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Seventh Grade

Boys at desk in class

English

The English curriculum for Grade 7 strengthens and builds upon reading, writing, and grammar skills students learned in Middle School. Students explore the four literary genres (fiction, nonfiction, and drama) and expand their knowledge of literary terms, such as theme, characterization, symbolism, types of conflict, and figures of speech (among others). Students are active readers and participants in the classroom, thoroughly annotating important passages from the literature, taking class notes, and enacting scenes from plays and novels. Reading comprehension is practiced and assessed through paraphrasing exercises, summarizing, in-text annotations, reading quizzes, and short answer questions. Students must also fulfill independent reading requirements each trimester.

 

In addition to literary study, students write in various forms.Smaller writing assignments, such as paragraph writing, topic sentence exercises, and idea development practice are emphasized all year long. After having learned the basic elements of an essay in Middle School, they hone their skills to formulate thesis statements, organize their ideas, provide textual support, and analyze ideas fully. Some essays are completed under timed conditions (otherwise known as “in-class essays”), while others are written and revised over a longer period of time. The writing process is an integral part of the writing program, and students receive guidance during each stage so that they will eventually be able to engage in all of its steps independently. In addition, creative writing assignments, such as the independent reading projects, allow students to express themselves on different levels while still emphasizing the importance of audience and purpose. 

 

Grammar lessons often coincide with concepts students are learning in French, Latin, and Spanish classes. Students complete grammar exercise worksheets and activities for homework to reinforce what they have been learning in class. 


Texts and literature:
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norman Juster
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare
A selected play by Agatha Christie
Selected short stories by such authors as
Anton Chekov
Ray Bradbury
Helen Phillips
Raymond Carver
Langston Hughes
Sherman Alexie

World Languages

TPS offers students the unique opportunity to master one modern language (French or Spanish) or study its ancestor, Latin. The department helps students to make intra- and inter-connections among these languages and the rest of their curriculum, particularly between English and history, and also between math and science. On graduation from ninth grade, students are prepared for either the third or fourth year high school level course. While at TPS, students learn vocabulary and grammar in order to read original texts and to communicate with fluency. In modern language, students develop their conversational and written skills and an appreciation for the cultures of those who speak the language through regular practice, role-plays, telling and reading stories, songs, videos, literature, and studying authentic materials.

French

Students master skills covered in the Middle School and then expand their explicit understanding of grammar, linguistics, ways of studying language, and how language is acquired. Using these skills, students build a foundation for lifelong learning of languages. Lively classes take place entirely in French, with students expressing themselves in French at all times.

The goal of this course is to enable students to demonstrate reasonable mastery of the following skills: 

  • giving and receiving commands;
  • expressing personal thoughts and opinions;
  • expressing feelings and emotions;
  • making comparisons;
  • making requests;
  • reacting to news;
  • extending invitations; 
  • describing events, scenes and characters.

Students learn to move seamlessly through verb tenses and conjugations, compose multi-clause sentences, and write detailed, organized, and creative papers. They learn the past and present tenses, reflexive verbs, direct and indirect object pronouns, and adjective-noun agreement. In order to become proficient in the four basic skills -- listening, speaking, reading and writing -- students explore both orally and in writing a variety of media (newspaper and magazine articles, poems, songs, books, T.V. episodes, videos, plays, paintings, sculptures, etc.). They begin to read longer stories and simplified versions of major works of literature. These texts are used as the basis for discussion, essay writing, and teaching grammar in context. 

In the novels and longer readings, the seventh grade focuses on studying and developing an appreciation for France and the francophone world. They learn about common cultural practices in French-speaking countries, as well as famous monuments, artists, writers, and people from those parts of the world. Through the study of the traditions, literature, lifestyles and history of the French speaking world, the students learn to think critically and to appreciate and respect diversity.

Text: 
Bon Voyage Level 2 Textbook & Workbook, McGraw Hill

Latin

First Year Latin is an introductory course in Classical Latin that focuses on morphology, syntax, and semantics while simultaneously providing insight into everyday life during the ancient Roman Empire. Unit 1 of the Cambridge Latin Course follows the affluent Caecilius family, living in Pompeii during the first century A.D. The fun-to-read stories offer an engaging and historical account about all things Roman-- the Forum, gladiators, and the climactic and fateful eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Students gradually learn more vocabulary and grammar with each story as they learn more about ancient Roman life. 

Unit 1 is divided into twelve sizeable yet fast-paced stages, each of which has one or two new grammatical points as well as roughly fifty words introduced over the course of three to six stories. Exposed to the grammar points and vocabulary so often in the stories, students are required to do less rote memorization to grasp the material than other Latin courses. Weekly assessments of vocabulary, grammar, and translation as well as a test every two to three stages ensure that the students are keeping up with the material. Highlights of the grammar include: 

 

  • three verb tenses (present, imperfect, perfect); 
  • three noun cases (nominative/subject, accusative/direct object, and dative/indirect object);
  • singulars and plurals.

By the year’s end, students have a solid vocabulary base of approximately 600 words. 

First Year Latin completes Unit 1 and immediately commences Unit 2. Students follow one member of the Caecilius family who survives Mount Vesuvius to Britain, where the stories shed light on the imperial prowess of ancient Rome. 
The Cambridge Latin Course is well-known for its atypical, gradual approach to acquiring the Latin language. Students are exposed to small, easily digestible amounts of material, instead of being forced to memorize entire charts of forms. They gain an appreciation of the ancient Roman culture while reading and understanding Latin at the same time.

Text: 
Cambridge Latin Course Unit 1 and Unit 2

Spanish

The seventh grade curriculum is a continuation of the Middle School program. Students begin the Level 2 series, which is completed over two years. The Upper School program places increased emphasis on understanding Spanish syntax and grammar and exploring the modern Spanish speaking world. Students develop strong study skills to assist them as they move at a faster pace and learn to express themselves in a variety of situations and tenses. 

The goal of the course is to enable students to demonstrate reasonable mastery of the following skills: 

  • giving and receiving commands;
  • asking and answering questions;
  • carrying on simple conversations in the present, past, and future tenses;
  • discerning the main ideas of a story;
  • developing creative writing skills in Spanish.

Discussions and presentations on Hispanic culture supplement each vocabulary and grammar unit, with a focus on current media, art, music, and written material to take Spanish out of the textbook and make it relevant to student life today. The class is conducted primarily in Spanish with both the teacher and the students actively using the target language for instruction and discussion.
Spanish II includes a thorough review of the material learned in Realidades I. The course is comprehensive and standards-based. The content balances grammar with oral and written communication and vocabulary. It emphasizes communication and stresses interpersonal relationships in meaningful contexts. Technology is integrated into each lesson. The program offers a CD-ROM with video programs and online technology designed to integrate reading, listening, writing, and conversational Spanish. Students also have access to an online textbook.

Students learn grammar concepts such as: 

  • commands; 
  • making comparisons;
  • reflexive verbs; 
  • possessive adjectives; 
  • preterite of regular verbs; 
  • irregular preterite verbs;
  • demonstrative adjectives;
  • direct and indirect object pronouns;
  • present progressive;
  • imperfect tense.

Stories and novels are also a vital part of the curriculum, where students have an excellent opportunity to see vocabulary and expressions in context. These works also help students with their reading comprehension skills. For each unit, students have two stories that they read and engage in spoken and written activities. They also read two Spanish novels of Level I.

Culture is also an important part of the curriculum, in which students learn about customs, geography, and history of Spanish speaking countries around the world.

Text: 
Realidades II, Units PE-4, Prentice Hall 

Novels: 
Mi Propio Auto 
El Vaje de Su Vida

Videos: 
“En Busca de la Verdad,” episodes 1-4 
“Videocultura II,” temas 1-4 
“GramActiva”

Mathematics

In the Upper School, students learn and practice each mathematical idea through its application to practical problems, providing many opportunities for the development of skills and an understanding of the importance of mathematics in everyday life. The emphasis on everyday mathematics applications extends to the use of technology. Students use graphing calculators, computer programs, and scientific probes to facilitate their understanding.

Upper School students are encouraged to develop independent habits of reflection. The mathematics program develops skill in knowing how and when to use various algorithms, properties, and mathematical relationships. Students are encouraged to be self-reliant and collaborative in their learning. Cross-grade collaborations deepen the experiences of our students. Homework and daily quizzes provide opportunities for practice and self-analysis.

There are several mathematics courses available to Upper School students. These multiple options allow students to participate in a mathematics program that meets their needs as individual learners. Read the articles below for a description of our mathematics courses.

Pre-Algebra

The course introduces algebra by examining the uses of variables and variable representation on the number line and coordinate plane. The course also introduces basic algebra skills and connects geometry to arithmetic, measurement, and algebra. This hands-on, conceptually-oriented course provides students with the opportunity to develop their understanding of the four operations of arithmetic with rational numbers in an algebraic setting. Students learn to work collaboratively and with self-reliance to optimize their learning of mathematics. Daily homework assignments reinforce concepts learned in class.

Texts:

Pre-Algebra, Prentice Hall 

Algebra: Concepts and Applications, Glencoe

Algebra

This is a fast-paced first year algebra course that covers linear equations, functions, inequalities, linear systems, the basic rules of exponents, polynomials, quadratic equations, rational expressions, and other traditional Algebra I topics. This course highlights applications and uses coordinate geometry to develop many of the algebraic concepts studied. Considerable attention is given to graphing, both by hand and through the use of technology (i.e. graphing calculators, computers). There is a strong emphasis on using algebra to solve practical problems in this course. This course is for students who are proficient in basic numeric operations with rational numbers and can achieve at the honors level (B) or higher.

Text:

Algebra, Holt McDougal

Algebra 1A

This is the first year of a two-year Algebra I course. This course reinforces previously learned arithmetic skills in the context of multiple applications. Pre-algebra concepts and skills are further developed and integrated into basic algebraic manipulations. Teachers introduce solving linear equations gradually through the use of hands-on activities to ensure that students fully understand the underlying mathematics. This is followed by an introduction to representing linear equations and inequalities graphically. Students learn that writing linear equations is a problem solving strategy that includes the use of proportional reasoning. Students explore connections among arithmetic, algebra, and geometry to ease their intellectual progression to higher level mathematics. 

Text:

Algebra, Holt McDougal

History

The seventh grade history course is a survey of America’s political, economic, intellectual, and religious development. The course examines the history of the United States of America from European discovery and conquest to the dissolution of the Union, by analyzing the different experiences of Americans’ ethnically, racially, and economically diverse population.

The format of the class consists of readings, lectures, discussions, and film. Lectures, PowerPoint presentations, and texts provide students with conceptual frameworks and facts for understanding modern American history. Students also read and interpret a variety of primary sources, including photographs, political cartoons, speeches, letters, etc. These primary documents are an essential component of the class; interpreting these resources help students to think independently and critically.

The objectives of the course are to help students learn about the history of the United States and to encourage them to think critically about the past, its interpretation, and its influence on current events. Examinations, writing assignments, class discussions, presentations, projects, and notebooks are intended to develop students’ skills in studying, analyzing, writing, and speaking.

Text:
History Alive! The United States Through Modern Times

Science

Science 7 begins with a study of actual hurricane activity in the atmosphere at that time of year. A review of the water cycle and an introduction to meteorological terms to describe the formation and movement of Earth’s most powerful tropical cyclone help students understand how Earth transfers energy and water through oceanic and atmospheric conditions. With the change of seasons, students explore how humans have viewed their universe, beginning with early Greek astronomers and ending with current Nobel Prize winning scientists and support for the Big Bang Theory. Students learn about how a scientific theory can be formed, proved, and disproved or expanded over time. The focus then turns to planet Earth, the system, and its layers, convection currents in the mantle, continental drift, seafloor spreading, and the theory of plate tectonics. Finally, the first trimester ends with students locating, naming, and explaining land formations along plate boundaries. The first trimester exam assesses all these skills and all content up to this point.

The second trimester begins with exploring how Earth is a dynamic planet, constantly changing through earthquakes and volcanoes that happen along fault lines and hot spots. Students observe how this geologic activity shapes the topography of an area. Students model movement along different types of faults and become virtual seismologists and locate epicenters around the world by reading seismograms and using triangulation. Following winter break, students begin an extensive mineral identification lab that culminates with an interdisciplinary project in which students compile a catalogue of minerals. A study of the properties of water begins an extensive look into the physical nature of the ocean. Salinity, density, currents, polar ice, and various ideas of how life began on earth in its oceans are explored. A study of rocks and the rock cycle completes the Earth science part of the curriculum and the second trimester.

During the third trimester, students start to develop their understanding of beginning chemical concepts by building on their understanding of characteristic properties from the mineral and rock units. In the lab students explore volume, density, mass, weight, atomic structure, and chemical and physical changes. Students gain greater understanding of the law of conservation of mass and energy through experimentation and through balancing chemical equations. The third trimester ends with an exam.


Students work on formal lab investigations and learn to create detailed and informative lab reports throughout the course. Nightly homework and in-class assignments help students to practice drawing conclusions and develop reading comprehension and critical thinking skills, note taking techniques, and expository writing practice. The text in on line at Pearsonsuccess.net. Students will be given their access codes once the Acceptable Use Policy has been signed and returned to school. Most assignments will be done on the computer as we aim to reach our goal of being 75% paper free. A computer with internet access in necessary for homework. ​​​​​​​
Texts:
Earth’s Structure, Interactive Science Series: Pearson 
Introduction to Chemistry, Interactive Science Series: Pearson 
Earth’s Water, Science Explorer Series: Prentice Hall
Geology, Project Earth Science Series: NSTA Press
Astronomy, Project Earth Science Series: NSTA Press
Meteorology, Project Earth Science Series: NSTA Press