Middle School includes students in grades 6-8
Gilbert Gordon is the primary Middle School teacher. He received his love of learning from his mother and Webb School. He attended Auburn University and graduated from The Universty of Tennessee in Knoxville.
"How to Think" is the academic goal in the Middle School. Discussions and dialogue create an environment conducive to teaching children how to openly discuss their opinions supported with facts. When we argue with each other, it is never about the person, but always about the idea. No one can be a spectator. Grades are secondary to learning. As Mark Twain said, " Never let your schooling get in the way of your education."
Ginny Gordon teaches 5th and 6th grade math, reads to the students after lunch, and acts as general school mom in and out of the classroom. She enjoys tea time with girls and relationships with other moms. She graduated from Harpeth Hall High School in Nashville and Auburn University.Ginny shares her knowledge of gardening and literature with all.
Ginny Gordon teaches 6th grade math and uses a Saxon Math text.
Gilbert Gordon (Mr. G) teaches 7th and 8th grade math. Algebra I begins in the 7th grade which gives the student two years to complete it. Along with completing Algebra I in the eighth grade, the 8th graders are introduced to geometry, trigonometry, and calculus. Each year we enter the Middle Tennessee Regional Math Contest in Algebra 1.
At this time the students are instructed in French two days per week by Madame Claire Turrentine. She is French and creates a fun environment. We all love to listen to her beautiful accent.
Latin / Greek
Latin and Greek roots are taught in sixth grade while more formal Latin translation awaits the seventh and eighth grades. The eighth graders conclude their study by taking the National Latin Exam in the spring.
The history of the world is taught in three years.
Year 1: From Mesopotamia through Greece
Year 2: From Greece through Middle Ages
Year 3: American History
Within a three year span the students will be exposed to the following subject areas of science- astronomy (rocket building), biology (dissections), botany(identification of some 75 plants at the school), chemistry, physics, soils, meteorology, zoology, architecture, engineering (bridge building), landscape design (mock design project), ecology, microbiology, anatomy (including nutrition), electricity(learn to actually wire switches, lamps, etc.) , and genetics.
[Most of this is hands-on]
By the time a student has completed the 8th grade, he or she will know a lot about the world. The final test in the 8th grade tests whether they can identify about 600 different cities, rivers, mountains, countries, etc. This is accomplished primarily through rote learning. Each year we enter the National Geographic Geography Contest, and we have sent twelve students to the state finals. In 2016 one of our eighth graders, Emily Lanier, placed second in the State Competiton. She was the first girl in many years to get in the top 10 in the state. The students really enjoy the challenge of learning so much of their world.
Poetry plays an important part of our curriculum. Throughout the year students memorize and recite poetry on a weekly basis. At first they are rather timid, but it doesn't take long before they feel comfortable doing so. During Commencement in May each student recites his or her favorite poem that year. In a typical year they will memorize 10 - 12 poems. The added benefit of poetry recitation is the ability to stand before a group of people without fear. Public speaking ranks above death as the greatest fear in life! We also act out a few Shakespearean plays within the three year Middle School period. They also give oral presentations in history, geography, and science.
This subject encompasses all of the others in one way or another. The emphasis is on writing (composition). The ability to communicate with the written word is paramount in our world today. Peer evaluation is used as a means of constructive editing. I must admit that writing is the most difficult and time consuming subject to teach, but it is the most important. We also stress the reading of good books. We have our own book list of classics that the students choose from as well as their own favorites. We give an award for any student who can read 40 books and 15 short stories from our list during his or her Middle School years.
Art is taught by a qualified teacher. We teach chess and have a tournament each winter. I enjoy sharing calligraphy with the students every other year. We use our shop to build projects, and the eighth graders learn to manage our greenhouse. We listen to the music of the great composers and play 'Name That Tune' as they build their confidence in learning great works and their composers. Each year is a little different, and quite often if a student has an interest, we will try to include that as well. Last year we included a photography class, cooking class, woodworking class, and a crochet class ( this one was taught by a student to five other interested students).