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  • Common Core

    California Middle School is committed to excellence in instruction in the Common Core State Standards. To view the standards and other important information about curriculum and instruction, follow this link http://www.scusd.edu/common-core

    English Language Arts

    All Cal students will take English Language Arts 7 during the 7th grade year, and English Language Arts 8 during the 8th grade year. The CCSS are a continuum of skills and knowledge that build over the courses, grades K-12. Below are the descriptors provided by the state of College and Career Ready Students.

    Students Who Are College and Career Ready in Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening, and Language

    The descriptions that follow are not standards themselves but instead offer a portrait of students who meet the standards set out in this document. As students advance through the grades and master the standards in reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language, they exhibit, with increasing fullness and regularity, the following capabilities of the literate individual.

    1. They demonstrate independence.
      Students can, without significant scaffolding, comprehend and evaluate complex texts across a range of types and disciplines, and they can construct effective arguments and convey intricate or multifaceted information. Likewise, students are independently able to discern a speaker’s key points, request clarification, and ask relevant questions. They build on others’ ideas, articulate their own ideas, and confirm they have been understood. Without prompting, they demonstrate command of standard English and acquire and use a wide-ranging vocabulary. More broadly, they become self-directed learners, effectively seeking out and using resources to assist them, including teachers, peers, and print and digital reference materials.
    2. They build strong content knowledge.
      Students establish a base of knowledge across a wide range of subject matter by engaging with works of quality and substance. They become proficient in new areas through research and study. They read purposefully and listen attentively to gain both general knowledge and discipline-specific expertise. They refine and share their knowledge through writing and speaking.
    3. They respond to the varying demands of audience, task, purpose, and discipline.
      Students adapt their communication in relation to audience, task, purpose, and discipline. They set and adjust purpose for reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language use as warranted by the task. They appreciate nuances, such as how the composition of an audience should affect tone when speaking and how the connotations of words affect meaning. They also know that different disciplines call for different types of evidence (e.g., documentary evidence in history, experimental evidence in science).
    4. They comprehend as well as critique.
      Students are engaged and open-minded—but discerning—readers and listeners. They work diligently to understand precisely what an author or speaker is saying, but they also question an author’s or speaker’s assumptions and premises and assess the veracity of claims and the soundness of reasoning.
    5. They value evidence.
      Students cite specific evidence when offering an oral or written interpretation of a text. They use relevant evidence when supporting their own points in writing and speaking, making their reasoning clear to the reader or listener, and they constructively evaluate others’ use of evidence.
    6. They use technology and digital media strategically and capably.
      Students employ technology thoughtfully to enhance their reading, writing, speak­ing, listening, and language use. They tailor their searches online to acquire useful information efficiently, and they integrate what they learn through technology with what they learn offline. They are familiar with the strengths and limitations of various technological tools and media and can select and use those best suited to their communication goals.
    7. They come to understand other perspectives and cultures.
      Students appreciate that the twenty-first-century classroom and workplace are settings in which people from often widely divergent cultures and who represent diverse experiences and perspectives must learn and work together. Students actively seek to understand other perspectives and cultures through reading and listening, and they are able to communicate effectively with people of varied backgrounds. They evaluate other points of view critically and constructively. Through reading great classic and contemporary works of literature representative of a variety of periods, cultures, and worldviews, students can vicariously inhabit worlds and have experiences much different from their own.
  • Math Courses

    Math 7

    In grade seven instructional time is focused on four critical areas: (1) developing understanding of and applying proportional relationships, including percentages; (2) developing understanding of operations with rational numbers and working with expressions and linear equations; (3) solving problems involving scale drawings and informal geometric constructions and working with two- and three-dimensional shapes to solve problems involving area, surface area, and volume; and (4) drawing inferences about populations based on samples. Students also work towards fluently solving equations of the form px + q = 5 and p(x + q) = r.

    Math 7/8

    The compacted course in 7th grade combines all of the standards in grade 7 with some of the standards in grade8. Instructional time is focused on six critical areas: (1) developing understanding of and applying proportional relationships, including percentages; (2) developing understanding of operations with rational numbers and working with expressions and linear equations. Students also work towards fluently solving equations of the form px + q = 5 and p(x + q) = r; (3) formulating and reasoning about expressions and equations, including solving linear equations and systems of linear equations; (4) solving problems involving scale drawings and informal geometric constructions and working with two- and three-dimensional shapes to solve problems involving area, surface area, and volume; and (5) drawing inferences about populations based on samples. (6) understanding and applying the Pythagorean Theorem. Students who complete both middle school compacted courses are prepared to enter into high school at either Math 2 or Math 2+.

    Math 8

    In grade eight, instructional time is focused on three critical areas: (1) formulating and reasoning about expressions and equations, including modeling an association in bivariate data with a linear equation, and solving linear equations and systems of linear equations; (2) grasping the concept of a function and using functions to describe quantitative relationships; (3) analyzing two- and three-dimensional space and figures using distance, angle, similarity, and congruence and understanding and applying the Pythagorean Theorem.

    Math 1

    For the Mathematics I course, instructional time is focused on six critical areas: (1) extend understanding of numerical manipulation to algebraic manipulation; (2) synthesize understanding of function; (3) deepen and extend understanding of linear relationships; (4) apply linear models to data that exhibit a linear trend; (5) establish criteria for congruence based on rigid motions; and (6) apply the Pythagorean Theorem to the coordinate plane.

    Geometry

    For the Geometry course, instructional time should focus on six critical areas: (1) establish criteria for congruence of triangles based on rigid motions; (2) establish criteria for similarity of triangles based on dilations and proportional reasoning; (3) informally develop explanations of circumference, area, and volume formulas; (4) apply the Pythagorean Theorem to the coordinate plane; (5) prove basic geometric theorems; and (6) extend work with probability.

    Math 8/1

    The compacted course in 8th grade combines all of the standards in Math 1 with some of the standards in grade 8. Instructional time is focused on three critical areas: (1) grasping the concept of a function and using functions to describe quantitative relationships; (2) extend understanding of numerical manipulation to algebraic manipulation; (3) synthesize understanding of function; (4) deepen and extend understanding of linear relationships; (5) apply linear models to data that exhibit a linear trend; (6) analyzing two- and three-dimensional space and figures using distance, angle, similarity, and congruence; (7) establish criteria for congruence based on rigid motions; and (8) apply the Pythagorean Theorem to the coordinate plane. Students who complete both middle school compacted courses are prepared to enter into high school at either Math 2 or Math 2+.

    Electives

    Newspaper, The Californian

    Teacher: Ms. Sinistro
    Grade: 7th or 8th
    Course Length: Full year
    Requirements: Completed Course Selection Sheet, 3.0 GPA, essay submitted to alesandra-sinistro@scusd.edu, or dropped off in the main office by May 4th.

    Join Cal’s Newspaper Staff! Help Cal students stay informed by reporting on school events, sports, activities and by writing feature articles. The Californian is published regularly and is looking for interested students to increase its circulation! Writers, editors, graphic designers, and photographers needed! To join our staff, you must have a 3.0 GPA and submit a sample article, based on the following writing prompt.

    Writing Prompt: Write a newspaper article about an event that recently happened at your school. (Examples: Spirit Week, Fundraiser, Assembly, Field Trip) Include a catchy headline and write one concise paragraph. Don’t forget to answer every reporter’s questions: Who? What? Where? When? Why? How?

    Introductory Mandarin Chinese

    Teacher: Ms. Lee
    Grade: 7th or 8th
    Course Length: Full year
    Requirements: Completed Course Selection Sheet turned in by May 4th.

    The purpose of this course is to familiarize students with the language and culture of China. They will gain the experience of listening to and saying words in a tonal language that is radically different from English. They will also practice reading and writing Chinese characters and Pinyin, the phonetic system for Mandarin. In addition, students will explore various cultural topics giving them opportunities to create content projects of their choosing. Practice is a very important part of learning a foreign language, so students can expect homework every night. In addition, to help students keep up with vocabulary and sentence patterns, they will also be studying for weekly quizzes. However, despite a fair amount of content, ours will not be as intense as that of a high school course. Our aim is to discover the workings of Chinese in a fun and stimulating environment.
    Prerequisites: none
    Level of interest: high
    Level of difficulty: challenging

    Speech & Debate

    Mrs. Shelton and Mr. Kersey
    Grade: 7th or 8th
    Course Length: Full year
    Requirements: Completed Course Selection Sheet turned in by May 4th. GPA of 3.0+, citizenship of “O” or “S” and ability to participate in occasional Saturday events.

    The California Middle School Speech and Debate class is an elective for advanced students interested in studying a wide range of topics including public policy, philosophy, rhetoric, current events, and public speaking. The purpose of the class is to use the format of debate competition to teach the skills of critical thinking, academic research and writing, ethical decision-making, and public speaking,

    Participants compete in the Capitol Region Speech and Debate tournaments and Individual Events where CAL has a tradition of excellence. The program has earned many awards in dramatic interpretation, persuasive speaking, and parliamentary debate. The skills gained through this class will benefit you greatly in high school and beyond.

    Students must maintain a GPA of 3.0+, citizenship of “O” or “S,” good attendance and good behavior. Students applying for this course should be aware that they are committing to participation in both after school and weekend activities.

    Beginning or Advanced Band

    Teacher: Mr. Beal
    Grade: 7th or 8th
    Course Length: Full year
    Requirements: Completed Course Selection Sheet turned in by May 4th. If you select Advanced Band, must have previous experience with an instrument.

    Band is the class where one gets to learn music and how to play an instrument. It is a place where you learn teamwork and make many friends. The requirements for beginning band are a willingness to work hard and a desire to play music. Requirements for advanced band are 1 year of beginning band or the equivalent.

    Drama

    Beginning Drama
    Grade: 7th
    Teacher: Ms. Long
    Course Length: Quarter
    Requirements: Completed Course Selection Sheet turned in by May 4th.

    This nine-week course is designed to give students a comprehensive experience of staging and performing a scripted text. Students will work in teams to create a small-scale production of a 10 minute play, which will give them practice in the areas of: improvisation, text and character analysis, line memorization, movement and stage combat, set design, costume/make up design, lighting and sound, and professionalism in performance. At the end of this course, students will perform their 10-minute play in front of peers, family and teachers.

    8th grade Drama
    Grade: 8th
    Teacher: Ms. Long
    Course Length: Full year
    Requirements: Completed Course Selection Sheet turned in by May 4th.

    This advanced course is designed to incorporate all the elements of seventh-grade drama (improvisation, text and character analysis, line memorization, movement and stage combat, set design, costume/make up design, lighting and sound, and professionalism in performance) at a deeper level of understanding in order to stage a production of a full-length play. Students will also gain exposure to many different genres of plays: including, but not limited to, Shakespeare, musical theater, drama, tragicomedy, comedy, and farce.

    The goals of both courses are to increase student skills in the areas of public speaking, teamwork, resilience, and self-confidence. These transferable skills will only add to the success of our students, regardless of their future career path.

    Culinary Arts and Home Economics

    CAHE Full Year
    Teacher: TBA
    Grade: 7th or 8th
    Course Length: Full year
    Requirements: Completed Course Selection Sheet turned in by May 4th.
    This elective course will provide students with beginning consumer level skills as they explore the culinary field as well as related occupations. Areas of study may include nutrition, safety and sanitation, culinary terminology, small and large equipment usage and food preparation. This class aims to help foster the development of skills related to leadership, communication, and employability. Academic relevance and connections in math, science, reading, writing, and social studies will help students build greater understanding of the standards they will learn. For example, students will practice and apply real-life mathematical concepts as they interpret recipes and develop menus, practice bookkeeping and budgeting, and engage in activities such as cost and nutritional analyses. It is the goal of our program to help students build solid writing, comprehension, calculation, problem-solving, and technical skills. Most assignments will be completed in groups, with a strong emphasis on working as a collaborative team.

    Intro to Culinary Arts and Home Economics
    Teacher: TBA
    Grade: 7th
    Course Length: Quarter as part of the Elective Wheel
    Requirements: Completed Course Selection Sheet turned in by May 4th.
    Students can start exploring Culinary Arts through this introductory course as part of their 7th grade “wheel”. They will participate in many activities related to food, nutrition, and cooking. They will also learn about careers in the culinary arts field and research different cultural traditions and foods from around the world. In the eighth grade elective course, students can continue to develop their leadership abilities and learn more culinary arts skills.

    Math Common Core Lab

    Math 8 Common Core Lab
    Teacher: Ms. Lee
    Grade: 8th
    Course Length: Full year
    Requirements: Completed Course Selection Sheet turned in by May 4th.

    Hey guys! Are you “college bound?” You will need high scores on the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) for college admissions. It will definitely help to know your math really well. Since Algebra (Math 8) is the gateway to higher math, a strong understanding of Math 8 concepts will be a MUST if you want success in high school and on the SAT. This class will let you practice skills and gain confidence in Common Core Mathematics. No need to sign up for after-school tutoring or pay private tutoring fees. Choose this class and watch your math knowledge grow!

    Math 7 Common Core Lab
    Teacher: Ms. Lee
    Grade: 7th
    Course Length: Full year
    Requirements: Completed Course Selection Sheet turned in by May 4th.

    Hey in-coming 7th graders! Need a leg up on the new Common Core? Are you fairly solid in number sense/math facts, but are struggling a bit with comprehension of big ideas and new concepts? Want to be confident with fractions, signed numbers, and equations? Want to have strong Math 7 skills and be ready to solve Systems of Equations in Math 8? If you’re looking for some extra help and a way to boost your grades, then this is the class for you! In this class you will get lots of math practice and gain confidence in answering questions on standardized tests. No need to sign up for after-school tutoring or pay private tutoring fees. Choose this class and watch your math knowledge grow!

    Leadership

    Teacher: Ms. Long
    Grade: 8
    Course Length: Full year
    Requirements: Completed Course Selection Sheet turned in by May 4th.
    GPA of 3.0+, citizenship of “O” or “S.”
    Essay emailed to Rebecca-long@scusd.edu , or attached to the Course Selection Sheet on May 4th.
    ELA and Science Teachers Signatures on Course Selection Sheet

    Students selected for the Leadership class will serve as ambassadors for our school and larger community. Students will be responsible for building and enhancing the positive “SIC” atmosphere of our school by organizing and participating in spirit activities, school wide competitions, and other programs such as dances and the student store. Students will understand the dynamics of working as a member of a collaborative team, how to utilize effective communication skills in everyday situations, and demonstrate the qualities of being a student leader on campus. Academic connections to math, science, reading, writing, and social studies will be emphasized through a variety of fun and engaging activities. Candidates will be selected through a personal essay and interview process. Teacher recommendations will also carry significant weight. Students are expected to complete community service hours each quarter and maintain the GPA requirement to stay enrolled in the course.
    Requirement:
    Write a 3-5 paragraph personal essay in which you answer the following questions:
    Why do you want to be a part of Leadership?
    What special qualities/abilities/talents will you bring to the Leadership team?
    What is one thing you hope to change or improve about Cal?

    Media Broadcast

    Teacher: Ms. Long
    Course Length: Full year for 8th graders, Quarter for 7th graders as part of the Elective Wheel.
    Requirements: Completed Course Selection Sheet turned in by May 4th.

    • Students will write in Broadcast Style conforming to the ethical and practical principles that guide it;
    • Students will become media literate;
    • Students will develop reading habits that keep them aware of current affairs, local, national, and world;
    • Students will learn to understand story structure and elements of news shows;
    • Students will become proficient in attributing sources, getting information right, avoiding libelous speech, and understanding the ethics behind news reporting;
    • Students will apprehend the side of news media not known to most consumers of news;
    • Students will learn and employ field-reporting techniques;
    • Students will master the on-camera interview, both in the field and in studio;
    • Students will learn to use images to tell stories;
    • Students will learn to write to video;
    • Students will learn the basic operation of a video camera;
    • Students will produce basic news stories;
    • Students will learn how to edit news stories on computers;
    • Students will begin to produce news shows that feature their news stories;
    Students will create projects unrelated to news (commercial spots, music videos, PSAs, promotional pieces, and graphical introductions and transitions, short films /documentaries etc.)

    Robotics

    Advanced Robotics
    Teachers: Mrs. Aguilar
    Course Length: Full year
    Grade: 8th
    Requirements: Completed Course Selection Sheet turned in by May 4th.

    This course provides students with the fundamental computer programming skills for applications in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Students will understand how computers work. They will learn structured programming in C:
    The course is designed to enhance critical thinking and problem solving skills. Students will be engaged in finding solutions to basic math, science and robotics problems. It is project based. Students will be required to conduct quarterly computing projects that will involve the scientific method and design technology.
    Robotics programming is incorporated throughout the course. It will use the knowledge learned in basic programming to control the linkbot to perform simple tasks or multiple tasks and synchronized movement with choreography and storylines.
    Projects to create video presentation where the linkbots will perform tasks and coordinate movements with music following simple storylines. This section merges language arts and arts skills into computing making it a STEAM course. It will culminate in an in-school math computing and robotics challenge competition to select representative entries to the C-STEM computing competition at the UC Davis on May 2016.

    Intro to Robotics
    Teacher: Mr. Mois
    Course Length: Quarter as part of the Elective Wheel
    Grade: 7th
    Requirements: Completed Course Selection Sheet turned in by May 4th.

    See course description above. Similar course, however, introductory level.

    Men’s or Women’s Healthy Choices

    Teachers: Mr. Floyd (men’s class) or Ms. Montiero (women’s class)
    Course Length: Full year
    Grade: 8th
    Requirements: Completed Course Selection Sheet turned in by May 4th.

    Students who select this course will learn how to make positive life choices, will participate in team building activities, and will explore the Second Step curriculum focused on Social Emotional skills. This is an “all women’s,” or “all men’s” class to support better sharing and conversations among classmates.

    Art

    Advanced Art
    Teacher: Mrs. Jansen
    Course Length: Full year
    Grade: 7th or 8th
    Requirements: Completed Course Selection Sheet turned in by May 4th and Mrs. Jansen’s signature.

    Students in Advanced art should have a strong background and love of art. They should be able to work independently on rigorous individual and group projects including large murals and objects to sell at the “Spring Thing”. Students should be prepared to commit to work outside of class time and participation in a number of art competitions and public art displays.
    (Mrs. Jansen’s signature is required.)

    Basic Art
    Teacher: Mrs. Jansen
    Course Length: Full year or Quarter option for 7th graders as part of Elective Wheel
    Grade: 7th or 8th This course is designed as an introduction to art. No prior skills are needed. It is recommended that the students have an interest in art and want to learn how to create art in many types of media including: drawing, painting, pastels, collage, paper Mache and others. Art History is also taught. This is a rigorous class and students must be committed to making a good effort in their work.
    (No signature required.)