1st, 2nd, & 3rd Year Programs: an integrated study of History, Literature,
Fine Arts, Drama, and French
The Core Programs (1st, 2nd, and 3rd) are full-year courses. Students meet four days per week for two hours each day. Click on the Middle School Curriculum Map to see how courses align; 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.
To see an overview of North Fork School curricula, including which classes are offered for each grade level, please select this link to see the curriculum map:
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.
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.
First 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.
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.
Integrated Core Program (grades 7-9): Mixed-grade class strengthens and develops core skills in academic writing, analysis, and research.
2nd Year – an integrated curriculum of American Literature, Performing & Fine Arts, and American History. The intensity and workload of this class demand that students have a mature, focused attitude.
American History covers the political, social, cultural, economic, and philosophical history of the United States from Pre-European settlement to Reconstruction. Teachers encourage analytical thought through the study of texts, literature selections, and supplementary materials, which provide a wide array of important theoretical points of view.
Understanding the varied motivations, beliefs, and values of Americans in different time periods provides students with a balanced view of the history of our country.
In this course, students will learn to read and think critically, to study efficiently, and to defend their own interpretations of historical events through written analysis and debate. They will learn how to conduct research, how to formulate a thesis statement, and how to organize effective essays. By recognizing and exploring differing points of view, students will gain the ability to determine accuracy, reliability, and fairness of input.
While investingating relationships between statements and events, past and present, students learn to make informed, thoughtful judgements about the meaning, accuracy, and worth of information. In addition to writing, projects which enhance the development of these skills include: debate, conducting oral history interviews, creating a timeline of historical events, looking at the effects of geography on history, and evaluating current events in the context of the history of the United States.
French language and culture continues our introduction to language study. French class introduces 2nd Year students to the joys and difficulties of learning a second language, while giving them an increased understanding of how the English language is structured.
The Fine Arts curriculum will include ten hours of drama/public speaking work, and ten hours of fine arts. The performing arts classes will culminate with a performance at The Alpine Playhouse in May; artwork will be displayed at the North Fork School before students bring it home.
Second Year English combines literature selections (novels, essays, poems, plays) from time periods and concepts studied in the American History course with analysis of short stories, creative and analytical writing, and SAT- prep Grammar and Vocabulary.
In Literature, students learn to take notes as they read, looking for evidence that supports their own personal interpretations of a text. Later in class, students will explore the many possible interpretations of the same text, learning, as they hear other points of view, to expand upon, support, or even change their ideas of textual meaning.
Many of the literature selections follow our American History timeline, which adds depth, both to students' understanding of concepts studied in the American History class itself, and to their grasp of authors’ viewpoints. By writing summaries of their ideas, and learning to organize their arguments into longer, cohesive essays as the year progresses, students gain a gradual knowledge of clear, focused, essay-writing skills.
Novels in the Second Year include: The Witch of Blackbird Pond; The Slave Dancer; The Red Badge of Courage; The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; The Giver; and Fahrenheit 451. Students also explore the writing of Transcendentalist poets and interpret various American historical documents and speeches.
Students also read short stories, poems, and nonfiction essays as writers in Writing Workshop. An essay-writing focus in the Second Year prevents students from focusing on fiction or other personal pieces as much as they could in the separate Writing Workshop class. However, skills of organization, logic, and grammatical usage are equally essential to any creative writing students do on their own.
Finally, in preparation for the SAT and other standardized tests, we cover elements of grammar and weekly vocabulary.
Integrated Core Program (grades 8-9): Mixed-grade class hones and expands core skills in academic writing, analysis, and research.
3rd Year – an integrated curriculum of English satirical literature, Fine Arts, French, and Renaissance-to-Revolution History. The difficult reading and increased individual time management demanded by this class require that students have a mature, focused attitude.
World History offers students a cultural and literary perspective of important European historical events. Beginning with the Renaissance, and ending with the Russian Revolution, the class provides an introduction to European, Middle Eastern and world history. It traces the major upheavals in Europe and its rising power internationally.
Students will be expected to read assigned chapters in the textbook and related readings, prepare for geography and written exams, and participate in class discussion and "Interact Units". Most of the writing for this course is done in class using topics from AP European history. The writing will be similar to what students will experience taking the PSAT as well as the SAT II.
At the end of this course, students should have a basic, objective understanding of European & Middle Eastern historical events, as well as knowledge of European and Middle Eastern geography.
French language and culture offers students invaluable insight into the cultural forces that shaped ideas during The Enlightenment and the French Revolution, as well as an increased understanding of how the English language is structured. Three thirty-minute classes per week introduce 3rd Year students to the joys and difficulties of language study.
Fine Arts includes twenty hours during the school year in which students explore the techniques of artists in the Renaissance, the French Impressionist Period, and Muslim cultural art. Art classes enhance students' understanding of the countries and time periods their courses will cover, as well as opening their eyes to new ways of seeing the world.
Third Year English includes further analysis of literature and formal essay-writing skills, as well as new techniques of "creative" writing, such as paradox & synesthesia in poetry, satire, and creative technical writing in resumes and application essays.
In the Third Year, we study British authors who affected ideas during the period from 1450 to 1950. Selections from Sir Thomas More's Utopia, Thomas Hobbe's Leviathan, and John Locke's essay, Of Civil Government, reveal Man's view of humanity and how it has shaped the world; Well's story, The Time Machine, Swift's Gulliver's Travels, Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, and George Orwell's Animal Farm all continue variations of this theme.
Shakespeare's exploration of human nature adds yet another element to our understanding of history in the third year. Beginning with a comedy, either As You Like It, or Taming of the Shrew, we read selected sonnets; Romeo and Juliet; Henry IV, Part I; Othello; and The Tempest. Our study of poetry and satire includes the "Metaphysical" poetry of Donne, Marvell, Herbert, Herrick, Crashaw, & Vaughn.
In preparation for the SAT and other standardized tests, we cover elements of grammar, including diagramming sentences, vocabulary (including 1st & 2nd Year words) coordinated with the reading selections, and TIME MANAGEMENT SKILLS.
Third Year students are expected to keep assignments in a daily planner, and to take full responsibility for knowing what it is they have to do and WHEN it is due. Students learn to create a "Master Schedule" of their day, thus discovering "free time" they never knew they had.
photo licensed by Creative Commons: Paris by Moyan Brenn