The Foundation for a Meaningful Life
Kindergarten - Grade 9 in Southborough, MA
Upper School

Grade Seven

Grade Seven Overview

Our seventh grade includes day students from Fay’s Lower School, new day students from surrounding communities, and seventh grade boarding students from around the nation and the world. Courses in math, English, history, and science are required for all seventh graders, and differentiated instruction in small classes allows close teacher-student connections to flourish. Mathematics and world language placements ensure that students study material appropriate to their level of ability and move at a pace that allows them to build on previous knowledge. All seventh graders take art, music, and wellness. In addition, students are immersed in the Innovation Lab with the Creator’s Curriculum, a course that focuses on designing and making hands-on projects using both simple and sophisticated tools, such as 3D printers and laser cutters. Throughout seventh grade, a focus on critical thinking, introspection, and problem solving helps students establish a solid academic foundation.

List of 10 items.

  • English 7

    Seventh grade English stresses the development of good writing with particular emphasis on the need for well-structured paragraphs and more abstract thinking and writing. Frequent composition assignments continue the emphasis on writing with precision. Students focus on identifying and understanding the elements of grammar in conjunction with their own writing. In the study of literature, students begin to identify themes and their relationship to life experiences as well as examples of figurative language. Students study vocabulary in order to develop a more sophisticated written and spoken command of English.
    Students build reading comprehension and analytical skills through their reading, beginning with short stories in the fall. Students also read a wide selection of poems, as well as Iqbal by Francesco D’Adamo, The Giver by Lois Lowry, and Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
    A representation of short stories read and discussed include (but are not limited to) “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson, “The Sniper” by Liam O’Flaherty, “The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry, “The Last Lesson” by Alfonse Daudet, and “The Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant.  By focusing on plot, setting, irony, theme, and character, all students are able to take notes and produce discussion questions in unique ways.
    Throughout the year, seventh graders review and expand their grammar skills, with a focus on using parts of speech correctly, varying sentence beginnings, formalizing language, and using proper punctuation and capitalization. Students also explore sentence structure, learning to identify sentence elements such as subjects, predicates, and direct and indirect objects.
    By the end of the year, seventh grade English students should be able to:
    • Write and think independently
    • Use prewriting strategies independently
    • Understand the need for sentence variety and active verbs in composition
    • Write and revise multi-paragraph analytical essays
    • Understand and apply MLA citation and research styles and structures
    • Demonstrate confidence when speaking in class and giving a speech
    • Use performance as a learning and instructional tool
    • Participate in student-led discussions and peer editing sessions
    • Frame probing questions in writing and during class discussion
    • Seek independent reading opportunities with an attention to personal interests and academic growth
  • Mathematics

    Most students in grade seven study pre-algebra topics in courses designed to develop an understanding of mathematics as a system of thought. Based on a student’s ability to work independently and persevere with problems, along with his or her past mathematical  performance, he or she is placed into either Pre-Algebra or Pre-Algebra Advanced. We recognize that students at this age develop at different rates and appreciate that there is more than one path through the math curriculum; for that reason we conduct careful student placement in the spring of each year to ensure that each student is appropriately challenged. Click here to see detailed descriptions for all Upper School math course offerings.
  • World Cultures

    In World Cultures, seventh graders begin the year with an introduction to the origins and development, central beliefs and practices, and influence of the world’s major religions; Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, and Buddhism. Students transition to the study of history, focusing on the development of cultural and national identity as related to European imperialism in India and the Middle East. Students also develop an understanding of the role that religion played, and continues to play, in shaping the dynamic relationships within these regions.
    Using original historical sources, maps, and timelines, students engage in class discussions, presentations, and debates as well as research and writing assignments, as they develop historical thinking skills such as context, perspective, and cause and effect. These skills allow students to interpret, analyze, and thoughtfully articulate their understanding of the material both verbally and in writing.
  • Life Science 7

    Upper School science practices have been adopted from the National Resource Council’s A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas (2012) and directly build upon the practices from the Lower School. Students who demonstrate success in upper school science courses will be able to:

    - ask questions (for science) and define problems (for engineering)
    - construct explanations (for science) and design solutions (for engineering)
    - plan and carry out investigations
    - analyze and interpret data
    - use mathematics and computational thinking to solve problems
    - develop and use models
    - participate in evidence-based arguments
    - obtain, evaluate, and communicate information

    Life Science introduces students to the basic principles of biology and health science. Students learn to classify living organisms and begin to study relationships between humans and other animals on Earth. Students also learn the structure and function of organs and organ systems within the human body. These discussions lead to structured conversations about topics in sex education and drug awareness vital to today’s adolescents. Films, microscope slides, computer simulations, laboratory exercises, and outdoor activities complement the text and allow students to build upon the analytical skills acquired in lower grades. Throughout the year, students produce independent projects stressing vital problem solving skills they will use in future science courses.
  • World Languages

    Upon entering the Upper School, students select one world language that they will study for the duration of their time at Fay. Students choose from French, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, and Latin. Placement in all levels is based upon the student’s prior experience in the language, teacher recommendations, and a placement test, including a written and oral assessment. Click here to see a detailed list of all Upper School world language course offerings.
  • Music

    The music faculty is committed to the concept of "learning by doing" and recognizes the value of performance in every student’s experience. Each year, Upper School students choose a music course from an array of options that include choir, bells, string ensemble, band, and basic musicianship. The courses are designed to extend the theory and performance skills developed in the Lower School, but students new to Fay will also find that they can succeed in a beginning-level ensemble with little or no previous musical experience. Click here to see a complete list of music offerings.
  • Art 7

    The seventh grade program is designed to develop students’ small motor skills, social skills, and visual literacy. Students participate in interdisciplinary and multicultural projects, learn about art history, and take advantage of resources within the school and community. Students learn about the proper care and use of materials and are encouraged to respect the work of others. Students have regular opportunities to practice and refine their drawing skills. Projects include painting, collage, sculpture, printmaking, cut paper, ceramics, and other two- and three-dimensional works. Exhibit opportunities exist in the larger community, our online gallery, and the School.
    Students who successfully complete the seventh grade art program will be able to use media and tools appropriately, maintain a clean and productive workspace, and demonstrate understanding of the following concepts:

    • Facial proportions
    • Shade and gradient with pencil
    • Two-point perspective
    • Cultural diversity through ceramic mask-making
    • Principles of linocut
  • Creators Class

    The Creators Class takes place in Fay's Innovation Lab. The course is designed to build each student's creative confidence and focuses on the following themes:
    • Design Thinking, an empathy-based problem solving mindset and process, to help students identify problems and possible solutions
    • Basic Electronics, to do basic programming of circuit boards
    • Digital Fabrication, to design and build 2D and 3D objects using the school's laser cutter, vinyl cutter, and 3D printing technologies
    Our ultimate goal is to give students the ability to isolate a problem they want to solve and to spend the latter part of the year designing and building solution(s).
  • Wellness 7

    Seventh grade Wellness classes are gender-specific. Topics may include sexual development, nutrition, accepting others’ differences, stereotyping, bullying prevention and response, mindfulness, conflict resolution, boundaries, cyber safety and responsible use of technology, keeping one’s self safe, stress management, and tobacco and alcohol awareness. The single-gender classes provide students the opportunity to feel comfortable exploring challenging topics in a way that is most relevant to their experiences.
  • Athletics

    The athletics program takes place every day following academic classes. All students in grades seven through nine are required to participate daily in all three terms. Students choose from an array of interscholastic sports and intramural activities (one per term). Students may try out for competitive interscholastic teams or join an intramural team or activity. However, all students are required to participate in at least one interscholastic sports team each year. Click here for the complete list of athletic options.