Raven Review November 2019


Welcome to the Raven Review! This is the new format for the Secondary program newsletter. Kudos to Aina Hellman, class of 2023, for designing the logo.


Wendy Coulombe holds a microphone and speaks
It’s hard to believe that we have just completed our first quarter of the school year, and just finished Completion Week. Traditionally we take a break from all math, Japanese, and Spanish classes during Completion Week. Students took their final tests in Language Arts, Social Studies, and Science at the beginning of the week, and then they participated in immersion activities such as movies and field trips. Middle School students watched “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back” related to the heroic journey they are studying in Personal World, and High School students watched “Gandhi”, since they are studying Indian History. On Friday, Middle School students traveled to Tacoma to visit America’s Car Museum, while High School students explored Tacoma’s Museum of Glass and the Tacoma Art Museum.

We’re looking forward to another great quarter!—Wendy Coulombe, Secondary Program Coordinator



By Yvonne Feng, class of 2022

This year, Amy Camber, the secondary art teacher, started a digital art class for high school electives.

Amy Camber said, “The goal of the high school Digital Art class is to teach students how to use computer software (Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and Adobe InDesign) in order to create art that tells their story: who they are as individuals and as a community, where they’re from, what they care about, etc.”

Some works that the students have done so far included Trackpad Creatures, Altered Photos, Super Beatles and Memory Collages, all shown here. (Click on the photos to see larger versions.)

Congratulations to our logo artists!

Masthead logo featuring black and gray raven head and titlingLogo using school trees along with JSA and a capital dome
Congratulations to our logo artists: Aina Hellman designed the Raven Review logo, and Meera Kohli has designed a logo for the WMS chapter of Junior State of America:

Spiral Curriculum event displays drew many visitors

By Yvonne Feng, class of ‘22
Photos by Meera Kohli ‘23

On Friday, Oct. 11, the WMS community revived the tradition of the Spiral Curriculum event. The Spiral Curriculum is a display of materials from different levels of Montessori education. Parents and children were both welcome to the event, which took place in the Ash classroom. The display was filled with materials from the EC classrooms, Lower and Upper Elementary, and Junior High. We received plenty of curious visitors.

Spanish class updates

Spanish 1
This fall students dove into the basics of Spanish, using text books, games and activities. They learned how to introduce themselves, ask for a friend’s phone number, and discuss their likes and dislikes. Students also studied the Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead. They learned how people in Mexico celebrate the holiday and created an altar in the foyer outside of club house during the week of Oct. 28. The altar included art that students created in art class, sugar skulls made in Spanish class, as well as photos, memories, Pan de Muerto or Bread of the Dead, and other traditional items.

Sugar skulls—click through the photos to see them.

Spanish 2/3
Spanish 2/3 students have been busy this fall studying Spanish from textbooks, reading and discussing news articles in class, listening and then acting out short stories, and studying the Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead. High School Spanish students in this class also helped create the altar in the Building 2 foyer.—Alexa Boss

Physics students study frictional forces

Students observe and work on laptops during a physics experiment

In Physics lab, students did experiments to study the force of friction. In the first set of experiments, they used a force sensor to measure the force it took to move a wooden block across a table. Using the friction graph they identified the maximum force of static friction and average kinetic friction.

In the other experiment, students used a cart and track system to track the acceleration of the cart on the track with and without added friction. Using this acceleration, they calculated the net force required to get the cart moving on the track and calculated the coefficient of kinetic friction.—Shyamala Iyer

Japanese language students research traditional sports

Japanese 1B class students did a research project on Japanese Traditional Sports. These projects were presented to the Japanese 1B and the Japanese Culture classes which were learning about Japanese martial arts. The topics of the sports presentations were Sumo, Karate, Judo and Kendo. Here are some comments that the students made about the sports.

“It seems like it is a lot like fencing, which looks really fun to do. The bamboo sword is light and long.”—Morgen

“I think that Karate is a good way to learn self defense and discipline.”—Nate

“Sumo is a very interesting sport. It doesn’t sound that interesting, but it is a big part of Japanese culture.”—Zachary

“I think Sumo is an interesting sport because it is basically king of the hill, but with big guys and I don’t like how the Sumo wrestlers have to change their body type.”—Austin

“I really think Kendo is interesting and I would have liked to do Kendo for using swords and trying to win.”—Madison

“I think that Sumo is cool, but I feel that it is bad that they are so big.”—Ian

“I like how this sport is mostly focused on gentleness and your mental stake. If I were to do a martial art, it would be Judo.”—Lily

“Kendo is my favorite sport because the bamboo swords seem like good self defense and cool swords.”—Shyam

In our Japanese 2 class the students wrote out their daily schedule in Japanese, utilizing pictures of each activity on a poster board, and presented it in class. They also wrote a postcard in Japanese to send to their make-believe friends about what they do and see in their home town in Seattle. They presented these in class.—Atsuko Seckinger

Science and Team Roles

A chart names and shows the different roles of team members
One part of making group work successful in science is the use of team roles. Each lab group of 3-4 students is selected randomly by drawing names, and the groups change every quarter. These groups typically have a Manager, Quality Controller, Technician and Reader. These roles change every day we are going a group activity or science lab, so every student gets experience with each role. On lab days, students wear color-coded lanyards that describe the duties of their role. Having these clearly designed roles helps the groups function much more smoothly, since it’s obvious to everyone in the group—and to the teacher—what each person should be doing, and everyone knows that their participation is needed. I had heard about classrooms using team roles before, but hadn’t seen them implemented very effectively until I attended a workshop during the summer of 2018 on POGIL (Process-Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning) and was inspired to modify it for my own purposes. We’re using a variety of POGIL and POGIL-type activities in both middle and high school science classes as well!

Physical Science

In Middle School, Physical Science alternates with Life Science in a two-year rotation for our combined class of 7th and 8th grade students. Our first quarter of work focused on the theme Force and Power, and included investigations of Newton’s Laws of Motion and building Rube Goldberg devices. Students used Vernier sensors and software to measure how force changed with friction, and motion detectors to investigate what happens if a (toy) vehicle hits an obstacle while carrying a passenger not wearing a seatbelt.

Rube Goldberg devices are built to accomplish very simple tasks in a very complicated way, and different projects built by students attempted to turn the page of a book, play the piano, score a goal, make toast, and pass gum to someone. It was amazing to witness the ingenuity and perseverance of these young scientists.—Alaine Davis


By College Counselor Jill O’Keefe

It has been a busy quarter in the College Counseling office!
Our first annual Family College Night offered a fun and informative evening to high school parents as they participated in a mock admissions committee meeting and weighed the relative merits of three fictitious college applicants. Lively debate and excellent leadership by our upperclassmen made for a very enjoyable evening!

Sophomores took part in YouScience—an aptitude assessment designed to serve as a jumping off point for discussing future college majors and career paths. Results will be reviewed in parent meetings held in December and January.

Freshman, sophomores and juniors sat for the PSAT on Oct. 16. Scores will be available in December.

Last but not least, we are excited to welcome Northeastern University to the high school this fall (date TBD). Our NU Seattle admissions representative will share information with the high school on Northeastern’s unique co-op-based curriculum. Parents are welcome to join us for what is sure to be an interesting information session. If you are interested in joining us, please contact Jill O’Keefe.

Questions from the Quad

This section answers questions that WMS families have asked Jill, our WMHS College Counselor. Feel free to submit questions related to college admissions to Jill.

Q: What percentage of WMHS students attend public universities and what percentage attend private universities?

A: Currently 33% of WMHS graduates attend a public university—the University of Washington. Sixty-six percent of graduates attend private colleges or universities. In terms of acceptances, 46% of acceptances have come from public schools in both the United States and Canada. Fifty-four percent of acceptances have come from private institutions across eight states.