In seventh grade, each student has a study hall incorporated into their daily class schedule and will participate on at least one Griffin athletic team.
The seventh-grade English curriculum is a bridge between children’s literature and adult books. We begin the year reading The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963 and Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl but quickly move into more difficult material such as Our Town, A Solitary Blue and Fahrenheit 451. This transition allows for a seamless entry into the eighth-grade curriculum. Students will also have a minimum of 40 pages weekly throughout the year to increase fluency and comprehension. We explore a unit on poetry and one on short stories. Seventh-grade writing is a cornerstone of the course and focuses on lengthening expression as appropriate for the age. Students write with nearly every unit, including poetry, practicing different writing types and styles as they work to further their own voice. We begin to concentrate more on analyzing others’ writings in addition to personal reflection pieces connected to our literature. Vocabulary is found in the texts taught in class and read independently and recorded on a Vocabulary Organizer. Grammar is taught through the Daily Grammar Practice program with a few additional units on editing.
Pre-Algebra in the Middle School is structured for seventh and accelerated sixth graders and supports the NCTM and Common Core Standards. Students build a solid foundation of skills and concepts in preparation for Algebra I by rigorously investigating topics such as equations, transformations, angles and triangles, graphing and linear equations, systems of linear equations, functions, real numbers and the Pythagorean Theorem, volume and similar solids, data analysis and displays, exponents and scientific notation, inequalities, constructions and scale drawings, circles and area, surface area and volume and probability and statistics. While problem solving, critical thinking and active involvement are fostered throughout, there are opportunities that both intrigue the most accelerated students and meet the needs of those who require more experience. Students expand their mathematical understanding and learn how to confidently design a logical, successful approach to challenges that are related but not specifically targeted. The course incorporates cooperative and independent learning, verbal and written communicating, reflecting, self and peer evaluating and using appropriate technology. Good citizenship, with its relevance to the classroom and beyond, as well as persistence and accountability are nurtured in an environment where the history, language, beauty and usefulness of mathematics are referenced continually.
Seventh graders study life science and we, for the most part, start small and go big. We begin by studying cells and then mitosis and how those cells duplicate themselves, as well as what can go wrong with that process. Then we discuss macromolecules (fats/oils, carbs and proteins) and the roles they play in the process of photosynthesis and respiration. DNA and the processes of replication, transcription and translation come next, and how an organism’s success or failure because of its DNA leads to evolution and descent with modification. The final unit is ecology and how organisms interact with other organisms and their environment. Highlight projects over the course of the year include many role-plays to illustrate various biological processes, the gummy bear osmosis lab, the molecular model kits, building terrariums, writing photosynthesis and respiration songs, the DNA play, the DNA Tie Club, Reebop genetics and the interrelationship walk. Students then finish the year with “The Big Picture”, a distillation project where they show how everything that has been studied throughout the year is connected.
In seventh grade, students explore the American identity by reading documents critical to the formation of it and examining the concept of the “American Dream.” Students read and analyze primary documents from the founding era (Declaration of Independence, Constitution etc.) and speeches from pivotal moments in US history that reinforced the ideals established by the founding documents (The Gettysburg Address, “I Have a Dream”, JFK’s Inaugural Address etc.). This exposure to primary sources represents the beginning of a marked shift in focus from recalling historical information to practicing historical thinking. As seventh graders explore the three transformative eras in American history (the American Revolution and founding of the new republic, the Civil War and Reconstruction, and the Great Depression and World War II), they consider the essential question, “How did this era shape the American identity?”
Should be Latin IA here (insert)
Seventh Grade Spanish is the first half of Level I. Students who successfully complete Seventh and Eighth Grade Spanish will continue on to Level II in the Ninth Grade. This course is taught primarily in the target language, recognizing that immersion is a vital element in language acquisition. The incorporation of cognates (words similar in Spanish and English), repetition, gestures, props and dramatization facilitate comprehension. Important goals of this course are to establish a level of comfort, confidence and familiarity with the language as well as to develop cultural awareness. Students are expected to follow both written and oral instructions in Spanish. In addition to building a base of vocabulary and developing proper pronunciation, students are introduced to basic sentence structure, noun/adjective agreement and the conjugation of regular and irregular verbs in the present tense. Activities incorporate the basic skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking.
Seventh grade art gives students the opportunity to become more confident in self-expression and their ability to manipulate media as they advance previously learned skills to a higher level of complexity and sophistication. Curriculum in seventh grade includes drawing, oil pastel, painting in watercolor and acrylic, sculpture, ceramics and printmaking taught through the lens of art history. All projects are executed following an organized sequence of planning, creating and evaluating work. Students are encouraged with approachable yet challenging assignments. Many projects vary year to year in order to incorporate cross curricular ties and community events. In the spring, seventh graders participate in an art show of Middle School work displayed in the Mildred Harrison Dent Gallery.
The seventh grade band begins the year by advancing their rhythm reading and scale reading. Gaining technical prowess on their instruments, the students get to further explore and advance their musicianship. More advanced groupings of the large ensemble, chamber ensemble and solo settings become available to the students. Students start to go through more rigorous audition processes as they participate in state and collegiate honor band auditions. Many students in this group are members of the SDS Honors band and participate in the SDS Middle School Jazz Band.