English 1 (Survey of Literature)
This course initiates students into the English program. The course includes writing, literature, and oral communication, with a strong emphasis on critical thinking. Writing is process-based, moving students from writing about close observation of detail and personal experience to writing about ideas. The major emphasis evolves from self-observation to observation and analysis of the ways in which people interact with each other. Students are introduced to critical thinking and editing skills. Vocabulary development and mechanics and grammar are taught in the context of reading and writing assignments. Research and library skills are introduced and practiced in multiple contexts. The literature includes core works in the major genres: short stories, poems, novels, plays and nonfiction. Oral language activities are designed to sharpen the students' facility with language in group activities, classroom discussion, oral readings, and formal presentations.
Concepts covered in Algebra 1 include translating problems into equations, solving equations in one-variable, polynomials, factoring polynomials, solving quadratics, applying complex fractions, functions, systems of equations, inequalities, and quadratic functions. A wide variety of applications are introduced when appropriate. Semester projects include using primary and secondary waves and triangulation to locate earthquake epicenters and using systems of inequalities to solve linear programming problems. Students who have completed Algebra 1 will be enrolled in the appropriate higher level math course.
This full year course focuses on the profound role that geography plays in shaping our world. Students analyze the relationship between physical and human geography through the study of demography, cartography, history, and modern cultural phenomena of the major global regions, including North and South America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. They discover the links between regions in addition to the characteristics that make them culturally and physically unique. The class is conducted in seminar format. Key skills emphasized include writing, oral presentation and the research process. The curriculum and assessments are designed to prepare students for higher-level social science and history courses.
Biology is a laboratory-based course designed to provide an introduction to the life sciences as well as a background for advanced studies in the sciences. There is a strong effort to make the material as relevant to the students' lives as possible and allow students to participate in hands-on learning; frequent field studies are included to various locations in the Bay Area. The course is divided into major conceptual units that are designed to provide the students with an overview of contemporary biosocial issues as they relate to the course content. The students follow a series of interrelated themes as they wind their way through the course. In addition to tests and lab reports, students write reaction papers about the issues discussed in class. Students also submit a project for the school's science fair.
In Biology Honors there is a major emphasis on cellular and molecular biology. Significant course time is also spent on current research in DNA and genetic engineering. Lab work is an intrinsic part of the curriculum, as well as the application of research techniques to current issues. Students study experimental design. Writing includes lab reports and reaction papers about bioethical issues discussed in class. Students also submit a project for the school's science fair.
This full-year, skills-based course is designed to provide an introduction to the life sciences and open students’ eyes to the living world. The class is specifically designed to be interactive and hands-on, aiding in making the content as relatable to the students' lives as possible. This course covers a variety of topics, including cellular biology, genetics, evolution, ecology, and human reproduction. The course promotes thinking about content in a new light through problem solving, a process that encourages curiosity, careful inquiry and critical thinking. In addition to tests and lab reports, students will work on group projects, oral presentations and will also submit a project for the school's science fair. The fundamental skills acquired in this course are designed to prepare students in areas besides science, such as reading, writing, organization, and time management.
Spanish 1 is the language course in which students learn the basics of speaking, listening, reading and writing in Spanish. Students practice speaking and listening skills intensively in class and complete regular writing and reading assignments outside of class. This first year includes vocabulary for everyday existence in a Spanish-speaking culture, basic grammar including agreement, and forming and answering questions. Students learn the conjugations of regular, irregular, and stem changing verbs and the present progressive. Students enrolling at TMS will be placed according to their previously completed language study.
Strategies for Success
At its heart, Strategies for Success is an introduction to the values of The Marin School and an opportunity for the incoming class to develop their academic and community-building skills. In this class 9th grade students develop an awareness that their education and happiness for the next four years are in their hands. We encourage students to take control of their education and to become active participants in their learning process. We focus on organizational and study skills as well as time management skills. Students will develop listening and note taking skills and also be introduced to high school level library and research skills. Strategies for Success is also an opportunity for the 9th grade class to build connections within their peer group and to have a regular forum for discussion of their academic concerns.
Visual and Performing Arts
All 9th graders are required to enroll in a visual or performing arts class. Possibilities include Basic Art and Design, Drama 1, and Jazz Band. See Visual and Performing Arts Curriculum for descriptions of arts courses.
TMS has an alternative P.E. program. Students receive credit for participating in TMS sports and activities such as basketball or yoga but are also allowed credit for participating in an organized physical activity outside of school. This may include gymnastics, swimming, community sports, and so on. The program must be approved by the school, and the required number of hours verified by the end of each semester.