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

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.

8th Grade:

Algebra I:
Eighth grade Algebra I is essentially the same as seventh grade Algebra. Teachers seek to conduct their classes with regard to the maturity level and learning needs of their students. Students make connections between traditional abstract concepts and their applications to the real world. Emphasis is placed on reading and writing as well as calculating mathematics problems in a wide variety of applications. This course incorporates visual and manipulative aids as well as technology such as graphing calculators and computers.

Honors Algebra:
The advanced algebra course is designed for students that have already been introduced to first year algebra.  There are two main goals for this class.  First, the class serves as a comprehensive background check for all algebra skills and essential concepts.  With the varied applications and honors-level skill development, students are required to grow their abilities horizontally, using their complete understanding of algebraic thinking to broaden their scope of problem solving and continue their development to confidently address the abstract ideas in mathematics.  Cumulative assessments are taken weekly to ensure skill mastery and proper application.  Secondly, the course is designed for students to take the major themes of algebra 1 and carry them forward into geometry and algebra II.  Students will experience the natural extensions of their algebra learning in systems, quadratics, rational expressions, exponential functions, etc. into some major areas of higher level mathematics.

Algebra II:

A fast-paced course in which students who have mastered the skills developed in Algebra I use those skills as a springboard in a rigorous setting.  Topics include factoring and solving 3rd degree and higher polynomials, matrices, logarithms and trigonometry.

English Literature:
The theme of eighth grade literature is "The Journey". This theme resonates with adolescents who are engrossed in their own journeys, both literal and figurative. Students read about characters who actually travel to another place and/or journey from the world of the adolescent to that of the adult. Euripides' Iphigenia explores the world of the Greeks and an adolescent's role in serving her country. Students also read Great Expectations by Charles Dickens to explore the writing style of the 19th century and to compare that style to the style of the 20th century's A Separate Peace. Reading both of these novels also reminds the students and teachers that the journey to adulthood was difficult in the mid-1800s, in ways at once similar and different from the journey made by adolescents today. Sandra Cisneros' House on Mango Street explores the theme of "fitting in", a theme with which all eighth graders can identify. Students read The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare's exploration of young love, which teaches the students how to enjoy his rich language. Short story selections from the Little Worlds textbook acquaint students with first person narrative tales which reflect the difficulties in the task of growing up and learning to live in an imperfect adult world. Poetry selections are rich and varied and cover Shakespeare's sonnets to 20th century free verse. Eighth graders analyze writing styles of many authors and seek their own styles and voices in writing.


Eighth Grade Project:
Students need not only to learn how to conduct research, but also effectively communicate those ideas in visual and written forms using traditional and modern media. The Eighth Grade Project will serve as the culminating Project for all of our 8th grade students, affording them the opportunity to acquire and apply skills from a variety of disciplines into a single project. Much more than a traditional research paper, it would not only integrate diverse disciplines, but also introduce students to a wide variety of presentation and collaboration skills and technologies.

Students will participate in a number of hands-on skills workshops over the first quarter, followed by a selection of their final project in which they employ their newly learned skills, some optional and some mandatory, depending on their topic and target audience. By the end of the first quarter, many students will have identified personal strengths which they can then leverage during the final project. While the first quarter was structured around workshops, the second quarter will focus primarily on planning and carrying out the main project by implementing many of the workshop skills.

Five elements are required in the final project: a written component, a video component, a publishing component, a presentation, and a written validation and reflection.

Canadian Civics:

During the first quarter, eighth graders complete their study of Canadian History in the post World War II era, bringing them up to modern day America. The rest of the year is spent studying the Canadian government including: the foundations, importance, and meaning of our Constitution; the rights and responsibilities of citizenship; political parties and interest groups; the election process; and the functions and powers of the different branches of our national government.  Current events and topical issues are addressed during the course of the year.

French I:

Students are introduced to the Francophone language and culture. The skills of listening, reading and writing are integrated by extensive use of visual aids, videos, games, activities, and frequent practice in the language laboratory. During the fist year, students learn to master the basic structure of French grammar. Students are immersed in the language.



The four language skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing are interwoven throughout the German I course. There is great emphasis on oral communication. Through classroom immersion in the language and an integrated video program, students are introduced to the language and culture of the German-speaking world. German grammar is largely learned in context and as German is based on a case system, it can often reinforce the understanding of English grammar also. By the end of the German 1 course, students are able to communicate effectively in spoken and written German and have a firm foundation on which to base their continued study.

Physical Science:
Physical Science is a broad survey science course covering the general categories of matter and energy.  Matter topics introduced and developed include solids, liquids, gases, atomic structure, elements, the periodic table, mixtures, compounds, and chemical reactions.  Energy topics introduced and developed include motion, work, power, simple machines, electricity, magnetism, heat, sound, and light. Laboratory investigations play a primary role in the study of physical science in the eighth grade. 


All eighth graders take full year courses in Canadian Civics, English, Literature, Mathematics, Science, and a foreign language of their choice. In addition, they take a one semester course in English Grammar, Computer, Drama, Music and Physical Education.



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