Seventh Grade

NFS Curriculum Update :: November, 2013


Artists in the clay elective recently worked on a project in which they sculpted a pop icon, an inspirational person or a self portrait in parts using additive and subtractive clay techniques. They were asked to focus on details and finishing techniques. Currently students are focusing on ceramic pieces with an emphasis on surface decoration. Students were asked to choose a clay technique previously taught in the elective that they feel they execute strongly. Students have also been introduced to different kinds of glazes, their properties and finishes. They are now making personal aesthetic choices by selecting glazes that they feel suits their work. The art room is running like an open studio. Artists were given a time line and are responsible for glazing all work and finishing the surface design piece by the end of the term but are able to chose when they do what. We will finish the term assembling our clay figures. Each artist will be asked to reflect on their body of work and all students will participate in a positive critique of each others work.


Seventh grade English students have begun their first critical essay of the year. Building the essay from the ground up, these writers will implement the essential components of formal essay writing, including thesis statement, analysis, and the increasingly familiar MLA formatting requirements. Students will utilize these tools to compare and contrast the experience of the protagonist from Flowers for Algernon before and after the surgery that triples his IQ. Throughout our short story unit, students also worked to develop effective, individualized methods for tracking their responses to reading, a skill that will be essential in our next literature unit. Surviving Antarctica, a dystopian young adult novel, will provide numerous opportunities for full class Harkness-style discussions in which the class works together to generate effective analysis of literature.


Throughout October, we highlighted and played many different songs utilizing several different ringing techniques. We narrowed down our choices to 5 songs and are looking forward to performing those songs on our last day of class. We are working on playing together as a team, which is more difficult than it sounds! It takes a lot of hard work and concentration to play the right bell at the right time with the correct ringing or malloting technique. We would love for you to come hear us play on Friday, November 15th at 10:45am.


This month the 7th grade Latin students will be wrapping up Lesson 9, which features a review of 1st and 2nd declension nouns. It also covers the imperative mood, which is used to give commands. The students will complete a mini-project in which they illustrate an original composition that is centered around a command. Once we finish this lesson, we will move on to Lesson 10, which introduces 2nd conjugation verbs. We will learn the present and future tenses of this conjugation, as well as the imperative forms.


Seventh grade mathematicians will continue using algebra tiles and model drawings as visual models for solving algebraic equations. This includes reinforcing the use of inverse operations, combining like-terms and simplifying. Balancing equations involves paying close attention to every calculation since one calculation error will affect the end result. Toward the end of the month, students will begin exploring the types of relationships proportions can represent, including percentages, measurements in similar figures, and indirect measurements with scaled drawings.

With integrating technology, we will also continue working with Microsoft Excel, learning functions on the graphing calculators and begin using Numbers on the ipads. Numbers is similar to excel where you can generate spreadsheets and graphs to organize information. Students will continue using Khan Academy as a resource and begin getting assigned individualized recommendations on concepts to practice online.


In Upper School PE we will continue to develop our physical fitness and work on muscular strength with a focus on core. The team sport we will be playing is European Team Handball, which is a combination of soccer and basketball. We will also continue to play large group activities like Atlantic City Baseball and Power Ball that develop skill and agility. Fitness and skill development is an important part of all of our activities, but also sportsmanship and fair play.


Seventh grade science students will explore an understanding of photosynthesis and respiration on a cellular level. Student will be performing DNA extractions on various fruits and grains. Students will also understand the phases of cell division building toward integrated genetics unit.

Seventh grade will continue to write up their labs in GoogleDocs with revisions and submissions all done online. We will also use Edmodo as a tool for further enhancing our understanding of the material we cover as well as connecting with other classrooms around the world.

Service Learning

The Service Learners will wrap up the quarter by actually carrying out the projects they have worked so hard to plan! These projects cover a wide variety of topics, ranging from animal abuse to pollution to illiteracy. They also feature different formats—some groups are writing children’s picture books and sharing them with Lower School classes, some groups are preparing hands-on activities to teach our pre-K and kindergarten classes about important issues, and some groups are creating informative brochures and writing letters to newspapers and politicians. Once students have carried out their projects, they will complete a culminating reflection about their service experience. Students will also produce posters that summarize their work, which will be on display at school and online.

Social Studies

This month in seventh grade social studies we will explore the expansion of the United States and the effect that this movement of people impacted Native American cultures. We will consider the polices of the United States government and their immediate and long–term effects on Native Americans. 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. Students will begin incorporating document information into their writing. We will conclude the unit with an in-class exam that incorporates reading, writing, and annotation skills.


In November 7th grade Spanish students will continue reading the ten-chapter reading text, Esperanza. Pre-reading, reading comprehension and discussion questions will guide and support student’s understanding of story events. Students will retell story occurrences utilizing picture stories. The images will assist oral fluidity talking about Esperanza’s family life during the civil war in Guatemala. The class will continue to practice the preterit structure describing what they did over the weekend using the short write up format. Graffiti table and jigsaw will be among the various activities students will engage in to retain and utilize language learned.

Upcoming Upper School Events

Thursday, November 7th - Upper School Grandparents Day

Friday, November 15th - End of Quarter 1

Monday, November 18th - First Day of Quarter 2 Electives

Friday, November 22nd - SPICES Day #2

Monday, November 25th - Friday, November 29th - Thanksgiving vacation