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Academics & Arts
Grades 6-8

Electives, Initiatives, and Leadership


List of 4 items.

  • Immersion Weeks

    These weeks in the Middle School are entirely experiential, interdisciplinary and community-based. Examples include Girls for the World (Fifth Grade), Tinkering Week (Sixth Grade), a two-week Archaeological Dig (Seventh Grade) and Nation Creation (Eighth Grade).
  • Programming & Robotics

    Starting in Fifth Grade, students learn to program LEGO® Rovers to complete various challenges. In the Sixth Grade, they learn to work with Hummingbird Robotics Kits and have the opportunity to operate our state-of-the-art 3D printer. The Gator Gaming elective (open to Seventh and Eighth Graders) allows interested students to learn the basics of game design on several platforms. Read much more about STEM in Laurel's Middle School.
  • Performing Arts

    The Middle School performing arts program either produces a fall Fifth and Sixth Grade production and a winter Seventh and Eighth Grade production, or a Fifth through Eighth Grade musical each year. Additionally, students in Choreographer’s Lab present their compositions in a spring workshop.
  • Elective Program

    Electives for Seventh and Eighth Graders introduce girls to new academic experiences. Classes include Latin, Creative Writing, Speech and Debate, Junior Model UN, American Sign Language, Engineering Design Lab: STEAM Guitars, Broadcasting, Digital Making, Entrepreneurship and Studio Art.


Electives are one of the ways girls at Laurel can create unique learning paths in the Middle School.These ungraded courses are designed to inspire passions and build skills as well as, in some cases, to provide time for academic teams to prepare for competitions.

Electives will meet for the forty minutes before lunch and recess from 10:55-11:35 am during the “Office Hours” block on two days out of the seven-day cycle. Girls who do not pursue an elective will be in “Supported Study”, a teacher-coached strategies workshop in which students can work on class assignments, strengthen their math skills, learn more effective writing techniques, and build on the study skills that are integrated into courses.

Following is a sample of the electives that have been offered in recent years:

List of 12 items.

  • Creative Writing

    This elective is for students who live to write! We will explore storytelling through a variety of inspiring activities. Girls in Sixth Grade will have the opportunity to submit their writing to be judged in Power of the Pencil competitions. Girls in Seventh and Eighth Grades may try out for the Power of the Pen competitive team. In recent years, Creative Writing students have experimented with several genres, polished longer projects, played collaborative writing games, and published a Middle School literary magazine.
  • Engineering

    Put physics and computer science concepts to the test through programming and tinkering. Explore the design process, and hone your confidence using building tools. Past projects have included SeaPerch underwater remotely operated vehicle (ROV) design and STEAM electric guitar building, drawing on material science, chemistry, acoustics, robotics, electronics and music.
  • Global Perspectives

    Are you passionate about world issues? In this elective, you will learn how to use your voice to work on global issues for the greater good at an interscholastic competition at Junior Model UN in January, or you can transform your interest into a powerful performance in the National Geographic Geography Bee.
  • Computer Science

    Would you like to learn how to think like a computer and communicate with it to design programs? In this elective, students will learn the foundational concepts and skills of computer science. They will learn computational thinking (data organization, loops, conditional statements, functions and algorithms) and both pictorial and text based programming languages in order to use computers to complete assigned challenges.
  • Broadcasting

    Do you love the news? Do you dream of reporting on camera? Do you love video-making and technology? Then broadcasting is the elective for you! We will work on WRITING, READING, and RECORDING the news. From breaking news around Lyman Circle to world events, culture to sports, we’ll cover everything worth reporting to the Laurel community, learn how to report it, edit it, and share it with the Middle School during morning meetings.
  • Rock Band

    Do you feel the beat in your soul? Do you play an instrument or sing? Join the Rock Band, develop your musicianship, jam with the group and rock out on stage.
  • Service Learning

    How can you better the world next year? Explore the needs of communities near or far and figure out how you can match your skills and talents to a project that you design and launch. Work on behalf of animals, elders, kids near and far, or the environment. Depending on the project(s) you create, you may decide to raise awareness with skits, posters or videos, host donation drives, or visit local agencies to offer your help.
  • Performance

    In this elective, you can dance, act and sing your way into the hearts of your classmates and perhaps the rest of the Middle School during periodic Assembly performances. Bask in the glow of the spotlight as you hone your performance skills. Spontaneously burst into routines to the applause of your supportive elective-mates. “All the world’s a stage…” and the more time spent on stage, the better.
  • Robotics

    Do you enjoy engineering and building with LEGOs? Have you enjoyed coding using Kodables or Scratch? Join Robotics and build a variety of different models of robots using our EV3 LEGO robotics kits! We will program the robots to move, walk, turn and much more. Build and program for fun or as prep for LEGO Robotics competitions where we use our skills to compete against other schools.
  • Entrepreneurship

    Start planning and launching your own successful business by coming up with new business ideas, attracting investors, marketing your business, and managing expenses. You will also be a part of the “Selling Bee” competition in which you will formulate a business idea, develop a pitch and make a video of yourself presenting the pitch!
  • Speech and Debate

    This course provides instruction and practice in the art of public speaking. Sharpen your communication and logic skills and learn how to build an effective argument by practicing various speech and debate events. You will have the opportunity to compete on the Middle School Speech and Debate team against other schools.
  • Yoga and Mindfulness

    Explore the age-old practice that helps connect the body and mind. Build flexibility, balance and strength, both mentally and physically. Learn lifelong strategies to decrease stress and increase focus while twisting and turning upside down.

Clubs and Co-Curriculars

List of 6 items.

  • Clubs in the Middle School

    • Board Games & Puzzles Club
    • Book Club
    • Coding Club
    • Doodling Club
    • Entrepreneurship Club
    • Honor Code Council*
    • Minecraft Club
    • Robotics Club
    • Rock Band
    • Sewing and Knitting Club
    • Ski Club
    • Student Government*
    • Voices Matter
    *indicates elected position
  • Service Learning Domains

    Middle School students design and carry out Service Learning projects during one quarter of their Explorations course. Girls use the design thinking process to identify authentic community needs in the broader community, interview stakeholders, research issues, and enact solutions. Classes partner with not-for-profits to further grade level learning through a service learning lens.

    Recently, the Fifth Grade has learned about water usage and quality through reading A Long Walk to Water, a book about water access in the Sudan. They followed up with a field trip to the Chagrin Falls water treatment plant and a service partnership with a representative from the local organization, Drink Local, Drink Tap.

    Last year’s Seventh Grade partnered with the Western Reserve Land Conservancy, first learning about the correlation between tree cover and community health. Following further research and reflection last spring, Seventh Graders planted trees in Cleveland’s Buckeye neighborhood.

    A number of the girls in Eighth Grade choose service-based topics in designing their Independent Projects.
  • 7th and 8th Grade Electives

    • Creative Writing
    • Engineering
    • Global Issues
    • Mini-Makers
    • Robotics
    • Speech and Debate
    • Strategies Workshop
    • Yoga and Mindfulness
  • 5th and 6th Grade Co-Curriculars

    • Basketball
    • CCIS Field Hockey
    • Girls in STEM (6th Only)
    • Mathematics Competitions
    • Middle School Musical
    • Soccer
  • 7th and 8th Grade Co-Curriculars

    • Athletics (9 Teams)
    • CCIS Leadership Training
    • CCIS Socials
    • Mathematics Competitions
    • Middle School Musical
    • NEO Science and Engineering Fair
    • Power of the Pen
  • Technology and Computer Science

    • Digital Citizenship and Technology
    • Skills
    • Engineering and Design Challenges
    • Programming
    • Research Skills
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