Plaza Horizons Team
Exploratory Classes at Plaza Middle School
What's going on in Explo classes?
For physical education, the students will need athletic clothes, tennis shoes, and deodorant. Each student will have a lock checked out to them and be assigned a PE locker to keep their belongings in. Topics covered throughout the PE sessions will be fitness assessment, foundations of fitness, team sports, individual/dual sports, and lifetime/recreational activities.
Health & Fitness
Students will have one session of Health. During this course, students will learn about body systems, appropriate hygiene, and healthy habits. This course will work in conjunction with PE. The teachers will rotate throughout the year, so check your child’s schedule in IC for the specific instructor.
In 6th grade Pre-Computer Applications, the goals for students are to become more familiar with practicing digital citizenship, have an introduction to coding, Photoshop, Movie Maker, and practice online research and digital communication. The first few weeks of session, we touch on digital citizenship (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube/Vine) and also review keyboarding skills. Students will have an opportunity every 2 weeks to test out of keyboarding. This is done by achieving 29 wpm and 90% accuracy. The next few weeks focus on learning the basics of Photoshop. Our coding unit takes advantage of Khan Academy’s coding lessons. Online research and digital communication will consist of students researching a topic and presenting their findings to the class. We will spend a few weeks learning the basics of Windows Movie Maker. Students will be expected to think things out, storyboard, and create a “movie trailer”. The last few weeks we work on the “Passion Project” where the students get to engage in and explore their own interests.
Sixth grade Explorations in Music is an extension of the elementary music curriculum and a preparation for seventh grade choir, band, and orchestra. Students will gain a deeper understanding of the fundamentals of music reading and may explore the human voice, American music, the instrument families, western music history, music of other cultures and how to play ukulele. Each day, students should bring a pencil, and pocket folder with paper.
After school choir will be available to all students both 1st and 2nd semesters and will meet on Tuesdays and/or Thursdays; a parent letter/permission slip with more information will be available in the music room within the first few weeks of school.
Family and Consumer Science is also known as FCS. During the 7 weeks of this course, students will learn about nutrition, MyPlate, kitchen safety, measurements, abbreviations, how to read recipes, and cooking. Students will have the opportunity to cook in one of the five mini kitchens in the classroom. By doing so, the students will demonstrate safe and responsible behavior in the kitchen.
During Mrs. Young’s Textiles class, students will explore the role textiles play in fine art and functional design. One half of Textiles class will be focused on the creation of a fabric design and the printing of the student created design onto fabric. The second half of Textiles class will focus on sewing the students’ fabric into functional products. Students will explore the processes of design, printmaking, and sewing.
6th grade Art serves as a transition from the “follow the leader” elementary mentality to the individual artist mentality. Students will be asked to complete a variety of lessons where they will have more responsibility throughout the creative process. This responsibility gives the students some freedom and ownership of their own work. The art world is evolving into our corporate world through architecture, graphic design, landscape design, interior design, animation, advertising, and web design. To better prepare students, this class tries to make students more aware of their surroundings and allows them to tap into the visual communication world.
In this class, students go through an orientation at the beginning of each session to introduce the missions to them. Once the orientation is finished, they begin working in missions. A mission is a four person workstation where students learn about a specific area of technology and have a specific role to perform for their group. Students work in the mission for 5-7 days before rotating to another mission where they will learn about another area of technology. The work groups change with the different missions and students have different roles. Examples of activities students get to do would be launching straw rockets in Rocketry, building and testing bridges in Engineering, and making paper airplanes in Flying Things. We typically get through 4 missions and have time at the end to do one additional whole class discovery activity like Hot Air Balloons, Maglev Vehicles, or Robotics. There is make-up work available for each mission in the form of Home Math Links and Home Science Links that are designed to be taken home for days when a student has been absent.
Students will spend about 1 week learning about what culture is as well as an introduction to the upcoming 6 weeks of instruction. During the 6 remaining weeks, students will work in groups for six to eight days learning about the geography, culture, and languages of Spanish, French, German and, for the final week, a language/culture of their choice. Project choices may be viewed on Schoology.
Gifted learners focus on developing a sense of responsibility for self, school, community and society throughout the school year. Instead of attending their core reading class, they are exposed to various types of literature and informational text that support the development of responsible leadership. While learners are pulled from their core reading class we still cover the concepts that would be learned in reading, but at a quicker pace and with different texts that are more appropriate for the gifted learner. Differentiated learning that addresses both cognitive and affective development is the guiding characteristic of the program.