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Middle School (5-8)

Middle School Curriculum

Middle School Curriculum

List of 16 items.

  • English

    As students progress into middle school, a wide world of quality literature awaits. At this age, students are eager to delve into complex issues in society and history and examine character identities through the ever-changing influence of society. Literature is a crucial lens through which students can understand themselves, their families, their communities, and their world. In fifth and sixth grade, teachers continue to foster a love of reading and increase student confidence by having students read a wide range of historical fiction, fantasy, and novels-in-verse. Students refine their annotation skills to engage deeply with texts. Developing a more sophisticated vocabulary and working to understand the complex underpinnings of English grammar help students expand their creative writing craft. The elements of literature, including characterization, plot, and theme, become central to their literature analysis. Students grapple with how authors use these elements to craft powerful stories and students practice shaping high-level thinking about texts in discussion and written assignments.

    In grades 7/8, a focus is on analyzing and interpreting more sophisticated and complex literature. Teachers work hard to connect literature and history so students can begin to see larger socio-political issues at hand both through narrative and informational texts. Vocabulary development continues and students aim to show mastery of grammar skills and employ a strong understanding of these mechanics of language in their own writing. Expository and analytical essays offer chances for students to prove mastery of reading and writing, integrating these skills to offer substantive and insightful critiques of literature. Woven throughout the English curriculum are books that ask students to engage with key social justice issues. Students learn to communicate in civil and substantive discourse in Socratic Seminars. Students apply their understanding of literature by traveling out of the classroom and into the world on trips to Washington, D.C. and through the South, where students get a chance to see literature brought to life through current events and history.
  • Math

    Graland’s mathematics program is a challenging, well-articulated course of study focused on building mathematical understanding using the Singapore Math approach. Students actively construct new knowledge from experience and prior knowledge through problem-solving, hands-on activities, and direct instruction. Curricular goals include conceptual understanding, skill development, and the application of concepts to solve increasingly complex problems. We place heavy emphasis on critical thinking, as students learn to flexibly and efficiently use a variety of strategies to approach problems. Classroom discussions provide opportunities for students to justify their thinking, critique the reasoning of others, and make connections across solutions. Concepts are introduced using concrete materials before shifting to pictorial models and abstract representations. These concrete and visual models support students’ abilities to reason about quantities and understand the context of problems. We encourage inquiry and understanding as well as support the development of skill mastery through daily problem solving, games, puzzles, and repeated practice.

    Graland’s middle school math program offers students opportunities to experience mathematics through a multi-faceted approach. Sixth graders build upon their foundational knowledge of number theory to include prime factorization, square and cube numbers. They more deeply examine fractions, decimals, ratios and percent to better understand proportional reasoning. Fundamental concepts of rate, coordinate graphing, area and perimeter of polygons and circles, and statistics round out the year.

    Seventh and eighth grade mathematics form the basis of algebra. Seventh grade topics include rational and irrational numbers, algebraic expressions, equations and inequalities, as well as properties of angles and lines, and the application of volume and surface area formulas. Eighth graders extend their study of algebra through examining properties of exponents, linear equations, algebraic fractions, systems of linear equations, and the quadratic formula. The mathematics courses in seventh and eighth grades allow all students to reach their potential. Starting in seventh grade Graland offers standard and advanced classes for students at different stages of development, accommodating varied ability levels and interests. The department considers student test scores, teacher recommendations, and academic work to determine appropriate placement.
  • Science

    The science program at Graland is comprehensive, dynamic, and forward-thinking.  It is designed to encourage students’ curiosity, creativity, leadership, and risk-taking through innovation and the exploration of applied scientific theory.  The program enhances critical thinking skills through real-world problem solving and actively promotes connections to both math and literacy.

    Building on a strong foundation from the Lower School, Middle School scientists continue to develop their curiosity, critical thinking and creative problem-solving skills through a host of hands on activities and challenges.  Students become increasingly adept at making astute observations, employing data and evidence to make informed inferences and predictions, and at considering multiple methods and perspectives when choosing likely solutions to complex problems.  Whether they are engaged in dissections, calorimetry, a slingshot lab or in crushing balsa wood towers, these young scientists learn to rely on both their growing creative resourcefulness and on increasingly disciplined thinking. As students grow in their scientific capacity they are able to manipulate variables in experiments of their own design, experience an enhanced connection to the natural world, and become empowered to clearly communicate complex and nuanced scientific ideas.

    All told, a student should graduate from the Graland science department able to think both analytically and creatively.  They will have proven themselves as innovators able to apply new solutions to real world problems, and be better prepared to think critically about the scientific issues facing our future.
  • History

    The Middle School history curriculum is designed to help students understand the world around them including events that happened in the past, things that are happening currently and things that might happen in the future. In addition, our faculty strive to equip our students to be active thinkers that communicate their ideas and opinions competently in a variety of mediums. Key skills that are stressed include: comprehension and critical thinking, public speaking, research and media literacy, writing fluency, global citizenship and awareness, as well as geography and spatial thinking.

    In fifth grade, students focus on how ancient civilizations in the eastern hemisphere arose and grew. Students look closely at issues surrounding how land and resources affected human development. Students also examine the world religions, finding similarities, and exploring differences amongst them.

    In sixth-grade, students begin the year with an in-depth exploration of the hero monomyth, then use this framework as a guide for a survey of world religions. Throughout the year, students learn about the founding, cosmology, and basic tenets of Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, and Buddhism. The year culminates in a study of native spirituality, a historical look at the Ancestral Puebloans, and preparation for our trip to Mesa Verde.

    In seventh grade, the story of the United States is the primary focus. The class focuses on a few key themes such as the importance of geography in U.S. history and the ever-changing interpretations of the concept of “freedom” in this country. The students experience Washington D.C. as a culmination of their studies and an application of their learning about their roles as citizens.

    Lastly, in eighth grade, the students take a closer look at more recent history to determine how the twentieth century created the nation, and the world that we know today. The curriculum is tied to political theories and the Civil Rights movement is a main area of focus. A Civil Rights trip to the South helps them understand that topic in an authentic, meaningful way.
  • World Language

    Proficiency in a language, (other than one’s native language) is an essential in today’s global world.  In the middle school at Graland, we believe that communication is a life-long skill necessary to the understanding other cultures.  We offer a choice of French and Spanish to our middle schoolers with a four year commitment to one language. In addition to the cultural aspect of the curriculum, students develop receptive and expressive language proficiency.  Vocabulary acquisition and grammatical skills are taught through aural, written, speaking and reading skills using a variety of authentic materials. We also encourage all students to appreciate different cultural perspectives in order to become culturally competent and global citizens.
  • Wellness

    Through this program, students will acquire knowledge and foster skills enabling them to make decisions and develop attitudes and beliefs towards a healthy lifestyle. Students will practice critical and creative thinking, decision-making and problem-solving skills. In addition, an integral part of the program is an emphasis on character development and ethics including the being a responsible and productive individual with respect towards self, the community, and the world around.  
    The grade 5-8 curriculum includes topics on substance abuse, nutrition and eating disorders, stress management and mindfulness, digital citizenship, cyber safety, friendship, peer communication, stereotypes and bias language, puberty, sex education, healthy relationships, and mental health.
  • Physical Education (Grade 5)

    Our curriculum is founded on the belief that physical education is a vital and integral part of every child’s education, and we offer PE class every day. Through movement experiences, physical education contributes to the total growth and development of all children. It enriches learning and helps students achieve optimum personal development.

    The philosophy of our program is to include experiences that will help students develop skills in fundamental movement patterns. We teach traditional team sports like basketball and volleyball as well as individual sports like climbing, archery, skateboarding and golf to help students discover the joy of being active. Our program fosters leadership, independence, and positive team building experiences. It also provides opportunities that incorporate critical thinking, integrity, and cooperation with others.

    The Graland campus’ fieldhouse, climbing wall, playing field and fitness center are ideally suited to training and strengthening our young athletes. Ultimately, the purpose of our program is to foster an appreciation for and a commitment to a lifetime of good health and activity. A Graland graduate, through his/her participation in physical education, will learn, demonstrate and live a life of good citizenship.
  • Athletics (Grades 6-8)

    The athletic program at Graland Country Day School is an integral part of the educational experience for our students. We provide an inclusive program that allows students to grow into leaders, both on and off the field. The outstanding coaching staff understands the importance of teaching educationally based athletics, and they play a big role in helping to foster the development of important life skills such as teamwork, sportsmanship, and perseverance. Athletics serve as a source of school pride at Graland Country Day School, and while we recognize the enjoyment in winning, it does not supersede the educational goals of the Middle School Athletic program. Striving to instill in our students the importance of working hard, competing fairly, and developing a passion for living a healthy life is at the forefront of all we do.  

    Middle School students are afforded many opportunities to pursue competitive athletics and lifetime fitness in a variety of ways.  Sixth-grade students attend practices during the regular school day, with games being played after school. Participation in sixth-grade sports are required all three trimesters.  Grades seven and eight practice and play games after school, and students are required to participate in the fall and spring seasons. The winter season is optional. Seventh and Eighth-grade students who participate in a sport that Graland does not offer may elect to receive their athletic credit through our Alternative Sports Program.   

    We are pleased to offer the following athletic options:

    FALL (late August-late October)
    Cross country, girls field hockey, golf (grades 7 and 8 only), boys soccer
    tennis (Grades 7 and 8 Only), girls volleyball, sports conditioning, alternative sports program (Grades 7 and 8 Only)

    WINTER (early November-early February)
    Boys basketball, girls basketball, yoga (grades 7 and 8 only), sports conditioning

    SPRING (late February-early May)
    Baseball, boys lacrosse, girls lacrosse, girls soccer, ultimate frisbee (grades 7 and 8 only),
    alternative sports program (grades 7 and 8 only)
  • Visual Arts

    The Graland middle school visual arts program provides students the opportunity to express ideas using various techniques like drawing, painting, printmaking, digital imagery, installation art and more. Lessons become more advanced with the expectation that students will broaden their range of skills and creativity. Middle school students explore more complex concepts and media, while strengthening drawing and design skills. Some projects are extensions of students’ science, math and history curricula, which further supports academic learning.  Several artists’ styles, art history and various cultures are explored and provide inspiration throughout the year. Student artwork is exhibited regularly on campus and during our all-school art celebration in April.

    The arts at Graland enable personal, intellectual, and social understanding by fostering providing opportunities for creative expression.
  • VAPA (Visual and Performing Arts)

    In the Middle School, students participate in music classes to foster creativity, teamwork, and artistic expression. All students start by performing in both band and choir. They develop a range of skills including music reading, theory analysis, and performance techniques. In the later grades students can also explore innovative expression through the Music Technology studio classes. There are numerous leadership and club opportunities to extend their learning through musicals, jazz band, and rock band.
  • Drama

    The middle school drama program builds on the performance skills learned in the lower school and continues to develop a classroom ensemble based on collaboration and risk-taking. In a safe space, students learn advanced performance techniques that encourage the deepening of the creative imagination. They delve into creating a character, identifying objectives and telling compelling stories. Students explore still-image work, pantomime, Shakespeare, improvisation, sketch comedy, monologues and scene work. Students also have the opportunity to explore documentary and fiction film-making. Students build individual confidence and learn the importance of teamwork,skills that will serve them throughout their lifetimes.  Each of the drama classes culminate in spring stage performances from dramatic scenes to film presentations to musical productions, that allow students to synthesize and utilize their skills in a real-world setting.
  • Clubs

    Frisbee Golf, Fantasy Football, Board Games, Woodworking, and more… With so many great club choices, it’s no wonder E Day is a favorite for middle schoolers. Clubs are a great way to pick up new skills, dive into academics, participate in service, and practice leadership, all while socializing across grade levels. It’s also a place where students can interact with the adults on campus in a new way and where anyone can be a leader.
  • Gates Invention and Innovation Program

  • Trips & Experiences

    Students in all grades benefit from enriched curricular leassons through on-campus visitors and off-campus day and overnight trips. Click here to learn more about our trips program.
  • Service Learning

    Service learning programs at each grade level support our guiding principles and our mission to prepare students to be engaged citizens and thoughtful leaders. Through serving in the community and learning about community needs, students gain empathy for others, while understanding how they can personally make an impact. Click here to learn more about our Service Learning Program.
  • Signature Programs

Graland Country Day School

Graland Country Day School is a private school in Denver, Colorado, serving students in preschool, kindergarten, elementary, and middle school. Founded in Denver in 1927, Graland incorporates a rich, experiential learning approach in a traditional classroom setting, emphasizing the development of globally and socially conscious leaders who excel academically.