2017-2018 Course Requirements

For questions, contact,

Tracy Walberg, School Counselor

Office: 612-668-4905

Email: Tracy.Walberg@mpls.k12.mn.us


Sanford Course Requirements and Course Descriptions for 2017-2018

Team Classes (MN required):

All students will have four Team Classes that meet every day. These are the classes that are required by the state for all students, and include the MCA-tested subjects.  Team teachers create interdisciplinary connections, and share all the same students, building relationships. You will be on your team for all three years at Sanford. These classes are:

English Language Arts: Language Arts 6, Language Arts 7, Language Arts 8

Math: Math 6, Math 7, Algebra 8

Science: Science 6, Life Science 7, Physical & Earth Science 8.

Social Studies: MN Studies, US History, World Studies


Specialist Classes (IB/MYP required):

In addition to the Team courses above, students have each of these four subjects every year:

World Language: 6th graders will have one quarter of Introduction to Spanish & one quarter of Introduction to Arabic.  Students will choose Arabic, Spanish or Ojibwe to study for 7th & 8th grade years.

Arts: 6th grade students will have a rotation of Choir, Drama, Visual Arts and Introduction to Music for a semester, then choose Choir, Drama Visual Arts or Band to have second semester.  7th & 8th grade students may choose Band, Choir, Drama, or Visual Art class.

Design & Technology: Some 6th grade students will have STEM. 7th grade students will have Design & Modeling class.  8th grade students will have Green Architecture.

Physical Education/Health: Students rotate between Physical Education and Health curriculum during the year.


Support Classes (Based on need or application):

Read180 and Focus Math:  Students who need more instruction in math & reading, as determined by proficiency scores, will be placed into one or both of these classes.  Students may test out at any time when caught up to grade level.

AVID is a college-prep course that students may opt in to for 7th & 8th grade.


Course Choices:  World Language and Arts

All students will take at least one semester of Arts and of World Language, but students in 7-8th grade can choose which class they want to take to fulfill that requirement.

6th graders will all take Intro to World Languages.  All 6th grade students will have Band for first semester, then choose one of the Arts classes for second semester.

World Language:  6th graders will have one quarter of Introduction to Spanish & one quarter of Introduction to Arabic.  Students will choose Arabic, Spanish, Heritage Spanish or Ojibwe to study for 7th & 8th grade years. Students will be placed in the level of language based on courses previously taken and teacher recommendations.

Arabic Course Options

●      Arabic 1: This course is for 7th graders who are new to Arabic or had Intro to Languages in 6th grade.

●      Arabic 2: Offered to students who have previously studied Arabic.  Students will expand their vocabulary and add on it using different structures of the language.  They will also study the different places where Arabic is spoken. They will learn more about the customs and the cultures of the Arab speaking countries.

●      Advanced Arabic 3 (8th only): Students will build on their previous knowledge in Arabic and prepare to move into Arabic 2 in high school.

Spanish Course Options

●      Spanish 1:  This course is for 7th graders who are new to Spanish or had Intro to Languages in 6th grade.

●      Spanish 2: This course is for students who have already studied some Spanish in middle school.

●      Advanced Spanish 3 (8th grade only): Students will build on their previous knowledge in Spanish and prepare to move into Spanish 2 in high school.

●      Spanish for Spanish Speakers: Offered to 7th & 8th grade students whose home language is Spanish.  In this class we will learn about Latino history and culture while strengthening our Spanish reading and writing skills.  ¿Te interesa la historia de Latinoamérica? ¿Te gustaría aprender sobre héroes que se parecen a ti?  ¡Inscríbete a esta clase y prepárate para cambiar tu vida!

Ojibwe Course Options

●      Level 1, 2: Ojibwe is taught using a combination of in-class speaking and online learning. Open to all 7-8th graders, and to 6th graders by parent request. Students are expected to be on track to continue Ojibwe in high school.


Band: Concert pieces for all levels of Band are selected from many styles and cultures, and range from classical to popular music. Evening concerts are required each semester.

●      Band 6: Offered to 6th grade students. You will choose an instrument from the Brass (Trumpet, Trombone, Baritone, Horn, Tuba), Woodwind (Flute, Clarinet, Saxophone), or Percussion -- if you already play an instrument, you can continue to play that instrument! Through group rehearsal, you will learn to read music and play with expression, beginning with simple exercises and melodies played together, and progressing to concert pieces with multiple parts.  

●      Intermediate Band: Offered to 7th & 8th grade students who have taken at least one year of Band.

●      Concert Band: Offered to 7th & 8th grade students who have at least one year of Band experience and show advanced skills.  (Students selected by audition.)


Choir:  Choir is for all students who want to sing, whether you think you are a “good singer” or know you are a beginner.  The voice is the original musical instrument, and the focus of choir class is developing vocal musicianship. You will learn vocal technique, how to read music and sing with expression, and how to sing in parts (harmony). Concert pieces are selected from many styles and cultures, and range from classical to popular music. Evening concerts are given 2-3 times each year.

●      Choir 6: offered to 6th grade students

  • Intermediate Choir: offered to 7th & 8th grade students

●      Concert Choir: Students with at least one year of Choir experience may join Concert Choir. Concert Choir is for 7th and 8th grade students who have some experience singing in a choir, either here at Sanford, or in another school or community choir.  The Concert Choir is Sanford's top performing Choral group, with concerts both at Sanford and in the greater community (Mall of America, Elementary Schools etc.).  The Concert Choir will sing music of all different styles (classical, pop, world music), and will sing in both unison and multiple parts.  Students will learn to read music, follow a choral score, develop stage presence, learn good rehearsal technique, and musical expression.


Drama: Drama class uses skits, improvisation, and theater exercises to help students express themselves, use their creativity, and learn to problem solve in groups. The creation, rehearsal, and performance of skits for the class involves all sixteen Habits of Mind during the process.  It greatly hones performance skills, encourages responsible risk taking, and makes students comfortable speaking and performing in public. We encourage humor, so the class is also a lot of fun.

●      Drama 6: Offered to 6th grade students

  • Intro to Drama: This class is for all levels! Come prepared to take risks and try new things. Students can take this class a second time and still learn new things.

●      Performance Theatre: This class is for students who are ready for the stage. The class will produce a show and all students will participate! Open to grades 7th and 8th.


Visual Art: We will explore the connection between art and life through art history and different creative techniques.  Classes are designed to offer a wide range of art activities and experiences in the areas of drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, and crafts.  Emphasis is placed on design, composition, and the development of techniques in the various areas. Students will learn how to analyze art and will write about their work.  Students at all levels are welcome.

●      Art 6: offered to 6th grade students

  • Visual Art: Most Art classes serve students who have a range of skills and experiences. Students may be beginner or more advanced and still learn new things!  Students will create two and three-dimensional pieces that further sharpen their skills and develop the elements of art and principles of design. Understanding and appreciation of self and others through art history, culture, and heritage is emphasized.  Students will have the opportunity to make personal choices about the creation of their art


Required Courses: PE/Health and Design

Physical Education & Health:  Phy Ed classes will focus on motor skills, cooperation, teamwork, and improving fitness levels.  Team activities, sports, and weight training will be offered. Components of fitness and calculating target heart-rate will be included.  Active participation will be expected from all students.

Health lessons will use district curriculum focusing on healthy choices and nutrition. 8th grade Health will include the Making Proud Choices curriculum. Students will rotate between Health and PE over the course of the year.


Design: 6th grade students will meet the Design requirement in Science class, though some students (who do not take support or AVID classes) will be able to take a Design class in 6th grade as well:

●      STEM (6th grade): Students will learn the basics of computer coding & technology through hands-on activities, gaming, and working with experts from the field. Curriculum will allow students to work at their own pace and will promote perseverance, collaboration, creative problem-solving and logical thinking.

●      GTT (Gateway to Technology) Design and Modeling (7th grade):  This Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Engineering course introduces solid modeling (a sophisticated mathematical technique for representing solid objects) to further students’ understanding of the design process. Students are introduced to Autodesk Inventor software and will develop skills to use this to produce and show their ideas. Students will develop a deeper understanding of how engineering has influenced their lives. Using the design process, students brainstorm, research, develop ideas, create models, test and evaluate design ideas, and communicate their solution to solve problems. Unit Topics: Design Process, Measurement-sketching-dimensioning with Autodesk Inventor, Designing for production. Major projects include a 3D playground design and a testable dragster vehicle.

●      GTT (Gateway to Technology) Green Architecture (8th grade): Architecture is the art and science of designing buildings. The basics of architectural design addresses feasibility and cost, material choices and sustainability, as well as function and aesthetics. In Green Architecture students will create technical drawings, build skills of a 3D architecture computer program, build models, and apply use of the design process to guide their progress to the best design solution.


Support Courses

Focus Math: Focus Math is a second math class that builds skills that lead to success in grade level math. The activities are carefully selected by the teacher to ensure that class activities: fill gaps from previous years’ math standards, especially flexibility with numbers, build math confidence and growth mindsets, pre-teach, review, reteach or give more time for questions and practice on grade level material. Students take this class in addition to a grade-level math class.

READ 180: An intense reading support class to help develop reading fluency, comprehension, vocabulary and writing skills. 

Reading Workshop: For students who need support to further develop their reading, vocabulary, and writing skills. Instruction is differentiated to meet students individual needs.

AVID: AVID is a program to help students in the middle prepare for success at high school with the goal of college.   Students are accepted into the program through an application process. We will work on organizational skills, learn how to manage time, take Cornell Notes, and take field trips to colleges!  Every Monday and Wednesday, students also spend time in small groups with tutors, who will act as the leads for the group.  Teachers, as well as students, have high expectations of themselves, and being a role model and leader within the school and community. Students may also opt into AVID, a college-prep class.