7th Grade is Making a Lasting Impression – Inside School and Out!

We wrap up the 7th grade year very much in the spirit of our yearlong theme: Making Change from the Ground Up!  This week in social studies each 7th grader assumed the perspective of one of the activists who fought for civil rights, women’s suffrage, environmental conservation and the rights of workers. In solo performances they brought to life 24 powerful social reformers and the period of U.S. history known as the Progressive Era.

Seventh graders also stepped into their courage zones and expressed themselves in heartfelt speeches, giving farewell tributes to each 8th grader at today’s community meeting. They eloquently highlighted each student’s accomplishments, unique traits, personal memories and hopes for the future.

Next week continues the theme of activism, as students will experience on-campus guest presentations, visit powerful museum exhibits and tours. Here’s what all this will look like:

Monday afternoon we will host an Activist Panel of exemplary women leaders representing a wide spectrum of ages and fields of interest. Here’s who is coming:

  • Sara Patton – Former Executive Director at the Northwest Energy Coalition, and Current Board President of Friends of the Market
  • Andrea Rodgers – Lead attorney at Our Children’s Trust. She is representing students in a youth driven campaign to secure a legal right to a healthy future using the 5th Amendment!
  • Alexes Mary-Yvonne Harris – UW Sociology Professor. Her research focuses on social stratification and inequality with an emphasis on juvenile and criminal justice processing and outcomes.
  • Bailey Harris – Denver University Co-President, College Democrats (and SGS alum!)
  • Linn Gould – Founder of Just Health Action and professor at the UW School of Public Health. Her research and activism focuses on health equity, environmental justice, immigrant communities and tribal rights.

Tuesday we will hit the road to experience the Underground Tour at Pioneer Square and visit the Wing Luke Museum (where we will take the Hotel Tour and see the new exhibit “Wham Bam Pow: Cartoons, Turbans, and Confronting Hate”).

Wednesday, we will welcome the filmmaker of The Most Dangerous Year, a new feature length documentary about the fight against a discriminatory initiative in Washington State to ban transgender bathrooms. We will screen the film (which just premiered at this year’s Seattle International Film Festival) and have a thought-provoking discussion afterward! Following lunch we will depart for a visit to the Frye Museum for a 30-minute mindfulness class and tour of the Towards Impressionism exhibit.

Thursday we will carry on our time-honored tradition: the annual 7th grade scavenger hunt!  Students will document their ability to find landmarks in Seattle history, experience new things, and engage with the public. We will be walking from SGS to the Pike Place Market! Stops along the way will include Uwajimaya, the Klondike Gold Rush Museum, the Indoor waterfall in Pioneer Square, and the gum wall in the Post Alley. In the afternoon we’ll head to the Seattle Art Museum for the Double Exposure exhibit (opening day of the new show!)

Throughout the week these 7th graders will show that they are truly ready to step into the role of 8th graders in the fall – mentoring, inventing, exploring, producing and reflecting!

Pay It Forward – Culmination is coming up!

Students have been working hard for the past 2 months researching root causes, impacts, and solutions on issues they care about.  Students reached out to experts in the community to learn more about their topic and then gave back to the greater community through their efforts to make a difference.  

Check out the main Pay It Forward webpage, which lists all of the students’ Pay It Forward topics and links directly to each student-design PIF webpage that they coded using HTML and CSS!

Below are pictures of 7th graders presenting their projects to 5th graders in preparation for the culminating event:

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This spring we have been working on proportional relationships. Students are bringing their knowledge of linear equations from fall and winter to deepen their understanding of proportional trends. Here are some recent notes:

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Learning targets for this spring include:

I can write an equation based on a real life scenario. Such as the number of water bottles saved per day.

I can determine whether a situation is linear.

I can determine whether a situation is proportional.

I can use percent tables, fraction busters, unit rates, and other strategies to solve proportional relationships.

Later this spring we will investigate intersections of lines and finish up the first half of Algebra I!

Correcting the Textbook!

This week in Social Studies we’ve been learning about government policies in the second half of the 19th century that deprived Native Americans of their land and culture. Students first read a commonly used textbook – Washington: A State of Contrasts – that says this about why it happened:

“By the start of the 20th century, tribes around the country were forced onto reservations. They were taught the white man’s way of life. The Native Americans lost control of their land. Their way of life was lost due to the expansion of a country.”

In thinking about this line, students commented that the fault (according to this account) seems to lie in either the Native Americans themselves (who “lost control” of their land) or to some amorphous “country” that simply absorbed land in its path. To learn more about what actually took place, they then learned about 2 critically important congressional acts: the Donation Land Act (1850) and the Dawes Act (1887). The policies contained in these acts led to the reservation system, boarding schools and the transfer of any un-used land in the west to white settlers.

Students looked at ten commonly held myths about Native Americans and learned the facts that disprove each myth. We watched a documentary clip (PBS: Unspoken: America’s Native American Boarding Schools) and listened to a podcast from the NPR series Scene on Radio (Little War on the Prairie). Finally, we read primary accounts and examined photos from boarding schools in the Library of Congress collection.

Students next week will be using all of these sources to write their own chapter summaries to correct the record! The assignment:Setting the Textbook Straight on Indian Policy

What surprised them the most about what they’ve learned?

  • That it didn’t surprise me at all!
  • That people in charge admitted that education in mission schools was not a priority.
  • That someone took the time to condemn Indian schools in a government report.
  • That of the people who called themselves “educators” in mission schools, only 1/10 said the primary mission of the schools was academic.

Be sure to ask questions of the historian/activist in your house!