7th Grade @ NFS

Curriculum Update :: October, 2013


Artists in the clay elective began the course by investigating several hand building techniques, familiarizing and themselves with studio procedures . They recently finished up a slab building project in which they rolled slabs then cut and attached pieces using proper tools and techniques to create hollow three dimensional forms. Some artists went on to build with coils. Currently we are investigating the possibilities of additive and subtractive sculpture. Simply put it is using tools and hand manipulation to either add clay on to a form or take it away. Students are creating clay dolls either of themselves, a pop icon or an inspiring artist. This dolls will be built in pieces then glazed and assembled once fired. This project is extremely challenging and intense. Students are problem solving,evaluating and editing on a daily basis. At the same time, they a gaining a deep comprehension of the possibilities clay can offer to an artist. Once finished students will begin planning a personal project that demonstrated techniques taught in class.


Seventh grade English students are now in the reading zone, seeking out independent reading books that both interest and challenge them. Similarly, our current short story unit is designed to grab students’ attention and help focus them on the important work of examining literature with a critical eye. Stories like Roald Dahl’s “The Landlady,” and Ray Bradbury’s “There Will Come Soft Rains” simultaneously pique readers’ interest and stand as exemplars for just how impactful author choices can be. As students further explore this literature unit, which will culminate with selected excerpts from Flowers for Algernon, they will hone their writing skills both in terms of content, which will have an increasingly analytical focus, and in their application of MLA-formatting guidelines. We will continue to build vocabulary knowledge with the aid of the Sadlier Vocabulary Workshop series.


Team handbells is off to a great start! After finishing our hopes and dreams for the quarter, we began a quick music reading review. We touched on rhythm reading, reading notes in treble and bass clefs and introduced basic handbell ringing techniques. As we move through October, we will be highlighting and playing many different songs utilizing several different ringing techniques.


This month the 7th grade Latin students will be taking their first grammar quiz of the year, covering the ablative of means, a noun construction that expresses the instrument one uses to accomplish a task. Once we have completed this lesson, we will know at least one major use for each of the five main cases of Latin nouns! This will provide a good transition to Lesson 9, in which we review all of the Latin case forms of 1st and 2nd declension nouns and their English equivalents. We will also learn the imperative forms of 1st conjugation verbs. The imperative mood is used to give commands, so by the end of the month, your child will be able to boss you around in Latin!


Currently, 7th graders are being introduced to the foundations of algebra by evaluating numerical expressions following the order of operations and categorizing relationships between sets of numbers. In October, the critical thinkers will continue exploring number sense using the number line, Distributive Property, inverse operations and simplification. More specifically, the students will be creating personal timelines where zero on the number line represents their birth. Then, students have to plot and describe life events that occurred before and after they were born that do not fall on their birthdays. A consistent interval and relating the information to their family history demonstrates their understanding of the number line. The Distributive Property allows students to find the product of algebraic expressions and a number. In addition, the students will become familiar with algebra tiles and use them to solve algebraic equations. This will include reinforcing using inverse operations and simplifying. Toward the end of the month, the students will construct a budget using Microsoft excel. In this simulation, the problem solvers will be given a set amount of money and need to determine how to manage their money and effectively pay bills when due.


In Upper School PE we will continue to develop our physical fitness and work on core as well as muscular strength. The team sport we will be playing is touch football or flag football and the strategies that go along with offense and defense. We will also continue to play large group games like Chaotic Kickball and Defending the Throne that develop skill and teamwork. Fitness and skill development is an important part of all of our activities, but also sportsmanship and fair play.


The seventh grade students will continue to explore microscopes and their uses in biology and then move on to animal and plant cell studies. The projects for this month will involve both plant and animal cell models. The plant cell city will be a diagram of different plant cell structures as different parts of a city. The animal cell project will involve making the different parts of an animal cell using recycled materials.

Service Learning

This month the students in Service Learning will use the knowledge base they have acquired through their research as the foundation of their project planning. They will form small groups based on shared interests and begin to write their project proposals. These proposals will undergo many revisions as students strive to make them as detailed and professional as possible. Once their proposals are complete, students will begin preparing to carry out their projects. Each project will have a slightly different timeline, but by the end of the month, most groups will be close to completing their service project work.

Social Studies

This month in seventh grade social studies we will explore Native American cultures. We will further examine the impact that Europeans had on Native Americans as a result of the Encounter. Students will continue to analyze primary and secondary sources. They will practice the critical reading, note taking, and academic writing through the skills of annotation, synthesis, thesis writing, and source citation. We will conclude the unit with an in-class exam that incorporates reading, writing, and annotation skills.


In October, seventh grade Spanish students will continue to apply the preterit structures to write and converse about past events. Our daily oral warm-up work will continue to expand and demand additional vocabulary to discuss past NFS sports events (scores lost / won, what teams played, where they played…) what people did last night and the past weekend. Starting in October, every Monday students will come to Spanish class ready to describe what they did the past weekend. They will need to write five different activities they did using reflexive and irregular verbs. This short but important assessment will assist students master the challenging preterit structure. On Thursday, October 3rd, students will have an assessment to verify that they are able to apply past tense conjugations of –ar, -er, and –ir verbs. Useful expressions to talk in the past will be included as well as the irregular IR verb will also be part of the test. Much time will be spent during the month studying and applying properly the past form in writing work editing syntax and verb endings in preparation for our reading text, Esperanza.

Upper School Outing

Friday, Oct. 18th, 6-9pm

NFS Auditorium

TASC is organizing a friendraiser to Sleepy Hollow at Active Acres Farm on Friday, October 18th. Students will meet in the Auditorium at 6 pm to do some community service before taking the NFS bus to the farm. Parents should pick their child up at the farm at 9 pm. Check the Tuesday Update for details and a permission slip!