Seventh Grade Curriculum Overview
In Seventh Grade, students read novels, short stories, dramas, nonfiction, and poetry which support cultural diversity and the study of American history. They continue their study of Shakespeare and his works. Comprehension and thoughtful consideration of the literature’s meaning are stressed at all times. Seventh Grade students write analytic essays about the literature they are studying which emphasizes the foundations of critical thinking. Students are working to refine their voices as writers so that their work can be easily understood by a peer. Research reports, persuasive and informational compositions, comparison and contrast essays, short stories, and poems are also studied. Students write and speak with an attention to standard English conventions, including sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, capitalization, and spelling. Vocabulary is studied through an emphasis on Classical roots and literary context.
On Career Day, Seventh Graders participate in Mock Interviews to prepare them for high school admissions. They write an essay about why they want to be admitted to the high school of their choice, and then they sit with a panel of experienced interviewers including the principal and parents who help them prepare for their upcoming admissions process.
Students utilize the computer lab on a regular basis to advance their writing with the one-on-one attention of their teacher as he moves each child forward in his or her growth.
Seventh Graders work on Algebra 1, Algebra 2, or Geometry according to their advancement level.
Additionally, students learn how to use Singapore Math techniques in their approach to word problems, and they are required to also practice math using IXL.com which is tailored to meet the individual needs of the child.
Life Science is the focus in Grade 7, with attention on evolution, heredity, taxonomy, reproduction, and cells. Students will dissect a seed and three creatures, typically an earthworm, an amphibian, and a mammal. Additional labs and projects enhance student learning as do daily, in depth discussions on the science news of the day. Each year the students do an individual science project for the annual Science Fair, helping them to learn the important concepts of observation, prediction, conducting an experiment, recording data, analyzing results, creating a display, and presenting the material to others.
In Health class, students learn about how to make positive choices and avoid peer pressure.
In Seventh Grade, students will complete the final two books of the A History of US series, focusing on the period of time which begins at the turn of the 20th century, encompasses both World Wars, the Holocaust, the Cold War, Vietnam, and ends with the events of September 11th, 2001. In the second half of the year, students will study Civics, the Constitution, and political systems. Students will also map this time period through a study of Geography.
International Studies focuses on Asia during the Seventh Grade year -- the people, culture, history, geography, animals, climate, religions, politics, and economics. They will create a dramatic presentation as a part of their International Fair presentation in June.
Seventh Graders continue their study of Spanish by beginning the third year high school text. Advanced grammar is studied, and students begin to write longer compositions. Students take the National Spanish Exam. Students have Spanish three times a week.
Upper School students continue to challenge themselves as artists under the tutelage of an art specialist. They look at the important periods and schools of art history and apply what they have learned to their own work in a variety of media, including architecture and drafting with use of the Sketch Up software in addition to clay, tin, chalk, pencil, pastels, tempra paint, mosaics, and paper sculpture. Students have art class once a week.
Upper School students learn how to play the melodies and chords on the ukelele as they continue to increase their knowledge of notation, rhythm, melody, form, and timbre. Students learn to write major scales and identify what key a song is in by looking at the key signature. They also learn how to transpose songs into a new key and demonstrate their understanding of I, IV, V chord structure. Furthermore, students take their performance skills to the next level as they practice singing and playing solo and in synchronization with the group using a varied repertoire of music. Students will analyze, describe, and perform a song of their own choice and also compose a simple song using traditional chord structures. They also study music history and enhance their performance skills through participation in the two all-school music performances. Students have music once a week.
The Physical Education curriculum for Six - Eighth Grades increases students' basic knowledge and skills in team sports. They gain precision with increasing control and accuracy. They develop habits of teamwork and learn how to apply the basic rules of various sports. Students have Physical Education two times a week.
Technology and Research
Middle school students use the computer lab for their papers, projects, and flow charts as well as their continued use of ixl.com for math. Sixth graders use Common Sense Media's Digitial Citizenship, amongst other resources, to learn how to safely and effectively work and play online. Seventh graders develop their own website with videos and delve into a study of the media and its influences. Eighth graders explore project-based learning by creating their own digital legacy project for the students who come next. Eighth graders also create the yearbook for the school.
Sixth - Eighth Grade students participate in service learning classes, entitled Community Council, weekly. They discuss and research current events, determine areas in our community which need improvement, create an action plan to meet these needs, and take steps toward improving the situation they have deemed in need of attention. Students will go out into the community individually and also as a school to do community service. We seek to create a group of students who understand the power of their voices in matters of social justice, and who understand that they have a responsibility to improve the world according to the principles that guide them. All students participate in yearly Service Learning projects as well as complete volunteer hours individually outside of campus. Middle school students take on the responsibility of specialized duties (including computer lab monitor, art studio helper, campus clean up supervisor, etc.) and serve as STEAM buddy group leaders. Students practice their Hilldale Habits of Respect, Leadership, and Independent, Lifelong Learning on a daily basis.