Program : Middle School : Sample Class Projects

Grade 6 [top]

Ceramic Footwear
Students were shown slide examples of constructed ceramic realistic objects from the post-modern era. Discussion followed as to the fun and imaginative way certain of the objects were made and presented for viewing. Students were then asked to bring to class a shoe of choice or research footwear on the studio computer. The chosen shoes were carefully observed and sketched to gain a clearer understanding of how to translate them into clay.


  • Students will demonstrate an understanding of rolling, cutting and joining slabs of clay by scoring and using slip.
  • Students will learn how to plan and execute the project with teacher assistance.
  • Students will learn how to present their finished project in the most interesting way.
  • Students will gain knowledge of “Pop Art”.


  • Did I carefully observe my chosen shoe and cut out the right number of shaped clay slabs?
  • Did I demonstrate technical skill in the construction of my shoe?
  • Did I carefully paint my shoe and completely cover the clay?
  • Have I presented my sculpture in the most interesting way I can imagine?
  • Do my drawings show an imaginative progression from the original clay shoe?

    When the self-assessment was completed it was followed by written teacher comments, encouragement and suggestions for improvement. The whole community has enjoyed seeing these projects on display.

    Cultural Sharing
    In the month of December, the sixth grade Spanish class practiced their grammar, writing, and oral skills with a fun theme in mind—the holiday season. We began the month by comparing and contrasting the customs of various cultures for the holidays as we learned about the differing traditions of Argentina, Mexico, and the United States. In studying the Navidad of Hispanic culture, the students were able to use their musical sides throughout the month in learning and performing typical holiday songs such as “Jingle Bells” (“Cascabel, Cascabel”), “Deck the Halls” (“Navidad, Navidad”), and the famous “Feliz Navidad”.

    Besides this, the students were eager to learn new vocabulary words dealing with the holiday season, and they reinforced these new words in a fun way through games like bingo, hangman, and charades. They also used the new vocabulary to design their own holiday crossword puzzles. For their final assignment, the students practiced their written skills by writing a Spanish essay regarding their favorite aspect of the joyous holidays and how they personally celebrate them at home with their families. The students also used their writing to perfect their pronunciation skills as they read the essays aloud to the class. It was entertaining for them to see how the class members differed from each other in their holiday traditions and preferences.

    Grade 7 [top]

    Breaking News!
    This just in…seventh graders at Fox River Country Day School have just finished an exciting lesson on 1920’s-era radio broadcasts. During their study of American history, the seventh grade students have enjoyed following the development of technology through history and its impact on turn of the century America. The radio unit culminated with writing and recording a unique radio show. Students were given creative license to come up with a five-minute show that included many elements.

    Characters and an engaging story line were essential as well as sound effects and catchy commercials that reflected the time period. The students put a lot of effort into their radio projects, from writing their imaginative stories and commercials, to coming up with their own unique sound effects. Recording day found the students nervous and excited. The Social Studies room was full of great props including a “half door” (a prop used in real radio shows) as well as microphones and a lit “On The Air” sign!

    Grade 8 [top]

    Design your own experiment
    The premise for this Grade 8 science lesson:
    Substances react chemically with other substances in characteristic ways, to form new substances called compounds that have different characteristic properties.

    The lesson:
    After using the scientific method throughout the lower and middle school grades, students in Grade 8 take part in projects meant to show their competency with the scientific method. During this project, students design their own experiment and test the physical properties of matter as an introduction to our chemistry unit.

    Each pair of students chose three different brands of a product such as different brands of laundry detergent, diapers, and paper towels and tested certain characteristic properties. From this information they decided which characteristic properties were the best to test in order to determine which brand was the best product to use in our homes.

    Next they developed and clarified questions and hypotheses that guided their scientific investigations. Then they designed and conducted scientific investigations to test their hypotheses. Once they completed the testing of these products, they organized, analyzed, validated and displayed their data using mathematics and technology. Each pair of students wrote a scientific explanation and conclusion, using logic and evidence and compiled and reported these findings to the class on a visual display.

    Through this activity, the students used complex thinking and problem solving skills to decide which products and characteristic properties to test, how to test them, and ways to communicate these findings in a meaningful way with the rest of the class.

    Middle school students at Fox River are active and engaged in the study of literature. While reading Lord of the Flies, students discover and appreciate the subtleties of figurative language: foreshadowing, negative imagery, extended metaphor, and symbolism.

    After familiarizing themselves with the novel and its nuances, they are ready to be contestants on . . . Lord of the Flies Survivor. This activity allows students to show off their depth of knowledge about the novel. They are organized into groups and must complete many challenges in order to avoid being voted off the island. Activities include: being able to draw an accurate map of the island, re-writing song lyrics that incorporate literary devices (my favorite was a rendition of Britney Spears’ “Lucky,” in which the lyrics were changed from “why do these tears come at night” to “why do these spears come at night”), a game of spear-ball (like dodgeball, but played with swimming pool noodles), and more. Through these activities, students enrich their understanding of the text as well as their cooperation skills.

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