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Extra-Departmental and Friday Courses

Grade 6 Required Extra-Departmental and Friday Courses

Computer Science 6 (Friday Course)

This hands-on Friday course serves as an introduction to Computer Science. Students explore a survey of topics and activities including programming and working with a robot, understanding binary numbers and their place in computer programming, and debugging programs that students themselves create. The course showcases algorithmic thinking while providing a glimpse of computer science courses to come.

Mindfulness 6 (Friday Course)

Students will learn what mindful awareness is and develop practices which help them to relax and connect with the present moment. Students will explore breath awareness, body sensations, attention skills, active listening, sitting still, mindful walking, moving, and skillful relaxation, as well as gratefulness and compassion practices. By noticing what is going on moment-to-moment, students develop more perspective on their own feelings and thoughts, learn that there is more right with them than wrong, and, as they develop more self-awareness, develop self compassion and the ability to regulate strong sensations and emotions, like stress.

Seminar 6 (Friday Course)

Seminar 6 is designed to help students smoothly transition to life in the Middle School. It allows students to ask questions, regarding where to find almost everything and everyone on campus, how to create clubs and run for Student Government, and how special schedules work, to name a few. Students practice organizational practices such as using their agenda and Schoology, creating reminders, organizing materials, and managing their time. Given that an important aspect of Middle School involves managing one's digital life, the course will also focus on digital citizenship, or the safe and responsible use of technology.

Wellness 6 (Friday Course)

In Wellness 6, students employ the Decision Making Model and strive to enhance beneficial character traits via role playing and other interactive exercises. During the second half of the trimester, students will discuss healthy relationships, proper nutrition, and the use of tobacco products. Student also learn about the early stages of puberty for both boys and girls.

Music (Friday Course)

This Friday course runs during the same trimester as students’ regular music classes. Students may select from band, strings, and 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 in May. This Friday time slot will also allow for combined rehearsals in preparation for these concerts.

Cultural Competency 6 (Trimester Course)

This course is designed to increase students' understanding of the term “Cultural Competency.” Students will have opportunities to learn and practice a set of skills that will enable them to become more culturally competent. They will learn more about their own culture, the culture of their family, and the cultures of their classmates.

Grade 6 Elective Extra-Departmental and Friday Courses

Student choose one to take in addition to five required Friday Courses.

Friday Knights: Introduction to Chess (Friday Course)

In this introductory class, students work frequently with the educational website Chesskid.com. In the beginning, students learn the rules of chess, how the pieces move and the meaning of “check, checkmate, and stalemate.” After learning some basic checkmates, students are introduced to double, fork, pin, skewer,  and discovered attacks, as well as deflection and decoy. Students are encouraged to use their memberships at Chesskid.com to improve their game through puzzles and videos. The end of class is often dedicated to play against opponents of comparable strength over the board or on the computer.

Geography: Where in the World? (Friday Course)

Students learn the Five Themes of Geography and share why they believe studying geography is important! In groups, students create a map of the Middle School Commons that other students use to find hidden "treasures.” Students use real-world events such as Hurricane Florence to study different interactive maps and discuss the impact of weather events on people living in the area. Students also research a world landform and examine how it was created, how it continues to evolve, and what particular characteristics make it unique.

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

Let's Get Kraken explores mythology from around the world. The course challenges students to examine what mythology is. After much debate, students examine Greco-Roman mythology and what the Greek pantheon teaches us about Greco-Roman cultural beliefs. Students then turn to consider the Egyptian pantheon and how it compares to the Greco-Roman one. Later in the course, students study mythological traditions from Scandinavia, India, and Africa.

Library Expo (Friday Course)—Trimesters 2 and 3 Only

Library Expo provides students with time to explore all the wonders that the C.B. Newton Library has to offer! Students will be introduced to research and how to avoid plagiarism, as well as Banned Books and Freedom to Read. The class will engage in reading aloud and indulge in some free choice reading, as well. Students can also look forward to creating a book display featuring their reviews and book picks, as well as other creative projects.

Form I Required Extra-Departmental and Friday Courses

Acting Out: Improvisation (Friday Course)

Acting Out: Improv is based on Tina Fey’s Rules for Improv. The course offers a chance for students to open up, be creative, take risks, and work collaboratively with their classmates. The course will introduce and reinforce a few basic elements of improv through warm-ups, games, and scene creating; units include: Always Say Yes; Yes….and; Make Statements; and There are no mistakes, just opportunities. Every week students explore these rules and work toward building the confidence to consistently invoke them during class activities.

Cultural Competency 7 (Friday Course)

This course is designed to complement the Grade 6 course and will ask students to dig into the concept of intersectionality. Students will examine the multicultural history of America to help them claim their own story.

Public Speaking 7 (Friday Course)

Students in public speaking explore the qualities of effective public speaking, examine different types of public speaking, and analyze examples of speeches from popular culture, history, and current events. Over the course of the trimester, students work toward the goal of crafting and presenting their own short speech.

Wellness 7 (Friday Course)

Wellness 7 focuses on skill development and asks students to think about how they might navigate the complex situations that are commonplace in Middle School. By focusing on character development, conflict resolution, communication skills, mental and emotional health, and being an upstander in the face of bullying, this course aims to help students develop more effective inter/intrapersonal skills. The use of vignettes and role playing enables students to practice how they might react to challenging situations, especially when they understand that these circumstances may not have one "correct" solution.

Music (Friday Course)

This course runs during the same trimester as students’ regular music classes. Students may select from band, strings, and 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.

Computer Science 7 (Friday Course)

This course exposes students to both the technical and creative aspects of computer science through a sequence of coding projects. Project topics include web development and video game design. As students develop their own original single page websites, they learn how the Internet works. Time permitting, students design and program their own, simple video game in order to learn about event-based programming. Students learn the drag and drop language Scratch as well as HTML and CSS programming.

Form I Elective Extra-Departmental and Friday Courses

Students choose one to take in addition to five required Friday Courses.

Latin America in the Spotlight (Friday Course)

Through this course, students learn about different aspects of Latin American culture. They study the geography and explore historical snapshots ranging from the main indigenous groups' legacies to current events. Students explore various cultural expressions in areas such as art and music, as well as the contributions of Latinos to American society.

Library Expo (Friday Course)—Trimesters 2 and 3 Only

Library Expo provides students with time to explore all the wonders that the C.B. Newton Library has to offer! We'll talk a bit about research and avoiding plagiarism, as well as Banned Books and Freedom to Read. We'll read aloud and indulge in some free choice reading as well. Students can also look forward to creating a book display featuring their reviews and book picks, as well as other creative projects.

Open Studio Art (Friday Course)

Open Studio Art is an opportunity for students to partake in small art projects, learn basic crafting, drawing, and other art skills as they get their hands dirty in a fun and structured open studio environment. Students can explore new challenges with familiar materials, sharpen existing artistic practice, add to their sketchbooks, or try new media under the guidance of a member of our Middle School Art team. All levels of experience are welcome.

Form II Elective Extra-Departmental and Friday Courses

Students express their preference and take three per year.

Civic Engagement (Friday Course)

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, both in and outside of school. The Civic Engagement co-curricular provides a venue for embracing this responsibility. In the class, students learn models of community engagement by putting them into practice in various ways, from letter-writing to volunteering to participating in workshops given by guest speakers to planning for their own campaigns. We espouse the philosophy of experiential education learning involves doing, and it benefits the classroom, the school, and the larger community.

Leadership (Friday Course)

Form II students are the leaders of Pingry’s Middle School. The Form II Friday Leadership class identifies the traits and characteristics of effective and persuasive leadership. Through the use of group discussions, video, and live presentations, students observe and analyze leaders in action. The class addresses several aspects of leadership including speaking in public, creating cohesive groups, establishing trust, managing conflict, and assessing different leadership styles. Students create and execute their own presentations demonstrating their understanding of how leaders inspire, motivate, and value their constituencies.

Music 8 (Friday Course)

Rising Form II students must take at least one trimester of music; 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. Students may select from band, strings, and chorus. They may take music as a Friday course for one trimester, two trimesters, or all three trimesters.

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.

Outdoor Research (Friday Course)

Students in the Outdoor Research Friday Course explore the Basking Ridge Campus, observing sites including the campsite, outdoor classroom, nature trails, fields, wooded areas, and ponds. Students have the opportunity to interact with Pingry’s chickens, and even gather eggs! Outdoor Research students also use the interactive iNaturalist app to identify and geotag plant and animal species on campus as part of the Pingry Wilderness Survey Project being conducted by students in the Middle and Upper Schools.

Middle school study reciting poetry