Parent Connection 7th grade STAR House

Believe you can and you're halfway there. - Theodore Roosevelt

Where did the school year go? It's hard to believe that we've entered fourth quarter and that before we know it, our students will be eighth graders. Third quarter and the winter months can get long. For some, motivation and effort may begin to slip. As the weather gets nicer and students look ahead to June, we've talked with them about the importance of regaining their focus and giving their best effort to end seventh grade on a positive note. We appreciate the support you have given your child throughout this school year and ask that you continue to encourage him/her through these last few months.

English language arts

Quarter Three:

Third quarter primarily focused on two units - argumentative writing and a multigenre inquiry study. The students learned to support positions with logic and reasoning, as well as to anticipate and address counter-arguments. The students enjoyed a few debate-style activities in class. The major writing piece was a personal letter to a fictional character persuading him/her to stay in the United States or return to Sudan.

The multigenre inquiry study provided students an enormous amount of choice in what they selected to read. The overarching topic was the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, but the students were given a lot of leeway in selecting specific readings. Our focus was on the ELA components as opposed to the historical events. The students needed to read a historical fiction novel, nonfiction books, news articles, primary sources, poems, primary sources, picture books, song lyrics, and even “read” photographs. In addition, the students needed to do a lot of high-level questioning, they improved discussion skills, and had to compare/contrast information presented in a variety of genres, perspectives, and styles. Overall, the students found this unit very engaging, and they demonstrated growth in many areas.

Quarter Four:

The final quarter of seventh-grade ELA will primarily focus on a major research unit. The students will be selecting a topic of personal interest (within some set parameters) to research. Skills on how to narrow one’s focus, ask the “right” questions, find resources, take notes, cite sources, and write a full feature article will all be taught. During this process, students will continue to improve on their reading skills as well as their writing skills especially writing compound-complex sentences and using adjective and adverb clauses in their writing. The feature articles will be created using online tools and will be shared within our DPMS community for peers to access and read.


Throughout all units, grammar, sentence structure, vocabulary, and basic ELA skills are continually being addressed. Students are also expected to continue to read and reflect on their personal-choice books.


Quarter Three:

We spent the beginning of Chapter 3 revisiting Proportional Relationships and Part-Whole Relationships. Students made connections to re-world topics such as taking discounts at the mall or figuring out the best deals at the grocery store. Students also spent some time exploring probability, developing probability games, and determining if situations are fair. Chapter 6 we brought back Algebra Tiles and made connections to the 5D process rules that we had been working with in Chapter 5. Students After a few days of the 5-D process, students quickly realized that the rules (expressions) they were writing could be turned into equations and then problems quickly solved. Students were quite happy when the made these connections and quickly realized the benefit of writing the expressions in the problem.

Quarter Four:

We are going to finish the quarter by continuing to strengthen our understanding of algebra as we continue to look for more ways to be efficient in our mathematical thinking and work. Students will be working with problems involving distance, rate, and simple interest. They will also continue to work with proportional relationships and equations.

In Chapter 7, students will begin to look at statistic and angle relationships before finishing the year investigating circles, volume and surface area. We are hopefully to finish the year with a robot project where students build their own robot out of cardboard boxes, then determine the surface area of the robot. With correct calculations, students will be able to cover their robot with tinfoil.

Odds & Ends:

We are in need of a few supplies to end the school year. If you are willing to donate pencil cap erasers, we are in great need of some more! Also, please check with your student, they should have a calculator for class daily. This does not need to be expensive, a basic 4-function calculator will work.

For our project at the end of May, we are looking for donations of cardboard boxes (shoe boxes, snack boxes, etc.), duct tape, and tinfoil.

As always, if you have questions or concerns, please contact us via e-mail at: or


Quarter Three:

Third quarter included more human body related units. I saw students grow in the areas of being able to explain how the systems are interconnected and in their ability to identify main ideas, summarize, and share their ideas and learning. The respiratory and circulatory systems, and how they work together to maintain homeostasis, brought us nearly to the end of the quarter. Students are just beginning to explore how the musculoskeletal systems offers protection for our organs and how our body moves and functions.

Quarter Four:

We'll be wrapping up the human body units and students will showcase their work on their own Google Site. Although it won't be live, it will be reviewed by other students and hopefully you! In learning about the interconnectedness of the systems, students will experience a frog dissection and will be comparing the organs of the frog to the organs they have studied this school year. They will also be viewing many of the organs and tissues we've covered at a cellular level.

We also will be taking a trip to Fallen Timbers Environmental Center in May. Field observations of various ecosystems and pond organism identification will be just a few of the activities students experience during the trip as we begin to touch on ecology.

Social studies

Quarter Three:

This past quarter, students turned their focus to the early civilizations of the Indus River Valley. They learned about the geography of India and some of the customs, achievements, and beliefs of the early people settled there. As a review, we took some time to refer back to the ten cultural universals. Students focused on three universals of their choice and compared them between the civilizations we studied up to this point: Mesopotamia, Egypt, and India. Students started the ancient China unit and kicked it off with small group problem solving in the form of a Breakout box. It was fun to watch the students work together to try to figure out clues that would open the locks on the box. (If you're not familiar with Breakout boxes, ask your son or daughter about them!)

Quarter Four:

Students will be completing their China guided inquiry unit over the next month. Currently, they are exploring and learning enough to be able to formulate a question that they want to research. After we wrap up China, we'll be touching on ancient Greece, creating our own Greek city-states, and hopefully (if time permits) holding our own classroom olympics.

thank you!

Happy Spring!

STAR House Teachers

Mrs. Balck, Mrs. Krebsbach, Mrs. VanDenBusch, and Mrs. Waack


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