Grade 7

Curriculum

English

In English, we focus on reading, writing and critical thinking. As students actively read books, they recognize the importance of historical context to setting, plot and characterization. Literary elements and identification of theme form the basis of class discussions, Socratic seminars and literary essays. Poetry and other forms of creative writing round out our writing program. Grammatical instruction focuses on sentence structure and style. Vocabulary study is drawn from the class literature and augmented by a vocabulary text.

History

Students examine several significant periods of European and Western Hemisphere history. The course also surveys exploration and colonization of the new world, specifically European contact with indigenous peoples of the Americas. Throughout the course, students will develop research skills, active reading strategies, note taking from assigned readings and from lecture, organization of materials, persuasive and expository essay writing, discussions and debates.

Math

The 7th grade math program blends topics from Math in Focus Course 2 and Course 3 to provide students with a solid grounding in Pre-Algebra and Geometry. Topics include operations with integers and real numbers, algebraic equations and inequalities, exponent properties and operations, introduction to slope and lines, topics in 2-D and 3-D geometry including the Pythagorean theorem, and basic probability and statistics. Emphasis on intensive problem solving prepares our students for standardized testing and our rigorous Algebra 1 course in 8th grade.

Science

Students build on the experiences and practices of sixth grade by continuing to observe the world around them. By following the steps in the scientific method as an overarching theme and furthering their learning on how to set up the experimental variables, students will uncover an array of new possibilities. Starting with the cell and the human body systems, we will then explore how matter and energy are cycled in an ecosystem, how living and nonliving things affect one another, and how the distribution of natural resources is the result of geological processes. Students will then continue to recognize how human activity impacts Earth’s systems. Projects include the engineering and of wind turbines as they investigate the concepts behind electricity and magnetism.

World Language

Students continue to enhance their speaking, listening, reading, writing and culture awareness skills in the target language and acquire basic grammar concepts. Extensive and frequent peer interaction in the target language is central to the curriculum.

Latin

The Latin curriculum is designed to give students a thorough grounding in fundamental Latin grammar. Special care is taken to develop reading and translation skills. Significant time is devoted to the modeling and acquisition of orderly, well-disciplined thought processes and effective study skills. Students translate passages adapted from Virgil’s Aeneid, which develop in their grammatical and syntactical complexity and reinforce key grammatical concepts.

Drama

Students focus on character development and tools for the actor. They begin by learning how to find clues in the text about their characters and how to create a character from different body postures. Students will practice writing in the voice of their characters and perform both improvised and scripted scenes as their characters. Students focus on character development in 7th grade drama. They will learn how to find and interpret clues in a script and practice writing scripts and monologues in the voice of their character. Students will develop both original characters as well as characters found in a script, and will perform as their characters in both improvised and rehearsed scenes throughout the term.

Music

The seventh grade curriculum builds upon the sixth grade curriculum and introduces students to the idea of improvisation. Students work on creating covers of songs, this time adding extended improvised solos in the middle. As part of the creative process, students study the history of improvisation from its origins during the Baroque through the 1900s in jazz. In addition to learning about the performance and historical sides of music, students are introduced to the engineering side. Students learn about microphones and microphone placement and are introduced to the basics of mixing and editing their song.

Visual Arts

In the seventh grade visual arts program, emphasis is placed on balancing fundamental skill development, individual creativity and hands-on experience with a wide variety of materials and techniques aimed at opening as many creative and inspirational doors as possible. Students transition to working with 3-D form in the context of ceramics. With their first project, students are introduced to the creation and application of texture as a means of enriching three-dimensional surfaces. Building on that experience, students learn the basic hand-building techniques involved in creating slab-based constructions as well as hollow-formed work. All students’ finished work will be showcased in the annual art show.

Speech Communications

Speech communications emphasize research, composition and delivery of interpretive, informative, demonstrative and persuasive speeches. Students learn skills essential to effective public speaking such as articulation, vocal modulation, rate of delivery, gestures, physicality, posture and bodily movement. In addition, students learn to act as critics of their fellow students’ presentations. Students will deliver several speeches individually but will also interact in group situations to develop television news broadcasts or Infomercials for presentation.

Physical Education

The goal of the curriculum is to develop versatile movers with the confidence to learn new skills and the desire to engage in physical pursuits on a lifelong basis. The three areas of focus include lifetime fitness and activities, traditional sports and an outdoor challenge course unit. Students are encouraged to take more responsibility for their own personal fitness and manage their own games and activities. Some of the activities include team handball, soccer, basketball, volleyball, floor hockey, pickleball, and the climbing tower.