Seventh Grade

 

Language Arts

In Junior High, the focus of the language arts curriculum becomes literary analysis and effective communication through the application of writing, vocabulary, and grammar. Students analyze various genres including poetry, drama, short stories, and novels and analyze these selections through a variety of lenses. Students learn to identify the task, purpose, and audience for each writing assignment and are able to understand and explain the six traits of writing which in turn strengthens their communication skills. A robust research curriculum provides instruction and scaffolding necessary for students to use research ethically and to write a well structured research paper with proper citation. 

Language arts classes in junior high feature year-long studies in vocabulary, grammar, and writing while students move to a different teacher each trimester to participate in concentrated literature units.

Vocab and Grammar
Students work through Level B of the Sadlier Vocabulary Workshop series. This text offers a high level of academic rigor, developed for high-achieving, college-bound students. It introduces vocabulary in context and provides practice in close reading of informational texts and with writing prompts. Students’ word knowledge is built through the use of a lesson plan design that blends print with robust online components. Students are well-prepared for vocabulary standardized testing experiences.

In addition to the normal text, once each trimester students learn even more challenging vocabulary and practice analyzing the relationships between words by learning new words and deciphering analogies in preparation for nationwide "WordMaster" contests. 

Our excellent grammar and writing series, Pearson's Writing Coach, is available via e-book on students' iPad devices. The text is used to support our rigorous grammar curriculum and to teach usage and mechanics in the context of writing.  

Literature and Writing
Our writing curriculum is grounded in the English Language Arts Common Core and involves various forms of expository and creative writing from cross-curricular research papers to compare-contrast essays to literature responses to personal narratives and opinion pieces. We spend about one month focusing on each of the six writing traits (ideas, organization, etc.) and then combine them and use them as standards for writing rubrics once students are comfortable with each facet. 

In the Short Story unit, students will read selections such as "My Name", "War of the Wall", "Seventh Grade", and "The Gift of the Maji". After reading the short piece "My Name" by Sanda Cisneros, students spend time contemplating the meaning behind their own names. They research the meaning and origin of their names, talk with parents about how their names were chosen, and reflect on how their names fit their personalities. Following "War of the Wall,"  students complete the Wall of Respect project in which they design a mural in honor of someone whom they admire. Students explore the elements of plot, theme, and mood as they move through each short story. 

Students become a part of the hard times of the deep south during the Great Depression unit through their reading of Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry (1976) by Mildred Taylor. They follow the story of a young family from Mississippi who are powerfully connected to their land which becomes threatened by racism and financial hardship.

 In the mythology unit, seventh graders travel back in time...WAY back in time to before our planets had names. Before Mars was well (you will have to find that out). Students explore the powerful and the incredible, stories behind the way our world runs (in the eyes of Greeks and Romans). From the Thunderbolt of Zeus himself, they will learn the most exciting and prominent stories from Greek Mythology. We then complete projects comparing the stories of Greek Gods with myths of our own!

Based on the famed Scopes "Monkey" trial, Inherit the Wind by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee gives students an opportunity to participate in the dramatic interpretation of an actual event in our country's history. In other words, we really ham it up in this unit! Students examine the topics of Creationism and Darwinism and reflect on their own beliefs. Through literature discussions, we examine themes such as the right to think and the importance of standing up for your beliefs; all are topics that lead to great expository and persuasive writing pieces!

The Giver by Lois Lowry is a seventh grade favorite. Students explore the idea of utopias and dystopias and then create their own unique societies, identifying the elements of setting in their new civilizations and discussing how to make their own society a better, more utopian, one.  

Math

Seventh grade students are placed in small math groupings for course work in either Course 2 or Course 3 of the Holt McDougal Math Series. All students participate in a variety of challenging activities to stretch their mathematical skills, thinking, and application of concepts, as well as practice with higher level problem-solving and test-taking experiences. 

Course 2 Key Concepts: Number Sense, Patterns, Algebraic Thinking, Decimal Operations, Data and Statistics, Number Patterns and Fractions, Fraction Operations, Integers, Equations, Inequalities, Functions, Ratios and Proportions, Percents, Geometric Figures, Measurement and Area, Surface Area and Volume, Probability

Course 3 Key Concepts: Number Sense, Patterns, Algebraic Thinking, Integer Operations, Solving Equations and Inequalities, Factors, Fracations, Exponents, Rational Number Operations, Multi-Step Equations and Inequalities, Ratio, Proportions, and Percent, Polygons and Transformations, Real Numbers and Right Triangles, Measurement, Area, and Volume, Linear Equations and Graphing, Data Analysis and Probability, Polynomials and Functions 

Religion

This year, students study the life and impact of Jesus Christ. First, they develop a deeper understanding of who Jesus is and will desire to follow him. They explore Jesus as: Son of God, Son of Man, Messiah, Nazarene, Son of Mary and Joseph, Christ, Master, and Savior.

Next, they find out what it means to follow Jesus in daily life by studying his parables and miracles. Students look closely at Jesus in his roles as Healer, Teacher, Light of the World, King, and Sacred Heart.

Finally, students gain a greater appreciation of the life Jesus won for us by his death and resurrection. They examine Jesus as a Prophet, Suffering Servant, Bread of Life, Lamb of God, Risen Lord, Head of Church, and Emmanuel.  

Through personal reflection and class discussions and activities, students discover how Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the light.  

Science

Students will begin the year with an analysis of their science fair data collected from experimentation over the summer. Science, Math, and LA teachers will help students understand the results from their science fair experiment and prepare them for our annual Science Fair.

Science classes open with a look at the microscopic world of cells.  Students will study the relationship between the structure and function of cell parts, and explore the concepts of heredity and genetics.  We will explore this content by gaining knowledge from textbooks, online resources and hands-on laboratory experiences.  To facilitate global awareness and promote sustainability, students will explore the current modern extinction of species while connecting how our own daily choices of food consumption, etc. has an impact globally. 

Science classes in the second trimester look deeper into DNA and genetics. We will explore how all life is connected and how species differ yet relate to one another on a genetic level.  Students will explore the science of biotechnology and will use DNA fingerprinting to solve a crime through gel electrophoresis lab analysis.  We will also lean about genetically modified organisms and discuss ethical dilemmas associated with using biotechnology.

As we work our way to a macroscopic look at how cells work together, science classes will focus on the human body systems in the third trimester. After studying how the skeletal and muscular systems work together, students will participate in a service learning project to design a 3D printed prosthetic hand and task specific tool hand attachment to be matched with a recipient in need.

Social Studies

Students begin their two-year historical journey using the History Alive series to understand the United States from its beginnings through present day.  In seventh grade, students cover the following events: Our Colonial Heritage, Revolution in the Colonies, and Forming a New Nation. Essential questions are used to focus student learning and reading is paired with engaging, instructional images, and creative, hands-on activites in the Interactive Notebook.

Spanish

This course serves as an intermediate level to understanding, speaking, reading, and writing of the target language Spanish. Each class will feature a diverse mixture of activities designed to introduce, review, and expand material. Class activities such as songs, role-plays, games, movement, cooperative learning, and many more will help simulate real-life situations using the target language.

Students are able to express preferences and likes, express necessity, express actions, and describe and value things throughout Unidad 4: Perú (Unit 4). Students are also able to talk about the body and the senses, express daily routine, express physical conditions, and give commands throughout Unidad 5: España. Students demonstrate familiarity with selected aspects of Hispanic cultures through videos, images, music, and written documents. Español, Santillana 1B and 1A are the textbooks of reference this year. ¡Será un buen año!