The middle school program at Pathfinder provides a small, expeditionary learning experience for roughly 170 6th-8th grade students
which is a substantially smaller student body than a comprehensive middle school. A smaller student body provides for strong student-teacher relationships and team-taught grade bands. The middle school students have two general education teachers – a math/science teacher and a language arts/social studies teacher. They may also have up to two specialty teachers, that may include art, P.E., Chinese, Music or Library. Pathfinder also provides targeted Math intervention and Special Education resources.
During 6th grade students study Eastern Hemisphere/Ancient Civilizations, microbiology, cardiac anatomy, dissections and field work in addition to their reader’s/writer’s workshop and math. The 6th grade expedition is “Origins of the Universe: It’s a Big Deal!”
7th grade students delve deeply into U.S. historical events, mask making in art, collaborating on a school newspaper, and explore energy machines and motion and catastrophic events in science. Their expedition is “Think Globally, Act Locally – the Seattle Scene: How do art, music and technology affect our civic lives?”
As the 8th graders soak in their final year at Pathfinder, they prepare for their Rites of Passage–academic, physical, social/emotional and spiritual challenges proving readiness for high school and beyond. Their science foci are the Earth in space and the properties of matter. Language arts classes explore race, class and Democracy. Students study Washington state history and prepare for their four-day camping trip on the Olympic Peninsula. Their expedition is “Mount Everest: Journey to the Roof of the World!”
A Glimpse at the Day in the Life of a Middle Schooler as told by current 6th Grader Naren Fuller:
Life in Middle School
By Naren Fuller
In 6th grade you have periods, which means you have different classes and go around the school to get to the class. Depending on which teacher you have affects the first two periods you have. If you have Clarissa as your homeroom teacher, you will have reading and writing class first. Clarissa is an awesome teacher with a great personality and a good sense of humor. Just don’t get on her bad side. If you have Marco as your homeroom teacher, you will have science and math as your first two periods. Marco is also nice and has a great personality and sense of humor. If you like the Seattle Seahawks, Marco is the man to talk to. All you have to do is not get on his bad side. After the first two periods, you will go to either Clarissa’s or Marco’s class next. After you have the four periods in the morning you will lunch and recess.
Then in the afternoon you will have another period of math if your math needs help. Otherwise you will have social studies with Clarissa, you could have P.E or art, and it changes each quarter. Your middle school P.E teacher will be Ryan. He’s awesome but don’t fool around. The art teacher is Susan and she is the best art teacher in the school. She is very funny and has a great sense of humor. If you don’t have another period of math with Marco then you can pick one of your afternoon classes. The choices are Band 1 and Band 2. That is taught by our music teacher, Melissa. The difference between the two classes is that Band 2 is more advanced than Band 1. Both are taught by Melissa. Some other choices are Chinese 1 and 2. In the new school year of 2014 there might be a Chinese 3. All the Chinese classes are taught by our Chinese teacher. In Chinese class you learn how to speak, translate and sometimes write Chinese characters. The last choice you have is being a T.A. You will help out the kindergarten and first grade teachers and students, and you might help out some other teachers in the school.
There are seven periods in the whole day. The afternoon classes are switched up in random order, in some classes you might have 6th, 7th, and 8th graders mixed in. After the first semester, each period you have in the afternoon will be switched down one period. For example, 5th period will move to 6th period. 6th period will move to 7th period and 7th period will move to 5th period.
On Wednesdays the morning classes stay the same. In the afternoon you have two periods of homeroom which means you go to your homeroom teacher. Then you have your exploratory class. That is a class you only have on Wednesdays during 7th period. Before a new quarter you have a sheet with seven classes and you rate each 1 through 7 depending on which class you want the most.
For me, a normal day is that I have first period Reading then move on to second period writing with Clarissa. After that I walk upstairs to Marco’s class and have third period math. Then fourth period I have science with Marco. After that, I go downstairs to my locker to grab my lunch. I have lunch and hang out with my friends and then after a little while, I can go to recess. I hang out and play with my friends. When the bell rings, I grab my stuff from my locker and go to art for fifth period. When art is over, I go to Clarissa’s class for social studies. My last period is Chinese class and then when the bell rings and pack up wait outside and then go home. That is a normal day for me.
In middle school you get more homework. In fifth grade I got a math homework packet, reading and writing homework for the week. In middle school, I get homework almost every day but if I try to get it all done in one day, I don’t have to worry. It’s not a lot of homework, if you think of it. Another difference is the recesses. In fifth grade, I got two recesses and in middle school I get one recess. I got more lunch time and recess time in fifth period. In middle school I get about ten minutes of lunch and about ten minutes of recess. In middle school there are periods. In fifth grade you hang with your teacher mostly and only sometimes once or twice a week you get to go to Chinese, P.E, art and library. In middle school I get the awesome art teacher, Susan, and in fifth I had a different art teacher. Some similarities in middle school and fifth grade are that you sometimes have big projects and you still get homework. You sometimes have expeditions. There aren’t really a lot of similarities in middle school and fifth grade.
Pathfinder also has after school activities some times depending on the season. We have a sheet for after school activities. There are a variety of classes you can do, but some classes middle school students can’t do. If kids like to play sports, Pathfinder has sports that middle school students can do in different seasons. If you like Frisbee, you can play ultimate Frisbee for the school; there is a 6th grade team and a 7th and 8th grade team. It’s lots of fun to play. There is a basketball team for boys and girls in the winter for people who like that. In the spring there is soccer for people that our interested. It’s very fun. Also in the spring there is track if you are fast or like to run. There is also a volleyball team for girls.
That is the Pathfinder K-8 School. We have fun teachers, staff and activities.