Fall 2022

Class Summaries

boy measuring a clay figurine.

Class summaries are designed to give parents a glimpse into their child's Explorations classroom. We invite you to take a moment to read about the classes your child(ren) are enjoying and perhaps take a peek into classes you are considering for future enrollment.

girl holding a measuring tape.
a group of students in an art room.
group of girls holding a dance pose.

Summaries for both Hillcrest and Midway explorations are organized by interest and then alphabetically. Please note that summaries are provided by the teacher of the class, and the content will vary. Should you have any questions, please direct them to Extend@Parish.org. Many of these classes and others like them are offered during Spring 2023. Registration for Spring 2023 will open on Tuesday, November 15 at 9:00 p.m.

Browse by Interest

Fun with Math

This semester we have worked skip counting by 5’s and 10’s, starting on 0 and counting to 100, we have also started on 100 and counted back to 0. We include lots of games to learn counting such as Guess My Number using a hundred board, dice games Tenzi, Battlezi and Racetrack. Second graders have started to work on logic puzzles called Mind Benders.

Harry Potter Club

We have had a magical time in the Harry Potter book club. We were sorted into our houses, learned to make magnetic bookmarks with our house crest on them, almost completed book one and are watching the first movie along with the book. We have bonded with our housemates as well as across houses and have enjoyed getting to know each other!

Reading & Writing Workshop

So far this semester we have read two books – Sticks by Alber and Stuck by Jeffers.

Sticks was about a popsicle that melted and all that was left was the stick. Worried that he would not be useful anymore, the stick’s friends showed him how important he was by being the last stick to complete a birdhouse. After reading the book the students were given all types, colors, and sizes of popsicle sticks and they each made their own creation. Students then drew their design on paper and wrote a story.

Stuck is a funny book about a kite getting stuck in a tree. A boy tries to get the kite down by throwing some hilarious things into the tree and they get stuck too! Students made their own tree and made at least ten objects that got stuck in their tree. When they were finished with their project, they wrote a short story about their trees and stuck objects.

Art: My Imaginary Pet

Students have been working on a draft of their Imaginary Pet stories. They have drawn preliminary sketches in their sketchbooks and have now started refining and transferring their ideas to the final books. They are continuing to brainstorm ideas for their storyboard and have looked at many pet references to create their own images. Students continue to refine their drawing skills and increase their imagination as well as cut, glue and paste neatly to create a quality product.

Broadway Class – Hillcrest

Over the first half of the semester, we have listened to and learned about well-known and long running Broadway shows and their top hits. We discussed the story of the famous Broadway show, Annie. Each week the class covers a section from a song and reviews what they have learned so far so they can put it all together. They are currently working on performing the song “Tomorrow” from Annie for the recital at the end of the semester. This class teaches teamwork as students learn to sing together in unison as students help each other learn new repertories, while building confidence when performing on stage.

Broadway Class – Midway

Over the first half of the semester, we have listened to and learned about well-known and long running Broadway shows and their top hits. We have focused on Wicked and Hamilton. Each week the class covers a section from a song and reviews what they have learned so far so they can put it all together. They are currently working on performing the song “Helpless” from Hamilton for the recital at the end of the semester. This class teaches teamwork as students learn to sing together in unison as students help each other learn new repertories, while building confidence when performing on stage.

Choir – Hillcrest

The Hillcrest Choir started the year by getting to know each other with singing games like A-Rig-A-Jig-Jig and Circle ‘Round the Zero. While building a sense of community, these young singers also worked on developing their voices and expanding their repertoire. They took their first steps into singing in harmony with our warm-ups Scotland’s Burning and Autumn Canon. These pieces have helped them with the vocabulary terms “unison”, “canon”, and “round”. Currently, the choir is practicing their repertoire piece Those Who Served, which they will perform in the chapel for the community on November 9, 2022. As the semester continues, these talented singers will start to prepare to sing with the Midway Lower School Choir in the 1st – 4th grade Holiday Program. 

Choir– Midway

Midway LS Choir is off to a terrific start! With almost 30 members, we have already been able to sing in two and four parts! We have worked on breath control, posture, enunciation, and expression while singing, and we’ve begun to emphasize blending in order to produce a cohesive tone. Currently we are learning a canon for chapel (with Orff accompaniment) and Benjamin Britten’s wonderful “Old Abram Brown,” a favorite from my youth! Of course, all our work is served up with a big helping of fun and friendship as well.

From Disney to Broadway

Over the first half of the semester, we have listened to and learned about well-known Disney songs that have made it to Broadway. We have discussed the stories of Anna & Elsa in Frozen as well as Annie from the musical Annie. Each week the class covers a section from a song and reviews what they have learned so far so they can put it all together. They are currently working on performing the song “Do You Want to Build a Snowman” from Frozen for the recital at the end of the semester. This class is about teamwork as students learn to sing together and in unison. It also builds stage confidence especially when performing as each student has their own time to perform solo when reviewing what they have practiced in front of their classmates.

Garden Art

In this class our artists have learned about different brush strokes, the different types of paint that can be used as well as the textures you can make with different paints. They have used water colors and acrylics to paint rocks and monarchs and they have planted marigolds in their decorated containers.

Music Explorer

This class is meant to develop a musical curiosity in children and induce a desire to explore the possibilities of creating different sounds in a musical context. Students have learned to sing the solfege scale and use their bodies to play simple music parts along to songs. They have played percussion instruments along to songs such as Hound Dog, Yellow Submarine, and the Spider Man theme.

Ukulele Awesomeness

Students have learned the names of the strings on the ukulele, how to strum the ukulele, and how to hold down the strings to play different notes. They have learned the anatomy of the ukulele including frets, head, and body. Students are learning to coordinate their hands so they can play different chords and by the end of the semester students should be able to play a song. This class is about introducing students to music and how to play an instrument.

3V3 Boys Speed Lacrosse

We have been playing games for the entire hour period.  Every now and then we will stop to point out something we should be trying to do or something we could do to make it easier.  We have focused more on making the right decision regardless of the outcome.  At an early age where development is important, making the right play is more important than scoring. Good habits developed today will make the results come later.

On offense the boys have been encouraged to find the open man and have learned that if they are covered then their teammates are open and they need to pass him the ball.  We have also focused on accuracy over power on our shots.  In addition to this we have tried to find the sweet spot distance on our shots.  We don’t want to be too far away that the goalie can make an easy save and we don’t want to get too close to the goal as the angle to score is drastically reduced and the defenders have more opportunities to take the ball away.

On defense we have worked on “Steering” the offensive player where we want them to go.  We hold the stick with our hands about 8 inches apart and use our fists to steer the offensive attacker to the sideline to take away angles.  It’s not about throwing checks or taking the ball away but instead making sure the offensive team goes where you want them to go.

On day one the games were very low scoring, and the ball did not move very much.  The game was played at a slow pace and not as much energy was spent.  As the weeks have progressed, we have started to let the ball do the work by passing more and taking better shots.  This has resulted in much more “up and down” play and the boys have increased the scoring output considerably.

Basketball Skills – Hillcrest

Basketball skills introduced students to dribbling, shooting and passing, but most importantly we worked on confidence boosting, team building, and the love of the game. The class allocates time to focus on specific skills and follows up with drills incorporating the basic skills.

Cheer & Tumbling – Hillcrest

The first half of the semester has students learning a cheer and routine along with jumps, stunts and transitions. Tumbling skills such as forward and backward rolls, cartwheels, one-handed cartwheels and round-off back springs are coming along nicely.

Cheer & Tumbling – Midway

The first half of the semester has students working on an extension teddy bear stunt and snap down to start cheers. They have learned how to make their routines tighter along with learning new jumps, motions and stunts. They are perfecting this cartwheels, round-off, standing back handsprings and front & back walkovers.

PARISHkicks Soccer Skills – Hillcrest

Students in this skills session spent time working on the fundamentals of ball control. We focused on moving, turning and stopping the ball. We also played a variety of games to reinforce the skills they are learning and worked on the concept of how to strike the ball.

PARISHkicks Soccer Skills – Midway

Students in this skills session spent time working on advanced ball control and movement. The focus of the class is to strengthen their fundamental control while including additional advanced skills such as multiple methods of turning with the ball, passing while moving and technical shooting. Students demonstrated improved ability to control aerial passes effectively and to strike the ball. 

Tumbling Skills

Students are working on tumbling skills called a v-seat routine. It consists of V-seat forward roll, straddle roll, cartwheel, one-handed cartwheel and finishing with a round off.  They have worked on the bars and have learned pull overs, L-hangs and penny drops. On the balance beam gymnasts are working on knee scales, pony steps, dip steps (forward and backward) and dismounts. On the vaulting horse students have bounce pressed on the vault, they have also worked up from three bounces to one bounce to land on their knees on the vault. 

Acro Dance

We have covered the importance of a warm-up before diving into intense stretching. The stretching is then a base for many advanced skills such as splits, bridges, and extensions. Acro dance is a class to focus on all the “fancy” tricks you see in advanced choreography. It teaches the hard work and dedication that is needed to achieve skills that might seem easy to achieve. It’s a class to push limits in a dancer’s skill set. The dancers will have the opportunity to showcase their skills in combination with dance choreography, which is where Acro dance was born.

Ballet & Lyrical

Students have continued the study of the ballet barre techniques: alignment, feet position, and arm placement. While discussing and adding quality of movement as a goal to achieve this, they continue to progress with center barre exercises. In addition to going across the floor section that includes: chasse chaine arabesque, tombe pas de bourree glissad leap, Pique turns, Petit battement, Attitude and Releve passe. In Lyrical portion of the class students have been working on space, time, and energy, and learning how to communicate feelings and ideas. They have been working on dance walks, dance runs, flatback, layout, plie, triplets, and pencil turns.

Ballet & Lyrical Intermediate

tudents have had a lot fun learning new and difficult steps. Although they will continue to perfect the basics (plié, tendu, dégage, rond de jambe, and a barre stretch), we will continue to build upon the ballet vocabulary. In ballet we will begin to work on center combinations which consist of Petit allegro: sautes, changements, jeté, and échappe. During the Lyrical portion of the class the students are working on flexibility and working on how to make the steps more fluid. They have been learning how words influence movement which affects the quality throughout the dance. As we continue to grow in our technique the process will become easier. As we approach the Holiday season we will begin to work on their showing for the Merry and Bright performance.

Ballet II

We continue to work on reviewing the basic ballet barre techniques: alignment, feet position, and arm placement. We reviewed across the floor section of the class that included grand battement, chaîné, chasse arabesque, arabesque balance, saut de chat (développé leaps), tombe pas de bourre, glissade and assemble.

Ballet, Tap & Jazz

We will continue to work on alignment and reviewing basic ballet terminology. The positions of the feet and arms: first, second, third, fourth, and fifth. The dancers also worked on basic barre techniques: plie, tendu, degage, passe, & relevé. In the center, we both explored and reviewed: echappé, arabesque, and curtsey. Across the floor included ballet walks, chasse, & grand jete. During the Tap portion of the class, we reviewed basic tap steps that include toe tap, heel tap, and shuffle step. The shuffle hop step has also been introduced. During Jazz, students work on fan kicks, jazz walks, chaines, and jazz leaps.

Broadway Baby!

During class we are working on terminology that includes parallel, plie, ball change, chasse, fan kick, hitch kick, jazz walk, chaines, pique turn, pirouette, and leaps. We continue to develop isolations and step turns while dancing to our favorite show tunes from the shows Aladdin, The Lion King and of course Frozen!

Ballet & Lyrical

Contemporary Modern

The students in the class are an amazing group of hardworking dancers. I have enjoyed teaching and presenting them with a different challenge in each class. We have revisited Graham (floorwork), Horton (standing center), and Humphrey (fall and recovery) techniques. We have also worked on the use of improvisation to build more trust in our movement and introduced contact improv as well. This class will continue to grow in how to tell a story through movement and enhance their quality of movement. As we approach the Holiday season we will begin to work on their showing for the Merry and Bright performance.

Dance Technique Intermediate

Students have worked on ballet, modern, jazz, and contemporary styles of dance. Each technique contains plie, tendu, degages, and rond de jambe. Students have gone across the floor and worked on chaine turns, pique turns and grand jete. They will continue to work on leaps and turns to perfect the technique and quality of movement. As we approach the Holiday season we will begin to work on their showing for the Merry and Bright performance. 

Hip Hop I & Jazz

Students have been working on rib cage isolation, six-step, coffee grinder, toe touch, and glides. They have also learned various combinations. They will continue to work on freestyle movements. During Jazz students work on reviewing the qualities of movement and terminology that includes parallel, plie, ball change, chasse, fan kick, hitch kick, jazz walk, chaines, pique turn, pirouette, and leap.

Hip Hop Jr.

Students have been working on rib cage isolation, six-step, coffee grinder, toe touch, and glides. The dancers have also learned various combinations and we will continue to work on freestyle movements.

Leaps, Jumps & Turns

In the first few weeks of class dancers have learned spotting, core engagement, and the importance of a plié into a piqué or plié into a brush for a jeté. We have broken up spotting into a series of spotting all four walls in the room to fully prepare for a quick spot once you advance to a clean full turn, into a double, triple, and so on. Core engagement is activated at the beginning of class with a small set of abdominal work to ensure they feel the same engagement when turning and traveling their movements. The plié to piqué is an essential to many variations of turns and to remind them of the pointed and straight legs used right before their piqué passé turn. Plié to brush is essential for the many jumps they will come to learn.  Dancers have learned the importance of engaging all of spotting, shoulders down and back, closed rib cage, no arch in back, tight thighs, and straight knees for one turn that can lead to multiple turns. They have also practiced their initial steps that can be used to ease into any jump such as their chassé step leap. The skills and technique they learn for these skills are meant to be used in many forms of dance movement. These are skills that need specific attention and practice to be able to improve any simple dance movement and choreography.

Foundations of Mandarin Chinese – Hillcrest

Students have learned how to express who they are, how old they are, how to say “Hello, Goodbye, Thank you, Good Morning, Good Afternoon, Good Evening, I am __ years old.” They have also learned to 10 and to ask where something is. In the second half of the semester, they will learn three Chinese songs and important holidays. So far, we have talked about Mid-Autumn Festival and will continue to learn about Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas expressions and customs.

Foundations of Mandarin Chinese – Midway

Students have learned how to express who they are, how old they are, how to say “Hello, Goodbye, Thank you, Good Morning, Good Afternoon, Good Evening, I am __ years old.” They have also learned to 20 and to ask where something is. In the second half of the semester, they will learn three Chinese songs and important holidays. So far, we have talked about Mid-Autumn Festival and will continue to learn about Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas expressions and customs.

Chess: The Knight School

So far this semester the kids have learned the following lessons: Identification, Checkmate, Scholarsmate, and Forking. Each child should play three or more games of chess between classes each week. Playing chess at home reinforces everything that we have taught in class. Students have learned how to set up their chess sets by putting the white pieces next to the numbers “1 & 2” listed on the chess board, and by putting the black pieces next to the numbers “7 & 8” listed on the chess board. They have also started using chess clocks during their chess games, which helps them to think fast and to remember whose turn it is. A few terms and phrases that our students have learned are checkmate, check, illegal move, legal move, “flag”, “removing the defender”, and “castling”.

Cooking Fun

The student chefs have learned a lot in a few short weeks – they have learned the difference between baking and cooking, how to measure with accuracy as well has how to mix ingredients. They have made lemonade, cupcakes, pancakes, breakfast tacos and pizzelles. They will continue the semester learning how to work together and individually on different projects.

Debate Club

The students in Debate Club have been a joy. They came in ready to spar and they have done just that. They have learned introductions, rebuttals, and closings. They generally come in with topics they want to debate which we let happen once we have finished the day’s course activities. These can handle just about anything – a topic can be introduced on the spur of the moment, and they are ready with little to no prep time. Look out parents, these students are a force.

My First Piggy Bank

Students have been hard at work learning the value of money. They have been discussing what you can do with money such as spend, earn, invest, and save. These last couple of weeks we have been driving home earning money and ways to do that like chores, birthday money, or lemonade stands. We talked about ways to make our lemonade stand appealing that people would want to buy from us.  We even created our own miniature stand.

Fusion Game Creator

Students are currently working on the coding process for their games. They just finished the design process of their first level by adding their backgrounds, helpful & harmful items, as well as their characters and will begin the testing phase after the coding is added. At the end of the semester, students will be taking their game home on a flash drive and will be able to play it at home on a Windows computer. Students will be able to test and play other students’ games to get a classmate’s perspective.

LEGO® Battle Bots

Students are currently working in groups to create their robots that’ll be heading off against fellow classmates’ robots at the end of the semester. Everyone takes turns being a team member collecting the pieces as well as being the team leader and connecting the pieces into the correct position. The students have learned: Organizational skills, Step comparison and Customizations. Students are currently in the first phase of their Lego vehicle; next phase is testing and customization.

LEGO® Creations & More

For the first few weeks, students have been learning to work collectively with their groups as well as thinking creatively with the class builds for every week. This ensures that everyone is actively participating in building as well as being a team player with each other. Students have also created builds such as a rocket ship, replicas of their houses and free builds.

LEGO® Engineers

Students are currently working in groups to create their robots that’ll be completing an obstacle course at the end of the semester. Everyone takes turns being a team member collecting the pieces as well as being the team leader and connecting the pieces into the correct position. Students are about to complete the first phase of their Lego hybrid tank car; next phase is testing and customization.

LEGO® Stop & Go Animation

Students brainstormed with fellow classmates to come up with a story they’ll be able to create using stop and go methods. They have finished building sets for their first scenes and have started the process of taking multiple pictures for their Stop and Go movie and take turns with each other to take pictures, as well as the animating process. Students are incorporating their favorite Lego mini figurines into their Stop & Go movie!

Minecraft – Survive the Nether!

Students have been broken into groups and have been assigned multiple projects to ensure the safety of the class as they try to reach The Nether. The first projects were discussed and decided as a group, to prioritize shelter and food for the players. They have finished working on their Base of Operations, as well as the beginning stages of food production to ensure the students’ game characters won’t starve in game. Students are able to discuss the importance of having shelter, food resources, and more to ensure the group’s wellbeing in the game. Students will continue taking turns to design bigger and more elaborate structures which will allow them to improve their teamwork skills. 

Minecraft Architect

Students have been learning to transfer a 2D blueprint drawing of structures into Minecraft. This allows them to create unique designs as well as utilize math skills to calculate resource amounts to complete their build. Students have completely designed their first house as well as calculating the number of resources needed to complete it. Students will soon be able to work in groups to design bigger and more elaborate structures. This will allow students to improve their teamwork skills. 

Mini Programmers

Students are currently working on making playable mini games using Scratch coding on desktops. The class is learning how to use both a keyboard and a mouse at the same time. By the end of the semester students will be able to test and play other students’ games to get a classmate’s perspective. 

Movie Magic

Students brainstormed with fellow classmates to come up with a story they’ll be able to act out together. Students have finished writing their movie script and have started recording the first couple of scenes. Suring this process students get hands on experience taking turns recording and setting up the scenes. Students can bring costumes and props from home (with parents’ permission), to help bring their character to life in the film. 

Next Level Game Programming

Students have finished working on the coding process for their games as well as the design process of their first level by adding their backgrounds, helpful & harmful items, as well as their characters and are working on the testing phase. At the end of the semester students will be able to test and play other students’ games to get a classmate’s perspective.

Roblox Capture the Flag

Students are currently learning world editing tools to create and customize their Roblox worlds. They have created the base design of their current Roblox world and are learning how to edit and customize the landscape of their worlds. Soon they’ll begin working on the level for their “Capture the Flag” game and get into scripting code for items in their games. Students will be able to test and play other students’ games to get a classmate’s perspective, as well as publishing their games to allow friends to play together.

STEAM Team Saves the World

In just a few short weeks we have gone all over the world solving different problems and challenges using STEAM! Our first challenge was engineering a colorful canopy of fabric to bring shade to an outdoor market. This engineering challenge considered the weight of our fabric, incorporating a design that maintains the flow of people from the street, and enough coverage to make sure everyone could find some shade. We’ve also explored the science of sound. We invented some new instruments, learning about sound waves, types of sounds, and the differences in pitch and volume. Most recently, we tried our hands at zoology! We researched different habitats for animals and then custom built enclosures to best fit the needs of our animals. A big part of that was figuring out what animals live well together. We’re looking forward to many more adventures to come!

YouTube Creator

Students brainstormed with fellow classmates to come up with various topics to perform their podcast. Students will soon learn how to be able to screen record. This method is widely used to perform game capture as well as to make tutorials. Students have finished writing discussion topicss to discuss with their fellow team members. Students are currently recording an introduction for their videos, as well as preparation for game recordings. Students will receive links at the end of the semester to download any free software used during the class. 

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