Exploratories are a unique opportunity for middle school students to explore and experience classes beyond the "normal" schedule. One week before exploratories begin, the middle school teachers begin chapel by sharing the class offerings they've designed for the students. Students rank their choices, and teachers try to honor their choices when placing them in courses - but 8th graders get first dibs!
The current round of exploratories started last week and consist of 5 Thursday mornings from 9:30-10:15. November will feature one 2-hour session, and students will spend 2 hours in December out serving in the community, celebrating the gift of Christ by giving the gift of service to others. February into March brings another 5 weeks of the short continuous classes, and April and May will feature one long session again. This way we have the ability to offer a variety of classes.
Here’s a rundown of our first round of exploratories and some highlights from our first week:
ACT IT OUT! with Mrs. Marsman – learning about and even performing a variety of different stage acts including readers theater, short skits, improv games, and warm-up routines.
Shark Dissection with Mr. Elzinga and Mr. Oosterman -- exploring the anatomy of a shark through dissection and comparing the anatomy of a shark with our own anatomy to see similarities and differences in God’s diverse world.
Overheard: “Are the sharks alive?” “Can we keep a shark tooth when we are done?”
Strategy Games with Mr. Falk -- Settler's of Catan, Ticket to Ride, Bohnanza, Power Grid, Bang, and Cities and Knights of Catan.
Short Stories with Mr. Kamper -- tips for creating characters, developing a story, and having a purpose to your writing, among other things
The students in Short Story Writing began their brainstorming by writing loglines (one sentence synopses of a story) and they were very excited to share their sentences with each other.
Abstract Cardboard Sculpture Designed and Made by You with Mrs. Van Goor -- Designing a sculpture from a shape, transferring the design to cardboard, constructing a 3 dimensional form, and finishing it with paint and other unique features.
Bells are Ringing with Mrs. Wagner -- Join a bell choir and play music for God’s praise!
Overheard: “I thought that handbells might be boring but it ended up being a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to the next classes.” “I was expecting to just learn how to set the stuff up, but I learned how to play a song!”
Overheard from Mrs. Wagner: “From dissonance to beautiful harmony!”
Book Club with Mrs. Postmus -- Reading the book Wonder and looking at life from a different perspective.
Games in the Gym with Mr. VanderWal - play a variety of non-traditional and new games that might even be incorporated into PE class!
We dabbled in the non-traditional sport of Tchoukball – a sport Mr. VanderWal and some of the students had never played before. The most memorable scoring moment was in our last game, when a 7th grader threw a ball from over half-court (while barely looking) and scored a crucial point for his team!
Scrapbooking with Mrs. VanWienen -- learning how to make a creative page to preserve photos and display them in a fun, creative way.
Overheard: “I just love scrapbooking!” “Look at my picture … look how cute I was when I was little!” “I’m working on pictures from 6th grade camp - remember when we …” “Do you have any ideas how to put these all together on a page?”
These exploratory classes provide opportunities for students in all three grades in middle school to interact and learn together, try new things, stretch a bit, find new areas of interest, understand the gifts God has given them, and to work in an area that celebrates the interests they have. We’ll update Facebook and/or Instagram with some pictures and stories from our exploratories each week, so be sure to check social media those days!