Grade 7 Curriculum
Seventh-graders are continuing to grow socially, emotionally, and cognitively. Cambridge Friends School creates a safe community that allows students to explore their own identities and take academic risks.
Our goals are to:
- Affirm students’ identities
- Foster a love of learning
- Refine students’ analytical and inferential thinking
- Refine students’ ability to look at things from multiple perspectives and make more nuanced decisions
- Build empathy and community
- Build a sense of civic responsibility and inspire students as agents of change
- Ground students in an understanding of the larger social, economic and political landscape of the US, currently and historically
Seventh grade is a complex and exciting time in a child’s growth and development, as they take social risks and push boundaries in order to figure out their own identities and create a space for growing independence and increased responsibility. Cambridge Friends School’s seventh-grade classrooms are safe and supportive communities, where students can define, redefine, explore, and examine who they are and who they want to be and where they feel the emotional safety to take risks, try new things and make mistakes along the way. We also spend the year preparing the students for the leadership roles and responsibilities they will assume in eighth grade.
Over the course of the year, our seventh-grade social-emotional curriculum will focus on:
- Exploring our identities (chatroom)
- Responsible social/online sharing
- Media literacy
- Responsible decision making around peer pressure, healthy decision making and friend choices, gossiping, exclusion, drugs and sex.
- Building healthy and supportive friendships
- Learning when to self-advocate
- Managing stress and anxiety
Components of the Seventh-Grade Social-Emotional Curriculum:
- Advisory and Morning Meeting
- Guiding principles creation
- Team-building activities
- Community lunches
- Conflict resolution
- Meeting for Worship and visits to the Cambridge Meeting
The annual trip to Washington, D.C., provides our seventh-grade students with hands-on experience with curricular themes, the opportunity to deeply explore community and culture, and perhaps most importantly, to learn something about the balance of self-awareness, self -reliance, and dependence upon others. The trip’s purpose, which differs from more traditional school trips to D.C., is to help our students engage and more deeply understand the scope of Quaker activism in our Nation’s Capital, to engage in service projects that strengthen local communities in D.C., and to understand how Quaker organizations influence local, national, and political decision-making processes. Lastly, it also gives students an agency to participate in activities that empower themselves, and others. It is common for both students and their parents to comment that students come back with a sense of renewed energy, perspective-taking, and leadership skills that will mark their transition to the eighth grade.
Cambridge Friends Schools seventh-grade humanities is the intersection of English Language Arts with history and social studies. We use a variety of historical and contemporary texts and resources to make personal connections between our individual experiences and the greater world in which we live. Collaboratively establishing a positive learning environment and aiming to honor all perspectives, similarities, and differences is paramount to what we do in humanities. Students will develop critical thinking skills by reading more complex literature, develop their writing skills through consistent practice and feedback, and hone their ability to responsibly evaluate history and the varieties of perspectives that create it. We believe that student understanding and skill building is enhanced when meaningful connections are made thematically or conceptually, whenever practical, across content areas. The Cambridge Friends School Quaker Testimonies provide the lens through which we view our curriculum and conduct our discussions.
Seventh-grade students explore how revolutions begin and end. The American Revolution, Haitian Revolution and Egyptian Revolution will serve as case studies for further study. Through a close examination of secondary and primary sources, maps, and literature, students look for links between these revolutions and the aspects of commonality despite them spanning oceans and centuries. Students do an independent research project that explores a revolution not covered in the curriculum; this may include both historical and contemporary conflicts.
In addition, essential to seventh-grade humanities are poetic narratives. Students explore contemporary books of poetry and write their own book length narratives in verse. Students aim to capture emotion and truth through the conjunction of personal story and figurative language.
The reading curriculum is rooted in the skills and concepts that prepare students to become effective readers of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Teachers lead students in whole-class and small group (i.e. “literature circles”) reading activities. Sometimes everyone is reading the same text, and other times students have structured choice opportunities. Learners will encounter complex themes, and will explore the concepts of characterization, plot structure, symbolism, setting, hyperbole, and other “author moves.”
Close Reading: Students learn to pay attention to small moments in a piece of writing and to connect them to larger features like theme, plot structure, or character development.
Making Connections: Students are challenged to classify and compare their readings and begin to view their reading experiences as the building of a literary archive.
Purpose: Students learn that literature and non-literary writing may have been written for a particular purpose, or inspired by a specific object or event.
Annotate for Understanding: Students develop metacognitive strategies by tracking the way they read, pausing appropriately to digest, and questioning what comes ahead. They practice note-taking skills and eventually develop the note-taking methods and reading habits that work best for them.
Independent Reading: Students are expected to read for a minimum of two hours a week outside of school. This practice supports students in building fluency, background knowledge, vocabulary, and confidence. It is our hope that each child will learn how to choose appropriate texts that will both instruct and inspire.
The writing curriculum focuses on the ability to write with clarity and sophistication. With careful guidance, CFS students practice writing concise essays, stories, poetry, and narratives. Students learn to support their evidence with reasoning and to confidently make claims about literature and important topics related to our history and social studies work. They learn the parts of argument and the purpose of persuasive writing. With teacher guidance, learners will examine mentor texts for style, perspective, and efficacy, and then try their hands at the author’s craft. By expanding vocabulary, students learn that each word choice influences the mood, tone, or clarity of their writing. The core of the grammar curriculum is grammar practice and feedback on accurate usage. Grammar is taught as individualized student conferencing and full class grammar lessons. Instruction is tailored to the current skill level of each class. Students view brainstorming, outlining, continued analysis, drafting, revision, and the quest for feedback as the elements of the writing process. Teachers model and then ask students to practice a variety of revision techniques. Students revise their own work and that of their peers by sharing work aloud and in print.
History and Social Studies:
The history component of humanities teaches students to analyze, interpret and evaluate historical sources. Geography plays an important role in our yearlong focus on revolutionary change, and to this end we learn to identify relevant places in our course of study and to read and interpret different types of maps and charts while also analyzing relevant data. Additionally, we evaluate the social, political, economic and cultural characteristics of revolutions and explain their historical significance by effectively conducting research and presenting to an audience.
The seventh-grade math course at Cambridge Friends School builds on the strands explored by students in sixth-grade math, focusing on the development of conceptual understanding, fluency, and application of mathematical concepts. We use a rigorous, differentiated, research-based curriculum, Go Math!, as the foundation of the course.
Using the 5 E instructional model (Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, Evaluate), we build and reinforce the students’ foundational math skills while applying them to real-world situations. Each unit is designed to build on and connect to other important mathematical concepts and requires higher-level thinking, reasoning, and problem-solving skills. Our students learn to reason effectively, share their mathematical thinking both verbally and in written form, and develop strong mathematical practices as they delve into the concepts presented in each unit.
Units of study include:
1.) The Number System
- Adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing positive and negative numbers
- Applying integer operations
- Adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing rational numbers
- Applying rational number operations
2.) Ratios and Proportional Relationships
- Unit rates
- Constant rates of change
- Proportional relationships and graphs
- Percent increase and decrease
3.) Expressions, Equations, and Inequalities
- One-step equations with rational coefficients
- Solving two-step equations
- Writing and solving two-step inequalities
- Modeling geometric figures
- Angle relationships
- Circumference, area, and volume
- Random samples and populations
- Analyzing and comparing data
- Experimental probability of compound events
- Theoretical probability and simulations
- Using technology to conduct a simulation
7.) Real Numbers, Exponents, and Scientific Notation
- Rational and irrational numbers
- Scientific notation with positive and negative powers of 10
8.) Linear Relationships and Equations
- Rate of change and slope
- Determining slope and y-intercept
- Solving linear equations
In seventh-grade science, Cambridge Friends School students address the essential question of: “How is Earth’s climate shaped and formed and how is it changing?” This question serves as a platform through which students study many branches of science and practice using inquiry skills that will help guide their investigations. Students use various instruments to track and understand planetary movements such as using design-thinking as a way to approach challenges, designing and carrying out a controlled experiment from start to finish, manipulating atmospheric computer models, finding and reporting out on current events that are relevant to curriculum topics, analyzing climate data, and engaging with the community around this issue.
Seventh-grade science begins “zoomed out” in the solar system, and each student is challenged to construct their own understanding of how planetary movements influence Earth’s seasonal rhythms using a specified selection of tools. To grasp the science behind our changing climate, we continually “zoom in” throughout the year and piece together the many components of a complex, dynamic system. To do this, we examine the chemical properties of our atmosphere and develop a fundamental understanding of elements and phases of matter, followed by the physics of energy transfer through Earth’s various types of matter and how this shapes climate patterns around the globe. A large focus of the seventh-grade science curriculum involves examining the relationship between humans and Earth’s changing climate as students assess their own role in this complex issue, both as individuals and as a school community.
The structure of the studio program at Cambridge Friends School for seventh-grade students is built around the in-depth study of materials and personal choice. During in-depth studies our students explore a material, practice and refine skills, and use the material to create a major project. Each in-depth project is a multi-step design problem. An important goal of in-depth projects is for students to practice working both independently and collaboratively. Often, major projects are collaborations between visual art and another discipline.
Personal choice occurs between major projects and gives students the opportunity to learn from the art studio. Personal choice is not an unstructured time. During personal choice, each student chooses to work on a number of design challenges, or experiment with a material, or propose an independent project.
Middle School Physical Education aims to develop basic skills, concepts, and dispositions needed to lead a physically active lifestyle. Students have physical education classes two times a week. Each class includes a variety of activities that build sustained aerobic fitness, flexibility, and strength. A variety of tagging and fleeing games are also utilized to increase heart rate. Fitness testing is used in the fall to collect baseline data and in the spring to measure progress. In physical education it is important that students develop confidence and competence in their physical abilities. A plethora of cooperative initiatives are incorporated throughout the school year.
The first part of the seventh-grade drama program at Cambridge Friends School focuses on students putting together a published play within their ensemble. From picking the show through their performances, our students learn the value of live theater production and the importance to always keep going when onstage. All aspects of putting on a show are examined with a closer lens to foster a deeper understanding of theater production.
The second semester students will be studying the art of the monologue. What makes a monologue work as a stand alone piece, whether for showcase or class. Transitions, point-of-view, and text analysis are introduced in their formal capacity, and students will learn the importance of creating a history for their characters.
Spanish in seventh grade is a total immersion course in which students expand their proficiency in the Spanish language. Students delve deeply into the language through the study of Hispanic culture and current events. The course synthesizes the grammar covered in fifth and sixth grades and introduces the preterit and speaking from simple sentences to longer sentences. Students use authentic sources like podcasts, videos, newspaper articles, and songs to learn and communicate about a variety of topics in Spanish. This is a highly communicative course; the students work individually and collaboratively in class and on assessments such as projects and presentations. The Massachusetts Curriculum Framework is also included in this course: Comparisons, Communications, Connections, Culture and Communities.