Electives at Landmark Elementary Middle School
Recently, one of my patients observed, “Whenever I begin to feel anxious and less confident, I remind myself that I do have islands of competence and that I must not lose sight that they exist. When I think about these islands, I don’t ignore my problems, but rather it gives me strength to meet these problems in a more effective way.”
-Dr. Robert Brooks
At Landmark, while students courageously confront literacy challenges one-on-one and in small groups, we have always believed that a range of elective offerings provides those islands of competence so critical to self-esteem and resilience. We have future architects, engineers, artists, musicians, and programmers in our midst; and they need classes that celebrate those gifts to balance their schedule of academic content.
Read about the electives offered to Landmark Elementary•Middle School students.
Physical Education class includes group fitness challenges and games that are both physically and mentally stimulating. These activities incorporate a review of basic fitness movements as well as basic yoga movements integrated into a stretching routine. Games are goal-oriented and characterized by a focused goal, such as a basketball hoop or lacrosse goal, or an open goal, such as the American football end zone. Each game develops specific skills such as footwork, passing, dribbling, and scoring. Students work on accuracy in a throwing unit, appropriate body position, and follow-through.
Classroom expectations of respect, routine, and responsibility continue to foster a safe, fun, and rewarding atmosphere. Students are expected to build on previous years and take a leadership role in following directions, understanding group roles, self-advocacy, participation, communication, decision-making, and teamwork.
Visual Art students have the opportunity to work with various two-and three-dimensional media and crafts. Through a variety of art forms, students develop organizational skills, spatial awareness, and fine motor skills.Emphasis is on following directions, decision-making, and cooperative work habits.
Examples of art units include basic color theory, metal punching, painting, clay pottery, and collage. Art projects are often presented in the context of thematic units with a cross-cultural background.
Digital Art students work with iPads and 3D drawing pens to create 2D- and 3D-artwork. Navigating the iPad and using it responsibly are the first skills taught. Capturing, downloading, retrieving, and organizing images are also important skills that are covered each term.
The artwork is uploaded to our Artsonia online gallery, where work is shared with family and friends. Artsonia also serves as a portfolio to save work.
The emphasis during class is on using problem-solving skills in a work flow model, to move between and within various iPad apps in order to complete multi-step assignments. Various iPad apps are used for drawing, painting, design, collage, printmaking, and pottery. Image manipulation, green-screen imaging, and digital animation are also incorporated into the Digital Art class.
Woodworking is a highly structured program emphasizing fundamental skills. Projects are completed in a designated sequence to ensure that each project builds upon previously learned skills. Each project is primarily built by hand with the limited use of power tools.
Throughout the course, students become familiar with hand tools and their proper use (e.g., sanding, nailing, staining). Instruction is designed to foster each student’s ability to work independently and follow directions while cooperating with others. Emphasis is on gross and fine motor control and eye-hand coordination.
Small Engine Repair
In Small Engine Repair classes, small groups complete mechanical projects. Common tools are introduced, and students work on the small frame, single-cylinder, four-cycle gasoline engines.
Prior to removal of engine parts, the master mechanic manual is utilized, parts are identified, and their uses discussed. Specific engine part numbers and prices are researched within the master parts manual, and the history and theory of small engine operation are explored.
The Practical Arts course is a structured program emphasizing fundamental skills related to small engines and woodworking. Each student is introduced to common tools used to perform routine service on a small engine. The theory of how an engine operates is discussed.
Woodworking projects are primarily built by hand with the limited use of power tools. Students become familiar with hand tools and their proper use (e.g., saws, squares, clamps, rasp) and fundamental techniques are introduced (e.g., measurement, sanding, painting).
Over the course of the semester, students use the skills presented in small engines and woodworking to design, build, and paint a model car powered by air, solar, and CO2.
The Computer Science elective class gives students a greater understanding of how a personal computer functions and provides opportunities to create original work using various programs, including: iPhoto, iMovie, GarageBand, Google SketchUp, and Microsoft Word. Students also have the opportunity to visit several websites to gain an understanding of art concepts and create original artwork online. Class projects range from the production of stop-motion movies using simple objects to the creation of a 12-month calendar featuring student artwork and photos. At the end of the semester, students will have the opportunity to compile their work to bring home and share with others.
Kids Around the Globe
Kids Around the Globe focuses on the lifestyles, customs, traditions, and values of other cultures, learning about courageous and confident children who have made a difference in the world. Students have the opportunity to read and listen to books and watch films to inspire and empower them. These resources offer positive messages about children and honor their diverse capabilities.
Students in Music class work with various instruments in a collaborative setting, with an emphasis on timing and rhythm patterns. Students are given a specific part (chord progression, rhythm pattern) to practice, independently at first, with a goal of playing the song together as a class. The students work on reading chord charts and practicing moving between chords with proper timing. They practice rhythm patterns and play basic beats on a drum set.
Students are given a choice of which instrument they would like to work with (guitar, piano, drums, bass) and work with that instrument until the class moves on to a new song. Students are also responsible for setting up their own "station" (instrument, sheet music, etc.) at the beginning of class and returning these materials to their proper spot when the class has ended.
The Bike Repair class aims to develop practical, basic bicycle maintenance skills along with emphasizing time management, planning, and safety within the shop environment. Students are introduced to the various categories of bicycles and the similarities and differences between each type.
The class identifies the major parts and systems of the bike and the names of tools and other equipment needed for repair. Students learn the proper method of replacing a flat tire and tube, how to adjust shifting and braking systems, as well as efficient cleaning and lubrication.
In order to strengthen analytical and planning skills, the class also evaluates and assesses the condition of a bike along with accurately recording information (e.g., make, model, color) on a repair tag. As an added service component, the class assembles and repairs a number of bicycles that will be given to a local charitable organization.