Middle School

Children are naturally eager to question, develop their own theories — even change a point of view.

Seventh Grade

Language Arts

The seventh grade language arts course is designed to meet the needs of the emerging, independent seventh grade student. We focus on the development of writers who can produce succinct and accurately written text. Critical thinking patterns, standard grammar, appropriate reading levels, and use of technology are integrated into the program. The program is committed to developing and encouraging the abilities of a higher order of thinking, complex communication, and self-directed and collaborative learning. Competence in reading, writing and research are stressed throughout the year. A variety of authors are used to promote discussion and written communication. A collaborative and supportive atmosphere is always encouraged. 

Goals and Objectives

Reading:
  • Reads and differentiate between different types of fiction and non-fiction, including novels, short stories, poetry, biographies, plays, essays and reference materials
  • Analyzes main idea, point of view, plot, conflict, setting, characterization, universal themes, foreshadowing, flashback, and bias
  • Conducts research using multiple resources, including the school databases
  • Properly cites primary and secondary sources
  • Adapts reading comprehension strategies to text.  Able to recall, when asked, pertinent information from a variety of sources.
  • Distinguishes cause and effect and clearly state their arguments.
  • Identifies and analyzes the use of poetic techniques and figurative language in poetry and prose
  • Determines tone and mood in a selection of poetry or prose
  • Uses a variety of vocabulary resources to define unfamiliar words
Writing:
  • Writes confidently, and with a clear focus that holds the reader’s attention
  • Uses relevant details to enrich writing
  • Writing includes a strong beginning, middle and end, with clear and effective transitions
  • Writes with a distinct and unique voice 
  • Writes from various points of view
  • Adapts writing to target a specific audience
  • Uses a variety of sentence structures in writing (simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex sentences)
  • Chooses words purposefully in writing
  • Independently uses the writing process of pre-writing, drafting, revising, editing and publishing to create descriptive, narrative and expository pieces
  • Writes produce few grammatical and spelling errors in their written work, showing an advanced level of self-editing
  • Uses word processing capabilities to draft, edit and publish 
  • Have mastered a variety of writing formats (i.e. letters, essays, narratives, research papers, poetry, short stories, pamphlets, on-line word pieces and dialogue)
  • use poetic devices and figurative language to write poetry and prose that conveys tone and mood
Handwriting:
  • Writes and reads cursive
Grammar:
  • Identifies all parts of speech and types and structure of sentences
  • Demonstrates the mechanics of writing (e.g. quotation marks, commas at the end of dependent clauses, etc.) and appropriate English usage (e.g. pronoun references)
  • Identifies hyphens, dashes, brackets, and semicolons and uses them correctly
Vocabulary:
  • Uses a variety of vocabulary resources to familiarize themselves with unfamiliar words
  • Memorizes Latin prefixes, suffixes and word roots
  • Applies knowledge of Latin prefixes, suffixes and word roots to understand text, complete word analysis tasks (determining part of speech and meaning of familiar, unfamiliar and made up words) and spell words with affixes correctly
Listening/Speaking:
  • Delivers focused, coherent presentations that convey ideas clearly 
  • Asks probing questions to elicit information, including evidence to support the speaker’s claims and conclusions
  • Organizes information to achieve the desired purpose
  • Uses speaker techniques, including voice modulation, inflection, tempo, enunciation and eye contact in effective presentations
  • provides constructive feedback to speakers
Math

Seventh grade students study pre-algebra. Topics covered include: data analysis, introduction to variables and equations, numerical and geometric proportions, geometric formulas for area, surface area, and volume, percentages and probability, and a brief introduction to functions.  Students focus on areas of conceptual understanding and computational accuracy, and problem solving is incorporated for further understanding of mathematical content. This content is also reinforced within the context of projects that connect the mathematics that they are studying to the real world.  For example, when seventh graders are working on percentages they take on the role of a financial advisor, and make a budget for a particular client and the resources at their clients’ disposal based on percentages. At the end of seventh grade students are expected to successfully transition into algebra during the eighth grade.

Goals and Objectives

Number Sense:
  • Evaluate the powers of 10
  • Translate scientific notation into standard notation, and translate standard notation into scientific notation
  • Estimate the square roots of numbers
  • Simplify fractions
  • Convert decimals to percents and percents to decimals, fractions to decimals and decimals to fractions, decimals to fractions and fractions to decimals
  • Finding the percent of a number, and finding a number (part or whole) if the percentage in known
Science

The focus of seventh grade science is biology and life science. The year is divided into three major units; 1. The World of Life Science: what is life, and how do we study it 2. Cellular Biology: the types, parts, and processes of cells, Genetics and Evolution: meiosis, Mendelian genetics, evolution, and the history of life on Earth. In order to reinforce curriculum seventh graders go into the middle school science laboratory once a week to explore ideas and learn laboratory safety and procedure; i.e. how to use a compound light microscope, how to make wet mount slides, etc. Students also work on a number of long term projects throughout the year. These projects include making cell and DNA models, breeding Dragons to understand how different traits get passed on to offspring, making pedigrees to follow traits in their own families, and making an accurate and scaled geologic timeline in order to better understand the Earth and its history of life.

Goals and Objectives

The World of Life Science: 

  • Explain the importance of asking questions in biology
  • State examples of life scientists at work
  • Explain several ways in which biology is beneficial to living things
  • Describe scientific methods
  • Explain the difference between a hypotheses and a theory
  • Compare the ways that scientists use hypotheses, theories, and laws
  • Give examples of how life scientists use computers and technology
  • Be able to describe three types of microscopes (scanning electron and transmission electron and Compound Light microscopes) life scientists use to examine biological specimen.
  • Use a compound light microscope to view a specimen under all objectives.
  • Create a wet mount slide to view under a compound light microscope 

It’s Alive! Or is It?: 

  • Describe the six characteristics of living things
  • Describe how organisms maintain stable internal conditions
  • Explain how asexual reproduction differs from sexual reproduction
  • Explain why organisms need food, water, air, and living space
  • Describe the chemical building blocks of cells 

Cells: The Basic Units of Life: 

  • State the parts of the cell theory
  • Explain why cells are so small
  • Describe the parts of a cell
  • Describe how bacteria are different from archaea
  • Explain the difference between prokaryotic cells and eukaryotic cells
  • Identify the different parts of a eukaryotic cell
  • Explain the function of each part of a eukaryotic cell
  • Explain three advantages of being multicellular
  • Describe the levels of organization in living things
  • Explain the relationship between the structure and function of a part of an organism 

The Cell in Action: 

  • Explain the process of diffusion
  • Describe how osmosis occurs
  • Compare passive transport and active transport
  • Explain how large particles get into and out of cells
  • Describe the processes of photosynthesis and cellular respiration
  • Compare cellular respiration with fermentation
  • Explain how cells produce more cells
  • Describe the process of mitosis
  • Explain how cell division in differs in animals and plants 

Heredity 

  • Explain the relationship between traits and heredity.
  • Describe the experiments of Gregor Mendel
  • Explain the difference between dominant and recessive traits
  • Explain how genes and alleles are related to genotype and phenotype.
  • Use the information in a Punnett square
  • Explain how probability can be used to predict possible genotypes in offspring
  • Describe three exceptions to Mendel’s observations
  • Explain the difference between mitosis and meiosis
  • Describe how chromosomes determine sex
  • Explain why sex-linked disorders occur in one sex more often than in the other
  • Make and interpret a pedigree 

Genes and DNA: 

  • List three important events that led to understanding the structure of DNA
  • Describe the basic structure of a DNA molecule
  • Explain how DNA molecules can be copied.
  • Explain the relationship between DNA, genes, and proteins
  • Outline the basic steps in protein synthesis
  • Describe three types of mutations and provide an example of a gene mutation
  • Describe two uses of genetic knowledge 

The Evolution of Living Things 

  • Identify two types of evidence that show that organisms have evolved.
  • Describe one pathway through which a modern whale could have evolved from an ancient mammal
  • Explain how comparing organisms can provide evidence that they had ancestors in common
  • List four sources of Charles Darwin’s ideas about evolution
  • Eescribe the four parts of Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection
  • Relate genetics to evolution
  • Give at least three examples of natural selection in action
  • Outline the process os speciation 

The History of Life on Earth 

  • Explain how fossils can be formed and how their age can be estimated
  • Describe the geologic time scale and the way that scientists use it
  • Compare two ways that conditions for life on Earth have changed over time
  • Outline the major developments that allowed life to exist on Earth
  • Describe the types of organisms that arose during the four major divisions of the geologic time scale
  • Describe two characteristics that all primates share
  • Describe three major groups of hominids 

Classification 

  • Explain why and how organisms are classified
  • List the eight levels of classification
  • Explain scientific names
  • Describe how dichotomous keys help in identifying organisms
  • Explain how classification developed as greater numbers of organisms became known
  • Describe three domains
  • Describe four kingdoms in the domain Eukarya
Spanish

Our middle school Spanish program focuses on communication. Students take Spanish four times a week in order to focus on consistent speaking, listening, and language comprehension without sacrificing the teaching of grammar and vocabulary. Our teaching approach maximizes the students’ communication skills. The model is based on working in small groups so the students can practice newly acquired skills together. 

A large part of our themes and vocabulary are based on what the students are learning in their classroom. We work on building a strong vocabulary and learn basic phrases. 

Seventh grade Spanish is a continuing course for middle school students who have completed the curriculum outlined for Spanish A (sixth grade level Spanish). Students continue to practice listening, speaking, reading and writing, using the skills introduced in Spanish A. Basic structures and vocabulary are reviewed, and new material is introduced. Students will learn to express themselves more completely in the present as well as in the past tense. Students continue to explore geography and cultures of Spanish- speaking countries.

Goals and Objectives

Listening Comprehension:

  • Listen and comprehend dialogues and short stories
  • Identify cognates while listening
  • Identify the appropriate word order on a sentence

Speaking:

  • Engage in conversations
  • Respond to questions in Spanish according to different contexts
  • Carry on simple interactions in commercial settings (buying something, asking where something is, ordering food at a restaurant)
  • Describe familiar people, places and things using appropriate adjectives
  • Describe past activities

Reading:

  • Understand, simple written texts
  • Understand ideas and cultural aspects connected to the Spanish language
  • Identify the punctuation marks and read accordingly 

Writing:

  • Write longer sentences and compositions using present tense of -ar, -er, and   -ir ending verbs
  • Begin to use the preterite/past tense using -ar, -er, and  -ir ending verbs

Major Projects:

  • Oral presentations from specific topics chapter based.
  • Hands on projects
  • Use of iPads as a great and fun tool to improve the Spanish language skills.
  • Research information about interesting facts of the Spanish-speaking countries.  

Integrated Curriculum:

  • Science and Math: Reinforce graphic and math skills. Knowledge of geography.
  • History: Discuss historical events and dates

Community Integration:

  • Kermess; a unique festival common to the Spanish-speaking countries..

Assessment:

  • Quizzes and tests
  • Oral presentations
  • Short compositions
  • Special projects

Resources:

  • Textbook: Realidades, Level B
  • Workbook Realidades Level B
  • iPads
  • laptops
  • Realidades web page
  • Web pages (used for projects, games and review grammar)
  • Document camera

Local Resources:

  • Cultural related performances are brought to the school community honoring the folklore of the Spanish-speaking countries showing their traditions through music, dances, and artistic presentations in Spanish for the enrichment of the skill community.  
  • Different cultural groups that present the art of the Spanish community and the spanish language for the enrichment of the skill community.
Social Studies

In seventh grade we focus on the medieval world, global citizenship and current events. The medieval world units focus on the social, cultural and technological changes that occurred in Europe and Asia in the years A.D. 500 through A.D. 1789. Students also study the political forces that were present during this period, especially the rise of democratic ideas that have held up over time.

Concurrently, students participate in lessons that bring awareness to their roles as global citizens with an emphasis in twenty-first century skills. This includes lessons around current events, inequalities within and between societies, basic human rights, diversity, different views of economics and social developments, cause and effects of conflict, media literacy, causes of poverty, ethical consumerism, and the relationship between conflict and peace.

Goals and Objectives:

  • Understand and apply the five themes of geography (location, place, human-environment interaction, movement, region) to world studies
  • Analyze the geographic, political, economic, religious and social structure of the civilizations of Islam in the Middle Ages
  • Analyze the geographic, political, economic, religious and social structures of the civilizations of medieval Europe
  • Compare and contrast the rise of the three Middle Eastern religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam
  • Discuss a range of arguments, factors or hypothesis about how history effects our world today
  • Begin to challenge viewpoints which perpetuate inequality
  • Understand the issues of diversity
  • Use a variety of electronic media resources to investigate and define political and social issues in the past and illustrate how past historical issues relate to our community today
  • Analyze information gathered to generate options for responding to issues
  • Research, organize, and present information in clear, complete and effective formats
  • Work collaboratively to reach ethical decisions and solutions; explain the reasoning for it
  • Recognize and communicate diverse perspectives on historical issues and demonstrate how diverse perspectives might lead to different interpretations of an issue
  • Access and analyze visual digital primary information sources and maps
  • Interpret and critique sources of information from various types of media
  • Predict upcoming events or actions from current events
  • Synthesize information to define ethical consumerism
 
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