7th Grade Weekly Note

Happy new year, parents!

We hope you had a joyful and restorative break and holiday with your family, and that you’re excited to have the kids back in school. We sure are! Here are some highlights from our first week and a preview of some upcoming work.

As with any time we return from a break, we spent a good chunk of time reestablishing norms and expectations for daily routines, like entering and exiting classes, walking in the hallways, gathering together, lining up and walking to the park, and having respectful and constructive conversations. Wherever possible, we grounded these expectations in our 7th Grade Social Contract tenets:

  • Be respectful.
  • Be responsible.
  • Have a growth mindset.
  • Accept each other.

Transitions back to school are exciting and often difficult, so we all need the reminders!

In class this week, we switched up our academic sections and introduced the focus of our winter curriculum: Sense of Time. The central project this term is Seeds of Change, which asks students to explore five objects/issues that play an important role in, but also present major problems for, the world around us. Our seeds this year are water, food, energy, disease, and space exploration. Over the course of the next two months, students will explore materials in both science and language arts that will familiarize them with the greatest challenges presented by each of these seeds, as well as how and why those challenges came to be. In cultural studies and language arts, students will focus on informational reading and research skills, with a particular emphasis on finding and vetting sources, as well as identifying critical information within them. This work and skill-building will lead up to a final project and learning celebration (be on the lookout for a date/time announcement in the next couple weeks).

Some particular highlights from the week included a lesson in cultural studies about distinguishing real news from fake news (Is there really a secret friendship between Donald Trump and Pope Francis?), along with a philosophical exploration in language arts beginning with the doozy questions, “What is time?" and "Do the past and future exist?” They’re hard questions, and the class had some fascinating thoughts about them. We also started our winter intensives this week; be sure to ask how the first two sessions went!

Finally, some important announcements for the next two weeks:

  • Next Monday, January 9, winter clubs and community service begin.
  • If you are interested in participating in our annual Martin Luther King, Jr Day of Service on Monday, January 16, please sign up here.

That’s all for this week. We’ll see you for another four-day week next week! Happy new year!

David, Jake, Melanie, and Steve