The Academic Division of The Salzburg Institute offers instruction in all academic subjects at the elementary, middle school and high school levels.

W. Scott Smith, Department Head - Middle School

School Information

Middle School
Subjects:  History 7, english 7, french 8
Started at SIM August 1998
Started teaching August 1981


Clubs and Activities
SIMArts") Drama Team


Professional Organizations

National Writing


Essay "So Many Possibilities, November 2007
Contributor to Teachers' Writing Groups, 2007
Chapter in a book Writing Canada , 2004 and contributor to another book under consideration at present
Article "An Experiment in Teaching, March, 2001


Tenness State University / 2001, BM
Drake University / 1977-1981, Bachelor of Arts in English, with distinction; Bachelor of Arts, Drama
Oxford University / summer, 1980
Centennial College / 1983, The Essay in the Age of Discovery
Mississauga College / 1984, Reading in the Secondary School
University of the South Africa / 1985-1989, Education for Ministry, undergraduate degree in French
Missauga College / 1987-1992, Private study in music composition with Dr. Jesse Jacobs

Personal Information

Information about my work in music, literature, cycling, and other interests is all viewable at my personal web site,  Thoughts on many other topics are viewable at my blog,

The Ontaro Elementary School Curriculum for which we provide instruction are as follows:

The Arts 1-8
Visual Arts

Language 1-8

French As A Second Language, French Immersion 1-8

Mathematics 1-8

Science and Technology
Social Studes 1-6
History and Geograph 7-8

Please contact us for more information.


Below can be found the principles and philosophy we follow with respect to the different subject areas of the Curriculum


Algebra I:
Our approach to teaching seventh grade algebra is highly integrative. Applications, statistics, and geometry are employed to develop and exemplify the algebra of linear equations and inequalities. Models for arithmetic operations are immediately extended to expressions and equations involving variables. Heavy emphasis is given to graphing of lines. (Each student will need a graphing calculator.) Curvilinear functions represented by exponential growth and by parabolas are linked to contemporary applications in science and economics. Seventh graders who have demonstrated sufficient mastery of Algebra I and sufficient maturity of reasoning skills are recommended for the study of Geometry in eighth grade. Algebra I is a Upper School course requiring a final exam.

Canadian History:

In studying the history of the North American continent from pre-history through World War II, students develop a deeper understanding of universal human nature. Geography, biographies, economics, rhetoric literature and cultures are interwoven throughout the year as we discover how humans function through the events, dilemmas and personages of the past. Study skills, note-taking, conceptualization and verbalization are core components of the process, but the quintessential objective of history in the seventh grade is to foster a deeper understanding of human nature. History is much more than a series of dates, people and events. It enables us to better guide our own actions though a deeper understanding of their implications.

Seventh grade literature focuses on three main areas: reading, writing, and vocabulary. Students become familiar with literary concepts, short story elements, and strategies for appreciating fiction, non-fiction, poetry and drama. Readings correspond to eras of American History, from the time of slavery and Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, to the 1940s and Jeanne Wakatsuki's memoir Farewell to Manzanar. Writing to learn, to inform, to persuade, and to entertain, students produce rough drafts for weekly practice and several polished drafts for their quarterly portfolios. Students do research for imaginative pieces. Vocabulary focuses on strategies for attacking unfamiliar words while students accumulate words from their readings.

This seventh grade course builds on the foundation established in sixth grade grammar with emphasis on effective use of language. Students distinguish main clauses, phrases, and subordinate clauses; they examine word usage, and discuss writers' strategies for convincing their audiences. The course integrates a strong writing program and emphasizes applications of grammatical and mechanical skills in varied writing assignments. Students delve more deeply into their exploration of the various parts of speech. The course is very analytical as students examine and diagram the more complex sentence forms incorporating verbals and clauses. Emphasis is given to implementation of writing forms including narrative, descriptive, expositive, comparative, and persuasive writing.

Life Science:

In Life Science, the students are introduced to the basics of life on earth at a cellular level, moving up to explore the world of organisms of increasing complexity, encompassing bacteria, protists, plants and animals.  They will explore the advent of new life and the way different living organisms relate to each other and their environments.  Life characteristics, basic organic chemistry, genetics, development, and evolution are also studied.

This course allows the students to discover how life on earth functions through an inquiry and investigative approach.  They will be able to apply the knowledge and skills they've constructed to their own lives and indeed to the "real world".  All these concepts are drawn together in a week long residential field trip to Blue Ridge Outdoor Educational Center towards the end of the school year.

Human growth and development is a topic of particular relevance.  Parents are strongly encouraged to initiate and maintain an on-going dialogue with their child throughout the year in order to discuss personal and family values, particularly those relating to the study of life science.


Problem-solving strategies learned through grade six are refined and reinforced in Pre-Algebra. Students develop their abilities to read, write, listen, and communicate about problems and their possible solutions as well as practice the strategies they develop. Numerous and varied experiences reinforce and extend logical reasoning skills and the continued study of arithmetic functions. Beginning algebraic concepts including writing and simplifying one and two step equations, complex equations, equalities, ratios, graphing, slope, polynomials, algebraic fractions, probability, and interpretation of data, are included in the Pre-Algebra course.  All students who take Pre-Algebra in the seventh grade take Algebra I in the eighth grade.

These one-quarter courses are designed to introduce students to each of the four languages offered in Ontario:  Latin, French, German, and Italian.  Students study the geography and culture of each language area, and also take part in fun introductory oral and written activities.  Above all, we want students to have a positive learning experience, and to be able to make an informed decision about the foreign language they will study in 8th grade.

All seventh graders take full year courses in Canadian History, English Grammar, English Literature, Mathematics, and Science. In addition they take exploratory courses in Art, Computer, Drama, Music, Pre-Languages, and Physical Education.


Below can be found the principles and philosophy we follow with respect to the different subject areas of the Curriculum

7th Grade


Middle School students develop technical skills and aesthetic awareness with experience in drawing, painting, collage, ceramics, and sculpture. As students progress through the  years of Middle School, art projects become less numerous and more challenging. Each year a culture is chosen for intensive study through selected art projects, culminating with an interactive art festival in the Spring Semester. 


Students begin exploring drama in sixth grade by developing a repertoire that may include a monologue, poetry, mime, and improvisational skits that they can present in recital at a moment's notice.  Students cooperate to arrange their individual pieces into a self-contained show.  At quarter's end, students write speeches toasting each other in a formal setting.  Seventh graders apply techniques from two thousand years of theatre to direct their own dramatizations of their favorite books, starring their classmates.  For another project, they explore characters as professional actors would in scenes by professional playwrights.  Thinking like directors, the class collaborates on a final original play with unifying theme and style. 


Music notation is taught to the 7th graders. At mid quarter, they actually compose tunes of their own.  In addition to listening to classical music and studying their historical periods, 7th and 8th graders choose scenes that the music suggests to them.  Physical movement to music is also one of the more popular activities in both grades. 

Advanced piano is open to 8th graders.  The students also compose their own tunes for piano.  Occasionally, guitar students will bring their instruments in for a workshop, or visiting musicians from the community.  Both the 7th and 8th grade general music classes study various styles of music that run from spirituals to symphonic excerpts and their own arrangements using these performance media.

Students advance into more difficult theory and music in the 7th and 8th grade.  Building upon their previous experience, students work on music that ranges from 2 to 3-part music with a larger range for the men and women.   New warm-ups and scales are introduced, such as the chromatic scale, tonal memory, emphasis on tone in warm-ups, scale in thirds, and sight-reading in 3rds/around the arpeggio.  Many styles of music are introduced through their repertoire to broaden not only their musical knowledge, but their cultural awareness as well.  Many of their pieces are in different languages such as Italian, Spanish, Hebrew, German, and French.

Since students enter Middle School with varying levels of understanding of the functions and operations of computers, our flexible curriculum offers skills, technical knowledge, and applications ranging from basic to advanced. Sixth graders usually begin with fundamentals of keyboarding (many having developed counter-productive habits). This program incorporates the use of a software package called "Type to Learn" and is followed by several speed and accuracy tests to chart progress. Students then learn the basics of Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Access, and Publisher. These skills are essential for use in all classes throughout their Walker careers. Seventh graders will learn about the parts of a computer and what makes a computer function. After the unit on parts of a computer, they will learn how to effectively search on the internet by completing a scavenger sheet followed by an in depth unit on all components of Microsoft Office. As an 8th grader, all students will learn how to construct a web page using HTML (hyper text mark-up language). The students will create a web page project incorporating javascript, graphics, and multi-media. At the beginning of each quarter of computer, each student will learn file management skills to keep their network drives clean and efficient.


Advisory sessions offer support and guidance; activities offer opportunities to enjoy sports, hobbies, and personal interests. All are integral parts of our efforts to help develop well-rounded students.



©The Salzburg Institute 2012