English 7 is intricately woven into Humanities as an introduction to world cultures. Classes stress the fundamental skills of reading and writing, while thinking about humanity. Many of the works assigned in each class center on the countries and cultures studied: Islam, Ancient China, and Ancient Greece.
Students explore the big questions – How do we live? How was the world created? They also learn to delve into the wide variety of responses to these questions found in literature. As students explore the philosophies of Ancient China in Humanities, they read The Examination, a novel set in Ming Dynasty China. They read the writings of the Middle East, from the tales of the Arabian Nights to Bedouin poetry and the work of Kahlil Gibran. English students also read Dickens’ A Christmas Carol not only to study a Western approach to the big questions, but also to learn lessons of grammar and sentence structure as modeled by a master writer. The search for answers culminates at the close of the year as students focus on Greek mythology, reading Black Ships Before Troy in English and learning about Greek philosophy in Humanities.
The goal of the seventh-grade writing program is the mastery of the focus paragraph. Students spend the year learning to craft a clear and effective paragraph. They learn to incorporate concrete details and quotations to support their arguments, to correctly cite those sources, and to analyze the evidence that they cite.
In seventh grade, all students read several books a trimester as outside reading, using both the Accelerated Reader program and books selected with the help of their teacher, challenging themselves to increase speed, comprehension, and reading level.