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Extra-Departmental and Friday Courses

Grade 6 Required Extra-Departmental and Friday Courses

All Grade 6 students will take two Friday courses each trimester, and are required to take the following:

Wellness 6 (Friday Course)

The Wellness 6 course will introduce the decision-making model and the core values of character. Internet safety will also be addressed, and students will discuss ways to treat others respectfully when using technology sources. Students will learn how to utilize nutrition databases to make healthy food choices, and the dangers of tobacco and vaping devices will be discussed.

Seminar 6 (Friday Course)

New beginnings, however wonderful, can be a challenge. In this course, this year’s newest Middle School students will face that challenge properly prepared. This course also provides them with an orientation to Middle School life and the Pingry community as a whole. Students will practice organization tips as well as time management skills through a variety of activities. Optimizing brain power, managing one’s digital life, and developing effective note-taking and test-taking strategies will be covered in a collaborative, laid-back environment.

Computer Science 6 (Friday Course)

This course will serve as an introduction to Computer Science for Grade 6. Students will learn how to program a robot and will explore topics in computer science. Topics may include binary, algorithmic thinking, and debugging.  

Mindfulness 6 (Friday Course)

Mindful awareness is a practice that can help students to notice what is happening in the present moment, without making judgements or trying to change anything. Students will learn skills that can help them to relax, tune in to their senses, and learn to enjoy the ever-changing and sometimes challenging moments of their day-to-day experience. Mindfulness training can also help students to focus and pay attention in athletics, in the classroom, and in other favorite activities. Students will learn to cultivate positive emotions and gratitude as well.  

Music (Friday Course)

This course runs during the same trimester as students’ regular music classes. Students may select from band, strings, or girls’ or boys’ chorus. Students participate in a concert that corresponds with the trimester in which they take music, in December, March, or May. The Friday time slot allows for combined rehearsals in preparation for these concerts. All band students will also participate in an additional period of music, once per cycle, for the entire school year. In addition, optional musical sectionals will be offered after school throughout the year. For more information, and to sign up, please contact Helena Moseman, Music Department Administrative Assistant.

Grade 6 Elective Extra-Departmental and Friday Courses

In addition to the above required courses, Grade 6 students will also express their preference for their sixth Friday course, among the following electives:

Friday Knights: Introduction to Chess (Friday Course)

Studies have shown that playing chess has many benefits. It exercises both sides of the brain, improves problem-solving skills, teaches planning and foresight, and even improves your memory and creativity. In this introductory course, we will learn the rules of the game, explore basic checkmates, and introduce phases and tactics of the game. We will start each lesson with puzzles, review what we have covered so far, and introduce a new concept. Students will receive accounts at chesskid.com, where they can watch instructional (and humorous) videos, solve puzzles (at a “just right” level of difficulty), and play other students online. Time for free play will always be incorporated. Incentives for reaching milestones (such as a certain puzzle rating) will be offered, and we will have a tournament at the end of the course in which students will have a chance to compete against their classmates.

Geography: Where in the World? (Friday Course)

Take a journey around the world to discover new and old places without leaving the classroom! We will explore Google Earth, create our own maps, play games, discover food and music from around the world, and much more!

Let's Get Kraken: World Mythology (Friday Course)

Are you interested in the stories of gods and goddesses and the cultures that produced them? Have you read all the Rick Riordan books? Do you want to learn about Zeus, Thor, Isis, Morrigan, and others? Let's Get Kraken will explore the myths of multiple cultures (some familiar, some novel) and what those myths tell us about the cultures that created them. We will also envision how these various gods might interact with one another at an International God Summit.  

Library Expo (Friday Course)

Head over to the beautiful C.B. Newton Library for some library fun! Students will browse the library collection, check out books, and listen to read-alouds. We’ll wonder and discover, providing an easy intro to research and reference skills. Class time will also focus on library events such as Banned Book Week, the Newbery Awards, and Poetry Month, and yes, sometimes we will just “chill out” and read.   

Form I Required Extra-Departmental and Friday Courses

All Form I students will take two Friday courses each trimester, and are required to take the following:

Acting Out: Improvisation (Friday Course)

No scripts, no memorizing, just fun! Designed to be creative and liberating, this class will teach the basic rules of improvisation and how to keep a scene going. Students will experience many theater games and exercises that stimulate the imagination.

Introduction to Game Design Using Unity (Friday Course)

Unity is a powerful, open source game development platform used to create immersive games, virtual and augmented reality experiences. This course introduces students to game design using Unity. Applying creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills, students gain an understanding of how to construct interactive applications and the video game creation process.

Public Speaking 7 (Friday Course)

In this course, students will be given instruction and experience in the preparation and delivery of speeches, persuasive arguments, and spoken contributions to group discussions. Instruction will begin with samples of successful oral presentations and arguments, along with discussion of organization, research, and communication strategies. As the course progresses, students will prepare and present their own work and receive feedback from both their instructor and peers. Throughout the course, emphasis will be placed on content, research, persuasiveness, presentation, and listening.

Wellness 7 (Friday Course)

This course will focus on communication skills, character development, bullying and harassment, mental and emotional health, and conflict resolution. The course will provide students with the opportunity to develop and practice skills pertaining to these topics.

Music (Friday Course)

This course runs during the same trimester as students’ regular music classes. Students may select from band, strings, or girls’ or boys’ chorus. Students taking music during the first and second trimester will participate in the Winter Festival Concert in December, and students taking music during the third trimester will participate in the Spring Festival Concert. This Friday time slot will also allow for combined rehearsals in preparation for these concerts.

Form I Elective Extra-Departmental and Friday Courses

In addition to the above required courses, Form I students will also express their preference for their sixth Friday course, among the following electives:

Latin America in the Spotlight (Friday Course)

Students in this class will be exposed to different aspects of Latin American culture. They will explore the region's history in snapshots, progressing from the legacies of indigenous groups to current events. According to the students' interests, they will take a closer look at one of the different aspects explored. Students will learn and teach each other to appreciate this fascinating culture.  

Library Expo (Friday Course)

Head on over to the beautiful C.B. Newton Library for some library fun. Students will browse the library collection, check out books, and listen to read-alouds. We’ll wonder and discover, providing an easy intro to research and reference skills. Class time will also focus on library events such as Banned Book Week, the Newbery Awards, and Poetry Month, and, yes, sometimes we will just chill out and read.  

Mad Scientist/STEM Activities (Friday Course)

Do you like or even love science? Do you think of yourself as a mad scientist? If so, then this is the Friday course for you! During our sessions, we will explore many branches of science, including chemistry, biology, physics, and earth science. In these hands-on classes, you will investigate food science, aviation, engineering challenges, toy science & design, forensics, polymers, science games, and other fun and exciting topics.

Math Olympics (Friday Course)

Does the thought of a complicated math problem excite you? Do you look for ways to do extra math in your daily life? Do you want to be the next mathematician to design a formula to photograph black holes or solve another seemingly impossible riddle? If this sounds appealing, then this is the course for you! We will gather with like-minded souls and have fun with math.

Open Studio Art (Friday Course)

Students will be able to work in various Pingry arts spaces with a variety of Pingry visual arts teachers. This course may include some brief mini-lessons on different media. It will also provide space for students who are interested in art to pursue their own projects.

Form II Elective Extra-Departmental and Friday Courses

Students must take at least one trimester of music (band, strings, or chorus); this can be fulfilled by taking a music elective during the regular school day or by taking a trimester of music as a Friday course. We ask students to state their preference for which trimester they would like to take a Friday music course. They may take music as a Friday class for one trimester, two trimesters, or all three trimesters.  
 
Form II students can also express their preferences for the following elective Friday courses (the total number available to them will depend on how many trimesters of Friday music they take):

Civic Engagement (Friday Course)

Civic Engagement, or concern for others and the community, is not something we feel or practice only at special holidays or events; it is a constant, important part of our lives, in and outside of school. Through discussion and hands-on activities, this course promotes the understanding that learning is not just an end in itself, but the means to an end, a way to connect what we learn with what we can do, and a way to make the communities we belong to inclusive for everyone. After examining models of civic engagement in action (guest speakers, videos, simulation activities), students will create their own action plan to initiate change in their community.

Leadership (Friday Course)

In an interactive format, students identify the attributes and characteristics of effective leadership by analyzing videotaped and live examples of speeches and presentations from an array of leaders. Students also work toward developing and refining their own leadership styles as they consider the qualities necessary for leadership: public speaking, making a positive first impression, inspiring and valuing others, gathering group input, making decisions, delegating, and fostering teamwork. Students have several opportunities to present to the class on various topics while receiving feedback.

Outdoor Research (Friday Course)

Students in the Outdoor Research course will explore the Basking Ridge Campus. They will observe various sites, including the campsite, outdoor classroom, nature trails, fields, wooded areas, and ponds. Throughout the trimester, students will make observations, record data, and take photographs to analyze over time. Students may have the opportunity to interact with Pingry’s flock of chickens and tour Beinecke House and its award-winning sustainability features. Students will also learn about Pingry’s deer exclosure, practice valuable field research skills, and use the interactive iNaturalist app to identify and geotag plant and animal species on campus as part of the Pingry Wilderness Survey Project.

Students sitting in chairs against a wall in class.