• 8th Grade Soundings Integrated Program

    Length:  Year

    Format:  A fully integrated Language Arts, Social Studies, and Science program that meets for three (3) of the four (4) Core/Team periods.  Students also take Math and two Encore courses.

    Description:  Soundings challenges eighth (8th) graders to create a democratic learning community in which to explore student-selected themes that merge their adolescent concerns with State learning objectives and global issues.  Following a process of asking, analyzing, and grouping hundreds of questions, the class works together to decide which questions they most want to study.  These then become the themes for the year.  For each theme selected, students learn to set goals and objectives, develop and implement plans to achieve those aims, present their results, and assess their performance.  As they experience this process, with its emphasis on both quality performance and higher-order thinking skills such as analysis, synthesis, and assessment, students master essential skills and concepts from all academic disciplines and apply them to real-world issues.

    Soundings replaces the conventional language arts, social studies, and science classes while meeting the Pennsylvania State Standards for those subjects.  As a research-based program, Soundings relies on Internet and primary source materials in lieu of textbooks.  Materials pertinent to particular themes are presented, and students have opportunities to work with these at many different levels of academic sophistication and representing multiple media formats.  Thus, technology plays an important role in Soundings as the class works toward an increasingly paperless learning environment that addresses the individualized, differentiated needs of each student.

    In addition to the resources described above, Soundings students also read and analyze at least two (2) novels selected by the teachers from the eighth (8th) grade Language Arts list.  Novels vary yearly according to specific content themes developed by the students.  It is important to note that Soundings does not use grades.  Ongoing formative assessment is rubric-driven and reported in narrative format on a regular and continuous basis.  Furthermore, Soundings is not a “leveled” course.  Instead, the teachers differentiate instruction on reading, writing, and thinking tasks, as appropriate, to meet the individual needs of the students.

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  • 8th Grade Gateways Integrated Program

    Length:  Year

    Format:  A fully integrated Language Arts, Social Studies, and Science program that meets for three (3) of the four (4) Core/Team periods.  Students also take Math and two Encore courses.

    Description:  Gateways covers the skills and content of the traditional eighth (8th) grade Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies curricula, in conjunction with the Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Gateways to Technology (GTT) curriculum, through the integration of learning around the common theme of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education.  Students participate in numerous hands-on, inquiry-based learning experiences and engage in both individual and group projects over the course of the year that allow students to demonstrate what they are learning.

    Content in Gateways mirrors much of what is taught in the traditional eighth (8th) grade Language Arts, Physical Science, and Social Studies curricula; however, the order and emphasis of instruction varies.  Gateways is not a “leveled” course.  Instead, teachers differentiate instruction accordingly to meet individual students’ needs.  In addition to the inquiry-based, hands-on activities and projects, numerous field extensions are included throughout the year to foster real-world connections.  Students participate in a variety of national competitions and have the opportunity to interact with professionals in a number of STEM fields as a result.  Unlike other Integrated Program offerings at RMS, Gateways is a graded program.  Students are assessed in a variety of ways and receive numeric grades for assigned work, such as tests, quizzes, essays, labs, and projects.  Students likewise earn a report card grade calculated on the total points earned over the course of the marking period.

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