Exploratory Courses for the 2021-2022 School Year
Tucker Creek's exploratory team works hard to ensure that through the classes we teach, we offer a variety of courses to enrich each student's global awareness and allow them to explore their interests and passions. Middle school is a time for students to explore their interests before they are required to start making hard decisions at the high school and college levels. We encourage students to take a variety of course offerings, and as a team, we work diligently to meet the needs of each individual student when assigning their classes. Students are placed in courses based on the order they choose classes when they fill out the registration forms and the course capacity for each classroom/content area.
As a general rule, all students are expected to take one semester of PE each year. Exceptions to this due to conflicting course registrations (such as year-long band and year-long chorus) will be made on a case-by-case basis.
Students take four exploratories each year. Students that choose band, year-long chorus, or yearbook use two of their exploratory offerings for the year. Those students will take two additional classes each year, instead of having four different courses they will have three.
Please review this information prior to registering for your 2021-2022 exploratory classes to ensure that you are well aware of what you are signing up to take!
Health and Physical Education (offered 6, 7, 8):
In Tucker Creek Health and Physical Education, we always strive to make our mark by working each day to be better than we were yesterday!
We open the semester with some exciting strategic throwing and catching games such as Ultimate, Team Handball, and Wall Ball. Then we enter into our sport education model with basketball, net games, softball, and soccer. Tucker Creek Physical Education recently won a grant to provide our program with the introduction of Pickle Ball into our curriculum! In addition, we will mix in some introductions into the weight room, incorporate life skills and health instruction, and ensure you learn healthy habits for a successful life!
Multimedia Art Class (offered 6, 7, 8): Ms. Jennifer Bowden
In Multimedia Art or Visual Art, students explore a variety of media as they build their skills in drawing, painting, graphics, sculpture, pottery, modeling, and more. Some themes that will be taught and discussed are artists, artwork, culture, history, vocabulary, and different techniques and applications of media. Students will learn about critique, art appreciation and art criticism; as well as problem-solving and critical thinking skills. With each grade level, students will build upon knowledge gained, develop art skills, and be able to better express themselves creatively.
Projects are tied into grade-level core content curriculum and the NC state art standards. Skills that are taught are progressive from sixth through eighth grade, however, students can usually jump in at any level and be successful.
CTE-Computer/Technology: Mrs. Ann Frazier
6th Grade Keyboarding and Basic Word Processing
This course is composed of instructional modules designed to provide hands-on instruction in basic keyboarding skills, computer concepts, and software applications. Students will learn the proper finger position when typing using the alpha and numeric keyboard. This module is also designed to teach basic keying skills, consisting of fluent manipulation of all alphabetic letters and numbers.
7th Grade Introduction to Office Productivity
This course is designed to teach the basic skills in spreadsheets and utilizing formulas for everyday use in the business community. Emphasis is on the daily use of a computer system and appropriate software to provide integrated training through a learn/practice/sustain/assess plan of skill-building. This module is designed to teach the creation, manipulation of charts, and using advanced features in spreadsheet software. Students will also learn presentation basics and techniques along with reviewing the word processing modules.
8th Grade- Exploring Personal Character and Careers
This course is designed to provide an orientation to the world of work. Experiences are designed to introduce students to the technical nature of today’s world and the role of productive workers. Activities enable students to increase self-awareness and make wise educational and occupational decisions as they plan for careers.
CTE-TED (Technology, Engineering and Design) aka STEM Class: Mrs. Misty Guthrie
TCMS Career & Technology Education / Technology and Engineering Design courses utilize project-based Pitsco STEM Expeditions® curriculum that is rooted in the engineering design process. Online instruction is delivered in a multimedia environment as well as through teacher-directed mini-lessons. Expeditions enable students to practice collaboration and problem-solving, test ideas, and develop a growth-oriented mindset that will serve them well no matter their career path.
Students will also experience design challenges and explore the basics of computer programming through block coding. We will explore global issues and the Sustainable Development Goals. We will discuss how technology and engineering can help to alleviate societal problems by providing solutions and consider the ethics of engineering design and how technology has developed over time, as well as the possibilities for the use of innovative technologies into the future. Students will also explore careers related to topics we are learning about in class.
STEM - Exploring Technology - This course is an introductory course to technology and engineering. Using a combination of Pitsco Expeditions, classroom challenges based on current events, and introduction to coding and programming, students will learn problem-solving skills and build critical thinking skills. Some of the Pitsco Expeditions that we often use in class includes Making Waves (sound waves) where we make a new musical instrument and Design Time (marketing) where we construct a working “marketable” clock. (Sixth Grade)
STEM - Exploring Engineering and Design - This course is an introductory course to technology and engineering. Using a combination of Pitsco Expeditions, classroom challenges based on current events, and introduction to coding and programming, students will learn problem-solving skills and build critical thinking skills. Some of the Pitsco Expeditions that we often use in class includes Building Bridges where students will design, construct, and test Balsa Wood bridges and Contraptions (Simple Machines) where students will create a contraption that will knock down a “castle” wall in a siege. (Seventh Grade)
STEM - Exploring Technological System - This course is an introductory course to technology and engineering, with a greater emphasis on flight dynamics and the dependence upon various subsystems (electrical, mechanical, etc) within a larger system. Students will learn about aerodynamic principles as they explore the forces of flight in fixed wing, rockets, and rotary blade aircraft. Students will also explore programming as they learn to program drones to navigate through specified obstacles on a provided course. (Eighth Grade)
CS - Computer Science Discoveries B - Continuing Code.org’s CSD Curriculum, students will learn about App development and create an app within App Lab on Code.org. The next unit is about the importance of data in solving problems and highlights how computers can help in this process. Finally, students will conclude the course utilizing Adafruit’s Circuit Playground microprocessors and learn to develop programs that utilize the same hardware inputs and outputs that you see in the smart devices, looking at how a simple rough prototype can lead to a finished product. (Eighth Grade)
Band: Mrs. Blair Dyal
Beginning Band (6th Grade and 7th Grade)
Sixth Grade band is split into two classes based upon the instrument that you are assigned/chose to play. Seventh grade students that are new to band will be in their own class with all the other new students. In beginning band students learn to produce an appropriate sound on their instrument with proper technique. In beginning band students are also introduced to rhythms in common time and the expressive elements of music. They begin learning how to improvise and arrange music while learning how use their perceptual (listening) skills to analyze and think about the music they are creating. Students analyze examples of music using appropriate terminology and begin learning how to evaluate performances and musical ideas, and apply this process to their own performing. They relate music to all other core content areas including geography, history, and world civilizations. Students in the beginning band are taught the health and wellness issues that directly relate to musicians such as caring for their instrument properly, and how to keep themselves healthy by not sharing instruments/supplies.
Seventh Grade Band
Seventh grade band students are assigned to one of two ensembles based upon their performance skills at the end of sixth grade. This decision will be made by Mrs. Dyal based on end of year assessments and conferences with the students. Some students move back into the beginning band in order to ensure they are ready for success on their instrument. Others will move into the Concert Band.
Students in the Seventh Grade Concert Band have demonstrated that they are able to produce a characteristic sound on their instrument and are able to model the use of fundamental techniques. Both ensembles are expected to begin using expressive elements in their music and identify these musical elements. Students learn to follow a conductor and continue to grow in their ability to analyze musical examples from a variety of genres, styles, and cultures. Students evaluate their own performances and that of others for quality and effectiveness. Music in relationship to other areas is expanded and students are introduced to the function that music serves in our community and around the world. Students in the Seventh Grade Concert Band will compete at MPA in the spring. Concert Band Students will also be invited to participate in the yearly overnight band trip. Beginning band students may be asked to fill spots in the concert band if needed. Students may be moved into the Concert Band ensemble after the first semester if the band’s instrumentation and the student’s instrument proficiency dictate the move.
Eighth Grade Band
Students in the Eighth Grade Band are combined into one full band ensemble. Students are expected to perform at a level of proficiency on their instrument individually and collaboratively while demonstrating characteristic tone and consistent pitch, on a variety of music. They are expected to model and guide their peers in demonstrating fundamental techniques, expressive elements, technical accuracy and both common and duple time signatures. Students are expected to use appropriate musical terminology when analyzing and evaluating performances and a variety of music, using the principles of music including rhythm, tonality, intervals, chords, and harmonic progressions, balance, blend, intonation, etc. They should understand the beginnings of compositional structure using 21st century technology. The Eighth Grade band students take a focus on the role of music in North Carolina and the United States, making connections between music and concepts from around the world. They also are taught the key laws and principles behind the access, use and protection of music. This ensemble performs at the state MPA competition in March and will travel on an overnight band trip in the spring.
Eighth Grade Band Ensemble II
Students that choose to take the Eighth Grade Band Ensemble II will learn how to play in small ensembles, perfect their skills on secondary instruments, and grow themselves as leaders and organizers of the band program. Students in this class will participate in project based learning with larger culminating projects to display their learning throughout the semester. Eighth Grade Band students may take this class in the Fall or the Spring, but not usually both.
Choral Performance Classes:
All chorus students are expected to participate in the concerts and events for the semester that they are enrolled in for their course.
Sixth Grade Chorus (one semester)
In the 6th Grade, students will take sixth grade chorus which will serve as an introduction to basic music theory, solfege (syllables that represent pitch), and focus on the developing voice of a middle school-aged student. Students will learn to sing in two to three-part harmony as well as master basic musicianship skills to foster independent musicianship and ensemble building. In the sixth grade students will take chorus as a single semester class (1/2 a year).
Seventh Grade Chorus (one semester) or Vocal Music Ensemble (year-long)
This choral class will focus on 7th Grade students and further develop musicianship skills with more advanced music theory, sight-singing skills. These students will work at singing 3-part harmonies and move into 4 parts. We will address the changing voice and meet each student at their individual vocal development. As each student progresses, we will focus a lot on acapella singing. These students will work in different styles and genres of music that have emphasis on Latin and Afro-Andean Music. Students that would like to participate in a more advanced ensemble can choose to take the year-long class while those who would like to take more electives can take the semester long chorus class.
Eighth Grade Chorus (one semester) or Vocal Music Ensemble (year long)
The eighth-grade choral class will focus on 8th Grade students and further develop musicianship skills with more advanced music theory, and sight-singing skills. Students will work more independently in quartets and small ensembles. These students will work at singing harmonies within 4 parts. We will talk about style, timbre, music history and meet each student at their individual vocal development. Students will be expected to take all their music theory and harmony skills to compose and perform original music. Singers will continue to develop choral acapella singing. These students will work in different styles and genres of music that have an emphasis on foreign languages i.e. Latin, French, German, Italian as well as more difficult Afro-Andean music styles. Students that would like to participate in a more advanced ensemble can choose to take the year-long class while those who would like to take more exploratories can take the semester long chorus class.
Yearbook: Kathi Finley and Cheri Brody
Eighth Grade Only: Year-Long Course
The yearbook class is responsible for creating digital and print documentation of our school year with the ultimate goal of producing a fabulous yearbook for students to purchase each year. Yearbook staff members learn how to take and edit photographs, write copy and captions for the pictures, learn about layouts and page design and have opportunities to interact with leaders in the Yearbook and print industry. Special guests and visitors come to Tucker Creek and the students travel to trainings and workshops to learn as much as they can about print media and the multiple aspects of design that are involved in producing the book each year.
Students must apply to be on the yearbook staff by completing an application and getting teacher recommendations. The students that are chosen to be in this year-long course are chosen based on their ability to multi-task, follow directions, work under pressure, and creativity. Availability to take pictures at various events throughout the year and the maturity to take care of the equipment used in the process of the class including cameras, laptops, and software, is a must for members of the yearbook staff.
Study Hall: Kathi Finley
Students who would like the opportunity to complete assignments and have additional support in completing their coursework may choose to sign up for Study Hall as one of their exploratories. Students will be chosen to participate in this class based on their current work completion, their desire to be in the class, but it will be capped at 10-12 students. Ms. Finley will assist the students with being organized and submitting assignments in a timely fashion along with the support of the classroom teachers.