Junior High

Fifth-Eighth grades

Junior high students are at a critical stage in their development, both academically and socially. Our Junior High teachers know each of our students as individuals and they use that knowledge to motivate and inspire our boys and girls to become well-educated, kind, and mature teenagers who are prepared and eager to take on the responsibilities and opportunities that lie ahead.

Learning by Experience

Our students’ first overnight trip takes place in fifth grade. Students travel to the Dauphin Island Sea Lab to participate in a marine biology program. They visit the estuarium, collect and identify various aquatic species, dissect squid, and work in the plankton lab. They get very dirty and have a lot of fun.

Our sixth graders study Harry Potter in the classroom and then have the opportunity to see the written word come to life when they tour Hogwarts at Universal Studios in Florida. They also overnight at Fontainebleau State Park, where they work together to plant trees for the Coastal Roots program.

Our seventh graders spend a week in North Carolina, where they further their outdoor education and have the opportunity to go caving, whitewater rafting, mountain biking, kayaking, and more.

Our eighth graders travel to Chicago. They have the opportunity to visit some of our country’s most fascinating museums, learn about the architecture of the city, and experience big-city life.

All of our Junior High students participate in canoe trips and camping trips as part of our unique Outdoor Education Program.

LEARNING BY LEADING

Our Junior High students have many opportunities to become leaders. From running for Junior High Student Council or a National Junior Honor Society office to leading a team or a club, our students are encouraged to take on leadership roles to better our school. We also encourage our students to serve our community by organizing fundraisers and learning about community needs.

Many of our students also lead on the field and on the court. We offer just about all competitive sports for fifth-eighth graders, and many of our Junior High students have the opportunity to participate at the high school level as well.

We also have a spectacular arts program that including music and visual and performing arts. Our performing arts students handle every single aspect of putting on a top-notch production, including everything from building the set and sewing the costumes to operating the A/V equipment and, of course, acting and singing.

LEARNING KINDNESS and COMPASSION

Outside of academics, one of our primary goals at CES is to develop kind and compassionate individuals. By encouraging our students to express their individuality, we also instill in them a respect for all people and their differences. This is a critical component in providing an environment where our Junior High students can develop their confidence and feel comfortable stepping outside of their comfort zones.

TEACHING WITH TECHNOLOGY

Beginning in fifth grade, students are assigned individual, monitored school email addresses. Using classroom Chromebooks and the tools of their choice at home, they take ownership of assignments and deadlines and communicate homework inquiries directly with teachers via email. In eighth grade, individual Chromebooks are provided to each student. As important as our commitment is to nurturing a love for the arts and the outdoors, CES also recognizes the importance of preparing our students to successfully navigate technology as 21st century learners.

Junior High Curriculum

Fifth Grade
Sixth Grade
Seventh Grade
Eighth Grade

Fifth grade math uses the Houghton Mifflin series to guide their curriculum, but is richly supplemented with interactive learning and real world applications. The curriculum concentrates on sharpening conceptualization and real world problem-solving, as well as mastery of whole number operations, advanced place value concepts, fraction and decimal conversions, geometry, and measurement. Fifth grade math sets the stage for early pre-algebra concepts. Students are prepared for higher level thinking. The classroom environment encourages active thinking and developing strong independent and collaboration skills. Students are introduced to more deliberate study and note-taking and test-taking skills while learning new mathematical concepts. By the end of the year, student confidence and critical thinking skills have increased, and they are ready to approach abstract concepts in future math courses.

The fifth grade science curriculum is designed to have students engage in, explore, explain, elaborate on, and evaluate science. The course utilizes the Macmillan/McGraw-Hill Louisiana Science, A Closer Look textbook and a supplemental aid by the Jason Foundation for education, Disappearing Wetlands. During the course of the school year, students learn about life science, which includes cells to living organisms and a variety of ecosystems. Time is devoted to learning about the wetlands of Louisiana and Alabama in preparation for the annual field trip to Dauphin Island. The course also covers physical science, which includes matter, changes and reactions, force, motion and energy transformations, and space.

In fifth grade ELA, Literacy Studio emphasizes student engagement and individuality by allowing choice and extensive one-on-one time with the teacher. Concepts related to reading and writing craft are introduced in “mini lessons” that are followed by “crafting sessions,” during which students practice the new concept through either reading or writing. While students are independently reading or writing, teachers are able to conference with students individually.

Choice and authenticity are important factors in the ELA classroom. Students are guided in practicing new skills with class novels and assigned writing, but are also given time for independent practice in novels and writing of their own choosing. Carefully selected class novels are used to teach literary elements and foster a love of literature.

Literacy Studio uses research-based instruction that focuses on students, not texts. It is designed to help students become better readers and writers using specific strategies proven to be successful. Grammar and vocabulary are taught in context and applied in the students’ own writing.

In fifth grade, social studies students develop a deeper appreciation of the founding principles on which America was built. The course begins with a focus on indigenous cultures of the Western Hemisphere followed by the exploration of the Eastern and Western Hemispheres. Students engage in reflective activities that challenge them to think critically about many of the historical figures that paved the way for the discovery of America.  The second half of the year is largely focused on the colonization of the New World. Students participate in a variety of activities, including their very own Colonial Day, when they experience life as early American colonists. The year culminates with the birth of the United States of America, and students learn about the American Revolution.  The fifth grade social studies curriculum encompasses a variety of learning styles to meet every child’s needs with hopes that everyone develops an appreciation for our country’s history and maintains a love of learning.

 

The primary focus of the fifth grade art curriculum is contemporary/modern art.  Students examine how art has changed and question what art is and can be.  The development of abstraction and the use of nontraditional materials are examples of concepts that are covered. During the year, students work with a full range of media through drawing, painting, printmaking, ceramics, and sculpture.

Fifth grade music classes consist of continuing foundations of music theory. Students learn how to read music and play the piano and percussion instruments. Fifth graders have fun learning about musical theater and participate in in-class performances. Music enrichment is held once a week for 50 minutes.

This course is based on the Structure and Method series that is valued for its comprehensive topic coverage and mathematical development of the necessary skills required for superior preparation for more advanced course work. Emphasis is placed on reasoning, problem-solving, number relationships and number theory, patterns and functions, graphing, fractions, decimals, and proportions.

The purpose of this course is to give students an appreciation of the many and varied forces that have shaped the Earth over the years and continue to shape it now and into the future.  Physical science concepts related to matter, energy flow, chemistry, forces, and motion are covered in the context of Earth’s functions.  Some of the broad areas covered are chemistry, geology, plate tectonics, geologic time, and meteorology. Threaded through the program is a return to the topics of properties of matter, convection currents, and density.  It is important for the students to explore the connections between these topics and the other areas of study. Scientific inquiry is taught and utilized throughout the course.

The sixth grade English classroom follows a reading and writing workshop model of instruction, continuing the Literacy Studio begun in fifth grade. Great emphasis is placed on the student’s individual growth as a reader, writer, and critical thinker. Students also strike a balance between assigned class reading and novels they choose for themselves. Each quarter begins with the students reading and studying an assigned novel. Grammar, vocabulary, and speaking skills are also essential parts of the sixth grade English curriculum and are taught in the context of the student’s reading and individual writing, which are methods supported by decades of research as the best ways for students to build communication skills, expand vocabulary, and master complex grammatical structures.

This course includes the study of world geography, history, culture, civics, and economics.  It embodies a detailed study of Western civilization from the Paleolithic Age through the Industrial Revolution and beyond, leading up to the present day.  Current events from across the globe are examined and discussed, especially as they relate to world societies and cultural norms.

This one-period per week class is designed to help students improve their learning effectiveness, attitudes, and motivation. The curriculum includes time management, concentration, note-taking skills, textbook study methods, test-taking strategies, and critical-thinking skills.

The foreign language goal at CES is to develop near-native speakers and practitioners of the target language.  Classes are conducted in the target language in varying degrees, depending on the level of advancement, and students are expected to respond as often as possible in the target language.  In this way, a mini-immersion environment is created, and students actually apply what they know.

Students work with a variety of material, both two-dimensional and three-dimensional.  Art history is taught within the context of skill-building projects.  In sixth grade, the focus is on early art history, beginning with cave paintings and progressing through the Renaissance. Students examine how art reflects the society and cultural values in which it is produced. The study of Greek, Roman, and Renaissance art provides a format in which techniques for achieving realism are introduced.

During the course of the year, students explore the world of percussion. They discover diverse styles and methods of drumming and how they are associated with various cultures. We begin the year by reviewing basic-to-intermediate rhythm notation. Our first exploration is body percussion, followed by use of rhythm sticks. This serves as a segue to introduce bucket drumming. A large portion of the year is spent on bucket drumming and pop-up performances are planned to showcase the students’ progress. We also include a unit on African and Latin drumming in our cultural exploration. Music enrichment is held once a week for 50 minutes.

The subject matter consists of Acts, Romans, and selected Epistles with emphasis on history and spiritual direction of the early church, the Apostolic church (the church of the Apostles). We contemplate our own spirituality and religious practices while comparing them to the culture, history, and practices of the early church. These scriptures expound on what it means to be a follower of Christ. Therefore, we learn a lot about what is expected of the Christian people: To believe in things they can barely fathom, to love and trust people from all walks of life, to search for God’s will, to “wonder” what that could be. We ask why and we try to develop a deeper understanding.

The physical education curriculum develops skills necessary for participation in a variety of individual and team games and sports. The program provides opportunities for improving social skills through group cooperative activities, good sportsmanship, and fair play necessary for successful participation.  We use the Fitnessgram test to asses each student’s level of fitness and stress the importance of healthy lifestyle decision-making.  In the Outdoor Education Program, students hone their canoe paddling skills on the on-campus pond and later paddle through a Louisiana swamp.  They participate in overnight camping at Fontainebleau State Park, where they plant from seeds approximately 500 trees each year in partnership with the LSU Coastal Roots Program.  Emphasis is placed on sound, eco-friendly decision-making and “leave-no-trace” habit building.

This course continues with the Structure and Method series and serves to prepare students for Algebra I the following year.  Emphasis is given to operations with rational numbers both in solving algebraic equations and as order of operations.  The course also includes an introduction of exponent rules and linear equations and a comprehensive unit on ratios, proportions, and percentages with emphasis given to translating word problems to appropriate equations.  Plane geometry concepts and three-dimensional figures are explored along with the Pythagorean theorem.

This course emphasizes the organization of life from the cell through the entire organism.   Additionally, cell processes, reproduction, heredity, and evolution are explored.  The second half of the course emphasizes the human organism through the study of its 10 systems.  Activities include microscope work, a two-week comparative dissection lab, and investigations devoted to comprehending mitotic/meiotic cell division and evolution. Human models and x-rays are also available for further study.  At all times, particular emphasis is given to the beauty of life and the respect it deserves.

The goal of this course is to help students to be better readers, writers, and thinkers. Throughout the year, students work together toward competency in reading and writing at a higher level; building sound research, analysis, and organization skills; and developing a lifelong love for literature and art while discovering ways in which our language can have a positive influence on so many aspects of life.  The course utilizes Ellin Oliver Keene’s Literacy Studio model (Heinemann) and emphasizes the need for students to read and write in class daily.  Sometimes this means reading/writing about a class novel, but most often it means reading/writing about independent topics of interest chosen by the student. The core elements of language arts (writing, literature, grammar, and vocabulary) are integrated through literature itself. The premise of the Literacy Studio model is that students “learn (retain and reapply) best when they focus on few concepts of great import, taught in depth over long periods of time and applied in a variety of ways.” In other words, through reading and writing in a workshop setting, students develop in-depth knowledge of literary concepts and literature presented by the teacher and/or garnered by the student through interaction not only with a wealth of literary genres in the classroom but also through independently chosen literary texts.

In seventh grade social studies, we begin the year with a review of U.S. geography and physical features, regional differences, and cultural variety.  We then delve into early indigenous cultures, theories of the first migrations into North America, and European colonization. The conflicts leading to the French and Indian and Revolutionary wars are studied.   Focus is then on the formation of the United States, its national government, and its founding documents–the Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution, and Bill of Rights.  After westward expansion and the Industrial Revolution, we study the negative impacts of colonization on Native Americans and African slaves. We then examine the factors contributing to the Civil War and its effects on society.  We end the year with a look at the 20th century with a particular focus on World Wars I and II as “modern wars” that redefined geopolitical boundaries and demonstrated the devastating impact of post-industrial warfare.

 

The foreign language goal at CES is to develop near-native speakers and practitioners of the target language.  Classes are conducted in the target language in varying degrees, depending on the level of advancement, and students are expected to respond as often as possible in the target language.  In this way, a mini-immersion environment is created, and students actually apply what they know.

Students work with a variety of material, both two-dimensional and three-dimensional.  Art history is taught within the context of skill-building projects.  Seventh grade art draws on a wide range of art to illustrate how art reflects the personal world of the individual or society that creates it.  Emphasis is placed on skill building, drawing, and the development of personal expression.  Students are encouraged to make art that reflects their personal experiences and/or interests.   

During the course of the year, students become the hands-on musician, producer, and director. Students review basic music theory from previous years that are needed for keyboard/piano playing and other forthcoming activities. Students learn to become singer/performer/producer as they group together to lay down their own tracks in a recording project. During the spring semester, we study “the ins and outs” of musical theater: its history, those who work behind the scenes, and what it takes to make a show. Our studies culminate in mini, in-class productions. Music enrichment is held once a week for 50 minutes.

Students learn to develop the skills necessary for healthy living through individual and team sports, as well as outdoor education.  Students have the opportunity to participate in off-campus canoeing, backpacking, hiking, whitewater rafting, kayaking, climbing, and a variety of other activities both prior to and during their class trips to the Homochitto National Forest and to Camp Carolina in North Carolina.  Students also learn group cooperation and social skills with a strong emphasis on “leave no trace” in order to have a minimal impact on the environment.

In this course, we continue to explore the books of the New Testament. Class time includes prayer, reading, journaling, discussion, skits, religious art, and videos. Topics covered coordinate with service projects throughout the school campus.

Algebra I is the first of the mathematics Carnegie units needed for high school graduation.  It is a rigorous mathematics curriculum focused on mastering skill before utilization of the calculator.  Analyzing a problem to determine a method for solution is also stressed, as is interpreting answers to determine if they are valid solutions.  The course focuses on topics such as operations with monomials and polynomials, exponent rules, solving and graphing linear equations, solving systems of linear equations through a variety of methods, solving quadratic equations through both factoring and quadratic formula, simplifying radicals, and the Pythagorean theorem.  Each unit incorporates word problems that focus on writing and solving equations.  

Exeter Curriculum (Honors Program for eighth grade and high school) focuses on the ability to read problems carefully, analyze them, and develop appropriate abstract algebraic models for their solutions. Topics include real numbers, linear and quadratic equations and graphs, distinguishing linear data from nonlinear data, inequalities, the basic rules of exponents, and other traditional Algebra I topics. The course is taught as a colloquium. 

The STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) course is a part of the curriculum developed by Project Lead The Way (PLTW).  Students apply activity-, project- and problem-based learning. They gain skills in communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity.  The first unit is Design and Modeling, and the second is Automation and Robotics.  Students use VEX kits and appropriate gear mechanisms to design and build a solution for a given problem, then use RobotC to make their builds automated.

The English program approaches language arts through a highly effective and well-researched program proposed by Ellin Oliver Keene called Literacy Studio. Traditionally, the language arts curriculum has been taught through four separate areas: writing, literature, grammar, and vocabulary.  In Literacy Studio, these four areas are integrated through literature to enable students to be better readers, writers, and thinkers.  The emphasis of this class is to develop and improve writing skills. Whether it is through creative writing or in a formal essay, the major goal is to foster a desire to write well.  Students are exposed to a variety of writing styles and genres, including literary responses, personal narratives, essays, poetry, short stories, and movie critiques. Word choice is crucial to good writing, and, to build an interest in increasing vocabulary, the class word lists are generated and taught by the students themselves. Through reading comes an understanding of writing.  Novels, poetry, short stories, essays, and plays are studied and discussed in class.  In addition to the novels the class reads together, students also choose their own novels for independent reading.

This course represents an overview of Louisiana history and culture with an emphasis on current issues and governmental process.  The attempt is made “to connect the dots” of Louisiana history through relating events and circumstances of today with the historic precedents and trends of the past.

The goal of the foreign language program at CES is to develop near-native speakers and practitioners of the target language.  In eighth grade, the foundation is laid for building fluency and near-native speakers by helping students to tune their ears to the phonetics of the language, work on pronunciation skills, build vocabulary, learn the four basic tenses (present, past, future/near future, and conditional), and gain a sense of basic sentence structure for writing and speaking, in addition to reading skills in the target language.  Analytical thinking skills are addressed as students are required to go beyond basic memorization in order to make associations and apply what they have learned in real world scenarios, with cultural content as a focal point.

Students work with a variety of material, both two-dimensional and three-dimensional.  Art history is taught within the context of skill-building projects.  Eighth grade art examines how Southern regional artists and, in particular, Louisiana artists, interpret their personal world.  Students make art that reflects their personal experiences and/or interests while examining the works of artists living closer to home.

Students participate in a variety of team, dual, and individual sports. Emphasis is placed on skill improvement, fitness, and understanding basic concepts of offense and defense in game play. Cooperation, good sportsmanship, and fair play are necessary for successful participation.  We use the Fitnessgram test to asses each student’s level of fitness.  The student learns to identify the five areas of health fitness and understanding the benefits of exercise, helping them acquire the knowledge and skills to achieve a healthy lifestyle.  This class also attends a local health club to participate in swimming, spinning, conditioning, and other fun fitness classes.  The Outdoor Education Program provides experiences that emphasize awareness and care of the environment.  Outdoor field trips include Mancha Moonlight Paddle, an Acadiana trip and swamp tour, and an overnight biking/camping trip on the Tammany Trace.

Young people in our culture need to be known and have safe places to talk with the support of caring and accepting adults and communities. Living Compass is a teen curriculum that opens up opportunities for authentic conversations with teens and their chaplains. It also helps them look at the myriad of decisions they are making in their lives and helps them wonder whether those decisions will help them create the abundant life that God dreams of for them. This curriculum helps our teens feel known, connected, and respected as vital members of our school community.  Over the course of the year, eighth graders examine eight areas of their lives in an attempt to define their values, goals, and priorities, and strike an inner balance. These areas include spirituality, stress resilience, relationships, rest and play, handling emotions, organization, work and school, and care for the body. Above all, this curriculum aims to give our students a new level of self-awareness that will continue to be a guiding force in their lives as they journey into high school and beyond.