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Grades 5-8

5-8 Language Arts & Social Studies

List of 6 items.

  • Fifth Grade Language Arts/Social Studies

    The language arts and social studies curriculum in the Gesher division is integrated, providing the students a multi-faceted learning experience so that they enjoy the concepts from a variety of perspectives and approaches.

    Students are introduced to the early history of the United States. They study the cultures of our nation chronologically from the first American to the Constitution and learn the origin of our beliefs and values we have today. Experiential learning is a key piece of the social studies lessons.

    Their experience in class is designed to develop and cultivate a life-long love of reading, writing, and curiosity. Students are immersed in reading and exploring a wide variety of classic and contemporary literature including novels, short stories, and non-fiction texts. Classrooms are filled with books and students read both for pleasure and knowledge.

    Communicating effectively is the core of the curriculum. Students share their understandings orally and in writing. They have numerous opportunities to write for authentic purposes as well. Students participate in the Writer’s Workshop, starting with a narrative unit that overlaps with our literature lessons. They study figurative language, story elements, and connecting to their audience. As the year continues, the lessons shift to more informational writing and analysis by sharing research findings and literary reflection. They focus on skills like supporting ideas, language choices, and creating a logical argument when explaining ideas.

    • Grammar lessons are integrated into the Writer’s Workshop, both formally and through self and peer editing.
    • Students learn that revision and editing are essential to the writing process
    • Group activities are an important part of the lessons—both in social studies and language arts
    • Students participate in project-based learning for each unit
    • Students study the American Revolution through poetry, speeches, reenactments, and writing.
    • Students look at the Constitution though checks and balance, division of power, and the Bill of Rights.
    • Students participate in field trips connected to these lessons
  • Sixth grade Language Arts/Social Studies

    The language arts and social studies curriculum in the Gesher division is integrated, providing the students a multi-faceted learning experience so that they enjoy the concepts from a variety of perspectives and approaches.

    In sixth grade, students cover issues and lessons connected to life in the Western Hemisphere. They start at the top of the globe in the Arctic, move their way south to Canada, and end in Latin America. Projects connected to these ideas allow students to access and learn skills through English and social studies.

    Sixth graders use Writer’s Workshop to develop an increasingly sophisticated way to express themselves in written communication. Oral communication is also targeted. Teachers provide students with the tools to both understand the concepts found in texts and to communicate ideas effectively.

    Thematic units allow sixth grade students to connect life with literature as they practice the communication skills of reading, writing, and speaking.

    • Students explore themes of conflict, aging, and differing cultures as they are presented in both literature and life.
    • Students write descriptive, expository, narrative, and persuasive pieces as they begin to develop a unique writer's voice.
    • Students build a wide and varied personal vocabulary through reading, writing and grammar study.
    • Students learn the five themes of geography: location, place, human/environment interaction, movement and regions, as a framework in which to view the world.
    • Students develop study skills as they explore the varied geography of the regions.
    • Students exercise critical thinking skills as they compare and contrast sites in the Western Hemisphere.
    • Students apply cooperative group skills through discussion, query and simulation activities.
  • Seventh Grade Language Arts

    The seventh grade Language Arts curriculum is designed to further develop inferential thinking through the enjoyment and analysis of literature as well as expository text. The essential questions are: How does literature explore the use and abuse of power? What can we learn about being human through this discovery?

    Students delve into novels with utopian themes as they wonder about the power of community. Students explore the power of the individual through a series of novels, non-fiction text, poetry, and a service learning project with JARC. Their year ends examining the power of words through a debate experience, as well as a series of Socratic seminars, where they learn to ask deep and meaningful questions about literature while connecting these ideas to life.

    Students’ experience in class is designed to develop and cultivate a life-long love of reading, writing, and curiosity. Students are immersed in reading and exploring a wide variety of classic and contemporary literature including novels, poetry, short stories, and non-fiction texts. Classrooms are filled with books and students read both for pleasure and knowledge.

    Reading is based on the workshop model where students make sense of text by utilizing active reading techniques. Literature circles with student led discussion and choice books contribute to a high level of student engagement.

    Writing functions in a workshop format. Students know that writing is a process and move through the steps with an eye toward revision and possible publication. Multi-media presentations and oral skills are part of a very active written and oral communications curriculum. Formal conventions of writing, grammar, spelling and punctuation are always reviewed in mini-lesson format to build capable communicators.

    The seventh grade curriculum celebrates the individual student’s strengths by differentiating the reading levels in novels, providing choice in writing, as well as offering activities that deepen and extend the learning for those students in need of greater challenge.

    Social studies and English are integrated using similar essential questions, as well as literature inspired by the Civil War and the struggle against slavery.

    This is a sampling of skills for grade seven:

    • Read and comprehend a variety of texts including fiction, memoir, non-fiction, poetry and expository writing
    • Write fluently for multiple audiences with an eye toward real world applications
    • Make inferences
    • Make connections through application, analysis and synthesis of ideas
    • Research using multiple sources 
    • Utilize data to support a position
    • Speak effectively in front of a group or video using eye contact, voice intonation and clear articulation
    • Formulate interpretive, and evaluative questions using Socratic method
  • Seventh Grade Social Studies (U.S. History)

    Seventh graders examine American History beginning with the newly formed 13 states through the rebuilding of our nation after the Civil War. Study culminates with the ultimate “American History” field trip: The seventh grade trip to Washington D.C. The essential questions, “How does the distribution of power affect people’s lives? How is my life impacted by the use and abuse of power? How can I use my power as a responsible citizen in a democracy?” frame our study of history as well as current events.

    It is important to make history meaningful to our students. Our guiding question for seventh grade is “How has the conflict between the federal government and state governments, as well as the issue of slavery, shaped the modern United States?” The impact of this is still being felt today and it will be the enduring understanding that the students will carry with them as they continue their studies in American History.

    Current events play a large role in seventh grade. It is important for students to understand domestic issues as well as U.S. foreign policy. Students see how these issues relate to what we study in class and how they fit into their roles as citizens of the world.

    In our study of history, we use many 21st Century methods: Discussion, group work, technology, primary sources, role playing, art, and creative writing are just some of these. Traditional methods such as note taking, multiple choice tests, and essay writing are also part of this rich and varied curriculum.

    Social studies and English are integrated with fiction and poetry inspired by the Civil War and the struggle against slavery. Primary source documents are highlighted in social studies and used in English. For example, the Bill of Rights, taught in social studies is used extensively as a source for debate.

    Skills include:

    • Extrapolating meaning from multiple formats including lecture, film, discussion and text
    • Taking Notes from multiple sources
    • Determining cause and effect
    • Identifying primary source documents
    • Examining events through the lens of an historical time period
    • Understanding personal liberties and governmental structures under the U.S. Constitution
  • Eighth Grade Language Arts

    The eighth grade language arts curriculum is designed to develop and cultivate a life-long love of reading and writing. Students focus on an essential question throughout the year: How and Why Has Writing Changed Over Time? To answer this question, the students take a journey back in time, from ancient history through modern day. Throughout this journey, students explore texts from each major time period and analyze the shift in written language development, learn trends from linguistic professionals, and even make predictions about what our future language might look like. While analyzing these changes in language, students also identify literary devices used to captivate readers, convey meaning, and produce strong writing.

    Texts implemented throughout the year include fiction, poetry, short stories, and non-fiction. The Reader’s Workshop Model is used to allow the students to have choice, set an individual reading pace, connect themes in literature to their own lives, utilize in-class reading time, and practice student-led discussion groups. Students gain the skills to understand and analyze literature on multiple levels and respond to it thoughtfully.

    While students analyze literature, they also explore a variety of writing genres including narrative, informational, persuasive, and descriptive writing. The Writer’s Workshop Model is used to guide writing instruction by providing mini-lessons aimed to reach each students’ individual needs, viewing sample writing pieces from each genre, ample in-class writing time, and always leaving time for the eighth grade authors to share their work. Grammar and vocabulary development is incorporated into this writing model as well.

    As students move through eighth grade, they develop an increasingly sophisticated way to express themselves orally and in written expression. The curriculum includes project and problem based learning, cross curricular connections, and collaboration. Teachers provide students with the tools to understand the concepts found in literature, make connections beyond the classroom, and to communicate ideas effectively. Multi-media presentations and oral skills are all part of a very active written and oral communications curriculum.

    • Students write in a variety of genres as they develop a personal writer's voice in a showcase portfolio.
    • Students enhance their writing by utilizing literary devices in their work.
    • Students develop critical thinking skills as they explore personal connections to literature.
    • Students read with deep understanding with a focus on the analysis of symbolism.
    • Students learn, understand, and practice 21st century skills to prepare them for their future role as digital citizens.
  • Eight grade social studies (World History)

    To understand today’s world, we must learn about its past. Ancient civilizations laid strong foundations for modern cultures. The early ages of World History have added greatly to those cultures. Eighth graders learn how the ideas, events, and people of the past have shaped our lives. Therefore our guiding question for the year is, How does the past touch the present?

    We approach our study of World History from a thematic perspective. Our historical and cultural study begins in ancient times up to the present. Eighth grade is divided into 9 themes: Ancient civilizations, American influences, Religions, Renaissance and reform, Israel and Zionism, Exploration and exploitation, Revolutions, Conflict and resolution, and Modern India, Australia, New Zealand, and the islands of the Pacific. We look at how geography makes history possible. We then transition into different types of governments, such as direct democracy, and different types of economic systems, such as a command economy. In our first theme, ancient civilizations, we ask the question, what makes up a civilization? As a part of this theme we will study ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, and other Mediterranean civilizations. We also explore how Judaism fits in with these ancient cultures.

    Current events play a large role throughout eighth grade. It is important for students to understand domestic issues, U.S. foreign policy, and how issues in other countries impact the whole global community. Students see how these issues connect us to other nations and relate to what we study in class.

    In our study of history, we use many different 21st Century methods to ensure learning takes place: Discussion, group work, technology, primary sources, role playing, art, and creative writing are just some of these. Traditional methods such as note taking, taking multiple choice tests, and essay writing will also be used as these are essential skills for high school.

    • Students learn different note taking styles and methods
    • Students understand cause and effect relationships by analyzing historical events around the world
    • Students understand the importance of learning from the past
    • Students understand the importance of primary sources to historians and simulate written primary sources
    • Students write essays of varying lengths, including an 8th grade level research paper
    • Students understand the benefits and problems created by colonial powers around the world
    • Students experience assessments of varying formats
Critical Thinking חשיבה ביקורתית
Creativity יצירתיות
COLLABORATION שיתוף פעולה
COMMUNICATION תיקשורת
CHARACTER אישיות
COMMUNITY קהילה
CORE JEWISH VALUES ערכים יהודיים עיקריים
Welcome to Hillel Day School of Metropolitan Detroit, a vibrant community Jewish day school filled with joy, rooted in core Jewish values, committed to halakhah, and devoted to academic excellence. Our families are diverse in their beliefs, affiliations and observances; we work together to create a welcoming community based upon mutual respect and shared values.
Early Childhood Center, Ages 2-5 | Day School, Grades K-8 | 248-851-3220 | 32200 Middlebelt Rd. | Farmington Hills, MI 48334