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• Grade Seven •
• Grade Eight •
• Overview •
Seventh Grade Overview
The seventh grade year is one of great change and challenge for the students, teachers and parents. The children are focused both out into the world that they are moving quickly towards and on themselves and their growing and deepening emotional and intellectual inner life. This requires a curriculum that helps them look directly into the world and directly into themselves.
Seventh Grade Curriculum
Rhythm of the Day
Each day begins with Main lesson. The main subjects, such as history, language arts, science and mathematics are taught in blocks of 2 hours per day, with each block lasting from 3 to 6 or even 8 weeks long.
Depending on the teacher, the seventh grade mornings continue to include movement and speech work: handclap, beanbag, drama and movement games.
After Main lesson the children have a hearty snack (brought from home) and time to play outdoors.
The afternoon consists of subject classes including handwork, movement, french, music and art, as well as lunch (brought from home) and more time to play outdoors.
Mathematics in grade seven seeks to open new worlds and ways of thinking to the children. In algebra a new way of viewing mathematical quantity is introduced with the algebraic equation. Negative numbers and exponents bring numeric concepts that can only really be conceived of with the intellect. In geometry, the Pythagorean theorem is arrived at by the systematic exploration of the Pythagoras’s theorems, and the first geometric proofs are introduced to the children.
In the seventh grade many more concepts of higher math are introduced and mastered: formulae for the areas and perimeters of two-dimensional figures, exponents, roots, signed numbers, the coining of equations and the practical understanding of formulae. In practical work, various charts and graphs related to business are worked with. In the seventh grade, perspective drawing is taught, further emphasizing the mathematical laws at play in another arena.
Reading in grade seven continues to vary by teacher, but all programs aim at increasing the students’ skills and interest. Teachers now begin to include biographies and nonfiction work as well as seeking strong fiction stories that speak to each individual class of students.
Writing in grade seven is centered on the Wish, Wonder and Surprise block. Creative writing and poetry help the student to conjure strong emotions and experiment with putting them into written words. Single-paragraph to multipage essays and book reports are also covered. Exercises in structure, grammar and usage continue to be a vital part of the curriculum. In addition, the students are given significantly more independence in their main lesson writing assignments with all work included in the main lesson book being independently created.
Recorder playing continues with both alto and soprano recorders. The tenor may also be introduced. Many pieces are taken from the Renaissance period. This holds true for vocal pieces too. Artistically, one-point and two-point linear perspectives are introduced.
The seventh grade performs at least one play with greater expectations placed on dramatic presentation and complexity.
Science and History
The science curriculum helps the student to both look out into the world of discovery and allows them an opportunity to study the most interesting living being: themselves. The curriculum includes physics, inorganic chemistry and physiology. The physics block looks at sound, light and mechanics, focusing on the simple machines. The chemistry work centers on transformation with a study of combustion, acids and bases, and solutions. Physiology in the seventh grade includes an examination of the digestive, respiratory and circulatory systems.
In geography each class teacher works over the seventh- and eighth-grade year to ensure that the students have had the opportunity to examine each continent of the earth in detail. For some this means a focus on Africa and Asia while for others South America comes first. The study of geography is connected to the history being taught in the history blocks as well.
The history curriculum addresses the students’ needs through a focus on the European Renaissance. The sense of self and world discovery that this era carried is now shared with the children. Whenever possible, the students look at the time through the lives of people who had the will to face a great struggle and subsequently affect our modern culture. From the Middle Ages, when kings began to control nations, to the Renaissance, when genius after genius added to the work of predecessors to bring about expansion inconceivable a few generations before, we study key figures. The new world of adolescence is also the perfect backdrop for the Age of Exploration, which dramatically transformed the world commerce and global awareness.