Br. Robert Division Curriculum

List of 9 items.

  • English


    In 7th-grade English, students will analyze a variety of genres of writing with a focus on textual as well as interpersonal connections. The class will seek to foster an interest in reading independently as well as through class-wide assigned readings. A study of novels, poetry, and short stories will lead students to the examination of several themes that are relevant to the new student at Saint John’s, with a central theme of what it means to be a Pioneer.

    Students will develop their skills in written and verbal expression through a variety of modes of expression. Students will build mastery in the areas of narrative, informative, and argumentative writing. Grammatical instruction will focus on proper sentence structure, with an eye towards mastery of parts of speech and conventions of punctuation and spelling. A study of vocabulary in the context of class readings will enable students to expand their communication skills. Public speaking will be an integral part of the course. Assessment for the course will be based on a combination of formal and informal written assignments, and the ability to recall details of class readings, as well as class participation and organizational skills. 

    In 8th grade English, students will work to both strengthen and acquire new skills in reading, writing, and the English language. Students will be encouraged to make connections and inferences, as well as ask questions in order to gain a better understanding of a work of literature. This class will seek to cultivate a passion for reading and writing, and encourage both outside of the classroom. The eighth-grade curriculum will continue to develop the theme of what it means to be a Pioneer, including the five core values of the Xaverian Brothers: compassion, humility, simplicity, trust, and zeal. 

    Literature units will focus on different genres that include the short story, fiction, non-fiction, drama, and poetry, to name a few. Writing units will focus on different styles of writing. Grammar and vocabulary will also be incorporated into weekly lessons. Public speaking will be an integral part of the course, as well. Assessment for the course will be a combination of formal, informal, and authentic assessment. At the culmination of the eighth grade, your son will be prepared to begin the challenging, yet engaging curriculum at the high school level. 

    Overview of Skills Developed

    • Reading
    • Citation
    • Identification of theme
    • Summary
    • Elements of a story
    • Structure of a work of literature
    • Point of view
    • Writing
    • Provision of evidence to support a claim
    • Plot and thematic analysis
    • Narrative structure
    • Consideration of audience and purpose
    • Revision and editing
    • Research
    • Language
    • Grammar and usage
    • Capitalization, punctuation, and spelling
    • Identification of vocabulary in context
    • Understanding of figurative language
    • Public speaking
  • Mathematics


    In Pre-Algebra, students are introduced to the skills that will give them a strong foundation for high school Algebra courses. Topics will include operations with integers, rational numbers, ratios and rates, decimals, percents, and proportions, probability, number theory, variable expressions, simplifying algebraic expressions, and solving one- and two-step linear equations and inequalities, as well as an introduction to the basics of geometry. Students in the two-year Pre-Algebra curriculum will be well prepared for the study of Algebra I in grade nine.

    Skills Developed 
    • Operations with integers
    • Rational numbers
    • Ratios and rates
    • Decimals
    • Percents and proportions
    • Statistics and Probability
    • Number theory
    • Variable expressions
    • Simplifying algebraic expressions 
    • Solving one- and two-step linear equations and inequalities
    • Geometric shapes and angles
    • Surface area and volume 

    In Algebra IA and Algebra IB, students will be introduced to the concepts of Algebra in a systematic fashion, with basic skills covered in the seventh-grade year in preparation for more advanced topics during grade eight. Topics will include the properties of real numbers, equations and inequalities, operations on polynomials, exponential and rational expressions, factoring, functions and their graphs, and problem-solving.  Successful completion of the two-year Algebra I course during seventh and eighth grade will poise a student for placement in Algebra II Honors at the start of his freshman year. Placement in this course will be determined through a qualifying exam prior to the start of the student’s seventh-grade year.

    Skills Developed
    • Review operations of real numbers, expressions, and variables
    • Solve equations and inequalities
    • Ratios and rates
    • Percents and proportions; similar figures
    • Sets, unions, and intersections
    • Recognize pattern and the concept of functions
    • Factoring
    • Graph linear functions
    • Linear modeling and regressions
    • Statistics and Probability 
    • Solve systems of linear functions and inequalities
  • Science


    Students in seventh-grade Science will be introduced to an integrated science curriculum with a strong emphasis on conceptual Physics, and how Physics impacts the natural world. This skills-based curriculum seeks to familiarize students with the foundations of lab safety and prepares them for the high school science progression. Students will have regular opportunities to apply these skills practically through shared use of the high school lab spaces in the Ryken Center. The students will learn how to work both independently and in conjunction with classmates as they build these skills. Assessment for the course will be strongly based on the demonstration of skills through hands-on lessons, in addition to class participation and completion of regular written assignments.

    The eighth-grade Science curriculum elaborates upon and deepens the concepts presented in the previous year of science instruction. During the physical science units, students will learn about the structure and properties of matter, interactions of matter, and chemical reactions. During the life science units, students will learn about the structure and function of living things, body systems, evidence of common ancestry, and organization of matter and energy flow in organisms. During the earth science unit, students will learn about weather and climate and Earth’s systems.

    At the end of the eighth-grade year, students will plan and carry out an investigation or create a prototype as a culmination project to use the science and engineering practices and link them to the chain of knowledge acquired over their courses in middle school science. This course is designed to integrate the three dimensions of scientific and engineering practices, crosscutting concepts, and core ideas. This curriculum will help students along their path to pursue life-long learning, develop their inquiry and critical thinking skills based on arguments from evidence, and help students realize the close connections of all factors in the world around them.

    Skills Developed
    • Ability to read directions
    • Ability to use tools
    • Ability to measure (quantitative observational skills) 
    • Ability to calculate to find missing variables
    • Ability to graph data (bar, pie, line)
    • Ability to recognize patterns
    • Ability to observe dispassionately (qualitative observational skills)
    • Ability to read for detail
    • Ability to critically and dispassionately evaluate a hypothesis
    • Ability to proofread
    • Ability to estimate reliably
    • Ability to predict simply
  • Social Studies


    Students in 7th grade Social Studies will be introduced to a comprehensive study of the world. Through an introduction to the basic skills of geography, students will become familiar with reading physical and political maps, charts, and pictures, and explaining how locations, physical characteristics, climate, and natural resources have influenced the development of countries. Students will gain a foundation in these basics that will serve them throughout the year. Utilizing these skills, students will build their global perspective in the examination of culture, population, language, religion, and current events.

    Students can expect to develop a number of skills that will be essential for them as they continue to study Social Studies during their time at Saint John’s, including note-taking, working with primary, secondary, and tertiary sources, and recognizing and analyzing cause and effect, as well as utilizing evidence to write and speak clearly and effectively to a group.

    Students in 8th grade Social Studies will learn foundational civic knowledge of the United States and use it to become active, thoughtful citizens. Building on prior knowledge from the 5th grade, students will look at political documents that influenced the founding of the United States along with important documents, texts, and court cases throughout the history of our country. Through primary source analysis, students will learn how to look for bias and arguments in writing while also learning how these sources affect us in the modern-day. These skills will translate over to working with secondary and tertiary sources and help them develop their ability to write persuasively and analyze bias in modern documents. Students will also work on connecting the lessons and precedents set in these documents to the modern-day and how that can help make them active, responsible citizens in our country who work for freedom and justice for all.

    Skills Developed
    • Writing clearly and effectively, using arguments and evidence
    • Speaking clearly and effectively to a group, using arguments and evidence
    • Effective note-taking
    • Identifying primary, secondary, and tertiary sources
    • Analyzing a primary source for point of view/bias
    • Analyzing the claims of a primary source in light of its evident bias
    • Identifying and breaking down arguments and evidence in a secondary or tertiary source
    • Framing useful and appropriate historical questions
    • Developing effective strategies for seeking answers to historical questions
    • Recognizing and analyzing cause and effect
    • Recognizing and analyzing continuity and change over time
  • Religious Studies


    The goal of this course in grade seven is to introduce students to the fundamentals of the Catholic Faith in the Xaverian tradition. Encouraging a deepening relationship with God, students are taught to engage in discussion, prayer, reflection, and to develop compassion for those on the periphery of society. 

    In grade eight, students will expand their knowledge of the Catholic faith with a strong focus on identifying and expanding the students’ leadership skills. From the perspective of everyday life experiences and contemporary resources, an emphasis will be on deepening the relationship with God. Students will engage in implementing leadership skills, discussion, prayer, reflection, and developing compassion for those on the periphery of society. Topics of study over the course of the middle school curriculum include: The Saint John’s and Xaverian Community, prayer, the Creed, scripture, liturgy, the Sacraments, morality, and Catholic Social Teaching emphasizing the dignity of the human person.

    Skills Developed
    • Reading Scripture and applying it to one’s own circumstance
    • Critical reading and reflection
    • Public and personal prayer
    • Contemplation
    • Imagination
    • Communication skills
    • Appreciation of the Arts
    • A sense of compassion and empathy for those on the periphery of society
    • Appreciation and understanding of the Catholic perspective through the Xaverian Spiritual Values
  • World Language


    The middle school World Language curriculum at Saint John’s is designed to prepare students over the course of two years for placement in the Level II course appropriate for their language in their freshman year. Following the strands and learning standards set forth by the Massachusetts Foreign Language Framework, the middle school curriculum is designed to include: communication, culture, comparison, connections, and community. In compliance with the developmental stages of language proficiency prescribed by the framework by the end of the 8th grade, students should have acquired the ability to communicate tasks in a variety of areas, including conversational phrases, vocabulary related to description and common objects, and formation of basic sentences. Instruction will also include information about cultural events pertinent to the language studied.

    Skills Developed
    • Introduction to language: greetings, response to directions, using numbers, telling time, identifying parts of the body. 
    • Formation of questions and identification of classroom objects, description of the weather, days of the week, months of the year, the seasons.
    • Basic expressions of agreement and disagreement, expressions of likes and dislikes, and appropriate cultural application.
    • Descriptions of self and others.
    • Formation of basic sentences and study of related cultural material such as sports, education, etc.
    • Continuation of linguistic expression as it pertains to food, health, activities, and pastimes.
    • Learning about family and familial celebrations and other cultural events.
  • Fine Arts


    Students in the Middle School Division at Saint John’s will explore all areas of the Fine Arts during the academic year. Students will encounter principles of Music, Theater, and Studio Art. The purpose of the course is to provide students with the appropriate academic background in each of these disciplines as a basis for practical application of the skills learned. Assessment for the course will be based on a combination of mastery of the content knowledge provided and participation in the practical aspects of each discipline. Performance opportunities will be provided throughout the year. In particular, during the fourth quarter of study, students will bring their experience of these three disciplines together in preparation for Middle School Arts Night, where students will perform and display their work.

    Skills Developed
    • Music
      • Rhythm
      • Melody and harmony
      • Classification of instruments 
    • Art
      • Painting 
      • Drawing 
      • Sculpting
    • Theater
      • Public speaking
      • Scene selection and analysis
      • Development of technical aspects of theater, including sets, lighting, props, and costumes
  • Computer Science


    Computing Basics
    This class is designed to teach students the basics of computing.  Emphasis is placed on tools for productivity such as word processing, spreadsheets, presentation applications, and the continued development of their keyboarding skills. This course will also provide students with a working knowledge of computer concepts and essential skills necessary for work and communication in today's society. Students will learn about safety, security, and ethical issues in computing and social networking. Through hands-on projects and written assignments, students will gain an understanding of the operation of computers, computer networks, Internet fundamentals, (programming?), and computer support at Saint John’s.


    • Develop effective keyboarding technique
    • Practice keyboarding speed and accuracy
    • Develop file management skills
    • Learn word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation software skills
    • Apply editing and correction skills
    • Develop effective internet etiquette and searching techniques.
    • Communicate using a variety of media and formats
    • Locate, evaluate, analyze, and use information
    • Compile, organize, analyze, and synthesize information
    • Draw conclusions and make generalizations based on information gathered
    • Collaborate and cooperate in team efforts
    • Communicate locally and globally
    • Problem-solve, self-directed learning, and extend learning activities
    • Use information and select appropriate tools to solve problems
      Interact with others in ethical and appropriate ways

  • Physical Education & Wellness


    Physical Education and Wellness in the Middle School will be provided through a combination of theoretical background and practical application. Students will meet twice each cycle, with one meeting dedicated to classroom exploration of topics related to wellness, and with the other meeting dedicated to engaging in a variety of athletic activities. 

    Topics covered in the classroom will include the importance of a balanced diet and physical fitness, safety in athletics, and the development of an appropriate exercise routine and sleep schedule. Students will also be educated about the dangers of tobacco, drugs and alcohol, as well as the importance of making healthy decisions. Social-emotional topics will include a focus on stress management and the cultivation of a positive self-image. 

    Through their practical application of these topics, students will learn the principles of fair play, teamwork, and sportsmanship. Students will participate in a variety of group sports that will provide them with an understanding of the fundamentals of the rules of the game, and will enable them to develop their ability to cooperate with their classmates and respond with dignity to both winning and losing scenarios. Assessment in the course will be based on a combination of the student’s engagement in the theoretical material presented in the classroom and his active participation in the practical aspect of the course. 


    • Develop an understanding of the rights and responsibilities to themselves and others.
    • Develop interpersonal interactions.
      Improve self-concept and self-understanding.
    • Develop a value for the strengths and weaknesses of self and others.
    • Become familiar with a variety of activities that can be engaged in for fun, health, and social rewards.
    • Explore the moral and ethical questions inherent in group membership.
    • Be able to apply learning to other group situations in life.
    • Develop a student that is accountable for his thoughts and actions.