Middle School Mini Courses Offer Students Experiential Learning

Middle School Mini Courses Offer Students Experiential Learning
Gretchen Lee

As part of the continued effort to offer students "experiential" learning opportunities, grades 4-7 recently participated in a variety of mini courses. 

Based upon the success of the Upper School program and data collected through a student poll, SRDS faculty members developed hands-on, project-based course content with the goal of teaching important skills such as creativity, critical thinking, research, collaboration, applied learning, problem solving and public speaking. Courses were all taught on campus with the goal of providing experiences to see connections between the instruction in the classroom and the ‘real-world’.

Students were given the opportunity to select a mini course that appealed to them for the 2-day session. Course offerings included:

Music Video Production: taught by Technology instructors Laura Hollis and Verne Becker, students had the opportunity to select their favorite song and create their own original video to go with it. They used the RebelVision Studio and all the video cameras, the IDEAS Lab and laptops for editing. They presented their creations to their classmates at the end of the two days.

Viaggi Italia: taught by Upper School Head, Tony Maccarella and Middle/Lower School Assistant Head, Chris Lebovits, students took a virtual tour of the Italian peninsula, stopping in Rome (ancient history and culture), Florence (art and architecture), Venice (music and literature), Sicily (drama), Naples (food and cooking) and Milan (current fashion and culture). Throughout the tour, students learned basic Italian language and geography.

Musical Styles of Latin America: taught by World Language teacher, Chantal Rivers-Xin and Middle School Humanities teacher, Joe McMenamin, students were introduced to various rhythms/beats that comprise Latin American music. They discussed the instrumentation utilized to create certain rhythms (Bachata: guira, Flamenco: Castanets, Salsa: maracas). Students also recreated these sounds using every day items as "instruments." They learned the dance styles for each rhythm and a s final project, they recorded a beat/song with their instruments or created a dance routine/flash mob.

Earth Day Invention: taught by 4th Grade teacher Amanda Bieglecki and P.E. instructor Adam Brown, students explored and researched creating a machine that could save the environment and help make the world a better place. 

The Miraculous Undersea Garden of Groovy vibes (in the style of M. Henri Matisse): taught by 5th Grade teacher, Meaghan Arias, and Photography instructor, Chris Carroll, students envisioned, created, cut-out, and hung vast landscapes of fantastical sea creatures. The display will "disappear like the evanescent mist from whence it came" in about two weeks... super GROOVY!

Self Care: taught by Middle School Science teacher, Steve Osvold and Lower School Intern, Maria Kovoros, students engaged in discussion about the ideas behind self-care and how middle schoolers can implement it into their daily habits. Discussions included topics such as the brain, stress, mindfulness, and sleep. Various worksheets and activities helped to explore this topic and increase understanding of the importance of taking care of yourself.

Enjoy the photo gallery of our students engaged in their mini courses.