English Language Arts
Students consider the themes and images of American literature, as they read short stories, novels, poems, letters, diaries, and newspapers in conjunction with their history study. They review the essential characteristics of each of these genres, including their structures and content. The course places special emphasis on learning to write formal essays in the modes of persuasion, expression, analysis, and explanation.
United States. The course begins with the early years of the country and the writing of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Using multicultural literature, primary documents, film, scientific and retrospective essays, study focuses on the relationship between ideas of equality, race, and gender and their impact on the historical events and perspectives that have shaped today’s nation. Group and independent inquiry units call on students to apply the five national standards of historical approaches: chronological, historical comprehension, analytical and interpretive, historical research, and historical issues and decision-making. The class is run seminar-style and the students receive a seminar grade.
Using a variety of resources, students view their environment through scientific investigation of life and living systems. The course opens with an examination of the school’s own land, as students sample and analyze forest resources and practice topographic mapping. Study proceeds with classification and taxonomy, cells, cell systems, and human systems. Each week students research current news reports about life science and write summaries of those events.
After reviewing the basic, important skills of long division, students move on to the properties of real numbers, operations with fractions, then prime factorization, variables, and simple polynomials. Basic operations with geometric shapes help students visualize space in three dimensions. Throughout the year, students are encouraged to deepen their abstract thinking by applying their newfound skills to complex problems.
In parallel with their American Studies, seventh graders continue their study of classical drawing with weekly assignments. The conviction that art is a cultural artifact guides the study of American art, folk art, African-American art, the Hudson River School, American expatriate sculpture, kinetic sculpture, ephemeral sculpture, and modernism.