Middle School Curriculum
26 hours of mandatory courses per week
- in 6th grade: 23 hours of collective teaching and 3 hours of individualized support.
- in 7th, 8th and 9th grades: 22 hours of collective teaching, 4 hours of personalized support and Interdisciplinary Projects teaching (EPI)
- HISTORY & GEOGRAPHY
- ENGLISH (LVA)
- SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
- PHYSICAL EDUCATION
- ART & MUSIC
- Interdisciplinary Projects (EPI/PEAC)
French instruction covers three major areas:
Enhancing of oral and written language skills,
Understanding the origins of vocabulary and grammatical structure, language history, with reference to ancient and modern languages,
Building a rich literary and artistic culture through the study of nationally significant works, whether contemporary, classic or foreign, and through other art forms, particularly still and moving images.
7th & 8th grades:
Mathematics instruction develops logical thinking, abstraction and spatial perspective using formulas, models, charts and diagrams. Math principles are mastered by solving problems. Concepts are studied, repeated and reinforced each year using a "spiral learning" approach that results in deeper understanding. Students learn the laws of logic as well as:
Rigor and precision
To respect rationally-established truths
The use of logical and deductive reasoning, demonstrated by supportive arguments
Oral and written communication using the correct mathematical terminology
How to perform different types of calculation with varied number sets
The use of simple mathematical instruments: ruler, square, compass, protractor
To create and use tables, diagrams, charts and how to transfer data from one to another
Tables, formulae, drawing tools, calculators and software
To understand when and how real-world problems can be approached mathematically and how to use data, construct hypotheses and develop logic or calculations to solve them
To position and manoeuvre in two and three dimensions, and
How to use a spreadsheet and interactive geometry software.
HISTORY & GEOGRAPHY
History and Geography, taught from 1st to 12th Grades (elementary to high school), form a single mandatory subject in the French educational system. The discipline is subject to a written exam at the Brevet at the end of 9th grade.
The curriculum adopt a resolutely global approach, from prehistory to contemporary world history, while including chapters focused on the history and geography of France. The History and Geography curricula are designed and implemented as one integrated course to emphasize the complementarity of both disciplines. Based on an introduction to the historian and the geographer’s methods, the teaching of History and Geography seeks to develop students' curiosity and critical thinking - principally through the analysis of primary sources - and to enrich their general knowledge. History and Geography aim to encourage students to inquire, express themselves, and understand human societies and their spaces, in order for them to become enlightened and responsible citizens.
Students build up their oral and written skills, improving their ability to understand, express themselves, communicate and create. By the end of Middle School, they should reach "Intermediate Level", level B1 in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) in a minimum of three languages. Students who have not consistently studied at Rochambeau are expected to reach "Elementary Level", level A2 in the CEFR, in at least two languages.
Four different English groups reflect differing student levels of proficiency and fluency:
Honors English (Group 4):
Students can read fluently and are able to synthesize, analyze and respond to complex literary and informational texts, both orally and in writing. They study novels, essays, poetry and short stories from major authors. The course focuses on critical reading, analytical reflection and sound argumentation skills.
English Advanced (Group 3):
Advanced students learn to present oral and written analytical responses to diverse text questions. They study novels, plays, poetry, and essays, in order to become critical readers and writers, They develop their grammatical skills and increase their vocabulary to enhance both written and spoken communication.
English standard (Group 2):
Students learn to:
- Understand complex texts concerning both concrete and abstract subjects, including technical documents.
- Communicate easily and spontaneously with native English speakers.
- Express themselves clearly and in detail on a wide range of subjects.
- Express an opinion on news topics, specifying potential advantages and disadvantages of proposed solutions.
English ESOL (Group 1):
In this beginners’ course, students are taught to:
- Understand isolated sentences and frequently used expressions (personal & family information, purchases, nearby environment, work etc.).
- Communicate during simple tasks that require a direct exchange of information on familiar subjects.
- Describe, using simple sentence structure and vocabulary, their school, their immediate needs and environment.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Classes in Science & Technology and Earth & Life Sciences (SVT) begin in 6th grade, and highlight the benefits of removing boundaries between disciplines. Lessons are both theoretical and practical and take place mostly in the laboratory. Students are taught the investigative method, a defining characteristic of scientific practice.
Beginning in 7th grade, the Biology program helps students move beyond an anthropocentric vision towards a more scientific relationship with the living world. Students are encouraged to be curious, to have an open mind, and to question their own ideas and conclusions. They learn observation, experimentation, measurement, reasoning, modeling, etc. They are taught that the knowledge they acquire and memorize must be constantly deepened, reviewed and questioned, not only in classwork, but throughout their lives.
Subjects are taught by grade as follows:
- 6th Grade: Sciences, Technology
- 7th Grade: Biology, Physics-Chemistry and Technology
Also interdisciplinary studies of Biology-Health with Physical Education
- 8th and 9th Grades: Biology, Physics-Chemistry and Technology
Physical education and sports are key to the student development, both personally and in the community. It encourages young people to take care of their health and well-being, and shows them the pleasures of practicing different sports.
Students are taught to:
Develop their motor skills and use their bodies to express themselves
Analyse their own and others’ performance, through action and observation
Adhere to rules and assume different roles and responsibilities
Maintain their health through regular physical activity
Use, control and explain the purpose and functionality of sporting techniques and precise movements
ART & MUSIC
Art education encourages personal expression and creativity, and develops cultural awareness and sensitivity. The program teaches the creation of forms and objects, intertwining artistic practice and culture.
The music program helps students develop an independent and critical approach to both contemporary and classical music, placing works in their historical and geographical context through cultural landmarks. Students receive the cultural and technical training that helps develop their listening, expressive and creative abilities.
Students learn drawing, painting, photography, computer graphics, animation, 3-dimensional work and elements of architecture. They discover and learn to analyze influential contemporary and classical works that represent the major movements in art history. The techniques and culture gained throughout Middle School enable students to create and develop their own art projects independently.
The music curriculum teaches students to:
- Use vocal and body techniques in creating or interpreting music
- Identify, describe, and comment on complex musical works and place them in their historical context
- Design, create, and perform musical pieces using constraints of style and interpretation
- Present and justify their interpretive or creative choices and defend their opinions on a musical work using well-reasoned argumentation.
All 6th grade classes participate to a Musical, usually in May, with the director Michel Durand, from the Cours Florent in Paris.
From 7th through 9th grades, students may also participate in a Middle & High school Musical (30 students chosen through auditions).
Interdisciplinary Projects (EPI/PEAC)
E.P.I involve at least two disciplines and helps build and deepen the knowledge and skills of the different curricula. E.P.I are based on a Project Based Learning approach and lead to a concrete realization whether individual or collective.
Optional courses from the French education system
- American International Section (SIA)
- Foreign Languages (LVB)
- Languages & cultures of Antiquity (LCA)
American International Section (SIA)
The American International Section curriculum aims to perfect the linguistic skills of native English-speaking students and enables non-native English-speaking students to reach a near mother tongue level.
From 6th to 9th grade, teaching focuses on a detailed understanding of, and sensitivity to, a wide range of documentary texts and literary works, including a complete Shakespeare play. Written and oral expression skills are enhanced through creative writing, text analysis and discussion.
9th graders in the American international section may apply for the elective "international option" of the Brevet diploma (DNB). The Brevet includes two specific tests: history-geography and foreign language.
Foreign Languages (LVB)
Rochambeau pays special attention to the teaching of foreign languages in Middle School. As well as mandatory English and French, students can choose Spanish, German or Arabic as a second required language.
Language levels are assessed using the European Common Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). For a comparison with the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) equivalents, please click here.
Spanish instruction begins in 3rd grade as an elective, and continues through 12th grade.
Students are divided into groups according to proficiency, to meet the specific needs of each homogeneous group. We offer three skill levels: "Spanish LVB", "Advanced Spanish" and "Honors Spanish". Group placement is decided according to test results.
Students may choose German as their required Language, starting in 6th grade. They acquire the oral and written skills they need to understand, express themselves both verbally and in writing, to hold a conversation and convey information in German. Important aspects of German culture are taught alongside linguistic skills.
Depending on length of study, students reach between "Basic User" and "Upper Intermediate" skill levels, A1-B2 in the European Common Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).
Students who wish to take Arabic as an LVB (second required language) beyond 6th grade must also enroll with the CNED, the French National Center for Distance Education.
Languages & cultures of Antiquity (LCA)
Students who choose to study LCA during their Middle School education acquire a first insight of the cultures of antiquity allowing to grasp their fundamental components: languages (latin & ancient greek), history, sciences, literature, arts, beliefs, lifestyles. This discovery in Middle School constitutes a cultural achievement about Antiquity for those who do not wish to pursue this study in High School.
Within this teaching, the implementation of interlanguage didactics favours learning, thanks to systemic comparisons between Latin, Greek, French and all the foreign languages that can be taught and spoken in the Middle School.
Electives specific to Rochambeau
- US math elective (2h/week): in 7th, 8th and 9th grades.
- US History (CIVAM) : mandatory in 8th and 9th grade to get the High School Diploma at the end of 11th grade.
This course explores pre-colonial times in America to roughly the present. (Montgomery County requirement)
At the end of 9th grade students take the French national examination, le Diplôme National du Brevet (DNB), which assesses students’ acquisition of the Foundation Subjects, skills and culture (French Ministry of Education). The Foundation Subjects outlines a set of values and the knowledge, languages and skills to be mastered by the end of 9th grade.
The Foundation subjects covers five areas of knowledge:
Languages to think and communicate
French, foreign and/or regional languages, scientific, computer and media languages, as well as languages of the arts and the body
Learning techniques and tools
Accessing information, digital tools, how to manage personal & collective projects and studies
Development of the Individual and the Citizen
Life in society, collective action and citizenship, moral and civic values that respect personal choice and individual responsibilities
The Natural World and Technical Development
Scientific and technical approaches to the Earth and the Universe, encouraging intellectual curiosity, observational and problem-solving skills
Representations of the World and Human Activity
The spatio-temporal positioning of different societies, understanding their cultures and our own world
French: written comprehension “Dictée” & grammar exercises & rewriting written composition
Mathematics: exercises with some of which include tables or schemes & a computer exercise
History-geography & Civics: analysis of documents and maps
Science: physics-chemistry and/or biology (SVT) and/or technology (2 tests only)
- EPI Project: an individual or collective oral presentation then an interview with the jury