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Curriculum

Ceramics (Middle School)

Middle School

Grade 6, Grade 7

Arts

This course is an introduction to ceramics for students in the 6th and 7th grade. Students will develop and refine their skills in the area of hand-building and wheel-throwing. They will explore a variety of decorative techniques on the clay surface as well as with the finished surface of their pottery. To increase their understanding of ceramics, students will become familiar with a working vocabulary of clay terminology.

Studio Art (Middle School)

Middle School

Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8

Arts

This course is an introduction to the fundamentals of art for the 6th grade and a reinforcement of these skills for our 8th grade, in order to prepare them to advance to the next level in the upper school. Middle School Art students are guided through a variety of media, art processes, and concepts. They learn how to organize their thoughts and ideas into cohesive visual expressions.

Photography- Digital Media

Middle School

Grade 8

Arts

This 8th Grade course is designed to follow on from the 7th Grade Digital Image course and is an introduction to aspects of digital photography, web-page construction, portfolio compilation, digital design, story-board creation, slide-show production and video production.

Photography- Digital Image

Middle School

Grade 7

Arts

This course is designed for 7th graders as an introduction to manipulating digital images in creative projects. The course includes collage making, photomosaics, stop motion animation, macro photography, and photo sculptures.

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 theatre/theatre 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 theatre classes focuses on the fundamentals of dramatic performance. The classes build the necessary skills for character development, scene work, and theatre history.

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.

Library and Information Studies

Middle School

Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8

Seminars, Wellness

In the Library and Information Studies 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 emphasis on the creation of bibliographic citations, students will also begin to develop an understanding of citation formatting and development.

Digital Life

Middle School

Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8

Seminars, Wellness

In the Middle School “Digital Life” Seminar, we explore how mobile digital devices, the Internet, and social media impact the ways that we live and learn. Regardless of one’s individual technology use, we are all citizens of a digital era, and we feel the effects of the devices around us and the ways that information spreads. Through class discussions and activities, we reflect on the ways that we are both more connected and also disconnected because of technology. We also discuss the ways that social media impacts our identity, relationships, and future opportunities. By giving these topics careful thought now, our middle schoolers will be able to manage their digital lives well in the years ahead.

Social Justice

Middle School

Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8

Seminars, Wellness

Middle School Social Justice is rooted in building communities of belonging, as students work to understand identity and stereotypes through introspection and perspective. Students explore the many ways identity is formed by reflecting on their own identities, assumptions, stereotypes, prejudice, and bias in the world.

Study Skills

Middle School

Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8

Seminars, Wellness

The Middle School Study Skills Seminar meets once a week for eight weeks. The curriculum is designed to improve study skills and test-taking strategies within the context of the class curriculum. Students participate in skill-building activities designed by SMARTS Executive Function Curriculum.

Earth Science

Middle School

Grade 8

Science

Required for 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 also will engage in many student-driven projects and develop essential research and communication skills as they explore topics that pique their interest.

Human Biology

Middle School

Grade 7

Science

Required for Grade 7

This course allows students to explore the structural organization of the human body from cells to organ systems. Students are introduced to the scientific method, cell theory, cell reproduction, genetics, and the human body systems. The emphasis of this course will focus on how to be healthy and how the body keeps itself healthy. Students learn how to work both collaboratively and individually. Laboratory work emphasizes making careful observations, learning correct measuring and data collection techniques, analyzing data, and discussing errors. Lab work, dissections, study skills, and current events will be integral parts of this course.

Pre-Algebra

Middle School

Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8

Mathematics

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 integers, and solving equations and inequalities.

Foundations of Mathematics

Middle School

Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8

Mathematics

Students will explore practical as well as theoretical mathematics. Basic math and computational skills, problem solving, patterns, estimating, and mental math are emphasized. Topics include decimals, integers, fractions, exponents, ratios, rates, proportions, percents, measurement, graphing in the coordinate plane, and an introduction to variables, equations, inequalities, and geometry.

Spanish 1B

Middle School

Grade 8

World Languages

Credits: 1

In Spanish 1B, learners will continue to expand their vocabulary and build upon the structures they acquired in Spanish 1A. By the end of the year, they will be able to talk about themselves and the familiar topics covered during the previous year with greater confidence and in greater complexity. They also will begin to develop narrative competency in multiple time frames as they talk about what they did in the past and what they will do in the future.

French 1B

Middle School

Grade 8

World Languages

Credits: 1

In French 1B, learners will continue to expand their vocabulary and build upon the structures they acquired in French 1A. By the end of the year, they will be able to talk about themselves and the familiar topics covered during the previous year with greater confidence and in greater complexity. They also will begin to develop narrative competency in multiple time frames as they talk about what they did in the past and what they will do in the future.

Spanish 1A

Middle School

Grade 7

World Languages

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; and their favorite pastimes and hobbies. Learners will also discover the many places in the world where Spanish is spoken through music, video, artifacts, and projects.

French 1A

Middle School

Grade 7

World Languages

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, including: themselves; the weather; their likes, dislikes, and preferences; their families and homes; and their favorite pastimes and hobbies. Learners will also discover the many places in the world where French is spoken through music, video, artifacts, and projects.

Foundations of Language

Middle School

Grade 6

World Languages

Required for Grade 6

Credits: 1

Foundations in Language is a sixth grade course designed to give students a strong understanding of English grammar, with an eye towards the foreign language study that will follow. The first semester sees students undertaking a rigorous survey of English grammar: parts of speech and their grammatical functions, followed by a study of phrases, clauses, and their syntactical functions in sentences. In the second semester, students learn the basics of Latin grammar, exploring the similarities and differences in English and Latin thought structures.

Group Voice

Middle School, Upper School

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

Arts

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

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.

Music Lessons

Middle School, Upper School

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

Arts

Additional fee

Private lessons are offered for many instruments. Numerous recitals and assemblies involve the Music Program, and public performance at these events is encouraged.

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

Credits: Winter season co-curricular

Prerequisite: Audition in November

Offered: November-February

During the winter months, cast members rehearse a play which is presented to the community in mid-February. Past productions have included Good Help is so Hard to Murder, Haiku, Animal Farm, All in the Timing, Rope, and an original Shakespearean adaptation, The Food of Love.

General Enrollment Dance

Middle School, Upper School

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

Arts

Fall, winter, and spring season

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.

Dance Ensemble

Middle School, Upper School

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

Arts

Prerequisite: Fall and winter season commitment; By audition

Dance Ensemble is the high-intermediate level dance company at Walker’s. Students are selected by audition 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.

Honors Algebra 1

Middle School, Upper School

Mathematics

Credits: 1

This course is for students who have a strong background in arithmetic facts and skills, and in elementary algebra, including positive and negative numbers, the basic properties of numbers, and simple equations. They must have demonstrated a good aptitude for mathematical reasoning. The course covers all topics of elementary algebra, including verbal problems, factoring, algebraic fractions, graphing of linear functions, radicals, solving linear and quadratic equations, systems of equations, variations, and the quadratic formula.

Algebra 1

Middle School, Upper School

Mathematics

Credits: 1

Students entering this class are expected to have studied positive and negative numbers, the basic properties of numbers, and simple equations. The course covers all topics of elementary algebra, including verbal problems, factoring, graphing of linear equations, radicals, solving linear and quadratic equations, and linear systems.

French 1

Middle School, Upper School

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

World Languages

Credits: 1

This course serves as an introduction to the French language through reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Students will be able to present information about themselves and others, ask and answer familiar questions, express likes and dislikes, give advice, and communicate about everyday life including family, hobbies and pastimes, school, community, and health. Vocabulary includes salutations, common interrogatives, telling the date/time, numbers, the alphabet, colors, family members, professions, weather, foods, parts of the body, clothing, physical characteristics and personality traits, sports and hobbies, geography, and classroom objects. Grammar includes the conjugation of regular verbs in -er, -ir, and -re; common irregular verbs; the present, near future, and recent past; definite and indefinite articles; the partitive; gender and number agreement; adjectives and their placement; adverbs and their placement; negation; forming questions with est-ce que; and expressions of necessity. Students will explore relevant topics in French and Francophone culture (e.g. body language, eating habits) and discuss these in relation to their own culture.

Spanish 1

Middle School, Upper School

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

World Languages

Credits: 1

This course introduces and develops the four basic skills of reading, listening, writing, and speaking. Cultural topics from around the world are explored, and discussed in relation to students’ cultures. Vocabulary required for mastery includes salutations, family members, the school day, occupations, indicating location, telling the day/date/year/time, the alphabet, numbers, weather, foods, animals, parts of the body, clothing, descriptions of physical characteristics/basic personality traits, sports/pastimes, directions, places around town, the house, and question words. Verb conjugation is explored in detail to include all regular and irregular verbs in the present indicative, immediate future, formal commands, stem-changing and reflexive verbs. Other grammatical concepts studied in Spanish 1 include: definite and indefinite articles; gender and number agreement; subject pronouns; direct object pronouns, and indirect object pronouns; affirmative and negative expressions; the differences between ser and estar; idiomatic expressions with tener, hacer, and gustar; the verb ir; demonstrative/possessive adjectives; diminutives, the superlative, and comparisons; the personal “a”; and expressing likes and dislikes.

Latin 1

Middle School, Upper School

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

World Languages

Credits: 1

This course serves as an introduction to the Latin language. By the end of the course, students will have a grounding in many of the inflections of Latin verbs, nouns, pronouns, adjectives, and complex sentences, a vocabulary of some four hundred words and the ability to translate basic prose passages. The linguistic elements are the most important part of the course, but students also learn about a variety of distinctive institutions and customs of the Romans such as religion and funeral customs, roads/transportation, houses, meals, family, clothing, education, names, and the city of Rome. Students will also study the geography of ancient Rome, the foundation myth of Rome, Roman monarchy, the early heroes of Rome, and Greek and Roman mythology. Students will learn about the connections between Latin and English through the study of the etymology of English words and common Latin phrases and abbreviations still used in English.

English 8

Middle School

Grade 8

English

Required course for Grade 8

In English at the eighth grade level, independent thinking and writing play major roles, as every student is encouraged to further develop her 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 she learns 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 House on Mango Street, and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, among others.

Girl Talk

Middle School

Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8

Wellness

The Girl Talk program is part of the Middle School Wellness Program and meets once a week for eight weeks with girls from our Upper School. Girl Talk is part of a national program with a very simple premise: high school girls mentor middle school girls to help deal with the triumphs and trials of the early teenage years.

Ecology

Middle School

Grade 6

Science

Required for Grade 6

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History 8: American Identity

Middle School

Grade 8

History and Social Science

Required for Grade 8

The goal of this course is to identify and examine some of the people, ideas, and events that helped shape the American identity from its earliest peoples and colonial development through the Civil War. Students will explore the changing definitions of democracy, rights, justice, and the “American Dream” in their examination of individuals and groups in early America. Using a combination of primary and secondary sources, students will strengthen their reading, note-taking, research, and writing skills. Students will be assessed on a combination of homework completion, writing assignments, unit tests, and projects.

History 7: World Geography

Middle School

Grade 7

History and Social Science

Required for Grade 7

This course focuses on allowing our students to see how our world looks today. With the purpose of allowing our students to understand the way that geography impacts our lives, students will undertake a unit on reading and understanding maps, as well as a unit on important geography terms, including the study of geography itself, climate, and vegetation. They will then study various regions, focusing on themes of geography such as the concept of place, how trade affects an area, and the movement of people and ideas.

History 6: Ancient Cultures

Middle School

Grade 6

History and Social Science

Required for Grade 6

Ancient Cultures emphasizes how anthropologists and historians study the past. Through discussions about prehistory, written documents, and material remains, students identify the sources that inform the study of history. This year-long course focuses on the study of ancient civilizations including Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, and China. In each unit, students gain an appreciation for the geography, government, art and architecture, religion, daily life, and major achievements of each civilization. With a combination of individual and group work, students learn analytical and critical thinking skills while also developing collaborative skills.

English 7

Middle School

Grade 7

English

Required course for Grade 7

At the seventh-grade level, students maintain their momentum by continuing to explore the various genres of literature. We read a challenging collection of texts that has previously included To Kill A Mockingbird, Romeo and Juliet, and The Outsiders. Other texts, including poems and essays, are carefully selected to be appropriate to the age and developmental level of seventh grade girls. Teachers strive to help girls truly love to read. Students will learn to present their work to an audience — aloud and in writing. Students continue to enhance their composition skills through a study of analytical writing, with an emphasis on the process of writing, not just the final product. In grammar, the girls explore sentence structure and mechanics to improve clarity in their own writing. Students will read beyond the curriculum in this course. They will also have many opportunities for creative writing in a wide variety of genres.

English 6

Middle School

Grade 6

English

Required course for Grade 6

At the sixth-grade level, students learn to read deeply, to love reading, and to begin learning how to analyze a literary work. The study of literature at our School draws upon many genres to focus largely on works about growing up and emerging into society. Texts may include: Anne of Green Gables, The Birchbark House, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Esperanza Rising, Kira-Kira, Number the Stars, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Habibi. Other texts, including poems, fables, fairy tales and essays are carefully selected to be appropriate to the age and developmental level of sixth grade girls. Teachers will challenge students to think in increasingly complex ways. Students will learn oral presentation and discussion skills in class. Each girl will begin to develop her authentic voice through a wide variety of writing assignments, including analysis, persuasive essay, fiction, poetry, and personal writing. A study of grammar complements the course, with a focus on punctuation, clarity, and word use. Art, music, and creative work of all kinds will be at the heart of the course.