Foundations Wheel and BLUE Classes (Balance of Learning, Understanding, and Exploring)

  • Foundations Wheel Courses

    Sixth Grade Expressions- Sixth Grade Expressions is a writing enrichment course. Students will tackle a variety of different forms of writing, ultimately creating a writing portfolio. For example, students will write a narrative that will have them composing a brand-new version of a classic fairy tale, making sure to provide a major twist. As the course name indicates, artistic expression is at the heart of the matter, but we will also be reinforcing important grammar and writing concepts from language arts class. We will emphasize proofreading and editing, and students will often engage with peer groups for feedback.

    Seventh Grade Expressions- Seventh Grade Expressions is an extension of the writing portion of seventh grade language art classes. Specific forms of writing are explored, and the focus turns to more research. This writing enrichment course will provide individualized instruction and more in-depth writing experience. Each student is encouraged to try new techniques and experiment with developing a personal voice in writing.

    Eighth Grade Expressions- This course is designed to give students lots of practice in writing: using different formats and styles, revising for content and organization, proof-reading for correct usage. The writing assignments will include both fictional and non-fictional components. Students will have practice with various forms of writing. By the end of the course, each student should have produced a research paper.

    Middle School Connections- Math Connections is an enrichment math course designed to supplement the instruction of our math curriculum. The course will be taught by teachers in the math department in a differentiated workshop format. This course will provide our students and teachers with the opportunity to work in small groups and one-on-one hands-on enrichment to increase math number sense and assist with building math confidence.

    Reading Workshop- Reading Workshop is a sixth-grade course that focuses on building reading comprehension and fluency skills. Over the course of the year, students will read from a variety of texts and genres to expand and deepen their abilities to process texts effectively. This course is designed to prepare students for increasing reading tasks and build comprehension strategies in the hopes of developing life-long readers.

    Sixth Grade Study Skills- Study Skills is designed to help our sixth-grade students with further developing their toolbox of executive functioning strategies. This course will focus on reinforcing organization and time management skills and teaching students new approaches to note-taking skills.

    Sixth Grade Computer Science- The emphasis in sixth grade Computer Science is placed on essential user proficiencies, including file management, Microsoft Office & keyboarding, as well as an introduction/continuation of Coding and Computational Thinking through Code.org and Scratch. Digital Citizenship, Online Safety and Cyberbullying are key topics, as well as an open discussion ‘Tech Talk’ where students share their experiences and opinions/advice about various technologies.

    Seventh Grade Robotics- The course will cover principles of robot design, engineering, troubleshooting, robotic sensors and computer programming using the Lego Mindstorms Education software. We will use both a mathematical and an experimental approach to solving designed (and sometimes unexpected) problems and challenges. This class will be an open lab environment with total hands-on learning, experimentation and collaboration of ideas. Students will design, build, program and troubleshoot their robots, culminating in a project-based competition utilizing the FIRST LEGO LEAGUE Challenges, complete with Tournament Mission Board and Modules.

    Eighth Grade Computer Science- The course will cover principles of Computer Science including skills to prepare for what will be expected at the next level such as file management, office proficiency, e-mail and Internet safety, plus, the concepts of Computer Science and Coding through both unplugged and on-line activities. Development of critical/creative thinking skills and troubleshooting will also be heavily reinforced. 

    B.L.U.E. Classes/Enrichment Courses

    Sixth Grade Life Skills- This course is designed to introduce and improve study skills and character qualities. Character development topics include cyber safety, honesty, integrity, courtesy, cooperation, compassion, and trustworthiness. Study skill topics include organization, note taking, prioritizing, how to study, time management, and test taking skills. Students will be graded on classroom assignments, class participation, open note quizzes and their organizational skills.

    Launching into Visual Arts (6th Grade)- This class is a foundations of art class. The visual arts curriculum at the Middle School is designed to bring each student the confidence and desire to create. The art curriculum offers activities in the areas of art production, art criticism, art history and aesthetics. Building on the K to 5 scope and sequence for art, students study the units of drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, clay, paper-mache and glass fusing. This class encourages independent personal artistic exploration and exposes students to significant artistic works from a wide variety of global cultures. 

    Exploring through Studio Arts (7th and 8th Grade)- This class in an intermediate foundations of art class. Students participate in art-making experiences that emphasize careful observation, critical thinking, and creative exploration. They are introduced to a variety of media and approaches to making art. Units covered include drawing, two- and three-dimensional design, color relationships, and printmaking. Students also look at historical and contemporary artists to broaden their appreciation and understanding of the visual arts. This art class will provide opportunities for the encouragement of creative thinking, initiative, imagination, and personal resourcefulness. Students develop their ability to make choices and express opinions through the selection and use of media, techniques, processes, and tools in individual problem-solving situations.

    Community Outreach Through Arts (7th and 8th Grade)- COTA challenges students to examine their community and its needs, then address those needs through arts initiatives. Students will collaborate to create art projects that directly and positively impact both the Maclay and Tallahassee communities. Visual Arts strategies will be used in a service learning model. This class seeks to ingrain a spirit of service and empathy fitting of a Maclay Marauder. It will be a chance to make a creative and artist impact on the community and have fun while doing it.

    Urban, Contemporary, Outsider, and Found Object Art (7th and 8th Grade)- The course examines the perspective and work of the following outsider artists or non–mainstream artists who are self-taught and therefore not formally trained. For example: Thornton Dial, Sam McMillan, Street Artists, Thornton Dial and many more as time permits in the semester. Creating work with non-traditional materials, paint and objects found in the environment are assembled in this type of art to express the artist’s message. This class will broaden their appreciation and understanding of the visual arts.

    Studio Art Immersion into 3-D Art and Ceramics (7th and 8th Grade)- Students participate in 3D art-making experiences that emphasize careful observation, critical thinking, and creative exploration. They are introduced to a variety of media and approaches to making art. Students will learn about the Science of clay and solve technical and creative issues using clay. Students will learn about the History of sculpture as well as basic hand building, glazing techniques and art criticism. Students will gain an understanding of the tools they are using as well as an introduction to multiple mediums and how they can work in tandem with one another. We will be working on establishing their individual creative confidence through multiple projects.

    Theatre Arts: Act I (6th Grade)- This course provides an avenue for artistic expression through the elements of drama and conventions of theatre. Students will learn the introductory elements of drama including working effectively in a group, improving their self-esteem and enhancing communication skills. This course will also provide a learning experience for which student actors will explore imagination through pantomime, movement, improvisation, storytelling, and scene performances. In addition to theater-specific skills and knowledge, students will explore and enforce public speaking, interpersonal communication, creative problem-solving, and collaboration skills, as well as social-emotional skills such as empathy, focus, and resilience.

    Theatre Arts: Act II (7th Grade) and Act III (8th Grade)- This course is a continuation and progression of the 6th grade Theatre Arts course. Students will be given more challenging, higher-level activities involving acting, oral interpretation, technical aspects of staging performances, and audience etiquette. We will cover the core components of the theatre machine: acting, directing, playwriting, and technical theatre. By understanding the inner workings of these concepts and practices, we will also expand our knowledge of theatre history. Through performance opportunities and artistic practices, students learn to accept constructive criticism, revise personal views to promote creative and critical thinking, and develop the ability to appreciate, construct and evaluate live theatre. 

    Exploratory Band- Exploratory Band is open to middle school students who have limited or no experience playing a band instrument. Students will be given the opportunity to learn how to play one of the following band instruments: flute, clarinet, trumpet, trombone, baritone, or percussion. There will be a $75.00 fee to cover the cost of instrument rental. Beginners and students who previously participated in fifth grade band are welcome. Exploratory band is a one semester course. It may be repeated.

    Sixth Grade Band- Sixth Grade Band is a full year course for students who play a band instrument and who wish to be full-time members of the Maclay Middle School Band. Students will participate in all band performances, including concerts at school, and district festivals. This course is highly recommended for students who wish to make rapid progress on their instruments. Motivated beginners are also welcome. 

    Middle School Band (7th and 8th Grade Band)- The Middle School Band is a full year course for seventh and eighth grade students who play a band instrument. Students will participate in all band performances, including concerts at school, and district festivals. Students may also audition for All-District and All-State Bands. A variety of music will be performed.

    Middle School Chorus- Chorus is open to any middle school student who likes to sing and would enjoy singing in a group. Students will learn a variety of music, including popular songs, show tunes, and music from recent movies. Chorus is a one semester course. It may be repeated.

    Orchestra- The orchestra program is designed to have a place for students at any stage in their musical education to play. In the Middle School, students who have played a string instrument before or who have never tried a string instrument will have the opportunity to join.

    iINNOVATE (7th and 8th Grade)- iINNOVATE is a new course where students will be given the opportunity to look for ways in which learners can explore science, engineering, art, and technology by designing and building projects, solving problems, and creating personally meaningful solutions to their own goals.

    Forensics 101 (7th and 8th Grade)- This class is a lab-driven introductory course about several main areas of Forensic Science. Students will explore the science and application of fingerprinting, chromatography, tire tracks, shoe impressions, hair analysis, simulated blood typing, and DNA analysis. While exploring these areas, students will also build on common science skills such as observing, analyzing, investigating, and public speaking.