— Grade 7

7th Grade Curriculum Overview

Reading/Language Arts

Texts:  Literature: California Treasures, Course 2 by Glencoe, Vocabulary for Achievement by Great Source, Prentice Hall Writing and Grammar by Pearson, Sitton Spelling, select novels/literature

Students will work on a wide range of language skills including daily instruction and practice in vocabulary, grammar, and spelling. We will also hone our skills in the important areas of proofreading and dictation. Formal and informal assessment will be done regularly to qualify student growth.

Throughout the school year, students will read a wide range of literary genres including short stories, drama, nonfiction, poetry, and novels. We will engage in both seasonal poems and assorted poetry from around the world, along with poetry circles and a project. Our study of drama culminates with the inclusion of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, Julius Caesar, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which will be read and acted out in groups in class. Along with our literature textbook (an anthology of short stories), students will read five books over the course of the year, and each novel will include multiple language arts­-based activities. Literature Circles will round out our reading experience.

The four main writing genres — narrative, expository, persuasive, and descriptive — will be the main focus in writing assignments. We will do several research papers throughout the year, which will include topics such as Famous African Americans or Notable Women in History. These research papers will require use of the internet and information obtained from the library. In conjunction with this, students will learn how to do bibliographies and citations. These will be long-term assignments designed to reinforce and encourage time management skills and improve study skills. Students will also write an essay based on interviewing one of their grandparents — ­always a highlight assignment!

Throughout the year, students will have the opportunity for public speaking through presentations of reports/projects. In addition, students will take part in a ‘formal’ debate, based on age-­appropriate current events.

Math

Texts:  Mathematics, Course 2 by Prentice Hall and Common Core Progress Mathematics by Sadlier School

Students will understand, compute, and solve problems with real numbers including percents, powers, roots, and absolute value. They will apply proportional reasoning to solve numerical and geometrical problems. They will strengthen their ability to use fractions, decimals, and percents and will be proficient at changing from one to another. Students will know how to compute the surface area and volume of basic three-dimensional objects. They will know and use the Pythagorean Theorem. Students will accurately express their ideas and strategies through both verbal and symbolic work.

Religion

Texts:  Blest Are We and Family Life by RCL Benziger

Students will learn about the life of Jesus, beginning with His momentous birth and ending with His glorious resurrection. In addition to reading the text, students will read the Bible to see how all four Gospel writers depict Jesus. In addition to learning about the life of Christ, students will also learn about Christian morality through various parables and teachings. They will then learn how to apply those teachings to their own lives and how they can be better Catholics. They will also be exposed to Catholic social teachings and will learn how to apply the lessons of the Gospels to our global community.

We will also work from the Grade 7 Family Life book. This year, our focus will be on family relationships and the values and virtues of the Catholic Church. We will use these topics ​as a means of discussing Catholic morality and using the Church’s teachings to help live fuller lives.

Junior High Service Learning Program
6th, 7th, and 8th grade will take part in the Service Learning Program. Rubrics and paperwork for each grade will be posted on School Speak. Service grades will be a part of the student’s final religion grade for each trimester.

Science

Text:  California Focus on Life Science by Prentice Hall

The approach to our program is hands-on and activity-oriented. Students get a solid foundation in science investigation skills including observation, measurement and data collection, analysis, prediction, experiment design, research source evaluation, and communication. When possible, the curriculum includes differentiated lessons so a student can proceed at a pace that is comfortable, yet challenging.

Each student creates a PowerPoint presentation. Seventh grade students choose a topic related to genetic disorders or genetic engineering, research the topic thoroughly, develop a thesis, design a presentation, and then present it to the class.

Units chosen are based on the Content Standards from the California Department of Education. Seventh grade focuses on life science and utilizes the textbook California Focus on Life Science by Prentice Hall. Curricular units include light, cells, reproduction, genetics, geologic time, evolution, microorganisms, plants, and muscles and bones.

Note: California is an active participant in creating the Next Generation Science Standards which are based on the Framework for Science Education. Both documents are in the initial implementation stages at present.

What this will mean statewide is a greater focus on engineering and doing, rather than just learning concepts. Key practices include asking questions, designing experiments, analyzing information, communicating information, etc. The number of core ideas will be limited, allowing more in-depth study and experimentation. When the state implements the new standards, the curriculum at St. Justin School will also be revised. However, our current curriculum already emphasizes most, if not all, of the new practices and standards. While we cannot be a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) school due to very specific facility/personnel/structure demands required to earn that designation, the Junior High curriculum does provide many of the same opportunities.

Social Studies

Text:  Discovering our Past: Medieval and Early Modern Times by Glencoe

The students will begin their investigation into world history with a study of the Roman Empire and its subsequent fall. They will then examine the rise of the Islamic empires and the various empires of sub­Saharan Africa. The students will then study the various civilizations of East Asia, especially the feudal society of Japan and the various attempts to develop Chinese nationalism. From there, the seventh graders will investigate the Renaissance, Reformation, and the Age of Exploration. We will then cross the Atlantic and examine the early civilizations of the Americas. We will finish the year with a look at European rule and expansion, culminating in the Enlightenment.

Students will learn to take notes from their textbook using Cornell Notes Format. We will work on our test preparation skills and initially take open-note tests. We will normally have homework, guided reading packets, and other related activities with each chapter studied. There will be long­-term projects based on the material studied. Occasional map tests will be given as additional support of the geographical areas covered in our textbook. The students will select, write about, and share with the class current events taken from their local newspaper or online source. Students will engage in Socratic Circles, where they discuss readings from their textbook using student-­driven discussion. This subject will require the strengthening and development of higher-­level thinking skills, and students will have to read the text and connect it to other ideas and aspects of life. The class will require more than a skimming or cursory reading.

Spanish

Text:  ¡Exprésate! by Holt/Rinehart/Winston

The 7th grade Spanish curriculum is based on the “five C’s” of the Common Core National Standards: Communication, Culture, Connections, Comparisons, and Communities. The students scaffold prior knowledge gained from 6th grade. The students are introduced to the cultural awareness of the Spanish-speaking world and its people. The course will give students a greater understanding of the differences and similarities within the Spanish culture and between the Spanish and American cultures.

A pragmatic approach to teaching using a variety of pedagogical techniques is emphasized and adapted to the needs of the students through:

  • lectures
  • creative writing
  • oral drills
  • group activities
  • technology
  • dictation
  • skits
  • games
  • modeling/TPR
  • movies
  • music

The following themes are used to develop student knowledge and skills:

  • alphabet
  • presentations
  • family
  • shopping
  • school
  • writing
  • numbers
  • vocabulary
  • verbs (present/future)
  • adjectives
  • nouns
  • hobbies/points of interest
  • sports