Visual Arts

Course M860 GRADE 6 ART Quarter Year

Course M870 GRADE 7 ART  Quarter Year
The Middle School art curriculum exposes students to drawing, painting, printing, color theory, sculpting, and mask making. The program aims to make all students art literate. Teachers will coach artists to attend to detail, explore materials and techniques, develop their own style of expression, and produce quality work. These studio courses teach skills and appreciation while exhibitions, contests and publications provide public recognition of student achievement.


This course introduces students to digital image building. Source images acquired from the web, digital cameras, and scans provide material for image enhancement and manipulation using Adobe PhotoShop software. References to image development in history are discussed as useful to contemporary work. High quality printing techniques on various photo and art papers are also covered. The skills learned provide students with an important foundation for future computer graphic work at the High School and beyond.

Course M889 GRADE 8 DRAWING Quarter Year

Through a series of drawing exercises in contour, gesture, tone and color layering, students are provided with a foundation of techniques that allow for the development of a personal style. Projects such as self-portraits are accomplished in pencil, charcoal, Craypas, and mixed media. Realism, which is stressed early in the course, naturally evolves into a more expressive or abstract handling of subject and materials.

Course M885 GRADE 8 SCULPTURE Quarter Year

Students are given the opportunity to build three-dimensional pieces in a variety of materials such as wood, paper plaster, wire, and plastic. Projects might include wire shoes, plaster figures cast in sand, wood scrap assemblages, paper clothing, etc., or works of special interest to individuals. Examples of sculptures from many cultures are examined. Concepts such as balance, unity, movement, repetition of shapes, and structural integrity are considered as part of the design/build process.


Course M862 GRADE 6 DRAMA Quarter Year

M872 GRADE 7 DRAMA Quarter Year

Students explore the dramatic process by working together to create a variety of characters and imagery. They play theater games that help them sharpen their acting skills such as body movement, vocal expression, listening and concentration, imagination and spontaneity. They learn how to stage their ideas to communicate to an audience, and in turn, they learn to look critically at the performances of others. Students work as a team to create improvisational dramas and prepared scenes, using their own experiences as sources, as well as poems, music, and written dialogue.

Course M881 GRADE 8 VIDEO PRODUCTION Quarter Year

Students in this course will be introduced to the history and formats of journalistic writing and will have the responsibility of filming, producing, writing and editing a video news program. They will learn skills in the areas of organization, time-management, teamwork, and critiquing their own work. Using the student video lab, students will produce news stories which they will edit into a newscast. These programs will be shown in grade meetings and during lunches, keeping the student body informed on school news, current events, and the community as a whole.


Acting skills are taught through theater games and improvisation. Students develop a range of characters and work together as an ensemble to dramatize their ideas. Projects may include creating original plays and working with written dramatic material.

Course M883 GRADE 8 SCENE STUDY  Quarter Year

Students will learn the basics of directing, rehearsing and performing scenes from published plays. For a culminating project, classes choose from a variety of options such as performing a one-act play, presenting a performance of scenes, or working on individual auditions monologues. This is a more advanced acting experience for the student who would like to perform for an audience.

Course M887 GRADE 8 MUSICAL THEATER Quarter Year

Students will learn about the genre of the American Musical Theater by studying its history, creating their own original musical scenes, and performing scenes from some of our most famous creators of musicals, such as Rogers and Hammerstein or Stephen Sondheim. Students will also be involved in all aspects of the production of their scenes from costuming, sets and lighting to singing, acting and dancing.


Course M888 GRADE 8 DANCE Quarter Year

Students will learn basic dance steps and build them into short dances at the end of each class. We move in a variety of dance styles to a wide range of recorded music, as well having some classes with a live musician. Students do not need prior dance experience—just a willingness to move and have fun with it! Students will also be exposed to trends in dance history and the current dance scene, and will also learn to choreograph some of their own dances.


Course M866 GRADE 6 MUSIC Quarter Year

This course will offer instruction in the mechanics and appreciation of music. The courses will include singing, listening, improvisation, and movement. Students will learn about melody, rhythm, harmony, form, dynamics, and tone color.

Course M878 GRADE 7 MUSIC Quarter Year

This course will offer instruction in the mechanics and appreciation of music, utilizing the guitar. Previous experience playing guitar is not required. Students will learn to play basic chords in first position and to read standard and tablature notation. Students will learn a variety of accompaniment styles and standard strumming patterns, as well as a repertoire of songs from popular and folk traditions. Heavy emphasis will be placed on singing while playing.


Course M868 GRADE 6 GUIDANCE SEMINAR Quarter Year

Taught by the grade-six school counselor, this course will focus on concepts of social competency, health and wellness, and anti-bullying. Students will cycle through units focusing on effective communication, interpersonal relationships, problem solving, anti-bullying, reducing stress, coping and resiliency, self-advocacy, organization, time management and contributing to a positive school climate. It will serve as a companion to the grade six-health course, grade-six Harassment Will Travel program, and the grade-six RALI for Success in School program


Course M874 GRADE 7 ROBOTICS Quarter Year

This course introduces students to concepts in mechanical engineering and computer programming, utilizing the LEGO EV3  robotic design system and EV-3 programming environment. Students begin by learning sturdy construction methods with Lego Technics beams through the design of a sturdy chair. The use of gears and other mechanisms to transform speed, torque, and motion are explored. The application and programming of microcomputers are then investigated, applying sensors, motors, and sounds to solve a series of robotic design challenges, learning concepts such as loops, decision trees, and signal thresholds in the process. Finally, the various building and programming techniques learned are applied to one or more open-ended design challenges, such as a robotic amusement park, transportation system or exploration voyage, which emphasize engineering systems. Throughout, students are introduced to the work of current leaders of robotics research, and the application of robotics to real-world applications.

This course introduces students to the engineering design process, through projects emphasizing structural concepts. Students begin by building and testing to failure models of an antenna tower, beams, and columns, and learning the forces that act on structures, including tension, compression, bending, and shear. Students learn about how these principles apply to the various types of bridge designs including beam bridges, truss bridges, and suspension bridges, and how their design has changed through history. Next, they apply these concepts to the building and testing of prototype truss bridges, using both physical modeling and engineering simulation program to explore concepts such as efficiency and redundancy. In the final unit, students learn about affordable architectural design. Students design a house using a computer-aided design program, and then build a structural model of a timber-frame house, using saws, drills, and various other shop tools.


An Introduction to Craftsmanship

This elective course gives students experience in design, technological problem- solving, and craftsmanship in woodworking techniques, using both hand and power tools. Students begin by reviewing shop safety, tool use, and technical drawing, in the context of a simple wood project such as a sanding block. Next, they learn the use of miter saws, routers, bandsaws, sanders, drill presses, and finishing techniques though the design and construction of a fine art miter-joint box or bandsaw box of their own design. In a final project, they design and construct a small table or chair, building a scratch model, then using mortise-and-tenons and other joinery concepts to construct a final product.


This makerspace-based elective will lead students on an exploration of robotics, computer science, mathematics, and art, using a variety of the latest technologies.

The course will begin with some ‘tinkering’ activities. Students will make artistic works with buzzing motors and blinking lights, such as scribbling Machines, Paper circuits, and simple homebrew robots,  learning basic circuitry and electronic tool use in the process.

Following this will be an in-depth exploration of robotics, using the new Lego EV3 Mindstorm System, in which students will design and build advanced robots which respond to light, color, sound, and motion, and solving a series of challenges.

Students will explore game programming using the SCRATCH visual programming environment and the Makey-Makey , applying some of the mathematical concepts learned in 8th-grade algebra, to make games of their own design which respond to both keyboard commands and DIY(do-it-yourself) sensors.

We will then make a brief excursion into Arduino micro-controllers, programming lights, sounds, sensors and motors using either text-based programming or MakeBlock, a Scratch-based language, as well as other electronic devices.

Students will also have the opportunity to explore the basics of vector imaging using Adobe Illustrator, which will be used to laser-engraver both artistic and mechanical projects, as well as creating works with the 3D printer., and can apply these technologies to an original project.

While this course does not require any specific prior knowledge, it does require a willingness to problem-solve, take artistic risks, and learn independently.

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