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The seventh grade is a bridge between a student’s middle school experiences, similar to how a ligament bridges muscle to the bone. This important year finds the student no longer new to middle school rituals nor yet faced with the intensity of 8th grade. As a result, it can be a year with great internal focus as they develop and immerse themselves in their academic and artistic pursuits. While the period of adolescence can be trying for any parent and child as the separation between the student with the parent and teacher continues to grow, this in no way minimizes the importance of adults in the child’s life. At thirteen, a child begins to make critical character-building choices usually by copying what she sees in others. This is why it is so important for the students to have many strong role models not only to observe in real life, but to encounter and study in the curriculum.
This year offers a mix of mastering past skills and learning new concepts. The general categories include: Operations with Rational Numbers, Proportional Reasoning, Consumer Math, 2-d and 3-d Geometry, Pythagorean Theorem, and heavy concentration in Pre-Algebra. In middle school, developing good homework habits and learning to persevere through challenging problems are two overarching goals.
The student will continue to develop and strengthen listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills while studying biographical stories and written documents from the Age of Exploration, the Italian Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Scientific Revolution. Expository and creative writing skills will be further expanded. In the Dramatic Arts Block, students study Shakespeare through his sonnets and plays, and present a full or abbreviated version of one of his plays in a live theater setting.
Science continues to be a proportionally dominant block area, with several distinct areas of study. In Chemistry, students observe the process of combustion and delve into the elements of the periodic table, and investigate acids, bases, and salts. In Physics, students learn about machines, including the six simple machines, the internal combustion cycle, and electromagnetism. This also includes a large group project to design and build a Rube Goldberg machine. In two Physiology blocks, students review both the male and female reproductive systems and understand human fertility. Students also learn about our metabolic process that involves: respiration, circulation, digestion, and cellular activities. Students learn about important health topics such as the effect of alcohol on their cells, sexually transmitted diseases, the effects of smoking on their lung capacity, and general nutrition as part of these studies.
Students continue to develop their ability to play violin, viola, and cello in a string orchestra. They are taught more advanced music reading concepts and more advanced playing techniques. They will also continue to develop their ability to play soprano, alto, tenor, and bass recorder in an ensemble, and learn choral singing skills. Students will learn to identify stylistic characteristics of music periods and composers and the key periods and dates of music history. The 7th grade music class performs in two formal string orchestra concerts.
The historical period known as the Renaissance forms the basis for artwork in Seventh Grade, so we begin an intensive study of the basic laws of perspective drawing, which were first formulated at the dawn of the Renaissance. As they slowly master the technicalities of vanishing points, converging lines, interpolation and extrapolation, students will gain the ability to create the illusion of three-dimensional space on a two-dimensional sheet of paper. We will continue our watercolor work with a focus on the wet-on-wet approach.
History and Social Studies
The study of the Renaissance, Reformation, and the Age of Exploration reflects what the children are experiencing within. The children learn biographies of great figures that went against the traditional, prevailing views of their day in their own search for truth, freedom, and self-expression. Through studying the lives of key figures such as Galileo, Martin Luther, Christopher Columbus, Elizabeth I, and others, students find reassurance that in their struggle to become who they are, they also can contribute to the world.
Crowing their studies on the Renaissance, students travel to Oregon for a weeklong stay in Ashland during the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, watching a minimum of three performances and participating in drama workshops.
Foreign Language (Spanish)
An emphasis is placed on the reinforcement and acquisition of grammar and other vocabulary study that will prepare students for high school level Spanish. Students continue to formally study various aspects of grammar, including deeper work into a range of regular and irregular verbs and tenses, possessive adjectives and superlatives. Students apply their burgeoning fluency in Spanish to reading short stories and passages in Spanish.
Students conduct a research-based investigation of the African continent with a focus on report writing using external sources, including a “Keynote™” computer presentation to the class. The Keynote aspect will help prepare the students for their 8th grade project presentations. Students will also learn the current physical and political geography of modern Africa.
Students expand the use the computers and the computer lab to write essays and other Main Lesson content. They use teacherweb.com to communicate with their teachers online, gather details of assignments and find copies of Main Lesson chalkboard drawings. Through digital literacy studies, students learn the essential skills to be digital citizens and safe and ethical online.
The goal of this program is to instill a love of games that promote cooperation versus competition. Each game is designed to refine motor skills, and also challenge the class to work together to find a solution or to improve the game. To promote fitness, health and wellness, the seventh grade student participate in weekly exercises to improve overall fitness and strength. Each child will run the mile, perform sit up and push up tests and will perform stretches to improve overall flexibility. Students will also learn basic stretches to support muscles for exercise.