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What does good learning look like?

Watkinson Eighth-Grade Milestones & Important Dates

by Middle School Head Jenny Esposito

Eighth grade is an important year in the life of a young person, as preparation continues for making the transition from Middle to Upper School. It is an exciting and pivotal time for building the foundation for future educational experiences in Upper School, college, and beyond. Keeping this in mind, our private school curriculum has significant, rigorous milestones that support our students as they delve deeper into their academic lives. 

Virtual Civil Rights Museum 

Jenny Esposito, Ann Haggerty, Anna Alferi, & Tom Gromak

Fall/Winter 2022-23

Through an interdisciplinary study of the Civil Rights Movement and the reading of Wes Moore’s autoethnographic book The Other Wes Moore, students develop reading, research, writing, technology, and presentation skills while investigating the events of our past and making connections to today’s world.  The Civil Rights Project culminates in a virtual gallery of multimedia projects and interview-based essays that students share with their families and the school community in celebration and honor of the Civil Rights Movement.  Enjoy the museum at this link

Shakespeare Project

Anna Alferi

Winter 2023

The study of William Shakespeare and his works lives on in our eighth-grade English curriculum, with the final project driven by the essential question: “How do we interpret language for greater understanding and performance?” During this six-week unit, students are further introduced to the language, cadence, and rhythm of Shakespeare. After being assigned a group tasked to focus on one of Shakespeare’s well-known plays, students learn the play’s significance and meaning and then delve deeply into a short section for video performance. With diligence and guidance, they explore the literary devices used by Shakespeare, as well as how to convey the dramatic purpose of the scenes and characters they portray. The final performance, for both classmates and younger students, leaves the students realizing that all the world’s a stage on which they play a major part.

Rube Goldberg Project

Kim Escalante

Spring 2023

Through the study of physics and simple machines, eighth-graders conceptualize and build intricate, and often whimsical, Rube-Goldberg machines. Working in groups and using a variety of materials and tools, students develop their understanding of how simple machines work and interact to complete a task. Along the way, students reflect on their process, learn from missteps, and develop teamwork skills. This project always comes with a bit of suspense as students proceed through the iterative process in a quest to make their machines work.

Eighth-Grade Exhibitions

Anna Alferi and the Middle School Team

May 25, 2023, 12:30-2:50pm

Through Eighth-Grade Exhibitions, students examine, “How can self-awareness help me become a better learner?” This process is an important opportunity for every student to evaluate his or her strengths and weaknesses as learners in light of Watkinson’s Essential Skills. Students select a metaphor for themselves as learners and develop it through their own understanding of critical thinking, communication, literacy, expression, and problem-solving. This structured process culminates in roundtable presentations on May 25, 2023. Eighth-Grade Exhibitions Day prepares students to take on future life challenges in Upper School and well beyond.

Learn more about Watkinson’s middle school here or come see for yourself and sign up for an info session today!

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