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Art G6 & G7: Student Work 2020-2021

Blog Type:  Arts Middle School
Date Posted:  Thursday, February 18, 2021


Although all of our art classes so far have been virtual, the work the students have created is tactile, rich and physical.

Grade 6: Ancient Greeks, Current Sports

  • Coordinated with the study of Ancient Greece in the History program. 
  • A study of the human figure in motion, paying special attention to correct proportions and muscle articulation. 
  • Design problems - high contrast silhouette figures, a limited choice of black, orange and white, and geometric patterns to decorate the vase.

Click here for Complete Student Gallery


Grade 6: Personal Boxes

  • Assemblage project inspired by Joseph Cornell. 
  • This is a sort of 3D “visual biography”. We crafted boxes to display a collection of found or made objects which represent the student and their family or friends.
  • The work is accompanied by Artist’s Statements explaining the choices.

Click here for Complete Student Gallery


Grade 7: Self-Portrait as a Spirit Animal

  • These illustrations are companions to anthropomorphic animal poems written in English class. 
  • We created imaginative self-portraits based on a fusion of human and animal traits in order to express inner qualities.

Click here for Complete Student Gallery


Grade 7: Ink Landscapes - A Van Gogh Worksheet

  • Step 1:  a study of ink techniques used by Van Gogh in his landscape drawings
  • Step 2:  we “translated” photos from the Berkeley Botanical Gardens into the language of blank-and-white, expressive lines and texture patterns

Click here for Complete Student Gallery


Grade 7: Coiled Rope Baskets

  • A weaving project with rope, yarn, and beads.
  • We used contemporary materials to learn the techniques and design aesthetic of Native American basket weaving from California.

Click here for Complete Student Gallery


Grade 6 is drawings comics based on stories written in French class. The stories are either further adventures of Odysseus, or fairy tales. The students can work either independently or in teams. We start with quick pencil drafts and move to large format detailed comics. Our final goal is 3 pages with at least one page in color.  We are hoping to publish all student work in an EB ComicZine.

Click here for Complete Student Gallery


Grade 7 is making accordion artist books. The students are learning traditional book-making crafts. They are writing and illustrations their own stories.We are exploring the possibilities offered by hand-made books: accordion pages that can unfold like screens or scrolls, using colored paper as background colors, pop-up elements, text layout and typography, merging of text and images “caligrams”.

Click here for Complete Student Gallery

Tags:  g8 art g7 art g7 g8 Middle School

Middle School Updates

Date Posted:  Thursday, February 18, 2021


Both the 6th and 7th Graders are concluding their units on Cell Biology with a timely study of Viruses. They have investigated viruses as occupying a kind of middle ground between living cells and non-living molecules, and (surprisingly!) as an essential part of the vast, complex microbiomes that are all around us. Finally, they are exploring our normal immune responses to harmful viruses, and how the intervention of vaccines can help stimulate and prepare those immune responses.

In English 6 we are exploring the role of the superhero or everyday hero in culture by comparing and contrasting world myths, legends, folk tales, and historical figures.  We are reading and analyzing Greek myths, the legend of Sujnata from Mali, Japanese folk tales, a native American folk tale, and heroes from American history (Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman). In 7th-Grade we are studying the causes of language change (immigration, invasion, technology, and trade) over time through informational texts as research for an informational essay.  We are working on our essay writing skills with an assertion paragraph that requires an argument (topic sentence), evidence, and analysis. This will be revisited in the unit’s final essay or presentation.

The 8th-Grade is exploring how we make canonized texts relevant. We are watching and comparing scenes in Romeo and Juliet, and we watched the documentary Romeo is Bleeding (set in Richmond, filmed in 2012). They are looking at how environment, gentrification, and policing are represented in the documentary, and then setting and characterization help integrate contemporary issues into a play. Additionally, we are using poetry such as Tupac Shakur’s « The Rose That Grew in Concrete » to supplement our investigation, and we are practicing argument writing as part of the process.

Math in English
6th Graders are working on ratios and rates to compare quantities. We have used comparison models and the unitary method to solve a variety of real-world problems, such as calculating the speed of an object. In 7th-grade, we are working on our unit on probability.  We learned that many events can't be predicted with total certainty. The best we can say is how likely they are to happen, using the idea of probability. We are working on computing probabilities of simple and compound events. This unit will culminate with students creating their own game and applying their knowledge of probabilities to determine their game's fairness. In our current 8th-grade units, we are working on solving systems of linear equations. We are learning algebraical and graphical methods to solve systems of equations. We are also solving real-world and mathematical problems using a system of linear equations. In 7IT we are starting on our first unit on geometry starting with classifications of angles, areas of 2-D shapes, and finishing up with volumes of solids. 

Math in French
6th graders are discovering the construction of triangles and quadrilaterals using a compass. They are getting used in the process to new vocabulary to describe them. In 7th grade, we are wrapping up our extensive study of the triangle and its countless properties (sum of its interior angles, triangle inequality, exterior angles formula) as well as its centers (circumcenter, centroid, incenter, and orthocenter). 8th grade has worked on proportionality in the triangle and similar shapes and will move on to being introduced to Trigonometry. 6IT is studying the area of 2D shapes: triangles, parallelograms, trapezoids and moving to more complex figures: regular polygons and composite shapes. 

In 6th-Grade French class, the 6th graders are reading excerpts from Homer's Odyssey and writing new episodes in which Odysseus (Ulysse) has to find a trick to fight a monster. Students are now making comics of their stories in art class. With the 7th graders, M. Labadie has decided to try a different approach to the study of a classic novel by Michel Tournier: Vendredi ou la vie Sauvage, a story inspired by Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe. Instead of having his 7th graders simply summarize their reading of the book, he has turned it into a multimedia project. Parents will ultimately have access to the link.

IT French
After studying the province of Quebec, Canada (its geography, history, and culture...), we started a unit on describing a person the physical and personality traits of people.

In 6th-grade Hist-Geo, we are studying "Living in a metropolis" and "The Cities of the Future," including sustainable and connected cities such as  Songdo, South Korea. In 7th-grade, we are studying "Population growth and Economic Development in the World" and "Wealth and Poverty (at various scales) in the World. In the 8th-Grade, after having finished "The French Revolution and the Empire (1789-1815)", we will be starting a new  Geography unit on Urban areas and Landscapes.

3rd Language

This week Mandarin students are celebrating the Chinese new year on zoom. All students were given a specific Chinese new year theme to research on and they, later on, did a slide presentation to the whole class about what they learned. The 7th graders also invited the Spanish class students to celebrate the Chinese new year together on zoom.
In 6th-Grade, we studied vocabulary to enable us to talk about family members, physical descriptions, and likes and dislikes. To wrap up this lesson, the students are working on a project: The Family Tree in which they will describe each one of them and design a template to form their own family tree including pictures and descriptions, and present it to the class. For Valentine’s Day, the students learn some vocabulary and make Valentine’s cards for their friends.

For 7th-Grade, we are focusing on practicing reading comprehension and listening comprehension as we read about Peru and the students have made a slideshow presenting important facts about that interesting country, full of history, and magic In 8th-Grade, we started the second semester focusing on pronunciation. As we listen to an audio story, the students make their own recordings to practice their pronunciation. 

Currently, the 6th graders have flexed their muscles by completing the Push-Ups Test.  The 7th graders have taken walkabouts with their phone cameras taking great pictures of Sports Logos and Baseball related items.  The 8th graders watched a short video on the late great soccer star Maradona and his famous "Hand of God" goal that helped lead Argentina to the 1986 World Cup Championship and then wrote on whether or not the goal should have counted.

Wow, did you catch all that? There’s a lot going on and I can’t say enough good things about our amazing teachers as they embark upon the new challenges soon to come in March.


Tags:  english science spanish mandarin g8 g6 IT g7

8th Grade Art

Blog Type:  Arts Middle School
Date Posted:  Thursday, February 18, 2021


Art 8 spent the fall months studying photography and composition. We began with a study of documentary photography of the Black Panther Movement (from the SF MOMA collection) by asking the questions: What stories do photographs tell? How do various ways of looking at photographs tell us stories, and what is our lasting perception of those stories based on our mental impression from photographs? We observed and discussed these iconic photos from a specific lens: Personal/Narrative - Aesthetic - HIstorical. We expanded our understanding of the medium by studying how to use light and composition techniques effectively. With the work of 20th century photographers Henri Cartier Bresson, Robert Frank and Cindy Sherman, we explored the effects of composition and the subjects and themes used by these photographers-- stark or ironic critiques of popular culture, perceptions of identity and self, race, class and gender, portraits of America and France, geometric compositions and surrealism.  The unit culminated in student photo essays on a theme of choice. Here is a sampling of their work made into a movie for TEDx: Grade 8 Photographers Teens in Quarantine

Art 8 has just finished illustrations painted in ink and watercolor that illustrate a scene from their nouvelle fantastique stories each student wrote in French class. The unit's concepts and skills included proportional figure drawing , creation of space using foreground, midground and background, use of rhythm and gradation, differentiation between in line hierarchy (thin/thick), and the use of contrast and other dramatic effects to emphasize the fantastical nature of a story.  We used Edward Gorey's The Mummy's Head and other illustrators' artwork for inspiration.

In our next unit starting this week, students will research contemporary Black American artists exploring the Black American experience as a way to "bring attention to important issues that news outlines omit, celebrate history and heroes that brought us to our present moment and illuminate conversations around bias, race and representation."  This research will inspire site specific projects centered around community and voice. As our starting point we will be using the Murals of Oakland and Art 21 documentaries: Portraying the Black American Experience.

Tags:  g8 art teens in quarantine Middle School
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