We are so excited to launch a new component of the middle school program, Intensives. These electives are an opportunity for 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students in mixed-age groups to deeply explore an area of interest they might otherwise have limited or no exposure to.
From ancient survival skills to computer coding to introduction to sculpture, these 10-week courses will meet twice each week for an hour at a time. The birth of Intensives came about during a series of meetings held by our middle school teachers to addresses such questions as What if anything is missing from our middle school experience? How can we authentically create mixed-aged experiences that will mirror what students will experience once out of school? And how can we add greater student voice and choice to our middle school curriculum?
Here are this fall's Middle School Intensives.
The Lion King Jr., The Musical - The Philadelphia School and MacGuffin Theatre and Film Company are joining together to produce Disney's The Lion King Jr. It will be a full production with sets, costumes, and props, directed by Liz Fredette with musical direction by John Rea. This intensive runs through the fall and winter terms.
Coding in Scratch for Beginners - Scratch is a computer code developed by MIT for middle school students. This course is for beginners with no, or very little, experience writing a computer program. If there is time and interest, the class may explore other computer languages meant for beginners, such as Apple’s computer language, Swift.
World Percussion - Students will play all kinds of drums and experience a variety of percussion styles. They will learn various techniques for hands and sticks, play traditional rhythmic ensemble arrangements, and use basic notation and methods for improvisation.
Creative Colloquium - This creative writing course will focus on short works of poetry and fiction. Class sessions will alternate between explorations of particular styles/forms and readings of original work. Toward the end of the term, students will put together a selection of their best pieces for publication.
Philly Murals - Students will explore 17 of Center City’s most iconic murals, including the Garden of Delights, Taste of Summer, and Pride and Progress. Part of this course will be to research the history of the Mural Arts Program to discover their impact and influence on street art. Students will use the “Mural Mile” guide to discover more about the stories behind each mural.
Flow - Energy runs through everything in the universe and connects all, including human beings! This class will explore the flow of energy through systems physically, metaphysically, and mystically. Through hands-on activities, reading, and conversation, we will investigate the relationship between energy in living things, inanimate objects, and spirituality.
Introduction to Sculpture - Students will learn basic techniques of two-dimensional and three-dimensional sculpting with a variety of tools and materials.
Ancient Survival Tools and Techniques - How have cultures created all they need to survive from their surroundings? Students will learn to make rope, medicine, and food from common plant life; they will create shelter and traps from stones and branches; and they will find water without a tap and make fire without a match.
Works on Paper - This is an opportunity to explore different media with some fun drawing, photo transfer, stamping, and printmaking techniques using pencils, pens, paints, and inks. The final products can be two- or three-dimensional constructions, mixed media, mobiles, boxed editions, or any other clever ideas you can come up with. The options are endless!!!
Debate - Is building a wall along the US/Mexico border is a good way to make America great again? Is it okay that football player Colin Kaepernick and other athletes kneel during the national anthem in protest? Be prepared to explore the art of debate by identifying and researching issues you care about, forming supporting arguments and strategies, and honing your speaking and presentation skills. All opinions welcome!
Middle Schoolers designated their top three Intensive choices this week and will soon find out which fall course they will be in. Intensives begin on September 28.
This is just the beginning! We welcome student thoughts and suggestions. Their suggestions are meant to be a key driver of the future of Intensives. And if you would like to offer a winter or spring Intensive, contact Assistant Head of School Matt Eskin.