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Grade 7 - Humanities

Humanities in 7th Grade


The Sixth through Eighth Grade Social Studies Curriculum is subsumed within a truly interdisciplinary Humanities model, which incorporates Social Studies, English Literature, and English Language Arts to prepare students for the rigorous demands of high school and life beyond Westerly. Middle School students delve into historical content vis-á-vis California Social Studies Curriculum Standards, with an intentionally broadened geopolitical context. Through a social justice framework, students learn about the human experience while investigating the role of power and privilege in determining who rules, who owns, and what people believe throughout history. Literature and student-driven research are integrated to give students an individualized experience of depth and academic rigor. This program is founded on three major tenets: critical thinking, effective communication, and ethical action, as well as the new PREP interdisciplinary capstone (beginning with the Class of 2021), which will celebrate and demonstrate the culmination of students’ academic journey at Westerly.

Power and Change in the Medieval Era

Course Overview: The Humanities 7 course is the second of three courses in the Middle School Humanities program. The course builds on skills and concepts introduced or mastered in the Humanities 6 course to support students in cultivating essential 21st century skills. In this course, students investigate the central essential question: “How does change happen, and what are the consequences?”

Course Content: In Humanities 7, students will study human patterns of interaction after the Fall of Rome, through the Medieval Era. This time period, often referred to as the Middle Ages, is a time of change throughout the world. Students explore the causes and consequences of this changing world through their investigation of humans and ideas, humans and the environment, and humans with one another. Students will understand the origins and differences between the major world religions and investigate how worldview impacts history and the modern world.In this course, students are exposed to literature from the era as a means to understand the worldview of people who lived during that time. In addition to reading excerpts from Chaucer and Medieval epic poetry, students explore the central course texts: Romeo and Juliet (original) by William Shakespeare, and Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. 

By the end of Humanities 7, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate how to use color and marginalia to annotate effectively and dialectically within a text
  • Demonstrate strategies for encountering new vocabulary within a text
  • Understand how historical time and geography impact content and meaning within a text
  • Understand how figurative language can alter or enhance meaning 
  • Decode texts from various time periods and dialects 
  • Identify positionality of an author
  • Make inferences while reading
  • Identify and track lingering questions while interacting with a text
  • Research answers to lingering questions
  • Craft an effective question to research
  • Use MLA format to include in-text parenthetical citations in written work
  • Format an MLA bibliography 
  • Keep track of information with robust research notes
  • Identify the best sources for a task, not necessarily the easiest or most accessible
  • Demonstrate breadth of research to increase scope of information and minimize bias
  • Summarize what experts write in one’s own language
  • Write a cohesive 5-paragraph paper with one thesis and topic sentences throughout
  • Demonstrate comfort with a variety of presentation skills
  • Dialogue effectively with and give feedback to peers
  • Recognize bias in one’s ideas and understandings
  • Wonder aloud, often and share lines of inquiry with others in order to further class discussions and individual learning
  • Uncover new information as a means to cultivate deeper individual questions
  • Demonstrate Grade-level Common Core Standards for academic writing