"We're their biggest cheerleaders. We have to encourage them while they're trying to figure out who they are. It's so easy to lean toward the negative parts of themselves, and we are the ones always fighting to convince them that they are good enough."
Seventh graders are smack dab in the middle of everything: they're trying to figure out who they are while also beginning to think about their futures.
It's also a foundational grade where they learn skills like basic math and reading comprehension techniques that they'll rely on for the rest of their lives.
"It's an equal mix of being prepared for eighth grade, which really prepares them for high school, and they're already thinking about their futures," said math teacher Stacie Jankiewicz.
Seventh grade traditions include a field trip to the Sleeping Bear Dunes and career explorations and experiences.
"It's a year of significant physical and social and academic growth. It's awesome to watch them grow confident in their abilities because they can do things that they didn't realize they could do," said ELA teacher Lisa Flees.
Read on to learn more about the teachers, and lessons, of seventh grade!
Andrew Sias, World History
"We go from prehistory up through the end of the Western Roman Empire. As we go through each of those eras, we look at them through the lens of the four main social studies disciplines; history, geography, economics, and civics. By the end of the year, I have them design a society for a colony on another planet. We look at it from all perspectives, like what is the economy like, what kinds of jobs are there, what is the government system, etc. I want them to be able to apply the skills that they've learned throughout the year on that final project."
Lisa Flees, English Language Arts
"We do a lot of analyzing and a lot of thinking, and a lot of inference-making. We do some writing, some grammar, and some argument. We spend a lot of our time reading A Long Walk to Water, which is a book centered in South Sudan during the Sudanese War where the last boys and girls had to flee and seek out refugee camps and many of them ended up going and living in the US," said Mrs. Flees.
"I think seventh graders really learn through Lisa and carry over many lessons, like finding your reason, your analysis, your deeper thinking, your inference, and then backing it up with evidence. It's just so valuable, they need it for the rest of their life!" added science teacher Lori Nolf.
Lori Nolf, Science Teacher
"I think one of the seventh grade mantras is 'school is hard, but you can do hard things.' I feel like we all are saying that to our kids over and over again, and we try to get them to buy into it. They show their growth in their test scores, and it's fun to celebrate that with them.
I teach physical science. It's an introduction to chemistry and physics. The whole beginning of the year is a lot with chemical interactions and chemical changes, and then the second half of the year, it's all the physical science. So kinetic energy, gravity, magnetism, electricity, waves, wave energy, how things move or don't move. It's a lot of hands-on labs, which the kids like."
"This math class is probably the last year of really foundational math that then helps them go into algebra and further into geometry. It's the transferable skills that they need, everybody needs seventh grade math. For example, can you go to Home Depot and figure out the square footage or make a conversion if the flooring comes in square inches or something like that? Or understanding unit pricing, or knowing how much something costs when they're is a percentage off at the store. I could go on all day."
"Seventh graders are old enough to do all the fun things you want them to do, but young enough to still want to do them." - Jolie King, KMS Gym Teacher
Learn more about Kingsley Middle School by clicking here.