2021-22 School Year
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Elective/Enrichment ClassesTop of Page

Upper School Enrichment classes are interest-based seminars.  Some courses are graded on a pass/no pass basis; however, Yearbook, Band, the Art Elective, and any course that requires work outside of the classroom or a finished product, will be given letter grades. Elective grades are calculated into the grade point average; however, they are not calculated into the 8th grade Academic Award. 

Placement decisions in some classes are made on a variety of criteria that include student interest as well as performance in classes throughout the year. The Woodside Upper School teachers, in consultation with the administration, determine placement of all rising sixth, seventh and eighth grade students. Students will be directed based on the following:
  • Be in good academic standing and maintain at least a C average each trimester in all core academic courses including math, language arts, science, social studies, Spanish, physical education, art and music.
  • Be mature, self-directed, and show high levels of motivation, responsibility and reliability by maintaining a C average in all their core academic courses.
  • Students who are not in good academic standing and receive a grade below a C will be assigned to courses that will support improved academic achievement such as study skills. If a student’s academic performance improves by the end of the trimester, the student may be able to select from available electives.
  • In the event that a student’s grades deteriorate during the course of the year, the student will be removed from their electives and placed in the appropriate support classes.
Enrichment offerings vary over the course of the school year and from trimester to trimester based on students’ needs.

8th Period Elective/Enrichment Classes:
  • Design and Engineering (6,7,8 – P/NP)
  • Art Elective (6,7,8 – letter grade) 
  • Yearbook (6,7,8 – letter grade)
  • Band (7,8 – letter grade)
  • Storytelling through Photography – (6,7,8 – letter grade)
  • Body Science (6,7,8 - letter grade)
  • Lego Robotics – (6,7,8 – letter grade)
  • Web Design I - (6,7,8 - letter grade)
  • Design Thinking I - (6,7,8 - letter grade)
  • Introduction to Japanese Culture- (6-8), P/NP)
  • Guitar- (8, P/NP)
  • Fantasy Baseball: Data Analysis- (6-8, P/NP)
  • Ukulele- (6-7, P/NP)
  • Discovering Graphic Novels- (6-8, P/NP)
  • Community Service (6,7,8 – P/NP)
  • Modern Readers – (6,7,8 – P/NP)
  • Self Defense Training (6,7,8 – P/NP)
  • Strength and Conditioning (6,7,8 – P/NP)
  • Test Prep (6, 7- P/NP)
  • Podcasts 101 (6-8, P/NP)
  • Yoga (6,7,8 – P/NP)
  • The Science of Food (6,7,8 - P/NP)
  • Games of Strategy (6,7,8 - P/NP)
  • Stories of Social Justice (6,7,8 - P/NP)
  • Study Skills (6,7,8 – P/NP)
  • Operetta (mandatory for all 8th grade students during 3rd trimester – P/NP)

Typical Zero Period/Lunch Time Offerings:
  • Student Council
  • Music - Chamber Singers
  • Music - Showstoppers 
  • Music - Jazz Band (Must Be in Band Elective to Participate)

Art Elective (Trimester long - letter grade- can be taken once per year)
Students will work on advanced art projects and a mentored, project-based curriculum. This course will emphasize creative exploration and development. Students explore the structure of art, including line, texture, color, value, and space; learn basic drawing techniques; work in two and three-dimensional forms; and experiment with diverse media. 

Yearbook (Two trimesters - letter grade)
Join a team of dedicated students to design, create, and publish our school yearbook.  We start with 88 blank pages, and by the end of the 2nd trimester, we will have a complete book highlighting the 2021-2022 school year.  If you are a student who likes a challenge, is responsible and able to meet deadlines, understands the importance of a quality product, and is willing to put in some extra time, then this elective might be for you. 

A few things to know:
  • You will need to attend one lunch meeting per week
  • Some work will need to be done outside of class hours
If you are interested in being part of the Yearbook team, you must attend a mandatory Introduction to Yearbook meeting on Wednesday, June 9th during lunch in the Design Lab or reach out to Mr. Hansen to express your interest. Graded – Homework

Band (Year-long - letter grade)
Students will have an opportunity to play a variety of music that ranges in time period and style. As we rehearse the music, we will build on general musical skills, technique specific to instruments and individuals, and work together as members of a team to create a final musical product that they will perform for the school community.   7th and 8th grade students who want to be in Jazz Band are required to be in this elective. 

Storytelling through Photography (Trimester long - letter grade- can be taken once per year)
This digital photography elective is designed to highlight the innate creativity of the students, build their technical skills, and enhance their understanding of the power of photography to communicate their perspectives of the world.   Students will study composition and stylistic elements within multiple genres of photography.  We will touch on the history of photography and its place in the timeline of art and technology.  Students will practice with Exposure, Depth of Field, and Focus.  Students will research accomplished photographers for inspiration and create a photography portfolio.    

8th Grade Guitar (Trimester long- P/NP)
Former 7th grade students who really enjoyed their quarter-long experience in the spring, this is the class for you! The hope for this is that you are able to continue developing your skills through both direct instruction and choice. In this class you will continue to master reading melodies and picking as well as practicing chord shapes, transitions, and strum patterns.

Body Science (Trimester long - P/NP)
This course will allow students to learn about the different systems of the body.  Whether it be through zSpace, guest speakers, dissections, or engaging projects, we’ll take an in-depth look at the intricacies of our body in a fun, comprehensive format.  

Introduction to Japanese Culture (Trimester long- P/NP)
Students will learn the basics of Japanese language and culture. Study Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji, and learn the differences between the different writing systems. Learn simple daily language such as greetings, introductions, and daily routine. Enrich your language study by taking a dive into the culture to expand your appreciation and understanding of Japanese customs. No prior knowledge of Japanese language is required.

Lego Robotics (Trimester long - letter grade)
Take on a First Lego League challenge in this Middle School elective.  You will design, build, and program an autonomous robot to complete a handful of challenges.  Near the end of the trimester, your bot will go up against other bots in a mini-FLL challenge.  Go to http://firstlegoleague.org for more information on Lego Robotics or search First Lego League on YouTube to see what you will do in this elective.  No programming or Lego experience required. Graded

Web Design I (Trimester long - letter grade)
This class will provide students with the skills to build a web page/site. Students will be given a basic introduction to HTML and CSS, Google Map APIs, forms, video, developer tools, and DOM manipulation. Upon completion of this class, students will leave with a complete website.
Graded - Homework

Design Thinking I - (6,7,8 - letter grade)
This elective will give you an opportunity to design and prototype a solution to a problem you see in our community. If you don’t have a specific idea, the instructors will work with you to find one that interests you. You may work independently or with another person on your project. You will be exposed to all the tools in the design lab and leave with at least a basic understanding on how they work and what they can be used for. 

Community Service (Trimester long - P/NP- can be taken once per year)
Students will be given the opportunity to provide service within our school in the form of working in the classrooms, tutoring younger students, reading aloud to preschoolers, working as teacher assistants, and helping fulfill any need that arises on campus. In addition, students will be highly involved in organizing any major service projects we do like Rise Against Hunger. Students will assist as needed at The Village Hub and also do in-house projects for organizations like My New Red Shoes and Meals on Wheels.

Design and Engineering (Trimester long- P/NP)
Do you enjoy building objects and learning about how things work? This elective will guide you in exploring the design and engineering process, taking a look at the science behind what makes things work. This is sure to appeal to your inner inventor! 

Fantasy Baseball: Data Analysis (Trimester long- P/NP)
Play Ball! Fantasy Baseball uses baseball as a context for teaching important mathematical concepts as students become co-managers of their very own Fantasy Baseball teams. Students will learn to analyze players' statistical data, draft players, make trades, arrange lineups, create their own team, logos, and mascots and play simulated baseball games. With some careful planning and a little luck, they might even lead their team to the Fantasy Baseball World Series.

Games of Strategy (Trimester long- P/NP)
Do you enjoy a good challenge? Do you like puzzles and riddles and solving mysteries? If the answer to one or more of these questions is “yes” then this is the elective for you! In this elective, you will learn new and old games, while you challenge yourself and your classmates. You may solve a few mysteries and uncover the answer to a puzzling puzzle! 

Modern Readers (Trimester long - P/NP)
If you wish you had more time to read books – just for fun – this is the elective for you!  The class format will include one period a week for reading and one period a week of activity.  In Modern Readers, we will explore new and exciting titles, discuss great literature, do book talks, make social media accounts for our favorite characters, and create a movie trailer for a book.

Podcasts 101 (Trimester long- P/NP)
We’re in a golden age of podcasts—currently about 800,000 and reach more than 60 million U.S. listeners. Audio storytelling dominates the digital media landscape, and it offers students the chance to develop vital skills in a fun, engaging way. This elective will not only teach students how to create a podcast, but help students become better writers and communicators, and improve their research skills and get them thinking like online publishers who entertain and inform.  

Stories of Social Justice (Trimester long- P/NP)
Do you enjoy reading and thinking about big ideas and issues? In this elective, we will read stories with themes that revolve around social justice. Justice is the concept of fairness and social justice is fairness as it manifests in society; so we will be reading and discussing stories within this theme. Whether it be a contemporary setting or from a past era, the stories will help us to examine and discuss important issues and how they affect our everyday lives.

Self Defense (Trimester long - P/NP)
The purpose of this class is to develop basic self-defense skill development as well as awareness and avoidance techniques.  This course focuses on skill improvement and overall knowledge in personal safety.  Introducing the basics of self-defense and the practical applications, this course focuses on coordination, balance, agility, strength, and endurance.  The course will cover both grappling and striking martial arts in a fun, safe environment.  

Strength and Conditioning (Trimester long - P/NP)
This course is designed for those students interested in developing strength for advanced sports skills.  Students will engage in resistance training, cardiovascular conditioning and flexibility exercises.  Strength and sport conditioning is athletic training aimed at greater strength, power, speed, agility, coordination, and balance.  You will learn general exercise principles, nutrition, and sport-specific science, along with practical advanced training in resistance training, agility, plyometrics, balance, and sprint training for athletes.  

STEM Fair (Trimester long- P/NP)
Calling all Scientists! During the trimester, students will work on a project of their choosing, using the scientific method or engineering process to solve and explore a problem or phenomena. The benefits are vast: thinking like a scientist and engineer, mastering the art of observation, developing skills in writing, data collection and analysis, oral presentation skills, creative thinking, problem-solving, and perseverance. This elective will also prepare you for the San Mateo County STEM Fair.

Solutionary Fair (Trimester long-P/NP)
Malala. Greta Thunberg. William Kamkwamba, the Boy Who Harnessed the Wind.  They are Solutionaries.  People who inspire change by creating solutions to the problems, injustices, and/or inequalities they see in their communities, nation, or in the world. In this elective, you will reflect on the challenges you see within your community, such as homelessness, sea-level rise, poverty, and pollution. Research and investigate the root causes and systemic structures that have created this challenge, and then brainstorm meaningful solutions that address the underlying causes without harming people, animals, or the environment. In a Google Slideshow, you will explain your problem, solution, and implementation plan. Your project will be submitted to the San Mateo County Office of Education Second Annual Solutionary Fair. 
The Science of Food (Trimester long - P/NP)
Do you love all things related to food? Join us on a trimester-long journey into food, cooking and eating. We will learn proper knife skills, different cooking techniques, and methods of preserving food like making jams and pickles. Of course, we will get to eat our creations as well as do some reading about food and cooking.

Study Skills (Trimester long - P/NP)
Students will learn strategies for staying organized, time-management, completing homework assignments, task completion, researching skills, editing skills, comprehension strategies, and test taking skills. Overall students will learn advocacy skills that will help set the foundation that is needed before the next level of schooling. This class is strongly recommended for Middle School students who need help staying organized and completing homework assignments.  This class is designed to help struggling learners.  Class size will be limited, and the staff will make placements.  

Test Prep (Trimester long- P/NP)
Students will learn test-taking strategies for admission tests like the SSAT and ISEE. Students are provided with curriculum, strategies, and plans of action for each subject. This includes test-specific math and verbal strategies, vocabulary building, reading comprehension, essay writing, and pacing methods. In a group setting students will review test-taking strategies, problem-solving techniques, critical thinking skills, math, critical reading, vocabulary, analogies, essay writing, and confidence-building. 

6th/7th Ukulele (Trimester long- P/NP)
If you really enjoyed your quarter-long ukulele experience last school year, this is the class for you! The hope for this is that you are able to continue developing your skills through both direct instruction and choice. In this class you will continue to master reading melodies and as well as practicing chord shapes, transitions, and strum patterns.

Yoga (Trimester long- P/NP)
Students will learn the basics of yoga in this course. They will gain exposure to basic yoga postures, as well as learning the foundations of yoga and breathing techniques. Students will gain strength, flexibility, and an appreciation for yoga when taking this elective.

Operetta (All 8th grade students - Trimester 3)
8th grade students will participate in one of the most enjoyable Woodside School traditions, the annual Operetta.  Each spring, the Operetta stars the entire 8th grade.  Each year’s musical production is a lovely farewell from the 8th grade to the entire school. 8th grade students will be enrolled in Operetta for all of their elective classes during the 3rd trimester.