Curriculum
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7th Grade

Rodeph Sholom Middle School offers a unique middle school environment where learning is prized, teachers are specialists in both their subject disciplines and the developmental needs of adolescents, and Reform Jewish values form the foundation of learning in and outside of the classroom. The division is comprised of 5th through 8th Grades.

The stimulating curriculum recognizes that middle school is a transformative time of intellectual, emotional and spiritual development. The Jewish ethos of our community provides a firm grounding in the ethics and values which are essential traits of active and responsible citizens. Over the course of their Middle School years, students encounter a myriad of authentic leadership opportunities. At its core, the Middle School is designed to provide students with the tools necessary to learn how to evaluate themselves and the world around them.

The heart of the Middle School experience is the advisory program. Beginning in 6th Grade, advisors move up with their advisees through graduation. By 7th Grade, students know their advisors well, and have developed a central relationship. The 7th Grade year is filled with B’nai Mitzvah, the Philanthropy Project, and increasing academic rigor.
  • 7th Grade Advisory

    At the heart of the middle school is our advisory program whose primary goals include nurturing students’ social-emotional development, as well as facilitating academic and intellectual growth. Advisors provide guidance and encouragement to students throughout their middle school experience and serve as the child’s advocate, in addition to serving as the main point of contact for parents. Each student is assigned an advisor. Advisory groups are led by a middle school teacher and generally consist of 6-9 students. The advisor meets with the family during parent conferences, and is the person the family communicates with directly for any matters concerning their child’s experience at school.

    Advisory is a time to focus on social and emotional development. Advisors may use this time to navigate social issues, to discuss relevant grade level or current event topics, or simply engage in a fun game or activity that will help the group bond and develop deeper relationships with one another. Advisory periods are also occasionally used for other grade wide programming including Wellness & Sexuality classes and our responsible digital citizenship curriculum. Students also meet individually with their advisor for guidance and support.

    Each child is assigned an advisor when they begin 5th Grade and they have that advisor for one year. In 6th Grade, students are assigned a new advisor who they generally stay with from 6th through 8th Grade. An important feature of the advisory program is the active participation of students in their own academic and social emotional development. Over the course of the three years and daily meetings, a deep and enduring relationship forms between advisor and advisee. This relationship transcends the usual teacher student relationship and often forms a bond that continues past a student’s graduation.
  • 7th Grade Art

    In the first part of the trimester, students master their spatial awareness and learn the fundamentals of working with clay to create a Bas Low Relief sculpture. Bas-Relief is a technique that allows several layers of clay to be “pulled away” thus revealing the foreground, middle ground, and background.  The students experiment with shapes and dimensions, analyzing what and how to create balance and applying this to their pieces. Through the creation of their work students explore scale, depth, proportion, symmetry, texture, and pattern. Using India ink and brushes, 7th graders also produce traditional Chinese pen and ink paintings. Students experiment with creating several hues from black ink and paint intricate flowers from observation. The experiments lead to investigating texture, gradation in tone, light, shadows, and depth.
  • 7th Grade Digital Art

    7th Grade Digital Art works off of the foundation students gain in their  design thinking, 3D design and innovating from their time during their 5th and 6th Grade classes. Students begin the trimester working on a project called Making the Space. They problem solve by designing tools, labels, and other components to enhance the Creation Lab, making it accessible for both Elementary and Middle School students. The students are then given the autonomy to choose their projects for the remainder of the time by combining different applications, tools, and materials available in the Creation Lab.
  • 7th Grade English

    In the English department at RSS we create a safe and supportive environment for students to explore and practice reading and writing strategies within novel-based units of study. Novels are chosen for their text complexity and themes present, while allowing for a diversity of voices and stories. Varied opportunities are provided for students to grasp a strong comprehension of the class texts, followed by diverse written and spoken forums where students can express their theories and ideas about what they are reading. Both reading and writing are explored as a process. As students make their way through the steps of learning a specific reading or writing skill, teachers structure lessons around the gradual release of responsibility; first introducing a skill with teacher-led support, then moving students towards trying that same skill with the support of a peer, and finally encouraging students as they work to master the skill independently. Grammar is taught within the editing stage of the writing process and its instruction is based on the individualized needs of each group of students. Finally, a space is created within each unit for project based learning, offering differentiated opportunities for all types of learners to interact with the curriculum in creative and complex ways.

    7th Grade textual offerings include appropriately challenging literature that pulls from contemporary and canonical sources. The theme of 7th Grade English is Social Perceptions and Stereotypes. This theme continues to help students to make deep connections between their 5th Grade theme of coming of age and their 6th Grade theme of power dynamics within society students.

    As students navigate the B’nai Mitzvah process, they are encouraged to deepen their sense of what it means to grow up within and against the pressure of social perceptions. They become adept at recognizing how different patterns of experience based on gender, sexuality, class, and race intersect within society. Students read about the coming of age of an adolescent Chicano girl from Chicago, Esperanza Cordero, in The House on Mango Street, and what her yearning for a “real house” symbolizes. They also read Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, exploring how the different rules of the fairy kingdom, Athenian court, and forest worlds can help us understand society outside the play, as well. Through the graphic novel American Born Chinese, they consider how the desire to fit in can leave people feeling estranged from themselves and their heritage. Finally, students finish the year by reading All American Boys, a dual-narrated novel that explores two sides of contemporary racial issues in the United States and emphasizes the importance of seeking truth outside one's own personal experience.

    Students learn to develop a thesis grounded in a specific topic and how to present a precise interpretation. They learn to build arguments based on several supporting features or stages in progression. Students quote textual evidence and learn parenthetical citations. They practice the fluid introduction and interpretation of quotations with particular attention to the isolating and explication of figurative details. Students learn how to respond to various types of analytical prompts, summaries and create personal responses as well. Creative writing includes dramatic scripts, short stories, and speeches.

    Grammar study becomes increasingly complex. Students learn adjectival and adverbial prepositional phrases, independent and subordinate clauses, pronoun case and transitive and intransitive verbs. Students are expected to correctly apply previously learned grammar, spelling, punctuation and usage rules. To further develop their vocabulary, students use Membean, an online program with exercises calibrated to each student’s skill level.  

    The 7th Grade curriculum expects a high level of content mastery. Lessons are designed to appeal to a variety of learning styles. Students work as a whole class, in small groups, and independently.

    Major topics:
    • Writing: Essay writing, literature responses, personal responses, creative writing, writing a thesis, developing an argument, citing textual evidence, analyzing figurative language
    • Literary terms: vignette, satire, meter, connotation, panel, composition, motif 
    • Grammar: adverbial and adjectival prepositional phrases, clauses, pronoun case
    • Reading: Whole class texts and independent reading, reading for figurative language
  • 7th Grade French

    Romance Language classes at RSS give middle school students the opportunity to develop new ways of expressing themselves and understanding their world through a multicultural lens. French and Spanish classes are taught with an immersive approach, allowing students to read, write, listen, speak, and think in another language. Teachers model authentic and comprehensible language with the aid of props, storytelling, images, songs, games and other tools. Instruction is designed around communicative tasks about topics students can relate to and are excited about. These goal-oriented activities require students to interact with each other in the target language. Through meaningful exchanges with their peers and strategic and engaging repetition by their instructors, students naturally and more easily acquire language structures, accurate pronunciation, vocabulary terms, and common expressions. Daily lessons incorporate opportunities for both guided and independent practice. Students also demonstrate progress through creative and fun projects.

    7th Grade French provides students with a second year of introduction to French and develops a strong base for further study that encourages creative exploration of the language. Students participate in simulations of situations that a young person might encounter in the target culture such as engaging in a conversation about what sports they enjoy or clothes they prefer to wear. In a variety of activities, students discuss rooms in a home, furniture and decor, chores, food and drinks, transportation and shops.

    Students continue to learn the fundamentals of grammar including subject/verb and noun/adjective agreement. They also learn to distinguish between present, future, and past tenses. Throughout the year, students work on short writing assignments, creative skits, and projects, which help them express themselves in more complex sentences.

    Major topics:
    • Naming and describing clothing and accessories
    • Asking and giving opinions about outfits
    • Saying what you are going to do
    • Expressing a recently completed action
    • Talking about which sports you participate in
    • Expressing possession
    • Giving commands
    • Saying what you know how to do
    • Responding in the negative
    • Talking about the past
    • Saying where you are and where you will go
  • 7th Grade Hebrew

    Our Middle School Hebrew program uses a whole language approach emphasizing all four components of developing language skills- listening, speaking, reading and writing. While the pace and volume of the curriculum can vary from class to class, we use a variety of methods including dialogue, games, reading, writing, conversation, and an online program called “Ulpan Or.” The program is designed to increase students’ appreciation for the Hebrew language and their heritage. We provide students with the ability to communicate in Hebrew in a variety of situations and expose students to the life experiences of Hebrew speaking students in Israel. Students are exposed to Hebrew slang and gain a deeper understanding of Israeli culture. Throughout the program we reinforce and review grammatical sentence structures and conjugation of verbs in the present and past tenses.

    The Hebrew language curriculum for the 7th Grade revolves around the following skills: reading, writing, listening, and conversation. These proficiencies are taught through dialogues, stories, writing assignments, songs and games. We continue to focus on reading comprehension, grammar, oral language, and Jewish holidays. Our year begins with our Summer Vacation unit, High Holidays and Sukkot. We review the blessings for the holidays and sing holiday songs. Students explore the theme of Gvurot Yisrael - “Heroes of Israel” - by designing and decorating Maccabee shields in the Creation Lab. Other topics include a study of directions and one on home. They also learn the “Aleynu” prayer. Students continue to encounter different genres of text and have opportunities to hold class discussions on what they read. They continue to develop the skills of identifying the structure of keywords and word families through the use of word roots, suffixes, and prefixes. In the 7th Grade, students continue to use the online program “Ulpan Or: Hebrew at the Speed of Light.” This program is innovative, interactive and research-based, developed using 21st-century technology from Israel. It includes short video clips, audio clips, built-in structured exercises, virtual flashcards, Israeli songs and much more. The ultimate goal of each unit is for the students to be able to act out in Hebrew a dialogue given to them in English. 

    Major Topics:
    • Ulpan Or:
    • Time
    • Directions
    • Places, home, apartment
    • Semikhut: Construct state of nouns
    • Binyan Pi’el
    • Prayers: Yigdal, Havdalah, Amidah
  • 7th Grade History

    In middle school, history students access a range of historical time periods, ideas, and themes. Each unit closely focuses on a particular era or geographic part of the world. Units are spiraled from one to the next and students frequently make content connections to prior units of study, both within a particular year and from grade to grade. RSS honors the different voices that shape history. History classes include the narratives of those who have often been marginalized in the past. Students learn to differentiate primary and secondary sources and learn to corroborate and read into the bias, nuance, and subtext, of primary sources. Students learn to engage with a variety of primary sources – including speeches, letters, poetry, artwork and images, architecture, and legal codes. Each grade level looks at the relationship between cause and effect to glean historical significance as well as change over time. Writing is an essential part of the history curriculum and is spiraled across the four grades.. Students begin middle school by learning to write with supporting historical evidence, and by the time they graduate they are able to articulate arguments about the past that are supported by numerous sources. By the time students graduate, they are not only expected to be able to incorporate pieces of historical evidence and quotes from primary source documents, but are also expected to show the importance of that evidence as it connects back to their argument. Geography is woven into each unit of study across all grade levels as students learn the importance of physical and geographic features as well as its relationship to historical events. Furthermore, lessons and assessments utilize different modalities of learning, allowing for a range of learners to access the material.

    7th Grade history surveys American history from European exploration of the Americas to the Civil Rights Movement. This includes introducing the economic, social, racial, and political context of theNorth American colonies.
     
    The focus of study continues chronologically, towards the American Revolution and the creation of the Constitution. Students explore how the sociopolitical context of colonial America impacted the desire to separate from England and the development of the new U.S. Constitution. Students study the compromises that made up the framework for the Constitution and become familiar with various Constitutional principles while reckoning with the choices the American Founders did - and did not make - regarding slavery. Following this exploration, students will research a woman or BIPOC from early America and seek to place their story within the larger context of the period. They will explore how those without formal power sought to exercise control over their own lives and over the development of the burgeoning nation around them. 

    After learning about the founding of the republic, students explore the development of the young nation and how its first 80 years were inextricably linked to slavery - in both the south and the north. They will study the lives of enslaved peoples, how they rebelled in large scale revolts and how they resisted through quotidian actions, how they formed familial bonds and the precariousness of the family under slavery, and how through their actions they repeatedly put slavery on the national agenda as a question that had to be resolved.

    Students will then study how the growing geographic divisions over slavery - and the ways in which slavery affected all other areas of American life - led to the Civil War. Rather than study specific battles or tactics, the Civil War unit covers the actions of the enslaved in the South and how they forced the meaning of the war to change from one of union to one for a new birth of freedom. 

    Students then learn about Reconstruction and how its idealistic aims created the first multiracial democracy in American history, but also how its eventual failures created a status quo that was consistently challenged in a century-long struggle for African Americans to gain equal civil rights.Through learning about the Jim Crow South students will see how new institutions of racial hierarchy were created in the South and learn about the Great Migration to the North.

    Students will explore the North primarily through a case study of Chicago where they will learn about race riots and redlining. They will see how there was more freedom in the North, but will also see the clear limits of that freedom and the circumscribed nature of Northern cities. In particular, they will make connections between early 20th century events and policies (such as redlining and restrictive covenants) and the American they inhabit today.

    The course will conclude with an exploration of the Civil Rights Movement as students seek to piece together their knowledge and arrive at a better understanding of the world and nation they see around themselves.
     
    In the 7th Grade, students encounter increasingly difficult textual material. They are also expected to offer complex analyses of historical evidence. Projects which value a variety of modalities continue and are expected to be completed at a more advanced level. Student work involves a greater complexity of synthesis and analysis. They write traditional essays and practice writing a solid thesis, supported by ample evidence. As their research skills have further developed, the emphasis of the research process shifts to the development of a cogent argument. The curriculum emphasizes advanced study skills and requires content mastery and application.
     
    Major Topics:
    • Ancient History and European Settlement
    • Revolution and The U.S. Constitution
    • Young Republic and Slavery
    • The Civil War & Reconstruction
    • Jim Crow and Great Migration
    • Chicago and the North
    • The Civil Rights Movement
  • 7th Grade Jewish Studies

    In Middle School Jewish Studies, students are asked to read, think, and write critically about Jewish texts, particularly the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible). Whether through the study of Jewish holidays, theology, or the historical experience of the Jewish people, students sharpen and employ general academic skills - close reading, primary source analysis, and public speaking among others - as they navigate a structured, spiraled curriculum that challenges them intellectually, spiritually, and ethically. In addition, students learn skills specific to Jewish Studies, whether Tanakh and Siddur navigation, the rabbinic style of commentary, or, guided by the core Reform Jewish value of “informed choice,” how we might derive contemporary meaning from ancient texts, customs and ideas.

    7th Grade Jewish Studies focuses on Judaism as an evolving religious civilization. The study of Judaism’s continual survival in the Diaspora in the following thematic units are examined: In our History unit, students learn about Jewish life in the Diaspora, starting with the codification and development of the Oral Law in Babylonia and adaptation and cross-cultural exchange in Muslim Spain and Christian Europe during the Middle Ages, focusing on the individuals who influenced the Jewish world most. In Tanakh, the focus is on developing skills for critical textual analysis and mining texts for moral and religious meaning. Students study Jewish holidays through the lens of each holiday’s Haftarah or Megillah, exploring the relationship between the themes of the holiday and the chosen narrative and/or work of wisdom literature. This will enable us to engage in our Theology unit, in which we will learn about important and influential theologians and their different conceptions of God. The year is completed with a Capstone Project, which provides an opportunity for students to synthesize the ideas worked on over the year, connected to Jewish textual reasoning: how did central ideas of Jewish philosophy and practice (who/what God is, how the universe came to be, what the God/human relationship involves) take shape and develop over time, and how do they emerge from classical Jewish sources?

    Major Topics:
    • Haftarah, Megillah, and Wisdom Literature
    • The development of the Oral Law: Mishnah, Gemara, Talmud
    • Babylonia and the Geonim
    • The Golden Age of Spain: Yehuda Halevi and Maimonides
    • Moses de Leon and the Zohar
    • The Emergence of Ashkenaz: Rashi
    • The Documentary Hypothesis
    • Introduction to Jewish Theology
  • 7th Grade Math

    The RSS Middle School Math program is designed to help students develop as mathematicians and emerge from 8th Grade ready to take on High School level Geometry, Algebra 2, and higher level courses. Throughout the curriculum, lessons are designed for students to further develop their vital mathematical processes including problem solving, reasoning and proving, communication, making connections and representation. In 6th-8th Grade, there is one honors sections of math, allowing students to be appropriately challenged as necessary. While students continue to study an overview of mathematics including number sense, geometry, statistics, and probability, there is a particular emphasis on preparing students for Algebra in 8th Grade. Beginning in 5th Grade, students explore ratios, proportional relationships and algebraic expressions through contextual problems and stories. The Math department constantly evaluates the best curriculum resources to use, pulling from researched based curricular including Prentice Hall, Connected Math, Structure and Method, and Blitzer textbooks. Using a combination of curricula allows students to make relevant connections to their everyday life and model the math around them. Teachers emphasize the use of multiple strategies to solve problems and guide students to find the most efficient solution. Throughout the middle school years, there are certain components of the curriculum that “spiral,” purposefully repeating, allowing students to explore concepts and topics with increasing complexity, and to reinforce previously learned information. In addition, students are supported at their individual level while improving their note taking, organization, and collaboration skills. As appropriate, lessons and sometimes class sections are further differentiated to allow for advanced or extended study of mathematical concepts. All students have the opportunity to participate in more challenging independent study through “Problems of the Week” or “Anchoring Activities.” In addition, students may join the Mathletes club to compete in Math Olympiad contests.

    In 7th Grade mathematics, students study pre-algebra. They continue to study an overview of topics including number sense, algebra, geometry, measurement and probability. Throughout these content strands, students develop their communication, processing, reasoning, and analytical skills. With this combination of content and process, students improve fluency and efficient application of concepts. They continue to reflect on their solutions, evaluate best strategies, engage in mathematical discussion with peers, and advance their own conjectures with justification. Algebraic reasoning is the backbone of the course. Students continue to develop their understanding of variables, representing and comparing relationships through different means including tables, graphs, words and symbolic rules. They study the relationship between linear equations and graphs including predicting changes. Students translate word problems into algebraic expressions. 7th Grade students continually add to their understanding of math vocabulary; adeptly translating word problems and using appropriate language to convey their ideas. During their study of Geometry, students construct the meaning of three-dimensional volume by studying the “Popcorn Problem” and comparing the amount of actual popcorn used to fill different sized cylinders at their table. Through investigating their conjectures and evaluating mathematical proofs, students build upon their mathematical knowledge. Lastly, students begin their study of computer coding, using the coding language Racket, through the Bootstrap program. To demonstrate their understanding, students complete the “Flag Project”, which includes creating their own replica flag of their favorite country through code.
     
    Major topics:
    • Working with real numbers
    • Solving equations and inequalities
    • Factors, fractions and exponents
    • Ratios, proportions and percent
    • Linear functions and graphing
    • Surface Area and Volume
    • Right triangles in algebra
    • Data analysis and probability
    • Nonlinear functions
    • Bootstrap Algebra Coding Program
    • Systems of Equations (honors)
    • Polynomials and Factoring (honors)
  • 7th Grade Music

    Through our 7th Grade Music class, students learn to play drums and guitar. Borrowing from George Lawrence Stone's classic book, "Stick Control,” students learn to play the snare Drum. Students focus on a stick holding technique, a handful of basic rudiments, exercises, rhythms, and note reading. Halfway through the trimester, the course switches to learning the guitar. Each student receives a nylon string classical guitar which they learn to tune,play chords, and melodies. While learning the drums and the guitars, students use their listening (tuning and playing back rhythms and melodies), and music theory fundamentals such as tempo, dynamics, and time signature to improve their musicianship.
  • 7th Grade Physical Education

    The RSS Physical Education Department seeks to empower all students to sustain regular, lifelong physical activity as a foundation for a healthy, productive, and fulfilling life.

    The PE curriculum is based on physical activities and an introduction to a variety of sports in an active, caring, and supportive atmosphere in which every student is challenged and successful. RSS provides all students with a variety of activities and challenges that contribute to the development of their physical, cognitive, and emotional well being.

    RSS PE program focuses on the following:
     
    • Outdoor education 
    • Skill development 
    • Competitive play 
    • Collaborative skills and fair play
    • Cultural movement activities 
    • Fitness
    • Electives 
    • Parks & off campus locations

    In the RSS Middle School, students engage in a year long course of study that utilizes local parks and other off-campus locations as its classroom. The middle school Physical Education curriculum is designed to meet the physical, social, and emotional needs and interests of the individual student. Students participate in individual and team sports in each grade, where the faculty emphasize skill development, fair play, and healthy competition. To encourage lifelong fitness skills to maintain a healthy lifestyle, different fitness components of cardiovascular exercises and muscle strengthening are embedded into each PE unit.

    As part of a diversified curriculum, 5th-7th graders participate in one of three cultural projects, with each unit culminating with a performance for the full middle school student body. 8th Grade students choose electives that are unconventional team sports and fitness offerings. This allows for the students to learn in small groups and an opportunity for students to explore their interests. Some past offerings included indoor and outdoor rock-climbing, yoga, rugby and long-distance running. 

    In the warmer months, RSS utilizes Riverside Park for Physical Education classes. In an effort to maximize ‘active minutes,’ students safely walk to the park as a group before using the fields, trails, and courts for class. Beyond the normal team sports (soccer, football, frisbee, etc.), students participate in different types of outdoor activities such as bouldering, trail-runs, and trust walks. 

    During the winter months, RSS is fortunate to have access to the JCC and Police Athletic League Duncan Center as indoor sites. Our curriculum concentrates on indoor sports, such as basketball, floor hockey, team handball, and volleyball.
  • 7th Grade Recess

    As physical activity and play is an essential part of child development, we make every effort to give students an opportunity to participate in physical activity regularly.. Additionally, the Skydeck is open for recess three times a week during morning break. There is a choice recess period twice a week during advisory where students can choose between study hall, recess, gardening, arts, or other activities.
  • 7th Grade Science

    The RSS Middle School Science Program expands students knowledge of the world around them by understanding the principles of science. Students explore phenomena through testing, exploration, and observations. This is completed through in-class demonstrations, individual and group work, projects, and lab work. Students are encouraged to try out new ideas, make mistakes, and then learn from those mistakes. One of the core principles in exploring science is to be a resilient and reflective thinker, and that is the main goal of the RSS science program. As students enter middle school, the focus is on process and standards of scientific inquiry, slowly building from concrete to more abstract concepts. We move from simply showing how things work, to applying knowledge to new and different contexts. Each year students have a final project that they present at the annual STEM Expo. The projects are student driven and allow students to explore their individual interests. At the completion of 8th Grade, students leave Rodeph Sholom with a solid foundation for further study in science and yearning to learn more.

    The 7th Grade Science curriculum is divided between two main disciplines of science: chemistry and earth science. The chemistry portion of the year begins with a discussion about matter. The unit begins with types of matter, then moves on to the ways matter can be measured. The second unit relates the scientific laws of gases due to volume, temperature, and pressure. This includes reading and interpreting data on a graph. Throughout this first portion of the year, students complete a handful of in-class labs and create a detailed lab report. Scientific writing as well as data gathering and interpretation are important skills practiced in lab reports. 

    Throughout the year, the focus of 7th Grade is hands-on, collaborative lab work, and projects. Students develop and continue to practice important scientific skills, as well as group work, presentation, and independent research skills.

    The earth science portion of the year uses the principles of chemistry as the framework to our discussion of the continued evolution of our universe, solar system, and planet. The earth science unit begins with a discussion of astronomy. Through project-based learning, groups of students each become experts on one of the five phases of the evolution of the universe, and teach that knowledge to the rest of the class. This spans information from the big bang theory through how life on Earth developed.

    We continue with Plate Tectonic Theory and study how the earth is constantly moving and changing. As a part of this exploration, students learn about the consequences of this movement, including volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. Students use real maps to analyze the tectonic activity of an assigned location on Earth.

    The year ends with a brief environmental science unit in which we discuss weather and how humans shape our planet.

    In late winter through early spring, students work on their STEM Expo project. They choose one scientific concept to explore and represent. These can be ideas explored  in 5th, 6th, or7th Grades, or a new idea that captures their attention. Students ultimately create a research paper, tri-fold display board, model, and presentation to fully communicate their scientific concept to an audience in an engaging, detailed way.

    Major Topics and Projects:
    • Classifying and Measuring Matter: Labs on how to quantify matter, including mass, volume, and density
    • States of Matter: Changes in states of water lab
    • The Gas Laws: Imploding Can Lab, exploring the relationship between pressure, temperature, and changes in state
    • Astrophysics: Story of the Universe group project
    • Plate Tectonic Theory: Exploring a Plate Boundary group project
    • Weather: using weather station to gather and analyze weather data
  • 7th Grade Spanish

    Romance Language classes at RSS give middle school students the opportunity to develop new ways of expressing themselves and understanding their world through a multicultural lens. French and Spanish classes are taught with an immersive approach, allowing students to read, write, listen, speak, and think in another language. Teachers model authentic and comprehensible language with the aid of props, storytelling, images, songs, games and other tools. Instruction is designed around communicative tasks about topics students can relate to and are excited about. These goal-oriented activities require students to interact with each other in the target language. Through meaningful exchanges with their peers and strategic and engaging repetition by their instructors, students naturally and more easily acquire language structures, accurate pronunciation, vocabulary terms, and common expressions. Daily lessons incorporate opportunities for both guided and independent practice. Students also demonstrate progress through creative and fun projects.

    7th Grade Spanish concludes the two-year introduction to language and provides a strong base for further study that encourages creative exploration of the language. Students participate in simulations of situations that a young person might encounter in the target culture such as extending and accepting invitations and making plans. In a variety of activities, students discuss people, feelings, conditions, and places to visit.

    Students learn the fundamentals of grammar including subject/verb and noun/adjective agreement. They also learn to distinguish between the present and the past tenses. Throughout the year, students work on short writing assignments and creative skits, which help them, express themselves in more complex sentences.

    Major topics:
    • Commenting on food and ordering in a restaurant
    • Outdoor activities, sports and discussing health
    • Planning a party
    • Discussing household chores
    • Describing vacations
    • Informal command form
    • Regular verbs in the present tense
    • Commonly used irregular verbs in the present tense
    • Regular and irregular verbs in the past tense
    • Reflexive verbs
    • Object Pronouns
  • 7th Grade Study Hall

    Students are assigned to study hall periodically throughout the week. This is a time for students to work independently, with the support of a teacher if needed. During study hall, students can arrange to meet with a teacher, work with other students in the Action Center, study, or get ahead on assignments.
  • Action Center

    The Action Center is located in the Middle School Library, is a drop in space for academic support, with a focus on curriculum and organization. Students go to the Action Center for help with their assignments, need help getting started or to better understand a concept learned in class. The AC is staffed by Middle School faculty who are able to guide students in any subject. Students choose to go to the AC during their study hall periods, if they prefer to receive extra help instead of working independently. The Action Center encourages students to take responsibility for their learning, and independently advocate for their academic needs.
  • Learning Center

    In middle school, some students attend the Learning Center (LC) instead of a Study Hall, typically once a week. The LC functions as a guided study hall where students receive curricular support on assignments and are encouraged to work on aspects of learning that are more challenging for them. With the guidance of the learning specialists, study skills and effective strategies are embedded into the academic work, and students use this time to sharpen their understanding of personal strengths and areas for improvement. Every period in the Learning Center looks different: students might work one on one or in small groups with a learning specialist; they may work on the same assignment as their peers or focus on different school subjects. The role of the learning specialists is to gently and consistently support students’ curricular challenges. Through our work in the Learning Center, we aim for students to internalize the strategies that they are learning and practicing, and to apply them independently in their work both at home and at school. We believe that teaching children how to be students is just as important as what they are studying, and so we help to build these important lifelong student skills. Learning specialists regularly communicate with subject matter teachers, advisors and department heads to understand the curricular expectations and the students as they grow. This collaboration is key in supporting students and helping them to meet the curricular standards, enhance their confidence, and build their independence.
  • Wellness

    The Rodeph Sholom Middle School Wellness program for 5th through 8th graders delivers accurate, age-appropriate information and emphasizes healthy relationship skills and development of self control. Using a social emotional learning approach, our curriculum incorporates many activities including role plays and discussions. We incorporate opportunities for students to learn and practice communication and relationship skills so that they can make responsible decisions and maintain healthy connections with others. Our goal is to give students accurate information, help them to develop healthy communication skills, and promote family communication.