Grades 5-8 at Trinity Lone Oak Lutheran School are departmentalized. This means that students have several teachers during their school day that are specialists in a particular field of study. In order to maintain a family-like atmosphere, each class also has a home-room teacher who monitors the overall academic, social, and spiritual progress of individual students as well as the class as a whole.
MR. ROB ORR
This is Mr. Rob Orr's first year teaching at TLO. Previously, he taught at Central Lutheran School for eight years and then was principal/teacher at Joy Academy for five years. Mr. Orr is also TLO's athletic director. He has also served as a coach for many years. Mr. Orr loves being able to share Christ in the classroom and to also share his faith with students the way his teachers did with him when he was in school.
Years of experience: 14
Education: BA in History - University of Minnesota, Duluth
BA in Secondary Education- University of Minnesota, Duluth;
minor in Coaching
Colloquy - Concordia University, St. Paul
MRS. STEPHANIE VALLIN
Mrs. Stephanie Vallin has been teaching at TLO for 16 years. Previously, she was a third grade teacher and band director at a Lutheran school in Missouri. She has directed the band program at TLO since 2001 and also taught middle school language arts from 2004-2012. Currently, she directs the band program and middle school handbell choir. The most exciting part of her job is seeing students’ growth in God’s gift of music, and interacting together as a musical team.
Years of experience: 19
Education: BS in Elementary Education - Concordia Univ., Nebraska;
BS in Secondary Education - Concordia Univ., Nebraska
MRS. KATHRYN JONES
Mrs. Kathy Jones has served for three years as principal and part-time middle school teacher at TLO. Previously, she served three Lutheran schools in Texas, Minnesota, and North Dakota.
Years of experience: 33
Education: B.A. in Elementary Education, School Music- Concordia Univ., St. Paul;
M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction- University of Minnesota;
LCMS School Leadership Project Certificate
All School Field Day
Feed My Starving Children
Lutheran Schools Week
Small Business Day
The religion curriculum used in middle school thoroughly examines stories of the Old and New Testaments. The students are shown the connections between God’s promises in these stories and their fulfillment through Christ. Within the contexts of the lessons, students are taught key concepts of faith such as Law and Gospel, fruits of the Spirit, confession, repentance, forgiveness, and grace. The students are encouraged to put these concepts into action in their lives.
Students in upper middle school grades study the faith tenets of the Lutheran Church and their bases in Scripture through a study of Luther’s Small Catechism. This subject allows children of church member families to fulfill their Confirmation requirement and is a focused theology class for non-members. These students also study church architecture, modern heroes of the faith, and biblical archeology. They complete research projects from in-depth studies of biblical characters or books. Every other year, students study the Peacemakers curriculum, based off of the conflict resolution concepts presented in Matthew 14.
Through a planned memory program, all students learn selected Scripture verses and portions of Luther’s Small Catechism. The overall goal of the program is to develop students who can defend their faith and actively and confidently share the Gospel with those around them through word or deed.
Students practice critical analysis by means of reading and analyzing texts in a variety of forms, styles, and genres. Students practice making connections and comparisons between texts, themselves, and the world around them. Selections are read and discussed in a variety of ways: as a whole class, small groups, in pairs, and individually. The reading program also includes several novels that are read over the course of the year.
Language and Writing
Through exercise and use of grammatical skills in daily assignments, students practice the mechanics of writing such as the parts of speech and punctuation. Students use these skills as they engage in various types of writing. Seventh and eighth graders also learn research and citation methods through the completion of a formal research paper.
Students continue to practice spelling concepts and patterns in conjunction with their literature units.
The curriculum provides opportunities for the students to explore various scientific concepts. By the end of their middle school career, students will have studied biology, chemistry, physics, and earth science/astronomy. Hands-on experiments and demonstrations are key components of the curriculum. Students make use of the School Forest to study concepts relating to biology and the earth. In alternating years, students complete a Science Fair project using the inquiry method of investigation and a STEM project. At TLO, biblical concepts and science go hand-in-hand. We look upon our Creator as the master Scientist who has created a world full of mysteries for us to explore and about which to theorize. We study all scientific theories - both biblical and secular - but promote Scripture as the ultimate Truth. On occasion, middle school students will partner with a lower grade to carry out a cross-class lab experiment.
Students at TLO are placed in a math class that is appropriate for their ability level. In the 8th grade at TLO the majority of the students take Algebra I although some take pre-algebra or geometry . Each student is assessed for their level of math comprehension. Placement is based on the previous year’s math level, final grade in the level, achievement test math scores and assessment tests. Students taking Geometry are co-enrolled with Genesis online high school so they can receive high school credit in eighth grade.
Throughout their middle school career, students will study U.S. history, MN history/government, World Geography and Cultures, and Ancient Civilizations. Through a variety of activities, skills are developed in interpreting and using maps, charts, and timelines. Students learn about other cultures and faiths and work to be discerning consumers of media agents. Students practice study skills and group skills. As we study the course of humanity and all its endeavors, our focus is on identifying God’s hand in all human events. We view the scope of humanity through biblical glasses.
Students participate in physical education four days a week. The fifth class period is a health education class. The focus in physical education is on developing skills for a variety of sports and activities. The sports related emphasis includes both individual and team sports. Sports and activities include soccer, cross country running, flag football, flying disc activities and games, basketball, rope jumping, tumbling, stunts, combatives, floor hockey, team handball, volleyball, softball, track and field, and health related fitness activities.
The church and school own a parcel of land next to the playground that has been designated by Minnesota's DNR (Department of Natural Resources) as a School Forest. Students use the space in every season for any subject area. In any given week, one might find pre-algebra students using proportions to measure tree height, first graders examining and identifying leaves, fourth graders writing creatively about the sounds of autumn, or eighth graders conducting biological plot studies. Chapel services are also conducted in the forest in the worship area created by a student as an Eagle Scout project.
Students have the opportunity to use Chromebooks in middle school. Primarily using Google Apps for Education, they develop computer literacy, program procedures, and word processing skills. The computer program gives students a familiarity with computers and a solid knowledge base on which to build. Internet safety and media literacy are key objectives.
Grade 5-8 choir meets for two 40 minute periods a week. The students are also divided into four parts through voice checks conducted at the beginning of the year. This choir studies technically challenging pieces while singing in foreign languages, three or four parts, and learning to express the meaning of the music through performance. They lead an extensive musical biannually and continue to further their studies of world music, pop music, hymns, and compositions during the years in between. This choir sings for church services as well as the Christmas and Spring Concerts.
Additionally, students in Grades 7-8 are involved in a handbell choir ensemble group. This group meets for two 40 minute periods a week, learning to read music and a variety of rhythm patterns and bell-playing techniques, including the use of mallets. They also understand and demonstrate proper care and handling of the bells. Students learn sacred and secular music selections that are played for worship services and Christmas and Spring Concerts.
Students in Grades 5-8 also have the option of being involved in a yearlong band program. This group meets once a weeks for full rehearsal. Students also attend a private or group lesson during the week. Musical concepts covered throughout the year include clear tone production, rhythmic accuracy, notation, musical expression, and tonal balance. Students learn sacred and secular pieces, which are performed at Grandparents’ Day, the Christmas Concert, pep band, worship services, and the Spring Concert.
In art, the students are exposed to and experiment with a wide range of art media and techniques. Art becomes a way to explore their creativity. The students will be introduced to various forms of art including painting, collage, drawing, sculpture, and design. Each project presents a new opportunity to develop creative and artistic abilities, leaving the students with a sense of accomplishment and pride. At the same time, students learn the names and techniques of famous artists (modern and classical) from around the world.