Middle School Elective Program

One Friday afternoon some 1st and 2nd grade parents asked why there were so many middle schoolers milling about at 1:45 on Friday afternoon. I took advantage of the opportunity to share about the middle school elective program we were experimenting with this year.

In the fall I asked for volunteers to help create six-session courses in various skills for a small, mixed grade group of students. Our community is full of creative and generous folks ready to share what they love.

Let me brag about each of the sessions just a little bit, sprinkled with some pictures.

Some students had a great time in a cooking class here at school.  They had three weeks of Japanese cooking with Seishiro Hokozano  and three weeks of Thai cooking with Stephanie Bernell.  Any class that involves eating is popular with middle schoolers but eating such delicious food that they were learning to prepare was an extra treat!





The Home Repair class, led by Kevin Burton, got a great start on learning repairs for basic problems in plumbing, wiring, drywall and more.  I hope these skills can be useful at home!







You may have seen the display of work from the Clay Explorations class taught by Sam Hoffman and Liz Riley in our glass case.The students were able to shape and glaze several pieces and the fired items looked great.  Liz’s first grader, Jackson, got to play with clay on Friday afternoons with the group and liked making tiny items.





Real ping pong was a big “hit”.  Taught by competitive ping pong player Huaping Liu (joined sometimes by his young sons – both nationally ranked champs) our students got a taste of what ping pong is like as a sport. Several students signed up for this class with the goal of being able to beat their parents at the game and I have heard that this goal was definitely reached. This was definitely the sweatiest class.




Several groups went off campus for their classes. Kathrine Sanders of Downtown Dance led a high energy Hip-Hop dance class, Tyler Bushnell and Aiyanna Cameron-Lewis took a group cross-country running  and we also had class specially designed for a group of our students at the Merry Inksters printing studio.  They were able to set type by hand and operate hand presses to create cards with their own poetry and each student received a hand-made book with each other’s work.


This was our first attempt at an elective program.  I wanted to provide some interesting short classes and have opportunities for the students from each class to work together and build social connections. There generated a lot of positive feedback from the teachers and students so we will look into doing it again next year.

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