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Curriculum: Grade 8

Speak Out: Prepping for Upper School

Middle School

Grade 8

Seminars, Wellness

Grade 8

Speak Out: Prepping for Upper School seminar allows Eighth Grade students the opportunity to work together as they become comfortable and confident with using their voice through public speaking. Throughout the trimester, students engage in intentional games to experiment with persuasive language, crowd engagement, peer support, and learning how to balance anxiety with energy. Members of the Upper School faculty and staff join students in class as guest stars to help build community. Guest stars partake in conversations with students regarding leadership opportunities, equity and inclusion on campus, Upper School public speaking classes, and college counseling. The goal for the Eighth Grade in this seminar is to prepare students to present their Eighth Grade speeches and help students gain a sense of independence through the power of their voices.

Research Skills

Middle School

Grade 8

Seminars

Grade 8

In this class, students will expand their knowledge of literary forms and describe their characteristics as they read and interpret works of literature for curricular and leisure reading. Students will also identify the criteria of literary genres and award-winning books with a focus on diversity and cross-cultural literature. In terms of research, students will learn to identify, evaluate, refine, and ethically integrate a variety of research media into curricular projects. With an emphasis on the creation of bibliographic citations, students will also begin to develop an understanding of citation formatting and development.

Middle School Theater Production

Middle School

Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8

Arts

Open to Grades 6-8

Credits: Co-Curricular

Prerequisite: By audition

Offered Winter season

During the winter months, cast members rehearse a theatrical production to be presented to the community in early March. Anyone who wants to join the cast is welcome to, as there are no cuts made for the productions and the purpose of auditions is to assign roles. Past productions have included Into the Woods Jr., The Haunting of ChipLake Lodge, The Secret Garden, The Jungle Book, The Lady Pirates of Captain Bree, The Hobbit, Wonderland and Robin Hood. By audition.

General Enrollment Dance

Middle School, Upper School

Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8, Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

Arts

Open to Grades 6-12

Credits: Athletics

Fall, winter, and spring seasons

These classes are open to students at any level of dance from beginner to advanced. Students take classes in ballet, modern, jazz, and composition. Winter dance also counts towards the team sport requirement as it includes a performance.

Middle School Orchestra

Middle School

Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8

Arts

Open to Grades 6-8

This ensemble is for Middle School students who are interested in preparing and performing orchestral music. The Middle School Orchestra performs at Middle School concerts. This experience will prepare the musician for the Upper School Orchestra. All musicians at any level are welcome.

Dance Ensemble

Middle School, Upper School

Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8, Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

Arts

Open to Grades 6-12

Credits: Athletics

Prerequisite: Fall and winter season commitment

Fall and winter season commitment

Dance Ensemble is the high-intermediate level dance company at Walker’s. Students are selected during placement classes at the beginning of the year and must commit to dance for the fall and winter seasons. Dance Ensemble members take daily intermediate level technique classes in ballet, modern, jazz, and character. This group also has the opportunity to work with guest artists and they perform in the annual Winter Dance Concert.

Middle School Art Foundations

Middle School

Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8

Arts

Required for Grades 6-8

This course explores the basic modes of visual expression, which may include drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, photography, animation, textile arts, and ceramics. Coursework is designed to help each student develop their own identity through art, as well as self-confidence and independence. The curriculum connects with the Middle School program of study whenever possible and provides a well-rounded artistic basis for Upper School-level visual art courses.

Middle School Music Classes & Choristers

Middle School

Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8

Arts

Required for Grade 6-8

Middle School Music classes meet once per week within grade levels, and once per week as a full Middle School. The grade level class includes singing and choral activities, folk dancing, rhythm training, music theory, musical theater/theater exercises, sight singing, and audition preparation. There is continued emphasis on listening and skill development, as well as music appreciation. The full Middle School music meeting is called Choristers. All Middle School students participate in this choral group, which performs in the Holiday and Spring Concerts, as well as all-school Chapels.

Performance Fundamentals

Middle School

Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8

Arts

Required for Grade 6-8

The Middle School theater classes will focus on the fundamentals of dramatic performance. The classes will build the necessary skills for character development and stage presence through scene work, theater history, and improvisational exercises. Theater studies help students to hone public speaking skills, teach them to listen and respond effectively, foster their spontaneity and problem solving skills, help them to grow as collaborators, and give them the confidence to take risks on stage and in life.

Middle School Dance

Middle School

Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8

Arts

Required for Grade 6-8

The Middle School Dance program concentrates on the development of technical skills, and the appreciation of the art form. An annual dance performance is included in the yearly activities.

Earth Science

Middle School

Grade 8

Science

Grade 8

This course introduces students to the many major topics of Earth Science, including weathering and erosion, plate tectonics, volcanoes, earthquakes, and geologic history. In addition, students will explore the solar system, stellar evolution, galaxies, and the origin of the universe. Through numerous inquiry-based labs, students will become proficient with the scientific method and gain valuable laboratory skills that include data collection and display, analysis, and interpretation. Students will also engage in many student-driven projects and develop essential research and communication skills as they explore topics that pique their interest.

Pre-Algebra

Middle School

Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8

Mathematics

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Foundations of Math or department placement

This course is for students who have completed Foundations of Mathematics or an equivalent course. Topics include further exploration of decimals, factors, fractions, integers, exponents, ratios, proportions, and percents, as well as graphing on the coordinate plane, linear equations, algebraic expressions, and solving algebraic equations and inequalities. Prerequisite: Foundations of Math or department placement.

Foundations of Mathematics

Middle School

Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8

Mathematics

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Department Placement

Basic computational skills are reviewed, and problem solving, patterns, estimating, and mental math skills are emphasized. Topics introduced include decimals, fractions, exponents, scientific notation, ratios, rates, proportions, percents, measurement, graphing in the coordinate plane, and an introduction to variables and solving algebraic equations.

Voce Felice

Middle School, Upper School

Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8, Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

Arts

Open to Grades 6-12

This course provides students with an opportunity to learn and improve vocal technique and to experience a repertoire of various styles. Enrollment in choir is not required. Voce Felice, a fine vocal ensemble, is formed from members of this class. Individual singers have the opportunity to perform as soloists at the end of the school year concert. All singers are welcome.

Gospel Choir

Middle School, Upper School

Grade 7, Grade 8, Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

Arts

Open to Grades 7-12

The Gospel Choir is a lively vocal ensemble that incorporates musical styles from the spiritual, blues and gospel genres. This ensemble demands a willingness to participate in the appropriate style that this music commands. All singers are welcome.

Private Music Lessons

Middle School, Upper School

Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8, Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

Arts

Open to Grades 6-12

Prerequisite: Additional fee

Private lessons are offered for many instruments. Numerous recitals and assemblies involve the Music Program, and public performance opportunities continue to expand the musical experience here on campus.

Financial Commitment: Private lessons are billed through the Business Office. The Music Instruction Agreement must be signed by a parent/guardian and returned before lessons can begin. Please contact the Business Office for additional details.

Winter Play

Middle School, Upper School

Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8, Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

Arts

Open to Grades 6-12

Credits: Co-Curricular

Prerequisite: By audition

Offered Winter season

Beginning in mid-November, cast members rehearse a play which is presented to the community in mid-February. Anyone who wants to join the cast is welcome, as there are no cuts made for the productions and the purpose of auditions is to assign roles. Past productions have included Twelve Angry Women, Our Town, She Kills Monsters: Young Adventurers’ Edition, Animal Farm, All in the Timing, and Rope. By audition.

Dance

Middle School, Upper School

Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8, Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

Arts

Open to Grades 6-12

Credits: Athletics

Fall, winter, and spring seasons for beginner to advanced levels

Dance classes at all levels are offered throughout the year with ballet, modern, jazz, and composition offered each season. Other dance forms including tap, contemporary, and hip-hop, are also offered each season.

French 1

Middle School, Upper School

Grade 8, Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

World Languages

Open to Grades 8-12

Credits: 1

This course serves as an introduction to the French language through reading, writing, speaking, and listening. By the end of the year, learners will be able to talk about very familiar topics: themselves; the weather; their likes, dislikes, and preferences; their families and homes; their favorite pastimes and hobbies; what they did over the past weekend as well as what they are going to do over the next weekend; and what they want to do versus what they can or must do. Learners will develop the ability to negotiate meaning in unfamiliar contexts.

Spanish 1

Middle School, Upper School

Grade 8, Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

World Languages

Open to Grades 8-12

Credits: 1

This course serves as an introduction to the Spanish language through reading, writing, speaking, and listening. By the end of the year, learners will be able to talk about very familiar topics: themselves; the weather; their likes, dislikes, and preferences; their families and homes; their favorite pastimes and hobbies; what they did over the past weekend as well as what they are going to do over the next weekend; what they want to do versus what they can or must do, as well as developing the ability to negotiate meaning in unfamiliar contexts.

English 8

Middle School

Grade 8

English

Grade 8

In English at the eighth grade level, independent thinking and writing play major roles, as every student is encouraged to further develop their creative and critical skills in response to literature and in preparation for secondary school. Through discussion and writing, which include analytical and personal essays designed to promote mastery of essay writing, each student is supported as they learn to express herself clearly, accurately, and fluently. In this way, student voice is at the heart of English 8. We read short fiction, novels, narrative nonfiction, poetry, and drama. Texts may include Macbeth, The Poet X, The House on Mango Street, and One Last Word, among others.

History 8: American Identity

Middle School

Grade 8

History and Social Science

Grade 8

This course takes as its basic question, “What does it mean to be American?” Students spend the fall learning about the foundation of American democracy, examining the ways in which the American government functions and how citizens engage in that process. In the spring, students dig deeper into the experiences of three groups who have been influential in the development of this country: Indigenous Peoples, Black Americans, and the Latinx community. Students also have the opportunity to explore groups that resonate with their own American experience. Students use a variety of sources ranging from primary documents to academic monographs to help them improve their ability to think like historians.