Middle School

Middle School is a time of rapid intellectual, spiritual, and social growth for students. Our Lady of the Wayside provides for this growth with a curriculum tailored to emphasize academic excellence. The Catholic faith and love for God are woven into every aspect of education at OLW.

Religion: Faith and service are integral to the learning environment in Middle School.  Students learn about the Old and New Testament, Church history and prepare for Confirmation in their classes. In addition, Kevin O’Connell, our Youth Minister, leads the 8th graders through the Better than Natural program once a week. This program addresses real-life situations that specifically relate to a Christian value.  Students reflect on how their connection with Christ helps to guide their choices. Learning about our faith does not stop within the classroom.  Students participate in school masses, do service projects and also participate in a Buddy Program with a younger class.

Curriculum Resources include:

  • Sadlier: “We Believe”- grade 6
  • Benzinger: “Blest Are We”- grades 7-8
  • Better Than Natural- grade 8

Literacy: By incorporating best practice and research-based methods, the literacy curriculum in Middle School continues to build on the fundamentals of Balanced Literacy.  Students are exposed to a balance of novel studies throughout the year, including Whole Class novel study, Book Club novel study and Independent novel study. The focus is to deepen understanding, synthesize the text, analyze textual evidence and learn to apply the skills to their own reading.  The writing program also enhances the novel studies.  Six-Trait writing is the focus of our writing curriculum, which enables the students to become authors and systematically identifies key components necessary for great writing.

Curriculum Resources include:

  • Reading: a variety of novels and short stories
  • Writing: Six Traits Writing by Ruth Culham

Math: The foundation of our mathematics curriculum is rooted in developing critical thinkers and problem solvers learning to communicate and reason mathematically. Instruction incorporates a variety of manipulatives and real world applications. The students are developmentally placed in a math class that best meets their learning needs.  Pre-algebra, geometry and algebra are the big topics covered in the curriculum.  Many of our students are placed in higher-level math classes in high school.

Curriculum Resources includes:

  • Glencoe (grades 6-8)

Social Studies: The Social Studies curriculum focuses on history but integrates geography, economics, government, citizenship, and culture.  Units at each grade level provide the students with a comprehensive look at the world.  In sixth through eighth grades, the program explores ancient world history and US history, from Civil War through the present day.

Curriculum Topics include:

  • 6th grade: River Valley Civilizations, Ancient Asia and Ancient Europe
  • 7th grade: Constitution, Civil War and Reconstruction
  • 8th grade: World Wars I/II, Cold, Korean and Vietnam Wars, and Conflicts to the Present

Curriculum Resources include:

  • Pearson: “My American Nation” (grades 7-8)

Science: In Middle School, the students take their knowledge and experience with Science further by participating in hands-on, in-depth units in the school’s science lab.  The seventh graders participate in an annual science fair, which teaches students how to apply their understanding of the scientific method to a topic of interest. Many students advance to local and state competitions.

Curriculum Topics include:

  • 6th grade: Earthquakes/Volcanoes/Plate Tectonics, Light/Sound, and Force/Motion
  • 7th grade: Metric System/Conversions/Equipment, Characteristics of Living Things, The Cell and Genetics/Heredity
  • 8th grade: Density, Chemistry, and Thermal Energy

Curriculum Resources include:

  • Houghton Mifflin HarCourt: “Science Fusion” (grades 6-8)

Technology: The Middle School students are exposed to technology throughout their day.  There is a laptop cart, which allows for technology to be utilized within the classrooms for different curriculums.  There are multiple rooms equipped with a SMARTboard.  Also, the students attend Technology class once a week.  In Technology class, the Tech teacher introduces new applications to be used with the existing curriculum.  Students’ use of technology includes, but is not limited to: Excel, Word, Glogster, PowerPoint, Prezi, Wordle, Tagxedo, and blogs.

Additional Curriculums Offered in Middle School: There are many other opportunities to extend and enrich the day of a Middle School student.  Physical Education, Art, Music, Technology and Spanish are all required classes.  Also additional options are offered either during or after school:

  • Student Council, Tech Club, Newspaper, Publishing, Yearbook, Public Speaking and Peer Council