- Fine Arts
- Health/Physical Education
- History/Social Science
- World Languages
- Course Request Form
In Seventh Grade English, students read to improve their critical thinking skills and knowledge of how culture and history affect character (and vice-versa) through the following texts: Young Samurai, the Way of the Warrior; The Outsiders; To Kill a Mockingbird; Other Words for Home; Reading the World (various short stories, poems, and essays from across the globe); The Girl Who Drank the Moon; and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Students further develop their skills and ability to analyze text through monthly outside reading and by writing their own stories and essays. In addition, students participate in various hands-on, creative group projects throughout the year to stimulate curiosity and enhance real-world “soft” skills like cooperation and leadership. The course also includes online grammar instruction through IXL and “live” grammar learning via competitive editing games; students are expected to demonstrate the results of this learning in their own writing, with standards “tightening” as the year progresses.
Debate (Year-long Elective)
Students enrolled in Speech and Debate are members of The Altamont Speech and Debate Team and are required to compete in at least 3 tournaments during the course of the year. Students will join the National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA) and have the opportunity to compete in the areas of Public Forum and Lincoln Douglas Debate and in the following individual Speech events: dramatic interpretation, humorous interpretation, program oral interpretation, and extemporaneous speaking. The Speech and Debate course functions as a workshop for practice and preparation, wherein students conduct research, write cases, and select pieces for performance. Generally, the workshops divide into a seventh and eighth grade elective and an upper school elective, though students will travel to and compete in tournaments as one Altamont Speech and Debate Team. Students may take the course throughout 7-12 grades.
Creative writing at Altamont functions as a series of workshops. Generally, the workshops divide into a fifth and sixth grade quarter long rotation, a seventh and eighth grade elective that meets twice per week all year, and an upper school elective (grades 9-12) that meets twice per week all year. As a part of this course, students produce works of creative non-fiction, short stories, poetry, and drama. The students enter local and national writing contests and frequently win awards. Whenever possible, teachers welcome local writers into the classroom to encourage and inspire our budding artists. Student work is occasionally presented to small groups for peer editing. Finished products are kept on file, forming each student's portfolio and the basis of The Dragon's Tooth and The Dragon's Toe, Altamont's creative writing publications.
7th/8th Grade Art (Yearlong, twice a week)
In this yearlong class, 7/8th grade students explore a variety of media as they continue to build their skills in drawing, painting, printmaking, mixed media design, and sculpture. Theory is introduced to further elaborate upon ideas about color, perspective, proportion, and design. Teachers discuss artists, artwork, and provide technique demonstrations to develop the four strands of art education: art appreciation, art history, art production, and art criticism. There is an emphasis on encouraging creative problem-solving and enhancing critical thinking skills.
7th/8th Grade Photography (Yearlong, twice a week)
Prerequisite: An inexpensive digital camera labeled with a strap and memory card.
This yearlong course is for students who want a taste of excitement as they explore the different areas of photography. Whether you like sports, food, light painting, nature or portraits, this course will let you experiment with the different areas and subjects that photography offers. Students can design the area of interest that they want to focus on and projects that go with that help them have a more meaningful and interesting in-depth experience.
7th/8th Grade Beginner Band (Meets every other day all year)
In this semester course, students will learn how to play Brass, Woodwind, and Percussion instruments. Students will learn to read music, develop technical playing skills, all while learning about time management. Students get to play in Pep Band and will perform in the Winter & Spring concerts. No prior musical experience required.
7th/8th Grade Jazz Band (Meets every other day all year)
Prerequisite: 7th/8th Beginning Band or director permission
Offered as yearlong or semester this class is open to woodwind, brass, piano, guitar, bass, and drum set players. This course will go through the basics of Jazz, Blues, and Latin music styles. The focus will be on developing music reading skills, listening skills, improvisation, and style. Students will follow a method book complemented by performance pieces. No prior experience in Jazz music is required; however, students must have acquired basic playing skills on their instruments. This ensemble will participate in the Winter and Spring concerts throughout the year. Students are strongly encouraged to sign up for lessons.
7th/8th Orchestra (Meets every other day all year)
Prerequisite: 5th/6th String Ensemble or director permission
This semester course is meant for intermediate level String, Brass, Woodwind, and Percussion students. Students will continue to develop and hone technical abilities, music reading skills, and musical sensibilities. This ensemble performs with the Upper School Orchestra in the Winter and Spring Concert, the elementary school tour, and the Spring trip.
7th/8th Grade Drama (Yearlong, twice a week)
This yearlong course provides students with the fundamentals of theatre through a study of its history, literature, and design. Basic acting techniques are taught that feature oral interpretation of scripts, voice and diction, physical presentation, and improvisational theatre. An overview of the technical aspects of theatre introduces students to set, makeup, costume, lighting, and properties design, as well as stage management, direction, and publicity. Reading and analysis of play scripts during the academic year and attendance at school productions are required.
7th/8th Grade Creative Writing
Creative writing at Altamont functions as a series of workshops. Generally, the workshops divide into a fifth and sixth grade rotation, a seventh and eighth grade component, and an upper school elective. These three groups produce creative non-fiction, short stories, poetry, and drama. The students enter local and national writing contests and frequently win awards. Whenever possible, teachers welcome local writers into the classroom to encourage and inspire our budding artists. Most of the workshops are held in the computer labs, where students may easily compose, revise, and archive finished pieces. Student work is occasionally presented to small groups for peer editing. Finished products are kept on file, forming the student's portfolio, and the basis of The Dragon's Tooth and The Dragon's Toe, Altamont's creative writing publications.
Students in seventh and eighth grade are divided into classes by gender and receive instruction in a variety of team and individual sports and activities. Students receive instruction in skills and rules of the sport or activity at the beginning of the unit, often culminating in a class-wide tournament. Current offerings include softball, tennis, volleyball, soccer, badminton, track and field, basketball, floor hockey, mat ball, kickball, pickleball, and table tennis.
Additionally, the Presidential Physical Fitness test is administered to students each year. In the middle school, adolescents identify the purposes for rules and procedures and become involved in decision-making processes to establish the rules and procedures to guide specific activity situations. They participate cooperatively in physical activity with persons of diverse characteristics and backgrounds.
The seventh grade year involves students in an examination of physical geography and its effects upon cultural and historical development. Every region of the world is studied in terms of its topography, population, natural resources, climate patterns, and the resultant historical and socio/economic developments. Students are instructed in the proper use of maps and statistics, both of which are vital instructional tools in our upper level history courses. An analysis of current events, particularly those of environmental consequence, helps students to appreciate the symbiotic relationship between human civilization and the natural environment.
Recommended for seventh grade
This course, building on the students' solid foundation in arithmetic, leads them to generalize their knowledge of arithmetic processes into algebraic expressions and to use the basic vocabulary of mathematics intelligently and precisely. Areas of emphasis include reasoning, verbalizing, and problem solving, as well as repeated and extensive use of fractions and negative numbers. The course includes work with geometric figures, probability, data analysis, and linear and non-linear functions.
Integrated Life Science (Required)
The third science course is designed to give students the opportunity to explore life science by participating in a variety of learning activities and hands-on, inquiry-based lab experiences that stimulate critical thinking and problem solving. Emphasis is placed on constructing and testing explanations using knowledge, models and experimental evidence. The units of study include: characteristics of life; diversity of living organisms; structure and function of cells, tissues, organs, and organ systems; heredity; interdependence of organisms and their environments; and biological evolution. The course is designed to prepare students for higher intellectual engagement offered by future science courses.
Exploring Computer Science
Grades: 7 – 8
This introductory computer science focuses on computer science content and developing computational thinking. Assignments and instruction are contextualized to be socially relevant and meaningful for all students. Units utilize a variety of tools and platforms. Each unit will culminate with a final project focused on the following topics: Problem Solving, Web Design, Programming, and Data Analysis. (Half Credit)
This first formal course instructs beginners and near-beginners in French. Progress is made in the areas of listening, reading, and writing, with an emphasis on correct spoken French. Students learn French vocabulary and grammar by engaging in personalized discussions, hearing and reading engaging stories, and writing and telling their own creative stories. By the end of the year, students are expected to achieve a novice-high proficiency level in French.
This introductory course provides the student with a solid foundation in vocabulary and grammar through selected readings and in conjunction with a formal study of grammar we will study English word formation and derivation, Classical mythology and art, the daily life of the Romans, and important people and events in Roman history.
This course is designed for beginners and near beginners in Mandarin. Like the Introductory course, students will focus on the four key areas of language skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing, with an emphasis on the last two in particular. Students are expected to quickly handle basic conversational tasks related to greeting, self-introduction, numbers, and family. Additional vocabulary themes explored in this course are countries, languages, jobs, school life, vehicles, and sports. Beyond language learning, various games, art crafts, Chinese cartoons and other projects related to Chinese culture are important components of this course.
The first formal year of Spanish instruction introduces grammar, extensive vocabulary, as well as cultural and historical information about a variety of Spanish-speaking countries. Oral and written proficiency is a goal, with audio and video clips incorporated on a regular basis in classroom instruction. This is a novice-mid level course.