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English Language Arts

There is no question that English Language Arts (ELA) skills are the cornerstone for academic success.  The curriculum focus in ELA revolves around the six main strands of reading, writing, listening, viewing, speaking and representing.  Within each strand students are provided opportunities to:

  • develop a self-directed work ethic, appreciation and habit for life-long reading and learning;
  • develop reading strategies and critical thinking through exposure to fiction, non-fiction, short stories and novels;
  • refine writing abilities for specific purposes and audiences by creating responses, letters, stories in addition to expository and descriptive paragraphs, poetry and reflections;
  • write with clarity by incorporating appropriate writing conventions;
  • interpret and respond to film and other media;
  • listen critically to stories and film;
  • display an understanding of literary elements related to the short story, poetry, the novel, grammar and speech;
  • research and problem-solve using a number of print and electronic reference materials;
  • develop communication skills through group and individual presentations;
  • reflect on learning through meta-cognitive activities;
  • incorporate technology as a means to support the development of literacy in the 21st Century.


 At SBS we believe that students are curious, active learners who have individual interests, abilities and needs.  They come to classrooms with different knowledge, life experiences and backgrounds that generate a range of attitudes about mathematics and life (Western Canadian Protocol).

We believe that students learn by attaching meaning to what they do; and they must be able to construct their own meaning of mathematics.  This meaning is best developed when learners encounter mathematical experiences that proceed from the simple to the complex and from the concrete to the abstract (Western Canadian Protocol).

Mathematics is increasingly important in a rapidly advancing, technological society.  A greater proficiency in using mathematics increases the opportunities available to individuals.  Students need to become mathematically literate in order to explore problem-solving satisfaction, accommodate changing conditions, and actively create new knowledge in striving for self-fulfillment (Western Canadian Protocol).

At SBS we consider the following when planning instruction:

  • integration of mathematical processes within each strand;
  • integration of problem solving throughout the program, reasoning and connections are vital to increasing mathematical fluency;
  • a balanced amount of mental mathematics and estimation, paper and pencil exercises, the use of technology, including calculators and computers; development of concepts concretely, pictorially and symbolically;
  • and the diversity of students, learning styles and cultural backgrounds in the classroom (varying developmental stages) (Western Canadian Protocol).

At SBS students are expected to:

  • communicate in order to learn and express their understanding;
  • make real-life, cross-curricular and mathematical connections to new mathematical ideas;
  • demonstrate fluency with mental mathematics and estimation;
  • develop and apply new mathematical knowledge through problem solving;
  • develop mathematical reasoning and justify their thinking; use technology as a tool for learning and problem solving when appropriate;
  • develop visualization skills to assist in processing information, making connections and solving problems.


Grade seven S. Bruce Smith students will all begin the year with a unit focused on developing skills to ensure safety in the lab and a review of process skills that will be integrated into each unit of study.

Throughout each unit of study, students identify, investigate, analyze, and interpret scientific concepts and issues. Students learn to utilize and understand scientific principles through a hands-on approach. They are actively involved in their learning through experiments, projects and research assignments. The school focus on higher order thinking skills is emphasized through the structure of science lessons and student work.

Social Studies

 Throughout each unit of study, students identify, investigate, analyze, and interpret scientific concepts and issues.  Students learn to utilize and understand scientific principles through a hands-on approach.  They are actively involved in their learning through experiments, projects and research assignments.  The school focus on higher order thinking skills is emphasized through the structure of science lessons and student work.

The Social Studies program is designed to explore the origins, histories and movement of peoples who have helped lead Canada to Confederation and beyond.  By focusing on the social, political, economic and demographic changes, students will acquire an understanding of how Canada has developed and evolved into a diverse multicultural and bilingual society.  Students will use critical thinking and problem-solving strategies as they examine the challenges individuals and communities face when they co-exist together and when they are confronted with rapid change.

The grade 7 Social Studies program is entitled Canada:  Origins, Histories and Movements of People. This program is divided into 2 sections:

  • Toward Confederation.
  • Following Confederation: Canadian Expansion.

The first half of the school year is dedicated to focusing on the role and challenges the English, French and Aboriginal peoples encountered as they developed Canada’s political, economic and social institutions.   When the students are studying Canada after Confederation, in the second half of the year, they will recognize and appreciate how the social, political and economic changes that have occurred since Confederation have impacted our communities. Throughout the year, an emphasis is placed upon critical thinking and the study of current events.


The French program at S. Bruce Smith School uses a communicative approach to teach about different perspectives, culture and universal issues in the second language.

Students learn to explore, take risks and appreciate differences in people through the lens of the French language.

This course is part of the 9 year French program that continues through grades 8 and 9.  The completion of grade 9 French is the pre-requisite for placement in French 10-9Y and French 10 honours in high school.

French students at S. Bruce Smith School learn the language by performing authentic language tasks and by accessing authentic language resources.  Communication in French is the over-arching goal.

Physical Education

The Physical Education Department at S. Bruce Smith is committed to offering a highly motivational program designed to develop the critical thinking and physical skills and attitudes necessary to lead an active, healthy lifestyle.   Our focus is to offer activities that lend themselves to maximum participation, while at the same time fostering an appreciation for an active and healthy way of life. The general outcomes upon which our program is based state that our students will:

  • Acquire skills through a variety of developmentally appropriate movement activities.
  • Understand, experience, and appreciate the health benefits that result from physical activity.
  • Interact positively with others.
  • Assume personal responsibility to lead an active way of life (Alberta Learning, 2000).

There are four areas of focus upon which our program is based:

  • The program contributes to the overall well-being of individuals.
  • The program is designed to assist students in leading an active and healthy lifestyle.
  • The program provides students with the keys to form and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
  • The program emphasizes participating in an active lifestyle daily and for life!

At S. Bruce Smith, students will experience a variety of movement activities that fall within the five learning dimensions (games, dance, gymnastics, outdoor pursuits and individual activities) outlined by the Alberta Program of Studies.

Evaluation of students in Physical Education at S. Bruce Smith is based upon skill acquisition, comprehension of health benefits resulting from physical activity, cooperation, and appreciation of an active healthy lifestyle.  Assessment, evaluation and communication of student achievement and growth encourage continuous learning and development in all movement activities. 


 The program structure for Health Education encompasses the following three theme areas:

Wellness Choices

  • Students will make responsible and informed choices to maintain health and to promote safety for self and others.

Relationship Choices

  • Students will develop effective interpersonal skills that demonstrate responsibility, respect and caring in order to establish and maintain healthy interactions.

Life Learning Choices

  • Students will use resources effectively to manage and explore life roles and career opportunities and challenges.


DPA (Daily Physical Activity) is a program designed to have students become active, and participate in physical activities as often as possible.  Being active on a regular basis is crucial to a healthy lifestyle.  Here at SBS we try to give students as many opportunities as possible to participate in fun, healthy activities through Physical Education, DPA, school intramurals and extra curricular activities.  DPA activities are designed by GSG (Guidance and Support Groups) teachers and Physical Education staff, and can include relay races, ball games, walks, and other activities.