multiple on numbers and monomials; order rational and irrational numbers; apply negative and zero exponents; and solve linear equations. Students expand and demonstrate their skills in writing, solving, and graphing equations and inequalities. They apply arithmetic and geometric sequences and simplify and perform operations with polynomials. Students understand and apply concepts involving lines, angles, and planes demonstrating their knowledge of:
  • complimentary angles
  • vertical angles
  • bisectors and perpendicular bisectors
  • parallel, perpendicular, and intersecting planes

Students at this level also understand and apply the Pythagorean theorem and the concept of similarity and congruence. They recognize the properties of polygons and they use logic and reasoning to make and support conjectures about geometric objects. Building on their knowledge of measurement, they develop and apply strategies and formulas for finding the surface area and volume of three-dimensional figures. Students also graph systems of linear equations, identify intercepts, find the slope of linear equations, graph quadratic and exponential equations, find distances in a coordinated plane, and find the coordinates of a midpoint. They use data displays, permutations, and the counting principle to organize, analyze, and explain real-life situations. At Far Hills Country Day School, we expect our students at this level to have the solid foundation necessary to be successful in Algebra 1.
Course text: Math Course 3, McDougal Littell Publishers

Science
The sixth-grade science course immerses students in the world of living systems. Representative species from each of the five kingdoms of organisms furnish wider references for understanding and appreciating life processes. The study of the structure and function of organisms begins by focusing on its levels of organization. Cells, tissues, organs, and organ systems are presented and their actual relationships are described and explored in depth.

The interdependence of components within systems as well as among systems is emphasized through cause and effect scenarios. Testable hypotheses and experimental procedures to answer questions are integral parts of this course. Students organize and evaluate data generated during laboratory inquiries so that conclusions can be drawn and new questions can be posed. Throughout these endeavors, strong emphasis is placed on accurate information, teamwork, and articulate descriptions of each phase of the scientific method.
Course Texts: Human Biology and Health, Prentice Hall
Cells and Heredity, Pearson, Prentice Hall
From Bacteria to Plants, Pearson, Prentice Hall

English
The sixth-grade English course has two primary goals: to foster a love of literature and writing and to strengthen students’ confidence in their abilities to read and write effectively. The major aim is to support each child’s reading, writing, thinking, listening, speaking, and research skills. Students develop and sharpen their critical thinking skills and expand upon the ways in which they read, understand, and respond to literature. They learn to look more intently at the world around them and discover how writing and literature reveals other people and communicates certain values and feelings. They use details, examples, and reasons to support central ideas or clarify a point of view, and are expected to support a position with organized, specific, and appropriate details. Students also use graphic organizers to glean meaning from literature and to facilitate literary analysis. In reading, students address the essential themes and questions:
  • What is culture?
  • How does culture shape identity?
  • How does responsibility play a part in growth?
  • How do we ensure we recognize and appreciate differences?
  • How do we overcome obstacles?

Students read a minimum of seven to ten independent books in various genres over the course of the year and demonstrate strategies for reading a textbook and understanding the use of nonfiction text structure. Students write every day and produce longer pieces every week.

As their keyboarding proficiency improves to thirty-five words per minute, they engage in numerous types of writing, including journal/reflective writing, writing to inform, writing to persuade, writing to explain, and short-term writing. Students apply and work toward fluency within all stages of the writing process through publishing a minimum of six to eight individual and/or small group writing projects, and by using a variety of reference materials to revise work, and using literary annotation techniques.

Vocabulary is studied on a weekly basis. In addition to examining stylistic and grammatical issues as they arise in writing, students learn sentence diagramming and explore the parts of the sentence (complex and compound), including phrases and clauses, sentence structure and variations, and punctuation. Students sharpen their skills by solving word analogy problems and maintaining an English binder and writer’s notebook. English binders are an essential component to success in English Six. Students bring their binders to class every day and file assignments, quizzes, and essays in the appropriate sections.

Students understand and use grade-level criteria to improve formal presentations, specifically a formal vignette. They continue to develop speaking techniques to maintain audience interest during formal presentations, incorporating effective word choice, adequate volume, proper pacing, appropriate props, and clear enunciation.
Sample Course Texts: We study a variety of classic and contemporary works in all genres of literature. Our reading lists are dynamic, changing according to student composites, theme relevance, and new interdisciplinary connections.
Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Homeless Bird by Gloria Whelan
Mythology & Folklore Vocabulary from Classical Roots 6
Wordly Wise Book 6
Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis
Students also read a diverse array of independent reading texts, short stories, poems, and articles.

History: American History to 1865The sixth-grade history course is designed as an introduction to American history from the first migrations by the continent’s earliest inhabitants through the Civil War period. We will examine the major political, social, cultural, and economic developments as well as the exploration, settlement, and colonization of the New World.

In addition, the following topics will be covered: the American Revolution, the formation and growth of the early republic, democracy, westward expansion, growing differences between the North and South, and the Civil War. We will also explore the themes of what it means to be an American and how the notions of liberty, equality, freedom, and democracy emerged and evolved throughout this period and affected the lives of all Americans. Consequently, we will examine the differences that resulted in conflict among Americans as well as the ties that bound them together and created cohesion as the new nation developed.

Information Literacy and Technology
The overall goal of this course is to enable students to acquire and hone the skills necessary to harness the vast flow of information and to be agile, lifelong learners, using technology and media as two powerful tools. The sub-goals of this course require upper schoolers at this level to use technology and media to collaborate and communicate as well as to access and evaluate information. We have adapted national and international technology and media standards as part of our performance expectations. Students bolster their skills to use technology and media enhance the following skills:
  • Creativity and innovation
  • Communication and collaboration
  • Research and information fluency
  • Critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making
  • Digital citizenship
  • Technology operations and concepts

Moreover, technology skills are also integrated with subject areas as students use many different software programs and platforms to complete research, class work, and projects. In upper school, there is increased focus on using digital media and environments to communicate, to work collaboratively, to support individual learning, and to contribute to the learning of others. In addition, students focus on ethical digital citizenship, working to demonstrate mature responsibility for handling technology and for respecting individual and group work within shared networks.

World Languages: Chinese (Mandarin), Spanish, French
Goals of the course are to enable students to develop basic communicative skills in listening and speaking on age-appropriate topics, to enable students to recognize and write more new Chinese characters, and to increase students’ awareness and understanding of the Chinese Pinyin pronunciation system and the Chinese culture.
Course Text: Easy Steps to Chinese Volume 1

Students continue to develop the Spanish language proficiency skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. There is an increased emphasis on grammar and writing.

Course Text: ¡Exprésate! Level One

French Students develop the language proficiency skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. There is an increased emphasis on grammar and writing.
Course Text: Allez, viens, Holt Rinehart Winston

Music
In the sixth grade, students continue to build on their note reading skills and are introduced to the bass clef. Using the Midi keyboard lab, students perform simple melodies individually as well as in group settings. Students are also introduced to more complicated rhythms and meters. They study the Romantic Period and create a project based on Edvard Grieg’s “In the Hall of the Mountain King.” Students in general music classes perform at the Holiday Concert in December. Sixth graders also explore improvisation and movement through drumming. A variety of repertoire is studied throughout the year and makes cross-curricular connections to their unit on the Jazz Age. Using Lincoln Center’s Jazz for Young People Curriculum, students study, experience, and create jazz.

Fine Arts
Sixth grade students understand and apply the following techniques in their individual creations: line, texture, color, balance, proportion, and shape. They use multimedia to explore printmaking techniques, including mono prints, lino, and relief. They also understand three-dimensional design through clay hand building and are introduced to the pottery wheel. Students also use new materials and techniques associated with three-dimensional work.

Sixth Grade: Learning Skills
Sixth graders participate in this course to bolster key study skills and habits that will enable them to work smarter and with greater efficiency, effectiveness, and independence through their upper school years and beyond. The course includes direct instruction of key academic and organizational skills, such as time management, locker organization, outlining/note-taking, test taking, listening skills, writing, reading, and public speaking skills.

Grade 7 - Peregrine House

Mathematics
PRE-ALGEBRA: Students in grade six or grade seven taking pre-algebra expand their understanding of mathematics as they continue to demonstrate their knowledge of numbers, patterns and functions, measurement and geometry, and fundamental concepts of algebra. Students in this course understand arithmetic operations in relation to all rational numbers. They write absolute value; find the greatest common factor and the least common multiple on numbers and monomials; order rational and irrational numbers; apply negative and zero exponents; and solve linear equations. They also expand and demonstrate their skills in writing, solving, and graphing equations and inequalities. They apply arithmetic and geometric sequences and simplify and perform operations with polynomials. Students at this level also understand and apply concepts involving lines, angles, and planes by demonstrating their knowledge of:

  • complimentary angles
  • vertical angles
  • bisectors and perpendicular bisectors
  • parallel, perpendicular, and intersecting planes

Upper school students at this level understand and apply the Pythagorean theorem and the concept of similarity and congruence, they know the properties of polygons, and they use logic and reasoning to make and support conjectures about geometric objects. Building on their knowledge of measurement, they develop and apply strategies and formulas for finding the surface area and volume of three-dimensional figures. Students graph systems of linear equations, identify intercepts, find the slope of linear equations, graph quadratic and exponential equations, find distances in a coordinated plane, and find coordinates of a midpoint. They use data displays, permutations, and the counting principle to organize, analyze and explain real-life situations. At Far Hills Country Day School we expect our sixth- or seventh-grade students to have the solid foundation necessary to be successful in Algebra 1.
Course text: Math Course 3, McDougal Littell Publishers

ALGEBRA: Students in grades seven or eight taking algebra use linear functions, linear equations, and systems of linear equations to represent, analyze, and solve a variety of problems. Students also use fundamental facts about distance and angles to describe and analyze figures. They understand that the slope (m) of a line is a constant rate of change, and they apply the Pythagorean theorem to problems involving distance between points and the analysis of polygons.

Seventh- or eighth-grade students translate among verbal, tabular, graphical, and algebraic representations of functions. Secure in these translation skills, they become facile in analyzing situations and are able to discern how to solve problems regardless of the form of presentation. Students apply their understanding about linear relationships and their various forms, including absolute values, factoring polynomials and inequalities to the study of quadratic equations, and exponential relationships. Students continue to use exponents and scientific notation to describe very large and very small numbers. They also use square roots when applying the Pythagorean theorem and they use theoretical probability and proportions to make predictions. They use descriptive statistics, including mean, median, and range, to analyze and summarize data sets in organizing and displaying data in meaningful ways.

Science: Earth and Science
Fundamental science topics for seventh graders include the structure of the earth, forces that shape the earth, and the dynamics of the atmosphere and the oceans as well as tectonic plate theory, geologic time, and the genesis and structure of the solar system. Further, seventh-grade students implement and present a research project during the second trimester that further develops their skills in applying the scientific method to answer questions and experiment.

Broad themes, such as unity and diversity, scale and structure, systems and interactions, energy, and patterns of change, form the context within which specific content is addressed. Conceptual development is fostered by involving students directly in the process of scientific inquiry.

Our laboratory activities emphasize the scientific method by applying it to experimental objectives presented in the classroom. Students generate hypotheses, plan clear and controlled experiments, and collect quantitative and qualitative data. Observations are recorded on student-designed computer spread sheets. Outcomes are also interpreted and conclusions drawn. New or refined hypotheses often emerge and foster broader creative and analytical thinking skills.
Course Texts: Earth's Waters, Pearson/Prentice Hall
Inside Earth, Pearson/Prentice Hall
Astronomy, Pearson/Prentice Hall
Earth’s Changing Surface, Pearson/Prentice Hall

English
The seventh-grade English course continues to foster a love of literature and writing and strengthen our students’ confidence in their abilities to read and write effectively. Seventh-graders develop and sharpen their critical thinking skills through reading, writing, thinking, listening, speaking, and research. As seventh graders, they build upon the skills instilled in English Six, such as note taking and discussion techniques as well as structuring a well-crafted piece of writing. Students understand themselves as readers by continuing to use personal criteria to select books and by reading a minimum of eight to ten independent books per year in different genres.

Seventh-grade students expand their reading vocabulary by identifying idioms and words with literal and figurative meanings in their speaking, writing, and reading experiences. They also learn to look more intently at the world around them as they discover how writing and literature communicates certain values and feelings. The essential thematic reading questions in English Seven are as follows:
  • What is friendship and the responsibilities associated with friendship?
  • What are the consequences associated with friendship, and what does loyalty have to do with friendship?

Students engage in numerous types of writing, including journal/reflective writing, writing to inform, writing to persuade, writing to explain, short-term writing, and writing to publish. Students write every day, tailoring their work for a particular audience and purpose and producing longer pieces every week. They write stories and scripts that demonstrate their understanding of how literary elements, such as characterization, setting, dialog, internal and external conflict, irony, and imagery, function within a story. Additionally, in seventh grade they compose both formal and extemporaneous essays. Students maintain a writer’s notebook, including starter questions, journaling, creative writing, free writing, etc. Vocabulary is studied on a weekly basis. In addition to examining stylistic and grammatical issues as they arise in writing, students continue to practice sentence diagramming and more advanced grammatical concepts, such as combining and manipulating sentences using subordination, coordination, apposition, phrasing, and other devices that indicate relationships among ideas.

An emphasis on oral presentation skills continues in the seventh grade as students ask questions to elicit information, including evidence to support hypotheses and conclusions. Additionally,
students memorize and present a poem of their choice in the annual Seventh Grade Poetry Salon.
Sample Course Texts: We study a variety of classic and contemporary works in all genres of literature. Our reading lists are dynamic, changing according to student composites, theme relevance, and new interdisciplinary connections.
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
The Pearl by John Steinbeck
The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare
Little Worlds: A Collection of Short Stories for the Middle School Vocabulary from Classical Roots Book A, Rules of the Game 2
From There to Here: Immigrant Literature Voices of the Holocaust
Students also read a diverse array of independent reading texts, short stories, poems, and articles.

History: American History from 1865
The seventh-grade history course introduces students to the rich history of the United States—from the foundation of our nation to the modern-day struggles and triumphs of a diverse country. Recognizing that there are many stories to be told, we select themes and time periods that provide a varied and inclusive portrait of our nation as it struggles continually to define itself and its place in the world. We attempt to connect history with current events and trends whenever possible, thus making history come alive for our students. Students study the Constitution and the separation of powers, the age of politics and free enterprise, technology and inventions, the propaganda of WWI, the Jazz Age, the Great Depression and the New Deal, WWII and the Cold War, the New Frontier and the Great Society, the Longest War (1950-1975), and the years of turmoil and change (1969-1980).
Course Text: Call to Freedom: U.S. History 1865-Present

Information Literacy and Technology
The overall goal of the seventh-grade course is to enable students to acquire and hone the skills necessary to harness the vast flow of information and to be agile lifelong learners, using technology and media as two powerful tools. The sub-goals of this course require upper schoolers at this level to use technology and media to collaborate and communicate as well as to access and evaluate information. We have adapted national and international technology and media standards as part of our performance expectations. Students bolster their skills to use technology and media enhance the following skills:
  • Creativity and innovation
  • Communication and collaboration
  • Research and information fluency
  • Critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making
  • Digital citizenship
  • Technology operations and concepts

Moreover, technology skills are also integrated with subject areas, as students use many different software programs and platforms to complete research, class work, and projects. In upper school, there is increased focus on using digital media and environments to communicate, to work collaboratively, to support individual learning, and to contribute to the learning of others. In addition, students focus on ethical digital citizenship, working to demonstrate mature responsibility for handling technology and for respecting individual and group work within shared networks.

World Languages: Chinese (Mandarins), Spanish, French, Latin
A primary goal of the seventh-grade Chinese course are to enable students to develop basic communication skills in listening and speaking on age-appropriate topics. Others are to enable students to recognize and write more new Chinese characters and to increase students’ awareness and understanding of the Chinese Pinyin pronunciation system and Chinese culture.
Course Texts: Easy Steps to Chinese Volumes 1 & 2

Spanish 7 is the second half of the level-one Spanish course at Far Hills Country Day School. The goal of the course is to enable each student to reach his/her highest level of competency in the five areas of language instruction: listening, reading, writing, speaking, and culture. The course content is based the course textbook. Along with the student workbook, the course is supplemented with videos, CDs, and a CD-ROM program.
Course Text: ¡Exprésate! Level 1

French 7 is a continuation of the level-one course begun in the second trimester of the sixth grade. The goal of the course is to enable each student to reach his/her highest level of competency in the five areas of language instruction: listening, reading, writing, speaking, and culture. The course content is based on the course textbook. Along with the student text and workbook, the course is supplemented with videos, CDs, and internet projects.
Course Text: Allez, viens by Holt Rinehart Winston

The Latin grade-seven course serves as an introduction to classical Latin and to Ancient Roman culture. The course is offered two days per cycle. Two years of study in seventh and eighth grades, constitute between 3/4 and one year of high school Latin. Through readings in Latin about Pompeii and the Roman civilization, students gain a feel for the language and the culture. Emphasis is placed on grammar and on the connection between Latin and the English language.
Course Text: The Cambridge Latin Course, Unit 1

Music
In their final year of general music, seventh-grade students continue to experience, create, and perform music in a variety of venues. They utilize the Midi keyboard lab to perform and compose music as well as to create orchestrations of poetry in our lyrics unit. They also continue to hone their note reading skills in both the treble and bass clefs and play simple melodies and chordal accompaniments. Students perform in both the Holiday Concert in December and the Grandparents’ Day Concert in May. Students choose a composer from the Romantic Period to study in-depth and create a computer project as their final assessment. Using the HBO special “Stomp Out Loud” as inspiration, students explore creative movement and composition by using ordinary objects to make music. Finally, we look at the components of musical theater through Leonard Bernstein’s “West Side Story.”

Fine Arts
Grade-seven students explore simple and complex concepts in drawing, understand contour, shading, and perspective, learn about positive and negative space, and practice advanced wheel techniques in ceramics. The students also paint with watercolors, tempera, and acrylics and use principles of design to create original compositions.

Test Preparation
In preparation for standardized tests, seventh-grade students participate in a dedicated test preparation program throughout the year. Students have the opportunity to hone numerous academic skills, including vocabulary, critical reading and thinking, and problem solving.

Grade 8 - Peregrine House

Mathematics
ALGEBRA: Students (in grades seven or eight) taking algebra use linear functions, linear equations, and systems of linear equations to represent, analyze, and solve a variety of problems. They also use fundamental facts about distance and angles to describe and analyze figures. And they understand that the slope (m) of a line is a constant rate of change and can apply the Pythagorean theorem to problems involving distance between points and analysis of polygons.

Students at this level translate among verbal, tabular, graphical, and algebraic representations of functions. Secure in these translation skills, they become facile in analyzing situations and can discern how to solve problems regardless of the manner in which they are presented. Students apply their understanding about linear relationships and their various forms, including absolute values, factoring polynomials and inequalities to the study of quadratic equations, and exponential relationships. Eighth graders continue to use exponents and scientific notation to describe very large and very small numbers; they use square roots when applying the Pythagorean theorem; and they use theoretical probability and proportions to make predictions. They also use descriptive statistics, including mean, median, and range, to analyze and summarize data sets in order to organize and display data in meaningful ways.

GEOMETRY: Geometry is offered to eighth graders on an as-needed basis for qualified students. Eighth-grade students taking geometry continue to develop and strengthen their skills in algebra throughout the year as they begin their study of geometry. In geometry, students develop spatial sense and logical thinking skills through the study of shapes and their relationships. Students begin with a review of algebraic fundamentals that are essential to understanding higher mathematics. They study topics in geometry including: geometric definitions and reasoning, angles, parallel lines, triangles and congruence, right angle trigonometry, triangle inequalities and square roots, and quadrilaterals. They also study surface areas and volumes (polygons, circles, prisms), proportions and similar polygons, and the writing of proofs.
Course Text: Discovering Geometry: An Inductive Approach

Science: Physical Science
One of the objectives of science in the eighth grade is to investigate and integrate the way in which students develop scientific thinking. Students acknowledge and appreciate science not only in the school via formal instruction, but also in what they themselves directly sense of their world and what the rest of the world communicates to them. To that end, students are expected to extend their scientific literacy to include the comprehension and application of fundamental concepts in the physical sciences and develop a conceptual framework within which experimental observations can be placed and examined.

They are also expected to learn competent laboratory skills through hands-on exploration of important topics in physical science as well as build verbal skills, including a sound scientific vocabulary, and recording techniques that enable clear articulation and presentation of personal observations and of abstract concepts. In addition, they will demonstrate, experience, and appreciate the roles of creativity, objectivity, and perseverance in problem solving.

The broad objective of IPS is to develop laboratory, reasoning, and communication skills in the context of science so that they may apply their knowledge to new situations, while they gain an understanding of the foundations of physical science. The central theme is the study of matter, leading to the development of the atomic model.
Course Texts: Chemical Building Blocks, Practice Hall Science Explorer Series
IPS (Integrated Physical Science) , Science Curriculum Inc., Colorado
Motion, Forces, and Energy, Prentice Hall Science Series

English
The eighth-grade English course fosters a love of writing and literature in our eighth graders and strengthens their abilities to read and write effectively. The major aim of the course is to encourage students to develop and advance their reading, writing, thinking, listening, speaking, and research skills. Other important goals are to support them in developing a deeper understanding of the nature, structure, and power of language and to advance critical thinking skills. In addition, they will expand the ways in which they read, understand, and respond to literature, look more intently at what is around us and analyze how writing and literature reveal an understanding of other people and ourselves. The course will also encourage students to explore and communicate values and feelings and to become more sensitive to what we and others write, read, say and do. They will also comprehend how knowledge is interconnected and sharpen the skills needed to become independent, lifelong learners.

In reading, students preview, predict, infer, and summarize as they distinguish between the main idea and specific details in more complex texts. They interpret literary and poetic devices, identifying the tone and mood of a literary selection, and they will read a minimum of eight to ten individual books per year. While reading, students are asked to consider essential thematic questions, such as:

  • What does literature and writing reveal about your character?
  • About the character of others?

Students write every day and produce longer pieces each week. They generate ideas for writing through reading and making connections across the curriculum and with current events and develop those ideas through the writing process. Students publish a minimum of eight to ten works over the course of the school year and engage in different types of writing and study vocabulary on a weekly basis. They write in a variety of genres, expanding their knowledge of form, structure, and author’s voice genres, such as memoirs, soliloquies, epistles, poems, and essays. Students also write expository essays that synthesize information from a variety of sources and manipulate sentence structure and style to build variation, precision, and complexity in their writing. In addition to examining stylistic and grammatical issues in their writing, students study sentence diagramming, phrases and clauses, sentence structures and variations, sentence styles, sentence combining, punctuation, and usage.

Eighth-grade students also use a variety of reference materials to revise their work. They apply grammatical understanding of phrases and clauses, know high-frequency and lesson- and content-specific words, infer word meanings from roots, prefixes, and suffixes, and edit for subject-verb agreement. They will also develop and refine an extended vocabulary through listening and exposure to a variety of texts and independent reading. They identify incorrect usage and form problems and spell all high-frequency and spelling words with accuracy.

Students will also learn to present information orally in an organized, clear, and logical manner, developing speaking techniques, including voice modulation, inflection, tempo, enunciation, and eye contact, for effective presentations. They recognize and analyze persuasive techniques in oral communication and critique information heard or viewed by paraphrasing and initiating discussions that build on the information presented and they will support a position while acknowledging opposing views. They interpret a speaker’s verbal and non-verbal messages, purposes, and perspectives and identify and use a variety of questions, including literal, inferential, and evaluative.
Sample Course Texts: We study a variety of classic and contemporary works in all genres of literature. Our reading lists are dynamic, changing according to student composites, theme relevance, and new interdisciplinary connections.
Classical Roots, Book B
English Workshop, Book 3
Rules of the Game Grammar, Book 3
Frenchtown Summer by Robert Cormier
Night by Elie Wiesel
Going Where I’m Coming From ed. by Anne Mazer
America Street ed. by Anne Mazer
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Letter from Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King, Jr.
Macbeth by Shakespeare
Boy by Roald Dahl
Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Students also read a diverse array of small group and self-selected texts from a wide variety genres, such as nonfiction and fantasy. We also study a wide selection of short stories, poems, and articles.

History: World History
The eighth-grade course introduces students to the foundations of worldwide struggles and triumphs. We attempt to connect history with current events and trends whenever possible, thus making history come alive for our students. Independent learning skills are emphasized through various activities and assessments, culminating with the final exposition project. In trimester one, students study democracy in our world (past and present), Greek and Roman art history, the foundations of Medieval Europe and the height of the Medieval civilization, the building of national monarchies, and the Golden Ages outside Western Europe. In trimester two, eighth-grade students study Europe in transition— the Renaissance and Reformation, an age of revolution, the dawn of the Industrial Age and age of science, and the triumph of Nationalism. In trimester three, students study recent challenges for the United States, focusing on current events and preparing for the Learning Exposition, a ten-week independent study on a self-selected topic.
Course Text: World History: The Human Journey

Information Literacy and Technology
The overall goal of the seventh-grade course is to enable students to acquire and hone the skills necessary to harness the vast flow of information and to be agile lifelong learners, using technology and media as two powerful tools. The sub-goals of this course require upper schoolers at this level to use technology and media to collaborate and communicate as well as to access and evaluate information.

We have adapted national and international technology and media standards as part of our performance expectations. Students bolster their skills to use technology and media enhance the following skills:
  • Creativity and innovation
  • Communication and collaboration
  • Research and information fluency
  • Critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making
  • Digital citizenship
  • Technology operations and concepts

Moreover, technology skills are also integrated with subject areas, as students use many different software programs and platforms to complete research, class work, and projects. In upper school, there is increased focus on using digital media and environments to communicate, to work collaboratively, to support individual learning, and to contribute to the learning of others. In addition, students focus on ethical digital citizenship, working to demonstrate mature responsibility for handling technology and for respecting individual and group work within shared networks.

World Languages: Chinese (Mandarin), Spanish, French, Latin
Goals of the of the eighth-grade Chinese course are to enable the students to develop basic communicative skills in listening and speaking on age-appropriate topics; to enable them to recognize and write more new Chinese characters; and to increase their awareness and understanding of the Chinese Pinyin pronunciation system and Chinese culture. Students consistently matriculate into high school Chinese 2 courses.
Course Texts: Easy Steps to Chinese Volumes 2 & 3

In the eighth grade, the level-two Spanish course begins at Far Hills Country Day School. The goal of the course is to enable each student to reach his/her highest level of competency in the five areas of language instruction: listening, reading, writing, speaking, and culture. The course content is based on chapters 1-5 of the course text book. Along with the student text and workbook, the course is supplemented with videos, CDs and a CD-ROM program.
Course Text: ¡Exprésate! Level 2

For eighth graders, French 8 comprises the second half of the level-one course. The goal of the course is to enable each student to reach their highest level of competency in the five areas of language instruction: listening, reading, writing, speaking, and culture. The course content is based on the course text book. Along with the student text and workbook, the course is supplemented with videos, CDs and Internet projects.
Course Text: Allez, viens by Holt Rinehart Winston

The eighth-grade course serves as a continuation of the seventh-grade Latin course. The course is offered two days per week. After two years of study in the seventh and eighth grades, between 3/4 and one year of high school Latin is achieved. Through readings in Latin about Pompeii and the Roman civilization, students gain a feel for the language and the culture. An emphasis is placed on grammar and on the connection between Latin and the English language.
Course Text: The Cambridge Latin Course, Unit 1

The Art: Selectives
Selectives in the arts include the following: acting/scenes, artistic challenge, musical theater scenes, altered books, enviro-art, enameling, set design, 3-D multimedia sculpture, pottery, Pop art, portraits, musical theater preparation, I-movie film, improvisation, Stomp, masters painting, fabric arts, graphic design/marketing, and experimental painting.

Test Preparation
In preparation for standardized tests, especially the SSAT, eighth-grade students participate in a dedicated test preparation program throughout the year. Students have the opportunity to hone numerous academic skills, including vocabulary, critical reading and thinking, and problem solving.

STEAM in Action

Instruction at Far Hills is multi-disciplinary. Watch how the eighth-graders in an art class engineer a Rube Goldberg contraption to zip a zipper without any hands. This inquiry-based learning develops important life skills including creativity, teamwork, resilience, and time management.