Welcome to the Seventh Grade!

This document is intended to outline the academic goals for the seventh grade, identify some of the primary resources that are used to instruct your child, the duration and frequency of instruction, and the outcomes that are targeted to be developed by the end of the year.

We recognize that students learn at different paces and occasionally in developmental “spurts”. With this in mind we focus on each child’s individual progress. This progress is monitored through periodic skills assessments, teacher observations and classroom assessments (an inventory of these assessments is available if you are interested). Instruction is regularly augmented by the classroom teacher, differentiation teachers and, if necessary Special Education teachers, for students that would benefit from additional instruction.

We hope that this document adequately introduces you to what you can expect over the next 10 months, but does not replace the opportunity to discuss with you directly the specific questions you might have in greater detail and specificity.

Seventh grade follows the MathThematics series, which promotes student success and engages students in learning by using a thematic approach that connects mathematical concepts to real-world applications and students’ interests. Students engage in active learning as they explore, model, and communicate mathematical ideas using a variety of tools with partners and in small groups. The class meets five times per week: four times for 50 minutes and once for 90 minutes. The essential skills for seventh grade are based on the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) focal points.

In seventh grade, we begin to offer a "Challenge by Choice” class for students who are ready for a faster-paced math class. Participation is exactly as stated: by choice. Ideally, this choice will be made with the input and support of parents. The basic skills taught are the same as in the general seventh grade math class, but at a pace that allows for extensions and explorations that, because of time constraints, cannot be pursued in the general math class. Famous mathematicians will be studied, multi-step word problems with a four-step write-up will be assigned, and algebraic strategies will be taught when appropriate. In most, but not all, cases, students who have been successful in the Challenge by Choice class will be ready for Algebra 1 as eighth graders. After the second quarter it will be difficult for a student to switch from the general class to the challenge class. For this reason, student progress and appropriateness of placement will be followed closely and evaluated before the winter holiday break.

Our goal is that students exiting seventh grade will be able to:
  • Classify and compare numbers
  • Understand angle relationships of polygons and intersecting lines
  • Compare, add, subtract, multiply, and divide fractions and integers
  • Model and graph linear functions
  • Identify and use properties of numbers, inverse operations, and order of operations to simplify expressions, model equivalent equations, and solve equations
  • Work with experimental and theoretical probability
  • Identify and apply transformations
  • Work with plots and graphs to analyze data
  • Understand and work with ratios, rate, percents less than and greater than 100, and powers of numbers
  • Work with proportions
  • Understand and use formulas to calculate volume, area, and surface area of polygons, circles, and three-dimensional objects
  • Apply the four steps of problem solving in a variety of contexts with an emphasis on making real-world connections
The essential skills of seventh grade mathematics are:
  • Developing an understanding of and applying proportionality, including similarity
  • Developing an understanding of and using formulas to determine surface areas and volumes of three-dimensional shapes
  • Developing an understanding of operations on all rational numbers and solving linear equations

Seventh graders explore literature and its relationship to world history, diverse cultures, and society. The class meets five days a week for four 45-minute sessions and once a week for a 90-minute block. Students gain an understanding of the importance of reading and writing in their individual lives and develop skills in the areas of spelling, vocabulary, mechanics, and grammar. The reading workshop focuses on both choice reading novels and required whole-class literature, including short stories and novels such as Edgar Allen Poe’s “A Tell Tale Heart,” W.W. Jacob’s “The Monkey’s Paw,” Gloria Whelan’s Homeless Bird and Deborah Ellis's The Breadwinner. Students are expected to read for 30 minutes each night and record their progress in a nightly log. The writing curriculum focuses on the development of both creative and expository writing skills. Students become familiar with the writing process and foster an appreciation for writing as they maintain a year-long writing notebook and portfolio.

Some of the “essential questions” explored in seventh grade language arts include:
  • Why do people read?
  • What is the art of persuasion?
  • What happens when two cultures or distinct groups of people meet?
  • What can we learn about history and current world issues from reading fiction?
  • How do good readers make meaning from what they have read?
  • How do good writers express themselves?
  • How can people connect what they have read to broader world concepts and issues?

I: Reading Strategies/Comprehension/Developing Reading Identities

II: Story Elements:
  • Plot Structure
  • Characterization
  • Setting
  • Theme
  • Author’s Craft
  • Symbolism and Figurative Language

III: Vocabulary:

  • Vocabulary acquisition through use of context clues and dictionary skills, mnemonic devices, and application

IV: Writing Workshop

  • Memoirs and autobiographical writing
  • Narratives
  • Persuasive
  • Writing to Inform
  • Poetry
  • Letter Writing
  • Research Writing

Our goal is that students exiting seventh grade will be able to:

  • Demonstrate understanding and accurate application of content knowledge
  • Connect experiences/conditions outside of the classroom to knowledge and concepts studied within the classroom
  • Recognize the role of context, perspective, facts, and opinion in critical thinking
  • Organize information in order to present it in a logical progression
  • Adapt presentation of information to specific audiences
  • Seek and incorporate feedback as part of the revision process
  • Effectively convey their thoughts, feelings, and perspectives
  • Apply knowledge across academic disciplines
  • Use a breadth of vocabulary and proper grammar to communicate meaning effectively
  • Seek personal understanding of topics and concepts presented within the classroom

The seventh grade science program is centered on the topic of Life Science. The curriculum involves hands-on activities that develop problem solving processes. The text used is Glencoe Life Science. Classes meet daily for 50 minutes. Homework is assigned Monday through Thursday nights and occasionally on the weekend. Instruction occurs as an entire class, in small cooperative groups, and in laboratory groups. Grades are based on 30% homework and classwork, 35% labs, and 35% exams. Topics covered include:
  • The scientific method
  • Microscopes
  • Viruses and cells
  • Heredity
  • Evolution
  • Classification
  • Bacteria
  • Protists and fungi
  • Plants
  • Animals
  • Ecology
  • Science fair project

Essential skills covered in the class:

  • Use of appropriate tools to make scientific measurements.
  • Making accurate observations
  • Designing and performing experiments using the scientific process.
  • Evaluating results of experiments
  • Use of classification methods to identify organisms
  • Analysis and description of systems
  • Use of models to represent structures and concepts of living things
  • Understanding of the relationship of the structure and function of organs/organelles in living things
  • Working effectively in groups toward a common goal

The Seventh Grade Social Studies curriculum is divided by semester into two disciplines: Microeconomics and Geography. In Economics, the instruction is tactile and interactive and students engage in several real-life simulations that teach the fundamentals of small business management. A study of personal finance is the capstone of the first semester. The second semester focuses on using the five themes of Geography to study the Earth. We also examine the major world religious diversity to promote acceptance and understanding. Our class meets for four 50-minute classes and one 45-minute class each week. Most classes are designed so that students are able to complete their work within the classroom, but occasionally the students may have homework to be completed outside of school.Our objective for the class is that students:
  • learn the fundamental tenets of microeconomics
  • grasp the basics of personal finance
  • can think like a geographer to interpret the present, understand the past, and plan for the future

Our goal is that students exiting seventh grade be able to:

  • demonstrate understanding and accurate application of content knowledge
  • connect experiences/conditions outside of the classroom to knowledge and concepts studied within the classroom
  • adapt responses or conclusions to new factors or conditions
  • understand and analyze different points of view in communication

The Seventh Grade French curriculum builds upon the fundamentals learned in sixth Grade. We continue to use the Discovering French Bleu textbook series, which is coordinated with DVD and CD resources. These valuable resources present and enable practice of vocabulary and grammar in authentic cultural contexts. The class meets three days a week for 50 minutes and 1 day a week for 45 minutes. Students are expected to spend 20 minutes on homework each day of class.The following is taught in seventh-grade French:
  • How to write well-developed paragraphs in French
  • Expressions of time, such as days, months, weeks, years, today, tomorrow, and time of day
  • Expressions of quantity, such as beaucoup + de
  • Adverbs such as souvent, toujours, quelquefois, maintenant
  • Prepositions of location

Our goal is that students exiting seventh grade will have developed

  • basic communication skills with emphasis on asking and answering questions
  • the skill to monitor their own progress through thinking and self-expression
  • the ability to understand French customs and make cultural connections to our own way of life
  • the ability to use different listening strategies to improve their oral comprehension skills

In sixth, seventh, and eighth-grade classroom settings, as appropriate with grade level and developmental expectations, students should be working to develop and/or displaying the ability to:
  • Participate respectfully in class
  • Work independently
  • Complete homework as required
  • Articulate and share their ideas
  • Recognize available resources
  • Develop effective/efficient written communication skills
  • Self advocate
  • Shift focus from product to process
  • Allow group contributions to move from teacher directed to self-directed
  • Experiment with learning styles to develop effective study skills