Merrill Middle School

Elective Courses for the 17-18 School Year

Unless otherwise stated, all electives offerings are one semester–18 weeks–in duration.

6th Grade SmartLab
6th grade students progress through rotations designed for hands on learning.  The focus of this course is to get an introduction to the SmartLab, understand the rules and procedures, and get a glimpse of what the SmartLab is capable of.  With this foundation, students can come back in 7th grade and hit the ground running.  Students will explore three-dimensional drawing, website design, simple machines, circuitry, scientific probe ware, Lego robotics, computer programming, and bridge design.  They use technology in many different ways as they design projects, test their ideas, and create online ePortfolios to document their learning.  This is a mandatory course for all 6th grade students.

 

7th and 8th Grade SmartLab
SmartLabs are 21st century technology labs designed for exploring STEM, digital media arts, and many other academic topics.  7th and 8th grade students progress through a series of curriculum-guided and self-directed project engagements.  While doing this they learn essential technology skills and systems, including, mechanics and structures, computer graphics, science and data acquisition, publishing and media, robotics and control technology, circuitry, and computer simulation.  They use technology in many different ways as they design projects, test their ideas, and create online ePortfolios to document their learning.  The SmartLab approach to STEM comes from a real-world perspective by putting students in a project-based context.  The students are challenged to use critical-thinking skills, problem solving skills, and collaboration and communication.

 

6th Grade Art
The Sixth grade Art class is a trimester long program where students follow a curriculum that emphasizes learning and applying the Elements of Art. Students will be doing individual as well as collaborative work, requiring higher level thinking skills, and they will be exploring a variety of mediums along the way. They will be learning and applying relevant vocabulary for each project, engaging in whole class critiques as well as writing personal reflections of their work. Each trimester will offer a different series of projects with a different series of creative challenges for students. Students will keep an art portfolio in class and will make a sketchpad for class notes and homework assignments.

 

7th Grade Art
The Seventh grade Art class is a trimester long program. Students will be involved in a variety of two-dimensional projects while learning basic drawing and painting fundamentals. The emphasis will be to continue to develop students understanding and application of the Elements of Art learned in 6th grade. They will be learning and applying relevant vocabulary for each project, engaging in whole class critiques as well as writing personal reflections of their work. For the student who may repeat Art, each trimester will offer a different series of projects with different creative challenges and through each unit students will explore different media. Students will keep an art portfolio in class and will make a sketchpad for class notes and homework assignments.

 

8th Grade Art
Eight grade Art is a trimester long class. Students will apply general and advanced drawing and painting fundamentals in a series of 2 dimensional projects. These students will apply the Elements of art background, learned in 6th and 7th grade, to an advanced series of drawings and paintings, which require creative   thinking as well as self-sufficiency when approaching their projects. Each major unit will conclude with a whole class critique followed by students writing personal reflections about their finished work  Eighth grade art will also include a ceramics unit. Students will be creating 3-dimensional art using clay, utilizing the process of hand building to create functional as well as sculptural pieces. They will be learning the academic language of ceramics during this unit.

 

6-8 Grade Drama

The new Drama Program is an introduction to the acting and theatre production process, with a focus on collaboration. Students learn how to build a character; how to use their body and voice in interesting ways, and how to create effective stage movement and design. They begin to explore student leadership by leading warm-ups, and teaching theatre games. They learn how to develop their own material through the use of improvisation, as well as how to work with a variety of texts, including: scripted material, literature, and poetry. Students have many opportunities to collaborate in both small and large ensembles, as well as working individually.

6th and 7th Grade Physical Education
The focus for 6th grade will be on cognitive understanding of rules and strategies and how to self-assess and modify their own skills. We will be using the TGFU Model to promote understanding within modified games. Units will be up to six weeks long but will rotate on a weekly or biweekly basis from one game to the next. We will focus on Invasion, Target, and Individual games in 6th grade and Striking and Fielding, Net/Wall, and individual games in 7th grade.

 

8th Grade Physical Education

In 8th grade we will increase the competition side of class. I will be using the Sport Ed Model where students will be put into teams for the duration of the unit. Each student will be responsible for a job: Equipment manager, statistician, Coach, assistant coach, etc. in an attempt to put full class ownership onto the students.  We will get much deeper into specific games and the games will be less modified and more competitive compared to previous grade levels. We will spend up to 3 weeks on each game to promote deep understanding and mastery throughout the standards. We will also increase our number or intense focused workouts from one to at least two per week. There will be more focus on health related fitness and goal setting. We will do Invasion, Net/wall, Target, Striking and Fielding, Individual and Adult Oriented fitness.

 

6th Grade Music- Semester long

This is a general music class open to all 6th grade students. In this class students will develop their own musicianship and historical and cultural understandings of music through performance, composition, and listening. Exploration of these concepts will come through singing classical and contemporary unison songs, and performing, improvising, and composing with quarter, eighth and half note rhythms on African Drums.

 

6th Grade Band- Year long

This class is open to all 6th grade students with interest in developing musical study through traditional concert band instruments. These include flute, clarinets, saxophones, trumpet, French horn, baritone, trombone, tuba, and concert percussion (snare/bass/mallet/auxiliary). Students will develop their own musicianship and historical and cultural understandings of music through performance of one to two part pieces, single line, simple meter composition, and listening.

 

7th Grade Music- Semester long

This is a general music class open to all 7th grade students. In this class students will develop their own musicianship and historical and cultural understandings of music through performance, composition, and listening. Exploration of these concepts will come through singing classical and contemporary two part songs, and performing, improvising, and composing with half-sixteenth note rhythms on African Drums.

 

7th Grade Band- Year long; prerequisite, 1 year of Band Study

This class is open to all 7th grade students with interest in developing musical study through traditional concert band instruments. These include flute, clarinets, saxophones, trumpet, French horn, baritone, trombone, tuba, and concert percussion (snare/bass/mallet/auxiliary). Students will develop their own musicianship and historical and cultural understandings of music through performance of two to three part pieces,  two line, simple meter composition, and listening.

 

8th Grade Music- Semester long

This is a general music class open to all 8th grade students. In this class students will develop their own musicianship and historical and cultural understandings of music through performance, composition, and listening. Exploration of these concepts will come through singing classical and contemporary two and three part songs, and performing, improvising, and composing multiple part rhythms on African Drums.

 

7th/8th Grade Advanced Band- Year long; prerequisite, 2 years of Band Study OR Pass Playing Test

This class is open to all advanced students with interest in developing musical study through traditional concert band instruments. These include flute, clarinets, saxophones, trumpet, French horn, baritone, trombone, tuba, and concert percussion (snare/bass/mallet/auxiliary). Students will develop their own musicianship and historical and cultural understandings of music through performance of grade 3 and higher pieces, multiple part and varied meter composition, and listening.

 

Gifted and Talented

Advanced Reading/Debate, Rhetoric, & Philosophy

Over the course of several weeks, students will collaboratively explore 4 new genres of reading that they may never have experienced before, and not only will they experience new genres they will do so collaboratively. The categories are: 1.) Non-Fiction Narrative- learn about stories and tales that are too strange to be fiction, and also learn how authors use the tricks of narrative fiction to bring true life stories and topics to life. 2.) Diverse Point of View- Read books written by Non-White Males with Non-White Male protagonists. 3.) Graphic Novels- Not all graphic novels are about super heroes (although quite a few of ours are) learn about visual storytelling and what it means when pictures and words combine to create something different. 4.) Sci-Fi/Dystopian- Explore the end of the world or the far future with this selection of texts, interesting note a majority of our Sci-Fi/Dystopian novels are over 30 years old and many of them accurately predicted the future. Advanced reading explores the boundaries of the school as well so get ready to leave the classroom and read in some cool and interesting places. For the remainder of the semester, students will delve into debate, rhetoric, and philosophy. Please e-mail Mr. Garland for any GT-specific questions @ andrew_garland@dpsk12.org

Spanish

Spanish 1 (6th Grade)

Do you want to learn how to Speak Spanish in a fun and engaging class? Then join the Spanish immersion experience at Merrill! You will learn basic Spanish speaking, writing, reading, and listening skills along with culture by creating and dramatizing class-made stories, listening to songs, reading novels, participating in Readers Theater, and so much more.

 

Spanish 2 (7th Grade)

Do you want to learn how to Speak Spanish in a fun and engaging class? Then join the Spanish immersion experience at Merrill! In Spanish 2, you will continue to develop skills in speaking, writing, reading and listening of the Spanish language and culture by creating and dramatizing class-made stories, listening to songs, reading novels, participating in Readers Theater and much more.

*Prerequisite of Spanish 1

 

Advanced Spanish 3 (8th Grade)

Do you want to learn how to Speak Spanish in a fun and engaging class? Then join the Spanish immersion experience at Merrill! In the Advanced Spanish 3 course, you will continue to build off previous skills and knowledge in speaking, listening, reading and writing of the Spanish culture while learning more advanced concepts.  You will develop your language skills by creating and dramatizing class-made stories, listening to songs, reading more advanced novels, participating in Readers Theater and much more.  Students who have completed three years of middle school Spanish should be prepared to enter Spanish 3 or 4 in high school.

 *Prerequisite of Spanish 1/2

Spanish Heritage


Los idiomas que hablamos son una parte clave de nuestra identidad. En este curso concentramos en nuestra identidad como hispanohablantes. Regístrate para este curso si te gustaría aprender más del español y desarrollar sus habilidades lingüísticas en las áreas de lectura y escritura además de expandir tu vocabulario. Las personas bilingües quienes pueden hablar, escribir y leer en más que un idioma tienen acceso a más trabajos y ganan más dinero que las personas quienes solo hablan un idioma. Este curso mejorará tus oportunidades e interacciones ahora y en el futuro.