Seventh grade is an exciting time for students at St. John’s Episcopal School, in which they are allowed more independence. They are increasingly called upon to serve as role models to the rest of the school, as they begin to set their sights on eighth grade and beyond.
The seventh-grade English curriculum integrates several areas of language arts into its six weekly classes. The main focus is on reading and analyzing literature, writing, grammar, and vocabulary. The students read a variety of genres that represent both the traditional canon of literature and modern classics of young adult and adolescent literature. They closely examine the elements of literature represented in each work. At least one novel a year is integrated with the students’ study of world governments in social studies class. Students are guided throughout the writing process as they pre-write, draft, revise, edit, and publish pieces. In seventh grade, students write a variety of types of compositions including short stories, literary analysis, and persuasive and expository pieces. Direct grammar instruction builds on the skills developed in sixth grade and provides the students with the tools to speak and write effectively.
During seventh grade, students study Pre-Algebra. They have daily experiences that build competence through practice, repetition, problem solving, and real life applications as the students develop disciplined mathematical thinking skills. Seventh grade students become proficient in the following areas: evaluation and simplification of numerical and algebraic expressions, using the order of operations, including absolute value; solving and graphing multi-step linear equations; solving problems using ratio, proportion and percent; performing arithmetic operations using negative numbers, including negative fractions; calculating perimeter, area, volume and surface area of two and three dimensional figures; evaluating square roots and understanding the Pythagorean Theorem; and applying properties of polygons, including understanding of the sine, cosine, and tangent ratios. Students are continually challenged to apply conceptual understanding in order to solve more difficult and unique problems. Ongoing assessment and feedback enables teachers and students to pinpoint weaknesses and to extend learning to greater depths. In the seventh grade, students also have the opportunity to place into an accelerated seventh grade algebra curriculum that will prepare them for an eighth grade geometry class.
Seventh grade science students deepen their understanding of the life sciences. In this inquiry-based, hands-on course, students explore fundamental biological concepts and the basic principles of life science. The students perform various organ and full organism dissections. Throughout the year, we read current events science articles and discuss bioethical issues pertaining to gene therapy and the use and development of GMO’s.
In seventh grade, students build on their geographic knowledge acquired from sixth grade. The course begins with a review of basic geographic concepts, themes of geography, mapping skills, physical geography, and human geography. These core concepts are then applied to the study of the geography of specific regions in the world to include Latin America, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Students regularly follow current events to foster understanding of contemporary events and how they relate to history and world geography.
Every seventh grade student is assigned an advisor with whom they meet in weekly small groups. The advisor is a teacher or administrator who is an advocate for the student and helps the students navigate the social and emotional dynamics of middle school. Through a vertically aligned curriculum, the upper school advisory program reinforces our traits of success, organization, and study skills, and gives students an intimate forum in which to have discussions regarding academics, character, and faith.
In the seventh grade year students are offered a choice to continue with Spanish or begin the study of Latin.
Following the Jenney’s First Year Latin I (a high school level textbook) curriculum and its accompanying workbook, seventh and eighth grade Latin students study Latin vocabulary, the first three Latin noun declensions, active and passive verb conjugations, and English grammar and derivatives. Roman culture and mythology are a focus of the course, as well as Latin’s influence on our everyday life. Every December the students enjoy the celebration of the feast of Saturnalia at a local restaurant.
The goal for seventh grade is to prepare students for conversations in the Spanish language. In order to do it, students increase their knowledge of grammar through the different units. Grammar in seventh grade focuses on the present tense of regular and irregular verbs. We also work on Present progressive and Direct/Indirect objects. Students are assessed on their participation in class by class assignments, listening activities, tests, and speaking activities which are reinforced by homework assignments. Students also learn about the culture of México, Puerto Rico, Spain, and the Hispanic population of the United States.
During seventh grade, students develop an age-appropriate understanding of technology concepts, systems, and operations, building on their previous years’ experiences. By the end of seventh grade, we expect St. John’s students to be able to work independently in all programs that we use throughout the year. Seventh graders are expected to be able to create advanced presentations and animated movies, as well as citing any necessary bibliographic references properly using the MLA 9 style. They learn how to create and design a layered Google Site and use programming skills to create a game using Python.
Seventh Grade artists focus on advancing their artistic abilities and further developing their artistic styles. Students engage in different art mediums which can include: graphite and ink drawing, acrylic painting, watercolor painting, ceramics, and more. Students continue their study of observational drawing, compositional balance, and graphic design. Visual art demonstrations and step-by-step verbal explanations are utilized to promote comprehension. Students engage in cross-curricular projects to promote connections between academic subjects, as well as art homework sketches that display students' creativity and advanced drawing skills.
All Upper School students sing in Chorus and play an instrument in the Concert Band. Students can choose either a brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments. Additionally, students also have the option to play keyboards, guitar, and electric bass in the concert band as well.
Christian values and ethics are two of the cornerstones of education at St. John’s Episcopal School, which is exemplified in the Religion program. Throughout their career at St. John’s, students have been exposed to all aspects of the Bible. In Grade 7, students utilize the Bible as a text book. Through the in-depth study of the Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles, students examine the life, ministry, message, and significance of Jesus and the early Christian church.
The goal of St. John’s Physical Education program is to facilitate the development of skills to enable students to safely and successfully participate in team, individual and life sports. Students learn the traits for success while participating in a variety of cross curriculum-integrated activities. Continuing to build on the planned activities completed in fifth and sixth grade, seventh grade students advance to an intermediate level of understanding. More game play is incorporated into units with emphasis on cooperation and communication skills to work as a member of a team. At all levels, physical fitness activities encourage the children to challenge themselves to set individual goals in order to lead a healthy lifestyle.