Middle School (Grades 6-8)Our Journey Completes—High School Awaits
Our departmentalized Middle School includes nine periods. To optimize student learning, our teachers concentrate on their areas of specialty and work closely to develop cross-curriculum assignments and projects. Spanish is part of the curriculum for seventh and eighth grade and is taught during the school day. This two-year program represents one year of high school Spanish. Students and teachers regularly use technology throughout their school day through whole class presentations on Mimeo, small group activities using iPads, and individual work on their own Chromebook. Technology is one of the tools that the Immanuel students use to enhance their learning opportunities.
Middle School Activities
Our middle school has an active student council, a strategic games club, band, a musical production, a variety of sports teams, National Junior Honor Society, and more.
Middle School students participate in a variety of service projects throughout the year. Some are routine, teaching the importance of everyday responsibility, for example, serving in Chapel, helping around the school, and assisting with the younger classes on occasion. Other projects, like participating in the Feed My Starving Children field trip and adopting families for Christmas, are “need” specific and teach the importance of thinking of others beyond one’s inner circle. “Service” is a topic that is routinely highlighted in our weekly chapel services.
Middle School Electives
The Electives Program offers an opportunity for Middle School students to participate in decisions regarding their education. Students choose additional areas in which to grow and enhance their fine arts and STEM learning. They can learn computer principles in Keyboarding+ and SketchUp 3D drawing. Fine arts courses include photography, music, choir, and art. Students can learn about finances from The Stock Market Game.
Middle School Confirmation
For members of Immanuel Lutheran Church and others who are interested, our Pastoral staff offers Confirmation.
Sixth Grade students now “switch classes” regularly and are becoming comfortable with the middle school format. And the tradition of high-quality academics taught within a Christian learning environment continues the Immanuel tradition. Students exceed the norm on standardized tests, and truly soar and grow when participating in additional learning opportunities:
- Walcamp is an outdoor experience beyond traditional education. Students enjoy an incredible week exploring God’s creations in the outdoors. Several classes a day explore ecology, river and pond life, plants and animals. They learn survival skills and how to cook outdoors. The colors and patterns in nature are discussed as the group creates paint prints using natural items. There’s even a night walk to learn about the stars. This week also helps the students learn more about each other and helps them learn to appreciate people different than themselves.
- Invention Convention!—Each student dreams up an idea for making society a better place. They design and build prototypes, test their ideas, and then present them to students, faculty, and parents during the Curriculum Fair in the spring.
Traditionally, middle school is a time of social and emotional changes and we regularly see an influx of new students whose families choose a Christian education for the pre-teen years. Students learn how to get along with each other and welcome “new” students into Immanuel’s “Bobcat tradition”. Extra-curricular activities also take on a higher priority.
Look at our Seventh Grade class and what do you see? A very diverse group! Some have grown several inches in the past year, others haven’t hit their growth spurt yet. You’ll see athletes, band students, scholars, and more. You’ll see students that have been with us since preschool and students who have just started at Immanuel. We see this diversity too—and embrace it. At Immanuel, each student is a person, not a label. Each one has different and beautiful gifts and abilities, given them by God. We strive to help them find and expand these gifts—to reach their full potential. Again, we provide a blend of academic excellence and varied experiences including:
- A trip to “Seacamp” to study marine biology in the Florida Keys. Some students experience the ocean for the first time. They learn about marine life, snorkel in the ocean, swim with sharks (small ones), explore the reef, and study the stars in the South Florida sky. They even visit a turtle hospital.
- Science Fair—Seventh Grade students create individual science fair projects. Over the course of several months, they work hard on the projects following a step-by-step process that teaches them no only the “scientific method” but time-management skills as well. They present their work at a Science Fair, here at Immanuel, where teacher and volunteer “judges” evaluate the projects. Each year, several students advance to regional and state science fair competitions.
- Seventh Graders have the honor of planning and serving at an Eighth Grade Banquet. (More details below.)
Eighth Grade is truly a capstone year at Immanuel in terms of academics, service, fine arts, athletics and more. Teachers in all subjects work very closely with students to ensure they are prepared for high school. Eighth Graders create History Fair projects, further developing skills in a variety of areas. Each year, many students advance to the Chicago Metro Junior History Fair and State History Fairs. In 2014, one student was selected as an Illinois Delegate to the National History Fair where she won National History Day Gold Medal. She and her family were accompanied to Washington, D.C. for the ceremony by Dave Saunders, our Middle School history and religion teacher.
The Eighth Grade class also embarks on a week-long mission trip helping those less fortunate, as they themselves grow emotionally and spiritually. Students continue to take daily physical education classes and many participate in after-school sports programs. Eighth Graders enjoy fun projects and elective courses, take on increased responsibilities (ushering in Chapel is just one example), and lead special events throughout the year. Eighth Graders in the National Junior Honor Society offer tutoring services to students in younger grades who may need more help. Sometimes another child can explain basic learning concepts in different ways to reach students that are struggling.
A strong bond develops among the eighth grade students—whether they’ve been with us since preschool or joined us as Eighth Graders. Each and every one of them is treasured by God, and each one is treasured by us.
Eighth Grade Banquet
Their time at Immanuel, whether it’s one year or decade, culminates with the Eighth Grade Banquet. This is an event planned and hosted by the Seventh Grade families to celebrate and honor the graduating Eighth Graders as they prepare to move on to high school. The evening includes special memories, words of advice to the younger students, thoughts and aspirations of the graduating students. A wonderful servant opportunity, Seventh Grade students serve and clean up during the meal for the eighth graders and their parents. A dance completes the evening. This long-standing tradition at Immanuel is a memorable and inspiring evening for everyone who participates.
For the Seventh Grade students, it may be their first real servant opportunity and can be humbling for them. For the Eighth Grade students, they appreciate all that is done for them during the evening because of their participation the year before.