TODAY’S FWSU STORY: Celebrating Choice at GEMS

For Georgia Middle 7th and 8th graders, choice classes are designed to help meet student needs and state standards. These are opportunities to explore a variety of topics, provide choice in their education, discover new interests and lifelong learning skills.

7th and 8th grade students will be able to schedule their required classes such as art, gym, computer, health, and music within two years, allowing for other choice offerings to be available to them. Each choice class is fifty minutes long. They have two choice periods each day for a block of thirty days. There are six blocks in a school year.

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Examples of choice classes offered are Philosophy, Home Sweet Home, Game Maker, Playwriting (if you would like to write a play, this is the class for you!), Drama, Hispanic Foods, Explore a World Language, and NanoWriMo. Each block offers different gym, art, studio art, music, computer classes and tech ed classes such as CO2 Dragsters, Maker Studio and Tech Ed Support where you learn more about maintaining computers and iPads, troubleshooting technology problems, and enjoy working with our IT technician to make technology in our school run smoothly.

In Philosophy class students explore and discuss interesting philosophical questions.  The word “philosophy” comes from ancient Greece and means “love of wisdom.” This class is a lot of fun AND students learn about many different philosophers and their contributions.

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Home Sweet Home is a class where students can design their dream home, landscape the property, do some interior decorating, and then learn about the cost involved.  Students study scale drawing, budgeting and writing.

Hispanic Foods class will explore the history behind Hispanic foods. They will learn the difference between traditional Mexican food and “Tex Mex”. During this class the students get in the kitchen and make some meals.

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Explore a World Language is a class where students will be learning everything there is to know about the study of language – Linguistics. They will start by learning about parts of speech, morphology, phonology, and syntax, while simultaneously using Duolingo to facilitate the learning of a new language. Furthermore, the will embark on a one-week adventure of learning about Etymology and the roots of words by studying Latin.

Students design and build a CO2 dragster in the CO2 Dragster Class, using the design method students will experience, then use scroll saws, spindle and belt sanders).

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Maker Studio gives students a sample of the world of educational making. This description from Make magazine sums up the purpose of the class: “We believe that making can transform the way we all learn, from preschoolers through retirees. This is what matters the most about learning by making:

  1. Making together.
  2. Exhibition, not competition
  3. Embracing failure.
  4. Tools keep improving.
  5. Everyone can MAKE.”

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Students will learn how to use a variety of tools and components, then use the design iteration process to create useful and pleasing objects. They will spend time thinking about the process of making and learning to troubleshoot and redesign as needed.

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