GRADE 6: Henry David Thoreau House

All sixth graders are placed in the Henry David Thoreau House, which acts as home base for the year. Several aspects of Thoreau‟s life and works are important as themes for the sixth grade year.

Thoreau was a prominent American hero who lived and wrote less than ten miles from our school. Walden Pond, where he lived in solitude, is a part of our school's "neighborhood".   Thoreau was known for his willingness to stand up for his own beliefs no matter what the cost. We think that is an important lesson for sixth graders. The tension between peer pressure and following one‟s own conscience is a constant struggle for students in middle school. Finally, Thoreau understood the beauty of our natural surroundings and teaches each of us to listen to and treasure this beauty. During the year, we enrich our learning with several field trips connected to our house theme. Most of our students regard the annual bike trek to Walden Pond as a highlight of the sixth grade year. This trip, as well as other experiences in sixth grade, encourages our students to take time to appreciate nature and the changing New England seasons, as Thoreau did.

All students are placed in a balanced clusters referred to as the Henry or David Cluster. Teachers in each cluster, along with the guidance counselor, meet twice per week to plan curriculum activities and to monitor the progress of each of the students in their cluster.

GRADE 7: Rachel Louise Carson House

The seventh grade house is named for Rachel Louise Carson, a pioneer in the area of environmental awareness. The primary focus of the Rachel Louise Carson House is the world around us. During the year, we learn about our fragile environment and the need to protect the earth today for future generations. Rachel Louise Carson studied to be a writer and a marine biologist. She combined her love of writing and her interest in marine biology to introduce us to the wonders of nature and to inform us about the dangers that threaten our environment.

Throughout the year, we work hard to follow Rachel Louise Carson‟s belief that one person can make a difference. Members of the Rachel Louise Carson House participate in a variety of community- based projects, including a number of extra-curricular opportunities to make a positive difference in the lives of others. In addition, all seventh graders are challenged to investigate an environmental issue that interests them. Students learn about the problem itself, as well as what is being done to alleviate or overcome the problem. As a culminating activity, students and staff share a three-day adventure at Cape Cod exploring first hand the fragile coastal environment and the abundant marine life of the area.

The Rachel Louise Carson House staff works together to provide a rewarding learning experience for all seventh graders. The Rachel Louise Carson House teachers and counselor meet regularly to address the academic and emotional needs of all seventh grade students and to ensure all of our young people experience an educational, safe, and nurturing environment in which to learn.

GRADE 8: Martin Luther King, Jr.

The eighth grade is called the Martin Luther King, Jr. House in recognition of the achievements and ideals of the great civil rights leader. Students study the beliefs and work of Dr. King in both their social studies and English classes, and are encouraged to apply his teachings to their behavior throughout the year. We incorporate themes of justice, non-violence, inclusion of all, fairness, and active participation in democracy into our regular eighth grade curriculum.

Eighth graders are challenged to reach out to other students, participate in school and community projects, and lead by example. We also expect that students will become more organized and independent learners during the course of their eighth grade year.

King House teachers meet together two to three times each week to plan house activities and to monitor the progress of each eighth grade student.
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