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Middle Years Electives

Stephen Decatur School is proud to offer specials classes to seventh and eighth graders in the form of electives.  Each quarter, students choose which elective class they would like to study.  Students spend 45 minutes each day in their elective class until the end of each quarter, at which time they decide if they would like to continue with that elective or switch to another subject area.  Offerings are occasionally updated to give students opportunities to engage in different subject areas in an effort to keep them motivated and eager to learn.  We have had a very positive response since beginning this program two years ago, and we plan on continuing to offer electives for our middle school students for years to come!

2017-2018 Elective Offerings


Teacher: Mrs. Feighan Drach

Students will explore advanced techniques in drawing, painting, ceramics, and 3D design. Emphasis will be placed on high-school portfolio preparation for Benjamin Rush and other criteria based high schools.  Art projects will demonstrate an understanding of life drawing, elements of design, and art history. This elective is open to all levels of ability. Each student will set his/her own personal learning goals for artistic growth. The Art Elective students participate in special projects such as props for the musicals and plays, as well as hallway displays including murals.


Teacher: Mr. Siedell

This elective class will be one period per week. This class will be a more advanced version of the standard Physical Education class and will emphasize team sports and the more complex skills and strategies that go into each sport. Some of the sports that will be included in this class are Futsal, Lacrosse, Volleyball (not Newcomb) and “Real” Basketball. Other sports will be explored based upon the group’s interest.


Teacher: Mrs. Ringkamp

This elective deals with garden spots in and around Decatur School. It will include blueprints of specific gardens, making charts to identify which vegetables do well in different weather conditions, planting seeds and seedlings, pulling weeds, shoveling dirt, raking, transplanting, and watering the vegetables. You will need an extra shirt/sweats to put over your school clothes when we begin to dig and plant in the spring.


Teacher: Ms. Solis

Students in this elective class will learn how to create projects using a variety of software programs, applications, and devices.  We will utilize the all the new equipment in the WHYY Media Lab to create various types of videos using Final Cut Pro while working in cooperative groups.  GarageBand will also be used to create original songs to use in the videos that students make.  Students also will create presentations and print graphics while being exposed to many different tools.  Projects created in this elective will potentially be entered into the Philly TEC Showcase in the spring.   Students participating in this course will be able to show growth and expansion of knowledge of different forms of digital media over a period of time.


Teacher: Ms. Cheatham

Join me to play classic games like Scrabble, Scrabble Slam, Boggle, Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?, Wii Think Smart, Heads Up, Pictionary, Cranium, Chess, Life, Monopoly, Boggle, Yahtzee, etc. We can add new educational games as a group. It will be fun and competitive. These games enhance spelling, vocabulary, math, dictionary skills, thinking, and spatial relationships. Social skills such as working through a challenge in an appropriate way are stressed as students learn the politics of good sportsmanship


Teacher: Dr. Bluestine

In this elective, you will perform in a musical stage production (Beauty and the Beast) involving dialogue, singing, and dancing. You will learn to play recorders (flute-like instruments) of various sizes, and you will be part of the Decatur Middle School Choir/Glee Club (made up of 7th and 8th graders only) that will feature soprano, alto, and baritone singers. If you’re interested in pursuing the performing arts in high school, then this elective will prepare you for it!


Teacher: Mrs. Jordan

Students will develop and strengthen their creative writing skills in order to produce and publish the School’s Monthly Newsletter and Yearbook.  All students taking this course will be responsible for writing all types of news articles including articles about school events for the Newsletter.  Select 8th grade students will be responsible for designing and creating the yearbook..  They will also need a notebook, folder, ink pens, pencils, have a positive attitude, love of writing and willingness to work with others.


Teacher: Mrs. Ruf

In this course, students will be able to set specific short-term and long-term personal fitness goals. They will identify fitness activities that will help them accomplish their fitness goals, determine how often, how hard and how long they will do their fitness activities, track their progress every two weeks, compare what they planned to have accomplished in order to reduce body fat, become more flexible, tone and shape their body, lose weight, increase cardiovascular endurance, reduce stress, increase self-esteem, and increase muscular strength.  Some of the activities will include Kickball, Relays, Circuit Training Stations, Basketball, etc.

Last modified: November 4, 2017