Middle School

The Amazing Race at Westside!

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With the goal of bringing all Middle School students, grades fifth through eighth, together this afternoon Kendra’s advisory created The Amazing Race! Students were assigned to groups that allowed them the chance to interact with grade levels they might not always see each day.

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With activities like the Caterpillar Game, Tarp Challenge, and Hula Hoop Challenge students were given the opportunity to solve problems, cheer each other on, and get creative on this sunny Friday!

Eighth grade student Jonathan reflects on a positive Middle School experience at Westside

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In anticipation of our 35th Celebration, we’ve asked some of our eighth grade students to share their Westside Story. Westside School is what it is today because of 35 years of stories. We’d love to hear yours.

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I have been at Westside School for four years, starting in fifth grade. That may not seem like much, but I have matured a lot as a person at Westside over those four years. I was new from my local public school at the time. I was confused. Now I feel like a part of the community that has been here for as long as anybody. This may come from the many people who joined in the coming years, but I can remember at the beginning of my time here I already knew some of the people here, and I felt like part of the community from the beginning. This is one of the most meaningful things I think of when I think of my fifth grade year, how everybody accepted me into the community.

Shared by Jonathan, Class of 2017

Share your story with us. It just might be featured here!

Francesca reflects on friendships,pre-kindergarten, and the Westside School tradition of Reading Buddies

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In anticipation of our 35th Celebration, we’ve asked some of our eighth grade students to share their Westside Story. Westside School is what it is today because of 35 years of stories. We’d love to hear yours.

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I began my journey at Westside School when I was four years old. At that time the school was much smaller than it is now; there was no Middle School, and we were located at the building we shared with Explorer West. When I started at Westside I was in pre-kindergarten and my teacher was Claudia; she still teaches pre-kindergarten today, too! I loved that year because we got to play dress up a lot, learn about numbers, and my favorite part was being able to have reading buddies. I liked being able to hang out with the older kids because it made me feel special and sometimes I would even get the chance to try to read the books. Being able to be with other students in different grades is really important because you get to make new friends with people who are a different age than you and bond with them. I love how Westside School is very inclusive and they like to mix together different grades in some of the classes, especially in Middle School.

Shared by Francesca, Class of 2017

Share your story with us. It just might be featured here!

Middle School celebrates World Language Exhibition of Learning

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Middle School students celebrated their study of World Languages last night in the World Language Exhibition of Learning! Fifth through eighth grade Spanish and Mandarin students welcomed guests, including family and friends, to a Mercado and a Yè shì – a traditional Spanish and Chinese Night market.

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The merchants were well-prepared, friendly, and ready to deal! Students were exceptionally disciplined about using their Mandarin or Spanish description before switching to English for guests who did not speak the language. They had created translation sheets to help guests understand the offerings for sale.

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Guests attended the Yè shì and Mercado with a bag full of pesos (the Spanish dollar) and 钱 (Chinese money) and bargained with merchants for a fair price. Goodies included pot stickers, noodles, churros, tamales, and crafts including drawings, paper sculptures, and other great pieces designed by students. Thank you to all who attended, and congratulations to our Middle School students for putting on such a wonderful evening!

 

 

Visualizing the world of Suessical Jr.! in Technical Theater class

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In the first few weeks of Technical Theatre, a Middle School Exploratory class at Westside School, the crew has been visualizing the first scene of the wonderful world of Seussical Jr.! They started out by listening to, and reading the script to get ideas of what the stage would look like, such as colors, lights, backdrop, and more.

The students were also tasked with which technical roles they wanted to play in making the musical come to life, these roles include costumes, props, makeup and other parts of technical theatre.

The project that all the students are doing is making a model of the first scene, and they had to imagine how big every prop was and if those props were going to be portable or not. It was a way for everyone to imagine and suggest what the musical might look like visually. A lot of mistakes were made during this visual experience but the students were able to use their creativity and problem solving skills to fix unwanted results.

Thank you to Lenin, a member of this class, for contributing this piece

Growing professionally in the New Year

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On Tuesday January 3 Westside School faculty came back to school for a day spent on professional learning. Specifically, teachers worked in their multi grade level Professional Learning Community (PLCs) teams. These PLCs provide the framework for working together to strengthen the Westside curriculum and provide a professional growth experience for teachers. Our PLCs are focused on the theme of providing the highest level of student engagement and meeting the needs of each student in our school. PLC’s are grouped by the following topics: reading, writing, math, positive school culture, documentation of student learning and re-imagining the role of an instructional assistant.

PLC’s are the key to help us have an aligned curriculum built on research based best practices in education applied by our teacher. By collaborating in multi-grade level teams the PLC’s allow teachers to explore what a truly cohesive student experience can and should be for a Westside student. We are very excited about the work we are doing and are looking forward to how it will impact the Westside student experience in positive ways.

Eighth grade students take part in Ellis Island station simulation

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In connection to the eighth grade unit on Ellis Island and immigration, students took part in an Ellis Island Station simulation today that spanned all three floors of the building. Dressed to represent the characters they have been studying who traveled from all over Eastern Europe in 1910 and armed with baggage and passports, students made their way through seven different simulation stations including taking part in medical and legal inspections, dealing with detainment officers, and pleading with the Special Board of Inquiries when detained as to why they should be allowed to continue their way to America. Some lucky few made their way to the money exchange areas to trade in their home country’s currency for American dollars and continued on to purchase train tickets to make way to their final destinations. It was definitely a memorable day for these eighth grade travelers, and we are grateful to the many parent volunteers who helped make it successful!