Programs
Academic

Fifth through Eighth Grades

Math

Open Window seeks to balance a commitment to allowing each child to work to his/her potential in mathematics with a structure that provides for an adequate amount of direct instruction, student collaboration, and teacher-student interaction. We offer a sequence of six math courses in middle school: Math Foundations 1, Math Foundations 2, Pre-Algebra, High School Algebra 1, High School Geometry and High School Algebra 2.  Although many supplemental materials are used, the Prentice-Hall mathematics series serves as the core text and is designed to help students develop a deeper understanding of math through an emphasis on thinking, reasoning, and problem-solving.
 
In designing a middle school math sequence for gifted students, Open Window offers opportunity for both acceleration and enrichment through a focus on problem-solving and application.  All middle school students will complete one year of high school level math (Algebra 1), many Geometry, and a few Algebra 2.
 
Students taking high school level classes are not guaranteed to earn high school credit (this is determined by receiving high schools); however, students who perform satisfactorily at Open Window should receive placement into the next level in high school.  Open Window administers a standardized End of Course exam which serves as a tangible indication of successfully completing a high school level course.

List of 6 items.

  • Math Foundations 1

    This class covers material typically covered in sixth grade mathematics textbooks. Foundations 1 covers a combination of rational numbers, patterns, geometry, and integers in preparation for one-step and two-step equations and inequalities.  Instruction introduces division with decimals. By the end of the year, each student must demonstrate mastery of all four operations with decimals. After reviewing basic fraction concepts, fractions are used to add, subtract, multiply and divide with an emphasis on understanding divisibility rules and factoring. Problem solving with percentages is introduced. Higher level thinking is pursued, introducing strategies for solving multi-step problems and working backwards. Throughout the year an emphasis is placed on recognizing patterns, and describing them mathematically. 

    Text:
    • Prentice Hall Mathematics Course 1
  • Math Foundations 2

    Foundations 2 features a structured approach to ratios, percentages, equations, inequalities, geometry, graphing and probability.  Instruction initially reviews the use of decimals and fractions, focusing on mixed numbers. By the end of the year, students should demonstrate mastery of all four operations with fractions.  Students will progress to computations with integers without depending upon the use of manipulatives. Formulas are used in the study of geometric shapes. Solving problems with percentages is accomplished using algebraic equations. A unit on probability and statistics will be included in this class along with enrichment activities that broaden the students’ mathematical foundation.
     
    Text:
    • Prentice Hall Mathematics, Course 2
  • Pre-Algebra

    Pre-Algebra provides a solid mathematical foundation in order to fully prepare students for the study of high-school level Algebra.During the study of Pre-Algebra, students will develop their mathematical reasoning, algebraic thinking skills, and computational accuracy for future work in mathematics. To this end, some major goals for students in Pre-Algebra are to develop the idea of a variable and evaluate and simplify algebraic expressions, skillfully perform operations on integers and then all rational numbers, solve equations, understand and use the exponent rules, perform operations on polynomials, graph linear equations and inequalities on a coordinate plane by the slope-intercept method, discuss basic probability and statistics concepts, expand the ideas of percent, ratio and proportion, discuss and write about mathematical ideas, solve problems requiring different strategies and relate math to today’s life and careers.
     
    Texts:
    • Prentice Hall Mathematics Course 3                                 
    • The Art of Problem Solving: Pre-Algebra
  • Algebra 1

    A comprehensive course in high school-level Algebra is completed by all Open Window students. Areas of study include: variables, function patterns and graphs, rational numbers, solving equations and inequalities, different forms of linear equations and their graphs, systems of equations and inequalities, exponents and exponential functions, polynomials and factoring, quadratic equations and functions, radical expressions and equations, simplifying rational expressions. 
     
    Texts:
    • Prentice Hall Algebra I
    • The Art of Problem Solving: Introduction to Algebra
  • Geometry

    Geometry at Open Window is offered to students who have successfully completed a year of high-school level Algebra. This course covers tools of geometry, inductive and deductive reasoning and proofs in Algebra and Geometry. Topics also include: parallel and perpendicular lines, proving triangles congruent, using congruent triangles, isosceles and equilateral triangles, congruence in right triangles, relationships within triangles, concurrent lines and inequalities in triangles, quadrilaterals and their properties, coordinate geometry proofs, proportions and similarity, trigonometric ratios and angles of elevation and depression, the Pythagorean Theorem and special right triangles, different types of transformations, areas of regular polygons, circles, sectors and geometric probability, surface area and volume of 3D figures, tangent lines, chords and arcs, inscribed angles, angle measures and segment length, circles in coordinate plane and locus. Algebra is integrated where appropriate, such as simplifying radicals and solving using quadratic equations and systems of linear equations.
     
    Texts:
    • Prentice Hall Geometry
    • The Art of Problem Solving: Introduction to Geometry
  • Algebra 2

    Algebra 2 at Open Window is offered to students who have successfully completed a year of high-school level Algebra and Geometry. Required areas of study include: functions and relations, linear and absolute value functions, systems of linear equations and inequalities, matrices, quadratic functions and complex numbers, polynomials and polynomial functions, exponential and logarithmic functions, rational and radical expressions and functions, quadratic relations and conic sections, sequences and series, probability and data analysis. Trigonometry is covered if time permits. 
     
    Texts: 
    • Prentice Hall Algebra II
    • Art of Problem Solving Intermediate Algebra

Humanities

Open Window school utilizes an integrated humanities approach to language arts and social studies.  Students receive an exposure to both United States and world history, with fifth and seventh grade focused globally and sixth and seventh grade on the United States.  Strong written and oral communication skills are emphasized with the Six Traits of Writing serving as a consistent basis of the writing program in all four grades.

List of 5 items.

  • Fifth Grade: Ancient Civilizations

    Fifth grade humanities covers classical ancient civilizations and world geography, focusing on the question: To what extent can we determine what were the “major turning points” of history? After a quick look at the Paleolithic and Neolithic Eras, students examine the formation of early civilizations in Mesopotamia, Egypt, India, China and Greece. While investigating all regions of the world, students make connections between the development of societies, migration, the arts, the rights of women and other disenfranchised groups, economics, and war.
     
    The language arts component of the course emphasizes writing, reading, listening, and speaking skills. A major focus of the curriculum is understanding and utilizing the Six Traits of Writing.Each trait is taught specifically in an individual unit, with daily writing and larger projects centering on that trait. Larger projects include expository essays and creative writing pieces, which demonstrate how students are able to incorporate all Six Traits into their writing. Students assess their own work, revising and editing to create a final product. Additionally, students will read and discuss novels, short stories, poetry and plays. Vocabulary lessons are also a major part of the curriculum at this level.
  • Sixth Grade: Early American Studies, Colonization to Pre-Civil War

    In sixth grade, students begin their study of American history with the settlement and colonization of North America. The course focuses on the concepts of freedom and the balance between liberty and security. After discussing various philosophies of government, students examine the perils and rewards of the American colonial experience, which are brought to life through in-class simulations where students work in colony groups to prepare for the journey to the "New World." Once settlement is attained, students investigate life in colonial America, from a variety of perspectives, for example as northern and southern colonists. From the Boston Tea Party to the Battle of Yorktown, students investigate the causes and events of the American Revolutionary Era. They learn what it was like to enlist in the rebel army, the history of our Constitution, the origin and workings of our three branches of government, the system of checks and balances, and the Bill of Rights. Sixth graders examine federalism and limiting governmental power, comparing forms of government from democracy to communism to totalitarianism.
     
    Sixth grade students develop as readers and writers through vocabulary study, reading and discussing three novels, writing prompts, writing a creative novel for National Novel Writing Month, a research project for National History Day, debate speeches and formal five-paragraph essays, all structured on the Six Traits of Writing.
     
    In addition, students end the year by learning about U.S. elections, including the voting process, first amendment rights, current issues, party differences, campaigning, and the importance of voting. Students plan their own campaigns, create their own presidential candidates and participate in an extensive debate. 
  • Seventh Grade: World Cultures and Contemporary World Problems

    The goal of Seventh-Grade Humanities is to better prepare students for work and life. To that end, the content – political, physical and human geography of Africa, Asia, Europe and South America – is the vehicle through which skills are honed and overarching concepts are grasped. This curriculum, which was designed specifically for Open Window students, is rooted in language arts and emphasizes to what extent one’s grammar, vocabulary and expression (whether written or verbal) affect how one’s message is received.
     
    Writing focuses on the Six Traits writing skills and the course utilizes a variety of resources, such as Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey, Susan Cain’s Power of Introverts, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Danger of a Single Story, and Celeste Headlee’s 10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation. Students are exposed to a wide array of global perspectives from authors such as Kashmira Seth, William Shakespeare, Rachida el-Charni, Chinua Achebe, Aminatta Forna, Ifeoma Okoye, Prajwal Parajuly, Anita Desai, R. K. Narayan, Zhang Xinxin, Xu Zechen, A Yi and Jorge Luis Borges.
     
    The course provides a multi-faceted platform where every student can access the material, capitalize on their strengths, and explore what it means to be a citizen in a diverse and changing world. While all of the work is inter-connected and cumulative, the concepts and skills are generally grouped as follows:
     
    Integrity: What are your principles? What does a principle-centered life look like for you?
     
    Discernment: What is true? How do we know what’s true? What is your truth?
     
    Expression: Why is your truth valuable? How can you convey your truth?
     
    Listening: How can you hear the truths of others and why is it important?
     
    Integrated with a spring Hallmark Trip to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, the students perform a Shakespearian play.
  • Eighth Grade: American History through the Lens of Washington State

    Building on their knowledge of contemporary world problems and global solutions, as well as their collaboration and communication skills, eighth graders conduct an in-depth study of American History through the lens of Washington State. Students commence their study with a review of American governmental systems: federalism and the checks and balances between local, state, federal and tribal governments. They conduct a study of Washington State's government, following a bill traveling through the legislature from start to finish. They then examine how in times of political and economic trial, constitutional values have been both challenged and strengthened. By looking at these issues through the lens of the Washington State experience, students learn how global and national events affect them locally. Students will develop their sense of citizenship and how they can make an impact in the world.
     
    The language arts component of the course emphasizes analytical and creative reading and writing skills. Daily writing focuses on the Six Traits writing skills. In writing, students will explore different styles of writing: persuasive and expository essays, short stories, personal narrative, poetry and a research paper. The literature the students read ties into the curriculum either chronologically or thematically. Additionally, through monthly guided studies, the students will develop their vocabulary and integrate this knowledge into their speaking and writing.  
     
    The course culminates in a research paper where students design a product that improves their local community. They choose a reformer from the 20th Century and use modern technology to further the reformer's vision in today's world. This culminating project allows students to combine their technology studies with the studies of citizenship, economics and government.
  • PACK: Practical and Critical Knowledge

    In an innovative effort to address the disparate needs of students, the humanities department has designed a program wherein the instruction and application of grammar in the classroom is augmented by work more tailored to individual needs and capacities. 

    PACKs are organized across grade levels, providing teachers a better opportunity to tailor teaching to student needs and providing students the opportunity to interact across grade levels.
     
    PACK is divided into two semester-long components. The first places middle school students into two sections, one of which focuses on the writing trait of Conventions, including parts of speech, punctuation, and capitalization. For students who are stronger writers and make fewer conventional errors, the other section concentrates on the writing trait of Sentence Fluency. Using the Sentence Composing Approach, teachers work with students on the application of conventions and the crafting of language.
     
    While each year of PACK includes a semester of grammar, the other semester varies depending on where the humanities department sees the greatest need across the student body. Since its conception, PACKs have concentrated on the following:
     
    YEAR 1: Vocabulary Expansion through Journalism, Literature, Etymology, and Oration
    YEAR 2: Research Skills – Finding, Verifying, Extracting, Paraphrasing, Synthesizing, and Citing Information
    YEAR 3: Writing - Poetry, Literary Analysis, Personal Narratives, Persuasive Speeches, Creative Writing, and Individual Writing Conferences

Science

Open Window School’s inquiry based science curriculum develops independent and critical thinking skills, as well as positive attitudes and curiosity towards science. Our middle school program allows students to enhance their content knowledge through authentic inquiry, encourages students to design their own experiments and investigations, and teaches students to communicate their results following the scientific method. Students will engage in scientific discourse with their peers, as well as in partnerships with scientists and researchers in a variety of fields.

List of 4 items.

  • Fifth Grade Science

    Fifth grade, student scientists delve into energy, including fossil fuels, nuclear energy, solar energy, and other alternative energy sources. Students debate the pros and cons of different energy sources, and think critically about the potential of these sources.  These concepts are brought to life in two memorable partnerships. The first partnership takes them to the Wild Horse Wind and Solar facility, where students examine wind turbines and solar panel arrays up close and personal. The second partnership is to an local personal residence that is award-winning for its use of an array of energy sources and green technology.
     
    Next, students explore "simple" machines, evaluating the relationship between effort applied and work produced to create a mechanical advantage. Students systematically measure, diagram, design and apply mathematical relationships to several simple machines, such as levers and pulleys. As a final, culminating project, students incorporate what they have learned, plus lots of creativity, to create a Rube Goldberg contraption to accomplish a task.
     
    Finally, students focus on “Populations and Ecosystems,” connecting their study of energy with the source of most life on Earth, our sun. Students start by focusing on the big picture: ecosystems, trophic levels, and energy transfer. The focus narrows throughout the course of the unit, ending with a study of genetics. To illustrate these concepts, students raise populations of organisms, travel off-campus on several partnerships, and use computer simulations in order to discover population dynamics and interactions over a range of conditions.  This unit culminates with field research in a week-long Hallmark Trip, where students collect data at a variety of locations around Olympic National Park.  This data is then analyzed once back on the Open Window School campus.
  • Sixth Grade Science

    Sixth grade scientists jump immediately into the chemistry lab to solve a mystery, the “Observation Challenge.”  Using their skills of observation, student groups conduct testing to identify three mystery liquids and document their evidence in a lab report. Lab safety, organization and proper lab protocol kicks off the sixth grade year of science.
    In their unit on earth and atmospheric science, students begin their investigations with a visit to Mt. St. Helens and continue with studies of the tectonic forces that cause earthquakes, create volcanoes, shape mountains and forge rocks. The study of earth science then turns to weather systems, including the study of the layers of the atmosphere and conditions in near space. During this study, students will have the unique opportunity of designing and building flight computers and satellites equipped with scientific probes that will travel to near space via high altitude balloons, gathering data that will be analyzed back in the lab to answer student-developed experimental questions. Additional experiences include weekly laboratory experiments, field studies, interaction with local scientists, and experiential exercises.
     
    During their week long sailing the Salish Sea hallmark trip, our sixth graders will also dive deeper into science by studying how specific variables like surfactants and other pollutants are affecting the quality of water and plankton health in the Salish Sea.  When students return from their trip, they are encouraged to share their findings with the OWS community via interactive and exciting presentations during STEM Day in the Spring.
     
    Students conclude their year experimenting with the physics principles behind natural and designed motion involving velocity, acceleration, and momentum, replicating some of Galileo’s and Newton’s experiments. Students learn first-hand how Newton’s laws of motion apply to everyday movement from sports to rocketry. Throughout the year, students participate in group engineering challenges to build teamwork and creativity.
  • Seventh Grade Science

    The first semester seventh grade science curriculum begins with a brief neuroscience unit, dives deep into the realm of astronomy and ends with a study of water and its physical and chemical characteristics.  Water’s properties naturally lead into physical science and chemistry for the second semester. Students conduct regular labs, inquiry based investigations, and deeply explore and apply their scientific knowledge throughout the course.

    During the introductory neuroscience unit, the students explore Brain Rules, specifically the sections pertaining to sleep, stress, and study habits.  This helps students understand the importance of structured study time, time and stress management, and the need for sleep.

    Students begin the astronomy unit studying the lives of stars and the how scientists observe space.  The class builds small telescopes and visit the VLBA (Very Long Baseline Array) telescope in Eastern Washington.  As students progress, they choose independent topics of inquiry, write a research paper, and use spectrometers, flame tests, and spectrum tubes to explore the connection between elements in stars and the elements here on our planet and determine the composition of objects from such a distance. 

    The second semester curriculum establishes the foundation for physical science and chemistry and continues to build experimental design skills.  Students conduct regular labs and/or inquiry based investigations to explore topics. A unique project allows students to explore ceramics and ceramic glazes.  The class makes glazes from raw materials, and links tessellation tile patterns and chemistry calculations to the glazes and firing process they encounter. 
     
    As the course concludes, the biological sciences come into the picture with a short unit on biochemistry and nutrition which leads them into their eighth grade biology class.  STEM Day in May allows the students to showcase a project from this class or another that focused on science, technology, engineering and math for the greater school community. 
  • Eighth Grade Biology

    The eight grade science curriculum mirrors a high school honors or advanced level biology class.

    Students begin the course studying sustainable agriculture in an interdisciplinary project in coordination with their humanities class.  They design plant growing stations which allow them to create environments that mirror crops grown in various regions across the country and design experiments that evaluate the sustainability of growing these crops under specific conditions. Students write specific grant proposals and present them to a mock USDA panel.

    In the first semester, students study the concept of cell biology, with a focus on cellular structure, function and processes.  They explore protein synthesis through multiple hands on experiences, which lead to an in-depth study of genetics, heredity, and biotechnology.  In all instances, lab skills, experimental design, and modeling are integral to their studies. As students explore protein synthesis, restriction enzymes, and gel electrophoresis, they travel to the University of Washington Department of Bioengineering for additional lab based experiences.
     
    During the second semester, students prepare for their hallmark trip to Costa Rica, proposing and creating experiments to conduct on the ten day trip. Their preparation also requires students to dive into evolutionary theory, the management of ecosystems, taxonomy, and plant/animal adaptations.  Experiments are conducted on the trip, and a full lab report is written in the following weeks.  Many students choose to share their experiments as their project for the May STEM Day.
     
    Students conclude the second semester studying comparative anatomy and physiology through the lens of the circulatory and nervous systems.  They dissect specific organs, identifying structures and their important functions.  An inquiry based investigation allows student choice of exploration into the pathway of blood, the senses, or comparative anatomy.
     
    Texts: 
    Science Explorer Series – Life Science, Prentice Hall 2007. 
    Biology, Miller and Levine.  Pearson, 2014. 

Spanish

Building on the exploratory program of the Lower School, Middle School Spanish builds both language skills and the appreciation of Spanish culture.  Students are prepared for the eighth grade Hallmark Trip to Costa Rica, which includes a homestay.  In seventh and eighth grade, three levels of Spanish are offered.  Conversational Spanish provides a rich oral language experience for students who have limited previous Spanish-language experience. The other two-levels offer the option of covering the first year of high school Spanish in two years (1A and 1B) or taking two years of high school level Spanish.

List of 4 items.

  • Fifth Grade Spanish

    Fifth grade Spanish is based on the communicative approach to learning. This course introduces middle school students to basic Spanish vocabulary and grammar. Class is conducted mostly in Spanish. Students are encouraged to use as much Spanish as possible, regardless of vocabulary or accuracy. This course develops fundamental vocabulary and grammar for students to express themselves in situations including time, date, numbers, meeting and getting to know others, using adjectives, describing likes and dislikes, using subject pronouns, and conjugating in the present tense. Emphasis is placed on active communication aimed at the development of oral and comprehension skills; reading and writing skills are also introduced. The class format includes language practice through audio and Web usage, readings, games, and class activities. Students are expected to deepen their knowledge of Spanish-speaking regions and cultures. Students will focus on the  Spanish-speaking regions of Mexico, Spain, and Puerto Rico. Content will be based in ¡Exprésate! Level 1A as well as standards of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). As a way to connect Spanish studies to fifth grade humanities, middle school students will study how Colonial America’s fight for independence from Britain influenced the freedom movement of the Spanish colonies in Latin America as lead by Simón Bolívar. 
  • Sixth Grade Spanish

    In sixth grade Spanish, students gain a deeper understanding of the lexical content and grammatical structures of the Spanish language. Emphasis is placed on the fundamentals of Spanish vocabulary and grammar, focusing on the development of the four basic skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Students will review how to greet others, count, talk about classroom objects, tell time, and describe the weather. They will learn to conjugate regular and irregular verbs in the present, present progressive, simple future, and imperative tenses; compare and exaggerate ideas using comparatives and superlatives and command vocabulary related to topics including personal descriptions, families, and pastimes. This course will also help students to increase familiarity with Spanish-speaking regions and cultures, with focus on the following: Spain, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Chile, and the U.S. (Texas). By engaging with audio, web resources, readings, games, and other class activities, students will practice and solidify course concepts. Learners will be evaluated on accuracy through formative and summative assessments. Classes are conducted mostly in Spanish. Content will be based on ¡Exprésate! Level 1A as well as standards of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). As a way to connect their Spanish studies to the sixth grade humanities curriculum of Ancient Civilizations, students will be introduced to the history and culture of Mesoamerican and pre-Colombian cultures. 
  • Seventh Grade Spanish

    Spanish 1A 
    In seventh grade, Spanish, students will enhance the four basic skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing to a more complex level. Students will broaden their communicative abilities by using interrogatives to appropriately ask and answer questions; commanding the present, future, present progressive, and preterit tenses; and incorporating direct and indirect object pronouns. New vocabulary will allow students to discuss likes and dislikes, nationalities, personalities, physical descriptions, sports, family, routines, household objects and chores, emotions, and parts of the body. Classes will be taught almost exclusively in Spanish. Content will be based on ¡Exprésate! Level 1B as well as standards of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). As a way to connect their Spanish studies to the seventh grade humanities curriculum of World Geography and Contemporary World Problems, students will be introduced to topics such as global poverty, water availability, and sanitation in the Americas.
     
    Spanish 1
    In the advanced seventh grade Spanish course, students will enhance the four basic skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing to a more complex level, with focus on fluency and precision. Students will broaden their communicative abilities by using interrogatives to appropriately ask and answer questions; commanding the present, future, present progressive, preterit, and imperfect tenses; and incorporating direct and indirect object pronouns. New vocabulary will allow students to discuss likes and dislikes, nationalities, personalities, physical descriptions, sports, family, routines, household objects and chores, emotions, and parts of the body. Further, students will deepen their understanding of Spanish-speaking regions and cultures through the study of history, literature, culture, and contemporary issues. Students are encouraged to consult appropriate external materials such as web links, community resources, and other media to better understand Hispanic culture. Classes will be taught almost exclusively in Spanish. Content will be based on ¡Exprésate! Levels 1B and 2 as well as standards of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). As a way to connect their Spanish studies to the 7th grade humanities curriculum of World Geography and Contemporary World Problems, students will be introduced to topics such as global poverty, water availability, and sanitation in the Americas.

    Conversational Spanish
    This course is only offered to seventh and eighth grade students. It covers vocabulary, pronunciation, and high-frequency grammar structures in order to enhance communicative skills with a focus on listening comprehension and spoken output. In preparation for the eighth grade hallmark trip to Costa Rica, students will gain an understanding of basic grammar and sentence structures, which are absolutely necessary for competence in spoken Spanish. In this course, students will practice speaking and understanding the language of everyday life and become more informed on the different cultures and customs of the Spanish speaking world. Current events and subjects of particular interest to the class will also guide some of the discussions of this course. 
  • Eighth Grade Spanish

    Spanish 1B
    In eighth grade Spanish, students will learn to communicate more effectively and confidently with an overall focus on fluency and accuracy. The course will include a review of present and future tenses and expand to gain proficiency in the command of past (preterit and imperfect) and conditional tenses.  Students will be able to describe and express themselves, discern formal and informal situations, give and receive commands, and talk about topics such as childhood activities and toys, life events, food, measurements, shopping, travel, plants and animals, and outdoor activities. Further, students will deepen their understanding of Spanish-speaking regions and cultures through the study of history, literature, culture, and contemporary issues. This course will be taught almost exclusively in Spanish.  Students will incorporate the skills learned throughout their Open Window experience on an immersion based partnership in Costa Rica that will challenge them as they interact with local guides and stay with a Costa Rican family. Content will be based on ¡Exprésate! Level 1B as well as standards of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). High school placement will vary by student and school, but most students completing this course well be well prepared to enter a second year high school course as ninth graders.  As a way to connect their Spanish studies to the eighth grade humanities curriculum, students will study immigration patterns of Hispanic populations in the United States with a focus on Washington State.
     
    Spanish 2
    In the advanced eighth grade Spanish course, students will learn to communicate more effectively and confidently with an overall focus on fluency and accuracy. Course concepts and curriculum will use thematic and communicative approaches to facilitate the learning process. The course will include a review of present and future tenses and expand to gain proficiency in the command of past (preterit and imperfect) and conditional tenses.  Students will also be exposed to the subjunctive tense; used to describe their wishes, hopes, opinions, and give advice. Students will be able to describe and express themselves, discern formal and informal situations, give and receive commands, and talk about topics such as childhood activities and toys, life events, food, measurements, shopping, travel, plants and animals, and outdoor activities.  Students will incorporate the skills learned throughout their Open Window experience on an immersion based partnership in Costa Rica that will challenge them as they interact with local guides and stay with a Costa Rican family.  Further, students will deepen their understanding of Spanish-speaking regions and cultures through the study of history, literature, culture, and contemporary issues. The Spanish department encourages students to consult appropriate external materials such as web links, community resources, and other media to better understand Hispanic culture. Classes will be taught almost exclusively in Spanish. Content will be based on ¡Exprésate! Level 2 as well as standards of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). High school placement will vary by student and school, but most students completing this course well be well prepared to enter a third year high school course as ninth graders.  As a way to connect their Spanish studies to the eighth grade humanities curriculum, students will study immigration patterns and labor disputes of Hispanic populations in the United States with a focus on Washington State and current legislation.
     
    Conversational Spanish
    This course is only offered to seventh and eighth grade students. It covers vocabulary, pronunciation, and high-frequency grammar structures in order to enhance communicative skills with a focus on listening comprehension and spoken output. In preparation for the eighth grade hallmark trip to Costa Rica, students will gain an understanding of basic grammar and sentence structures, which are absolutely necessary for competence in spoken Spanish. In this course, students will practice speaking and understanding the language of everyday life and become more informed on the different cultures and customs of the Spanish speaking world. Current events and subjects of particular interest to the class will also guide some of the discussions of this course. 

Exploratory Classes

Exploratory classes provide unique opportunities to expose students to topics outside of the traditional curriculum. These classes can fuel an existing passion or perhaps spark interest in something brand new! Five week classes meet once per week and are non-graded. Topics change each session. Examples of past classes include: ballet, forensic science, Latin dance, jewelry making, knitting, the sport of cricket, stand-up comedy, and ukulele.
 
In fifth and sixth grades, classes are taught by Open Window teachers. The seventh and eighth grade students are taught by either Open Window teachers or by eighth grade students who have prepared a short course on a particular passion. The topics are as varied as the passions of our students and have included film-making, introduction to marketing and product design, lacrosse, Minecraft, musical theater, rocketry, Roman architecture, tap dance, and woodworking.

Partnerships and Hallmark Trips

List of 7 items.

  • What are Partnerships?

    Middle school classes spend several days each month off-campus in partnerships with various community resources.  The primary goals of partnerships are to enrich current curriculum, provide a broader life experience through cultural immersion and community service learning, inspire students about new possible careers and subjects, and create lasting memories through experiential education.
     
    Middle School partnerships relate directly to the core curriculum and grade level themes. Partnerships can occur both on and off-campus. Many of these experiences build on-going relationships with community professionals, leaders and service institutions.
  • What are Hallmark Trips?

    Middle School Hallmark Trips are an Open Window School spring tradition of fifth grade through eighth grade level experiences that deeply enrich the curriculum and the relationships within our class community. These experiences are intended to build confidence, self-awareness, and empathy, while broadening students’ understanding of the Northwest and beyond. They connect classroom learning to real world applications locally and globally.  The cost of these trips is inlcuded in tuition.
  • Fifth Grade: NatureBridge

    Fifth grade students travel to NatureBridge in Olympic National Park, engaging in a number of adventure activities and studying environmental science and conservation of natural resources. Students conduct team experiments and learn about the Elwha Dam Removal Project, the largest in history.
  • Sixth Grade: Salish Sea

    The sixth grade trip is designed to enrich the science curriculum and build personal confidence with an experience sailing in the San Juan Islands in Washington. Students design and conduct oceanographic field study as well as learn to independently sail, navigate and prepare meals. We have worked with Salish Sea Expeditions for six years and found it to be an ideal personal growth opportunity for middle school students growing up in the Northwest. 
  • Seventh Grade: Shakespeare Festival

    Designed to broaden students’ humanities curricular experience, seventh grade students travel to the Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon. Students spend six days studying Shakespeare, theater and playwriting and also experience camping, snowshoeing and whitewater rafting.
  • Eighth Grade: Washington, D.C.

    The start-of-the-year eighth grade trip to Washington, D.C. kicks off the final year of tremendous experiences for our eighth grade class. Students travel to our nation’s capital to launch their studies of American government. While in D.C., students visit monuments to investigate different styles of governing; they meet with members of the government while on Capitol Hill; they debate current issues traveling through the legislature; and they have a chance to visit the breathtaking museums that the capital has to offer. On this six day trip, students accumulate knowledge and unforgettable experiences that they will use throughout their eighth grade year.
  • Eighth Grade: Costa Rica

    The eighth grade trip culminates the experience at Open Window School as students travel internationally, are immersed in a new culture, practice their skills in a second language and engage in a number of scientific and adventure activities. The eighth grade class travels to Costa Rica for ten days where they experience living with a homestay family in a rural town, immersing themselves with native Spanish speakers, completing a service project for a local rural school, conducting self-designed science experiments, as well as ziplining, white-water rafting and snorkeling. 

Middle School Math

List of 4 members.

  • Elena von Naumann 

    Middle School Math Coordinator
  • Brook Achterhof 

    Middle School Math Teacher
  • Jason Ermer 

    Middle School Math Teacher
  • Sean Patch 

    Middle School Math Teacher

Middle School Humanities

List of 8 members.

  • Jennifer Northrup 

    5th Grade Humanities Teacher
  • Richi Thomas 

    Associate Teacher, Middle School
  • Dan Gulotta 

    6th Grade Humanities Teacher
  • Robin Smith 

    Associate Teacher, Middle School
  • Robin Russell 

    7th Grade Humanities Teacher
  • Robert Heald 

    Associate Teacher, Middle School
  • Corey Paulson 

    8th Grade Humanities Coordinator
  • Arren Ellingson 

    Associate Teacher, Middle School

Middle School Spanish

List of 4 members.

  • Mandi Davis 

    Spanish Coordinator & Teacher
  • Joyce Marquardt 

    Middle School Spanish Teacher
  • Iran Mederos Vazquez 

    Middle School Spanish Teacher
  • Erin Wallace 

    Dean of Students, MS 7 & 8
Open Window School provides a challenging academic curriculum blended with nurturing support from teachers that prepares students for long-term success.