In English class students explore the role of the individual in society by examining characters that accept, question, or challenge the existing social order.  By analyzing characters and their role in society, students move beyond plot summary to careful reading, textual analysis, and interpretation.  During class and small group discussions, students participate in informed, shared, purposeful inquiry using academic language to express their ideas.  In addition, students deepen and refine their reading, annotation, critical thinking, discussion, and editing skills in preparation for essay writing.  They practice the mechanics of writing---sentence structure, grammar, spelling, word choice, and paragraphing---developing a position or argument, identifying an audience, and organizing their ideas in a sustained piece of writing. Students develop an  understanding of how individuals define themselves and their values in opposition to the cultural norms. Essential questions focus on the role of folktales and proverbs in conveying knowledge in pre-literate society, the effect of external ideologies on family, social, and cultural structures, and the possibility of maintaining traditions while accepting the “new”. Students also actively engage in an Independent Reading Program, reading texts from a suggested list connected to the curriculum and expressing their ideas through a reading journal.
    
The focus during the second half of the seventh grade continues to be on building skills for writing effective expository essays.  The class challenges students to move beyond plot summary to textual analysis and interpretation, organizing their ideas according to the conventions of the five paragraph essay. Written exercises help students to deepen critical thinking and editing skills. During this time, students explore the concepts of Knowledge and Synthesis within the study of Delhi (India) and Philadelphia (USA). The essential question they investigate is how societies synthesize or resist new forms of knowledge. And to enhance an understanding of colonial and revolutionary America students may read Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson, My Brother Sam Is Dead by the Collier brothers, and/or excerpts from A Narrative of a Revolutionary Soldier by Joseph Plumb Martin.