The Berkeley Carroll School

Electives



In the Middle School, all students take part in the elective program. Electives, most of which are offered to mixed-grade groups, meet on odd days of the eight-day cycle during the regular school day. Students take either one elective that meets four days-per-cycle or two electives that meet two days-per-cycle. Course offerings vary each semester. Recent Middle School elective options are listed below.

Recent Four-day Electives

Jazz Ensemble (grades 6-8, grade 5 with director approval)

Jazz Ensemble is a group that performs throughout the year and is open to advanced students who wish to study jazz. New members need Dr. Holsberg's approval to join.

Orchestra (grades 6-8, grade 5 with director approval)

Orchestra is a performing ensemble for students playing stringed instruments. Students will expand their knowledge of skills and will continue to refine their technical skills as well as enhance their performance through musical expression. In addition to continued refinement of individual performance skills, greater emphasis is placed on ensemble performance skills. New members need Ms. Mollica's approval to join.

Debate (all grades)

Debate develops confidence and clarity in public speaking. Debate teaches how to listen, how to persuade others through your own clear thinking and how to understand and critique weakness in opposing arguments. Public speaking is a skill anyone can learn; it stays with you for a lifetime. Students get to attend competition tournaments. Anyone wishing to join for the second half of the year will make a better-informed choice if they chat with Mr. Shapiro first.

Recent Two-day Electives (A Day)

Book Squad (all grades)

For students who would like more time to read books of their own choosing and have the opportunity to share them through discussions and a variety of creative projects. Based on student interests, options include writing reviews, creating book trailers and making books.

Books, Crafts and Conversation (all grades)

In this class, students will all read the same book (such as "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" or "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland") and while discussing the story and its themes, create crafts that are inspired by the text.

Ceramic Sculpture (grades 7-8)

Students will create a series of functional and non-functional art in a variety of styles using different materials such as clay, plaster and stone to make three-dimensional works of art.

Choir (all grades)

Choir will study music of all different styles, time periods and languages. Concerts will be presented throughout the year. New members are welcome.

Dance (grades 7-8)

The Dance elective is for dancers of any level of experience who would like to create original dance works and perform for the end of year Spring Dance Concert in May. Past dance styles explored: acrobatics, modern dance, hip hop dance, social dance and lyrical/contemporary dance. Special consideration will be given to students interested in joining dance four-days-a-cycle with Ms. McCourty's approval.

Drawing and Painting (grades 5-6)

This class will focus on many different approaches to drawing and painting. We will use a variety of materials including pastels, black India ink, watercolor, acrylic, collage materials, cray-pas and pencil. Expect the unexpected!

Fun with Word Games (all grades)

If you like crossword puzzles or playing Bananagrams, come join us as we explore the beauty and mystery of words. You might get to meet Dr. Awkward and his Palindromes, who are exactly the same backward as they are going forward. Students who like a good puzzle or riddle will also enjoy Fun with Word Games. !emoclew si enoyrevE

Intro to Design (grades 5-6)

Have you ever wondered how everything in our world is designed? Or considered how you might be able to design it better? Students will learn the basics of design and explore the professions of graphic, media, product and fashion design, architecture and urban planning. Design thinking will help students shift from consumer to producer and "changemaker" of our designed world.

Juggling (all grades)

Juggling is for Middle School students who have little or no previous experience juggling. Students will have the opportunity to learn three basic ball patterns and tricks, and be given the chance to progress to more advanced activities with balls or clubs, as well as the ample opportunity to extemporize in a relaxed, yet challenging activity.

Let's Go Viral (all grades)

If you love watching viral videos online, here's your chance to get in on the fun. In this elective we'll to make a new online show every cycle, and then we'll share it with the Middle School. You'll have to come up with ideas, record and edit video and work with the group to put our awesome show together. Students may choose to take this just on A days, or B days, or all four days of electives. See Mr. Lucey for details.

Photography (grade 8)

This class is an introduction to black and white film photography using SLR cameras. Students learn to use a camera, take good photos, enlarge negatives and develop prints.

Programming for Girls (all grades)

Create your own games and animations! Design and program your own video games and animated stories using code and computer science. Learn important gaming concepts while building racing games, mazes and other fun games using Scratch. This class will focus on exploring coding in Scratch. Learn how you can use technology to bring new characters to life. This class is open to anyone who identifies as female.

Science Squad (all grades)

Expect all kinds of science experiences this year! One responsibility of Science Squad will be to care for the rooftop garden. Other possible projects include marble runs, STEAM Fair participation, engineering competitions, stomp rocket challenges, food chemistry experiments, nature documentary viewing and discussing, bird watching and much, much more! Science Squad will be all science all the time.

Stories from the Natural World (all grades)

More important now than ever before is an awareness and appreciation of this planet's living treasure. Come witness the awesome spectacle of the war of nature from the comforts of room 220. Through natural history documentary storytelling we will bear witness to the processes that evolved the endless forms of the most beautiful and efficient creatures that inhabit our planet. Come see what "survival of the fittest" actually means as animals attract mates, communicate, cooperate, compete, find food, raise young, hunt and avoid becoming food for others. You'll never view wildlife the same way again.

Toy Making (all grades)

In this class we will be making toys: paper masks, dolls, action figures, boats, cars, athletic equipment and board games. The possibilities are limited only to our imagination.

Recent Two-day Electives (B Day)

Ceramic Sculpture (grades 5-6)

Students will create a series of functional and non-functional art in a variety of styles using different materials such as clay, plaster and stone to make three-dimensional works of art.

Community Action Club (all grades)

This elective is open to students in grades five through eight dedicated to community and global issues. We will be focusing on three main areas: access to food, care for the environment and a project of the group's choosing. We will partner with organizations like CHiPS, Helping Hands, Prospect Park Alliance and Zero Waste Schools. Please rank this as your No. 1 choice if you are passionate about these issues, interested in learning more and eager to take action!

Costa Rica (grades 7-8)

If you are a seventh or eighth grade student participating in the BC/World Leadership School Costa Rica travel program in March, please select this two-day-per-cycle elective, which is a requirement for participation in the program. In this elective, you will learn about the cultural practices of Costa Rica. Prior to the trip, we will get to know each other, plan fundraising events and educate ourselves regarding culture and language. We will return to reflect on our experience abroad, and plan for the upcoming year.

Dance (grades 5-6)

The Dance elective is for dancers of any level of experience who would like to create original dance works and perform for the end of year Spring Dance Concert in May. Past dance styles explored: acrobatics, modern dance, hip hop dance, social dance and lyrical/contemporary dance. Special consideration will be given to students interested in joining dance four-days-a-cycle with Ms. McCourty's approval.

History and Strategy of Euro Board Games (all grades)

One can well imagine that games have been played throughout human history, but what makes a good strategy game? What factors shape what type of games we play? We will explore German-style games that lean toward economic rather than military themes, as well as games involving conflict on the battlefield, business, sports or natural environment. We will then transition to cooperative games where students must play with each other instead of against each other. The final segment will include card- or deck-building games such as Citadels and Dominion. We will play and discuss the elements that make a great board game in an attempt to design the next big game.

Instrumental Lab (grades 5-6)

Winds and strings. Note reading, rhythm work, ear training, music theory and supervised practice for a portion of each class.

Intro to Design (grades 7-8)

Have you ever wondered how everything in our world is designed? Or considered how you might be able to design it better? Students will learn the basics of design and explore the professions of graphic, media, product and fashion design, architecture and urban planning. Design thinking will help students shift from consumer to producer and "changemaker" of our designed world.

Let's Go Viral (all grades)

If you love watching viral videos online, here's your chance to get in on the fun. In this elective we'll to make a new online show every cycle, and then we'll share it with the Middle School. You'll have to come up with ideas, record and edit video and work with the group to put our awesome show together. Students may choose to take this just on A days, or B days, or all four days of electives. See Mr. Lucey for details.

Math Challenge (grades 5-6)

This elective is designed for highly-motivated students who wish to pursue learning mathematics beyond the classroom. Students will work both together and independently to solve new and challenging problems and to discuss successful strategies for problem-solving. Participants will also have the option to compete in the Math Olympiad, a series of five short math contests taken in-school.

Middle School Play Production (grades 6-8)

Be a part of a BC main-stage production! The Middle School play is an opportunity for sixth through eighth grade actors to learn how to think critically about their performance and develop a director’s eye. Students will work collaboratively to analyze scripts, consider character objectives and build a dynamic ensemble. In addition to the two elective periods per cycle, the cast will rehearse occasionally after school. Ms. Marchese will give plenty of notice for any after school commitments. If you have any questions, feel free to email Ms. Marchese. Come and join this wonderful cast!

Retelling Our Stories: Males of Color (grades 7-8)

In order to understand others, we must learn about them. And one way to do that is to talk directly to people to hear and value their life stories. In light of the Black Lives Matters movement, this elective seeks to get an up-close and personal glimpse into the experiences of males of color. We will read and discuss a book entitled "All American Boys" by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely, a story about a black male’s difficult encounter with the police. We will then interview males of color to gather their stories and convert those stories into monologues and spoken word poetry. Finally, we will seek to perform these stories in a public forum in order to bring awareness about the experiences of males of color to a larger audience. Open to all students in seventh and eighth grades.

SSR (all grades)

Want the chance to kick back with a great book? SSR is a time to do nothing but read books for your own enjoyment. The only requirements are that you come to SSR ready with a book you really want to read and ready to settle back for a sustained, silent period of reading.

Tech Theater (grades 6-8)

We will assist in the design and construction of the plays and musicals in rehearsal. Students should not be afraid of getting dirty.

Theater I (grade 5)

In Theater I, fifth grade students will develop a foundation of basic theater knowledge and vocabulary through participation in a variety of group and solo activities in rehearsal and performance. Focus will be placed on ensemble/team-building exercises and developing basic performance and production design skills. This class will end with a scene showcase.

Toy Making (all grades)

In this class we will be making toys: paper masks, dolls, action figures, boats, cars, athletic equipment and board games. The possibilities are limited only to our imagination.

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