Studying a world language supports WMS’s mission to develop globally minded citizens. At WMS, the study of Spanish not only supports this aim, but also nurtures the awareness of the diversity within our own country. Students advance through Descubre's Level I Spanish curriculum and have a strong foundation to move on to Level II in high school. Using the flipped classroom model supports individualized study as well as the immersion-style classroom, where students practice their listening, reading, writing and speaking skills. Project-based learning offers students the opportunity to delve into the culture of the language. While some students may be ready for Level II Spanish upon entering high school, the goal of middle-school Spanish at WMS is to help students develop a high degree of communicative competence and confidence.
Middle-school art is about more than just creating artwork - it’s also about artistic learning, self-expression and the integration of arts into other areas of the curriculum. Areas of study include the creative process, mindful observation of our world, elements of art and principles of design, and the role of art in history, society and everyday life. Through Expeditionary Learning experiences, such as visits to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Henry Mercer Mansion, the students’ studies and artwork are brought into broader perspective as they view and learn more about other’s artistic expressions.
In a technology-driven classroom, students become adept at maneuvering among devices and software. WMS middle-school students will continue to use Google Classroom as the platform for their work. In addition to the technology within the classroom, students learn beginner coding with programs such as Scratch, Alice and Python. Students also learn digital citizenship to guide appropriate and responsible online interactions.
Middle-school students continue to study a wide range of music. They learn choral works in various languages and tonalities, explore the context of what makes these pieces unique and develop their vocal technique and ear. Music theory is introduced in a progressive manner, which continues to improve students’ knowledge of meter, melody and phrase, musical forms and other advanced characteristics of analyzing music. Students have opportunities to compose their own works and improvise on percussion and technological instruments. In addition, project-based learning provides students with the opportunity to improve their appreciation of music, its history and the many ways music is a part of our world.
Adolescents’ growth includes their bodies as well as their minds. WMS students continue physical education classes throughout their middle-school years, extending their experience with individual and team activities. Though many of our students are involved in sports through outside organizations, they also participate in PE classes throughout the week, along with daily recess and outdoor time. One of the goals of the PE program is to promote lifelong health and an active lifestyle.