Language Arts

Please note: not all classes are offered every session. WLR varies/rotates the schedule based on teacher availability and interests indicated by participating families.

Some classes may be categorized more than one way. For instance Renaissance Arts may be listed under both “Arts & Crafts” as well as “History / Humanities.”

Every effort is made to keep the Class Description pages up-to-date; if you don’t see something, please ask.

All the World’s a Stage: Script writing and Drama
The gods and goddesses of Greek mythology, kings and warriors of the Roman Empire, artists and scientists of the Renaissance, and the movers and shakers of the Industrial Revolution will serve to inspire the students to be playwrights and actors in this class. History comes to life on the stage as the students learn how to format and write a stage script, and in various ensembles, perform their plays as a finale to the 12-week course.  The class play offers a fantastic conduit for the students to learn valuable artistic, dramatic, musical and language arts skills. “With an opportunity to write their own dialogue and scripts, and then to act in them – well, what a great way to learn history, to be creative, and to have fun!” – Dr. Tan

American Sign Language
Through this active class, students will use movement to learn American Sign Language (ASL) through songs, activities and games. Each class will focus on a vocabulary topic and include review, finger spelling and sentence building. Topics will be based on the children’s interests (animals, nature, food, family, colors, emotions, and more.) Students may practice sign language after class by using an ASL notebook that they will create in class. Parents are welcome and encouraged to attend with their children.

Art of Speaking, Grades 4-8
For the older students, the focus will be on desirable speaking skills, including the elements of tone, facial expression, eye contact, and voice projection. Students will develop these skills by working with spoken language in the form of poems, verses, Readers’ Theatre, and more in order to increase their skill and confidence with oral communication.

Basic Grammar Through Story & Art
This class is designed to teach the basics of grammar through imagination and art, teaching the parts of speech in a concrete rather than an abstract manner. The act of drawing gives the child an opportunity to absorb what is being taught, thus gaining an understanding of the material that goes far beyond memorizing a definition. NounMaterials will be provided. The finished drawings can form the basis of a Lesson Book which can be added to with further written work at home if desired.

Level 1 will cover the four sentence types and introduce the basic parts of speech, using story, simple games and copy work.

Level 2 will review material from Level 1, complete the basic parts of speech and continue practice with Grammar using story, art and movement. According to the students’ needs, form drawing, fine motor skill activity and further work in language arts will be incorporated.

Classical Writing, Grades 6 – 8 (minimum age 12)Classical_writing_image-188x219
While the emphasis of this course will be on persuasive composition, the concepts are applicable to all forms of writing. Students will learn key skills (rather than formulas) and thinking tools. This structured program starts slowly to ensure comprehension of foundational concepts before moving to more advanced applications. The class is about 2 hours long, providing time for lively discussions and exploration of the emerging intellect of this developmental stage. Classical Writing is a full-year course. Semester 1 will run for 12 weeks. Semester 2 will run for 12-15 weeks. Weekly homework will be assigned.

Prerequisite: Knowledge of basic English grammar, spelling and punctuation.

Esperanto, the International Language
Crafted by a polylinguist in 1887, fluency in Esperanto is more quickly attainable, giving the confidence and skills needed to learn more difficult languages. The vocabulary is an  excellent stepping stone to learning Latin, German, French and other Indo-European  languages, without immediately being confronted by such grammatical complexities as irregular verbs, gendered nouns, cases and other linguistic hurdles. We will play, sing, color and dance in this introductory, sample class. Parents are welcome to attend with their children.

New! Heroes & Fables • Grades 1-3

Children in the early grades are learning to increase their independence. This is the perfect time to bring them fables (with hidden lessons), tall tales and stories with heroes that exemplify the best of humanity: kindness, compassion, courage.  Through storytelling, the children will build inner pictures of characters from tales such as Johnny Appleseed and The Lion and the Mouse.  Students will retell the story in their own words (building memory and sequencing skills) and also “live into” the stories and images creatively through a variety of medium such as acting out a scene, modeling with beeswax or illustrating the story with colored pencils or beeswax crayons. As a group, students will compose a sentence or two about each story which the teacher will write on the board. Depending on individual skills, students will have the opportunity to copy a word, sentence or more into their lesson books, creating a page for each story.

Although there is no “real” homework for this class, parents are requested to have their student retell the story to you the day after class. In this way, the story will “sleep” with the child and enter into the consciousness in a deep way. By retelling the next day, your student will be able to deepen his relationship with the characters and messages of the stories.

Heroes & Fables combines Language Arts, Drama and History.

Joy of Speaking, Grades 1-3
This class will facilitate literacy / oral language development through the use of poems, verses, tongue twisters & more. Memorization skills will be developed / enhanced, and students will increase phonemic awareness as an aide to literacy development. Emphasizing the joy of language, students will gain confidence in their speaking abilities.

Joyful Rhythm, Movement & Speech • Grades 1-4
Learning through movement and spatial awareness helps build strength, balance and coordination while encouraging sensory integration. Using joyful language (verses, rhymes, tongue twisters) and activities such as hand clapping and rhythm stick games, students will increase speaking confidence and memorization skills while engaging in brain enhancing movement. In addition, the class helps build social skills by enhancing the development of communication, cooperation, respect, and sharing.

New! Nature Stories & Crafts
In this lively class, students will engage the imagination through storytelling and crafts. Stories will focus on the seasons, Native American tales and the natural environment. Each story will be paired with a craft such as making seed balls for birds, stringing “Indian Corn,” and making an ornament out of wheat. Although not ingested, crafts will include exposure to flour, oats, millet, birdseed, honey and corn. Class integrates language arts, science, arts and crafts.

Storytelling & Drama
Grades 1 – 3
In each class, we will create our own story: the characters, the obstacle, the crisis, the solution, the ending. It will be a process where we play/act our way through the plot. As a group we will  discover the narration, dialogue, movement, and possibly music, living into the group imagination in a playful and creative activity. No homework is required, as each story process will be contained within the class period.

Our Spanish program is immersion-based, positive and fun! Students will interact with one another and the instructor while building confidence to communicate and understand Spanish, as well as appreciating Hispanic culture. Taught by native speaking instructor.

New! Writing: Imagination & the Basics, Grades 4-8
In this writers’ workshop for Grades 4-8, students will experience playing with dialogue, using descriptive language, and learning word games and activities. With their new skills, students will combine sentences to create more complex and interesting writing. Designed for both enthusiastic writers and those who would rather do anything than write, this class will deepen students’ relationship to language, showing how sensory images make writing come to life. Students will have opportunities to share their work and ask questions about each other’s writing in a supportive environment, while enhancing the process of revision. Along the way, students will learn the answers to these questions:

  • What is a sentence?
  • Where do I punctuate?
  • How do I write a paragraph? (topic sentence, closing sentence, starting a new paragraph)

Homework will be assigned.