Grade 7 Curriculum Overview
Religion 7 students will continue with their preparation to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. Students begin the year focusing on the Mystery of the Trinity. Students will complete an in-depth evaluation of the sacrament of Confirmation, including what it means to confirmed in the Catholic faith. Over the course of the year, students will complete projects and tasks to further enhance understanding and appreciation of the upcoming sacrament. In addition, students will continue on their religious journey through participation in school sponsored events throughout the year, such as attending Mass every week during the Advent season, and the incorporation of Catholic identity incorporated into every content area.
The ELA 7 curriculum emphasizes critical thinking and critical reading. The first trimester begins with a reading unit, focusing on the novel A Long Walk to Water. The students explore the struggles and experiences of the people of Southern Sudan during the Second Sudanese Civil War through the reading of the novel and supplemental nonfiction texts. At the conclusion of the unit, students write narrative poems that demonstrate their understanding of the content. The second, more complex text, that students study is Lois Lowry’s The Giver. Students learn to recognize literary patterns in the novel, while also working in discussion groups to help elevate the level of discourse. A major emphasis is placed on using textual details for support of inferences. At the conclusion of the reading, students work on a narrative writing project in the style of The Giver.
Trimester 2 begins with a performance of A Christmas Carol. The unit includes substantial compare and contrast work, through the study of characterization, life in England in the 1800s, and various film versions of the play. The 4th unit of the year centers around Rick Riordan’s The Lightning Thief and the traditional hero’s journey in Greek mythology. Students examine other myths referenced in The Lightning Thief and determine the significance of such allusions. From here, students determine how this information contributes to theme. Following this unit, students read “The Monsters are due on Maple Street” and compare the teleplay to The Twilight Zone episode. This serves as a springboard for conversations on censorship.
Trimester 3 builds off of the previous unit and continues the conversation of censorship through critical reading of published arguments that are both in favor of and against teenagers reading The Hunger Games. Then, each student crafts an argument in defense of teenagers reading A Long Walk to Water, The Giver, or The Lightning Thief. Students will be expected to acknowledge and refute counterclaims. The last book of the year, Out of the Dust, celebrates historical fiction and poetry. Students learn to analyze poetic devices and explain how these devices enhance content. Students will also have the opportunity to craft their own poetry and practice the poetic devices. Throughout each unit, grammar and vocabulary work is embedded into the reading and writing work.
Math 7 students examine and analyze proportional relationships and apply them to real world problems and situations. We study the number system, and develop an understanding of operations with fractions to add, subtract, multiply and divide numbers in the rational world. We use properties to generate equivalent expressions by using numerical and algebraic expressions and equations. Students draw, construct, and describe geometric figures and their relationships in an abstract way. Through applications, students look to solve real world situations involving angle measure, area, surface area, and volume. Random samplings allow students to draw inferences about a population, and draw conclusions about two or more populations through informal comparative inferences. Students develop, use, and evaluate probability using models and real world situations. Buying and financing a car, analyzing the stock market, room make over, and buying and budgeting are included in the curriculum in order for students to apply their math skills and make real life associations.
Social Studies 7 students examine the history of the beginnings of the United States and New York in a chronological framework that incorporates Catholic identity. We begin with the development of Native American societies in the Western Hemisphere, and then pinpoint our focus on North America. We explore the first colonial settlements that eventually led to the establishment of the original thirteen colonies. Students analyze the development of each colony, and how each of these colonies interacted with each other and with the mother country, Great Britain. Students examine how the colonies demanded self-government leading to the development of the Declaration of Independence, the American Revolution, and the Constitution. Students explore how the new government was implemented, focusing on the early days of this great nation including westward expansion and reform movements. We end the year studying how the divisions that led to the Civil War, and the subsequent rebuilding of the nation during Reconstruction. Current events are woven into the curriculum and class discussions to encourage students to make present day connections, and to develop an understanding and appreciation of the responsibilities of each American citizen.
Science and Health
Science 7 curriculum consists of the study of Life Science. This includes animals, plants, protists, and fungi. The units of study include cells, heredity, human biology, and ecology. Students compare and contrast living and nonliving things, understand how organisms inherit genetic information from parents and observe how organisms change over time. Students learn how the continuation of life is sustained through reproduction and development of the organism. Students realize how plants and animals depend on one another. In order to apply the concepts learned in the classroom, students participate in lab activities. Students learn the proper use of microscopes, create slides, view organisms under the microscope, and build models. The lab activities prepare students for the NYS Science Test administered in Grade 8.
Health 7 curriculum consists of building responsibilities, communicable and non-communicable diseases and nutrition. Through class lessons, research projects, and performance tasks, students demonstrate their knowledge of these very important topics.
Spanish 7 marks the beginning of students’ formal Spanish program. Following the New York State Standards and Diocesan guidelines, students will begin with a review of important vocabulary and lessons from grades five and six such as greetings, colors, numbers, days of the week, months, etc. Students then move on to parts of speech and grammar such as articles, adjectives, nouns, and verbs. By the end of the first trimester, the students will have mastered two verbs, ser and tener. Throughout the remaining two trimesters, they will learn all of the three verb families in the present tense along with a large amount of vocabulary. By the end of seventh grade, the students will be able to read and comprehend simple stories. They will also be able to have basic conversations and construct sentences. Finally, the students will gain an appreciation for various Hispanic cultures and their customs and holidays from around the world. The students are evaluated through tests, projects, performance tasks, class work, quizzes, and homework.
Grade 8 Curriculum Overview
Religion 8 addresses the topics of Catholic morality, social teachings, traditions of the Catholic faith, and church history. We will study the Liturgical Year, celebrating the whole mystery of Christ, from His Incarnation until Pentecost and the expectation of His coming again. There is a strong focus on the Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes and how they relate to the students’ daily lives. In addition, family life issues are discussed and explained through various videos in accordance with the teachings of the Catholic Church. An important part of the curriculum is the adoption of a spiritual baby who is prayed for daily to understand the importance of all life from conception to natural death. Students study the nine month development of their spiritual baby and all students participate in the diocesan Respect Life Contest. As part of the students’ commitment to service, there are many opportunities to serve those in need. The eighth grade sponsors a Halloween raffle donating the money to social ministry. At Thanksgiving, they participate in a food drive and for Easter they provide Easter baskets for families in need. Finally in June, as a culmination of our spiritual baby program, the students host a baby shower and donate all gifts to social ministry.
Social Studies 8 students study the history of the United States beginning with the post Civil War Era through the present day. The curriculum follows a chronological framework starting with the changing landscape of America resulting from urbanization, immigration, and industrialization. Students analyze how the United States expanded into the Western Frontier, and then continued its outward expansion beyond the natural borders of our country. With the United States becoming a powerful force in the world at that time, students evaluate America’s role in World War I, the following economic boom and Great Depression, and then its entry into World War II. Students examine the changing landscape of the global community and the leadership role America plays. Students analyze foreign and domestic policies, and explore the various reform movements for equality throughout the modern day. In addition to the historical context of the curriculum, students incorporate current events into class discussions to encourage and develop an understanding and appreciation of the responsibilities of each American citizen.
ELA 8 students will think critically, read deeply, and write extensively. The year launches with an autobiography unit that asks students to analyze excerpts of autobiographical works from famous writers. This analysis prepares students for the writing of their own life story. Throughout the year, students write six chapters of their own autobiography, and through this project, students practice the drafting, revising, and editing of narrative writing. In our second unit, students read Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell Tale Heart” and “The Raven.” During this unit, students are asked to evaluate the reliability of each piece’s narrator and practice writing literary responses that cite textual evidence to support their arguments.
In the second trimester, students experience Shakespeare for the first time. The class reads and performs A Midsummer Night’s Dream. During this Shakespeare study, students explore the universal appeal of Shakespeare, the controlling themes of the play, how to “translate” Shakespearean language, and the kinds of decisions that directors and actors must make when performing one of Shakespeare’s plays. In the fourth unit of the year, the students read Night and The Diary of Anne Frank. As students examine these two Holocaust nonfiction texts, they are asked to compare and contrast structure, setting, and characterization. Here, a heavy emphasis is placed on the role of discussions, discussion etiquette, and informational writing.
In the third trimester, 8th graders encounter To Kill a Mockingbird. During the first half of this unit, students will read and analyze Harper Lee’s novel, focusing primarily on the development of Atticus Finch and his moral integrity. For the second half of the novel, students will study persuasion. Analyzing the courtroom speeches found in To Kill a Mockingbird, students will evaluate the use of ethos, pathos, and logos. At the conclusion of the novel, students will write and deliver their own persuasive speeches. The final unit of the year asks students to critically examine the world around them. While reading Chew on This, students analyze different companies’ marketing strategies to become more informed consumers. Students are then asked to switch roles and create an advertising plan for a product marketed towards teenagers. Throughout all units, grammar and vocabulary work is embedded in the context of the novel and writing study.
Math 8 instructional time focuses on exploring and working with radicals and integer exponents. Students examine proportional relationships, lines and linear equations in addition to analyzing and solving linear equations and pairs of simultaneous linear equations. Students explore functions and how to evaluate and compare them as they demonstrate relationships between quantities. The curriculum also includes the study of geometric figures, congruence and similarity through the use of physical models, transparencies and technology. A study of Pythagoras and his theorem and how to apply that theorem in real world situations and problem-solving. Students investigate patterns and the association of patterns in bivariate data.
Students who are recommended for Algebra must demonstrate exceptional mathematical abilities and study skills. The decision for recommendation to the accelerated program is based on a collection of data including standardized test results, previous grades, and consideration of individual student attributes such as effective study skills, excellent effort, and interest in challenging material. In addition, teacher recommendation is required. The Algebra program follows the NYS Integrated Algebra curriculum, and students are prepared to sit for the NYS Regents examination offered each June.
Algebra I applies many concepts learned and practiced in the seventh and eighth grade curriculum. Among other things, Algebra students will identify functions via tables, graphs, and equations, graph linear functions and describe features, such as the slope and intercepts, understand how to calculate rates of change in real-world applications, write equations for linear functions from word problems, and compare functions, linear and nonlinear, in different forms. Students are continually encouraged to utilize critical thinking skills while applying their knowledge to real world situations.
Science and Health
Science 8 instruction consists of the study of the physical sciences. This includes physics and chemistry. The following topics are covered in the physics area: motion, force, pressure, energy, waves, machines, light and sound. Students will research various roller coasters and then construct K’Nex roller coasters to apply the concepts they have learned in physics. The chemistry portion of the curriculum consists of the study of matter, atoms, molecules, acids, bases, elements and the periodic table. As a reinforcement of concepts learned in the classroom lessons, students participate in lab activities to apply their knowledge.
The eighth grade Health curriculum deals with conflict resolution and substance abuse. Through research, students learn the dangers of tobacco, alcohol, and drugs.
Students will expand their knowledge of Spanish through the study of complex grammar such as direct object pronouns, indirect object pronouns, demonstrative and superlative adjectives. Students will also learn two new tenses, the preterite tense and the present progressive as well as reflexive verbs and their pronouns. An impressive vocabulary stockpile will be amassed throughout the year. Fluency will be targeted through listening drills while communication skills are utilized by writing conversations and presenting them to the class. Students will also continue to explore and gain an appreciation for various Hispanic cultures and their customs and holidays from around the world such as Our Lady of Guadalupe, El Día de los Muertos and Cinco de Mayo. In grade eight, the students learn The Our Father and The Hail Mary in Spanish. The curriculum follows the New York State Standards and Diocesan guidelines. The students are evaluated through tests, projects, performance tasks, class work, quizzes, and homework.