Grade 7 Curriculum
The Grade 7 English course uses Holt Language Arts (Third Course) and Holt Literature (First Course) Resources for Teaching Advanced Students as core materials. Additional readings are taken from a variety of anthologies, novels, and nonfiction sources.
Literary selections are taught by both genre and theme. Frequent use of newspaper and magazine articles is included to build background knowledge and vocabulary. Students participate in whole class, small group, and individual literature study. A love of reading and writing is developed through self-selected novels and writing pieces in reader/writer workshops. Students aim to read 20 books each year. Grade 7 class readings include a variety of novels, short stories, nonfiction pieces, and poetry to examine the elements of plot, character, setting, theme, and point of view. Short literary analyses are expected, with a focus on the developing and supporting a thesis statement. The study of literature’s place in, and influence on, history is examined through multi-cultural selections.
In writing, students polish their style, as well as their mechanics, grammar, and spelling. Writing Workshop lessons center on teaching real-world writing through modeling and mentor texts. Workshop pieces, based on students’ passions, include: Express and Reflect, Inform and Explain, Evaluate and Judge, Inquire and Explore, Analyze and Interpret, and Take a Stand/Propose a Solution. The 6 + 1 Traits of Writing are reinforced, providing students with an organized system to self-check written work before submitting it. Vocabulary development includes an online differentiated program, the study of SAT words, and words found in readings. Word structure and etymology is taught as an aid to vocabulary and spelling through Words Their Way, a developmental program that encourages word study beyond memorization—using word structure to develop accurate spelling, pronunciation, and meaning. To encourage independent learning, students take several learning inventories at the beginning of the year to develop a profile and understanding of themselves as learners. Study skills and metacognitive strategies including organization, note taking, time management, and graphic organizer use, are taught.
Transition Math A
Grade 7 students investigate topics from arithmetic integrated with ideas from geometry and a preparation for algebra. Topics include: computing with decimals, fractions, percents, and integers; scientific notation; powers; metric and US systems of measurement; order of operations; graphing solutions on a number line; absolute value; geometric concepts including ray, angle, parallel, perpendicular, polygons, circles, and three types of transformations (translations, reflections, rotations); properties of real numbers; solving equations; ratio and proportion, and patterns and relationships. Graphics calculators are used throughout the course and appropriate use is emphasized.
Transition Math B
Students investigate most of the topics included in Transition Math A while practicing the algorithms used in whole number, fraction, and decimal operations.
The Upper School religion curriculum prepares our students to lead lives of “significance.” We encourage our students to draw closer to God through the study of the faith as proclaimed by Jesus Christ in the Gospels and by the Roman Catholic Church. We welcome students from all faith traditions and honor and respect those traditions as we study the Catholic faith. We encourage and expect our students to leap into the mystery of their faith. We hope our examination of faith compels us to positive action in our world.
In Grade 7, we focus on the central figure of the Catholic faith, indeed the human race -- Jesus of Nazareth. Students will answer the essential question Jesus asks -- "And you, who do you say that I am?" The class integrates students' personal responses to the teachings and faith deposit of the Church. We look at the nature of interpretation of the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. To better understand Jesus' call for radical devotion, we examine the geography he grew up in, his work, his friends, his stories. By studying the richness of Christ's milieu, students hope to grow in relationship to Jesus and grow closer to God's love. Students read excerpts of Jesus by Father James Martin, S.J.
In their four years in the Upper School, students:
1) Students will be asked to do a 3 – 4 hour project of their own choosing outside of school. Called “A Smorgasbord of Significance and Spirituality,” students have several options: Watching a film or reading a book with spiritual content; doing service work; visit to a religious site; dedicating time to individual prayer; attending a lecture on character, virtue, or spirituality; interviewing a person of “significance” in the student’s life.
2) Critically view excerpts of films with spiritual content including Race, Mother Teresa, Amazing Grace, Evan Almighty, Les Miserables, The Ten Commandments, Jesus Christ Superstar, Godspell, Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth, Seabiscuit, Groundhog Day, Pleasantville, Son of God, Pope John Paul II, The Blind Side, Miracle, Noah, Heaven Is For Real, The Pursuit of Happyness, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, Invictus.
3) Memorize prayers of major figures in Church history including Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Saint Francis of Assisi, and Saint Thomas Aquinas.
4) Attend Monday morning chapels where the Upper Schoolers reflect on issues of faith, morals, and virtue.
5) Participate in service opportunities. Each Upper School grade has a charity partner and supports this partner through work, financial support, and/or drives for goods or clothes.
6) Offer petitions during the first few minutes of each religion class and participate in the examen prayer promulgated by Saint Ignatius of Loyola. In this structured form of meditation created by the founder of the Jesuit order of priests, students sit quietly and allow God into their lives to affirm the students’ deep goodness and allow students to give thanks for God’s gift of their lives and talents.
Grade 7 will mainly focus on life science (biology) as well as the relationships between life science and the other branches of science. Students recognize that all living things are made of cells and examine the various cellular structures. Students discover the role of DNA at the cellular level and the organism. Students learn about Darwin’s theory on natural selection and how scientists use evidence found in layers of rock to study the evolution of life on Earth. Students in Grade 7 distinguish structure from function in living systems. They communicate information collected through various mediums such as print and electronic resources via written reports, models and diagrams, and presentations.
In Grade 7 social studies, students begin their study of United States history. Continuing from the Age of Exploration, students study Native American culture and history, European settlement of the Americas, the 13 English Colonies, the American Revolution, the Constitution, the new government, and much more. To enhance their study of Colonial America and the Revolutionary War, students take a three day trip to Jamestown Settlement, Colonial Williamsburg, and Yorktown Victory Center. While gaining an understanding of the people, places and events in early American history, students build an appreciation for and background knowledge of multiple cultures and geography; in analyzing these facets, students become historians, archaeologists, economists, sociologists, anthropologists, and political scientists. Utilizing Discovery Education's Techbook, students continue to learn, develop, and practice essential study, test taking, and note taking skills; critical thinking skills; and, more importantly, how to analyze the impact of history on today’s world and their own lives.
Grade 7 and 8 students explore the food science lab. Students learn about different growing techniques such as hydroponics. They build and program electronic sensors to take readings about the growing environment. Students also learn how to design objects for the 3D printer. They combine these designs with their electronics.