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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

    Art

    Basic Art
    Teacher: Mrs. Jansen
    Course Length: Full year
    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.)

    Advanced Art
    Teacher: Mrs. Jansen
    Course Length: Full year
    Grade: 7th or 8th

    Requirements: Completed Course Selection Sheet turned in by May 3rd 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.)

    Band

    Beginning Band
    Teacher: Mr. Decali
    Course Length: Full year to Two Years
    Grade: 7th or 8th

    Requirements: Completed Course Selection Sheet turned in by May 3rd. Instrumental band class designed for first-year beginners, or second year intermediate band students. Aspects of musicianship taught here are music reading, rehearsal skills, ear training, and music theory. This course is required prior to enrolling in ADVANCED BAND, unless a student already has been in band previously for two (2) years. Please note *Cal Middle School instrumental band classes are designed and intended to be two (2) year programs for students who are interested in advancing to high school band programs via recruitment, audition, or placement by teacher’s recommendation.

    Advanced Band
    Teacher: Mr. Decali
    Course Length: Full year to Two Years
    Grade: 7th or 8th

    Requirements: Completed Course Selection Sheet turned in by May 3rd.  Must have previous experience of at least two (2) years with an instrumental ensemble. This band class is also known as “CAL JAZZ” because of its emphasis on instrumental rock, jazz, and Latin music.  Requirements for advanced band are two (2) years of band or the equivalent. Aspects of musicianship taught here are music reading, composition, improvisation, and ear training. This is a high school preparation class designed to let students transition directly into high school band programs. Please note *Cal Middle School instrumental band classes are designed and intended to be two (2) year programs for students who are interested in advancing to high school band programs via recruitment, audition, or placement by teacher’s recommendation.

    Culinary Arts and Home Economics

    Culinary Arts and Home Economics
    Teacher: Mrs. Hankins
    Course Length: Full Year
    Grade: 7th or 8th

    Requirements: Completed Course Selection Sheet turned in by May 3rd. 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 will include nutrition, safety and sanitation, culinary terminology, small and large equipment usage  for food preparation as well as real-life applicable skills related to financial literacy and managing a home. Academic relevance and connections in math, science, reading, writing, and social studies will be heavily emphasized. 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.

    Advanced Culinary Arts and Home Economics
    Teacher: Mrs. Hankins
    Course Length: Full Year
    Grade: 8th

    Requirements: Previous enrollment in CAHE and teacher approval. This class is designed for students who have successfully completed the full-year Culinary Arts and Home Economics course. Advanced Culinary Arts aims to help foster the development of skills related to leadership, communication, and employability. In this eighth grade elective course, students can continue to develop their abilities and learn more culinary arts skills. A greater focus will be placed on individual learning goals and culinary techniques as well as utilizing more specialized tools for cooking and the home environment. Students will “dive deeper” into their understanding of various ingredients and their specific purposes, as well as regional recipes and cuisines. Students should still expect to draw heavily from other academic disciplines: math, science, social studies, reading, and writing skills will be reinforced through a variety of class activities and discussions. Most assignments will be completed in groups, with a strong emphasis on working as a collaborative team

    Drama

    Teacher: Ms. Long
    Course Length: Full Year
    Grade: 7th or 8th

    Requirements: Completed Course Selection Sheet turned in by May 3rd. This advanced course is designed to incorporate all the elements of basic drama at a deeper level of understanding in order to stage multiple productions and showcases Examples include: improvisation and technique, text and character analysis, line/music memorization and interpretation, movement and dance, stage combat,  technical theatre and design, and etiquette and professionalism). Students will also gain exposure to many different genres of theatre: including, but not limited to, Shakespeare, musical theater, tragedy, comedy, Commedia dell ‘arte, pantomime, and farce. Students will work directly with teaching artists from Sacramento Theatre Company (STC) and have opportunities to watch live performances and attend festivals and competitions to further develop their performance skills.

    *Students are encouraged (but not required) to commit to after school rehearsals in the Fall semester in order to be considered for major roles in the musical.
    **Students not enrolled in Drama may still audition for the Fall musical, as most rehearsals will take place after school.

    Engineering Pathways

    Teachers: Ms. Aguilar and Mr. Bostock
    Course Length: Full year
    Grade: 7th or 8th

    Requirements: Completed Course Selection Sheet turned in by May 3rd. This class applies science and math concepts through engineering, design and computing. The course introduces  students to  the skills and concepts needed to excel in different engineering and design career paths.

    It is split into two semesters. One semester will focus on computer programming and user-focused design. In this course, students will develop an app using the Code.org App Lab and create games with Python.

    The other semester focuses on game creation using Alice and Scratch applications as well as the basics of electronics and circuitry with Arduino. Students will also learn basic robotics programming using the UC Davis CSTEM curriculum on the ChIDE platform.

    Qualifying students will have the chance to participate Cal’s Award-Winning Robotics team in various competitions on Arduino and Linkbot Programming through MESA and CSTEM Challenge events in the Spring Semester.

    Leadership

    Teachers: Ms. Long and Ms. Griffith
    Course Length: Full year
    Grade: 8

    Requirements: Completed Course Selection Sheet turned in by May 3rd.
    GPA of 3.0+, Citizenship of “O” or “S.”  
    TWO teacher recommendations (Forms will be given to applicants) Essay emailed or shared via Google Docs to Rebecca-long@scusd.edu

    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, rallies 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 at Cal?

    Media Broadcast

    Teacher: Ms. Long
    Course Length: Full year for 7th or 8th graders or Semester Swap with Dance

    Requirements: Completed Course Selection Sheet turned in by May 3rd. In this course, students explore the vast, entertaining and challenging world of media and the different genres within. Students will storyboard, record, edit, and present film projects while learning how to use various types of audio/visual equipment. Such film projects include, but are not limited to: Broadcast News, Lip Dub Music Videos, Silent films, Documentaries, Commercials/PSAs, and Original Student Shorts. By the end of the course, students will master the basics of computer programs such as iMovie, Keynote, Garageband, Microsoft Word, Storyboard That, as well as Google Classroom. Team collaboration  is an  important aspect of many projects but the class also emphasizes individual determination, self-reliance, and reflection to build independence and resilience. Students at all skill levels will find this course fun and and engaging! 3, 2, 1… ACTION!

    Rhythm & Dance

    Teacher: Ms. Griffith
    Course Length: Semester swap with Media Broadcast
    Grade: 7th or 8th

    Requirements: Completed Course Selection Sheet turned in by May 3rd with Ms. Griffith Signature of Approval

    This is a psychomotor, Locomotor movement  based course. Students will develop correct body alignment, core strength, stretch, flexibility, and spacial-awareness. Students will be learning vocabulary focusing on the technique – coordination balance, strength, movement quality, and musicality through the use of exercises and combinations. Students will progress to higher skill levels of dance and movement during the year. Students will be encouraged to develop their personal expression and performance skills with their dancing.

    Course also includes, assignments, class participation, memorization of movement patterns, movement tests, dance critiques, self-assessments, dance studies with in class performance and other projects.

     Upon successful completion of this course: students will be able to correctly define and use dance terminology and theories-  demonstrate correct techniques various movements and combinations – identify, describe, and demonstrate increasingly complex rhythmic, dynamic, and movement qualities specific to dance – develop aesthetic values as they relate to dance and based upon these values, critically think about, analyze and judge dance with a deeper aesthetic perception. Individual and group performances will be required in this course.

    Prior dance experience is not required, but highly recommended!

    Spanish 1

    Teacher: Ms. Sanchez
    Course Length: Full Year
    Grade: 8th

    Spanish is an elective for students interested in studying the language, geography, and cultures of Latin America, Spain, and Latinx diasporas to promote global citizenship and multiliteracy. Students will learn foundational Spanish and reflect upon how the Spanish language works in comparison to English. Students applying for this high school level course must be aware of its advanced pace and rigor.

    Requirements: Spanish 1 is a course for students with very limited or no prior experience with Spanish. It is not an appropriate placement for native speakers or students that have participated in a bilingual program.

    Speech & Debate

    Teacher: Mr. Holt
    Course Length: Full year
    Grade: 7th or 8th

    Requirements: Completed Course Selection Sheet turned in by May 3rd. Awareness that this is an academically rigorous course. 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, including the top speaker at MSPDP Nationals.  The skills gained through this class will benefit you greatly in high school and beyond.

    Students applying for this course should be aware that they are encouraged to participate in both after school and weekend activities.

    Beginning Sewing

    Teacher: Mrs. Hankins
    Course Length: Full year
    Grade: 7th or 8th

    Requirements: Completed Course Selection Sheet turned in by May 3rd. This brand new elective course will provide students with beginning sewing skills to practice and enhance techniques related to hand sewing as well as machine sewing. Areas of study will include learning different stitch techniques for various purposes, the operation of a sewing machine, as well as basics related to ironing and laundry care. Time permitting, additional curriculum topics might also include fashion design, interior decorating, and other home care fundamentals. This course is still under development, so additional learning activities will depend heavily on student interest and background experience. It is the goal of our program to help students build solid writing, comprehension, calculation, problem-solving, and technical skills and to make connections to other academic content areas whenever possible. Many assignments will be completed in groups, with a strong emphasis on working as a collaborative team.