The Humanities curriculum includes the traditional integration of social studies and language arts, but ours is enriched with Writing Workshop classes in all three grades and a social justice course, Walls to Bridges, in seventh and eighth grade.
This course integrates language arts with social studies and offers students a chance to see the connections among history, literature, art, and culture. Students engage in traditional novel study and literary analysis while also actively connecting their reading to the narrative of their own lives and the world around them. Socratic seminars and oral performances allow students to explore the themes and issues raised in the text while building essential communication skills. As students gain practice in the mechanics and process of writing in Writing Workshop, they apply those skills to the analytic writing they do in Humanities classes. Sixth graders study human rights and social movements; seventh graders study world cultures and systems of belief; and eighth graders study civics, US history, and Washington state history.
This is a writing skills class that teaches the conventions of written language and writing craft within a meaningful context: students’ own writing. Students use writing to discover more about themselves and communicate those understandings clearly and creatively to others. Through a combination of inquiry and direct instruction, students learn grammatical and mechanical rules and apply them to the writing they do in a writer’s notebook. Students make extensive use of the writing process, practicing revision and editing strategies that allow them to become independent editors. In sixth grade, students learn how to find meaning in their everyday lives by writing regularly in writer’s notebooks and sharing with their peers. In seventh grade, students develop their voices as essayists, blending narrative and expository styles to write personal essays that explore aspects of their identity. In eighth grade, students write spoken word poetry, memoir, and graduation speeches. They also submit their writing to magazines.
Walls to Bridges
Walls to Bridges is a social justice course that focuses on activism, leadership, and voice. Throughout the year, students participate in monthly workshops on issues like identity and ally-ship, as well as explorations of historical movements for social change. This year-long program, in conjunction with the Humanities curriculum, gives students the time and space to examine privilege and oppression, and to develop tools to become agents of change. In seventh grade, students are introduced to social justice themes through current events. In eighth grade, students engage in long-term projects, including social justice filmmaking and non-violent direct action campaigns.