A student reads in the Erskine Library

Grade 7 Curriculum

Seventh graders are explorers. They are exploring what it means to be a learner and a leader during a critical time of adolescence. They are broadening their ability to think critically and analytically from multiple perspectives, and this ability is nurtured through a curriculum that inspires students with creative and challenging projects and experiences. The program incorporates direct instruction with opportunities for active discussion, in-depth research, and skillful presentation. Tools such as Chromebooks and resource periods facilitate students’ development of academic independence and self-advocacy as they move one step closer to high school. Each fall seventh grade students bond as they climb Cardigan Mountain on a three-day trip that combines science lessons with adventure. In the spring, seventh graders identify a question that deeply inspires them and which will be the foundation of a year-long, self-directed Capstone project that they will present in the spring of eighth grade. Throughout the year, seventh grade students take pride in their own academic initiative and personal role as contributing members of the community.

Program Highlights

  • Design innovation
  • Arts electives
  • Seventh and eighth grade play
  • Interscholastic athletics program
  • Advisor program
  • Third grade buddies
  • Cardigan Mountain trip

Specialist Time

  • World language four times a week for 50 minutes
  • Arts electives four times a week for 60 minutes (music, visual art, theater, woodworking, and technology)
  • Athletics four times a week for 60 minutes
  • Clubs, advisory, and resource time

Grade 7 Subjects

Students bring together literature and technology in English class

The seventh grade English curriculum focuses on active and critical reading, reflective and creative writing, and thoughtful and substantive discussion. Attention is given to both skill development and classroom participation. The theme of conformity and nonconformity especially resonates with adolescents. We challenge our students to answer the following essential questions:

How much freedom does an individual need?

  • How do social expectations impact the way we behave?
  • What is the individual’s relationship to society?
  • How does an author clearly show character?
  • What are the best practices of successful writers?

Units of study have included short stories, poetry, plays, biographies, graphic novels, and novels. Recent titles include Macbeth, Of Mice and Men, Born A Crime, and Persepolis.

Seventh grade students students will:

  • read actively, closely, and critically

  • analyze literary elements: tone, symbol, characterization, theme, author’s intent, and plot structure
  • compose critical discussion questions related to reading
  • engage in a variety of discussion formats
  • write reflectively, critically, and creatively in a variety of genres: creative, descriptive, literary analysis, persuasive, and narrative
  • use direct evidence from texts to support ideas
  • learn, practice, and employ effective essay structure
  • create their own short story informed by the structure, elements, and devices of acclaimed writers
  • develop the ability to smoothly integrate quotes into writing
  • develop knowledge of complex sentence structure, vocabulary, and grammar

The overarching goal in the seventh grade mathematics curriculum is to inspire students to enjoy and understand mathematics while navigating the transition to algebra in a supportive classroom environment. Students complete the curriculum for pre-algebra including topics in geometry in the first two trimesters and begin a standard Algebra I course during the third trimester. Major units throughout the seventh grade year include exponents and roots, integer operations, inequalities, understanding and manipulating variable expressions, solving multi-step equations, and graphing and manipulating linear equations in slope-intercept form.

Seventh grade students will:

  • participate in a lively classroom where application of skills to problems is the primary mode of instruction
  • understand the fundamental properties in mathematics and how they are applied in algebra
  • learn conventions, rules, and procedures and why they work
  • produce logical and legible written work so that they and their teachers can follow their reasoning
  • apply big ideas of proportional reasoning and equivalence to algebraic thinking
  • effectively use transformations: reflections, rotations, translations, and dilations
  • construct formulas for surface area and volume of complex 3D geometric shapes
  • apply algebra to understand relationships between angles and sides in polygons
  • solve simple and multi-step algebraic equations and inequalities
  • graph both real world data and linear equations
  • understand and apply simple probability
  • Prove congruency among triangles and apply the Pythagorean Theorem

Social studies class

The seventh grade social studies curriculum begins with a focus on geography so that students can use place as part of the context for their historical understandings and for research. They then explore the European expansion and occupation of North America, Westward expansion, Sub-Saharan Africa’s pre-colonial kingdoms, the rise of the Atlantic Slave Trade, as well as current events and food systems. Students engage in regular reading assignments, non-fiction writing projects, debate, classroom presentations, and research papers.

Seventh grade students will:

  • paraphrase, summarize, and identify main ideas from a variety of non-fiction sources including primary sources
  • connect information from multiple sources
  • identify, understand, and appreciate multiple points of view
  • provide evidence to support opinions, especially in debate
  • employ effective research techniques include conventional citation and bibliography
  • create effective introductory, body, and concluding paragraphs
  • plan, organize and deliver presentations
  • respond thoughtfully to questions
  • actively participate in class discussions
  • enhance collaborative skills
  • harness potent technology tools such as databases and Noodletools to find information and organize work needed for effective research

Seventh graders are encouraged to appreciate science in their daily lives and keep current with issues, challenges, and discoveries.  Regular reading and summarizing of science articles contributes to lively discussion and the realization that science is an integral part of many other academic subjects. The major units focus on biology and environmental science. Students are challenged to develop their ability to look at the world around them and use logical reasoning to generate and test hypotheses. Using microscopes, manipulatives, and classroom discussions, students learn about cell structure, function, and division. A survey of the domains and kingdoms allows students to study how organisms interact in ecosystems and as members of populations. The students then look at the impact that humans have had on the ability of ecosystems and their populations to remain viable for future generations.

Seventh grade students will:

  • learn how to read informational text and articles, summarizing, generating questions, and taking effective notes
  • use scientific equipment effectively, properly and carefully
  • appreciate how optics enables the collection of images too small to be seen
  • identify characteristics that will determine classification
  • write clear and effective lab reports and generate hypotheses, make observations, collect and analyze data and draw logical conclusions
  • be introduced to the smallest components that make up living things, learning about structure and function, mitosis, and passive and active transport
  • analyze how organisms interact with each other
  • understand the big ideas behind evolution, population growth, adaptation, and survival

Spanish class

The middle school world language program develops general language skills, intellectual discipline, and the vocabulary, grammar, and basics that allow students to continue language studies at an advanced level in high school. We support the development of our students as citizens in the diverse community of Belmont Day and in the world. Exposure to broad cultural experiences nurtures curiosity and joy.

The French, Spanish, and Latin programs provide the students with a strong grounding in cultural appreciation and the structure of language. Students choose a language in the spring of fifth grade and continue their learning through the remainder of middle school. Students use textbooks and also learn through the use of skits, conversations, video, art projects, partner and small group work, games, and online activities. Activities in class may be practiced or improvisational and may include serious investigation of current events, practical experience of ordering at a restaurant, or a comical vignette of participating in a parent/teacher conference. The curriculum prepares students to take French II, Spanish II, or Latin II in high school.

Our seventh grade students will:

  • learn new vocabulary, often taught in thematic units
  • expand grammar concepts including sentence structure, parts of speech, and conjugations
  • practice conversation with confidence and correct grammar and pronunciation
  • write with increasingly expanded vocabulary, complexity, and grammatical facility
  • learn effective language study skills
  • develop curiosity about, and understanding of, French- or Spanish-speaking cultures

During the sixth through eighth grade program, topics of study may include:

  • family
  • food
  • weather
  • likes/dislikes
  • geography
  • descriptions
  • hobbies and sports
  • clothing
  • travel
  • cars
  • poetry
  • house
  • towns
  • weekend and vacation activities

During the sixth through eighth grade program, the development of grammar includes:​

  • sentence structure
  • verb conjugation
  • adverbs and adjectives
  • pronouns (subject, object, reflexive)
  • prepositions
  • questions
  • negation
  • present, past, and future tense

Seventh and eighth grade students are invited to make choices about what artistic areas they would like to explore and will experience opportunities to experiment across the domains. They choose from among nearly 30 elective arts courses in music, theater arts, technology, visual art, and woodworking, offered during four eight-week sessions throughout the year. At the end of each session students gather to share their completed pieces and reflect on the artistic process. Seventh and eighth grade students who are passionate about theater arts present a play each spring.

Arts electives vary from year to year. A sampling of recent options includes: Acapella, Drawing Explorations, Painting Explorations, Books as Art, Architecture in Clay, Kinetic Sculpture, Sewing and Fashion Design, Film, Game Programming, Mobiles, Pottery Wheel, Digital Photography, Digital Soundscapes, Comedy Through the Ages, Fiber Explosion, Global Goals Intensive, Latinos Making Music in the U.S., Improv, A Half-Cubic Foot of Wood, Print Shop Processes, Costume Design, Collage, Composer’s Forum, Hip-Hop Artists and Their Legacy, Public Speaking, Ukelele 101, Wooden Mechanical Mechanisms, Build a Table, Carving, Clock-making, Telling Our Stories, Shakespeare, Advanced Acting, Makeup Design, Prop Creation, Musical Intensive.

Seventh grade students will:

  • Design and create projects and activities determined by the particular course
  • Use various references for project and performance ideas
  • Incorporate planning for ideas and designs for projects and modify as needed
  • Recognize and use various materials, tools, and musical instruments appropriately
  • Explore and refine advanced techniques according to the individual’s abilities
  • Recognize, develop, and use an appropriate art and music vocabulary
  • Develop an understanding of the work of various artists, musicians, composers, and cultures
  • Perform and compose based on their understanding of musical concept, instrumental technique, and genre
  • Collaborate with others to create a collectively satisfying studio and performance experience

Seventh grade students participate in the interscholastic athletics program, which allows athletes to focus on their passions while encouraging a committed approach and strong leadership. Following the middle school model of independence, choice, and responsibility, students are given the opportunity to select which three sports they would like to participate in over the course of the school year. During each season, students further their sport-specific skills, learn in-depth game strategies, and compete against other schools. To round out their athletic experience, students also participate in cooperative games, team-building activities, and fitness challenges in between interscholastic seasons.

Sports offered:

  • Fall: soccer, field hockey, flag football, cross country
  • Winter: basketball, volleyball, fencing, wrestling, P.E.A.K.: physical exercise, adventures, knowledge
  • Spring: lacrosse, tennis, track and field, ultimate frisbee, mountain biking

Seventh grade athletes will:

  • compete actively and extend their personal limits
  • increase their strength, stamina, and agility
  • acquire sport-specific skills and knowledge
  • learn how to work within a team setting
  • appreciate the school’s six core values

Three students during cross-graded partner time

The comprehensive social competency and health and wellness curriculum provides an opportunity for students to learn about structures and importance of community, personal relationships, and healthy individual choices. In the middle school, the curriculum aims to help students confront and understand many complex issues. The Choices curriculum for seventh and eighth graders centers on making good choices in life and putting your best self forward. Students work with a team of four faculty members to explore such issues as: friendship, inclusiveness, LGBTQ topics, drugs, and adolescence. Interviewing and preparing for high school and on-demand writing are also covered.

Seventh grade students will:

  • learn the elements of positive social skills: cooperation, assertion, responsibility, self-control, and empathy
  • identify the similarities and differences in people in terms of needs, emotions, and cultures
  • respect and care for themselves psychologically and biologically
  • demonstrate respect for community members through the use of respectful language, actions, and attitudes
  • have questions answered about personal and sexual health, safety and consequences, drugs and alcohol consumption

Topics of study:

  • What is adolescence?
  • Gender roles and social expectations
  • Emotional health
  • Physical health
  • Self-care, including healthy choices
  • Sexual health, including identity
  • Navigating interpersonal relationships

Two girls work together at their desks

Advisory Program, Resource Time, and Learning Support

Of utmost importance are the relationships that students develop with their teachers and each other. The advisory program is designed to develop a strong group dynamic, extend the student adult relationship beyond the academic classroom, identify a trusted adult who knows and can advocate for all facets of a student, and to teach the social skills necessary for students to build positive relationships with peers and adults

Resource time is a time when all faculty and students are free. Students have the time seek help from peers or adults, meet with teachers, and correct, extend, and complete work. This time teaches students to advocate for themselves, identify their strengths and challenges, and manage their academic work load.

In addition, the learning specialist works with students as a whole group, in small groups, and individually. In conjunction with the learning specialist, teachers strive to help students with explicit strategies for writing, for studying, and for tackling assessments.

Boy working on a laptop

At Belmont Day, technology learning tools are available in each classroom. Students have access to Apple laptops, iPads, and Chromebooks, exposing them to different platforms and applications. In seventh and eighth grades, students are provided with 1:1 Chromebooks, allowing for seamless integration of technology across all subject areas. Google Apps for Education provides valuable, interactive tools for faculty and allow students to access their work anytime, anywhere.

Belmont Day’s middle school technology curriculum is centered in the IMPACT Lab, a collaborative workspace tailored to serve students as they embark on a wide range of learning experiences, including designing and printing 3D objects; programming with Scratch or JavaScript; developing game apps; linking computers to objects in the physical world using Makey Makeys; building and programming Lego robots; and problem-solving and brainstorming on a whiteboard wall spanning the length of the lab.

Our Teachers

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