Hillcrest Intermediate School
Social Studies Grade 5
Global Studies Grade 6
Norwin Middle School
Grade 7 Literacy Studies
This course is designed to provide instruction in basic reading skills according to the PA Standards for Reading and Writing and in addition to applicable IEP Goals. Topics include the following: Author’s purpose, setting, conflict, characterization, elements of plot, theme, summarizing, making inferences, finding the main idea, and poetic elements. Instruction is provided through a variety of literary genres, including historical fiction, biography, autobiography, science fiction, fantasy, realistic fiction, mythology, fables, poetry, and drama. Fostering reading as an independent activity is also a goal. Supplementary materials are also included. Among other novels available for additional reading, Animal Farm is read and discussed as a class. Practice in writing to prompts will prepare students for the genre of test- taking, including the PSSA in Reading.
Grade 7 Biological Studies
Biological Studies is an advanced version of Life Science specially designed to meet the needs of the SOAR student. These students follow the basic Life Science curriculum; however, additional topics are also included such as forensics, karyotyping, and paleogeography. A field trip, which includes many hands-on activities, also enriches the existing course of study. Class discussions are conducted on a higher level and tests include more essay type questions, which encourage students to use higher level thinking skills. During the second semester, Biology students prepare and present their SOAR teaching projects. Students are expected to select a section from the textbook, supplement it with outside research, develop a lesson plan, and then teach that lesson to the class. In this way, they help to enrich their own curriculum with their chosen topics and they become more independent in their quest for knowledge.
Grade 8 English Studies
This course consists of intense instruction in grammar, sentence and paragraph writing, and literature, focusing on the four genres: the short story, the drama, the novel, and poetry. There is a focus on informative and persuasive essay writing using the TEX3I format, including the effective use of the writing process, writing appropriate and effective introductions and conclusions, and using textual support. Vocabulary development is approached through a variety of vocabulary activities including SAT preparation and context clues. In addition, students complete an extensive independent project on a supplementary novel, which may involve research, writing, speaking, artwork, or a particular strength that students may decide to showcase. A number of enrichment activities also permit students to guide their own learning.
Grade 8 American Studies
American Studies is an advanced course of US/PA Studies. The American Studies class follows the basic curriculum of the US/PA Studies course and additionally covers topics more in depth and with an emphasis on critical thinking skills, oral and written communication, and creative thinking. The needs of the SOAR student are met by focusing on debate skills, journal writing, and literary analysis. Students read and complete an independent project on a novel. Students also participate in a field trip where they engage in hands-on activities. Independence is encouraged as students have the opportunity to design the final product in various enrichment activities.
Norwin High School
This is an elective course, which allows SOAR students to complete an independent study. Students develop project contracts, with teacher guidance, and then complete the steps in the contract throughout the course. Examples of SOAR Projects are foreign language study, computer art, college and career investigations, etc. With few exceptions, students’ interests can serve as the basis for an independent study. This course does not receive a grade or credit. It does not count toward the seven-credit requirement. It will appear on the transcript.
SOAR Freshman English
This year-long course will replace the required freshman English course with emphasis on critical thinking and essay writing.
SOAR Freshman Communications II
This is a one-semester course which will replace the required freshman writing course. It will move quickly through topics such as grammar and basic sentence structure and will allow students to spend time developing more complex writing skills. Emphasis will be placed on learning and utilizing the writing process. Public speaking will also be developed.
SOAR US and PA Studies II
This is a year-long course offered in lieu of US and PA Studies II. The course is a continuation of the 8th grade SOAR US Studies class and will provide a topical approach to social studies encompassing most of the social sciences including history, economics, and geography. In accordance with established SOAR goals, students will also be exploring leadership styles and techniques while they analyze and evaluate the successes and failures of important historical and political figures. Additionally, field trips relevant to the curriculum will be scheduled to local cultural and historical sites to enhance the students’ social and cultural capital.