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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.

Wellness – Grade 7

Middle School

Grade 7

Seminars, Wellness

Grade 7

Seventh Grade Wellness Seminar meets weekly for one trimester. This seminar is a discussion-based class where students focus on emotional well-being and social emotional learning with a particular emphasis on relationship skills. With identity as their primary focus during this period of development, students are in search of solid and meaningful relationships. Each class with a brief meditation and a check-in. Students are given writing or discussion prompts to help begin conversations related to their developing social awareness and the skills involved in forming and maintaining healthy relationships.

Study Skills – Grade 7

Middle School

Grade 7

Seminars

Grade 7

The Seventh Grade Study Skills Seminar meets weekly for one trimester. Students focus on study skills and learn strategies that strengthen executive function skills, such as sustained attention, task initiation, working memory, planning, and organization. Students also work toward more advanced skills such as time management, goal-directed persistence, and metacognition.

Wellness – Grade 6

Middle School

Grade 6

Seminars, Wellness

Grade 6

Sixth Grade Wellness Seminar meets weekly for one trimester. This seminar is a discussion-based class where students focus on Social Emotional Learning and emotional well-being. Adolescence is a time when emotions can be confusing and overwhelming. The goal of this class is to help students recognize, understand, and manage their emotions (emotion regulation). We practice Mindfulness and learn to apply its lessons to a variety of situations. Prompts are provided for journaling and discussion.

Walker’s History

Middle School

Grade 6

Seminars

Grade 6

Walker’s History is an introductory course about the history of The Ethel Walker School. It gives students an in-depth look at the origins of the campus and surrounding area, including Ms. Ethel Walker herself. Collaborating with archivists, students will be able to comb through the archives, looking at photographs, mementos, letters, etc. Each student will then create their own scrapbook that shows the history of their lives that they would like to share, thereby getting hands-on experience in creating a history of themselves.

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.

Study Skills – Grade 6

Middle School

Grade 6

Seminars

Grade 6

The Sixth Grade Study Skills Seminar meets weekly for one trimester. Students focus on study skills and executive function strategies, such as sustained attention, task initiation, working memory, planning, and organization. Students work on skills-building activities from the SMARTS Executive Function Curriculum developed by the Research Institute for Learning and Development.

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.

Human Biology

Middle School

Grade 7

Science

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

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

This course focuses on the necessary skills students need for future success in mathematics. These skills include the basic concepts of arithmetic (with whole numbers, fractions, decimals, and integers), applications of measurement, informal geometry and ratio and proportion. Emphasis is placed on curiosity, collaboration and confidence, and opportunities for support and/or enrichment are prioritized. This course is enhanced by a Math Lab period that will meet in addition to routine class meetings designed to provide added support and challenging enrichment.

Spanish 1B

Middle School

Grade 7

World Languages

Open to Grade 7

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, not only will they be able to talk about themselves and the familiar topics covered during the previous year with greater confidence and in greater complexity, they will also 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 7

World Languages

Open to Grade 7

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, not only will they be able to talk about themselves and the familiar topics covered during the previous year with greater confidence and in greater complexity, they will also 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 6, Grade 7

World Languages

Open to Grades 6-7

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 6, Grade 7

World Languages

Open to Grades 6-7

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.

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.

Algebra 1

Middle School, Upper School

Mathematics

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Pre-Algebra or department placement

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. Prerequisite: Pre-Algebra or department placement.

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.

Ecology

Middle School

Grade 6

Science

Grade 6

This course is designed to introduce students to the natural world around them. Students begin the year by studying the role honeybees play in their ecosystem. Students visit the apiary on campus, build their own hive box to add to the apiary, and extract honey. Students also compete in National Geographic’s GeoChallenge, a project-based competition that challenges students to design an innovative solution to a unique environmental problem. For the remainder of the year, students explore field, forest, and aquatic ecosystems inside and outside of the classroom, and the human impacts on these ecosystems.

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.

History 7: World Geography

Middle School

Grade 7

History and Social Science

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, including themes of place, location and the movement of people and ideas.

History 6: Ancient Cultures

Middle School

Grade 6

History and Social Science

Grade 6

Where do we begin? How did things start? Ancient Cultures emphasizes the beginning of early civilizations and how they relate to the foundations of society today. Through discussions about prehistory, written documents, and material remains, students identify the sources that inform the study of history. This yearlong 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

Grade 7

At the seventh-grade level, students maintain their momentum and build new skills by continuing an exploration of the various genres of literature. We read a challenging collection of texts that may include: Cast Away; Howl’s Moving Castle; Poetry Speaks Who I Am; Romeo and Juliet; Good Master, Sweet Ladies; and The Outsiders. Other texts, including individual poems, myths, fairy tales, short stories, and essays, are carefully selected to be appropriate to the age and developmental level of seventh grade students. Teachers strive to help students 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. Language mechanics, also taught in English 7, concentrates on understanding the passive voice, parallel structure, audience engagement, and logical flow. 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

Grade 6

At the sixth-grade level, students learn to read deeply, to love reading, and to analyze literary works. The study of literature at our school draws upon many genres to focus largely on works about growing up and emerging into society. Texts in English 6 may include: World of Wonders, Land of the Cranes, Harbor Me, The Night Diary, Joyful Noise, and a dramatic production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Other texts, including individual poems, myths, fairy tales, short stories, and essays are carefully selected to be appropriate to the age and developmental level of sixth grade students. Teachers will challenge students to think and to express themselves in increasingly complex ways. Students will learn oral presentation and discussion skills in class. Each student will begin to develop her authentic voice through a wide variety of writing assignments in nonfiction, fiction, poetry, and drama units. Language mechanics, also taught in English 6, concentrates on logic, clarity, and flow, as well as on grammar and syntax. Creativity of all kinds, including explorations of literature through the visual and performative arts, will be at the heart of this course.