Middle School Grades 6-8
Michael Bair—Grade Six / Science
Mr. Bair began teaching science at OLQM in 2012 as well as religion, beginning in 2014. He graduated from OLQM in 2000, and from Brother Rice High School, in Bloomfield Hills, in 2004. He earned his B.S. degree in marine science with a minor in chemistry from the University of South Carolina, in 2008. He has his catechist certification from the Archdiocese of Detroit. Mr. Bair is pursuing a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction at the University of Detroit Mercy. Additionally, he has coached varsity basketball at OLQM since 2012 and currently coaches the 8th grade boys’ team. His Mother Sandra worked at OLQM for 20 years as a library technician and parish bookkeeper. He is a resident of Royal Oak.
Monica Burke—Vice Principal / Grade Seven / Social Studies
Mrs. Burke joined OLQM in September 2016. She began teaching in 2005 and has always worked in Catholic education. She earned a BS degree in elementary education with an endorsement in social studies from Oakland University. She received her master's degree in 2011, from Madonna University, in Catholic school educational leadership. She also is certified by the Archdiocese of Detroit to teach religion. Prior to OLQM, Mrs. Burke taught at Guardian Angels Catholic School, in Clawson, since 2005. During this time she taught third grade for two years and was the middle school social studies teacher. She has extensive experience working with youth. She has been a member of the US Air Force Auxiliary, Civil Air Patrol, for over 35 years. She spends one week each summer as a leader at the intensive training program for the youth in the Civil Air Patrol held in Alpena. Mrs. Burke and her husband live in Berkley. They have a married daughter who is an alumnus of St. Vincent Ferrer and St. Anne's schools, and a 2009 Bishop Foley graduate.
Tim Spellman—Grade Eight / Language Arts
Mr. Spellman has been teaching middle school language arts at OLQM since 2003. Prior to that, he taught two years at Shrine High School, in Royal Oak. He received a bachelor’s degree in English, and a B.A. in graphic design, from Western Michigan University. He received his teaching certification from The University of Detroit Mercy. He is currently working on a master’s in literacy at Madonna University. He is married with two adult children and resides in Farmington.
Mr. Ford has taught math at OLQM since 2009. Several years ago he developed and began teaching an advanced math class for middle school students. He received his bachelor’s degree in psychology, from the University of Michigan. He has his elementary education certification, in math, from University of Detroit Mercy. Mr. Ford has been teaching and coaching football in the Birmingham area for more than 20 years. He and his wife have two children, live in Beverly Hills and are parishioners.
Class content comes from several textbooks specific to the grade, the Bible, selected morality and justice readings, liturgical worship, church documents, films as well as current events that call for a faith response. Prayer and meditation encourage personal reflection on each student's personal relationship with God. Service projects and fieldtrips are incorporated throughout the year. Topic concentrations include:
6th grade - Old Testament
7th grade- New Testament
8th grade- Confirmation preparation, Morality, Justice.
A project-based curriculum provides a learning environment which encourages student-led investigation and exploration coupled with teacher instruction. Each unit of study concludes with the students extending their studies by asking additional questions and/or building artifacts. The program meets the middle school science standards set by the State of Michigan Department of Education. Textbooks used are the Holt Science and Technology series. Students utilize all aspects of technology including Microsoft software products, video streaming, virtual white board and digital presenter are used for student-led presentations, as well as for daily instruction.
Physical Science topics explored by the Eight Grade include:
The Life Science topics explored by the Seventh Grade include:
Earth Science topics explored by the Sixth Grade include:
The Sixth Grade curriculum is based on making solid mathematical foundations in which success can be built in Seventh and Eighth Grade. There is also sufficient review and practice of basic skills from elementary mathematics. The Sixth Graders begin the year working with algebraic equations. They then develop decimal, ratio and fraction skills, followed by graphs and data displays, ending the school year with geometry.
The Seventh Grade curriculum builds upon the skills learned in Sixth Grade. The students continue with the same mathematical concepts, but explore them in a more in depth fashion. Equations are covered in multiple chapters. An extended time is spent with integers, as well as fractions and decimals. To end the year, students will work on geometry and upper level algebra. The ultimate goal is to be prepared to work at an accelerated pace through the Eighth Grade curriculum. An additional goal is to increase the knowledge base so that each student will be prepared for the High School Placement Test.
The Eighth Grade curriculum will fully immerse students in algebra. The students will work with complex algebraic equations. The Eighth Graders will work with linear functions and graphing functions on a coordinate plane. The year will conclude with polynomials and quadratic functions. Throughout the school year the students will use graphing calculators together as a class to explore the many features available. This will give all the students a technological advantage for high school mathematics. The complexity of material covered in Eighth Grade will allow many students to proceed to honors or advanced tracks in high school math. The Eighth Grade is prepared in taking the High School Placement Test and also for the Math Placement Exam.
Writing will be a daily activity in Language Arts. Whether it is in a journal or a final paper, students will make writing a fantastic part of everyday life!
Literature: Sixth Graders will read a variety of short stories and classic novels throughout the year. Students will participate in group discussions about the required reading. They will also have individual questions and activities to do that will involve them in higher level thinking.
English: From compound sentences and conjunctions to prepositional phrases, students will learn the ins and outs of grammar. Students will also be writing a variety of different papers and stories. They will write a Personal Narrative and publish their own Children’s Story. Students will be assessed by tests at the end of each unit and by the quality and understanding of each paper assigned.
Vocabulary: Through the Vocabulary Workshop workbook and a variety of review games, students will learn around 200 new words in their sixth grade year. Students will be assessed with a vocabulary test at the end of each unit. Different editions of the Vocabulary Workshop workbook will be used in Seventh and Eighth Grade, so students will become very familiar with this type of workbook and testing.
The Seventh Grade Language Arts curriculum is designed to create a connective thread of instruction between English, Literature, and Vocabulary. These shared foundations are based in fundamental Language Arts Institutions.
English: Text – PLAIN ENGLISH Book One, SRA McGraw Hill structured focus on the elements, concepts, mechanics and applications of grammar.
Literature: Text – THE LANGUAGE OF LITERATURE, McDougall Little, as well as supplemental novels concentrate on literary elements, terms and genres that combine reading strategies with critical thinking to enhance comprehension and foster positive reading experiences.
Vocabulary: Text – VOCABULARY WORKSHOP Level B, Sadler-Oxford offers intensive cross-over instruction of 300 new words and their fundamental parts that focus on the mastery of word meanings and usage.
These three components of Language Arts complement each other in developing an understanding and an appreciation for communicative language by building listening, speaking, thinking, reading, and writing skills.
The Eighth Grade Language Arts curriculum further integrates components of English, Literature, and Vocabulary into augmented extensions of the Seventh Grade curriculum with stronger emphasis on comprehension, critical thinking, and writing.
English: Text – PLAIN ENGLISH Book Two; DIAGRAMMING SENTENCES, Book 1 & 2 stresses mastery of the usage and mechanics of grammar through instruction, drilling, reviewing, and testing as well as a strong concentration on diagramming.
Literature: Text – THE LANGUAGE OF LITERATURE 8, McDougall Little, as well as supplemental novels continues with the focus of literary terms and elements that facilitate comprehension and interpretation with a heavier emphasis on personal response writing.
Vocabulary: Text – VOCABULARY WORKSHOP Level C, Sadler-Oxford extends the mastery of word meaning and usage with an intensive cross-over instruction of 300 new words.
Ancient History & Geography (Sixth Grade)
Sixth Grade ancient history class starts with the study of the ancient Sumerians and the Fertile Crescent. We then progress to the study of ancient Egypt and quickly cross the Mediterranean north to Greece. After a lengthy stay in Greece, we move on to Rome and all of its conquered territory. The Middle Ages, affected by Islam and Christianity, is among our final stops. We end the year in the Renaissance period. With each culture we study, our knowledge of government, architecture, social structure and religions increase. The discussion of current events always brings us back to the present. Maps are a favorite project in Grade Six. We learn to draw all the countries we study from memory and are able to locate major cities and landforms.
Geography (Seventh Grade)
Grade Seven geography class is devoted more to the present world. We start the year off learning about the many fields of study encompassed under the title of geography. We then travel to North America and learn about the land use as well as the economic effects of topics such as NAFTA, OPEC, GDP, GNP, immigration and the stock market. Our studies progress from continent to continent studying the lay of the land and the economic challenges facing our modern world. We carry our mapping skills past the one-dimensional paper map and work in transparencies and 3-D effects. The final exam is based on the students' ability to identify at least 180 countries in our world. Discussions on current events, especially those that are global in scope, are a regular part of our weekly lesson.
American History (Eighth Grade)
From the first Americans to patterns in our recent history, students will explore all of the most important events throughout history. The Eighth Grade students read about history changing wars and the important battles within those wars. Students have the opportunity to do projects, in class work, and speeches about a variety of topics. Students also take a field trip to the Holocaust Memorial Museum while learning about WWII. Eighth Graders are able to stay current with world events by doing a bi-monthly current event. Students are assessed through unit test and projects.