7th Grade Academics
The goal of 7th Grade English is to become more effective readers, writers, speakers, and thinkers. Throughout the year, the class examines novels, short stories, poetry, non-fiction pieces, essays, drama, and informational magazine articles. Beyond the reading required for English class, Independent Reading Projects are assigned on a regular basis.
As students respond to literature through writing, they focus on the six traits of effective writing (ideas, organization, word choice, sentence fluency, voice, and conventions), and they practice the process of drafting, revising, and editing. Writing portfolios are kept so that students can reflect upon their strengths and challenges and set goals to improve skills. In addition, students have frequent mini-lessons on grammar to not only address common conventional errors but to also develop and compose more sophisticated sentence structures in their writing.
Vocabulary development occurs as students progress through various texts, and are exposed to and learn new words. Vocabulary studies revolve around using context clues to understand new words as well as building upon their knowledge of common Greek and Latin roots to determine to mean.
There are also many opportunities—both formal and informal—to develop speaking skills including class discussions, collaborative group work, partner work, presentations, and Socratic seminars.
Math involves the study of numbers, patterns, relationships, and shapes, and first of all happens in our minds. Through carefully designed situations, Xian Yun students are encouraged to develop their own mathematical understanding, instead of just memorizing and applying formulas. This gives them self-confidence and self-esteem.
In the first semester, the students become more solid with basic operations such as operations with negative numbers, expressions with variables, and situations with percentages. They improve their understanding of proportional relationships and learn to solve simple equations.
In the second semester, the students learn how to calculate the circumference and the area of a circle, what symmetry is, how to make scale drawings, and how probability can be described with numbers.
The course examines major historical events from the Medieval Ages to the Modern Times. The students will explore multiple regions and cultures from understanding their origins to their rises and falls. Students will also understand how civilizations influenced and shaped each other.
Critical thinking skills will be enhanced through analysis of primary and secondary source documents, placing the students in the shoes of those society’s contemporaries. Writing skills will be emphasized through in-class assignments as well as essays that call for an in-depth understanding of various themes and incorporating the details of the historical topic covered. Speaking skills will be emphasized as well through in class discussions as well as presentations meant to build comfort and confidence when in front of an audience and teaching their students.
The students will improve their comprehension of the world and the events that shaped and continue to affect our modern lives, preparing them to be the bright minds and leaders of the future.
Chinese Basic Level II
Chinese II builds upon the skills taught in Chinese I. Students are expected to have a general working ability in handling typical social situations and classroom situations in Chinese. Students are expected to have a general working ability at reading fiction and nonfiction texts in Chinese. Students are also expected to have a general working ability to write and speaking in complete sentences and even being able to write paragraphs and sustain some longer (more complex) conversations.
The Chinese II instructor will take this foundation and develop intermediate level language skills on top of it. Chinese Level II reviews and reinforces intermediate level literacy skills across the four modalities: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. By now students understand the importance of speaking in the correct tone of voice (Mandarin is a tonal language). Students will listen to the instructor and be able to tell the correct tone by themselves without having to be told.?? More complex characters and their radicals will be taught. The teacher will share the historical origins of many commonly used Chinese idioms. Students will reinforce their vocabulary & language acquisition through dialogues, articles, stories, videos, essays, and poetry. Students should no longer need text boxes for writing and be able to perfect their character writing penmanship on regular school lined paper. Emphasis will be placed on answering questions in essay form (and correctly using new vocabulary in the text). By the end of the course, students are expected to recognize about 800 Chinese characters and be able to use them in their writing.
Life Science is a middle school course that focuses on the nature of life. Students will explore how different structures enable different functions in regards to cells and cellular processes, genetics, viruses & bacteria, protists & fungi, moss & liverworts, gymnosperm plants, angiosperm plants, sponges, cnidarians, worms, mollusks, arthropods, echinoderms, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. Students will study the major systems in the human body along with the major diseases and/or parasites that pose a danger to humans. Concepts in both eastern and western medicine will be discussed. Concepts in ecology, environmental studies, and agriculture will also be discussed. Students will conduct frequent biological experiments throughout the year, collecting data and writing lab reports. Students will also take field trips out into Golden Gate Park, the Presidio, the Bay, and the Pacific coast in order to conduct experiments and/or explore those ecosystems.