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Upper School Curriculum


Overview of Upper School (Grades 5–8) The Upper School experience at Lake Forest Country Day School offers a challenging, yet engaging curriculum coupled with the skills needed to flourish in a twenty-first-century world. The Upper School curriculum reflects high academic standards, and our faculty is dedicated to giving each student the opportunity to discover his or her academic, social, creative, and physical strengths. Because social and academic skills are inextricably linked, we strive to create a respectful, safe atmosphere where students can explore interests, take responsible risks, and develop academic skills and knowledge. Dedicated faculty members work together in our state-of-the-art facility to create an engaging curriculum, rich with opportunities for deeper thinking as students develop key twenty-first-century skills: communication, cosmopolitanism, collaboration, character, creativity, and critical thinking. We aim to help students grow in selfawareness and self-discipline so they can manage increasingly challenging coursework. Each student has an advisor to whom he or she can turn for assistance. A middle school counselor is also available to help students adjust to the transition or negotiate friendship dynamics that may be changing as students mature and explore new interests. Students benefit from:  The School's strong commitment to offering excellent academic preparation in all subjects and opportunities to participate in extracurricular arts and athletics programs.  An emphasis on twenty-first-century skills, including information literacy, the productive use of technology tools, and digital citizenship.  Our Character Development Program, which places an emphasis on developing students’ self-awareness and resilience as well as creating a positive social and emotional environment as the foundation for academic excellence.  A faculty who understands brain and child development and works collaboratively to engage students in a variety of learning experiences that encourage making connections, building understanding, and taking ownership of learning.  A commitment to experiential learning where students’ learning is enriched with field trips to Lake Forest Open Lands, the symphony, the theater, and a variety of historic sites.  A compassionate school environment that values personal responsibility, diversity, and openness to different points of view.  Expert assistance with the transition to selective high schools.

Upper School Curriculum Guide


Upper School Curriculum


Teaching Philosophy Knowing the students we teach—individually, culturally, and developmentally—is of utmost importance to us. We also believe in the importance of getting to know their families. We value the input of parents as the child’s first teacher, beginning with advisor intake calls prior to the start of school when parents share their knowledge of and hopes and dreams for their child. Two important beliefs are at the heart of our teaching philosophy: first, the social curriculum is inextricably linked with the academic curriculum; and, second, how students learn is as important as what students learn. Upper School faculty shares a commitment to the following teaching and learning practices: CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT

Strength of character is emphasized and developed through socialemotional skill-building in the advisory curriculum, opportunities for leadership and service, and the disciplinary system. AUTHENTIC WORK OF THE DISCIPLINES

The curriculum emphasizes academic work that requires critical thinking, problem solving, and collaboration, and has real-world applications. DIFFERENTIATION

Teachers focus on each individual student’s learning style and make adjustments as needed to provide support or additional challenge.


Students enjoy opportunities to engage in hands-on activities and role-play experiences that help them understand abstract ideas. UNIFYING CONCEPTS

Ideas are introduced in the context of central unifying concepts or themes to help students recognize and remember connections in what they are learning in different disciplines. ACADEMIC RIGOR

Teachers and students share responsibility for pursuing learning goals that are challenging yet attainable and position the student for future academic success.

Character Development Character education at LFCDS begins in the Early Childhood Program. As appropriate, children are introduced to terms that refer to specific “habits of mind,” such as persistence and empathy. As students move through the Lower School, their understanding of the various habits of mind deepens, and many “Until recently, most economists and psychologists believed that the most important factor in a child’s success was his or her IQ. This notion is behind our national obsession with test scores. But the scientists whose work I followed for How Children Succeed have identified a very different set of skills that they believe are crucial to success. They include qualities like persistence, curiosity, conscientiousness, optimism, and selfcontrol. Economists call these non-cognitive skills. Psychologists call them personality traits. Neuroscientists sometimes use the term executive functions. The rest of us often sum them up with the word character.” —Paul Tough, Author of How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character

Upper School Curriculum Guide

opportunities are given both inside and outside the classroom to demonstrate increased social emotional skills. Upon entering Upper School, each student is paired with an adult advocate. As his or her advisor, this faculty member takes on numerous essential roles, including being a guide for academic growth, executive functions, social-emotional learning, and character development. Each student is placed in a small advisory group consisting of eight to ten students who meet two to three times per week. During these sessions, students are engaged in activities related to empathy, communication, social cruelty, emotion management, problem solving, and substance abuse. Students also participate in team-building activities related to collaboration, diversity, respect, trust, and sensitivity. Finally, each advisor plans age-appropriate lessons throughout the school year such as movie discussions, study skills, test-taking strategies, and leadership skills.


Upper School Curriculum


At LFCDS, we espouse certain core values— excellence, partnership, responsibility, participation, and diversity. So, for us, ‘strong character’ means acting in accord with these five values, which is what students and families agree to do by joining our school community. The School’s character education efforts,

therefore, are designed to help students recognize examples and lapses of these values in action and to develop the social-emotional skills needed to make behavioral choices consonant with what the school community recognizes as important.

Authentic Work of the Disciplines At LFCDS, we emphasize authentic learning experiences—ones that reflect critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, and real-world applications. In order to prepare students for a university education, a meaningful career, and life in general, we work to develop students’ deep understanding of content and issues and ask them to demonstrate their new learning, not just recite it. The authentic work of real-world learning experiences enables students to develop important lifelong skills and to view their education as relevant and connected to the larger world.

from an African drum circle using only non-verbal communication. Eighth-grade student groups build, analyze, and test their own roller coasters based on

Outdoor Education

Lake Forest Country Day School’s Outdoor Education Program is designed to promote a positive and supportive atmosphere by heightening students’ awareness of and concern for others. This program provides a unique opportunity for teachers and students to become acquainted outside the classroom and to respond to and learn from the needs of others by working in a broader community. The program supports the School’s mission of producing students who have strong character and are responsible citizens. These goals are pursued through fifth-grade collaborative group activities and team building exercises, sixth- and seventh-grade camping experiences, and a six-day eighth-grade trip to Washington, DC. Numerous field trips to sites in Indianapolis, Chicago, and Springfield also enhance and enrich our School’s goal to provide students with ongoing opportunities for the development of collaboration and team-building skills.

So what does this look like at LFCDS? After reading The Phantom Tollbooth, fifth-grade students discuss the threedimensional world and properties of space figures in math class. They then create a two-dimensional net pattern from which they are able to construct a dodecahedron model. On each of the faces, students create questions and share facts from the story. In sixth grade, students create structural models of town buildings and test them for strength and durability by recreating hurricane-like winds using fans. Seventh-grade students reenact a traditional, unified musical piece

advanced physics principles. Learning experiences like these offer intellectual challenge, build work habits of persistence, metacognition, and accuracy, and engage students in the kinds of creative and critical thinking that will serve them well throughout their lives.

Differentiation Differentiation is the process of matching instruction to varied students and their interests and needs. It is a cornerstone of high-quality teaching and learning and a practice that pervades LFCDS. We pride ourselves on our ability to deeply know our students as learners

Upper School Curriculum Guide

and to think outside of the box when it comes to approaching their learning in the most appropriate and effective ways. This is responsive education. Students who exhibit academic talent may participate in Illinois Regional Math Counts Competition, LEGO Robotics


Upper School Curriculum


Tournaments, or write articles for the latest edition of our School’s newspaper. Those children who require additional support may receive in-class individual and small-group assistance or instruction offered through

our Learning Services department. Ongoing assessment enables us to efficiently and flexibly encourage our students’ interests and to meet their academic and developmental needs.

Experiential Learning What adolescent wouldn’t want to design and build a bridge and test it for integrity and strength? Or research data that inspires them, and create their own formula for predicting trends based on algebraic knowledge of linear equations? Perhaps even write his or her own music and lyrics using the latest MIDI technology? Experiential learning occurs when students investigate and gain understanding through their play. An excellent instructional strategy to engage the whole child— cognitively, socially and emotionally, physically, and creatively—experiential learning allows students to learn by doing: creating, constructing, planning, solving problems, and collaborating. LFCDS teachers carefully craft experiential, hands-on learning activities that will tap students’ interest and engagement and then allow for independent thinking, open-ended responses, student choice, and rich understanding. Creative thinking and academic rigor can occur simultaneously!

Unifying Concepts Knowing how students learn best, we developed middle school curricula around unifying concepts that build upon and connect to each other. For example, the eighth-grade social studies curriculum is taught using a theme-based approach rather than sequentially. Units include War and Peace, Manifest Destiny, Expansionism, National Politics & the Presidency, African American Studies, and Reconstruction; all afford students the opportunity to make continuous connections while learning historical facts in context. Similarly, world language courses offer students engaging activities and applicable units of study based on culture, food, clothing, art, and notable destinations. Spiraling concepts by theme allows

Upper School Curriculum Guide

STEM at LFCDS STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education is designed to enhance the teaching of math and science subject areas by incorporating technology and engineering into regular curriculum, creating a “meta-discipline.” A STEM curriculum encourages problem solving, discovery, exploratory learning, and encourages students to actively engage a situation in order to find its solution. These skills are critical to the development of high level problem solving and will prepare today’s students to become tomorrow’s global leaders. In the Upper School, STEM education is integrated through a series of project-based, semester-long classes, one for each grade level. Some of these units are new to the LFCDS curriculum; some are existing components of our current Math and Science programs. In the fifth grade, for example, students will design video games, with the goal being to foster critical 21st century skills such as systems thinking and digital media literacy. Seventh-grade students will work together to design, build, and test CO2 dragsters, with a design process that teaches them to identify problems, research and develop solutions, and ultimately redesign their vehicles based on feedback. In each grade-level course, the goal is to prepare middle school students for the advanced courses that await them in high school—with the added benefit of giving students the confidence to ultimately pursue a career in one of these fields later in life. students learning Spanish, French, and Mandarin Chinese to apply previously learned structure while identifying and utilizing new vocabulary. At the same time, each grade level represents a new layer of unifying concept that enriches and broadens students’ understanding of it and its application in varied contexts. Unifying concepts are integral to ensuring that students make connections within and across disciplines and topics and, as a result, comprehend their learning experiences more deeply.


Upper School Curriculum


Community Service

The LFCDS Community Service program is a manifestation of the School’s commitment to responsible citizenship and its dedication to producing students of strong character. The Community Service program affords students an opportunity to respond to and learn from others by providing service to those in need in the broader community. The program offers a wide variety of service environments from which to choose and encourages family participation. Emphasis is placed on the development of an independent desire to serve others. Beginning in Lower School, class- or grade-level service projects are adopted as they arise through curriculum integration. This approach to service continues through sixth grade and is enhanced by many other service projects supported by the entire School. The development of social, environmental, and community consciousness becomes more individualized in seventh and eighth grade. At this point, each student researches and selects projects that are personally meaningful to him or her and that emphasizes the duty of giving back to the community. By reaching outside of the LFCDS family to give service to others, students are exposed to the greater needs beyond their day-to-day school life. Past community projects have benefited the environment, wildlife, the hungry, the sick, the homeless, and underprivileged children here and abroad.

Academic Rigor Rigor at LFCDS targets specific goals for both teachers and students. Teachers develop curricula that are rich with varied and intentional challenges. LFCDS faculty:  Set high, yet attainable, expectations.  Establish learning objectives that are clear and measureable.  Assess student understanding formally and informally.  Employ technology and varied resources.  Give students clear, meaningful feedback to encourage positive work.  Ask a range of questions and target synthesis.  Vary learning experiences to include some of the following: multi-sensory materials, kinesthetic activity, technology/media, visual aids, and inquiry-based labs.  Provide students opportunities to work collaboratively.  Assign relevant homework with opportunities for summarization, questioning, reflection, and/or analysis.

Upper School Curriculum Guide

Students responding to rigorous curricula:  Demonstrate investment in and ownership of the learning process.  Set reasonable and attainable goals in recognition of their own strengths and challenges.  Advocate for themselves and their own learning.  Engage in class discussions and activities.  Complete assignments thoughtfully and carefully.  Show curiosity by asking pertinent and thought-provoking questions.  Seek answers using a variety of reliable sources.  Apply knowledge, skills, and concepts independently.  Make connections to previously learned concepts and skills.  Transition beyond rote memorization and restatement of facts to demonstrate depth of understanding.  Think critically.


GRADE 7 Curriculum

This age is sometimes challenging in terms of social and emotional development, especially as seventh-grade In seventh grade, students continue to experience students often struggle with a sense of identity and considerable transitions. They begin to master increased difficulty in making major decisions. At LFCDS, we academic and organizational expectations. Their age work with students through personal interactions and leads them to take greater risks, and as a result, they the advisory system on making good choices during develop resilience. They are becoming self-advocates this vital time in their middle school years. Students’ who are not only recognizing their needs and desires, advisory periods continue but developing the to be times to assist them confidence to speak as they find their place up for themselves. socially and feel secure At LFCDS, we focus academically and also to on recognizing these celebrate special days and efforts through milestones. commendations in Experience Outdoor Education team building

The Seventh-Grade Experience at LFCDS

Highlights of the SeventhGrade Experience

order to build selfesteem that grows the community and furthers the individual student.

during an overnight trip to Camp Matawa.

Academically, students in this grade Attend school dances and participate in student government. continue to strive for excellence as they explore Go on downtown Chicago field trips, areas such as drama including the Oriental Institute and Smart Museum at University of Chicago. technique, art history, Students at this world music. They Take part in the annual Robbie age start to become experience what it means Bermingham Speaking Contest. deeply invested to be part of a drum Seize the opportunity to sing in purposeful circle, world culture and with the Honors Chorus. schoolwork, US history, and LEGO such as research Portray a Russian character in social studies. Robotics. Students also projects, scientific Take the SSAT and start exploring begin to have greater experiments, options for secondary school. grade awareness as they major art projects, Participate in varsity sports. see what a cumulative and dramatic GPA looks like, and they Enjoy a World Language Immersion productions. lunch at a local restaurant. seek to improve their These projects and academic achievements, assignments are even as they enjoy more just as likely to be meaningful social interactions. pursued individually as they might be in small groups. Students in Upper School follow a rotating six-day cycle Entrance to this grade means increased consisting of forty-five-minute class periods. Grade-level responsibility within the school environment. Even academic courses are clustered into blocks in order to though community service is something that is provide opportunities for grade-level team meetings, emphasized throughout the grades at LFCDS, seventhintegration of curricula, and flexibility. In courses such grade is the first year in which each student is expected as social studies, science, and world language, students to complete a community service project of his or her meet on five out of the six cycle days and attend an own. The student selects his or her own project that academic study hall on the remaining day. Students will foster a sense of the importance of giving back to attend mathematics classes on each of the six days of a the community. cycle, and meet an additional seventh time on occasion Upper School Curriculum Guide — Grade 7


Grade 7 for enrichment. English classes routinely meet seven times per cycle with a focus on each of the numerous language arts strands including literature, grammar, spelling, vocabulary, and writing. Students also attend semester-long fine arts courses that meet on alternating cycle days. Finally, students participate in physical education and wellness classes on alternating days. Students enjoy a mid-morning healthy snack and have a recess break each day in addition to lunchtime recess. Three times per week, Upper School students meet with their advisor and engage in a formal character development program consisting of such topics as empathy, communication, problem solving, peer dynamics, social cruelty, stress management, and substance abuse. These adult-led sessions use a variety of resources including the Second Step program, Student Success through Prevention. Each Wednesday, an advisory group designs and leads a division-wide community meeting in which students gather to share information, talents, successes, and celebrations with one another.

Overview Standardized Assessments

Each October, students in Upper School take the Comprehensive Testing Program (CTP) online standardized test prepared by the Educational Records Bureau (ERB). The CTP4 is a rigorous assessment of student achievement of essential standards and learning domains in English (language arts) and mathematics. Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning tests are also included for grades five through eight. CTP Online is adaptive in nature, adjusting to the student’s performance on test questions and focuses more precisely on student depth of understanding. These tests are used both as an internal assessment instrument for curricular standards as well as an informative tool for student progress over time.


Homework is assigned in the Upper School based on curricular needs for repetition, application, reflection, and/or student inquiry. These assignments are written down by each student, but are also posted digitally on the Panther Portal for confirmation and are updated regularly. In general, homework assignments in the Upper School should require the following preparation: Grade 5: 1–1.5 hour(s), Grade 6: 1.5–2 hours, Grade 7 and 8: 2–2.5 hours. Students in sixth through eighth grade usually have four academic study periods per cycle. If this time is used effectively, homework for one or more subjects should be completed during this period. The time for completing homework may vary depending on individual learning style and productivity. The value of homework depends upon how it is done. It is essential that each child find a quiet place to work and determine a definite time for study. Distractions and interruptions such as those from television, cell phones, video games, and social networking technologies should be minimized. Each child should be responsible for his or her own assignments.

Upper School Curriculum Guide — Grade 7


Grade 7


English Overview Upper School English is a multi-strand subject. Students study literature, composition, vocabulary, grammar, and spelling appropriate for their grade level. Students read and write in a variety of genres. Literature selections vary by grade level. Composition mainly revolves around the literature studied and the annual Robbie Bermingham Speaking Contest. Vocabulary focuses on Greek and Latin roots and prefixes; it is drawn from the literature students read as well as from the series Vocabulary for Achievement. Spelling includes words from the Rebecca Sitton program, homonyms, cross-curricular words, literary and language arts terms, and may also include individualized spelling from a web-based program. Grammar covers parts of speech, sentence syntax, and the usage conventions of the English language. The skill levels vary and increase with the complexity of texts as students progress through grades five through eight.

Grade-Level Expectations

In seventh grade, students work to master the following English skills:

Reading  Read for information, understanding, and appreciation. •• Apply word analysis and vocabulary skills to comprehend reading selections. •• Clarify understanding of words by using a variety of resources, including context clues and dictionaries. •• Recognize, understand, and compare structural elements such as main idea, supporting details, and conclusion in more complex informational texts. •• Highlight relevant information in the text. •• Use information from reading selections to inform, explain, and support questions and predictions. •• Gather and analyze information from a variety of sources. •• Quote from the text and annotate selectively to reflect or support a point of view. •• Make and support inferences about the author’s purpose. •• Engage with increasingly challenging reading material as grade appropriate. •• Connect reading selections to personal experiences and other texts.  Identify and appreciate literary elements. •• Identify the main events of the story’s plot using terms such as exposition, conflict, rising action, climax, and falling action. •• Analyze character, setting and theme as they apply to more complex reading selections. •• Analyze narrative point of view and use of dialogue in a variety of literary works. •• Recognize and compare the elements of characterization in literary works. •• Select and highlight passages that support understanding and recognition of literary elements. •• Recognize and compare the impact of narrative point of view, character development, and setting on literary selections. •• Compare and contrast themes in multiple stories. •• Analyze the author’s use of certain literary elements such as foreshadowing, flashback, figurative language, and irony.  Compare, contrast, and analyze how different authors use literary elements for a variety of purposes.  Analyze and appreciate increasingly complex poetry through an understanding of poetic devices such as similes, metaphors, alliteration, rhyme scheme, and personification. Upper School Curriculum Guide — Grade 7


Grade 7

English Writing  Gain experience with writing an assortment of composition modes.  Generate and organize ideas using a variety of planning strategies.  Generate a multi-paragraph composition, using introduction, body, and conclusion.  Identify and accomplish personal purpose in each composition.  Strive for rich and relevant supporting details within the body of a composition.  Transition smoothly within and between paragraphs.  Engage in the stages of the writing process: drafting, revising, and sharing final copy.  Strive for grace of expression through effective sentence syntax, paying particular attention to identifying and correcting sentence fragments and run-ons as well as focusing on sentence variety and transitions.  Use figurative language and well-chosen vocabulary effectively.  Use increasingly sophisticated word choice in compositions.  Apply the rules studied for syntax, grammar, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation to writing.  Edit documents for clarity, correct grammar usage, and grace of expression.  Write concisely and accurately for selected forms of assessment.

Presentation  Express clearly personal responses to classroom discussion.  Collaborate and present material as part of a group presentation.  Practice and exhibit essential presentation skills such as diction, volume, eye contact, appropriate gestures, and pacing for many sizes and types of audiences.  Read a text aloud with appropriate inflection.  Participate as an effective audience member.

Mathematics Overview By incorporating researched standards and best practice strategies, our Upper School mathematics program challenges fifth- through eighth-grade students to compute accurately, think analytically and to reason logically. Instruction is individualized and differentiated within each class in addition to having a framed readiness path to allow for a variety of flexible grouping based on specific criteria. Pearson/Prentice Hall’s Mathematics series is the primary resource for all mathematics courses and the curriculum is infused with manipulatives, creative applications, projects, technology, and critical thinking activities. The goals of the Upper School mathematics program at LFCDS are:  to stimulate enthusiasm for mathematics.  to teach and reinforce essential mathematical concepts.  to develop students’ problem-solving abilities.  to foster mathematical creativity, flexibility, and ingenuity.  to offer challenging, engaging learning experiences. In order to best meet the needs of all of our middle school students, a math readiness path allows for fluid and flexible movement among leveled courses within each grade. In sixth grade, an accelerated course is designed to accommodate individual conceptual understanding with greater depth, pace, and rigor.

Upper School Curriculum Guide — Grade 7


Grade 7


Resources, manipulatives, projects, web-resources used on an ongoing, rotational basis:  Prentice Hall Mathematics textbook series and resource materials  Marcy Cook Tiles  Buzz Math individualized online mathematics skills program  Math Olympiad Contests  Used Numbers (Real Data in the Classroom)  The Problem Solver  Middle School Mathematics Project – Probability and Fair Games  Middle School Mathematics with Pizazz    Interdisciplinary units with science and STEM-based projects such as growing crystals, bungee jump analysis, rockets, and balsa wood bridge building.  Applications-based projects such as fantasy football, mathematician research, polyhedra construction, statistics analysis, stock market game, and shopping unit.

Grade-Level Expectations

In seventh grade, students work to master the following mathematics skills:  Expand upon knowledge and understanding of integers.  Investigate rational numbers.  Apply knowledge of ratio, rate, proportion, and percent.  Master concepts related to probability.  Define terminology.  Understand variables, expressions, and combining like terms.  Translate English to algebraic phrases.  Solidify knowledge of basic algebraic equations.  Investigate two-step and multi-step equations.  Graph one- and two-step inequalities.  Understand and apply knowledge of plane and solid geometry.  Calculate area, perimeter, and volume of complex figures.  Investigate famous mathematicians and their influence in the field of mathematics.  Apply percent understanding to include concepts such as percent of change, tax rate, discount, and mark-up.  Create PowerPoint presentations.  Solve complex, multiple-step equations and inequalities.  Understand graphic representations of linear equations and inequalities.  Compare different forms of measurement.  Examine dimensional analysis, its significance in science and in the world.  Explore the coordinate plane and plotting points.  Use graphs to analyze data.

Upper School Curriculum Guide — Grade 7


Grade 7

Social Studies

Social Studies Overview Seventh graders begin their year with a study of the geographical, historical and cultural attributes of three major regions of the world: the Middle East, China, and Russia. In addition to comparing religions and governments, students are introduced to global economic principles and human rights issues. As a result of examining current world challenges, students come to understand the relevance of history and world problems to their own personal lives. In the second semester, students focus on early American history, including exploration of the New World, the Colonial Period, the War for Independence and the writing of the U.S. Constitution. Students read the novels Animal Farm and April Morning, create time lines, PowerPoint presentations, and participate in numerous role-play activities and debates. The unifying theme for the seventhgrade year revolves around the concept of governance.

Grade-Level Expectations

In seventh grade, students work to master the following social studies skills:

Projects and Public Speaking (Cooperative Learning, Problem Solving)  Deliver short oral presentations on a variety of current events with special attention to the theme of governance on the local, national, and international level.  Work independently or cooperatively with a variety of peers and use at least two sources to complete projects and presentations using media such as Timeliner, PowerPoint, posters, or models with increasing depth through the US years.

Social Studies Concepts (Economic, Political, Historical, Geographic)  Using authentic evidence, make predictions and draw conclusions about Russian, Middle Eastern, and Chinese culture.  Examine the geographical features that impact the growth, development, and culture of a people.  Explain how a variety of cultures, including our own, used technology to overcome geographic challenges and expand commerce and trade.  Compare and contrast economic and political systems in our culture and the cultures of Russia, China, and the Middle East, citing reasons for changes.  Discuss the pros and cons of governments set up in Communist China, the Soviet Union, the United States, and various Middle Eastern countries.  Explain how the necessity for trade led to cultural expansion, exploration, and assimilation in the late Renaissance and beyond.  Discuss the role of women in a variety of world cultures, including our own.  Explore the similarities and differences between social groups in early America and in Russia, China, and the Middle East.  Explain different types of work available to people in early America and in other parts of the world. Discuss how the division of labor allowed rulers to stabilize and expand to their power.  Explain the impact and power of religion on early American culture and cultures of the Middle East, Russia, and China.

Comprehension and Synthesis (Reading, Writing, Thinking)  Analyze political reality and culture in Russia, China, and the Middle East.  Determine the factors which led to the exploration and settlement of the New World. Upper School Curriculum Guide — Grade 7


Grade 7

Social Studies, Science  Assess the quality of life for different social groups in Russia, China, the Middle East, and early America.  Use a variety of writing styles and genres to best express learned concepts.  Create and interpret timelines to develop a stronger sense of the continuity and discontinuity of various cultures.

Classroom Skills (Organization and Time Management, Note-Taking, Research)  Review and reinforce two-column note-taking skills; react to each section of notes by summarizing, connecting, or questioning.  Reinforce use of textbook resources to aid in comprehension, note-taking and test preparation.  Discuss and interpret novels such as April Morning and Animal Farm to better understand historical situations.  Use simulations for immersion into problem solving of historical dilemmas.  Take notes, organize, compose, and present information on topics of historical interest using a variety of formats.  Find and utilize a variety of reliable resources, both in print and online to further learn about a topic.  Effectively use technology as an aid in research and organization.  Review effective study techniques for different types of assessments.  Reflect on how historical events mirror or contrast current events.  Develop written and oral arguments supported by historical facts.

Science Overview The Upper School curriculum includes three units of study per year at each grade level that address the three branches of science—physical science, life science, and earth/space science. In a hands-on inquiry-based setting, students pose questions, explore hypotheses, and form conclusions. Students further their scientific understanding through learning that is relevant to real-life experiences and through spiraling unifying themes from grade five through grade eight. Seventh Grade students develop understandings around the theme of evidence and explanation. The integration of science, technology, engineering , and math is evident during the LEGO Robotics unit in the fall. The American Chemical Society middle school science curriculum provides an introductory framework for student exploration of foundational chemistry concepts. Paleontology and comparative anatomy are the main focus the life science branch. Students dissect carefully chosen organisms that allow them to discover evolutionary relationships between animal groups. Our very own outdoor classroom provides students with ample opportunities to investigate oak savannahs, vernal pools, woodlands and prairie ecosystems.

Grade-Level Expectations

In seventh grade, students work to master the following science skills:

Physical Science: LEGO Robotics (STEM)  Investigate robotics-based problems and learn by finding appropriate solutions.  Design and construct a LEGO Robot to perform various challenges while working in a team environment.

Upper School Curriculum Guide — Grade 7


Grade 7

Science  Research and present solutions for scientific problems.  Apply mathematical concepts toward robot performance.  Develop and modify LEGO Mindstorm Programming Language in order to operate robot successfully and foster creativity.  Compete in regional and state level First LEGO League tournaments in both research presentation and robot challenges.

Physical Science: The Structure of Matter  Use a graduated cylinder.  Use a balance.  Observe, infer, and making observations  Design and run controlled experiments.  Identify variables.  Identify an unknown substance.  Communicate with sketches.  Write paragraphs.  Support claims with evidence.  Explain how the structure of a molecule affects its chemical properties.  Distinguish solute and solvent.  Discuss factors that affect solubility in liquids and gases.  Describe the properties of water.  Apply rules to determine densities of various objects.  Explaining the effects of chemical reactions.  Identify the parts of chemical reactions.  Explain how endothermic and exothermic reactions are different.  Identify different types of chemical reactions.

Paleontology/Life Science (Comparative Anatomy)  Determining earth’s age.  Identifying evidence of change over time using the geological time scale.  Making interferences while examining fossil remains.  Judging whether the fossil record is complete.  Determining why complete skeletons are a rarity.  Discover the importance of structure, function, and the environment on vertebrates and invertebrates.  Develop observational, dissection, and critical thinking skills by investigating biologically based problems through systems analysis and comparative laboratory dissections.

Life: Environmental Studies  Discover ways that organisms interact with each other and their environment.  Compare and contrast ways that organisms depend on the feeding relationships of one another and of the abiotic environment.  Compare and contrast ways that organisms in an ecosystem get the materials and energy they need.  Determine ways that energy is transferred from one organism to the next.  Research what happens to organisms and ecosystems when there are changes in the environment.  Identify invasive species in our ecosystem and participate in returning our open lands to its native state.

Upper School Curriculum Guide — Grade 7


Grade 7

World Language

World Language Overview The world language program intertwines communication, culture, comparisons, and connections in accordance with National Standards. World language events that pertain to community take place throughout each year of the program. We also invite our students to see and explore language and cultures beyond classroom walls by looking through an abundance of multi-media windows to the outside world.

Grade-Level Expectations

In seventh grade, students work to master the following world language skills:

Spanish  Employ the present progressive tense.  Add the preterite tense, regular and irregular.  Integrate the use of direct and indirect object pronouns in the same sentence.  Make comparisons: equal/unequal/superlative.  Ask and respond with negative and affirmative expressions.  Use demonstrative and possessive pronouns.  Discuss personal health and routines using reflexive verbs.  Understand and employ other verbs like gustar: seem, hurt, need, love, bother, matter, etc.  Convers about such topics as weather, shopping, markets, food, clothing, and the body.  Participate in the National Spanish Exam.  Discuss culture and current issues in Spain, Chile, Argentina, Panama, Ecuador, Guatemala, and Peru.  Order and experience a variety of typical dishes on a total immersion trip to a Mexican restaurant.  Understand and celebrate El Dia de los Muertos.

French  Express wants, permission, and preferences about specific food items and specialty stores.  Compare items and negotiate prices.  Identify rooms and their furnishings in a home.  Greet and present guests. Make suggestions and give orders.  Describe physical well-being, ailments, and body aches.  Express astonishment and disbelief.  Give advice for health solutions.  Describe and sequence past events during travels in Europe.  Research and describe major Paris monuments and landmarks.  Understand, compare, and celebrate cyclical celebrations.  Go to a French restaurant for a cooking lesson.  Watch and analyze a French classic movie.

Mandarin Chinese  Comprehend oral Chinese and respond with short answers and sentences.  Ask for clarification of meaning when needed.  Share ideas in Chinese and contribute to classroom conversations.  Read and understand stories and conversations on a variety of topics.  Respond to written prompts with answers in Chinese pinyin and/or characters.  Speak on a variety of topics in Chinese.  Type and hand-write paragraph-long stories and conversations on a variety of topics. Upper School Curriculum Guide — Grade 7


Grade 7

World Language, Fine Arts  Read relying mostly on characters for comprehension.  Use pneumonic devices and character symbolism to remember meaning of new characters.  Refer to the pinyin phonetic guide to clarify pronunciation of new vocabulary.  Understand important facets of Chinese daily life and culture, including shopping, eating out, and travel.  Celebrate Chinese New Year with culturally significant foods and activities.  Interact with other Chinese speakers, such as during a field trip to a local Chinese restaurant.  Participate in the Youth Chinese Test, an international test of Chinese ability in students before high school.

Fine Arts Overview Education in the arts is an integral part of the education of the whole child. Children learn to express and interpret ideas through observation and analysis of the fine arts. They learn creative modes of problem solving and develop an array of expressive, analytical, and developmental tools which can be applied to a variety of human situations. Students at LFCDS understand the influences of the arts in their power to create and reflect about cultures, both past and present, thus enabling them to make informed judgments about cultural products and issues. They also develop attributes such as self-discipline, perseverance, and collaborative skills. Through experiences in the arts, children develop their imaginations which brings them happiness and a sense of personal fulfillment.

General Music

The three main components of the Upper School general music program at each grade level are music literacy, performance, and music listening and analysis. Students learn proper performance etiquette (posture, facial expression, and singing and instrumental technique) and audience etiquette (active listening, predicting appropriate responses based on genre and venue).

Grade-Level Expectations

In seventh grade, students work to master the following general music skills:  Compose complimentary drum ensemble songs for four rhythmic instruments.  Learn and perform several drum ensemble pieces through aural tradition.  Sing folk songs from several non-Western countries.  Perform songs on xylophones and drums (alone and within an ensemble) from several non-Western countries.  Analyze and evaluate various song recordings from non-Western cultures including Japan, India, Ghana, Afghanistan, and Caribbean Islands.  Identify and categorize various non-western instruments by design, sight, or sound.  Compare and contrast the differences and similarities of how music is used in various non-Western cultures to how it is used in Western culture.

Visual Arts

The three main components of the Upper School art program at each grade level include: art production, art literacy and criticism, and art history.

Upper School Curriculum Guide — Grade 7


Grade 7

Fine Arts

Grade-Level Expectations

In seventh grade, students work to master the following general visual arts skills:  Select and apply the elements of art and principals of design to improve communication of one’s ideas.  Distinguish changes in value.  Recognize and draw the five basic forms: cube, cylinder, cone, pyramid, and sphere.  Apply tonal changes to reveal the result of light and shadow on a form.  Apply color value and intensity to practical realistic drawing situations.  Distinguish and employ linear perspective techniques that create the illusion of depth on a flat surface.  Recognize the historical development and context of linear perspective in two-dimensional works of art.  Recognize the significance of gargoyles and their relationship to architecture, symbolism, and art history.  Select and analyze the expressive potential of ceramic media, techniques, and processes.  Construct a clay mask conveying an emotion using a variety of hand-building techniques.  Design and create a work of art with clay and glaze.


Drama engages students in a progressive curriculum in grades four through eight. The emphasis is on process and exploration, rather than product. Each year, drama will give students the opportunity to hone their voice and movement skills. Students will continually have the chance to learn more about themselves, others, and engage in the world around them through mindfulness-awareness practices. Students will utilize critical thinking skills and stretch their imagination as they learn about the history of the theatre through interactive, hands-on activities. Students will learn how to think on their feet, practice memorization techniques, and learn about the physical theatre space as well as different acting techniques. Through our drama classroom philosophy of O.T.O. (Other Than Ourselves), students will better understand the idea of our interconnectedness as human beings and make lifelong connections between the past and the present. The three main components of the Upper School drama program are mindfulness/awareness practices, storytelling and theatre history, and performance. Students learn proper performance etiquette (body carriage, facial expression, and voice and speech technique) and audience etiquette (active listening, predicting appropriate responses based on genre and venue).

Grade-Level Expectations

In seventh grade, students work to master the following drama skills:  Utilize their sensory awareness, spatial awareness, and mindfulness practices.  Develop voice and movement skills.  Develop ensemble skills.  Develop memorization skills.  Explore the history, conventions, components, playwrights, and style of the Elizabethan and Jacobean theatre.  Learn basic stage combat techniques.  Explore and examine modern and contemporary theatre technique, styles, and performance venues.

Performing Arts

The musical performing arts are an important part in the life of an Upper School student at Lake Forest Country Day School. Beginning in fifth grade, students have the option to participate in the choral program. There are three separate choruses in which students can volunteer to participate: Fifth- and Sixth-Grade Chorus, Seventh- and Eighth-Grade Chorus, and Honors Chorus (merit based and by director’s invitation only). All students participate in the band program in fifth grade as part of their general music curriculum. In sixth grade, students have the option to continue to participate in the band program. There are three different instrumental ensembles in which students can volunteer to participate: Sixth-Grade Concert Band, Seventh- and Eighth-Grade Symphonic Band, and Jazz Band. Upper School Curriculum Guide — Grade 7


Grade 7

Fine Arts, Information Literacy

Students in the choral and band performing groups regularly perform at all-school assemblies including the Thanksgiving Assembly, the Holiday Assembly, the Grandparents Day/Music In Our Schools Assembly, various evening concerts, and Upper School Graduation. Additionally, there are several opportunities each year for individual students to prepare solo and ensemble pieces for competitions in both singing and instrumental playing.

Seventh- and Eighth-Grade Chorus

Students continue to review and refine choral singing skills taught in fifth- and sixth-grade chorus. Repertoire can include, but is not limited to, African American Spirituals, contemporary poetry settings, and motets. Skills include:

 Sing with appropriate singing style technique based on various repertoire.  Perform in unison, two-, three-, and four-part harmony with vocal independence.

Seventh- and Eighth-Grade Honors Chorus

This is Lake Forest Country Day School’s premiere ambassador choral group. It is comprised of 22-25 outstanding members of the seventh- and eighth-grade chorus. Participation in this group is by director’s invitation only and is based on leadership, vocal development, and attendance and participation within the regular choral program. The group performs selections from the seventh- and eighth-grade choral rehearsals and performs sporadically throughout the year. In the past, they have represented the LFCDS choral program at such venues as WGN Radio, Pick Staiger Concert Hall at Northwestern University, Music At Trinity Concert Series in Highland Park, as well as regular scheduled open house events, annual giving fund receptions, the LFCDS auction, LFCDS alumni reception, Homecoming, and other venues within the life of the School.

Seventh- and Eighth-Grade Symphonic Band

Students continue to review and refine instrumental skills taught in Concert Band. The repertoire becomes more complex and students are expected to practice at home at least an hour per week. Instruments for this ensemble may include piccolo, flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, trumpet, french horn, trombone, baritone, tuba, and percussion. Skills include:

 Playing an instrument with correct embouchure, tone, intonation, tuning, and air support.  Paying attention to ensemble balance and blend.  Exploring more advanced rhythms and techniques.  Learning ten major scales, two octave chromatic scale for winds, and advanced lip slurs for brass.  Following a conductor’s cues and patterns.

Jazz Band

Jazz Band is a group comprised of volunteers from Concert and Symphonic Bands. This ensemble meets once per week before school to rehearse. We explore genres including swing, big band, blues, bop and pop. Any instrument is welcome to join the Jazz Band including piano, drum-set, and guitars.

Information Literacy

Information literacy in the Upper School is embedded in the academic curriculum. In classes from social studies to science to music, students develop skills in: accessing and evaluating information; organizing knowledge and presenting it creatively; and participating ethically as members of social and intellectual networks. The LFCDS library supports the Upper School curriculum by providing resources, both print and electronic, for student use and by teaching particular information skills as necessary.

Upper School Curriculum Guide — Grade 7


Grade 7

Education Technology, Physical Education & Wellness

Education Technology

With technology increasingly permeating the fabric of society, success in completing many everyday tasks and projects hinges on competence in information technology. The continuing expansion of information requires that students focus on the following skills:  creativity and innovation  critical thinking and problem solving  communication  collaboration  flexibility and adaptability  initiative and self-direction  social and cross-cultural skills  productivity and accountability  leadership and responsibility To prepare students for a high-tech world, LFCDS includes instruction in information technology in the classroom through its education technology program as well as providing elements of direct instruction to increase competencies and familiarity. The major goal is to provide opportunities for students to use information technology as a tool to complete a task rather than as an end in itself. Students learn both the technical skills of computer and technology use, and their proper role in attaining the skills of a competent twenty-first century learner.

Physical Education & Wellness Overview The mission of the physical education & wellness program is to develop a lasting appreciation for physical activity and the skills, strategies, and knowledge that lay the foundation for a lifetime of well-being through athletics. Teachers strive to inspire a commitment to health-related fitness and positive lifestyle choices regardless of athletic ability. Our goals are to enhance students’ ability to lead, work together as a team, participate fairly with sportsmanship, and develop respect for peers. We expect active participation from all students.

Grade-Level Expectations In seventh grade, students work to master the following physical education & wellness skills:  Become self-confident in fluid combinations of fundamental locomotor skills.  Become self-confident in a combination of locomotor and manipulative skills.  Follow rules, procedures, etiquette, and wear appropriate attire to actively participate in fitness activities.  Use equipment safely and properly.  Apply an understanding of fundamental strategies used in sports and games.  Understand that aerobic exercise improves the efficiency of the cardiovascular system. Upper School Curriculum Guide — Grade 7 Rev. May 7, 2012


Grade 7

Physical Education & Wellness, Parent Resources  Participate in daily physical fitness activities consistently.  Be able to monitor individual heart rate during exercise using a variety of devices.  Apply the principles of frequency, intensity, and time in physical activities.  Understand components of health-related fitness.  Have an understanding and appreciation of the body systems and their impact on athletic performance.  Follow the LFCDS PE Code of Conduct.

Resources for Parents We are confident that seventh grade will be a terrific experience not only for your child but for your family. Beginning with a listening call with your child’s advisor, an informational coffee in early September, and grade-level social events, there will be many opportunities to establish important connections. As the school year progresses, there will also be several ways for you to volunteer—for classroom activities and field trips, and in a variety of capacities through the Parent Association and the Auction. Take a moment to visit in the Parent Association Office as you enter the Green Bay Atrium from the Lower School. The Panther Portal (, as well as the external website (, provides a wealth of information:  Parent Downloads, Forms, and Links: This area on the Portal is filled with a variety of helpful information (i.e., online directories and class lists, downloadable medical forms, information on the school dress program, and more).  Curriculum Review Information: Each year a representative task force of faculty examines and revises a specific disciplinary area of study. This Portal page outlines our curriculum development framework and offers a venue for you to share constructive feedback.  Enrichment Activities and Resources: At LFCDS, we believe that summer is an opportune time to balance learning with a bit of leisure. This page provides information about required summer work, book lists for particular grade levels, mathematics and science challenges, and parent resources.  WordPress Blogs: Many classrooms have a WordPress blog set up, which gives a fun glimpse into the classroom. These are also available on the Panther Portal.  Parent Association Information: This tab provides information about ways to get involved in the LFCDS Parent Association and the numerous events they help coordinate. We believe social media is a timely way to tell the story of Lake Forest Country Day School, and to that end, the School has a Facebook account and a Twitter account that we encourage you to “Like” and “Follow”! Simply search for “Lake Forest Country Day School” on Facebook and follow @LFCountryDay on Twitter. We have a strict social media policy and never post individual student names or information on these channels. You will discover snippets of all of the great things happening at LFCDS on a day-to-day basis! Your room parents are available to answer questions and help you get involved, and you are welcome to stop by the Upper School Office anytime. Questions? Please contact the office of the Head of Upper School at (847) 615-6114.

Upper School Curriculum Guide — Grade 7 Rev. July 2013


LFCDS Grade 7 Curriculum  

Upper School overview and curriculum information for Grade 7 at Lake Forest Country Day School, a premier independent private school for age...

LFCDS Grade 7 Curriculum  

Upper School overview and curriculum information for Grade 7 at Lake Forest Country Day School, a premier independent private school for age...