Below can be found the principles and philosophy we follow with respect to the different subject areas of the Curriculum
Our approach to teaching seventh grade algebra is highly integrative. Applications, statistics, and geometry are employed to develop and exemplify the algebra of linear equations and inequalities. Models for arithmetic operations are immediately extended to expressions and equations involving variables. Heavy emphasis is given to graphing of lines. (Each student will need a graphing calculator.) Curvilinear functions represented by exponential growth and by parabolas are linked to contemporary applications in science and economics. Seventh graders who have demonstrated sufficient mastery of Algebra I and sufficient maturity of reasoning skills are recommended for the study of Geometry in eighth grade. Algebra I is a Upper School course requiring a final exam.
In studying the history of the North American continent from pre-history through World War II, students develop a deeper understanding of universal human nature. Geography, biographies, economics, rhetoric literature and cultures are interwoven throughout the year as we discover how humans function through the events, dilemmas and personages of the past. Study skills, note-taking, conceptualization and verbalization are core components of the process, but the quintessential objective of history in the seventh grade is to foster a deeper understanding of human nature. History is much more than a series of dates, people and events. It enables us to better guide our own actions though a deeper understanding of their implications.
Seventh grade literature focuses on three main areas: reading, writing, and vocabulary. Students become familiar with literary concepts, short story elements, and strategies for appreciating fiction, non-fiction, poetry and drama. Readings correspond to eras of American History, from the time of slavery and Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, to the 1940s and Jeanne Wakatsuki's memoir Farewell to Manzanar. Writing to learn, to inform, to persuade, and to entertain, students produce rough drafts for weekly practice and several polished drafts for their quarterly portfolios. Students do research for imaginative pieces. Vocabulary focuses on strategies for attacking unfamiliar words while students accumulate words from their readings.
This seventh grade course builds on the foundation established in sixth grade grammar with emphasis on effective use of language. Students distinguish main clauses, phrases, and subordinate clauses; they examine word usage, and discuss writers' strategies for convincing their audiences. The course integrates a strong writing program and emphasizes applications of grammatical and mechanical skills in varied writing assignments. Students delve more deeply into their exploration of the various parts of speech. The course is very analytical as students examine and diagram the more complex sentence forms incorporating verbals and clauses. Emphasis is given to implementation of writing forms including narrative, descriptive, expositive, comparative, and persuasive writing.
In Life Science, the students are introduced to the basics of life on earth at a cellular level, moving up to explore the world of organisms of increasing complexity, encompassing bacteria, protists, plants and animals. They will explore the advent of new life and the way different living organisms relate to each other and their environments. Life characteristics, basic organic chemistry, genetics, development, and evolution are also studied.
This course allows the students to discover how life on earth functions through an inquiry and investigative approach. They will be able to apply the knowledge and skills they've constructed to their own lives and indeed to the "real world". All these concepts are drawn together in a week long residential field trip to Blue Ridge Outdoor Educational Center towards the end of the school year.
Human growth and development is a topic of particular relevance. Parents are strongly encouraged to initiate and maintain an on-going dialogue with their child throughout the year in order to discuss personal and family values, particularly those relating to the study of life science.
Problem-solving strategies learned through grade six are refined and reinforced in Pre-Algebra. Students develop their abilities to read, write, listen, and communicate about problems and their possible solutions as well as practice the strategies they develop. Numerous and varied experiences reinforce and extend logical reasoning skills and the continued study of arithmetic functions. Beginning algebraic concepts including writing and simplifying one and two step equations, complex equations, equalities, ratios, graphing, slope, polynomials, algebraic fractions, probability, and interpretation of data, are included in the Pre-Algebra course. All students who take Pre-Algebra in the seventh grade take Algebra I in the eighth grade.
These one-quarter courses are designed to introduce students to each of the four languages offered in Ontario: Latin, French, German, and Italian. Students study the geography and culture of each language area, and also take part in fun introductory oral and written activities. Above all, we want students to have a positive learning experience, and to be able to make an informed decision about the foreign language they will study in 8th grade.
All seventh graders take full year courses in Canadian History, English Grammar, English Literature, Mathematics, and Science. In addition they take exploratory courses in Art, Computer, Drama, Music, Pre-Languages, and Physical Education.