University School of Milwaukee

Seventh Grade Curriculum


Seventh grade is the first time students have an English class incorporating all areas of English in one course.  English 7 is composed of literature, writing, vocabulary, grammar and oral presentations.  The course is designed to develop the students’ ability to read and analyze literature, improve writing skills, develop research techniques, learn and use new vocabulary words, recognize and correct their own grammatical errors and deliver effective oral presentations.

The five main strands of the course are woven together to further the development of students’ communication skills.  In literature, students read short stories, novels, poetry and non-fiction.  The reading and discussion are designed to teach literary concepts and critical thinking.  Individualized reading assignments outside of class seek to develop good reading habits and to challenge students.  Students write extensively and in a variety of formats, in response to the literature as well as on topics of their own choice.  The format and structure of different essays are taught and links are explored between the written and spoken components of the course, with students delivering several oral presentations.  Grammar usage and mechanics are stressed throughout the year and students are expected to spell, define, and use new words in their writing.

Teaching methods vary according to the area of the course.  Students receive study guides for literature assignments to aid their comprehension and classroom discussion.  Questions about the reading are asked and students respond in writing to share with the class.  Students work collaboratively in cooperative groups and conduct individual research using the latest technology.  When writing, students work individually and in pairs focusing on the writing process of prewriting, drafting, revising, editing and publishing, but students are also required to write impromptu pieces.  They are taught to observe and critique demonstrations and modeling in preparation for their own oral presentations. Grammar is taught through direct instruction and application in students’ writing. 

Materials used:

The Giver - Lowry

Currents in Fiction

A Christmas Carol – Dickens

Teacher selected poetry & non-fiction

Animal Farm - Orwell

A student choice of novel from a teacher selected group of novels

English Composition & Grammar – Warriner

Day Book of Critical Reading & Writing



The algebra prep course offered in the seventh grade is designed to help students bridge the skills learned in previous elementary and Middle School classes to the skills, applications, and abstract reasoning needed in algebra.

The units covered include use and understanding of the addition, subtraction,  multiplication, and division patterns, area and volume computation and usage, working with triangles, the Pythagorean theorem, circles and the number pi, geometry applications, probability and statistics topics, solving equations and inequalities, patterns and graphing.

The skill objectives of this course include computation, estimation, problem solving, measurement, and reasoning.  In order to demonstrate mathematics as a means of communication, students will engage in writing and speaking activities.  Many different techniques are used to accomplish the skill objectives.  These include cooperative learning activities, guided learning, classroom discussion and practice, games, and manipulative and technology use.

Daily review of classwork and class notes, along with the completion of homework is expected of every student to ensure progress.  Evaluation is accomplished by means of homework, daily participation, quizzes, tests, projects, and second semester examination.

Texts:  Transition Mathematics, The University of Chicago School Mathematics

Project, The Algebra Lab-Middle School, Creative Publications

Lab Gear Activities for Algebra I,  Creative Publications

Supplemental texts, workbooks, and duplicator masters, Scott Foresman



The seventh grade social studies curriculum will include a Fall semester of an Introduction to Economics and a Spring semester devoted to the beginning of U.S. History. The seventh grade social studies exam will take place at the end of the first semester.

In an Introduction to Economics, students will examine the following areas: the foundation of economics, understanding the American and global economic systems, supply and demand, money and banking, types of businesses, and competition.  We will also focus on an understanding of the students' roles as consumers, producers, investors and savers, taxpayers, and decision-makers. 

The U.S. History course will be divided into two parts.  In Part One, students will be discovering and learning about the geography of this great land we call the United States of America.  In Part Two, the students will begin examining the early history of the United States, beginning with a look at the native peoples who inhabited this country first.  Students will proceed through the colonial period to the Revolutionary War and the Declaration of Independence.

The objectives of this course overall are to help develop critical reading, writing, discussion, and study skills for those involved.  Homework assignments will vary greatly from reading the texts and other supplemental materials; preparing essays, debates, or speeches; constructing and interpreting maps; or work with technological tools to generate a stock report, prepare a web page, or create a PowerPoint presentation.

The 7th Grade Social Studies course has at its core the desire for students to be actively involved in the learning process.  There will be much simulation based learning, role-playing, creating plays, debates, speeches, and discussions.  Helping students to learn technological skills is also a very important part of the course. 

Texts: Appleby, Joyce et. al. The American Journey. New York: Glencoe McGraw-Hill, 1998.

Understanding Economics:  A Case Study Approach.  Globe Fearon, 1997.


The science course is a combination of life science and health.  Life science covers units in cellular biology, physiology, zoology, ecology and evolution. Units follow the evolutionary development of species from the single celled Moneran to cellular animals, to species with tissue development through the advancement of organs and organ systems.  The systems of the human body are explored and the Health issues are discussed as they relate to these functions.

Science is a thought process.  Theories, laws and principles are learned through the scientific method.  Experiments, notetaking and writing are the tools of this process.  Students will be required to keep a folder of assignments which will be collected periodically.  The text will be used as a guide to topic material which will be enhanced by research done in school and in the community.  Cooperative learning groups will be used for some of this work.

Amount of homework will vary.  Students will be encouraged to keep up with the outline of assignments in the folder.  This is the checkpoint for parents and students.  Class discussion is emphasized and serves as another dimension to check comprehension and interpretation.  These along with several quizzes and tests complete the activities involved in discovering science.  Science is a continuing growth pattern which will be nourished and challenged.

Text:  Life Science, Prentice Hall




The functional-notional approach used in 7th grade French exposes students to a variety of activities aimed at helping them develop proficiency in the four basic language skills:  reading, writing,  listening, and speaking.  French 7 is composed of the study of basic grammar principles, listening activities, cultural lessons to enhance global awareness, reading comprehension activities, vocabulary-building activities, and creative writing and speaking activities.  The course is designed to encourage students to be able to communicate effectively in the foreign language in natural, communicative situations and to have a conscious knowledge about grammar, while enhancing their appreciation of the target culture.  At the end of French 7, the students should be prepared to continue their study of French in 8th grade.

Objectives of the Course

1.         To learn and master grammar concepts in the target language presented in the text.

2.         To understand (through listening and reading) and produce (in oral and written form) memorized utterances and sequences.

3.         To respond to basic questions and to ask  basic questions about real, personal experiences.

4.         To be able to show, in oral and written form, some spontaneity and creative language use in response to oral or written questions or to a situation or visual.

5.         To be able to express ideas in the present, immediate future, and past tense in French.

6.         To learn to interact and survive linguistically in the target language in the classroom, primarily using memorized materials and functions that recur on a daily basis.

7.         To develop an appreciation of the many differences and similarities among people around the world and in our own country.

 Textbook:     Bienvenue, Glencoe Publishing

                        Bienvenue  Workbook: and tape manual

Computer Program:  Dasher

                        Films, slides, videos, assorted computer programs, and CD-ROMS

                        La Classe de CP



Seventh and eighth grade general music consists of a continued learning about the basics of music with a focus on the elements or parts of music; rhythm, melody, harmony, timbre, texture, form, style, and expression.  This is accomplished through singing, reading music and text, listening, ear-training, the study of music history, movement, and playing pitched and non-pitched percussion instruments, guitars, and keyboards.

Seventh graders enrolled in this course will often have the opportunity to focus on a facet of music that they choose to explore.

The class meets for three periods per cycle.  Much of the required work for the course will be experienced within the class period.  There will be occasional homework and projects assigned to complement its class work.

Text:  Music!  Role and Importance in Our Lives  by Charles Fowler




The seventh grade chorus meets three days on a six day cycle.  It is a year round course open to all Middle School students who choose chorus as their music requirement.

The primary objective of chorus is to encourage the personal growth of each student using music, and more specifically singing with a performance emphasis.  Chorus seeks the self-esteem and confidence of students during  adolescent development as well as continue to nurture their love for music and singing.  Students will continue to study the basic techniques of good singing, and music reading skills with beginning music theory and history.                 






Band in the Middle School is designed to expose students to the joy of music through performance.  Students will learn the technique and tone production on the wind or percussion instrument that they choose to study.  They will also learn music reading skills and experience music from a variety of composers, time periods, and styles.  This class consists of large group rehearsals and small group or private lessons.  Because of the cooperative aspect of this course, preparing the entire group for performances, the band is to be considered a full year commitment.







The 7th/8th grade orchestra meets three times per cycle throughout the school year.  Students in this group study all bow strokes needed to perform music from the standard orchestral literature.  Students are expected to turn in six practice records per quarter with a minimum of 90 minutes per week practice.  Performance tests occur 2-4 times each quarter.

This orchestra performs several times throughout the year including a fall and spring concert, All School Concert, and/or Middle School Fine Arts night, and Greenfield Music Festival, the WSMA solo and ensemble contest, and the Upper School Graduation ceremony.

Most students take a private lesson each week in addition to attending orchestra rehearsal.





The following areas will be explored in the seventh grade:  stage movement techniques, training the senses, expressing emotions in dramatic scenes, character study and conflict, staging the scripted scene, using the voice to interpret the script, and comedy improvisation — the actor’s technique.

In the seventh grade, students will be able to complete some of the following skill objectives:  pantomime — more complete actions and plots — transform the quality of moving and sounding, motivate stage movement, warm-up and center the body for work on stage, learn stage movement, technique, produce good voice quality, articulation, master proper breathing techniques, improvise speech, interpret and read effectively out loud and increase vocabulary and verbal fluency.  Other objectives will include utilizing sensory recall in scene work, keeping a point of concentration in exercises and scenes, memorizing materials, expressing feelings in scenes, portraying varying body attitudes, role playing characters from imagination, creating believable action, plot and dialogue, understanding dramatic structure and form, and analyzing and evaluating plays viewed. In addition, students will explore the application of stage makeup, early French and British Farce – and how it relates to contemporary comedy – and theatre styles in the non-Western world.  Students will be required to complete projects and activities in class, homework assignments and pass quizzes and tests.

The seventh grade drama class will complete several projects and activities.  Projects may include activities such as developing original pantomimes, performing more complex movement tasks, sensory exploration and training, using the voice to interpret the script, portraying emotions in improvised and scripted scenes, writing, performing, and taping an original television project, in depth character study and memorization and presentation of scripted scenes.  The students will be evaluated by teacher observation during activities, quality of project work, taking into account effort and individual growth, and consideration of students’ class contributions and concentration on and off stage.



The seventh grade visual arts course meets twice on a six day rotation cycle. The comprehensive curriculum is a continuation of the fifth and sixth grade curriculums and includes instruction in aesthetics, art heritage, art criticism, and artmaking. The content of this course is taught using a variety of strategies: lecture, classroom experiences, research, discussion, demonstrations, modeling behaviors, critiques, independent study, field experiences, and small/large group activities. Students will attain the broader goals of the middle school visual arts curriculum that includes: conceptual understanding, aesthetic valuing, creative behavior, craftsmanship, understanding the content of art, and understanding oneself. This course is designed using an integrative approach to explore, learn, and apply the design elements and principles while adhering to the fifth and sixth grade core curriculums. Students are required to learn and establish a working vocabulary about the tools, materials, and art making processes. They will maintain a working sketchbook that includes class notes, journals, written critiques, and homework assignments. Formal and informal assessments and evaluations will be used throughout the year.

All student work is on display daily with a final culmination showcasing their work during the Fine Arts Night program held in spring.

Publications and supplementary materials used: A World of Images text, Art: Images and Ideas text, Discovering Art History text, Scholastic Art magazine, School Arts magazine, Arts Activities magazine, Grade Seven curriculum, works of art, artifacts, field trips, art reproductions, film, filmstrips, photographs, slides, audio tapes, videotapes, and computer software.




Seventh grade Spanish meets everyday. It  is designed to further the students use of both spoken and written Spanish.  Emphasis is placed on vocabulary development and using the language in a variety of contexts.  Thematic units include food, restaurants, hobbies and activities, weather, family, home, school, sports, chores and travel.  Each unit focuses on a variety of grammatical concepts which are practiced in class and developed further with homework.  Homework consists of text book assignments, workbook assignments, short term projects and reading.

Throughout the year we highlight various cultural and historical aspects of the Spanish speaking world through reading, videos, projects and music.

Since speaking and vocabulary are critical to success at this stage of language learning, weekly quizzes are given and meant to encourage daily review and study of new words.  Lesson quizzes and unit tests cover grammatical concepts but often include speaking and listening sections. 

Text: Dime I (McDougal Littell)

         Dime I (Cuaderno de Actividades

         Alejandro (Amsco Press) – a supplemental reader



The focus of Physical Education in the 7th Grade is on individual and team sport skills.  The skills are used in active game situations to enhance individual physical fitness, which is the core of the program.

In the seventh grade, sport skills are developed to the point that team competition is the culmination of each sport unit.  Sport units include soccer, stx-ball, basketball, softball and fitness games such as ultimate Frisbee.  Individual sports include archery, cross country running, pickleball and tennis.

In each unit, students are instructed in proper warm-up procedures, skill techniques, game strategies and cool-down or relaxation activities.  The history and development of each sport or activity, as well as current information, are presented to develop an appreciation and interest in the various units and to show how these units relate to lifetime fitness.

Grading is based on 25% effort, 25% skill development, 25% sportsmanship and 25% knowledge.  Effort is based on level of participation, willingness to improve and attempting new challenges.  Skill development and achievement is based on skill improvement and subjective skill evaluation of the student’s participation and performance in skill isolation and game situations.  Sportsmanship is based on the ability to work individually and in group situations in the learning of skills and in game play.  Finally, knowledge is based on scores from written work or quizzes covering information on class lecture and demonstration.

Fitness Testing will be administered during each Quarter

Fitness Testing

1 Mile Run - Cardiovascular Endurance

Crunches - Abdominal Endurance

Sit and Reach - Flexibility

Shuttle Run - Quickness and Agility

Pull Ups - Muscular Strength Upper Body


Quarter 1 - Rotation B

Archery - Safety and Practice will be covered daily during the Archery Unit. The student will learn how to brace the bow and shoot the bow,as well as, to hit the target using these techniques- nock, draw, aim, release and follow through.    

Flag Football - Safety and Basic Football Techniques will be the premise in the flag football unit.  Throwing, catching-running pass patterns, blocking, proper handoffs, footwork, defensive strategy, punting and kicking will be covered.

Quarter 2 - Rotation C

Floor Hockey - Each student will need a mouth guard for this unit, goggles will be provided.  Stick handling, puck control, passing, goalie play will be covered.  Students will play games, heart monitor will be worn to test daily effort.  Sportsmanship and safety will be stressed daily.

Team Handball - Learn strategies, positioning and skills used in team handball.  The students will play games and learn through playing and experiencing the fast pacing action of Team Handball.


Quarter 3 - Rotation D - Floor Hockey - See Above

Badminton / Pickle Ball - The badminton and pickle ball unit is designed to improve hand eye coordination and racket skills ability that will carry over to tennis.  Rules, Strategy, Skills sharpened and games played, tournaments will be played both singles and doubles.

Quarter 4 - Rotation A

Golf Skills - Clubs will be available, however, students may bring in their own clubs.  Skills are the main focus in this Unit.  The full swing will be taught and practiced, as well as chipping,  pitching and putting.  The skills will be done on school grounds or in the gym.

Baseball Skills - Each student needs to bring a glove.  Skills taught and practiced include hitting, throwing and fielding.  The batting cage will be utilized along with the pitching machine.  Modified baseball games will be played after skills are developed.

Soccer - Shin guards are needed.  The students will play games of soccer.



Rotation A


Rotation B


Rotation C


Rotation D

Quarter 1

Fitness Testing

Outdoor Education

Ice Hockey


Fitness Testing


Flag Football


Fitness Testing




Fitness Testing

Physical Enhancement

Physical Enhancement









Quarter 2

Fitness Testing

Physical Enhancement Physical Enhancement


Fitness Testing

Ice Skating

Broom Ball/Games


Fitness Testing

Floor Hockey

Team Handball


Fitness Testing


Team Handball









Quarter 3

Fitness Testing


Aerobic Act.


Fitness Testing

Physical Enhancement Physical Enhancement


Fitness Testing

Broom Ball/Games

Ice Skating


Fitness Testing

Floor Hockey

Badminton/ Pickle Ball









Quarter 4

Fitness Testing

Golf Skills

Baseball Skills




Fitness Testing

Frisbee Act.



Fitness Testing

Physical Enhancement Physical Enhancement


Fitness Testing


Track And Field










Students choose their rotation