"Issues are discussed with everyone, and it makes us
all get to know and respect one another."

-- Seventh Grade Student 

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  SEVENTH GRADE           

English Language Arts: Students consider the themes and images of American literature, as they read short stories, novels, poems, letters, diaries, and newspapers in conjunction with their history study. They review the essential characteristics of each of these genres, including their structures and content. The course places special emphasis on learning to write formal essays in the modes of persuasion, expression, analysis, and explanation.

Language: English Grammar/Greek and Latin Roots. Seventh grade continues the "Writer's Choice" grammar series (Glencoe). The vocabulary component of the course based on Latin, enhances students' understanding of the Latin roots, prefixes, and suffixes that permeate English.

Social Studies: United States. The course begins with the early years of the country and the writing of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Using multicultural literature, primary documents, film, scientific and retrospective essays, study focuses on the relationship between ideas of equality, race, and gender and their impact on the historical events and perspectives that have shaped today's nation. Group and independent inquiry units call on students to apply the five national standards of historical approaches: chronological, historical comprehension, analytical and interpretive, historical research, and historical issues and decision-making. The class is run seminar-style and the students receive a seminar grade.

Science: Using a variety of resources, students view their environment through scientific investigation of life and living systems. The course opens with an examination of the school's own land, as students sample and analyze forest resources and practice topographic mapping. Study proceeds with classification and taxonomy, cells, cell systems, and human systems. Each week students research current news reports about life science and write summaries of those events.

Math: Introduction to Algebra. The course follows the 800-page text Pre-Algebra: An Integrated Transition to Algebra and Geometry (Glencoe/McGraw Hill). After reviewing the basic, important skills of long division, students move on to the properties of real numbers, operations with fractions, then prime factorization, variables, and simple polynomials. Basic operations with geometric shapes help students visualize space in three dimensions. Throughout the year, students are encouraged to deepen their abstract thinking by applying their newfound skills to complex problems.

Fine Arts: In parallel with their American Studies, seventh graders continue their study of classical drawing with weekly assignments. The conviction that art is a cultural artifact guides the study of American art, folk art, African-American art, the Hudson River School, American expatriate sculpture, kinetic sculpture, emphemeral sculpture, and modernism.

Life Skills: This program, developed by Gilbert Botvin, Professor of Public Health and Psychiatry at Cornell University, promotes health and personal development through a series of units that prepare students to deal with life challenges and to make decisions that steer them away from drugs, tobacco, and alcohol. The seventh grade year focuses on self-image and healthy decision-making.