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Honors Courses
Sixth-Grade
English
Ms. Deragish & Mr. Eich

Honors English strengthens students' writing skills in various writing genres. The first half of the year concentrates on creative writing through poetry, descriptive writing, personal narrative and fiction. The second half of the year focuses on expository writing, specifically the cause and effect essay, the compare and contrast essay, the explanatory essay, the informative essay and the persuasive essay. During each course of study, students read and analyze exemplary texts in each genre to learn the elements and and techniques of effective writing. Students utilize blocks of grammar, the six traits traits of writing and the five step writing process for each writing unit. Students increase their vocabulary by studying Greek and Latin root words and improve their spelling by incorporating spelling phonetics and rules.

Math (Pre-Algebra)
Mr. Jon Albrecht and Ms. Sara Falls

Honors math class uses the Prentice Hall Pre-Algebra curriculum and other supplemental resources/activities to address the seventh-grade mathematics standards. It also reviews topics from the sixth-grade standards in preparation for state testing. Learning activities during this course are meant to make connections between the number and operation concepts of previous learning and a more algebraic way of thinking. The main focus of the algebra study is on linear functions.

Reading
 Ms. Serig and Ms. Yeaton

Honors reading uses the curriculum Good Habits, Great Readers. This curriculum is a balanced literacy approach that is taught in both a small group and large group setting. We work with your student to identify areas of growth and enhance their existing skills. Honors reading uses materials that have a higher Lexile or readability. We also use text sets, texts that focus on the same theme/topic to further investigate an issue. For word study, most students will use the Words Their Way curriculum. Some students will be doing an enrichment word study based on their level of need.

Science
Ms. Amanda Cook

Honors students will be engaged in a rigorous course focusing on the skills necessary to excel in advanced placement high school science classes. The middle school physical and engineering science course is designed to give students the necessary skills for a smooth transition from elementary physical science standards to high school physical science standards. The purpose is to give all students an overview of common strands in physical science including: energy, matter, motion and forces, electricity and magnetism, light, sound, and engineering. Many units using STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) as the driving philosophy of curriculum design. Students will discover how science effects every aspect of their lives.

Social Studies
Mr. Walberg

This course is designed to expose students to some of the many topics in Minnesota History. The focus of the course is to analyze the historical significance of major themes in Minnesota's history. To enrich learning, many units will include a final project designed to engage the student in specific areas of interest within the broad scope of the unit. Each unit will begin in the past and end with a contemporary analysis of how we are currently impacted by the events of the past. Honors students will be engaged in the material using various pre-AP strategies including but not limited to document analysis and document-based essays. Topics to be covered include: Native American History in Minnesota, Immigration, Conflict, Shaping Minnesota's Landscape, Reform Movements, and Industry, Technology and Innovation. Honors classes in Minnesota History will put a specific focus on the skills necessary to excel in advanced placement high school classes including writing in history, historical research, and interpretation of historical evidence.

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Seventh-Grade
English
Ms. Deb VanSchooten

Honors English continues to strengthen students' writing and reading skills by the various genres explored during the course of the year. Throughout the year students are exposed to a diverse range of narrative writing including memoir, poetry, and short story. By studying writer's craft, students learn the skills necessary to become literacy critics in order to write their own narratives in each unit of study. Students are also taught to critically read informational text in the forms of essays and articles. Gaining insights through their readings, students also write their own informational text. During the year, students are engaged in high-order thinking and questioning with the use of the Socratic Seminar. Technology plays an integral component of the curriculum with the use of blogs, online portfolios, and computer-based assignments.

Math (Algebra 1)

Ms. Jansen

Honors math uses the Prentice Hall Algebra curriculum and other supplemental resources/activities to address the eighth-grade mathematics standards. It also reviews topics from the seventh-grade standards in preparation for state testing. Algebra 1 is an introduction to the fundamental rules of Algebra. It is taught at an accelerated pace that is suitable for students with advanced mathematical ability and a strong interest in the subject. Algebra 1 includes the introduction of variables, constants, expressions, equations, and functions. The language of numbers is examined. Topics include solving equations, simplifying expressions, understanding order of operations, performing operations with positive and negative numbers, exploring polynomials, factoring, graphing (linear and quadratic equations), working with radicals, and expanding arithmetic knowledge.

Science
Mr. Daniel Gaisbauer

By the end of seventh-grade your child will be expected to:
  • Use the scientific method to solve scientific problems.
  • Investigate organisms and their environment using a microscope.
  • Develop lab skills including tool usage and safety procedures.
  • Study what cells are, their parts, and processes including osmosis, diffusion and mitosis.
  • Identify organisms in the 5 kingdoms of life.
  • Be knowledgeable of communicable diseases caused by bacteria and viruses, as well as their prevention.
  • Comprehend the concepts of DNA and heredity.
  • Understand the human body and its systems.

Social Studies
Mr. Kyle Golden

This course is designed to expose students to some of the many topics in World History. This is a survey course with a broad scope of content from pre-History to the present day. To enrich learning, many units will include a final project designed to engage the student in specific areas of interest within the broad scope of the unit. Honors students will be engaged in the material using various pre-AP strategies including but not limited to document analysis and document-based essays. Topics to be covered include: Mesopotamia, Ancient Egypt, Ancient India, Ancient China, Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, Aztec, Inca, Maya, Middle Ages in Europe, Renaissance, and the Enlightenment. Honors classes in World History will put a specific focus on the skills necessary to excel in advanced placement high school classes including writing in history, historical research, and interpretation of historical evidence.

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Eighth-Grade
English
Ms. Jen Moe (Hamilton)

Honors English 8 will expose students to a variety of texts as they explore different genres of literature through novel studies, literature circles, researching, and independent reading. The writing curriculum will focus on investigative journalism, literary essays, a compare and contrast project, and a position paper.
The year will be split into six parts consisting of: literary elements, language and culture, literary analysis of novels, poetry, argument and persuasion, and public speaking.
Students will be given different "challenge" assignments throughout the year that will focus on a high school leveled reading, writing, and vocabulary curriculum.
Students will be expected to complete 20 minutes of independent reading outside of class each day. They will also be asked to set a personal goal of reading at least 20 books throughout the school year.

Math (Algebra 2)
Ms. Michelle Ahrens

Honors math uses the Prentice Hall Algebra 2 curriculum and other supplemental resources/activities to address the ninth- through twelfth-grade mathematics standards. It also reviews topics from the eighth-grade standards in preparation for state testing. This course is designed to build on algebraic and geometric concepts. It develops advanced algebra skills such as systems of equations, advanced polynomials, imaginary and complex numbers, and quadratics. The content of this course are important for students' success on both the ACT and college mathematics entrance exams. Students who successfully complete Algebra 2 should take Geometry. We work closely with the high school staff to make sure students are ready for this next course.

Science
Ms. Tammy Gingerich

Earth Science students will investigate these topics:
  • Minerals and Rocks
  • Plate tectonics, Earthquakes and Volcanoes
  • Atmosphere and Weather Factors
  • Astronomy
  • Properties of Matter (prepares students for ninth-grade physical science)

All students will be required to maintain a science notebook that supports organization, referencing own work and higher level thinking skills. Honors classes will utilize the science textbook in class but for the most part, students will use Internet reading resources. Throughout the year, students will practice the skills necessary to perform the science process and students will complete a thematic research paper/project with geography and English.

Social Studies

Ms. Michelle Collopy

The eighth-grade honors class uses a variety of material to give students the necessary skills for advanced placement in high school classes.

Chapters 1-34 in World Geography Building a Global Perspective are covered in this course. It includes the following units:
  • Introduction to World Cultures and Geography
  • The United States and Canada
  • Latin America
  • Europe, Russia and the Independent Republics
  • North Africa and Southwest Asia
  • Southern Asia
  • East Asia, Australia, Oceania and Antarctica

Each unit/chapter contains Skills for Life, Critical Thinking, Map Skills and Making Connections, Vocabulary and Etymology, Do-It-Yourself Skills, Global Connections, How the Earth Works, People and Geography, Regional Databases, Geography and Literature, and Change Over Time. These may or may not be utilized in the course depending on time allotment. 

Students will receive classroom lecture, are required to read the chapter sections on their own and take Cornell Notes on these sections. After reading, students will do one of several assessments. These assessments may include Guided Readings (with one of the 20 core social studies skills), Four Square, timelines, position papers, research and oral reports. Accompanying chapter/sections, students will see videos, DVDs, PowerPoints, have class discussions and work on numerous map studies. There will also be Geographers Apprentice and projects or unit tests. In the spring there is a comprehensive final project.
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