At Shipley we believe adolescent readers and writers need to develop the skills of reading for pleasure and reading for purpose with fiction and non-fiction texts. The 7th grade English course is designed to continue the students’ development from concrete to abstract thinking. Students use literature, writing, and discussion to examine the richness of the world around them and within them and to focus on language as a means of expression. The literary content of the course includes novels, short stories, film, and poetry selected to look at the themes surrounding coming of age, diversity, and courage. Students reflect on the readings in formal and informal, analytical, and creative writing pieces. Class discussion plays an important daily role. Grammar, vocabulary, and the writing process are taught both through direct instruction and in the context of reading and writing assignments.
The course title is Conflict, Rights and Revolution in the Twentieth Century. The primary purpose of this course is to increase students’ global awareness. This course is also designed to share a better understanding of the kind of world we as Americans live in today and how it came to be that way through the examination of several key themes including mankind in world war, the struggle for human rights, and the revolutions for civil liberties. During the human rights unit, each student will take an active role in the Junior Model UN of the World Affairs Council based in Philadelphia where they will role-play delegates, participate in lively debate, and vote on resolutions they previously crafted. The course also includes research into personal family histories as part of a grade-wide interdisciplinary unit called Generations.
The focus of mathematics is a balance between an understanding of basic mathematical operations, understanding math concepts, and the abstract application of these concepts. During the middle grades, students solidify attitudes about themselves as learners of mathematics. They arrive at conclusions about their competence in mathematics, their interest, and their motivation. These attitudes will influence how they approach the study of mathematics in later years. Students learn a variety of content, building new mathematical knowledge through problem solving; applying and adapting a variety of appropriate strategies to solve problems; and monitoring and reflecting on the process of mathematical problem solving. The 7th grade math course is a study of pre-algebra topics, including: variables, expressions, and integers, solving equations, multi-step equations and inequalities, factors, fractions, and exponents, rational numbers and equations, ratio, proportion, and probability, percents, linear functions, real numbers, right triangles, measurement, area, and volume, data analysis and probability, polynomials and nonlinear functions and angle relationships and transformations.
A goal of the science program is to have students appreciate the nature of science, and to become excited about questioning and understanding the natural world around them. The students will further develop science process and research skills, work with others cooperatively in labs and projects, and become more proficient critical thinkers and problem solvers. Many hands-on activities, physical explorations, research projects, and studies of current science events will accompany traditional course work in order to approach the subject matter from many angles.
Science in the seventh grade will combine units from life, physical, and earth sciences. It is an inquiry- and activity-based program that will engage students by studying interesting concepts and topics that will be made relevant to the individual student.
Topics covered include:
- Interactions ( Life Science)
- Diversity (Life Science)
- Hydrology ( Earth Science, Physical Science)
- Human Sexuality (Life Science, Social Science)
- Force and Motion (Physical Science)
The three-year study of Latin is critical during the Middle School years. Learning Latin strengthens basic English skills in vocabulary and reading comprehension, focuses on grammar which leads to improved English writing and communication, increases cultural awareness and makes cultural connections, encourages critical thinking and comparative analysis and introduces students to a rich source of mythology, literature, and history. This course introduces the student to formal grammatical Latin and to the classical culture forming the foundation of Western civilization. Grounding the student in Latin (and English) parts of speech, it cultivates the essential skills required to translate unedited Latin. Literary epics and legendary heroes are stressed—Cloelia, Dido, Penelope, Odysseus, Achilles, Hector, and Aeneas—in ancient Mediterranean poetry and art. The course presents many aspects of Roman culture through amusing cartoons and lively stories in Latin, and in background readings. Roman life comes alive through the eyes and words of the great poets, Horace and Catullus.
Each 7th grade student has a choice to study French, Spanish, or Mandarin Chinese. These courses emphasize the skills of language acquisition, listening, speaking, reading, and writing so that students master a body of vocabulary and grammar while expanding their ability to express themselves in French, Spanish or Mandarin. Through a variety of activities and projects, students learn about the culture and civilization of the French, Spanish, and Mandarin speaking worlds.
Team Building is a course in which 7th grade students can explore every aspect of “team.” Topics covered include how to be a great leader, how to be a great follower, how to organize a group, and how to drum up support for a good cause. Conventional classroom studies and non-conventional studies are used. Many days are spent outside as students try to figure out the best way to cross shark-infested waters while making sure the entire team is saved, or racing giant slaloms down a wintry mountain. Fictitious challenges stretch the imagination, but the efforts and lessons are real.
Our art program helps students to enhance their creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving abilities, as well as learn to think “outside of the box.” The 7th grade art program revolves around connected ideas and how one form of expression can consciously lead into a related process. Included is a serialized multi-media exploration of the human head involving creative discovery which grows from understanding standard human proportion. Students work in graphic design and clay, and participate in an integrated curriculum project that includes an art component.
The 7th grade Music Foundations course continues the development of basic music literacy skills (music reading and writing) through various hands-on experiences and collaborative projects. The course also helps to develop students' critical thinking skills and creativity. World drumming (African and Latin percussion) will be an integral part of the second semester of Music Foundations.
Music Ensembles & Drama
The performing arts choices in seventh and eighth grade build on the skills developed in sixth grade. They prepare and perform selections that are more advanced, and begin to explore a greater variety of styles (jazz, pop, classical, etc.). The choices for these grade levels are choir, handbells, drama, strings*, and band*.
*in 7th and 8th grade, 2 years of experience is requested for these options.
In the Middle School, computer classes are essentially problem-solving classes. The students learn the basics of using the computer in a hands-on environment where each student has access to a computer for the entire class period. The classes are taught in workshop fashion which includes individualized practice, self-learning, and problem-solving. In addition to learning the basics of computer use, students are expected to apply their computer skills to their work in their Middle School classes. As often as possible, the computer teacher works with the teachers of other subjects to develop specially coordinated projects using the computers or allows students to use the computers to complete work for their other classes.
- work independently in Adobe Photoshop on various graphic design projects
- apply basic animation skills from 6th grade to a more advanced approach used in the Adobe Creative Suite
At Shipley we believe that each student should have a time in his or her program to explore talents, passions, and interests. Our mini-courses are designed to meet that goal. Each mini-course involves students in combinations of 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. Mini-courses have included: Italian, Stock Market, Robotics, Drama, Dance, Comedy Club, Yoga, Fishing, German, Math Counts, Guitar, and Digital Photography to name a few. Students in our 8th grade leadership class have the opportunity to present a mini-course of their choice to students or to do an internship with a faculty advisor.
We believe that students will always benefit from having additional support or a challenge in their content areas. Advisors and teachers will offer an array of workshops in which students can participate, including help with editing skills, math skills, reading for deeper content, looking at designing the school for the future, being current with the world of science, or creating digital planner systems.
Each 7th grade student participates in a team sport each season. Choices include:
- Fall: Soccer, Field Hockey, Basketball (intramural), Tennis, Squash (intramural), Conditioning
- Winter: Basketball, Squash, Swimming, Volleyball, Conditioning
- Spring: Lacrosse, Softball, Baseball, Tennis, Conditioning