Clubs at MMFS

February 11, 2014

Want to learn more about clubs at MMFS?  Read on to find out how each division’s students and faculty collaborate on interests outside of the classroom.

Elementary Division

One of the favorite fourth floor clubs at our elementary school is Bread Club. In the initial Bread Club class the students are introduced to common ingredients, such as yeast, salt, sugar, flour and water, which are found in many different types of bread. We then read books and discuss the fact that certain breads are popular or originate in specific countries outside of the US. We also talk about how we are able to have those breads in our homes in New York. During each Bread Club class the students learn about and get to taste a new bread. However, they are not told which bread it is until that day in class. This builds up excitement and they usually approach us in the halls throughout the week telling us their guess and trying to read our expression to see if they are correct.

The class usually follows the same routine each week. First, we tell the students which bread we will be learning about that day, next we talk about the country or countries where the bread originated, or is most popular, and we look at a map to locate that country. Then students watch a YouTube video on how to make the bread. The best part of Bread Club is saved for last – tasting the bread! After everyone has sampled the bread, students can eat their bread with an accompaniment, such as pita with hummus, tortillas with salsa and guacamole, or eat it as is. Finally, after all the tasting is done, the students come up to the SMARTBoard and fill in a graph on whether they “liked,” “liked a little” or “didn’t like” the bread that day. As the culminating activity on the last day of Bread Club we turn all of our graphs into one big graph and analyze which breads were the most and least liked. The students also get to snack on a special treat such as a croissant.

Throughout the years we try to vary the types of breads we bake, from popular ones like Italian bread or pita, to less familiar ones like matzah or injera. Overall, Bread Club is a fun learning experience for both the students and the teachers. Our goal in Bread Club is to have students come away with something new and different, while also bringing in an academic piece.

Tali Fischer and Elizabeth Ballantyne, Teachers in the Whittier Room

Middle Division

TGIF!!! It’s 1:30 pm on a Friday afternoon at MMFS middle school. How do we end our week? We end it with clubs! Not just your everyday, run of the mill clubs, but bocce, pizza making, Wii dance challenge, basketball tournaments, ping pong championships, and 5000 piece jigsaw puzzles. We create murals, videos, sing, dance, weave and so much more.

Clubs allow teachers to put on different hats for one hour once a week. They introduce students to a passion (other than literacy, math and science, etc) and perhaps, hook students on something new. We know that there are lots of different ways our students learn and thrive. Students can try new activities or refine their skills in something they love to do. These hands-on activities encompass multiple modalities and enable students to explore many talents and forms of expression. New groups are formed as students across all middle school grades who share a love for a particular activity take part in clubs together. On Friday afternoons our hallways fill with laughter and excitement as students enjoy one another in new ways.

One of the things students like best about clubs is being able to choose which club to attend. Prior to the start of each trimester, teachers put on “club commercials” during an assembly. Teachers use props, PowerPoints, music and lots of humor to entice students to sign up for their club. Students are then presented with a voting ballot and rank their choices in order. We work diligently to give students one of their choices. Throughout the week you will hear, “What club did I get?” asked by many students. They are so excited. The day prior to the start of the trimester club cycle, groups are announced and we are ready to go.

It all sounds like so much fun, but it is much more than just fun. There is a perceived lack of academics to the club experiences; however, the truth of the matter is that these experiences are infused with important lessons and significant learning. Students learn to cook a meal (and clean up), learn the rules and intricacies of a game, master a skill, put on a performance or create works of art. Beyond the products each club creates are the shared learning experiences in which students and teachers collaborate and participate in the learning process together.

We are into the second trimester of clubs and you can hear the wheels turning, as we create wonderful new spring choices for our students. Stay tuned.

Fran Yellen, Middle Division Administrator and Afterschool Program Coordinator


Upper Division

Upper school students have a diverse range of interests and faculty members bring a wide range of skills to the community. These skills and interests can not always be explored through an academic context. During lunch periods, upper school students have the opportunity to try new endeavors and demonstrate their talents through the clubs. Clubs are most often proposed by students and the range of club options has been growing with the school. Club choices reflect the varied interests of our student body and range from the creative arts, to science, to sports. Some of the student-led clubs offered during the last several years have been Guitar Club, Songwriting Club, Dance Club, Rubix Cube Club, Round Table Discussion Club and Astronomy Club. Faculty members also form clubs, and many of their suggestions have led to new skills and interests for students including badminton, open studio, board games and karate. In addition, there are clubs that are core to student life and are offered every year. These include Student Government, Quaker Life Committee and the Gay Straight Alliance.

Amy Levine, Upper Division Assistant Director

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