Middle school at ACS is designed to nurture the whole child: intellectually, socially, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. We strive to ensure that every lesson, experience, and activity our students have helps them see and experience God, His loving presence and sovereign control in every aspect of our lives. In eighth grade, we seek to develop responsible independence and discernment in our students as they prepare to leave ACS and move on to high school.
Bible: We use the CSI curriculum Walking With God And His People. We start the year with a study of the Kingdom of God using Jesus’ parables. We then move on to our main focus: the history of the church and how God has been at work in His church and among His people throughout history. We begin with the birth of the Church and the spread of the gospel as described in Acts and continue on through the Reformation. We meet people such as Constantine, Augustine, Athanasius, John Calvin, and Martin Luther, all of whom were a part of God’s story in building His church. In all of this we see God’s faithful, loving hand throughout the story of His people, and students have a variety of opportunities to explore their own part in God’s story and to grow in their faith.
Language Arts: We do not use a specific curriculum but utilize lessons and concepts from several sources, including Glencoe Literature: The Reader’s Choice and Write Source. The skills and concepts we work to develop include grammar, punctuation (particularly the use of commas and semicolons), vocabulary, and various aspects of writing. Some of the units we do include a study of Edgar Allen Poe’s writing, a study of a novel, writing a memoir, and a research paper. Through class discussions and writing, we reflect on Christian themes present in what we read and discover how this literature is relevant to our lives as Christian young people today.
Algebra: This is one of two math options for eighth grade students. Placement is based on various criteria, including a placement test and teacher recommendation at the end of 6th grade. We use Big Ideas Math algebra. The concepts covered include using algebra to describe and explain; linear equations and inequalities; linear, exponential, and quadratic relationships; powers and roots; linear systems; and polynomials and factoring. Students can earn high school credit by meeting certain requirements. As we study algebra, we are given a glimpse of the creative intricacies of our great God and the patterns He has placed in the world around us.
General Math: For students that have decided they are not ready for Algebra, we offer an 8th grade math class that uses Big Ideas Math Grade 8. In addition to continual review of important skills, a major focus of the year is linear relationships, including solving equations, linear systems, and linear inequalities. We also spend time exploring exponents, functions, angles and similarity, square roots and Pythagorean’s Theorem.
Science: Middle School Science is taught from the Biblical perspective of creation (Genesis 1) and God as the Creator of our magnificent universe. The curriculum is a hands-on, problem-solving based curriculum, in which students learn through activities and experiments through a combination of Mi-STAR Science units, nature-based experiences, and intentional faith-based reflection opportunities. We use a three year rotation of topics. In year one the focus is on the water cycle, human anatomy, plant growth, and ecosystem interaction. Year two focuses on the cycling of energy in the environment through plate tectonics, cycling of energy in matter, and genetics. The final year of the rotation covers sound and light energy, gravity and the solar system, and weather. Each topic gives us the opportunity to learn more about the wonderful order in which God created the universe.
Social Studies: Eighth grade social studies focuses on American History. Using the History Alive! Curriculum by Teachers’ Curriculum Institute, we study the time period from the pre-colonization through post-Civil War Reconstruction in the 19th century. Group projects, informational videos, and frequent written responses enhance the curriculum throughout the school year. Another focus of Eighth grade Social Studies is current events. In addition to watching current event news productions geared towards middle school students, students will also research and present their own current events presentations throughout the year. We also spend some time commemorating historically significant days, such as Veteran’s Day, 9/11, Constitution Day, etc. As we study history, we frequently make it a point to discover where God’s hand has been clearly evident throughout our history and particularly where His people have worked effectively to bring about positive change.
Literature/Library: Eighth grade students have one fifty minute Literature class period. Students receive tips about good reading habits, listen to read-alouds, have discussions that aim to meet eighth grade reading standards, and learn about the story God is writing. They also have time to find, read, and check-out books they want to read independently.
Physical Education: Eighth Grade students receive two fifty minute sessions of PE each week. Students know what the correct form looks like for a skill and should be able to use it correctly in game situations. They also should be able to provide appropriate corrective feedback to others for skills. Team sports, individual sports, recreational activities, and a variety of fitness activities are used to keep students motivated and excited about physical activity.
Art: Eighth Grade students receive fifty minutes of art instruction each week. Students are encouraged to explore personal meaning in their art. Students create with the Principles of Design as a main focus and guideline. Students will continue to develop their artistic craft making it more personal and refining previously learned skills.
Music: Eighth Grade students are involved in band (55 minutes/ 2 days) and/or choir (50 minutes/ 1 day). The mission of the music program at Allendale Christian School is to allow students to discover and develop the musical gifts that God has given them through an appreciation of, enjoyment of, and success in music. In band and choir, students will develop the following musical skills through performance: creating a clear tone with voice and chosen instrument, reading pitches on the treble and bass clef, reading a variety of musical symbols, and performing contrasting parts. Students will also participate in the Annual Christmas Concert in December and the Spring Band and Choir Concert in May.
Spanish: Eighth grade students have one fifty minute Spanish class each week. Through interactive games and activities, students continue working through the Savvas Realize curriculum. They learn vocabulary and grammar topics related to the following units: “Do you want to go with me?” “A Birthday party,” and “Let’s go to a restaurant!” At the end of the year, students read a beginner novel in Spanish. Cultural activities and biblical instruction are woven in throughout the units. Students continue to develop listening, writing, reading, and speaking skills in the Spanish language.
Extra opportunity for 7th and 8th grade students: In 7th and 8th grade, students have one 'specials choice' period where they are able to select from options that include classes include Art (clay, painting, etc.), Music (ukulele, film music, etc.) and PE (competitive sports, individuals sports, etc.). This allows students to take an extra class in an area of interest to them.
Technology: Eighth Grade students have the opportunity to attend technology class once per week. Using chromebooks, Google Drive, and educational websites, students build on the independence and skills from elementary tech class in order to be empowered learners and digital citizens. In a culture where technology is often at their fingertips, students are encouraged to use it responsibly as they learn, design, collaborate, and problem solve. The goals for middle school students specifically include developing critical thinking skills about media use and creating good research strategies and skills.