Middle Schoolers are brimming with energy and exuberance. Their curiosity is contagious. They have a deep sense of wonder and are excited for this journey to the future.
The Journey Begins in Middle School
Chris Schoberl, Head of Middle School
At Crystal, we encourage Middle Schoolers to be truly themselves By giving them a space of their very own, we encourage Middle Schoolers to be themselves. We understand that in sixth, seventh, and eighth grades, the best learning happens when students’ social and emotional needs are being met.
Our teachers open doors to a whole new world The CSUS Middle School team develops curriculum and experiences designed for a middle school student, allowing them to forge a deeper understanding of subject content and greater engagement with their peers and teachers. From an egg drop and Rube Goldberg Machine Contest to learning about inertia and energy transfer, our approach to learning enhances our students’ natural curiosity.
Skills and Content The team of Middle School teachers works to develop both subject-specific content knowledge while also teaching fundamental study and organization skills. The Middle School program encourages students to explore all the academic disciplines. In this way, the scientist discovers a passion for French and the historian masters the quadratic formula. After three years in the middle school, our students are fully prepared for the challenges of high school.
And rather than Or At Crystal, the middle school schedule allows students to be scholars, athletes and artists. We not only encourage students to delve into all three realms, we require them to do so through the fine arts rotation program and the athletics/PE period which is built into the school day. Our students discover that they are capable of learning and achieving more than they ever imagined. They discover they can be a star on the stage and a star athlete as well.
Teaching with technology rather than about technology With a 1:1 iPad program and mobile laptop carts, our students have access to powerful learning tools. Our faculty work with the Technology Integrator to use these devices as a platform for innovation in each discipline.
On February 24, Upper School librarian Jess Garman and six seniors brought Crystal’s first Human Library to the Middle School campus. Instead of checking out books, students were able to select people from different backgrounds as their “books” and learn more about their personal stories.
Rob Kashima's 8th grade science class demonstrated chemical reactions for a 6th grade audience. The 8th graders had to explain how the chemical reaction worked in language that could be understood by a 6th grader, thereby highlighting their own understanding of the process.
The seventh grade history class has started a unit on the Maya Civilization. History teacher Melanie Ramsey explains: “There is a tiny rainforest in the room to represent the environment of the Maya and to help students understand the impact of the environment...
Congratulations to Crystal's Middle School Robotics team which participated in the First Lego League Competition on November 10. Competing against 15 other teams, they won the Innovation Project Award for their water conservation design.
Over the course of the school year, each grade level in the Middle School will experience three Human Development Days. For example, the 8th grade ventured off campus in early October to work at community partners Glide Memorial Church, Samaritan House...
Eighth graders are learning about "States of Matter" this fall, including through a Sublimation Lab with everyone's favorite spooky Halloween accessory, dry ice. Students donned gloves and goggles to handle the dry ice safely.
Middle schoolers Eliza L '25 and Rohan S '25 collaborated on a colorful poster to publicize International Walk and Bike to School Day on October 2, 2019. Their creation was one of five images to win the San Mateo County Office Education's poster contest and will be circulated throughout the county to promote the event.
After the Clubs Fair, the entire Middle School student body left for the weekend energized by all the cool ways they will be able to spend their clubs period every other week. Clubs time will alternate with Pursuit of Passion (PoP) time every week so students are sure to have exposure to and time with something that gives them joy.
The PoP (Pursuit of Passion) fair at the Middle School ended the first full week of classes with a bang. Students delighted in exploring the teacher-led options that ranged from origami to bike riding to math to photography, just to name a few. Excitement filled the air in Expansion Hall as teachers shared their hobbies and ways of de-stressing with students.
Matt Akers’ 7th grade English class staged two mock trials for Of Mice and Men. On trial was George Milton for the murder of Lennie Small. The students served as the witnesses, prosecution, and the defense while Mr. Akers played the role of the judge. It was the role of the jury—all volunteer teachers--to determine if George Milton was guilty of murder or voluntary manslaughter.
English teacher Heidi Gruber brought our vision of One Crystal to life in her Middle School classroom this spring. She invited faculty and staff from both the Upper and Middle Schools to read portions of the timeless yet highly complex novel, To Kill A Mockingbird, aloud to the class and share their personal experiences with the novel.
While the 8th graders are away (on world language trips to Quebec and Costa Rica), the 6th and 7th graders play! PoP Week is a favorite tradition that allows our youngest students to delve deeply into a topic, develop new skills, and have a blast with experiential, hands-on learning opportunities.
In early March, 6th grade students visited the Second Harvest Food Bank’s facility in San Carlos where they made reusable tote bags from t-shirts. They were also given a tour of the facility and learned more about hunger in our community. The visit was part of Crystal’s Human Development programming.
Ms. Player's 7th grade dance class shared a series of multicultural dance presentations that both educated and entertained the Middle School while giving us a reason to celebrate dance traditions from around the world. From Hula, to Chinese Fan Dancing, to the Virginia Reel (the official state dance of 13 states in the United States)...
The 6th graders are deeply immersed in a Voice as Power unit, a study of poetry. Drawing inspiration from poems such as Eve Merriam's "How to Eat a Poem," Langston Hughes' "Mother to Son," and Kwame Alexander's "Dribbling" (part of his book, The Crossover), students have already crafted seven poems, not including the ones created during our Found Poetry project in the Maker Space.
Crystal middle schoolers (and teachers) had a Silicon-Valley-worthy morning on December 7 as they coded up a storm. While the rest of the world participated in Hour of Code, students sipped hot chocolate while clad in cuddly PJ's for an hour of Cozy Coding. Our Crystal coders are well on their way to becoming the Valley's next generation of engineers.
As a capstone to reading A Midsummer Night's Dream, 7th grade English students plan, memorize, rehearse, and act out a scene from the play in small groups. Using recycled and/or recyclable materials from the middle school IRC (Information Resource Center), they design and craft costumes, props, and sets.
Sixth grade scientists stepped into the shoes of a biologist, geologist, hydrologist or atmospheric scientist and used models to communicate expert information to their peers. Their goal is to construct a collective understanding of how the parts of Earth function as a system.
Five graduate students from Stanford's Nanotechnology department visited teacher Rob Kashima's 8th grade science classes in mid-October. They discussed nanotechnology and where it is applied in our everyday lives, and then conducted a lesson on liquid nitrogen ice cream for Crystal students. View more photos
Identity and voice are major themes in the Middle School humanities classrooms, combining academic, personal and creative exploration. Librarian Amy Geriak brought the concept of an “Identity Tapestry” to the Middle School for a recent 7th grade Human Development activity. She was inspired by...