Intensives are electives that provide an opportunity for 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students in mixed-age groups to deeply explore an area of interest or a topic to which they might otherwise have limited or no previous exposure. Each intensive includes 6th, 7th, and 8th graders.
Intensives meet once a week for a double period for 8 to 10 weeks. There are three sessions during the school year. Intensives are led by middle school teachers or guest instructors.
Here are this fall's Middle School Intensives.
Calling All Lyricists! - Students will consider the art of writing song lyrics, listening and analyzing lyrics for meaning and influence. They will write original lyrics that Temple University composers will set to music for performance this spring. TPS students will work alongside students from the Chester A. Arthur School. They will alternate weeks at TPS and Chester A. Arthur and will use the lunch period to travel.
Debate - Should people break laws that they do not believe are fair? Should students be allowed to bring candy to TPS? This class explores the art of debate by identifying and researching issues students care about, while developing arguments and strategies to use in both informal and formal debate structures.
The Fantastic World of Botanical Illustration - Through observational drawing, students examine the basic structures and botany of a variety of specimen plants, including edibles, flowers, succulents, shrubs, and trees. Drawing opportunities take place in the art studio, the ECEC garden, and local green spaces. Students will create a handmade journal of their botanical studies or a culminating project in which realism and fantasy morph into a surreal botanical illustration.
First Lego League Robotics Competition - TPS is entering the FLL competition. With over a quarter million worldwide participants, TPS will be competing against the best and brightest middle school roboticists in pursuit of qualification to the international festival.
Home Away From Home: Refugees and Immigrants - Students will learn about the experiences of young people who have moved from their home countries to the United States. TPS is partnering with HIAS, a nonprofit organization that provides humanitarian aid and assistance to refugees.
Intro to Podcasting - Students will produce a series of podcasts about TPS traditions and programmatic highlights (e.g., the all-school theme, family groups, the Thanksgiving Feast, the Spanish Trip). The podcasts will feature Story Corps–style interviews that explore the historical context, the teacher perspective, and the student perspective.
Let’s Go Lobbying - We will be focusing on Philadelphia local issues this fall, with students setting up meetings with City Council members and mayoral staff at City Hall. Guest speakers will guide students in the choice of issues and teach them how to navigate City Hall.
Se habla espanol - Conversational Spanish. Students will improve their Spanish conversational skills and have the opportunity of developing a deeper understanding of Hispanic culture.
Sherlock! - This collaboration with the Philadelphia Museum of Art will involve visits to the museum to engage in activities focused on skill building using artwork and will culminate in a hands-on project here at school. The Philadelphia School has been chosen to pilot this program for middle schoolers throughout the region.
Step - Step is an innovative art form using the human body to create rhythm combined with powerful movements. This course will use the book Soulstepping by Elizabeth C. Fine as its literary guide, exploring the history of step and the multiple ways that it exists today. And, of course, students will create a step show of their own!
Student Diversity Advisory Board - Students will help in the creation of a board that will allow the school’s Diversity Committee to engage students who are interested in diversity work at TPS. Students will provide feedback regarding what students want and need from faculty, what they feel we are doing well and what can be improved, and what types of affinity/ally groups they would like to see in the future.
Ukulele Basics - Students will learn how to play chords, different strums, and melodies, as well as how to read tabs. We will play many familiar tunes. Students who took this Intensive last year will move on to more sophisticated playing!