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Curriculum: Seminars

Senior Speech

Upper School

Grade 12

Seminars

Grade 12

Seniors have the privilege of addressing the entire school on a subject of their choice to exhibit their mastery of public speaking and reflect on their development and learning while at Walker’s. They will use Seminar time to draft, rewrite, and rehearse their Senior Speech, which will be offered at a Morning Meeting or Assembly during the school year.

Self-Selected Capability

Upper School

Grade 12

Seminars

Grade 12

Learning a self-selected capability is the capstone experience of the Walker’s Capabilities Approach Program. This seminar highlights students’ ability to show how they have mastered their own learning by choosing something they want to learn, developing a learning plan, learning it, and then teaching it to others, all in a structured context. Once they have mastered their capability, they will then teach it to other students in the Lacuna program in February. This experience will provide students with a clear understanding of both their newfound capability and the complex cognitive processes they engaged in to learn it, positioning them well to continue their lifelong quest for learning.

Sustenance and Sustainability

Upper School

Grade 10

Seminars

Grade 10

This seminar provides students with direct engagement and negotiation with the natural world. Sustainability refers to the human relationship to the natural world and our stewardship, care, and nurture of the planet we call home. Sustenance refers to the ways in which we internalize these relationships through mindfulness, connections, and spirituality. Together, these capabilities allow students to engage both physically and spiritually with the world around them and develop skills that have been credited as defining the American experience.

Coding

Upper School

Grade 10

Seminars

Grade 10

In partnership with the Connecticut Science Center, Walker’s is providing students with a hands- on introduction to the world of computer science. Using project-based learning, students will focus on problem solving, collaboration, and basic coding proficiencies. Skill acquisition includes proficiencies in coding languages, artificial intelligence, digital ethics, and technology across a variety of platforms, culminating in a final project presentation and establishment of a digital portfolio.

Positive Psychology

Upper School

Grade 9

Seminars, Wellness

Grade 9

This seminar shares the resources of positive psychology, academic support, and social and emotional intelligence to help students develop a strong sense of wellness. Activities are designed to strengthen self-awareness, emotional resilience, and self-esteem. Using tools such as the Johari Window, students learn relationship-building skills and develop social awareness. Other subjects explored include identifying signature strengths using UPenn’s Authentic Happiness Site, practicing mindful meditation, developing healthy sleep habits, stress management, and learning and memory.

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.

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.

College Prep

Upper School

Grade 12

Seminars, Wellness

Grade 12

Workshops, speakers, and panel discussions cover topics such as personal health and safety, decision making, developing and maintaining healthy relationships, and adjusting to newfound independence, as well as an understanding of the resources that are available to students at the college level. Students will reflect on how social media and mobile devices have changed since they began high school and explore ways that these technologies can impact their lives in college. This course is designed to prepare students for the transition from Walker’s into a college or university setting where much more independence is expected.

College Counseling – Grade 12

Upper School

Grade 12

Seminars

Grade 12

Senior-year college counseling is a continuation of the work begun in junior year. This seminar focuses on completing and submitting applications, organizing application deadlines and requirements, connecting with admissions representatives, reviewing types of financial aid, and managing post-application requirements. In addition to actively participating in class, students are evaluated based on completion of the following: creating a final list of colleges, filling out the common application suitable for submission, turning in the deadlines and application requirements worksheet, and meeting with college admissions counselors on Walker’s campus.

College Counseling – Grade 11

Upper School

Grade 11

Seminars

Grade 11

In the second semester, the College Counseling Seminar focuses on learning skills and producing materials relevant to the college search and application process. Students are introduced to SCOIR, our online college preparation tool, and learn how to explore their interests, majors, and colleges. Other topics include standardized testing, the college essay, interviewing, resumes, scholarship and financial aid, and college visits. All juniors attend a college fair in April as part of this course. Students exhibit mastery in the following areas: SCOIR worksheets, short presentations, questionnaires, a preliminary college search, a first draft of a college essay, an extracurricular activities resume, and securing teacher recommendations.

Personal Finance

Upper School

Grade 11

Seminars

Grade 11

Historically, women have had less opportunity to manage money or invest. As students graduate from high school and move out into the world, it’s imperative that they possess an understanding of personal finance in order to make informed decisions that will affect their financial futures. The Personal Finance seminar offers students an opportunity to be introduced to the concepts of managing personal finances including earning, spending, saving, investing and philanthropy. Students conduct hands-on activities including budget development and the creation of an investment portfolio. Students in the Personal Finance seminar will also take and pass the IRS certification to become a personal income tax preparer in the VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) Program. Training for the VITA program is conducted as part of the coursework.

Women, Health, & Culture

Upper School

Grade 10

Seminars, Wellness

Grade 10

Women, Health & Culture is taught by Walker’s Director of Health Services. Using a medical model, comprehensive analysis of issues related to the health status and health care of women is presented. Knowledge of health concerns of particular importance to women are shared to aid in maintaining wellness, as well as the identification and early treatment of common physical illnesses. All students will be instructed in American Red Cross Child and Adult CPR as well as the use of an automatic external defibrillator (AED). [Note: A nominal fee will be charged to students’ accounts for these certifications.] Women, Health & Culture is designed to aid students in becoming critical thinkers about health and wellness issues facing young people and It is expected that they will be knowledgeable about current events that affect young women.

Social Justice

Upper School

Grade 9

Seminars

Grade 9

In the Social Justice seminar, students explore their own identities and think about the ways identity impacts their perspective and interactions with others. Students examine social systems and concepts that provide advantages to some social identity groups and restrict access and opportunity to others. Specifically, students look at the ways that stereotypes, discrimination, prejudice and socialization affect individuals in the pursuit of justice and communities of belonging. The term concludes with students addressing the ways that they can individually take action within their own spheres of influence to create positive social change.

Digital Citizenship

Upper School

Grade 9

Seminars

Grade 9

In this seminar, students examine the ways that information and communication technologies impact their lives as learners, family members, friends, workers, and global citizens. The class will explore key pillars of digital citizenship, including digital literacy, digital communication, digital law, rights and responsibilities, citation, and digital health and wellness. Students examine a variety of social media platforms and apps, analyze the positive and negative effects of different online behaviors, and learn strategies for becoming more responsible, efficient, and effective users of the Web and digital media. Students are expected to respect themselves, their peers, their teachers, and the learning environment, to engage actively in class discussions and activities, to drive their own learning, to strengthen their initiative and collaboration skills by working both independently and as a part of a team, and share what they’ve learned.