Academics
Middle School

Curriculum

6th Grade

List of 8 items.

  • Chumash

    6th grade studies Sefer Shmot, focusing on Bnei Yisrael as an incipient nation. In this course we will trace their development as they adjust to their newfound freedom and home in the desert--from the monumental tenth plague in Egypt, through the splitting of the sea and the giving of the Torah, and the building of the Mishkan. Our goal is to engage in authentic learning, encompassing both cognitive and affective goals. Cognitively, we will learn to understand the pshat (basic meaning) of the pesukim, as well as explore Rashi as a tool to clarify the text. We will also work on analyzing the text with critical thinking, breaking down words according to their shorashim (roots), and building text-to-text and text-to-self connections. We will focus on highlighting recurring themes and relevant life lessons.
     
  • English

    ELA 6th Grade Theme: The Journey of the Individual
     
    In this full year course, students will explore the internal journeys and personal choices that help people to shape their thinking, develop their convictions, and discover their own voices. Throughout the year we will be revisiting and answering the questions How do individuals battle adversity?  What actions and events shape our goals in life?  How do we imagine a meaningful future for ourselves? and What risks am I willing to take to do right in this world?  We will be exploring a wonderful variety of genres, including novels, poetry, short stories, music lyrics, graphic novels, non-fiction, news and magazine articles, primary sources, and art.  
  • Gemara

    Gemara in middle school is designed to deliver a smooth entrance into the world of Torah Sheb'al Peh (Oral Tradition). Instead of jumping right into the Sea of Talmud, we learn about the context and function of Torah Sheb'al Peh, a knowledge which helps foster skill-building. We focus on the different layers of history as they apply to the construct of conversations within each discussion of the Gemara. With a strong understanding of the makeup of Talmud, our students are able to enjoy the process of learning and decoding a daf (page) while exploring the depth of our Torah.
  • Ivrit

    Kitah Vav Ivrit focus is “All About Me” and “What’s Around Me”. We begin the year learning about ourselves - our characteristics, our feelings, our hobbies - and what makes us unique and how we interact with people who may be different from ourselves. We then widen our scope to include family relationships and social situations. Next we look at our relationship to the land of Israel (including famous people and well known locations). Finally we study our relationship to the environment. The overall goals for this course are for the students to love and use the Hebrew language. They will gain tools to further their skills in reading, writing, speaking, and listening, both in and outside of the classroom. They are encouraged to use their skills to express themselves using a rich and varied vocabulary, with correct grammar, and to strengthen their connection to the language of Israel. 
  • Math

    Sixth grade math focuses on a strong introduction to ratios, rates, proportional reasoning and percents, as well as algebraic expressions and equations. The students will also be introduced to the system of rational numbers and apply their understanding to negative numbers.  Students will continue their fluency with decimals and fractions, as well as continue their work with topics in geometry, statistics, data analysis, and probability. Throughout the year, students will also work on their problem solving skills. It will be a full and fulfilling year in their mathematical journey! 
  • Navi

    In the 6th grade year we dive into Sefer Shmuel. As we make our way through the text, students get to intimately know the characters and feel the stories of Tanach come alive. This hands-on learning happens most through projects! While we spend time reading the pesukim and working on understanding its message, the on-going projects allow the students to engage the Navi in their unique and creative way.
     
    Some of the topics (and themes) in Sefer Shmuel (Aleph) include:
    Tefilat Chana (Tefilah)
    Chana and Penina (Rivalry, Proper Speech)
    Mishpachat Eli - Chofni and Pinchas (Kehuna/Kedusha)
    Shmuel haNavi (Nevuah/Avodat Hashem)
    War with the Plishtim (Trust & Faith in Hashem)
    Shaul haMelech (Malchut - Majesty)
    Dovid HaMelech (Humility, Prayer, Malchut)
     
  • Science

    Middle school brings a big transition in the way the students learn science. Students now have science as a weekly supplement to their mainstream curriculum in a separate class they attend daily.  Children are exposed to a breadth of material, and are able to take the time to really dig into the meat of the topics.  The class has a climate of curiosity and exploration, where students have the tools they need to answer their own scientific questions.  Over the three years the students will have middle school science, they will learn problem-solving, note-taking, and organization skills that will serve them well in high school and beyond.
  • Social Studies

    In accordance with the 6th grade New York State curriculum, students will explore the history, geography, economies, governments and cultures of Eastern Hemisphere nations.  Students need to understand why the content they are learning is important and how it relates to their lives and the world around them.  Therefore, the content will be presented in a wider context so that the past will be connected to the present.  World History will be brought alive by having students write and perform original songs about the countries, learn dances from around the world, and write and perform in historical plays.

    Units of study include the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia, Egypt, India, China, Greece, Italy and Africa, along with a unit dedicated to Medieval Times and the Renaissance.  Lessons will provide students with various opportunities to acquire and develop a variety of intellectual skills that will help them analyze the continuum of events from past to present.  Some of these skills include: forming and justifying arguments, analyzing primary and secondary sources, interpreting maps and locating specific places and other skills.
    Lessons will also emphasize the choices and actions individuals took that shaped Eastern Hemisphere nations.  This will help students understand that “history did not just happen; it was made - made by real people who faced real challenges, who had uncertainty about the future, just as we do today” (Graseck, 2008, p.2). Just like the individuals of the past, students have a place in making the choices that will become the history of tomorrow.  Essentially, students will explore the past to understand the present and shape the future.

7th Grade

List of 9 items.

  • Chumash

    In 7th grade Chumash we learn Sefer Bmidbar, focusing on Bnei Yisrael’s experience in the desert. We will trace the nations' development, including its growth, setbacks, and relationship with Hashem. We will alternate between in-depth study of the Pesukim and surface-level study.  Our primary goal is to engage in sincerely authentic learning, with both cognitive and affective goals. Cognitively, we will learn the pshat (basic meaning) of the pesukim, and explore the world of Rashi to clarify and deepen our understanding. We will also taste the world of other mefarshim (commentators) to enrich our understanding. We will sharpen our critical thinking and analytical skills, translate words using their shorashim (roots), and develop text-to-text and text-to-self connections. Affectively, the goal is to discover the Torah’s timeless messages, highlight overarching themes, and develop a personal and enduring connection to Torah.
  • Engineering

    In 7th grade the students take a STEM rotation in engineering. STEM refers to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. The rotation begins with a focus on forensic science. They learn fingerprinting, forensic entomology, handwriting analysis, fiber and hair comparison, ballistics, forensic odontology, and forensic anthropology. We simulate a mock crime scene for the last class in the forensic series. The students use what they have learned to solve the case! The next segment of the engineering rotation concentrates on 3D printing and designing on tinkercad. The students love using the 3D printer and their favorite things to print are definitely phone cases. In the last section of the engineering rotation, students learn to code using scratch and how to design their own video games using flolab. We focus on projects using littlebits and Aurasma.
  • English

    ELA 7th Grade Theme: Nature Vs. Nurture: How We Are Shaped By The World Around Us
    There is a rich American tapestry to be found within literature!  Throughout the course of this year, we will examine how the world around us shapes our thinking, matures our convictions, inspires us to raise our own voices in the face of adversity, and aids us in following a meaningful path in life.  We will be revisiting and answering the questions Why am I the person that I am?  How can become who I want to be?  Which values should I embrace? and What actions and events bring me joy and satisfaction?  We will debate Nature vs. Nurture arguments, as we decide how much of our own personalities are innate, and how much is shaped by our nationality, religion, gender, economic status, and family dynamic.  We will be exploring a wonderful variety of genres, including novels, poetry, short stories, music lyrics, graphic novels, non-fiction, news and magazine articles, primary sources, biographies, and art.
  • Gemara

    7th grade Gemara picks up where 6th grade left off, engaging the Torat ha’Amorim - the teachings of the Amoraim.  After spending the last two years being introduced to Mishnah and Gemara through the creative and thoughtful “Vishinantam” curriculum, this year we will be focusing on the final piece of the puzzle - the Gemara itself. Students in the 7th grade receive their first Gemarot and will divide their time between two major areas of focus: the “Vidi barta Bam” skills program and sugyot in the third and fourth chapters of Masechet Rosh HaShana.  
    There are 4 goals we have in mind for our 7th grade Gemara students:
     
    1) Dveykut - Students will understand that learning Gemara is an incredibly deep way of connecting to Hashem (G-d). Our Sages were men of tremendous wisdom and divine inspiration, and through learning their words, we grab onto their coattails and ride the wave of Dveykut  (connection to Hashem). Through this, learning Gemara, and more importantly Torah throughout life becomes a primary focus and consistent drive.
     
    2) Development - continued development of skills in identifying parts of the Gemara. Through this, it is the hope that our students gain the confidence to open any Gemara and feel comfortable navigating the page and approaching the seeming web of complexity. Textually, the students will focus on the statements of the Amoraim, and will learn how to identify and classify statements of the Amoraim. This will build on their previous learning of Torat ha’Tannaim - the teachings of the earlier Sages in the Mishna and Braitot (Mishnayot that did not make it into the Mishna).
     
    3) Reinforcement - reinforcing the skills through learning selected sugyot in Masechet Rosh HaShana.  Students will be challenged to think about halachik questions around topics that are familiar.  This will broaden their knowledge and respect for the process by which halacha is developed. An added bonus is that the Amoraim are famous for their life-lesson statements on appropriate conduct towards our fellow man, ourselves, and most importantly, towards Hashem.
     
    4) 21st Century Torah Learner - students will continue to expand their digital footprint in Torah resources. Along with chabad.org, we will hopefully gain familiarity and fluency in resources like Sefaria.org, a website designed for accessing a treasure trove of Torah with both Hebrew and English versions.
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  • Hebrew

    Goals: To increase and foster the students’ connection to and love for Eretz Yisrael and to develop and strengthen their ability to use modern Ivrit through: reading, writing, speaking, listening, current events, geography, culture, and conversation.

    The focus of the year will be מנהיגים ומקומות, Leaders and Places, and will include text study, articles, songs, stories, and more. Students will learn about leaders in various fields and their contributions to Eretz Yisrael, and about various places where those leaders took action, had responsibility, and how those places commemorate and represent their legacies. Holiday units will connect to the leaders. Current events will be presented by the students on a bi-weekly rotating basis. Students will independently read and prepare book reports during the year. 
  • Math

    The goals for the upcoming year as outlined by the New York State Department of Education include:

    1) To make sense of problems and persevere in solving them;
    2) To reason abstractly and quantitatively;
    3) To model with mathematics;
    4) To use appropriate math tools;
    5) To attend to precision;
    6) To look for and make use of structure; and
    7) To look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning. 
  • Navi

    Building on the students' knowledge of ספרשמואלא, we aim to cover the second book of שמואל, focusing on the historical content of the ספר, as well as the religious guidance that it offers us today, on both an individual and a nationalistic level.  Emphasis is placed on the skills necessary to independently understand the storyline of the נביא, as well as to appreciate the role of the מפרשים in the process of learning תנך. Our classroom uses a variety of modalities in order to enhance our learning. These include: frontal lessons, חברותא learning, cooperative group instruction, smartboard lessons, and creative assignments (projects, skits, etc.)
     
  • Science

    Throughout the course of the year, the students will use and learn mathematical analysis, scientific inquiry, and engineering design, as appropriate, to pose questions, seek answers, and develop solutions in the physical science field.  They will also hone in on ideas through reasoning, research, and discussions with others, including experts. The students will learn the scientific method and use it to solve real problems through experimentation. They will understand the principles of Motion, Speed, Velocity, and Acceleration. The students will learn about the SI unit system and use it in mathematical calculations. They will understand Newton’s laws of motion and gravitation and be able to explain the relationships among the forces acting on and between objects, their masses, and changes in their motion. The students will have a solid understanding of what work and power mean in scientific terms. They will learn about simple machines and how they are used in the real world. The students will learn that energy exists in many forms such as thermal, potential, kinetic, etc. The students will participate in weekly STEM projects that will inspire their interest in the growing field of Technology. 
  • Social Studies

    In accordance with the 7th grade New York State curriculum, students will explore the history, geography, government and economy of the United States from pre-Columbian times to the 19th century.  Students need to understand why the content they are learning is important and how it relates to their lives and the world around them.  Therefore, the content will be presented in a wider context so that the past will be connected to the present.  American History will be brought alive by having students write and perform original songs about the content, make animated presentations and videos and write and perform in historical plays.
    Units of study include: Meso-American Civilizations, Exploration, the 13 Colonies, Life in the Colonies, the American Revolution, the Constitution, American Government, the Early Republic, the Age of Jackson, Reform Movements and Westward Expansion.   Lessons will provide students with various opportunities to acquire and develop a variety of intellectual skills that will help them analyze the continuum of events from past to present.  Some of these skills include: forming and justifying arguments, analyzing primary and secondary sources, interpreting maps and locating specific places.

    Lessons will also emphasize the choices and actions individuals took that shaped America.  This will help students understand that “history did not just happen; it was made - made by real people who faced real challenges, who had uncertainty about the future, just as we do today” (Graseck, 2008, p.2). Just like the individuals of the past, students have a place in making the choices that will become the history of tomorrow.  Essentially, students will explore the past to understand the present and shape the future.

8th Grade

List of 9 items.

  • Chumash

    כיתה ח' חומש Curriculum
     
    This year’s curriculum is unique in that it focuses on the fundamental theme of מצוות. Rather than going through a particular ספר , we learn פרק י"ט of פרשת קדשים for the first half of the year, and then move on to פרשת כי תצא for the second half of the year, both of which contain many essential, interesting, and relevant מצוות.

    Class Goals:
    To enable the students to develop into interested and capable חומש learners
    To build the skills necessary to allow the students to learn independently
    To demonstrate how the מצוות of the תורה have relevance and meaning to the lives of each student.

    We use a variety of modalities in order to enhance our learning. These include: frontal lessons, חברותא learning, cooperative group instruction, smartboard lessons, and creative assignments (projects, skits, etc.)
  • English

    Eighth Grade English is an exciting opportunity for the students to explore, analyze, create and communicate language! Through examination of classic works of literature and exposure to new titles and genres, the students learn to read critically and thoughtfully and to develop clear and concise writing. We will explore weighty themes of literature such as responsibility to oneself and others, colonialism and domination by rulers, class and racial disparities, and morality in the face of evil. The eighth grade will become students of language usage, mechanics, and structure. Be ready for them to scrutinize your comma usage!! They will also expand their active and passive vocabulary while learning new ways to use familiar words. Finally, eighth grade English students will have many opportunities to read, review, and discuss their choices for pleasure reading and expand their repertoires of genres. Students leave eighth grade with the skills and confidence necessary for the academic challenges that lie ahead. We look forward to a wonderful year of learning!
  • Gemara

    In 8th grade we begin by building off of the skills gained in both 6th and 7th grades.  Whereas in the prior 2 years the focus was on scaffolding the various layers of the Gemara to build a strong foundation of history and context, in 8th grade the students are challenged to break down the "back and forth" of the final step in the discussion.  We learn Tractate Makkot which deals primarily with witness testimony in various trial cases in halacha, and the material acts as a springboard for many discussions about the logic and philosophy of the Torah Sh'b'al Peh (Oral Tradition).  The various layers of Gemara enable organic opportunities for differentiated learning.
     
  • Hebrew

    Goals: To increase and foster the students’ connection to and love for Eretz Yisrael and to develop and strengthen their ability to use modern Ivrit through: reading, writing, speaking, listening, current events, geography, culture, and conversation.

    The focus of the year will be based on ערכים ומידות (values and middot) and will include text study, articles, songs, and more. Students will learn world Jewish history via a comprehensive timeline. Holiday units will connect to the focus values. Current events will be presented by the students on a bi-weekly rotating basis. Students will independently read and prepare book reports during the year. Additionally, students will participate in WDS Ulpan classes, further strengthening their modern Ivrit conversation skills.
  • Jewish Leadership

    Who is a leader? What are leadership qualities? What are leadership opportunities? Are there unique qualities associated with “Jewish” leadership? A close look at both biblical and modern Jewish leaders as well as different forms and elements of leadership results in distinguishing between micro and macro leadership. Students will learn how to identify both types of leadership moments and take the necessary steps to achieve their goals.
  • Math

    TThe goals for the upcoming year as outlined by the New York State Department of Education include: 

    1) To make sense of problems and persevere in solving them;
    2) To reason abstractly and quantitatively;
    3) To model with mathematics;
    4) To use appropriate math tools;
    5) To attend to precision;
    6) To look for and make use of structure; and
    7) To look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning. 
  • Navi

    8th grade Navi explores Sefer Melachim Aleph and focuses the personality and kingship of Shlomo Hamelech in depth, including the obstacles to his succession, the key characteristics of his era, and the building of the Beit Hamikdash. We will develop critical thinking skills, sensitivity to nuance of character, and application of Navi to daily life.
  • Science

    Students will use and learn mathematical analysis, scientific inquiry, and engineering design, as appropriate, to pose questions, seek answers, and develop solutions in the biology field. The students will also hone in on ideas through reasoning, research, and discussions with others, including experts. The students will learn that plants and animals depend on each other and their physical environment. Students will have an understanding that organisms maintain a dynamic equilibrium to sustain life. They will learn how life is continued through reproduction and development. Students will gain an understanding of how organisms change over time. They will understand how genetic information is passed on between parents and offspring. Students will understand how human activities have had a profound impact on the physical and living environment. 
  • Social Studies

    In accordance with the 8th grade New York State curriculum, students will explore the history, geography, government and economy of the United States from the Civil War to the present.  Students need to understand why the content they are learning is important and how it relates to their lives and the world around them.  Therefore, the content will be presented in a wider context so that the past will be connected to the present.  American History will be brought alive by having students write and perform original songs about the content, make animated presentations and videos and write and perform in historical plays.
    Units of study include: the Civil War, Business and Progressivism, Imperialism, World War I, the 1920s, the Great Depression and the Stock Market, World War II, Cold War, Civil Rights Movement, Vietnam Era and the 1980s-2000s.   Lessons will provide students with various opportunities to acquire and develop a variety of intellectual skills that will help them analyze the continuum of events from past to present.  Some of these skills include: forming and justifying arguments, analyzing primary and secondary sources, interpreting maps and locating specific places and other skills.
    Lessons will also emphasize the choices and actions individuals took that shaped America.  This will help students understand that “history did not just happen; it was made - made by real people who faced real challenges, who had uncertainty about the future, just as we do today” (Graseck, 2008, p.2). Just like the individuals of the past, students have a place in making the choices that will become the history of tomorrow.  Essentially, students will explore the past to understand the present and shape the future.

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856 Orienta Avenue
Mamaroneck, NY 10543
914-698-8900

Who We Are

Westchester Day School is a Modern Orthodox, co-educational, dual-curriculum, toddler to 8th grade Jewish school that inspires and educates our students in their own way to value menschlichkeit, mitzvot, and lifelong learning.