Boy works in the glen


Growing Lifelong Learners Since 1972

Sky Program (Ages 11–14)

Our mixed-age 6th, 7th, and 8th grade classrooms are called the Sky.

We have separated these disciplines for your understanding, but within the classroom curriculum, they are intricately entwined. See the curriculum guide (.pdf) for more information.

What We Believe Sky Students Need

  • To be known and valued as individuals with unique interests, abilities, and challenges.
  • To develop trusting and mutually beneficial relationships with peers and to experience adults as mentors, guides, and resources.
  • To maintain a healthy sense of curiosity and to develop practical skills in applying that curiosity to explore ideas, think critically, and solve problems.
  • To develop an appreciation for the power and beauty of ideas and to experience the self-confidence and heightened self-esteem which accompany mastery of new skills.
  • To work within structure and well-defined limits and to learn skills in self-management by experiencing failure and success in a supportive and responsive environment.
  • To reach out to the bigger world from a position of security and to be involved in the wider community in meaningful ways.


We emphasize reading throughout the curriculum, including

  • Theme-based literature groups
  • Student read-alouds
  • Classroom read-alouds
  • Primary sources
  • Textbooks
  • Technical writing
  • Self-selected silent reading times
  • Reading to younger students in learning partners


We emphasize writing as a means of communication and self-expression with a program that includes

  • Proposal writing
  • Informal written conversation and notes in journals
  • Succinct, reflective writing on check-in sheets
  • Writing workshop—grammar, sentence structure, mechanics, and spelling
  • Multi-genre writing—'zines, poetry, creative writing, persuasive writing, essays, instructions, journals, and lab reports
  • Research papers and formal presentations


In addition to integration in unit themes, we use Mathematics in Context spiraling curriculum along with negotiated mathematics center practice to teach

  • Geometry
  • Algebra
  • Data and statistics
  • Numbers
  • Computational fluency

Social Studies

We embed social studies in our thematic units incorporating such things as

  • Election simulation—issue-based
  • Human rights
  • Service learning
  • Maps and timelines
  • Dates in history
  • Graduating senior studies with a shared U.S. history text
  • Socratic seminar
  • Debate
  • Student-facilitated class discussions


Science is embedded in our thematic units, incorporating such things as

  • Dissection lab
  • Lab report writing
  • Microscopy
  • Nature journals
  • Science notebook
  • Diagrams
  • Sketches
  • Reflection
  • Analysis
  • Electrolysis demonstration
  • Materials testing lab
  • Genetics—electrophoresis drosophila

All-School Classes

All-school classes emphasize a particular curricular area. When possible, activities are related to themes and projects in the level classrooms.


We include library time in our programming to complement our units of study and enrich our literary program by

  • Having a voice in the selection of new books purchased for the Wingra Library via regular "Lunch in the Library" sessions
  • Spending self-directed time in the library


We have the following goals for Sky students in our Spanish program:

  • Complete a standard Spanish 1 curriculum by graduation.
  • Use textbook resources.
  • Learn advance communication in Spanish language through more complex grammar concepts.
  • Explore cultural themes and relate them to political and social issues.
  • Focus on all four modes of communication: speaking, listening, reading, and writing.

Physical Education

Our physical education program for Sky students includes the following:

  • Learning healthy behaviors and lifestyle
  • Practicing jumping rope and participating in Jump Rope for Heart
  • Trying a wide variety of lifelong sports such as ice skating and snowshoeing
  • Practicing yoga, tai chi, and capoeira
  • Learning how to dance before Sky dances
  • Participating in a stress challenge
  • Participating in Community-building activities


Sky students learn the following during their technology time:

  • Keyboarding, ranging from typing games to word processing
  • Digital work with still art and animation art
  • Internet safety and literacy through the Google Suite and other common online tools
  • Digital animation shorts, blogging, Google Docs, Prezi (online presentation software)


We value the arts at Wingra and know how important they are to providing a well-rounded education for children of all ages.

Visual Arts

In our visual art program, Sky students

  • Apply art principles and elements as students grow in originality and creativity
  • Explore visual arts in relation to history and cultures
  • Learn the vocabulary and practice of reviewing artistic works in group critiques
  • Gain skills and confidence in media, techniques, and processes


In our music program, Sky students

  • Learn basic principles of chords, scales, and various styles of harmony from the science behind them, to playing, singing, and composing
  • Explore the role of music in popular culture and students’ own lives through critical analysis and creative projects
  • Develop original lyrics and music on topics of their choice

In the Classroom

Sky students study art in the classroom, too, with

  • Locker tags
  • Group art pieces
  • Theme-based listening centers
  • Collage responses
  • Art movement studies

Recent Thematic Units

We tie as much learning as possible into our two-to-three-week long thematic units. Here are some recent Sky units:

  • Changes
  • Energy and Power
  • Genetics
  • Government and Civics
  • Health, Wellness, and Human Sexuality
  • Regional Ecology
  • Resistance and Social Movements
  • Science and Belief
  • Stories from the Land
  • Watersheds


The Sky has several annual traditions that help create a close community:

  • Camping trip
  • Creating a Haunted House (Room 200)
  • Creating group art pieces
  • Desk selection process
  • Desk painting (Room 202)
  • Simulation unit
  • Stress challenge day
  • Student-run unit
  • Winter sports day