In addition to the core classes, 7th and 8th grade students have the opportunity to choose from various electives during their Electives period. All elective classes are one-quarter long. Elective information is provided to students during the first week of school.
Students are required to take one public speaking elective and one community service elective in either seventh or eighth grade prior to graduation.
Elective I Courses
- Chess Strategies: Students work with other students to learn the basics of playing chess, create strategies, think critically, improve concentration, implement ideas, and design solutions.
- Global Studies: Students address high-interest global issues while practicing core research skills. They are not only given the tools to understand the processes of globalization and their consequences, but they are also empowered to shape their world as the next generation of global leaders in business, education, government, and the non-profit sector.
- Geometry-Architects of Learning: Students apply math skills in geometry, measurement, scale, and proportion to create a campus of pavilions designed to display a theme. Working in cooperative teams, they figure area, perimeter, scale, and design floor plans to create a three-dimensional scale model.
- Mind over Media: Students discover the secrets of media and its power over people. Whether it is television, music, magazines, or advertisements, we are influenced by many positive and negative messages. Students learn how to be media literate so they can better control the effect of this powerful medium in their life. This course involves some TV viewing.
- Public Speaking: This course prepares students for a variety of academic and other situations in which formal presentations are required. Through feedback from the teacher and their peers, students gain insight into the tactics that work for and against a speaker. The course aims to reduce their anxiety in public presentations, emphasize speech preparation, enhance public speaking skills, and make them better able to evaluate their own performance and that of their peers. This course is required for graduation.
Elective II Courses
- Acting: This class prepares the students for presenting an approximately 45-minute play. This includes memorizing lines, learning blocking, choosing of costumes, and changing sets for the performance at the Middle School Arts Fest in late May.
- Ceramics: In this fun and creative class, students enjoy working with their hands. They are given the opportunity to work with clay as well as to make original tile pieces and mosaics.
- Community Service: Students learn the joy of giving and helping others as they tutor students in reading, work on preparing projects with the teacher, play with students at recess, read a story to preschoolers, etc. This course is required for graduation.
- Filmmaking: Students learn the essentials of cinematic technique and film production in this fun, hands-on class. Using a camera, a video editing software, and their creativity, each group of students in this class will produce 2-3 three- to five-minute films. Some of the films may be shown at the Middle School Arts Fest in late May.
- Coding: Students learn valuable coding skills using Scratch, an online visual programming tool, and create their own interactive stories, games, and animations. They will learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively with other students in the class.
- Introduction to Python: Students learn how to program using Python. This course includes hands-on exercises to help students understand the basic components of Python programming while incrementally developing more significant programs. The projects in this course are based on assignments which relate to real-world problems. No previous programming knowledge is needed.
- Robotics: Students use their ingenuity, creativity, and technical prowess to build a robot out of Lego pieces and program their robot to function and respond to their commands using the Lego Mindstorms software.
- Web Design: Students work collaboratively with other students to design and create innovative web pages using such online tools as Wix or Weebly.
- Wildlife Exploration: Students learn about wildlife in the school’s Peace Garden and the role we play in our natural environment. They explore how plants and animals live in our garden and discover wildlife outside our school. We will work to make space for wildlife on campus and take walks to see how plants and animals live in neighborhoods and wild spaces around us.
- Woodworking: Students learn to become creative woodworkers by having the opportunity to work with wood using a variety of tools and techniques. Using their hands and their mind, they will build their own projects from start to finish.
- Yearbook: Students work in teams to put together the school’s yearbook. This course gives students experience in print media publishing and in working towards the completion of a large finished product. Students shoot photos outside of class and compose, construct, and edit all elements of computerized text layout, graphic art, and digital photography in class. They also work on many clerical operations, make announcements, maintain signs, conduct student polls, and assist each other as needed.