Academics

Upper School (Grades 5-8)

Our graduates enter secondary school knowing how to think critically, to speak and write clearly, and how to conduct themselves with poise and confidence in leadership roles.
The heart of a Renbrook education is the meaningful relationships that take place between our accomplished and deeply committed faculty and our inspired and engaged student body. Across the curriculum and in every grade level, Renbrook helps students to become active and inquisitive readers, clear and sophisticated writers, and confident speakers and presenters. We believe that the foundation for success in secondary school is solidified in these all-important middle school years. 

Comprised of the middle school, Grades 5-8, the Upper School at Renbrook provides a rigorous and enriched program of academic excellence through our challenging and ever-evolving curriculum. As students move from childhood into adolescence, they gain countless opportunities for academic and social-emotional growth. In addition to the core subjects of English, mathematics, science, Humanities, and history, Renbrook Upper School students learn French, Spanish, or Latin, and participate in music, athletics, service, and the visual and performing arts. 
 
Learning for middle schoolers at Renbrook is not limited to the classroom. With a ropes course, woods, trails, sports fields, and cultivated gardens, our campus is a safe, varied, and beautiful outdoor classroom and learning laboratory. With more than 30 established spaces across campus, outdoor learning abounds at Renbrook. 
 
Each grade in the Upper School benefits from traditional signature projects throughout the curriculum that truly "bring learning to life." Other traditions like the daily Morning Meeting are uniquely Renbrook, kindling a collective sense of community while providing ample opportunity for individual growth. These experiences strengthen public speaking skills, peer recognition, and leadership development creating confident, resourceful, courageous Renbrook graduates. 

Kara Ashley
Upper School Head

Click on the Expandable List Below for Details about the Upper School Curriculum

List of 10 items.

  • English - Grades 7-8

    The fundamental purpose of the English Department is to foster reading, reflection, and self-expression. We strive to create challenging yet supportive classroom environments in which a variety of teaching and learning styles can flourish. Our curriculum is centered on literature as the foundation of a liberal education; a fund of knowledge, both of self and of humanity; a record of our culture and its values; a source of pleasure and enlightenment. As we guide students through the transition from elementary language arts to the advanced study of literature, our task is to build sound skills and habits and to develop critical thinking. We believe that closely connecting writing and reading in our teaching of English best fosters the growth of students who communicate effectively by using both written and spoken words. By engaging students in dialogue with good authors and with each other under the guidance of sympathetic, stimulating adults, we aim to build logical, disciplined thought and clear communication skills.
     
    English 7
    We read "Flowers for Algernon," The Diary of Anne Frank, Night, and The Call of the Wild. Common themes are loss of identity and dehumanization. Sadlier Vocabulary Workshop. The American Author Project and Poetry Out Loud are highlights of the year.
     
    English 8
    American Literature is our focus. Major works include Of Mice and Men, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and A Raisin in the Sun. Sadlier Vocabulary Workshop. Students give a five-minute presentation during which they memorize and recite a poem and teach it to the class.
  • History

    To learn where they fit into the world, students must have knowledge of geography, government, economics, and history, including but not limited to American and western history. It is the institutions and values of these western societies which they inherit, and to which they are primarily exposed in their everyday lives. We examine the past as it relates to the present. We explore the intellectual, artistic, scientific, and material accomplishments of those who came before us. We inspire students to learn, not only where they, as individuals, fit into society, but how they might be able to contribute toward its further growth and development. An examination of ethical concepts is an integral part of the history program.
     
    Grade 7 World History
    The seventh-grade World History course examines major religious thought, traditions, and cultures and how those influence geopolitics from The British Colonial period in India through the creation of Israel. The course emphasizes the role geography plays in the development of international, national, and regional events. A dive into major world religions will deepen understanding of how religious faiths spread through migration and conquest and how that can lead to conflict. The course also includes a study of human rights through case studies and key historical events.
     
    Grade 8 United States Government & Civics
    The United States Constitution has been the cornerstone of our country for over 200 years. The eighth-grade Civics and Government course examines the origins, policies, organization, and functions of the United States government.  Students will develop an understanding of key ideals, principles, and documents exemplified in the United States. Using both primary and secondary source documents, students will be able to connect current events to issues faced during the 20th and 21st-century social movements. 
  • Humanities - Grade 6

    Sixth-grade students undertake an interdisciplinary study of the Humanities. This class blends elements of social studies, literature, culture, classics, and philosophy. The importance of the human stories behind historical events and in literature will be a guiding principle for Humanities. Students will consider and explore their own understanding of the concept of identity. The program focuses on the interrelated experiences of reading and responding to literature, creative and expository writing, and critical thinking.  

    One of the core aims of the Humanities course is to cultivate independent thinking and writing and to encourage nuanced argument. Students will be asked to identify and consider any assumptions they might bring to a topic or text and will be supported throughout the year to broaden their perspective. Aligned with Renbrook’s student-centered mission, the Humanities class will further develop students’ capacity to be globally literate, self-aware, and curious about the world around them. 
     
    The Humanities course is organized across four broad themes: 
    • global experiences and human geography 
    • the values of a moral code 
    • governance  
    • disruptions in society 

    A thematic approach will better enable students to consider different perspectives and see the connections between the texts they read and the course content they will examine and discuss. 

    Grade 6 Humanities students will develop their ability to: 
    • think critically 
    • read analytically 
    • generate their own valuable questions 
    • speak articulately 
    • write persuasively
     
  • Mathematics

    Renbrook provides a comprehensive math program that supports all types of learners. Math classes are active, and students are encouraged to be fully engaged. Collaborative activities and a hands-on approach are utilized. Teachers present tasks that promote reasoning and problem-solving. Students demonstrate their skills in a variety of ways. They are given opportunities to engage in productive mathematical discourse about problems and are encouraged to explore different methods for solving them.
     
    Students in the Upper School are involved in projects that show how their math can be applied to real-life jobs. Sixth graders become architects building scale model houses from architectural plans. Seventh graders become interior designers by using websites to purchase furniture, make scale model displays and maintain a budget. Eighth graders become city planners and designers using Desmos software to create model cities or designs.
     
    The Renbrook campus provides a natural resource for math classes. It is not unusual to see an Algebra class measuring the slopes of stairs and ramps or Geometry students using trigonometry to measure the height of trees and campus buildings. The use of manipulatives, math websites, videos, and programs such as Geogebra are incorporated in weekly lessons.  Extra help is offered daily, and enrichment opportunities are available. The department members work closely together to prepare lessons, assessments, and projects.
     
    Goals of the Upper School Mathematics program include:
    • Promote confidence and competency in math skills
    • Encourage communication skills to work effectively with teachers
    • Develop skills to work collaboratively with peers
    • Improve time management skills
    • Provide real-world applications of math to deepen understanding
    • Utilize technology effectively
    • Develop stamina and perseverance to handle higher-order problems
    • Increase problem-solving skills
    • Prepare students for their next level of mathematical study
     
    Students need to know why they are learning math and understand how it can be applied to everyday life. A hands-on approach is utilized as we explore real-life math problems. We believe students of all ages need to work with manipulatives and need experiences that allow them to problem-solve collaboratively. Students should learn how to use technology effectively to support their math studies.
  • Music

    At Renbrook School, we believe in teaching music for music’s sake. Music is an essential part of being human. The musical skills and concepts that students learn at Renbrook enable them to appreciate and engage in music for a lifetime. Participating in music fosters confidence and discipline in our students. Renbrook musicians are given challenges that inspire them to learn and grow. 

    Renbrook Upper School students have many choices in music including:

    5th Grade Band
    Learning an instrument is an exciting opportunity for students to develop a new passion or hobby, and to learn to use their brains and bodies in a brand-new way. Students learn the technical skills to play traditional band instruments while developing other important skills: independence, patience, active listening, and more. Students learn proper playing technique, develop fluency in music reading, and learn how to work and communicate as musicians. Students meet in small groups throughout the year and may combine as a full band the second half of the year.
     
    Instrument choices include flute, clarinet, alto saxophone, trumpet, and trombone. Students should expect to build a consistent at-home practice habit in order to have the best experience possible and reach their potential. Students perform twice per year.
     
    Concert Band: Grades 6, 7, 8
    Student musicians continue developing their skills in collaboration with peers in Concert Band. Students learn their role in a traditional band ensemble with members in their same grade and should expect to maintain a consistent at-home practice habit in order to reach their potential and support the growth of the whole group. There may also be opportunities to rehearse and perform in small chamber ensembles. Students in Grade 6 are invited to learn a new instrument even if they did not play in fifth grade. Students perform twice per year.
     
    Jazz Band: Grades 7, 8
    Jazz Band is a smaller ensemble for students who desire extra playing opportunities. Students get to play different styles of jazz including blues, rock, and more. Instruments that don’t belong in a traditional concert band are welcome in jazz: piano, drum set, electric guitar, and electric bass. The Jazz Band performs twice per year.
     
    String Ensemble: Grades 5, 6, 7, 8
    Renbrook offers an extracurricular string ensemble for students who take classical strings lessons outside of school. This ensemble typically meets after school and welcomes students who play violin, viola, cello, or string bass. Students learn how to collaborate in a small chamber group and perform at least once per year.
     
    Music Connections: Grades 5, 6, 7, 8
    Students will become fluent in reading and interpreting music, develop an understanding of the “building blocks” of music, and connect with music that has meaning for us and our world. Units differ in each grade. Some unit examples include Music of South Africa, American Music and Social Change, Musical Theater, Afro-Caribbean Drumming, and Songwriting. This is a non-performing class.
     
    Chorus: Grades 5, 6
    Students who love singing will get to engage in a traditional choral singing group. Students will learn to interpret a choral octavo, use solfege to develop reading fluency and aural skills, and develop their ability to sing in unison and in harmony. Students will perform at least twice per year.
     
    Renaissance: Grades 7, 8
    Seventh and eighth-grade singers with a passion for singing are invited to audition for our smaller singing ensemble, Renaissance. This ensemble frequently performs for special events around Renbrook in addition to two concerts per year. After-school rehearsals are required, and some at-home practice is expected so that all students reach their potential as musicians and singers.
     
    Musical Theater: 5-6, 7-8
    Students are invited to participate in a musical theater production where they will learn to love the stage! We have two musicals: a one-act production for fifth and sixth-grade students, and a larger production for students in grades seven and eight. Students must audition, though all those interested will be cast in the show. In a role that suits them, students will sing, dance, and act. Students will learn how to perform with confidence, practice being responsible, supportive cast-members, and have a fabulous time. Rehearsals will take place after school. Other non-performance opportunities for students include prop and set design, stage managing, and working on the backstage crew.
  • Physical Education

    At Renbrook School, our Physical Education department strives to guide students towards finding a lifelong love of fitness, sports, exercise, health, and play. The Physical Education and Athletics programs offer various age-appropriate activities to meet each student’s physical, emotional, and cognitive development. The well-planned and sequential curriculum allows students to build individual skills, understand concepts, and learn about the importance of health and wellness. We emphasize cooperation, respect for self and others, teamwork, and competition.  
    The Physical Education faculty stresses safety, support for the emerging athlete, and a balance between competition and good sportsmanship. Two gymnasiums and an abundance of athletic fields, ropes course, and outdoor learning spaces are available to all students.  

    Upper School Athletics 
    The Upper School athletic program allows students to participate, practice, and play on a team or non-competitive activity. Each Upper School activity reaches students of all ability levels, from an introduction to a beginner to advancement for more seasoned players. Our program offers something for every student, whether it be non-competitive fun with friends or a more competitive team sport. Character and skill development are the focus of our program. Teamwork, sportsmanship, resiliency, responsibility, commitment, dedication, and pride in work are the qualities we strive for.  
    During practices, coaches work with athletes to understand more complex sports concepts and strategies that are transferred into competitive game situations. Allowing a mixture of ages creates bonds, leadership opportunities, mentoring, and role modeling. Through these lessons, we encourage students to be their best selves on and off the field. The pursuit of excellence, being part of a team, and having fun are our goals!  
    *In addition to the Fifth-Grade Physical Education class during the school day, students are offered the bonus to participate in the Upper School interscholastic program. If they wish to partake in Upper School athletics, students will get the unique option to practice and compete with a team. 
    Fall sports include: 
    • Cross country  
    • Soccer 
    • Field Hockey 
    • Physical fitness 
    • Project Adventure ropes course 
    Winter sports include: 
    • Ski and snowboarding  
    • Basketball 
    • Gymnastics 
    • Squash 
    • Physical fitness 
    Spring sports include:  
    • Softball 
    • Baseball 
    • Lacrosse  
    • Tennis 
    • Physical fitness 
    • Project Adventure ropes course 
  • Science

    In Upper School Science, our primary purpose is to maintain students’ joy of learning about our world and the universe. We take in “the big picture” and study a variety of processes on Earth (and beyond) and the challenges life must overcome to exist and thrive on our planet. We then shift our view to study matter at the atomic level and how matter changes from one kind into another. Through a constant variety of hands-on activities and projects, we show students how science affects their lives. Our teaching methods bring to life the motto: “Knowledge is the Mother of Wisdom.” Whether we're working in the classroom, walking through our woods and fields, photo-documenting seasonal changes at our pond, or keeping up-to-date with new discoveries on the internet, we are in constant motion. 
     
    Science classes are active, and students are encouraged to be fully engaged. Collaborative activities and a hands-on approach are utilized. Students are given opportunities to engage in the topics at hand through activities, demonstrations, presentations to the class, and using the campus as a natural history museum. We seek the right balance between three-dimensional learning and digital learning.
     
    Science Goals
    • Appreciate the scientific way of understanding our world and our universe.
    • Look for recurring themes throughout the year. Recurring themes lead to greater retention.
    • Further develop skills to work collaboratively with peers in activities and projects.
    • Encourage communication skills to work effectively with teachers.
    • Improve time management skills and organizational skills.
    • Be more self-aware of one’s learning style: visual, auditory, kinesthetic.
    • Be able to follow directions, either verbally or in written form.
     
    Grade 5 – Designing a Sustainable Future
    In Grade 5, we explore the question: How do life and its building blocks transform to create the world in which we live, and how can we use this information to sustain life in seemingly uninhabitable environments? We do this by looking at Earth's location and movement in space to determine how it affects our ability to sustain life; critically examining the role water plays in our lives; studying the transformation of materials and determining the impact they have on our lives, and looking at relationships between life forms and how they work together to survive.

    Signature Projects:
    • Water Filter Design: students study water and its importance to create and design a working water filter.                                                                  
    • Water Tasting: students study the difference between different water types and tastes and rate them.                                                                    
    • Parachute design: students design parachutes after studying gravity and forces.
     
    Grade 6 – Earth Science
    In Grade 6, we explore how plate tectonics have shaped the continents and have disrupted and enhanced life on Earth. Renbrook’s location on Avon Mountain is due to plate tectonics, the result of lava flows that occurred when the Connecticut Valley was a rift valley! We take advantage of this fact by highlighting the geology of our campus as a prelude to understanding the fascinating geologic history of our fair state. We spend the lovely springtime studying the basics of meteorology and learning about how to identify clouds in the summer sky!

    Signature Project:
    • Geological History of Connecticut – understanding the history of Avon Mountain and the various exposed rock from glacial times.
     
    Grade 7 – Life Science
    In Grade7, our pond sanctuary serves as the basis in which we learn about how populations such as frogs, trees, birds, and people interact with each other and with their environment. We examine people’s innate capacity to make close relationships with other species by studying the best example: our unique relationship with dogs. Finally, students study the human body in order to understand how we respond to disease (especially viruses) and how we move about in a controlled way.

    Signature Projects:
    • Vantage Point Project: photo documentation of seasonal changes at Renbrook’s pond.
    • Dog Unit: this culminates in a fundraiser for the Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation.
     
    Grade 8 – Chemistry
    In Grade 8, our chemistry curriculum serves as an excellent foundation for high school chemistry. Our study of the atom and the logic behind the periodic table leads us to a study of organic and inorganic chemistry.  The study and importance of plastics and metals in our lives is an outgrowth of this focus. Through it all, our challenge is that we must make the invisible atoms “visible,” and we meet this challenge by making models and performing numerous demonstrations and experiments. We use the springtime to study biochemistry: DNA, protein synthesis, and genetics. Biochemistry topics and issues will be forever at the forefront of these student's lives, both now and into adulthood, and this is a perfect time to add to their knowledge base.

    Signature Project:
    • Chemical Safety: understanding the safe use of dangerous acidic and base chemicals.
     
  • STEAM

    The STEAM program is centered around the philosophy that in authentic environments, effective solutions often require the knowledge and skills from multiple content areas. We believe it is crucial that students learn how to fuse prior knowledge with new tools to think critically and problem-solve effectively. Students should be guided through the engineering and design process as they learn to goal set and plan. We believe there is more value in the learning process than the final product and emphasize the importance of questioning, exploring, and reflecting.
     
    At the middle school level, students learn to sharpen the focus of problems by precisely specifying criteria and constraints of successful solutions, taking into account not only what needs the problem is intended to meet, but also the larger context within which the problem is defined, including limits to possible solutions. Students can identify elements of different solutions and combine them to create new solutions. Students at this level are expected to use systematic methods to compare different solutions to see which best meet criteria and constraints and to test and revise solutions a number of times in order to arrive at an optimal design.
     
    STEAM Teaching Methods include:
    • Asking Questions
    • Developing and Using Models
    • Planning and Carrying Out Investigations
    • Analyzing and Interpreting Data
    • Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking
    • Constructing Explanations
    • Engaging in Argument from Evidence
    • Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information
     
    Grade 5 – Designing a Sustainable Future
    In Grade 5, we explore the question: How do life and its building blocks transform to create the world in which we live, and how can we use this information to sustain life in seemingly uninhabitable environments? We do this by looking at Earth's location and movement in space to determine how it affects our ability to sustain life; critically examining the role water plays in our lives; studying the transformation of materials and determining the impact they have on our lives, and looking at relationships between life forms and how they work together to survive.

    Signature Projects:
    • Water Filter Design: students study water and its importance to create and design a working water filter.                                                                  
    • Water Tasting: students study the difference between different water types and tastes and rate them.                                                                    
    • Parachute design: students design parachutes after studying gravity and forces.

    Grade 6 - Coding and the Fundamentals of Engineering and Design
    In Grade 6, students learn the basics of computer coding through a variety of mediums. They learn about looping, Boolean operators, and how to debug code to complete a series of challenges and activities. They also learn the basics of the Engineering and Design Process through a collaborative themed project. In years past, this project has ranged from designing bioplastics to designing satellites. While the theme changes on a yearly basis, the components of the design process are taught throughout.

    Signature Projects:
    • TinkerCAD Codeblocks: students design a snowman.              
    • Global Goals Project: students learn how to define a problem and create an engineering problem statement surrounding a worldwide problem.
     
    Grade 7 - Problem Solving with 3D Modeling
    In Grade 7, students learn how to create 3D models with both physical materials and digital software. Students learn how to apply geometry concepts to create a design that is proportional and to scale. The learn how to draft a design on paper, create a prototype digitally, and then print and use that prototype to create a functional physical model. They explore architectural designs and features that make models successful. Students connect designs to the natural world with a heavy focus on biomimicry and the importance of studying nature to make more effective inventions. The year culminates with a bio-inspired design project.

    Signature Projects:
    • Call of the Wild Project: students choose from different projects that relate to creating some kind of physical model such as wolves circling their prey, a paw model, or a robotic dog sled team to help better understand the text and engineering.
    • Cardboard Carpentry Design: students design a model of a piece of furniture using 3D design software and then have to create a life-like functional model out of cardboard.                      
    • Biomimicry Project: students design a 3D model of something related to a bio-inspired solution to help with climate change.
     
    Grade 8 - Interdisciplinary Design Capstone
    In Grade 8, students research a theme to gain a better understanding of that theme at the beginning of the year. They then use this information to come up with an interdisciplinary capstone project. They learn how to plan a project idea from start to finish and to set goals to move the project throughout the academic year. Past themes have included settling in space and designing a game. The project requirements include incorporating content from other subjects into the final designs.

    Signature Project:
    • Capstone: Students come up with, plan and goal set a STEAM project that incorporates content from their other subjects focused on a theme where they must fabricate several components.
  • Visual Arts

    The Upper School Visual Arts Program strives to create an environment where students feel safe to express themselves, gain confidence to create with diverse art materials and techniques, and enhance their understanding of the world outside the art studio. We present ideas that build both analytical and creative thinking skills. The process of creating art enhances the student's ability to observe through all the senses and with a level of empathy. The study of artists and art history broadens a student's understanding of how various historical events and cultural beliefs influence creative expression. The study of artistic design helps each student gain a more personal appreciation of quality. By focusing on imagination, expression, and observation, the upper school art curriculum motivates students to create personally meaningful art. It is their ability to actively participate in the creative process that will enable them to recognize and respond to life's many possibilities.
     
    Each year, Renbrook students have several opportunities to exhibit their work.  Upper School students participate annually in "Our Work, Our Choice", a collaborative exhibit with Kingswood-Oxford and Watkinson School. Renbrook also participates in a show each year held by Avon old Farms which includes many other middle schools in the greater Hartford area. Student artwork is exhibited on regular basis throughout Renbrook campus galleries.
     
    Art classes are held in the newly renovated visual art studio, the fully-equipped woodworking shop, and outside. 

    Grade 5
    Grade 5 Art focuses on the Elements of Design which include line, shape, space, value, form, texture, and color. Students explore each of these elements in conjunction with an artist who emphasized them in their work. Some artists studied include Jean Michel Basquiat, Sonja Delaunay, Shantell Martin, Alexander Calder, and Georgia O'Keeffe.  A variety of materials and techniques are utilized such as watercolor resist, printmaking, wire sculpture, and papier-mache.
     
    Grade 6
    Grade 6 Art focuses on the Principles of Design which include balance, emphasis, movement, pattern, contrast, unity, and rhythm. Students explore each of these guidelines through a variety of materials and techniques. Some major projects include the Principles of Design ceramic tiles, emphasis watercolor paintings, color wheel mandalas, and one-point perspective dream bedroom drawings.
     
    Grade 7
    Grade 7 Art students focus on personal reflection as a theme for all of their projects. This allows them to gain a deeper understanding of who they are and also creates an outlet for them to express themselves through visual representation. Some major projects include landscape Polaroid paintings, animal printmaking, blind contour self-portraits, and grid portraits of people they admire.
     
    Grade 8
    Grade 8 Art students plan independent projects based on art movements from history. After learning about specific artists, techniques, and trends that are tied to each movement, students propose a plan with a rough draft, notes, and materials they wish to use. Some of the movements that are researched include Pop Art, Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism, Impressionism, and Cubism.
  • World Language

    World language classes bring learning to life by embedding language learning with culture, making relevant connections to real-world contexts. We organize classes for highly interactive lessons so that students develop proficiency in interpretation and expression in the target languages. The study of real-world materials allows students to encounter the language authentically. We strive to provide students opportunities to use the language beyond the classroom, such as in the CT COLT Poetry Contest, the National Latin Exam, e-pal programs, and trips abroad. The best language learner is an engaged student. Engagement for middle schoolers is a key to their success.
     
    World Language Goals
    • Develop cultural awareness and intercultural competence.
    • Develop open-mindedness and suspend judgment.
    • Try on new perspectives, avoid faux pas, and develop empathy.                                                                          
    • Understand and appreciate the perspectives, history, customs, and artifacts of the target culture.    
    • Reflect on culture through comparisons.                                              
    • Become comfortable taking risks when faced with uncertainty.                     
    • Make predictions by connecting to one's background knowledge.
    • Gradually progressing from single words and memorized phrases to more complex narration with conjunctions, transition words, and sequencing words.
     
    Renbrook School uses the World Language National Standards to develop and gauge language proficiency.
     
    Signature World Language Projects by Grade & Language
     
    Grade 5 Introduction to World Language – this new curriculum is currently being developed to launch in the fall of 2021.
     
    Grade 6 Spanish
    • Bitmoji Project: students learn about colors and cloth, create their own bitmoji or avatar, and describe themselves.
    • Cultural Research Project: students compare the lives of youth living in the U.S. and Spanish-speaking countries.
    • Geography Project: students learn about the geographic location and capitals of Spanish-speaking countries.
    • Día de los Muertos Project: students learn about the Mexican holiday and contribute to the creation of a school-wide altar.
     
    Grade 7 Spanish
    • La Casa Ideal Project: students learn about furniture and create their dream house.
    • Culinary Traditions Project: students learn about different food prepared for certain holidays (pan de Muertos, roscón de reyes).
    • Famous Hispanic People Project: students research famous Hispanic athletes, singers, Writers, Actors
    • Día de los Muertos Project: students learn about the Mexican holiday, contribute to the creation of a school-wide altar, and teach younger students about the traditions using the target language.
     
    Grade 8 Spanish
    • World Cup Newscasts: Students research the games of past World Cups of their favorite teams and describe the highlights in a recorded video sportscast.
    • Analyze popular songs:  Students enjoy and analyze specially chosen authentic pop songs in the target language related to a unit’s theme for meaning, current expressions, and cultural perspectives.
    • Costa Rican Vacation Blog: Students research flights, accommodations, fun cultural experiences, and restaurants of choice in order to create a vacation itinerary and visually rich narratives of their trip experiences in a specific part of Costa Rica.

    Grade 6 French
    • Final Project: Create an Imaginary Village - Students pull together all of the vocabulary and structures learned over the year in order to create descriptions of themselves, the townspeople (including families), and an ideal school.
     
    Grade 7 French
    • E-pal Video Exchanges: Using Flipgrid, seventh-graders share and comment on video messages with a buddy class in the south of France in order to get acquainted and exchange ideas on themes such as family, preferences, pastimes, school life, and mealtimes.
    • Clothing Store Showcase: Students can create a visual for the storefront window of a clothing boutique to showcase the outfits and accessories they will advertise with persuasive descriptions and pricing for a particular market.
    • Fashion Show: As a culmination to the unit on clothing and shopping, groups will select outfits to describe and stage a small fashion show, complete with articles and accessories of choice, models, and MC’s!
     
    Grade 8 French
    • Culinary Traditions Project: students learn about different holiday and regional foods (Crêpe Bake Sale, Galette des Rois, tires d’érable, la cuisine bretonne)
    •  “Le Petit Nicolas”: students learn what strategies to use to understand a movie in the target language, how to analyze scenes, and how to summarize a movie.
    • Travel Project: students research French-speaking countries or cities and plan a trip including transportation to and within the city, hotel, budget, meals, and tourist programs.
     
    Grade 6 Latin
    • Imperium Meum Project: students create a map of their imaginary empire and write about it in Latin.
    • Villa Romana Project: students design a Roman villa and create a model using Education Edition Minecraft. They then give a tour of their villa to the class in Latin.
    • Mythology Project: students write and illustrate their own myth based on Greco-Roman mythology.
     
    Grade 7 Latin
    • Cicero and the Conspiracy of Cataline Project – students create a newspaper discussing the events of Cataline’s conspiracy as uncovered by the consul Cicero during the Roman Republic.
    • Aeneid Project – students take part in a class play based on the Aeneid, read selections from the epic in Latin, and learn to recite the opening lines from memory.
    • Punic Wars Project – Students study the battles and generals of the Punic Wars between the Roman Republic and their rival, Carthage.
    • National Latin Exam – Students test their skills in the National Latin Exam in March.
     
    Grade 8 Latin
    • Myth in Modernity Project: students compare the ancient and modern versions of a classical myth, for example, the Broadway musical “Hadestown” and write a new version of the story in Latin.
    • Gladiators Project: students create a gladiator character and write about their life in Latin. Gladiators compete against each other in our class “Gladiator Games.”
    • Children’s Book Project: Students write and illustrate a children’s book in Latin.
    • National Latin Exam: Students test their skills in the National Latin Exam in March.
Renbrook is a truly special institution. Beautiful campus, engaging and supportive teachers and administrators, engaged parents, a tight-knit diverse school community that goes above and beyond together, and above all a rigorous curriculum that stretches students' imagination and capabilities. As parents of an upper school student that entered Renbrook in grade 7 in 2019, and now in grade 8, we could not be happier with our choice of Renbrook over the already strong Avon public school system. The level of engagement at Renbrook between students, teachers, and parents is what truly makes all the difference. You very quickly get and appreciate the sense and value of a strong coordinated team focused on your child's overall excellence - not just academic. Covid has presented the ultimate test. Renbrook exceeds expectations every day in every way.
~Avon Parent

Seventh Grade Fidelco Fundraiser

The annual Fidelco Fundraising Project serves as the culminating event for the Dog Unit in seventh grade Life Science. In addition to inviting well-behaved family dogs to visit their class, the students welcome representatives and their dogs from the Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation and Oak Hill, an organization that helps people with disabilities.
The seventh graders planned, prepared and executed a business plan for the fundraiser whose goal is to generate enthusiasm for donations to Fidelco. The entire school was invited to attend the big event where seventh graders organized a number of activities, including a "blind obstacle course," a dog trivia game, and an auditory challenge.

Civil War Living History Day

Renbrook’s Civil War Day is part of the eighth grade history curriculum. “Civil War Living History Day really encompasses our School’s mission which includes bringing learning to life. The day focuses on experiential learning activities which really brings the horrors of war to life and they realize that freedom is never free”says Jacqueline Nickeo, Renbrook School History Department Head.

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