Junior High Electives Program

7th and 8th Grade Elective Program
Updated July 20, 2021
Click here to download the course descriptions listed below.

The following electives are being offered to 7th and 8th grade students for the 2021-2022 school year. All elective courses will take place during 6th period to allow for easier scheduling. Core academic courses will take place for all 7th and 8th graders during periods 1-5. Students must select their electives no later than August 1st or their electives will be chosen for them. 8th grade students will be given preference in the scheduling. Given availability, we cannot guarantee that students will receive their top 3 choices. Students will take a new elective each trimester. Elective courses are graded. 


Self-Portraits Trimester 1
Students will learn how to draw their self-portraits over the course of the trimester. By studying facial features, the skull, and the bones of the face, students will practice rendering the facial structure and placement of highlight and shadow. Each component of the face will be studied separately by exploring the anatomy of each, modeling them in clay, and ultimately drawing them.

Forensic facial reconstruction will also be studied to allow for deeper understanding of bone, soft tissue, and how the planes of the face are formed. In addition, students will learn how to create form and depth in a 2D drawing by practicing pencil techniques that will be used in their final self-portrait.

For the grand finale, the final self-portrait will be compared to an initial one!

Ceramics Trimester 2
This elective will revolve around several traditional techniques of handbuilding, including pinching, slab, and coil construction. Students will learn about the basics of ceramic forming techniques, clay tools, and attachment methods, as well as some non-traditional decorative processes. Projects will include a planter, chia pet, and a cake box (cake decorating with clay instead of frosting!). Because ceramics is one of the most ancient industries going back thousands of years, students will also touch on the history of pottery-making in China, Greece, the Halaf culture, and other ancient civilizations.

The trimester will culminate with a claymation project.

Hand Lettering and Chalkboard Design Trimester 3
This elective will explore the art of hand lettering through a variety of fonts and styles including calligraphy, block lettering, and brush script. Besides the letters themselves, students will learn a multitude of ways to add depth to their fonts, including drop shadows, highlights, and coloring techniques. Students will also learn how to design and plan chalkboard advertisements/artwork, taking into account how colors, typeface, and placement speak to the consumer/viewer to maximize its effect.

At the end of the class, we will take our knowledge of lettering to the sidewalks with brightly colored chalk to create fun signage for the SPC community!

Intro to Guitar Trimester 3
In this elective, students will learn some basic guitar techniques and history. We will begin with a look at where guitars originated, and how they are made and innovated. We will then dive into different parts of the guitar and how they work together to make music, including some of the interesting ways artists have changed the sound of the guitar throughout its history. Lastly we will learn basic chord structures and progressions, giving students an opportunity to perform their favorite songs.

Dance (7th-8th grade) Trimester 1
Beginner - Intermediate level students will study the elements of contemporary, hip hop and jazz dance. Students will advance their dance technique, strength, flexibility and artistry. Classes consist of a warm-up, center work, traveling progressions and choreography. Class will consist of exercises focusing on music connection, dynamics, quality of movement, texture and body awareness such as isolations, big/small, clean lines, contractions and staying grounded. Choreography will be taught to increase performance quality, body language, projection, retention and overall memorization. Students will also use their creative knowledge to expand on improvisation and free style. Students will be expected to learn choreography during class and put on a performance at the end of the session.

Theater (7th-8th grade) Trimesters 2 & 3
Basic theater is a fun performance focused class that works on developing students’ confidence and stage presence within the individual and a group setting. This class is designed to expose students to stage performance skills, vocal expression, scene production, and the components of bringing a play together. This interactive class will educate students how to work together to problem solve and strategize through activities like games, storytelling, script analysis and creative thinking. Creative drama techniques will be used to build ensemble, stimulate imagination, movement, and role-play with an emphasis on concentration. Confidence will be built through realistic acting by directing focus, intent, and motivation to create and sustain a character and engage audiences. Creative thinking encourages students to think outside the box in improvisational skill and games. Drama and theatre vocabulary including stage directions will be an important aspect in class discussions and activities as it reinforces literacy skills and control of the body and voice.

Additional skills such as proper voice articulation, basic movement skills, how to apply emotional content to a script, costuming, set design, improvisational skills, script analysis, writing and producing self developed scripts, as well as familiarizing students with popular musicals and plays will be assessed. Students will end the trimester by producing, directing and acting in their own live play.

Introduction to Electronic Music Trimester 1
In this elective, students will create music through an online digital audio workstation. Students will learn about song form, basic techniques for manipulating sound, and recording music through MIDI instruments. Students will explore musical aspects of modern genres of music such as rock, jazz, hip hop, pop, etc. This elective will be an outlet to express through music.

Percussion Techniques Trimester 2
In this elective, students will explore the basics for performing in a percussion ensemble. Students will learn about different playing techniques on snare drum and mallet percussion. Exploration in counting rhythms, performing with expression, and opportunities to rehearse and perform as a percussion ensemble are a major focus in the percussion techniques elective.

Music Theory and Songwriting Trimester 3
In this elective, students will learn the basics of music theory and composition techniques. Through listening and analyzing music, students will learn how to compose melody and harmony through an online music notation software. By the end of the trimester, students will compose a piece entirely on their own!



Fantasy Sports- Mr. Okimoto Trimester 1
In this elective, students will have the opportunity to create fantasy teams and leagues for football, basketball, baseball and hockey. Students will learn about different ways to set-up fantasy leagues. Students will also learn different ways to draft teams including: auction drafts, live drafts, and virtual drafts. Students will have time to research players and learn about important statistics in each sport. Throughout the trimester, students will come to class and tally points that have been accumulated by their fantasy teams as well as propose trades with fellow students. By the end of the trimester, students will have a greater knowledge of sports related statistics.

Perilous Math Trimester 2
Students will dive into adventures, using their math skills to avoid grave consequences! Each student will use The Book of Perfectly Perilous Math: 24 Death Defying Challenges for Young Mathematicians by Sean Connolly which serves as a workbook for Math problems they won't commonly encounter in class. Whether it's just for fun or you enjoy dodging danger, come out to see what Perilous Math has to offer. They will also work through math projects that incorporate mathematics that have been learned through the students' math careers to this point. Some projects will include making food budgets, designing a dream house, using proportions to determine the height of extremely tall objects, determining how many kleenex will fit in my room, and more. 

You Do the Math Trimester 1, 2 & 3
This class will consist of hands-on math projects and activities with real-life applications. Students will be challenged to collaborate, share ideas, use technology and communicate both orally and in writing to solve real-life problems. Projects and activities will help students realize the importance and relevance of math in their lives while applying specific math skills learned in their math classes. 

Intro to Robotics Trimester 1
This course provides students an introduction to robotics for students with little to no programming background using the LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 platform. Projects will expose the students to the Engineering Design Process. Students will learn to collaborate, construct, control and program these robots through investigative and exploration activities. They will be responsible for coding their robots to navigate a path, use its sensors for sound and light, and learn how to problem solve using the engineering design process.

Advanced Robotics Trimester 2
Advanced Robotics is a lab-based course that uses a hands-on approach to further the basic concepts of robotics, focusing on the construction and programming of autonomous mobile robots. Course information will be tied to lab experiments; students will work in groups to build and test increasingly more complex mobile robots, culminating in an end-of-semester robot contest.

We will be using VEX Robotic Design System as our platform. Students will be divided into groups and complete a variety of robot construction and programming activities within the confines of these groups. Prerequisite Intro to Robotics. 

Beginning Animation Trimester 3
Learn how to create your own animated short using stop-motion animation or 2D drawing animation. You will discover the fundamentals of shots and scenes, keyframes, timing, easing, spacing, and onion skinning. Then we will delve into Disney's 12 principles of animation to help make your animation come alive and tell a story.