Curricular Highlights: Seventh Grade


Lake Bluff Elementary School District 65 utilizes a balanced literacy approach. A balanced approach uses a variety of reading, writing and word work instruction, and practice opportunities for students in order to expose them to the rich world of literacy. An essential component of balanced literacy is called “workshop”. Our understanding and implementation of workshop, in District 65, is grounded in the research and practices of Lucy Calkins and her colleagues from the Teachers College, Reading and Writing Project who have developed the Units of Study in both Reading and Writing to guide us.

Reading and Writing Workshops are conducted daily to allow for students to receive personalized learning by engaging with and producing high volumes of both fiction and nonfiction texts of their choosing.  Because all lessons begin with explicit, direct teaching points, workshop prioritizes time for students to be immersed in independent reading and writing work, while teachers provide focused, differentiated instruction in smaller groups. As a result, workshop challenges students to develop the habits and dispositions of lifelong readers and writers. Additionally, mentor texts and student writing will be used to teach grammar in context. Many of our grammar lessons will be embedded in Writing Workshop, striking a balance between encouraging creative freedom and promoting correct conventions.

7th Grade Reading

7th Grade Writing

  • Maintaining an Independent Reading Life: This unit launches the work of reading workshop in seventh grade while carrying forward the work started in sixth grade. It supports students in understanding their reading identity while getting readers excited about reading and encourages the selection if engaging text and high volumes of reading.
  • Social Issues Book Clubs: A driving force in this unit is the power of reading to transform how we see others and to show us new ways to be kind, to connect, and to stand up for what’s right. Students read to be alert to social issues and analyze how authors develop perspective and power of dynamics in text.
  • How to Eat a Poem: This unit is actually about reading poetry. But reading in such a way that you get down to the bones of the poem, to the heart of what makes the poem tick—and most importantly, reading so that poems become a part of you.

  • Shared Novel Experience:  Students may engage in whole-class novel experiences in order to model active reading strategies, build a community of readers, and support students to interpret themes and analyze craft with a common text.  An integration of the workshop model will allow students the opportunity to integrate reading skills through mini-lessons and conferences.
  • Writing Realistic Fiction: Symbolism, Syntax, and Truth: In this unit, students compose engaging short fiction. They lift the sophistication of their writing through attention to individual scenes, symbols, and writing techniques they’ve discovered from close readings of powerful short fiction.
  • Writing About Reading: From Reader’s Notebooks to Companion Books: This unit teaches students to analyze the craft and structure of the authors they admire and to write for real audiences about why that craft matters.
  • The Art of Argument: Research-Based Essays: This unit instructs students in writing essays that build convincing, nuanced arguments, balancing evidence and analysis to persuade readers to shift their beliefs or take action.


Mathematics instruction in District 65 provides the opportunity for all students to have a rigorous, engaging, and accessible curriculum which focuses on developing students’ deep understanding of mathematics concepts. In order to achieve this, students engage in a high level of discourse and are exposed to multiple strategies in order to solve complex problems. The backbone of this instruction comes from College Preparatory Math (CPM).  CPM has developed a program whose goal is to engage all students in learning mathematics through problem solving, reasoning, and communication.
“CPM teaching strategies focus on how students best learn and retain mathematics. Teaching strategies rely on the recommendations of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, and are based solidly on the methodological research in teaching mathematics. The research-based principles that guide the course are:
  • Students should engage in problem-based lessons structured around a core idea.
  • Guided by a knowledgeable teacher, students should interact in groups to foster mathematical discourse.
  • Practice with concepts and procedures should be spaced over time; that is, mastery comes over time.”
Based upon a placement process occurring in the Spring of sixth grade, students are placed into one of three courses.

Math 2

Math 2 Parent Guide (.pdf opens in a new window)

Upon completion of the Math 2 course, students should be able to:

  • Use integers and complete operations with integers and rational numbers, including using the Order of Operations.
  • Use diagrams and equal ratios to represent part-whole relationships.
  • Use percents and scale factors to determine percent increase or decrease, discounts, and markups.
  • Use variable expressions to represent quantities in contextual problems.
  • Simplify variable expressions by combining like terms and using the Distributive Property.
  • Solve linear equations, including those with fractional coefficients and those with no solutions or infinitely many solutions.
  • Solve and graph one-variable inequalities.
  • Compare experimental and theoretical probabilities.
  • Distinguish between dependent and independent events and calculate the probability of compound independent events.
  • Represent probabilities of multiple events using systemic lists, area models, or tree diagrams.
  • Design, conduct, and analyze surveys.
  • Collect and compare data and describe the distribution of sets of data.
  • Solve distance, rate, and time problems.
  • Compare ratios and calculate unit rates.
  • Recognize and solve problems involving proportional relationships.
  • Recognize and use the properties of similar figures and scale factors to solve problems.
  • Describe angles, angle pairs, and their measures.
  • Compute area and perimeter of standard and compound shapes.
  • Compute the volume of a variety of solids

Math 3

Math 3 Parent Guide (.pdf opens in a new window)

Upon completion of the Math 3 course, students should be able to:
  • Represent a linear function with a graph, table, rule, and context and create any representation when provided one of the others.
  • Solve systems of equations by using tables and graphs.
  • Symbolically manipulate expressions to solve problems including those with fractional coefficients.
  • Solve contextual word problems using multiple strategies, including making tables, looking for patterns, drawing diagrams, and creating a table of guesses to assist with writing and solving a variable equation.
  • Describe various geometric transformations on a coordinate grid.
  • Represent data using scatterplots and describe associations.
  • Collect and analyze data and make predictions based on the trend of the data.
  • Compare ratios and calculate unit rates and slope ratios.
  • Analyze the slope of a line graphically, numerically, and contextually.
  • Recognize and solve problems involving proportional relationships.
  • Graph and analyze non-linear functions.
  • Recognize and use the properties of similar figures to solve problems.
  • Use the Pythagorean Theorem and its converse to solve problems in two and three dimensions.
  • Use square roots and cube roots.
  • Represent and simplify expressions using positive and negative exponents.
  • Represent and compare large and small numbers using standard and scientific notation.
  • Perform operations with numbers represented in scientific notation.Use the relationships between angles created by parallel lines with transversals and the Triangle Angle Sum Theorem to solve problems.
  • Compute the volume of a variety of solids.

Algebra I

Algebra I Parent Guide (.pdf opens in a new window)
Algebra provides a powerful method for describing interdependence and change--two ideas that are essential to understanding mathematics, often called the language of science. We are using the CPM (College Preparatory Mathematics) program for our Algebra 1 students.
Upon completion of Algebra, students will be able to:
  • Linear equations, applications and graphs
  • quadratic equations, operations of polynomials, applications and graphs
  • radicals: simplifying, operations, applications
  • exponential functions & decay, operations of monomials
  • multiple methods to calculate slope & y-intercept, connections to rate and speed
  • data collection tables, patterns of growth, notation for sequencing
  • two-variable data, correlation coefficients, analyzing residual plots
  • parabola sketches, x-intercept, vertex and use of square root
  • linear & non-linear inequalities, word problems, graphs and analysis
  • speed and accuracy of each above mentioned skill


In 7th grade, our students continue to lean on our core middle school science resource from IQWST, which stands for Investigating and Questioning our World through Science and Technology! The curriculum is based on the very latest research on how people learn, and how students learn science in particular, as it addresses the Next Generation Science Standards. Students will be engaging in many hands-on activities in class, in which they are handling science materials and are experiencing phenomena first-hand. In every lesson, they will be reading about, writing about, talking about, and doing science. Discussion is central to this type of learning. Students will work individually, in pairs, in teams, and as a whole class to “make sense” of how things happen in the world around them or why things happen the way they do.

Social Studies

Lake Bluff School District is aligning to the Illinois Social Science Standards. These standards are based off of the College, Career and Civic Life (C3) standards. The vision of the New Illinois Social Studies Standards is for all Illinois graduates to be civically engaged, socially responsible, culturally aware and financially literate.
Throughout the year,  students are asked to demonstrate self, local, national and global awareness, critically analyze and evaluate information, be civically responsible and environmentally, geographically and historically literate.
Units of Study:
Modern global issues, and World Geography.  
  • How  people and their choices affect the earth, and how  the geography of the earth affects people will drive discussion.
Individual regions such as Latin America, Africa, Europe and Russia, Monsoon Asia, Oceania, and the Middle East will be examined.  
  • Broad based questions concerning these areas will be addressed.
  • Current events relating to these regions will also be discussed.
Document Based Questioning
Students will also be introduced to a DBQ (Document Based Question) which exposes students to primary and secondary sources.  They will evaluate these documents and formulate a response to a broad based question, using a standard 5 paragraph essay to share their thinking.