CORE CURRICULUM: 1st Year Program

The History and Literature of Ancient Cultures


Integrated Core  Program (grades 6 & 7) mixed-grade class builds basic skills in academic writing, analysis, and research.

In 1st Year History, students examine archeological and historical clues for evidence of cultural and social structures. By learning the differences between observations and inferences, students begin to understand how historians piece together information about ancient cultures. Students learn to: read a text for information, use a study guide to help in test preparation, research information for use in reports and presentations, and organize their thoughts in short essays on tests.

Weekly Geography quizzes require students to learn and to remember both physical and political geographical features of the regions they study in Ancient Cultures. At the end of 1st Year, students know the physical and political geography of the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and Asia.

1st year students select a year-long interdisciplinary independent project that relates several aspects of one or more cultures to their lives. As their project develops, they are asked to review portions of it with various teachers for advice and direction. Independent projects are presented and displayed to the public at the annual parent meeting in May.

Academic subjects in the First Year Program are fully integrated, with ten hours of Art instruction, ten hours of Drama, and several interdisciplinary classes in archeology, Fibonacci sequence mathematics, and teacher-assisted, student-directed independent projects as well as beginning French.

1st Year English combines literature selections (novels, essays, poems, plays) from time periods and concepts studied in Ancient Cultures & the Middle Ages with analysis of short stories, creative and analytical writing, and SAT- prep Grammar, Vocabulary, and Spelling.

In Literature, students learn to mark a text, looking for proof to illustrate their own answers to an interpretive question. By writing summaries of their ideas, and learning to organize their arguments into paragraphs and outlines, students gain gradual experience with literary analysis. Novels include: Mara, Daughter of the Nile; Antigone; D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths; The Canterbury Tales; A Proud Taste for Scarlet & Miniver; and The Green Book.

Continuing the work begun with math studies in Writing Workshop, students begin to connect the mathematical insights of Leonardo Fibonacci with the art & architecture of the Ancient World. By writing math, students learn to organize their writing in logical, ordered sequences, and to write clear, concise sentences, skills which help them to unravel the rational complexity of analytical essays.

Writing poetry helps students hone their precise use of language, developing skills necessary for weeding out unneeded words and "dead" descriptive language from their prose.  In preparation for standardized tests, First Year students delve into the correct applications of grammar, spelling, and weekly vocabulary.


Egypt by John McLinden

Egypt by John McLinden

The 1st Year Program is a full-year course.  Students meet four days per week for two hours each day. 

Students who join North Fork School classes by the 2nd Year Program gain the most from our vertically-aligned core curriculum over the course of their middle and high school years. We believe that a slow, integrated, steady development of AP (college-level) skills is best begun in middle school, when academic habits are still forming.