Electives Monthly MashUp

December 2020


Please take a look at the great things happening in Elective classes at Neal!

Physical Education

P.E is involved in an exciting program called Safe Dates. This effective, research-based program targets the attitudes and behaviors associated with dating abuse and violence. These sessions are provided by Mr. Sam Peterson of Durham Crisis Response Center.


As we near the end of 1st semester, the 6th grade students are working on research project and presentation. They have researched causes of, and developed solutions to, school-based problems. The 7th and 8th graders are researching and creating virtual displays highlighting the work of youth leaders.

Math Intervention

In November, we studied the COVID-19 data for Durham County and what metrics are used to make decisions about reopening services.

We covered percentages in 6th and 7th grade and functions in 8th grade. Next up is adding and subtracting fractions in 6th, integer operations in 7th, and linear functions in 8th.

Reading Intervention

Students are finishing up a great 1st semester! They are making progress with their reading abilities, and reading and learning about new topics. Students continue to practice their basic reading skills with emphasis on identifying and analyzing the theme of a text. Students also continue to focus on building their independent reading stamina and comprehension using Durham Public School’s reading program, Reading Plus. While using Reading Plus, students have the freedom to choose their own readings from a wide variety of texts that are customized to the individual students’ ability level.


Students are increasing their knowledge of the Spanish language even more! 6th graders now know how to describe themselves and family members in Spanish. We will finish out the semester learning about how to successfully go shopping in Spanish-speaking countries. 7th graders are learning how to describe themselves and their feelings in Spanish. 8th graders are learning the finer points of utilizing verbs in Spanish while expanding their vocabulary.

En la clase de español para hablantes nativos seguimos aprendiendo cómo leer y escribir en español. Los alumnos de séptimo (7th) casi terminaron una investigación sobre un acontecimiento reciente de sus países. Los alumnos de octavo (8th) están leyendo la novela “Diario de Pedro” en español y aprendiendo sobre Cristóbal Colón y cómo trataba a la gente indígena de América.

Business and Entrepreneurship

We are learning about Entrepreneurship in all grade levels. Focusing on the characteristics of entrepreneurs, the skills needed to be an entrepreneur and learning about some famous entrepreneurs.


December has been a great month for Energy and the Environment and Design and Modelling. In Energy and the Environment, students have been watching An Inconvenient Truth and have also been reading selected articles on environmental issues. We also recently read about Gitanjali Rao, the young scientist who was recently selected as Time’s Kid of the Year.

Design and Modelling just completed a profile study of Tinker Hatfield, the Nike shoe designer who worked with Michael Jordan to create the famous line of Jordan shoes.

Green Architecture

The students are being introduced to Engineering Design Process

“It is not what you can do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves that will make them successful human beings.” Ann Landers


The Judge, the Artist & the Critic

This month, students are working on individual projects where they’re becoming judges, producers, artists and critics all rolled into one! We’re taking what we’ve learned about the many styles of R&B music and applying it to real life situations like judging contestants of NBC’s The Voice talent competition, or talking about COVID-19 & Police Brutality in musical rewrites. Our students are showing beautiful creativity that they’ll package and present to one another - and any welcome guests - in January!


All dance students have been rehearsing and working hard for Virtual ‘Dance’ Showcase, which will premiere after the holiday break. Each grade level’s dance is based on modern world issues happening in the US today. Students have a chance to incorporate their own choreography into these dances and share ideas to include in the showcase. All dance students will also team up with other Arts students to attend a Virtual Field Trip. This will be held during class on December 17th and 18th in which they will watch a Performance by Rennie Harris’s Dance company. See attached flyer.

Visual Arts

We just finished up a fun Unit learning how to draw Animals! As we approach the last few weeks of the 1st Semester, we are getting into my personal favorite project Graphic Novels!

Have a wonderful Holiday Break, can’t wait to see everyone in 2021.