7th Humanities

Seventh Grade Humanities is taught as an interdisciplinary study of literature, writing, and world geography.  Specific components of Seventh Grade Humanities include World Fair, Current Events, Literature, Creative Writing, and communication skills for the 21st Century.

World Fair

Students engage in student-based, active learning in World Geography by designing their own courses of study and demonstrations of learning for each continent-based unit. Students begin the year by reviewing the Five Themes of Geography as the framework geographers use to investigate new places. Then, within each unit, students learn, and then refine, the individual steps of the research process centered around a current or historical conflict set in that continent. This research process includes writing research questions, note-taking, evaluating sources and determining bias, organizing and outlining research, drafting and revising a formal essay, and accurately citing sources. Student choices have ranged from ethnic conflicts, comparative religions, food insecurity, endangered species and deforestation, to ancient cultures, colonialism, and modern labor issues. Discrete writing lessons are taught to individual students through both formal and unstructured conferences with teachers as well as file-sharing on Google Drive. The year-long study of geography culminates in the “Villa Academy World Fair,” during which student projects are displayed for the entire school community.

Current Events

As a parallel investigation of global conflict in the World Fair, students also investigate current global conflicts. This unit of study asks students to identify issues from a collection of Pulitzer-Prize recognized journalism focused on current global conflict, and to summarize the current and historical status of the issue. They then apply their understanding of the Five Themes of Geography to the unit so as to understand more fully the context of the issue. Finally, they use mapping skills to visually map the story of the conflict through relevant geographic and cultural landmarks, government and political centers, population zones, and trade routes for the exchange of goods and ideas. Each student formally presents one of these current events to the class to reinforce effective presentation and public speaking skills.


Seventh Grade students read novels that support global learning and investigate the author’s craft, while exploring global conflict. Each unit of global study is complemented by a selection of literature set in or written by an author from the focused continent. Throughout the year, some literature offerings are read as a whole class, while other units are comprised of literature circle groups of students reading a common text. During literature circle units, independent choice is also an available option for students.

Within literature circles students investigate and experience a variety of writing styles, learn how authors incorporate realistic and fact-based research into fictional stories, and discuss different elements of the author’s craft. These elements include authentic dialogue, plot structure, effective use of language, characterization, and setting as a means of teaching about history and culture. This holistic study of the author’s craft provides a firm foundation for their own narrative writing.

Please find the titles offered in our literature program, along with information about each book, here.

Creative Writing

Because of the intentional instruction of writing for information in the World Fair process, Creative Writing has become a central theme of Seventh Grade English. Throughout the year students analyze the author’s craft in various novels and short stories, and then, through writing practice, work to find their own voice as an author. Investigation of the author’s craft includes characterization, setting, theme, figurative language, dialogue, and plot structure. Each month, students engage in a variety of discrete lessons to refine their own writing focused on one of these specific elements of literature. Understanding and application of the elements is assessed throughout the year with more substantial writing assignments. Students implement these skills as they complete the culminating task of Seventh Grade Humanities: a fusion of research and creative writing in a realistic fiction novella based on one of the conflicts of study in a World Fair project.

Communication Skills

In both Seventh and Eighth Grade Humanities, writing instruction is individualized according to students’ strengths, weaknesses, and topic focuses through conferences and Google Drive interactions. More general building blocks are provided through Wordly Wise, discrete grammar instruction, and directed tasks aimed at refining sentence, paragraph, and essay structure.


7th Grade Humanities Syllabus

7th Grade Literature Offerings