Middle School Curriculum
At CWC Mar Vista Middle School, we are preparing our students to emerge as a new generation of leaders – as trailblazers who are ready to tackle the future challenges in our world and surpass the conceived limitations of what students, communities, parents, and schools can achieve in the world.
We develop students who have the following characteristics:
Self Understanding, Self Efficacy, Critical Thinking, Adaptability, Communication, Collaboration, Cultural Competency, Empathy, Systems Thinking, Global Advocacy, and Lifelong Learning.
We have two types of courses core courses that everyone takes, and student choice courses, where students can exercise their voice and choice.
All CWC MV courses have a foundation in:
Humanities at CWC MV Middle School involves interdisciplinary learning experiences combining ELA and Social Studies. Our program is aligned with the California Common Core State Standards and is designed to help build:
- Creativity and innovation
- Critical thinking and problem solving
- Collaboration and communication
ELA is divided into four strands throughout the middle school experience:
- Speaking and Listening
During Humanities class, students will align with ELA goals by studying the following Social Studies standards.
Students in 6th grade expand their understanding of history by studying the people and events that ushered in the dawn of the major Western and non-Western ancient civilizations. Students develop higher levels of critical thinking by considering why civilizations developed where and when they did, why they became dominant, and why they declined. Students analyze the interactions between the various cultures, emphasizing their enduring contributions and the link, despite time, between the contemporary and ancient worlds.
Students in 7th grade study the social, cultural, and technological changes that occurred in Europe, Africa, and Asia in the years A.D. 500–1789. After reviewing the ancient world and the ways in which archaeologists and historians uncover the past, students study the history and geography of great civilizations that were developing concurrently throughout the world during medieval and early modern times. They examine the growing economic interaction among civilizations as well as the exchange of ideas, beliefs, technologies, and commodities. They learn about the resulting growth of Enlightenment philosophy and the new examination of the concepts of reason and authority, the natural rights of human beings and the divine right of kings, experimentalism in science, and the dogma of belief. Finally, students assess the political forces let loose by the Enlightenment, particularly the rise of democratic ideas, and they learn about the continuing influence of these ideas in the world today.
Students in 8th grade study the ideas, issues, and events from the framing of the Constitution up to World War I, with an emphasis on America’s role in the war. After reviewing the development of America’s democratic institutions, particularly the shaping of the Constitution, students trace the development of American politics, society, culture, and economy and relate them to the emergence of major regional differences. They learn about the challenges facing the new nation, with an emphasis on the causes, course, and consequences of the Civil War. They make connections between the rise of industrialization and contemporary social and economic conditions.
All students will focus on their writing, research and analytical skills as they investigate the lives of early people using art and other primary source documents. Using a variety of historical and fictional texts, students engage in skill building when writing literary responses and analysis, reading comprehension and vocabulary development.
Math at CWCMV middle school is taught as an interdisciplinary pair with science. Students will have the opportunity to make connections, synthesize new ideas, and apply new information across the math and science fields.
Math in 6th Grade focuses on the development of the following:
- Using concepts of ratio and rate to solve problems;
- Understanding the meaning of division of fractions;
- Understanding and working with negative numbers;
- Writing, interpreting and using expressions and equations;
- Developing an understanding of statistical thinking.
In 7th grade math, students will focus on:
- developing an understanding of and applying proportional relationships;
- developing an understanding of operations with rational numbers and working with expressions and linear equations;
- 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;
- drawing inferences about populations based on samples.
In 8th grade math, students will focus on three critical areas:
- 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;
- Grasping the concept of a function and using functions to describe quantitative relationships;
- Analyzing two- and three-dimensional space and figures using distance, angle, similarity, and congruence, and understanding and applying the Pythagorean Theorem.
At CWC Mar Vista, we create a problem-centered curriculum promoting an inquiry-based teaching-learning classroom environment. Mathematical ideas are identified and embedded in a sequenced set of tasks and explored in depth to allow students to develop rich mathematical understandings and meaningful skills. The Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSM) and the Standards for Mathematical Practice are embedded within each problem.
Science at CWCMV middle school is taught as an interdisciplinary pair with math. Students will apply emerging understandings of new math concepts directly to their science studies. Students will have the opportunity to carry out scientific investigations and design projects related to their core learning during the middle school years.
Science in 6th grade focuses on earth and space science. Students will have the opportunity to carry out scientific investigations and design projects related to their core learning during the middle school years. Students learn about the Earth’s structure, geologic processes, plate tectonics, oceans and the water cycle, Earth’s atmosphere, weather and climate, our solar system, stars, and galaxy.
7th-grade science at CWCMV focuses on Life Sciences, including the characteristics of living things, plant and animal cell structures, genetics, and the classification of organisms. Students will also learn about the structure and function of human cells, tissues, organs and organ systems, and the structure and function of plants.
Science in 8th grade focuses on the physical sciences, where students will learn about the scientific method through investigation and experimentation. Students begin by learning about motion, forces, and the structure of matter, then build on this knowledge to understand Earth and its place in the solar system and wider universe. Towards the end of the year, students will integrate their math learning through graphs and data interpretation as they study biological chemistry, the periodic table, and density and buoyancy.
Students take part in a physical education course each afternoon. These courses aim to develop in our students an understanding of the importance of having an active lifestyle. They will learn about the health-related components of physical fitness and the concepts and fundamentals of physical fitness including warm-up, stretching, and different kinds of exercises. Students will actively engage in various cardiovascular and resistance exercises and have an appreciation of its benefits. Students take part in this full range of courses.
Health and Fitness
Students will explore the California health standards and will discuss how health considerations such as nutrition, physical activity, and growth and development affect many aspects of a student’s life. Students will have the opportunity to discover ways to be safe and healthy, both personally and as a community.
Students will learn and be involved in a number of cooperative and competitive games, with an emphasis on developing skills and tactical understanding. Students use feedback to initiate and maintain practice to improve skill performance.
Yoga and Mindfulness
Students will be given an introduction to mindfulness practices and basic yoga postures. Each week, students investigate a particular theme which will guide the yoga class and discussion. A breathing or mindfulness exercise will be practiced, followed by different sets of daily yoga postures. The postures offer students the opportunity to move, stretch and learn more about their bodies. All classes will end with a relaxation and visualization to help students reflect and connect back to their breath. The entire practice aims to build greater self-awareness and provide students with tools to nourish their minds and bodies in healthy ways.
“Yoga is very unique at our school and we are very fortunate to have it as an option to fulfill part of our physical education requirement. This helps reinforce our way of learning through mindfulness, which we can use throughout the rest of the day.” CWC MV 7th Grader
Students have Spanish twice per week. During these sessions, students will learn about language and culture. Students will learn to communicate, read and write in Spanish through a variety of creative and lively lessons.
Our Learning Fellowship is a series of integrated learning experiences that equip students with the awareness, language and tools they need to be confident in themselves, to create and sustain healthy relationships, to pursue rigorous goals, to honor and leverage their unique gifts and voice, to collaborate across lines of difference, and to work in the service of the outcome and impact they seek in their lives.
Students have learning fellowship daily. During this time, students will meet with a small core group of peers and an advisor to explore Social and Emotional Learning (SEL), California Health Standards, Digital Citizenship, and Leadership and Career Studies.
- SEL: Students will share the experiences of middle school life through council and discussion. The advisor will help create an intentional SEL space where all students feel accepted and heard. In their advisory and learning fellowship cohort, students will learn the importance of being a good citizen in every sphere of their lives, including digital citizenship and safety.
- Health Standards: Students will learn the California health standards including mental, emotional, and social health, the importance of nutrition and physical activity, and grade-appropriate growth, development, and sexual health.
- Leadership and Career Studies: Students will use this time to explore leadership opportunities and passion projects such as student-led clubs and community service projects, and will learn real-world life skills from career day guest speakers.
“It’s about learning to handle things in life. You should know these things but I have never done this before in school.”
These courses are one trimester in length and all students will automatically be scheduled for each course throughout the year.
Speech and Debate
Students explore all aspects of spoken communication. They will learn to speak confidently to an audience and to be an effective listener. Students will also learn how to form an argument and participate in Debate.
Students advance their understanding of computer skills. The course includes a touch-typing review, use of the G Suite to create documents, spreadsheets, slide presentations, and websites. Students will investigate what makes a good website and evaluate websites to identify their audience, purpose, and reliability. Students will also have a strong focus on digital citizenship working through real-life problems and dilemmas.
In order to be fully participating citizens and to make good, informed decisions, we need to help our students develop a solid understanding of what’s going on in the world around them. Through this interactive course, students will use their critical thinking skills to develop their ideas of social justice, empathy and citizenship through the lens of current events.
Student Choice Electives
Each Trimester Students can choose from the following courses:
ASTEME Coding Adventures – Join us on an incredible coding journey where you will learn how to create and code some of your favorite games using Scratch. The class is perfect for all coding levels – from beginning to experienced – as we will explore the three components of coding (planning, coding, and debugging) that will help you transition to more advanced languages.
Ensemble Music: Band and Chorus
Students who choose this elective will be introduced to both beginning band and beginning chorus in a double period. In Beginning Band, students will have the opportunity to select and learn a band instrument through band class time. The Band will rehearse weekly, and perform concerts for peers, family, and friends over the course of the school year. In this course, we will learn how to read music, music theory, basic care and maintenance of instruments, and of course, how to play! No experience necessary, everyone is welcome to come and learn a new skill. Instruments include Flute, Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Trumpet, Trombone, and Percussion.
In Beginning Chorus, students will begin to explore vocal technique and expression through the world’s oldest form of music. Vocal health and technique will be taught while rehearsing repertoire for annual concerts and performances. Our repertoire will include popular music and musical theater, as well as classical music. Students will have the opportunity to perform in both large and small groups, as well as opportunities for solo work. We will learn to read music, match pitch, and basic music theory. No vocal experience is necessary to join. Come on in and sing your heart out!
Art and Design
Exploring the theme of “Discovery”, our first art unit will focus on addressing students’ own questions and examining real-life issues relevant to our world. With an emphasis on community, creativity, and collaboration, we will develop our craft through technique and studio practice. While focusing on the creative process we will build important “Artist Habits” including observing, envisioning, exploring, expressing, reflecting, and persisting.
ASTEME Science Circle – Join us on an awesome adventure as we explore science in the fields of chemistry, physics, and astronomy. There will be fun and exciting hands-on activities, science experiments, make and take projects and much, much more!
Whether you like writing poetry or love listening to music, songwriting is the class for you! During our time together, we will explore and study several genres of music, write original songs, have visitors who work in the music industry (artists, A&Rs, managers, producers), design cover art, and create a portfolio of poetry. Students will have the opportunity to perform if they feel comfortable, but it’s not required. Join us for a creative opportunity and for a peek into the music industry of Los Angeles!
Explore your creative side! This course is designed for all creative students, from aspiring to advanced. We will learn practical creative skills including sewing and crochet, and students will have a chance to explore student-choice DIY projects.
Student-led Activism & the Power of the People!
Understanding American Civics and the Role of Citizen.
In this course, we will examine the power citizens wield when they choose to vote and participate in the American electoral process as well as ways this political process is often usurped by outside forces (i.e. money, influence, “fake news” etc.). Topics covered will include: · The origin and role of Political Parties in America
- Understanding ideology and the political spectrum
- Campaigning · The role of the media, journalism and “Fake News”
- A History of Student/Youth Led Protests · Modern day social movements (i.e. #BlackLivesMatter, #TimesUp, March for Our Lives etc.)
- Citizens United and its effect on campaigns · Gerrymandering
- The electoral process with a focus on the Midterm and California General Elections
In this workshop-style course, students will discover or sharpen their composition style. Students will be inspired by music, art, and master writers as they dive deep into the writing process to create their own literary masterpieces. Students will study poetry, short stories, autobiographies, biographies, fiction, and nonfiction, so there’s something here for everyone! Creative Writing is the class to practice favorite writing techniques and learn new approaches to grow as writers; all you have to bring is your imagination.
Program Enhancements and Enrichments
The various roles within Student Council will be delineated by grade levels. Our sixth and seventh graders will have the opportunity to run for President, Vice President, Historian, Treasurer, Public Relations, Environmental Chair, and Class Representatives. Our fifth graders will participate in Student Council exclusively as Class Representatives. While we know that there are fifth graders with loftier aspirations, we feel that it is important to build a Student Council structure that allows students to develop their capacity as they prepare to step into larger roles in the future.
It is our hope that, with the help of the students, we will build out a Student Council program that provides students a voice in developing the culture of their school. Our vision is a council that is thoughtful and proactive and embodies the ideals upon which our school is built. We look forward to sharing with you the amazing work that the Student Council does throughout the school year.
At Citizens of the World Mar Vista, we are committed to our community. We look for ways to learn from, work with, and also support our community. One way we do this is through our Community Commitment program. This program challenges students to
- Show initiative
- Demonstrate perseverance
- Develop skills such as collaboration, problem solving and decision-making.
We also believe that the learning our students gain from being an active member of the community is something that cannot be gained in the classroom.
Throughout the year we have up to two community commitment days where students go into our community to make a difference.
In addition to this, students are expected to carry out additional community commitment hours each year.
6th and 7th Grade Forensics Team
We are so excited to announce the launch of CWC Mar Vista’s inaugural middle school Forensics team. Now, before your imagination runs away with you, this is has nothing to do with CSI. Instead, it is a competitive speech and debate league that is part of the nation’s longest standing honor society. Forensics offers opportunities for students to develop their public speaking and oral communication skills as well as build confidence and camaraderie. It includes structured argumentation, original oration, as well as humorous and dramatic interpretation, prose, poetry, and storytelling. Notable Forensics alumni include Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Colbert, Justice Samuel Alito, Oprah Winfrey, James Dean, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Brad Pitt, and Bruce Springsteen, to name just a few.
Our 6th and 7th Graders will compete as part of the Southern California Junior Forensics League in a minimum of four tournaments throughout the school year. We will share their achievements.