Even in a small school setting, transition to middle school curriculum and learning standards can be a challenging experience for many students. When students enter the middle school, they are expected to become more independent and responsible learners. In order to provide students with support in acquiring these essential life skills, 5th grade students join 6th graders for a two-grade-level classroom in both language arts and math. This allows for a similar two-grade-level grouping for their 7th and 8th grade classmates in the same subjects.
- ReadingWonders (2014) McGraw-Hill, Grades K-6
- Writing Pathways by Lucy Calkins (2014) Heinemann, Grades K-8
- Select Literature mapped to Common Core Standards, Grades 5-8
Grades 5/6 Novels/Literature Examples Include: (two-year rotation): (Rotation 1) Select Poetry, Chasing Vermeer, D' Aulaires Book of Greek Myths, Where the Red Fern Grows, and Esperanza Rising; (Rotation 2) Bridge to Terabithia, Walk Two Moons; The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.
Grades 7/8 Novels/Literature (two-year rotation): Examples include: (Rotation 1) Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl, Farewell to Manzanar, Of Mice and Men, The Outsiders, The Pearl, To Kill a Mockingbird; (Rotation 2) Animal Farm, A Christmas Carol (adapted play), Fahrenheit 451, The Myths of Greece and Rome (Guerber), Tom Sawyer, The Giver.
Using TCI's History Alive!, students in grades 6, 7 and 8 learn together primarily through a variety of interactive, in-class, hands-on activities. History curriculum traditionally is identified as belonging to a particular grade level (The Ancient World - Grade 6, The Medieval World and Beyond - Grade 7, The United States, Grade 8). Rather than teaching each grade level separately, history at Nicasio School is taught to all middle schoolers in a 3-year cycle. By the end of 8th grade, each student will have completed the 3-year course of study.
In addition to focusing on the past, middle school curriculum actively engages students in current events. Students are responsible for gathering current events and presenting information to their classmates on a regular basis.
Hands-on science provides Nicasio's middle schoolers with authentic, engaging learning experiences. CPO Science is taught in a 3-year cycle, similar to history, with all students exploring Earth Science, Life Science, and Physical Science by the end of their 8th grade year.
Students in grades 6, 7, and 8 participate in physical education classes together at least three days a week. Students meet with a P.E. specialist, funded through Nicasio School Foundation, twice a week in addition to having additional PE with a core teacher at least once per week. Most activities and sports take place outside, but Nicasio School's multi-purpose room provides an excellent indoor space when needed. In the spring, students in 6th grade are joined by 5th graders for a one-week puberty education program while the 7th and 8th graders participate in sexuality education. Every other year, 7th and 8th graders research drugs and drug abuse in their language arts class and present their findings to 5th and 6th graders as well as to interested community members.