7th Grade Courses

The following courses are available to seventh graders.

Chinese A

This introductory course exposes students to Chinese through comprehensible input, including oral, written, and visual storytelling. The input-based approach to acquiring language focuses on the instruction of vocabulary in a highly contextualized manner. By keeping the conversation/story engaging and compelling, the learner is distracted from consciously trying to memorize vocabulary. Class time centers around developing fluency and students are encouraged to use their language skills wholistically. Emphasis is placed on fluency over precision, with a focus on students being comfortable communicating in simple sentences in Chinese.

Chinese B

A continuation of Chinese A, in Chinese B students continue to develop their fluency in the language. This course exposes students to Chinese through comprehensible input, including oral, written, and visual storytelling. The input-based approach to acquiring language focuses on the instruction of vocabulary in a highly contextualized manner. By keeping the conversation/story engaging and compelling, the learner is distracted from consciously trying to memorize vocabulary. Class time centers around developing fluency and students are encouraged to use their language skills wholistically. Emphasis is placed on fluency over precision, with a focus on students being comfortable communicating in more detail in Chinese.

English 7

Why are there stories? What makes a story? How are stories told? What is our story? These essential questions guide our reading, writing, and discussion in seventh grade English. Considering the essential elements of a story leads to an exploration of the many different ways stories are told: from spoken word through literature, poetry, drama, art and song, into more modern modes like newspapers, movies, and animation. In concert with the history curriculum, we investigate the struggle to insure rights for all citizens by largely focusing on fictional accounts highlighting the time period between 1850 and 1940. We study the tactics of great readers, learning to be aware of our thought processes while we read, developing strategies to better understand a given text. We focus on the iterative writing process and supporting our ideas with adequate details while extending the depth and quality of our work. Creative problem solving, empathy, effort and collaboration are our cornerstones and are always honored.

Possible texts: To Kill a Mockingbird by Lee, Witness by Karen Hesse, Of Mice and Men by Steinbeck, and A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

French A

This introductory course exposes students to French through comprehensible input, including oral, written, and visual storytelling. The input-based approach to acquiring language focuses on the instruction of vocabulary in a highly contextualized manner. By keeping the conversation/story engaging and compelling, the learner is distracted from consciously trying to memorize vocabulary. Class time centers around developing fluency and students are encouraged to use their language skills wholistically. Emphasis is placed on fluency over precision, with a focus on students being comfortable communicating in simple sentences in French.

French B

A continuation of French A, in French B students continue to develop their fluency in the language. This course exposes students to French through comprehensible input, including oral, written, and visual storytelling. The input-based approach to acquiring language focuses on the instruction of vocabulary in a highly contextualized manner. By keeping the conversation/story engaging and compelling, the learner is distracted from consciously trying to memorize vocabulary. Class time centers around developing fluency and students are encouraged to use their language skills wholistically. Emphasis is placed on fluency over precision, with a focus on students being comfortable communicating in more detail in French.

History 7 - Evolution of Democracy: Voices of the People, Perspectives, Identity and Struggles

All kinds of people have sought to shape the course of United States history.  Using a thematic approach, this 7th grade course will focus on U.S. history from the viewpoint of those who receive little attention in history books, such as slaves, women, the poor, the disenfranchised, American Indians, immigrants, and workers.  The curriculum will examine the interactions and roles everyday people have had in shaping the history of the United States, and explore the conflicts arising from a young country’s search for identity domestically and internationally, and the struggles to create a country fully invested in justice and equality for all.  The objectives of the course are to engage students in critically thinking about the identity of the United States as a nation, to present various perspectives on history and to highlight the historical struggle for justice that the country has gone through, and still fights for today.

Math 7 - Pre-Algebra

In this course, students further explore pre-algebra concepts. Students will work with ratios and proportions, exponents and solving equations with decimals and fractions. Students are also introduced to inequalities. Classroom activities enable students to work both individually and in small groups. While gaining confidence in their own abilities, students can also exchange ideas and improve their communication, problem solving, and reasoning skills. Computer software, projects, calculators, games, and hands-on activities support the curriculum. Emphasis is also placed on expressing mathematical ideas and connections in both verbal and written form.

All students should expect to dig deeply into topics, tackling unfamiliar problems that require the integration of many different skills. Students will be faced with new challenges on a regular basis and will have opportunities to work both collaboratively and independently.

Music

As part of our Instrumental Music curriculum all students learn how to play an instrument or hone their skills if they are already accomplished musicians.  Using orchestra and chorus as a model for collaboration, students learn instrument technique and musicianship skills, through practicing and rehearsing a range of repertoire.  They begin by test driving each instrument (trumpet, trombone, tuba, cello, violin, viola, voice, percussion, flute, clarinet) before being matched with an ensemble, taking into consideration the student’s interest, feedback from the teachers, and the needs of the ensemble.  Students meet both in their smaller ensembles (Brass, Strings, Chorus, Percussion, Woodwinds) and come together to collaborate regularly in rehearsals and three music exhibits per year.  The ensembles are comprised of 6th, 7th, and 8th grades and are highly differentiated, allowing beginners and advanced students to thrive together by learning multiple parts of the same piece of music.  Although this is a music program that builds technical skills and artistry, the impact goes far beyond music, focusing on collaboration, creative problem solving, empathy, and leadership skills.  

Science 7 - The Science of Self

Who am I? How does the human body work? In 7th grade, we undertake an interdisciplinary scientific exploration of human body systems. We first explore the physics and mechanics of human body by studying the muscular and skeletal systems, with the intention of understanding how humans have evolved over time with adaptations specialized to our needs. We then contrast evolution with the engineering design process as we apply biophysical principles to develop prostheses and other assistive devices. Further study helps students understand how systems process and transport vital nutrients throughout the body. With an investigation of the complex feedback mechanisms, students explore what keeps our bodies in balance and influences our behavior. Students examine the relationship between cell structure and function by investigating the minutia of the human body through the study of cell theory. We culminate with discussions about bioethics, past and present. Other topics include: pathophysiology, medicine, medical technologies, and quantified self.

Spanish A

This introductory course exposes students to Spanish through comprehensible input, including oral, written, and visual storytelling. The input-based approach to acquiring language focuses on the instruction of vocabulary in a highly contextualized manner. By keeping the conversation/story engaging and compelling, the learner is distracted from consciously trying to memorize vocabulary. Class time centers around developing fluency and students are encouraged to use their language skills wholistically. Emphasis is placed on fluency over precision, with a focus on students being comfortable communicating in simple sentences in Spanish.

Spanish B

A continuation of Spanish A, in Spanish B students continue to develop their fluency in the language. This course exposes students to Spanish through comprehensible input, including oral, written, and visual storytelling. The input-based approach to acquiring language focuses on the instruction of vocabulary in a highly contextualized manner. By keeping the conversation/story engaging and compelling, the learner is distracted from consciously trying to memorize vocabulary. Class time centers around developing fluency and students are encouraged to use their language skills wholistically. Emphasis is placed on fluency over precision, with a focus on students being comfortable communicating in more detail in Spanish.

Theater Arts 7

In grade 7, students explore and refine their skills as actors, collaborators, and performers, learning how to create spontaneously, rehearse effectively, and perform with confidence. Students will practice and perform improvised scenes, learn and demonstrate a variety of stage combat techniques, and develop their ability to create a character with the help of background details and an objective. Students will build relationships with one another and strengthen an ensemble that collaborates effectively, focusing on trust, risk-taking, and listening skills. Students will also learn the importance of feedback and reflection in shaping their work and will have the opportunity to practice these essential skills through writing and discussion.

Visual Arts 7

How do I begin to express myself through visual art? Can my thoughts and experiences authentically be conveyed in my art work? In 7th grade students begin to incorporate themselves into their work. Memories, experiences, and emotions slowly make their way into the art making process. Materials continue to play an important role as we join a personal component to the students work. This is the groundwork for helping students develop the skills they need to express themselves effectively through their art. Communicating through visual art is a tool that will continue to be a focus as students move through middle and upper school.