TAMS Academics

Learning comes to life at Thornton Academy Middle School.

Thornton Academy Middle School (TAMS) is a place where everyone knows each other, and teachers inspire their students by fostering a sense of curiosity. Teachers at TAMS recognize that there is much more to be taught in grades 6-8 than just a dynamic academic curriculum. During this fundamental stage of development, students must be challenged to explore, inquire, connect, and grow, in and outside the classroom.

The faculty and staff at TAMS are passionate about what they do, and committed to providing a safe space for their students to learn and take risks. If a student is need of academic support, they can take advantage of the school homework club, Math Academy or make an appointment to work with their teacher before or after school. 

We have been part of the TAMS family for 3 years now and are looking forward to the next 3 years with our youngest daughter entering 6th grade. You really feel like you are part of the family when you walk through the doors at TAMS. Everyone is happy, welcoming, and they know you and all the students by name. Every staff member at TAMS genuinely cares for all the students.

Amy Elie, parent 

Curriculum at TAMS

English Language Arts

Grade 6

Students will undertake a wide variety of writing, ranging from journals to poetry and essays crafted about unique experiences in the classroom and beyond. The Six Traits program will be used to help all students continue to improve their writing. Spelling, vocabulary and grammar will be integrated into daily writing work. Students will explore a variety of books as a class, both in literature circles of four to six students and independently. Students will have the ability to read a large selection of Newbery Award and Honor books. Student activities will include book projects, response journals, reading notebooks, guided reading and Reader’s Theater. Students will also read several short stories and learn the elements of a short story.

Grade 7

Seventh grade ELA curriculum will focus on reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Students will become more effective thinkers and active learners through communication, reflection, and understanding. Students will have many opportunities to work with various types of writing, including narrative, descriptive, expository and persuasive writing. Becoming familiar with literary terms, learning to read for detail, using details to support interpretation of characters, and becoming aware of the beauty and power of the written word are key outcomes.

Grade 8

Grade 8 English Language Arts focuses on developing students’ writing skills through a critical look at a variety of texts and writing genres. Four thematically driven quarters focus on teaching students to approach literature and information analytically, through close, purposeful reading. Through high frequency writing and revision, students learn to distinguish the elements of craft in the three common genres of academic writing, argument, informative, and narrative, and employ these specific strategies in their own pieces. Whole-class novels include: The Outsiders, The Giver, The Other Wes Moore, and The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind.

Math

Grade 6

Units of study include decimals, fractions, algebra, geometry, graphing, ratio and proportions. Connections between the math concepts being taught and their real-world application will be integrated into lessons through mini labs and interdisciplinary projects whenever possible.
Middle school teachers use the flexible grouping model to organize learning communities of students based on mathematical aptitude. Criteria for establishing these groups include: fifth grade math average, NWEA and NECAP scores, entrance mastery assessment and teacher observations.

Grade 7

The seventh grade mathematics curriculum includes decimals, algebra and statistics, linear equations and functions, fractions, proportional reasoning, geometry, and measurement. Acceleration, extension and enrichment opportunities are offered within the classroom.

Grade 8

The eighth grade mathematics curriculum includes real numbers and algebra, percent, geometry and measurement, probability and statistics, and linear and nonlinear functions. Acceleration, extension and enrichment opportunities are offered within the classroom. Honors Algebra I is offered (in place of 8th grade math) to students who demonstrate a high level of competence with the mathematical concepts listed above . Honors Algebra I is taught at the Upper School.

Social Studies

Grade 6

Students will learn about the world and its people with a focus on Latin America, Asia and Africa. The social studies program will also be integrated with world art. Students will become more aware of the people of the world with a focus on their economies, demographics, geography and culture. Important local, national and world current events will be explored and discussed.

Grade 7

Maine culture is the focus of seventh grade social studies. Students will examine questions such as: What is social studies? What makes a place a place? What happens when cultures interact with one another? What is needed to create a community? How does a place change over time? We will explore many facets of social studies including history, geography, economics, government, anthropology and sociology.

Grade 8

The focus of eighth grade social studies will be on the United States of America and the Global Community. Students will examine questions such as: What is the United States of America? What does EVERY human being have the right to? How are your consumer choices connected to the world around you? What does the world need from YOU? We will explore many facets of social studies including history, geography, economics, government, anthropology and sociology.

Science

Grade 6

Students will perform hands-on labs and create related projects in a unit-based approach focusing on energy, weather, astronomy, and oceans. Whenever possible, science will be integrated with other areas of the curriculum, including natural overlap with studies in social studies and math.

Grade 7

Seventh grade students will be learning about a number of different life science topics. These include; defining life, relationships in nature, food webs, scientific method, photosynthesis, cells, organ systems, genetics, and evolution. Students will be asked to use a variety of methods, in particular, STEM related activities to explore the key concepts of each unit.

Grade 8

Eighth grade students learn and use scientific inquiry to explore and discover answers to key questions posed at the beginning of each activity. Major topics include scientific method, interactions and energy, forces, and chemistry. Students will work collaboratively to carry out hands on STEM experiments that will help them answer the key question of the activity.

Visual Arts

Grade 6

Students will engage in hands-on activities with a variety of art media to explore the visual arts through experiences integrated with concurrent social studies curriculum. Students will learn about the traditional arts and crafts of the world’s people and create authentic works of art. Students practice the language and understanding of the elements of art, and develop confidence in the areas of drawing, painting and sculpting.

Grade 7

Students will expand their understanding of the elements and principles of art through an investigation of the use of art and design in today’s society. The project-based curriculum is designed to incorporate academic areas of study such as social studies, literature, math, and science. This integrated approach will help students develop an appreciation for daily creative practices.

Grade 8

Students connect world and local based, political, economic, and social events to their art practices, through research in social studies and ELA classes. This collaborative approach allows students a broader understanding of the concepts studied and brings an awareness of how the practice of creating can bring about innovative solutions. Students work with a variety of two- dimensional and three-dimensional art media and are challenged with a deeper breadth of creative problem solving.

Performing Arts

Grade 6

Students will learn to read and write music, sing a variety of songs that support learning experiences in their other subject areas,
play percussion to the classics and complete a focus study on listening to music. To help develop songwriting skills, students use laptops, specifically the Garage Band program. Additionally, dancing, choreography and drama improvisation are an active part of class. Students are invited to demonstrate skills learned throughout the year at the annual Music Concert.

Grade 7

7th Graders focus on African Percussion, using authentic instruments from Ghana. Complex rhythms through ensemble and individual activities help students develop teamwork and a greater understanding of the music of other cultures. Students use Garage Band, software available on their laptops, to create original works and study a unit on American Music in History (Ellis Island). African dance, drama activities and studying the high school musical each year are also highlights in class. Students are invited to demonstrate skills learned throughout the year at the annual Music Concert.

Grade 8

Applying music to our world is the 8th grade theme. Students will learn to play the ukulele, investigate historical composers and discover why their music is still remembered today, as well as create original songs and podcasts on Garage Band, a program used on their iPads. Our dance unit starts with the 50’s and 60’s and goes back to the 40’s, teaching students how to dance with a partner and learn first hand what the American Swing Era was all about. The elements of music are reviewed and used to help students articulate what they hear. Students are invited to demonstrate skills learned throughout the year at the annual Music Concert.

Health / Wellness

Grade 6

Instruction is divided between physical activity and health- oriented classroom lessons. Physical activities are often integrated with core curriculum in science and social studies. Health units of study include: mental, emotional, family, and social health, growth and nutrition, personal health and safety, drugs and disease prevention, community and environmental health, and current events dealing with health.

Grade 7

Instruction is focused on physical education activity. Physical activities are often integrated with core curriculum in science. First Aid and CPR classroom instruction is integrated as time permits.

Grade 8

Instruction is divided between physical activity and health classroom lessons. Physical activities are often integrated with core curriculum in science. Health units of study include:

  • Mental, emotional, family, and social health
  • Drugs and alcohol
  • Anatomy
  • Current events related to health

World Languages

The World Languages program provides students with a foundation for future language study and promotes awareness of cultures related to world languages. Spanish and French are taught in a two-year loop so that students are able to achieve maximum exposure to the structures
of a language. The course is organized around thematic units that integrate vocabulary, grammatical structures, culture, and communication.

Grade 7

Seventh grade students will focus on learning the basic language skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing, all taught through themes such as the classroom, school, family, home, and holidays. Popular culture, food, art, music, and other content areas are regularly connected to lessons. Skills in participation, tolerance, and cooperation are also strongly emphasized.

Grade 8

For eighth grade students, listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills are strengthened with more advanced language learning. Themes such as clothing, food, travel, and sports provide the basis for learning. Popular culture, food, art, music, and other content areas are regularly connected to lessons. Skills in participation, tolerance, and cooperation are also strongly emphasized in the course.

UPCOMING EVENTS

TAMS Dining Commons

TAMS Faculty

Kirk Agreste

Middle School Wellness Teacher

Louise Benham

Special Education Teacher

Heidi Brewer

Middle School Humanities Teacher, Golden Edge Coordinator, Dorm Parent

Haley Carter

Middle School School Counselor, Junior Varsity Field Hockey Coach

Elizabeth Cooney

Grade 6 Teacher

Debbie Crepeau

Administrative Assistant

Cara DameBrusie

Middle School World Languages Teacher

Ruth Dater

Middle School ELL Teacher

Joshua Dracup

Middle School Visual Arts Teacher, Upper School Visual Arts Teacher

Nicole Faulkner

School Nurse

Jessica Foster

Ed Tech

Jessica Hamilton

Math Instructional Coach, International Student Case Manager

Ryan Hersey

Middle School Science Teacher, Middle School Assistant Principal, Head Boys Lacrosse Coach

Lisa LaBrecque

Grade 6 Teacher

Ashley Lanoie

Educational Technician -- Braillist

Karen Laverriere

Middle School ELA Teacher

Bob LePauloue

Middle School Social Studies Teacher

Christine Morin

Grade 6 Teacher

Leslie Mourmouras

Ed Tech

Craig Pendergrass

Middle School Math Teacher

Tiffany Robert

Middle School Principal

David Stebbins

Performing Arts Teacher

Amanda Tripp

Educational Technician

Tracie True

Middle School Math Teacher

Ed Whiting

Middle School ELA Teacher