Building a Strong Foundation

The best way to learn about the program at Hill is to talk to us and visit. If you would like to learn more we hope you will contact us, either through email or by calling the school to set up an appointment. We are proud of our program and eager to discuss it with you.

English

In reading, students study novels, plays, short stories, and poetry. Units include: personal narrative, short stories, drama, poetry, the novel, nature study, and a research project.

Students complete regular writing assignments, both creative and analytic. Students create and edit multiple drafts for most assignments.

Students build vocabulary through Membean, an online vocabulary program.

Grammar is taught in the context of student writing. Topics include parts of speech, punctuation, and conventions of standard written English.

Students read a personally selected book for at least 2 hours over the weekend.

Mathematics

Developing a solid set of procedural math skills is vital for all students. We believe that it is vital to encourage and help all students to become thinkers! All math classes provide an environment that encourages hypothesizing and testing of ideas for validity. The math curriculum uses resources from Saxon Math and Connected Mathematics and emphasizes numeracy and developing fluency with all sets of numbers. Classes and assignments focus on operations with decimals, fractions, and percent and understanding equivalence among numbers. A second major theme is developing an understanding of ratio and proportion, helping to develop algebraic thought. They also will discuss and practice strategies appropriate for multiple choice and standardized tests.

History

This course is an introduction to American history, from pre-history to the Civil War. We begin by studying the first Americans and how the environment shaped their culture. Next we focus on the forces that spurred European exploration, resulting in the founding of the “New World.” We then discuss the ramifications of the cultural exchange between Indians, Europeans, and Africans. Our trip to Williamsburg in December provides insights into the life and times of Colonial America. In the winter we research the events that led to the Revolutionary War. We conclude the term with an in-depth study of how the inexperienced Americans were able to “defeat” the British, the superpower of the 18th century. In the spring we examine the Constitution and how our government functions, Manifest Destiny and the resulting growing pains, and the concept of sectionalism which eventually led to the Civil War.

Science

Seventh graders begin the year studying the animal kingdom. Students explore topics such as invertebrate responses to stimuli, animal groups, adaptations, and the physics of bird flight. Students then move to physical science and the study of flight by creating paper airplanes and rocket models. The second unit of study is astronomy, followed by an exploration of sound and light. In conjunction with the Culture Study program, students create native instruments. The end of the year focuses on geology and the internal forces that shape the earth’s landscape, which includes a study of plate tectonics, earthquakes, volcanoes, and rocks.

The labs support our hands-on experimentation program and the development of scientific attitude and skills. Science textbooks are from the Holt Science and Technology Short Course series.

Latin

This year begins a traditional Latin I curriculum to be completed in the 8th grade. Emphasis is on Latin grammar, translation, and vocabulary (including English derivatives), with special topics in the history, geography, culture, and mythology of the Roman world from the fall of Troy to 509 BC. Homework: 30 minutes nightly; one weekly vocabulary quiz, one weekly grammar quiz.

Spanish

Seventh graders will start a standard Spanish I curriculum, which they will continue in 8th grade. This course will focus on basic pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammar to promote fluidity and confidence in oral and written work. Classes will consist of oral exercises and activities that aim to help students build Spanish skills. Areas of study will include units on greetings, pastimes, animals, days and months, foods, places around town, personal adjectives, and other topics to be accompanied by grammar sections which facilitate using the vocabulary. The course will also have a cultural component with lessons on elements of Latin American culture and regular projects relating to the Spanish-speaking world. Students will be assessed on class participation, conversations, regular quizzes, and homework which will consist of writing, reading, and review assignments.

Art

The art program teaches students to interpret and understand the world from the artist’s point of view. Students learn to recognize and use the concepts of design and composition which are the building blocks of art. We strongly encourage experimentation. Art is integrated into many aspects of school life, supporting the Science, English, and History programs with interdisciplinary projects. Student work is always on display around the school and in the art building. The art department presents an art show each spring in which every student is represented. Our goal is to let students create work which expresses their individuality by providing them with the necessary technical skills and with the opportunities to experiment and invent.

Music and Drama

The focus is on building vocal and choral skills, learning to be part of an ensemble, and also gaining the confidence to stand alone and perform.  Music is chosen from a wide variety of genres:  classical, folk, popular, and Broadway selections. Vocal duets and trios are encouraged as part of the 7th and 8th Grade Concert held in June. The class also performs at the Thanksgiving Assembly, the Holiday Concert, the Spring Sing Concert, and at Graduation.

Seventh graders have a technical theater class once a week where they learn the basics of set design, lighting, sound, costuming, stage management, and rigging. We offer opportunities for seventh graders to work “behind the scenes” on Hill School drama productions. Drama is integrated with music as well: improvisational acting is introduced in the form of lessons and exercises to build confidence, develop “improv” skills (thinking on your feet), and encourage teamwork – all in preparation for the eighth grade play.

Sports

The athletic department helps children develop positive habits of lifelong fitness and the desire to achieve their personal best in all endeavors. To achieve this, every child participates and competes in a variety of team and individual activities that promote sportsmanship, confidence, and competence in a physically and emotionally safe environment.  Basic skills, teamwork, and conditioning are emphasized. Students participate in soccer, cross country running, basketball, gymnastics, track & field, lacrosse, and other games. Additionally, students participate in interscholastic competition and intramural green-white games.

Mentoring

In the mentoring program, 7th graders work weekly with 1st or 3rd graders, filling the roles of teacher, role model, and friend. Younger students benefit by receiving one-on-one coaching in sports, and support, advice, and applause in reading, writing, and math. All students benefit from the opportunity to forge connections and friendship across grade levels. The mentoring program strengthens the ties of community throughout the school.

Friday Afternoon Program

7th grade Friday Afternoon Programs give 7th graders and their teachers opportunities to enrich the curriculum, participate in community service, and strengthen their connection and class spirit. On a Friday afternoon, 7th graders might participate in a workshop with members of a Shakespeare acting company, visit a corn maze, plant trees or test the quality of water in neighboring streams with their science teachers, take a kayaking trip, build a gingerbread house in art, research charities in order to decide which to support, or learn about nutrition.

Community Service

7th grade community service is driven by the passions of the students themselves. As a group, the class brainstorms causes which interest them, research specific charities in those areas, and then vote on which to help. They raise funds by investing their own time and labor in hosting an all-school event that is both fun and draws attention to the issue. Past community service projects have been Canstruction to raise money for Seven Loaves, the local food pantry, and a Minute-To-Win-It Carnival to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Place-Based Education

7th grade Place-Based Education gives 7th graders an opportunity to immerse themselves in the world of nature in both practical and imaginative ways. They write outside about the world around them. They plant trees and monitor the quality of water in the local watersheds. In the spring, students travel to Chincoteague Bay Field Station, where they learn to identify shells and marine creatures.

Upper School Academic Support

The Academic Support program strives to promote students’ understanding of their individual learning styles and empower them to become self-advocates. This class is designed for students to work on improving literacy skills, organization, time management, and study and test taking strategies. Students are supported in their work for core academic classes through individualized accommodations, and when appropriate, students are involved in creating personal learning profiles. In 7th grade, students take this class instead of Latin five times a week, and they study Latin and Greek word roots throughout the year. A small structured study hall is available after school.

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