In 6th-8th grades, students have a humanities class that addresses English and cultural studies together, often in longer classes. Goals include strengthening reading comprehension and analysis skills, creative and expository writing for different purposes and audiences, and increasing word knowledge through explicit vocabulary work. Throughout the year students read texts from multiple genres including poetry, short story, historical and realistic fiction, and auto/biography. Students continue development of their writing, including organized, detailed paragraphs and multi-paragraph essays, using the six traits of writing as a framework.
The 6th grade humanities classes focus on the evolution of humankind, from hominids, to hunter-gatherers, to the early civilizations of Mesopotamia, Egypt, China, Greece, and Israel. Our yearlong throughlines–“What is culture?” “How does the past affect the present?” “How are modern cultures and ancient cultures different? How are they similar?” “How can I become a more active and thoughtful reader?” and “How do I communicate ideas effectively in writing and speech?”– serve as a frame for our learning throughout the year.
The 7th grade humanities classes encompass several themes, with guiding questions like “How is Middle School a Hero’s Journey?” “How does culture influence perspective, and perspective influence culture?” “What are the advantages and disadvantages of civilization?” “What are the causes of revolution?” “What makes a revolution successful?” and “What is social justice?” Students conduct a research project that includes written and oral presentations to the community.
Eighth grade Humanities focuses on US History. Students read primary and secondary sources to distinguish differences in purpose and audience among historians and to understand the value and points of view of different historical documents. Throughlines include, “How do we tell the story of the United States?” “What makes good writing?” “How does the past affect the present in the United States?” and “What does it mean to read well?”
For more information
Paula Farmer, Director of Admissions
(510) 665-8800 Ext. 103
K - 8 Campus
1310 University Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94702
Early Childhood Campus
2030 Francisco Street
Berkeley, CA 94709