Core Curriculum

Language Arts
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Course Description

A balanced literacy instructional approach continues in Middle School at Trinity through reading and writing units of study. In language arts, students are intentionally taught to read, write, solve, and think in authentic genres for real purposes and audiences. In reading, students investigate reading skills & strategies and genre conventions through individual and shared reading. In writing, students focus on narrative, informational, and argumentative writing and investigate grammar and mechanics in the context of language in order to be able to communicate effectively in the world.

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Features & Outcomes

Features:

• Workshop approach with mini-lessons, independent work time, and debrief time
• Grammar, usage, and mechanics instruction and practice
• Focus on accuracy, fluency, comprehension, craft, and conventions used by successful readers and writers
• Instruction in skills & strategies to build and maintain an independent reading & writing life
• Attention to metacognitive thinking skills, speaking and listening skills
• Time for students to present their work and reflect on feedback from their classmates who, in turn, learn to listen attentively and ask productive questions
• Regular written assignments and grammar, usage, and mechanics assessments

Outcomes:

• Increased reading and writing appetite, stamina, fluency and comprehension
• Competence with phonics and print sound code
• Thoughtful self-selection of reading material from a variety of literary genres
• Fluency in writing for varied purposes and audiences
• Competence in language structure/grammar, word choice, spelling, syntax, punctuation and capitalization in all genres of writing (memoir, research, informative, persuasive, poetry)

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6th Grade

Units of Study
• Usage, Grammar and Mechanics instruction throughout the year
• Reading Notebook Introduction and strategies for close reading
• Novel Study: The Giver
• Writing Unit: Narrative Nonfiction/Memoir
• Thematic Book Clubs: Who am I, and Where Do I Belong?
• Writing Unit: Literary Essay
• Novel Study: Lions of Little Rock
• Strategies for Reading Nonfiction
• Nonfiction Animal Book

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7th Grade

Units of Study
• Usage, Grammar and Mechanics instruction throughout the year
• Crafting an Independent Reading Life
• Writing about Reading (Reader’s Notebook)
• Companion Book Writing
• Edgar Allan Poe Author Study
• Argumentative Essay
Copper Sun Novel Study
• Written Response to Copper Sun
• Research Centers and Nonfiction Reading
• World Figures MLA Biography Paper
• Global Village Book Clubs

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8th Grade

Units of Study
• Usage, grammar, and mechanics instruction throughout the year
• Writing about Reading (Reader’s Notebook)
• Fake Reading and Comprehension Inquiry
• Reading and Writing for Social Change
• Novel study: To Kill a Mockingbird
• Literary Essay
• Lessons from Elves
• Macbeth
• Final Reflections

Mathematics
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Course Description

In 6th & 7th grade, Illustrative Mathematics is the primary classroom resource. This program is designed to foster mathematical literacy for students, offering detailed guidance for developing students into mathematical thinkers. The resources facilitate and assess students’ ability to communicate mathematical thinking verbally, visually, and in writing. The IM 6-8 Math is a problem-based core curriculum rooted in content and practice standards to foster learning and achievement for all. All curricula receive quality reviews against acclaimed alignment rubrics conducted by leading experts. In 8th grade, we use CPM materials to cover topics included in Integrated Math I, Integrated Math II, Algebra I and Geometry which are all high school level courses.

In addition to the concepts outlined below, Trinity emphasizes the CCSS Mathematical Practices at all levels, K-8. These practices should not be thought of as a separate skill set but “as essential mathematical habits of mind and action that pervade the curriculum and pedagogy of mathematics in age-appropriate ways” (http://thinkmath.edc.org/resource/ccss-mathematical-practices). The eight practices are as follows:

  1. Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.

  2. Reason abstractly and quantitatively.

  3. Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.

  4. Model with mathematics.

  5. Use appropriate tools strategically.

  6. Attend to precision.

  7. Look for and make use of structure.

  8. Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning.

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Features & Outcomes

Features:

• In-depth coverage of topics with concepts that build upon each other and across grade levels
• Substantive work in important strands of mathematics – rational numbers, geometry, measurement, data, and early algebra – and connections among them
• Ongoing practice and assessment to monitor student growth and understanding
• Problems presented in a real-world context that help children make relevant connections to their own lives
• Emphasis on communication by using discussion strategies that set a tone for rich classroom discourse and written exchange
• Digital tools that supplement the text and support and inform students, teachers and parents
• Middle school students are placed in the appropriate level class based on a variety of data points: student performance, teacher recommendation, final exam scores, ERB math scores in Quantitative Reasoning and Mathematics 1 and 2, and scholarly habits in the previous grade

Outcomes:

• Mathematical thinking and reasoning: students are able to make sense of math as they develop a deep understanding of core mathematical competencies
• Computational fluency
• Ability to use mathematics in a variety of real world settings, such as using statistics to analyze survey data
• Solid foundation in algebra with the completion of Algebra I by the end of eighth grade for most students

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Math 6, 7, 8

Math 6 - Units of Study:

• Fraction Division & Base Ten Arithmetic
• Area, Surface Area & Scale Drawings
• Ratios, Unit Rates & Percentages
• Expressions & Equations
• Proportional Relationships & Percentage Situations
• Rational Numbers
• Data Sets & Distributions
• Rational Number Arithmetic & More Equations Inequalities

Math 7 - Units of Study:

• Scale Drawings & Proportional Relationships
• Measuring Circles
• Proportional Relationships and Percentages
• Rational Number Arithmetic
• Expressions, Equations & Inequalities
​​​​​​​• Angles, Triangles & Prisms
​​​​​​​• Rigid Transformations & Congruence
​​​​​​​• Dilations, Similarity & Introducing Slope
​​​​​​​• Linear Relationships
​​​​​​​• Exponents & Scientific Notation
​​​​​​​• Probability & Sampling​​​​​​​

Math 8 - Units of Study: 

• Rigid Transformation Congruence
​​​​​​​• Dilations/Similarity/Slope
​​​​​​​• Linear Relationships
​​​​​​​• Linear Equations/Systems
​​​​​​​• Functions & Volume
​​​​​​​• Associations in Data
​​​​​​​• Exponents
​​​​​​​• Pythagorean​​​​​​​

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Integrated Math 1 & 2

Integrated Math 1 - Units of Study
• Quantitative Reasoning
• Algebraic Models
• Functions and Models
• Linear Functions
• Forms of Linear Equations
• Modeling Equations & Inequalities
• Linear Modeling & Regression
• Solving Systems of Linear Equations
• Modeling with Linear Systems
• Piecewise-Defined Functions
• Geometric Sequences & Exponential Functions
• Exponential Equations & Models
• Tools of Geometry
• Transformations & Symmetry
• Congruent Figures
• Lines & Angles
• Triangle Congruence Criteria & Application
• Properties of Triangles & Quadrilaterals
• Coordinate Proof using Slope & Distance

Integrated Math 2 - Units of Study
• Analyzing Functions
• Absolute Value Functions, Equations & Inequalities
• Rational Exponents & Radicals
• Adding, Subtracting & Multiplying Polynomials
• Graphing Quadratic Functions
• Connecting Intercepts, Zeros & Factors
• Using Factors or Square Roots to Solve Quadratic Equations
• Linear, Exponential & Quadratic Models
• Quadratic Equations & Complex Numbers
• Quadratic Relations & Systems of Equations
• Functions & Inverses
• Proofs with Lines & Angles
• Proofs with Triangles & Quadrilaterals
• Similarity & Transformations
• Using Similar Triangles
• Trigonometry with Right Angles
• Angles & Segments in Circles
• Arc Length & Sector Area
• Volume Formulas
• Probability & Decision Making

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Algebra 1

Units of Study
• Quantities & Modeling
• Understanding Functions
• Linear Functions, Equations & Inequalities
• Statistical Models
• Linear Systems & Piecewise-Defined Functions
• Exponential Relationships
• Transformations & Congruence
• Lines, Angles & Triangles
• Quadrilaterals & Coordinate Proofs

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Geometry

Units of Study
• Characteristics of Functions
• Polynomial Operations
• Quadratic Functions
• Quadratic Equations & Models
• Extending Quadratic Equations
• Geometric Proof
• Similarity & Right Triangles
• Properties of Circles
• Volume
• Understanding Probability

Social Studies
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Course Description

At Trinity the social studies course of study is 6th grade Geography, 7th grade World History and 8th grade United States History. 6th graders study Geography where the focus is on geographical literacy and how to study the world in its simultaneously fixed and ever-changing state.

Through interdisciplinary study, students will gain a much better understanding of the world, and a heightened curiosity about it. Seventh graders study World History where the focus is on the 20th century world events, primarily World War I through the September 11th attacks. The goal is to widen students’ appreciation of important world events using primary sources. Eighth graders study United States History where the focus is on important American events in the 20th century, primarily World War I through the September 11th attacks.

The most important goal is to create an enthusiasm for our country's past and increase students’ appreciation of important American historical events through primary sources.

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Features & Outcomes

Features:

• Geography focus that asks “where” places are located, and also seeks to understand “how” and “why” the world operates the way it does
• Using and understanding primary sources
• Emphasis on current events
• Focus on active and collaborative learning including projects, debates, films, class discussions and lectures.
• Attention on learning strong study skills
• Capitalization on serendipitous opportunities
• Integration with other middle school courses

Outcomes:

• Competency and ability to read, write and communicate about real places, historical events, people, groups, institutions and global issues
• Enhanced public speaking and presentation skills from sharing their learning with large and small group audiences
• Enhanced reading, researching and note-taking skills
• Appreciation for the diverse histories and cultures of the world

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6th Grade

Units of Study
• Create Your Own Civilization Project/The Giver--interdisciplinary study of civilizations with ELA
• Types of Maps
• The Parts of a Compass & Directions
• Absolute vs. Relative Location
• Natural Disasters
• The Continents, Pangaea & Continental Drift
• Plate Tectonics
• Natural & Political Borders
• Geomagnetic Reversal
• Time Zones
• Map Projection Bias

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7th Grade

Units of Study
• Reading Like a Historian
• World War I & the Battle of the Somme
• Invasion of Nanking
• Appeasement & World War II
• German Propaganda
• India Partition
• The Cold War
• The Korean War
• Castro & the United States
• Chinese Cultural Revolution
• 20th Century Biographical Cubes

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8th Grade

Units of Study
• Presidential Studies
• The Constitution
• The Civil War & the Role of African-American Soldiers
• World War I
• The Great Depression & The New Deal
• World War II
• The Cold War
• The Civil Rights Movement
• The Turbulent 1960s
• Watergate
• The Reagan Era
• The Approaching Millenium
• The 9/11 Attacks: The War on Terror

Science
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Course Description

Trinity’s science program creates scientific thinkers who eagerly investigate, research, explore and record information about the world around them. Our hands-on, inquiry-based approach to learning weaves and spirals scientific content in various disciplines and grade levels allowing students to utilize the scientific method to experiment, construct, dissect and create models to prove their hypotheses.

Throughout their nine years at Trinity Episcopal School, students are introduced to such sciences as earth science, physical science, life science, astronomy, physics, chemistry, microbiology, genetics, physiology and the study of our urban environment.

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Features & Outcomes

Features:

• Introduction to the scientific method which requires students to form a hypothesis to prove or disprove
• Reinforcement of the scientific method through research, documentation and communication
• Utilization of scientific tools
• Two fully equipped K-8 science labs
• Hands-on learning approach to reinforce scientific principles
• Microscopic investigation to understand organisms in their environment
• Construction of scientific models
• Experience with the outdoor classroom (vegetable garden, hummingbird/butterfly garden, marshland, etc.) to discover the uniqueness in these habitats
• Opportunity to contribute to Trinity’s “Schoolyard Habitat,” certified by the National Wildlife Federation
Dissection of preserved species

Outcomes:

• Greater understanding of our environment and the role of science in everyday life
• Measurement and calculation abilities
• Enhanced critical thinking skills
• Confidence in natural curiosity and ability to investigate and analyze data to prove/ disprove hypothesis
• Ability to observe, write and design as they interact with their environment
• Development of ethics and empathy for others

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6th Grade

Units of Study
• Metric System
• Scientific Method
• Weather & Climate
• Parts of a Cell: Animal and Plant
• Evolution and Classification
• Animal and Plant Biology
• Ecology

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7th Grade

Units of Study
• Metric System
• Scientific Method
• Atoms, Elements, Molecules, Periodic Table, Bonding
• Balancing Equations
• Rocks and Minerals
• Earth Landforms
• Solar System

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8th Grade

Units of Study
• Scientific Writing
• Cells, Viruses, and Bacteria
• Human Organ Systems
• Genetics
• Disease, Nutrition, Growth and Development
• Dissections: Eye, Heart, Lung, Chicken Wing, Brain, Full Fetal Pig
• Physics:  Motion, Force, Machines, Energy and Work
• Waves: Heat, Sound, Light
• Year-long Area of Expertise Project

Spanish

Enrichments

Visual Arts
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Course Description

Trinity’s art curriculum follows the pedagogy of Teaching Artistic Behaviors (TAB), a methodology that is student-focused, choice-based, and teacher-facilitated. The learning environment is designed to provide centers or mini art studios complete with instructional information, menus, resources, materials and tools. Students move independently between centers, utilizing materials, tools and resources as needed in their art making, such as painting, clay or printmaking. Centers are arranged to provide students with independent learning opportunities.

We value the process of art as children as well as students as artists. It is the responsibility of the art teacher to guide students through the art curriculum in an engaging and thought-provoking way. Edmund Feldman states, “...art is a universally human act,” so its importance is held in high regard. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the art room at Trinity Episcopal School where students are given the opportunity to learn while engaged in the process of creating something new. Although the product is usually fantastic the process-based learning is where the beauty is!

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Features & Outcomes

Features:

• Weekly studio art classes where students explore a wide variety of media from clay to wire to pastels, all presented in “mini art studios” throughout the space
• Open art studio where students can use materials and resources to work on classroom projects
• Intentional integration with core subject learning
• Safe and encouraging environment for students to problem solve while exploring their creativity, artistic voice and individual expression
• Exploration of technology, how it is used and how it has impacted visual art
• Visual arts elective choices allow students to explore specific artistic passions such as photography, painting, architecture, etc.
• Annual school-wide arts festival

Outcomes:

• Awareness of different materials and processes to communicate different ideas
• Understanding of the basic elements of art and how they contribute to each work of art
• Readiness to dig deeper and elaborate on particular themes and current issues
• Ability to use art as an historic and cultural indicator
• Understanding that art is not created in a vacuum and works its way into other subjects
• Ability to “think” in a visual manner and to reflect on their work and the work of others

Music Ensembles
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Course Description

Trinity’s music ensembles program reflects our commitment to a well-rounded liberal arts education with a focus on each student’s creative expression. Middle School students choose from one of three ensembles: chorus, strings or band. The music program provides many opportunities for individual growth and fosters every child’s innate love of music. Ensembles perform at chapels, commencement and various venues outside of school.

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Features & Outcomes

Features:

• Access to a comprehensive, balanced and sequential program of music study
• Individual and group performing arts opportunities through weekly chapels, school and community events
• Opportunity to explore music composition
• Professional music experiences
• Annual school-wide arts festival

Outcomes:

• Ability to read music through the use of rhythms and melodies
• Competency to bridge musical thought through multicultural music and culture
• Greater self-awareness and confidence with public performance
• Identification and recognition of form, harmony, expression and history in music
• Confidence and competence in critically reviewing musical performances

Physical Education
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Course Description

We believe that all students should have the opportunity to discover and enjoy lifelong activities and sports. Middle school physical education classes teach lifelong exercise and fitness habits while developing skills for athletics.

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Features & Outcomes

Features:
• Introductory training instruction during physical education class highlighting five biomechanical skills (agility, speed, power, endurance, flexibility) necessary for athletic performance
• Extensive warm-up sessions prior to all physical education classes, emphasizing dynamic stretching, full range of motion and proper progression (general to specific)
• Class units designed to parallel and complement seasonal middle school sport schedules and supplement daily athletic practices
• End of trimester assessment of student fitness completion and performance
• Focus on honing skills that will prepare students for high school athletics and lifelong physical activity

Outcomes:
• Understanding of the impact of proper nutrition and developing healthy eating habits
• Development of proper biomechanics in all areas of fitness and improvement of motor skills
• Appreciation of the human body and understanding of body functions and care
• Character building through cooperative game play, self-awareness and problem solving
• Preparation and bolstering of skills necessary for lifelong wellness and physical fitness

Life Skills
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Course Description

Life skills is designed to promote positive outcomes in regard to the social and emotional health of our middle school students. Life Skills classes cover such subjects as time management, social media and etiquette, sexuality, grief, and how to seek justice and be engaged citizens in the democratic process.

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Features & Outcomes

Features:

• Transition to middle school
• Organization, time management, note-taking, goal-setting and study skills
• Email and google drive navigations and Social Media awareness
• Identity exploration
• Puberty and our changing bodies
• Healthy and effective interpersonal relationships and communication
• Drug and alcohol education
• Differences among us

Outcomes:

• Development of executive function skills
• Awareness of online safety measures and the impact of social media on the human brain and behavior
• Awareness of one’s self and others
• Development of healthy habits

Social Issues Seminar
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Course Description

The 8th Grade Seminar Course is designed to equip TES students with the tools to identify an area or issue of social change, study it using action research, create a plan for advocacy, and then implement that plan in Washington, D.C. in May. The course is grounded in Stanford University's Youth Engaged in Leadership and Learning curriculum with units on communication, leadership, and research and action.

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Features & Outcomes

Features:

• High school preparation and interview techniques
• Leadership styles
• Civics
• Research and debate of a social justice issue currently in legislation
• Lobby and advocate for a social justice issue on Capitol Hill

Outcomes:

• Competency with persuasive writing and argument
• Deep knowledge of civics and a social issue of personal interest
• Development of leadership skills and public speaking
​​​​​​​​​​​​​​• Competency with collegial discussions and decision making

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Course Description

Trinity sixth graders take six weeks of Spanish and six weeks of Latin during their first trimester of middle school. Students then choose which world language they would like to study for the remainder of their middle school years. Spanish students develop reading, listening, writing and speaking skills through the study of grammar and vocabulary units built around themes.

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Features & Outcomes

Features:

• Exposure to another language and culture and comparison to the student’s own language and culture
• Oral language development with a focus on listening and speaking skills
• Introduction/incorporation of reading and writing skills as extensions of oral language skills
• Communication through basic words, short memorized phrases within a context and the combination of words and phrases to exchange information about everyday topics

Outcomes:

• Oral, written and aural language acquisition
• Awareness and understanding of cultures outside the student’s own
• Greater understanding of the structure and meaning of student’s native language
• Knowledge of the formal grammar, sentence structure and vocabulary of the target language

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6th Grade

Units of Study
• Conversational expressions
• Common vocabulary and expressions
• Formal and informal introductions
• Feelings
• Calendar
• Numbers
• Personal and familial information
• Spanish symbols
• Weather
• Adjectives
• Families
• Time

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7th Grade

Units of Study
• Vocabulary review
• Leisure activities
• Food
​​​​​​​• Restaurant communication
​​​​​​​• Places and events
​​​​​​​• Likes and dislikes
​​​​​​​• Family
​​​​​​​• Numbers
​​​​​​​• Culture and traditions

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8th Grade

Units of Study
• Vocabulary review
• Common adjectives and expressions
• Clothes and accessories
• Colors
• People, locations and careers
• Basic responsibilities
• Body parts and health
• Parts of the house
• Past and future tenses

Latin
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Course Description

Latin students learn that this “dead” language is still very much alive in modern civilization. Students travel back in time to learn Latin in historical context, and connect what they learn to their own language(s) and culture.

Students explore the Roman world beyond the language; focusing on art, architecture, archaeology, mythology, government, food, engineering, et cetera. This is accomplished via project-based learning. Students explore modern allusions to the Classical world and identify areas in which modern cultures have been influenced.

This program improves reading comprehension skills by teaching students to utilize prior knowledge, illustrations, and English connections to Latin vocabulary to aid them in understanding Latin passages. Students read Latin primary sources to hear from the Romans in their own voices.

This course also includes spoken Latin to help students acquire and retain vocabulary and grammar. All Latin students build English vocabulary skills through word derivation activities.

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Features & Outcomes

Features:

• Exposure to another language and culture and comparison to the student’s own language and culture
• Oral language development with a focus on listening and speaking skills
• Introduction/incorporation of reading and writing skills as extensions of oral language skills
• Communication through basic words, short memorized phrases within a context and the combination of words and phrases to exchange information about everyday topics

Outcomes:

• Oral, written and aural language acquisition
• Awareness and understanding of cultures outside the student’s own
• Greater understanding of the structure and meaning of student’s native language
• Knowledge of the formal grammar, sentence structure and vocabulary of the target language

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6th Grade

Units of Study
• Latin in Historical and Geographical Context
• Vocabulary Acquisition
• Conversatio
• Basic sentence composition
• Nominative and Accusative cases
• Roman family structure
• Roman Dress/Clothing
• Ancient Writing Implements
• Numbers
• Ancient Greek Deities and the Nature of Myth
• Body Parts, Animals, and Adjectives
• Heroes
• Prepositional phrases-Ablative vs. Accusative Cases
• Domestic architecture-Latin terms for housing elements

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7th Grade

Units of Study
• Vocabulary Review
• From Mythology to Legend
• Present Tense Verbs
• Practice Makes Imperfect
• Noun Case Endings-Noun Song Project
• From Legend to History
• Archaeology and Historical analysis

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8th Grade

Units of Study
• Vocabulary/Storyline Review
• Practice Makes Perfect
• The Future is Bright
• The Perfect Active Verb System-Pluperfect and Future Perfect tenses
• Translating into colloquial English vs. formal English
• Case Endings
• Roman Travel
• Roman Government
• Cultural Assimilation and Romanization
• Roman Engineering
• Roman Entertainment
• Scientific Latin
• Who’s Who in Ancient Rome?

Faith Studies
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Course Description

Faith Studies classes, an integral part of Trinity’s overall curriculum, ask our students to be reflective servants, thoughtful stewards and critical thinkers. The School’s chaplains work in concert with faculty to integrate faith coursework and service to the community into other subjects. This complements and reflects our belief that all of life has a spiritual dimension. We embrace the religious diversity that exists within our community and affirm our willingness to listen to, honor and learn from those whose perceptions of God’s mystery differ from our own.

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Features & Outcomes

Features

• Biblical stories from both the Hebrew and Greek scriptures
• Opportunities to make connections with other world religions
• Exploration of theological concepts
• Time for students to practice meditation/prayer and to apply their understanding and experience of God to their own lives

Outcomes

• Knowledge of “the stories of God” as revealed by the scriptures
• Connection of Biblical lessons to students’ own stories
• Thoughtful reflection on what it means to be a child of God
• Fluency in prayer, both privately and publicly

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6th Grade

Units of Study

• Torah
• Patriarchs and Matriarchs  
• Hebrew History
• Wisdom Literature
• Ecology and Theology
• Biblical Prophets
• Present Day Prophets

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7th Grade

Units of Study
• OT review/Faith Seeking Understanding
• Biblical Perspective and Universal Truth
• Construction of the NT
• Jesus and the Disinherited
• Parable and Paradox
• The Gospel of Mark
• Historical Theologians whose life and works reflect the New Testament
• Wisdom Literature in the New Testament
• Theology and Film: The Theology of George Lucas and Star Wars
• Tolkien and. C.S. Lewis on Faith and Fantasy
• Sacred Art and Sacred Spaces

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8th Grade

Units of Study
• Judaism
• Christianity
• Islam
• Hinduism
• Buddhism
• Shinto
• Taoism and/or Confucianism