Grade 7 Student Development
The most dominant trait of many seventh grader is enthusiasm
The operative word for age twelve is change. Everything changes, often dramatically, sometimes traumatically, but almost always for the better.
The most dominant trait of many seventh graders is enthusiasm. Some of the enthusiasm can be ascribed to growing self-awareness and a consequent widening social awareness. Twelve-year-olds become increasingly aware of the larger world around them and of the fact that they are slowly but most certainly becoming a part of it.
Emotional behavior is under increased control. For girls the temper and tears of age eleven have been replaced by more reasonable responses to frustration, like humor. Nevertheless, immaturity sometimes rears its gauche head; boys often seem unaware of and unconcerned about socially correct behavior.
The peer group has grown increasingly influential in the life of a twelve-year-old. Matters of taste, dress, and behavior are often resolved by this informal panel of peer judges. Nevertheless, there is still a strong bond at home and a growing need to be part of family decisions and plans.
Twelve-year-olds need someone who listens to them. They need more independence as well as more clearly defined limits which they will often test. They need an activity or interest that engages their boundless enthusiasm, be it a sport, a hobby, or a collection.
Seventh graders must be valued. They must feel connected and be a part of the school and its activities.
Curricular programs and instructional strategies in seventh grade share a common purpose: enhancing the basic skills and making the student an active, engaged learner. A visitor walking into a typical seventh grade classroom will be struck by the flurry of activity. Some students may be working independently, some in small groups, but all are likely to be engaged in active learning, whether it is discussing, interviewing, researching, graphing, designing, drawing, constructing, or computing.
The English/Language Arts curriculum in 7th grade is based on knowledge and application of skills in reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Students will read world literature and informative works. Independent reading is expected of each student. Students will utilize reading materials to develop strategies for understanding vocabulary in historical, literary, and specialized (i.e. math, science) contexts. This will foster understanding of the ideas, arguments, and perspectives of the reading selections as related to the structure, organization, and purpose of the text.
Students will write proper paragraphs and formally structured essays (introduction, body, and conclusion) to develop skills in narrative, expository, persuasive, and descriptive writing. By the end of the seventh grade, students will write essays and deliver presentations that are clear, focused, and coherent works that incorporate proper, grade-level written and oral conventions, such as sentence structure, tense, and pronoun reference. As they do so they will move into more sophisticated forms and styles of writing.
The English curriculum in seventh grade is based on significant literary works and integrates listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The students encounter literature from many genres, fiction and non-fiction alike. They will read novels like Where the Red Fern Grows and The Martian Chronicles; short stories like All Summer in a Day, and A Man and a Boy; poetry like Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening, and Annabel Lee, as well as plays, The Monsters are Due on Maple Street and essays.
In seventh grade the math curriculum includes studies in number relationships: ratio, proportion and percent; application of number theory concepts such as prime numbers, factors, multiples, patterns and functions. Additional concepts encompass variables, algebraic expressions and equations; inequalities and nonlinear equations, constructing, reading, and interpreting tables, charts, and graphs; probability, geometry and measurement.
In world history and geography, students investigate the social, cultural, and technological changes during the period from 500 B.C. to 1789 A.D. The sequence of units focuses both on the geography and the history of the major continents.
Units plot the rise and fall of Rome, the Byzantine Empire, the study of the Islamic society and culture, the early civilizations of the Americas, China, Japan, India, the European Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Scientific Revolution.
Seventh grade students develop mapping skills (the ability to read and create maps), writing skills (compare/contrast, develop opinions, formulate creative writings, create expository papers, and recognize the cause and effect of historical events), create timelines, and study differing cultures, ideas, and beliefs. They study the history of scientific discoveries and the geographic impact on the economies of ancient societies. Their study of the past is enriched by exploration of the arts and humanities as well as drawing links between past events and today.
Seventh grade science classes emphasize the connections between concepts and ideas in the traditional science subjects: earth science, physical science and life science. As in other disciplines, students will develop higher, more abstract thinking processes as they become well grounded in experiential, manipulative, lab-oriented problems. Earth science covers the subjects of astronomy, geology and natural resources, oceanography, and meteorology. Ecosystems, cells, genetics, evolution, and the classification and relationships of living things constitute the body of knowledge covered in life science. Investigations in physical science includes matter (reactions and interactions, force and motion) and energy (heat, light, electricity, magnetism, and sound).
Physical education in seventh grade is a year of many challenges. The students will participate in many group activities that utilize decision making skills. Along with cooperative and team sport activities, the seventh graders will be involved in the D.A.R.E. program. Due to the pressures in life, the seventh grader needs to learn how to make the right choices and demonstrate appropriate social behavior. With the help of the D.A.R.E. program, the seventh grade physical education class focuses on life-long health and fitness.
From exploratory choices like Introduction to Technology, Spanish, and Journalism, seventh graders can select from a wide-ranging list of explorations. Some explorations will enrich their artistic endeavors (band, drama, and chorus), others will lead to enhanced knowledge and skill in the world of technology (computer communications, robotics, video production), while some will broaden their academic preparation (Spanish and journalism).
Additionally, it is common for seventh grade history and English classes to use an interdisciplinary approach. This approach typifies the middle school's efforts to create in seventh graders a sense of "connectedness" to the world around them. In the realm of science, the district and county science fairs serve the same function, connecting the student's active learning to the real world.
The middle schools in the MVUSD attempt to address all four pieces of the student puzzle: intellectual, physical, emotional and social growth. What and how we teach is focused on helping students grow in all four areas. From the many efforts to encourage parent involvement to the strictly enforced codes for safety and student dress, the school provides an environment that allows students to be and do their best.
In seventh grade in particular, a great amount of time is invested in developing organizational and study skills. It is highly recommended that students use a student planner, for example. Seventh grade marks a major transition for a student into a much busier and larger world. It is essential to give them skills to manage this new world.
By the time they enter eighth grade, students will be prepared for even greater levels of sophisticated intellectual development, effective social interaction, and responsible, disciplined, emotional growth.