The English program at Alice Deal Middle School is designed to build thinking, reading and writing skills from 6th grade through the 8th grade. In sixth grade, students focus on developing an appreciation for literature and gaining experience as independent writers. As students move into seventh grade, their literary horizons are expanded as they begin to better tie what they read and write to the world around them. Upon their arrival in the eighth grade, students will learn to better interpret what they read as a common human experience and synthesize this with their own lives into written work. When they leave Deal, students are well prepared to move intro the high school of their choice. The school year is organized into six International Baccalaureate (IB) units, driven by challenging Unit Questions, which help focus students on their interactions within our global community. Each unit has an anchor text and written products, which not only allow our students to explore their world, but also learn to intermingle with other cultures, concepts, and historic happenings.
English as a Second Language/English Language Learning
English as a Second Language/English Language Learning (ESL/ELL) students are assessed in English and placed in ESL/ELL classes based on their English proficiency. Students with very little English proficiency are sheltered in 5 content-based ESL/ELL classes. They are only mainstreamed in PE, art or music. As English proficiency improves, students are gradually transitioned into more mainstream classes based on need and ability. The ESL/ELL department collaborates with mainstream teachers to help develop strategies for success in academic achievement and social and cultural adjustment. Each spring, all ESL/ELL students take the Access for ELLs test to measure their progress. Upon achieving a designated score on this test, students are exited from all ESL/ELL classes. These students are monitored for two years to ensure success in the mainstream.
Our IB Science Curriculum is structured around the DCPS standards which cover the following subjects; 6th grade Earth Science, 7th grade Life Science and 8th grade Physical Science. Throughout their middle school experience, students participate in a wide variety of hands-on learning activities that incorporate lab investigations and technology. As students move through each grade level, they build upon their scientific thinking and inquiry skills through increased independence. For example, each year all students at Deal complete a science project. The 6th grade level projects are conducted within the classroom in groups in order to prepare the students for individualized projects in 7th and 8th grade. Similarly, as science project expectations increase, so does the rigor in lab reports and analytic writing activities. All standards-based units are designed using IB components with real world applications to foster continued scientific curiosity and life-long learning.
All students will have the opportunity to take health and physical education for a semester at Alice Deal. Students will divide their time through out the semester rotating between health and physical education classes. The health and physical education program focuses primarily on personal physical fitness and ways to improve physical fitness that can be used presently and throughout a lifetime. All students will begin the semester by completing pre-physical fitness testing to gain an idea of their current level of physical fitness. These pre-test scores will provide a foundation for students to create a personal fitness plan to be used on their own time throughout the semester, in addition to their regular physical education classes, to offset physical activity time lost during health classes. Students will learn a variety of sports skills such as volleyball, basketball, lacrosse, team handball, dance, soccer and much more through lessons that are fitness based. At the end of the semester, students will take the same physical fitness tests, like those from the beginning of the semester (as well as during) to track and record improvement in their personal physical fitness. By participating in three years of the health and physical education at Alice Deal, students will be empowered to make healthy lifestyle choices as they mature and develop into successful young adults.
Language B/World Languages
The World Language Department at Alice Deal seeks to provide students with both a cultural and language immersion experience. We offer French, Spanish, and Chinese. Students choose their language in 6th grade and develop their knowledge of the language during their time here. We lay the foundations of the language in sixth grade and we work to cultivate their skills during the next two years. Our goal is to have our students finish the language program with the confidence and skills necessary to communicate in the target language. We also strive to expose our students to a wide scope of the target language’s culture, history, and literature. We do this by instructing primarily in the target language, using authentic materials in our instructions and providing as many opportunities as possible for our students to apply their skills in the community with volunteering opportunities, field trips, and peer-tutoring. Our program is also unique in that it provides the opportunity for students to travel abroad in their last year of the program; giving students both the language and cultural immersion experience abroad that we strive to provide in the classroom. We make extensive use of audio-visual materials and technology in our classrooms. Our faculty is dedicated to using the best practices in second languageacquisition and is well versed in the International Baccalaureate framework for second language instruction.
At Deal, students participate in rigorous learning environments that include group investigations, projects, educational technology, manipulatives, and direct instruction. Students are offered 6th grade mathematics, Pre-Algebra, Algebra I and Geometry. The goal of the Deal Math Department is to offer, at a minimum, each student Algebra I by the 8th grade. Outside of the school day, students are able to participate in a variety of math extra curricular activities, including MathCounts.
Visual arts students at Alice Deal begin their journey by exploring various two-dimensional drawing and painting materials. In a nine-week course, sixth grade students learn about the principles and elements of art by studying optical illusions, enlarging artworks with mixed media, designing sculptural models, and reinventing the works of famous classical artists. This artistic journey culminates in the creation of a stop-motion or claymation animation where students learn about storyboarding and learn editing techniques using iMovie software. Eighth grade students spend one semester learning about complex two-dimensional and three-dimensional art processes. Students build their mastery of the principles and elements of art by creating self-portraits and enlarging images in the style of modern artists. Students explore architecture and sustainability by designing and creating eco-friendly houses which culminates in formal presentations at Deal’s Eco-Decathlon Competition. Students have an opportunity to reflect on their own identities through the creation of sculptures drawing from the works of local artists in the DC area as well. The semester culminates in modern artist research projects and movie production, both of which are based from skills and knowledge learned in the sixth grade curriculum. Within both the sixth and eighth grade visual art curricula, students learn to critically analyze artworks, question and develop their definitions of the merits of artworks, and reflect on their individual growth as artists.
The Humanities Department at Deal provides students with an entrée into the world of geography, history, research, and writing. In sixth grade students engage in physical and human geographic inquiry with a regional focus. Students tackle real world case studies and utilize the Model United Nations simulation format. In seventh grade students study the ancient world civilizations with an emphasis on interpreting primary sources and composing document-based essays. In eighth grade students study United States History and Geography from colonization through Reconstruction. Students take four community based field trips and complete National History Day projects. At all three grade levels students learn to ask questions, seek answers, and draw conclusions.