8th Grade Elective Course Descriptions

  • Eighth grade students may select from the following elective options. Please note, these elective courses will be based on student demand and are subject to change.
     
    Band:
     
    Eighth Grade Band is an ensemble that provides students with learning and performance opportunities on wind
    and percussion instruments. The primary focus is on the development, continuation, and expansion of basic
    skills begun the previous year that are necessary for effective instrumental music performance. In addition to
    large group ensembles, individual growth and achievement are encouraged. Topics/skills covered include:

    • Embouchure and Tone Development
    • Counting, timing, and rhythmic development
    • Reading and notation skills, including sight reading
    • Introduction of Scales
    • Simple Music Theory
    • Development of an extensive vocabulary of musical terms and symbols
    • Ear training and listening skills
    • Equipment care and maintenance
    • Effective practice habits

    Students in the Eighth Grade Band perform in at least two concerts a year. Students in eighth grade band must choose from one of the following instruments: Flute, Oboe (requires ongoing private lessons), Clarinet, Bassoon (requires ongoing private lessons), Bass Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, French Horn, Trumpet, Trombone, Baritone, Tuba and Percussion
     
    Choir:
     
    Eighth Grade choir provides continuing opportunities for students to develop their musical potential and aesthetic understanding through singing in a choral ensemble. Students will sing a varied repertoire of choral literature of up to three vocal parts. Study will include the care and cultivation of a beautiful vocal tone, aesthetic sensitivity, music literacy, the building of technical skills, team spirit, and responsible rehearsal habits. Performances for this choir will include at least two concerts a year. 
     
    Spanish I:
     
    This proficiency-based course is intended for students who are beginning their study of Spanish. This course requires active participation from each student as he/she develops written and oral communication skills and reading comprehension skills. The course introduces basic conversational vocabulary, simple grammar, and basic tenses. Students are introduced to the culture and geography of countries where Spanish is the native language.
     
    Mandarin I:
     
    This proficiency-based course is intended for students who are beginning their study of Mandarin. This course requires active participation from each student as he/she develops written and oral communication skills and reading comprehension skills. The course introduces basic conversational vocabulary, simple grammar, and basic tenses. Students are introduced to the culture and geography of countries where Mandarin is the native language.
     
    Theater Arts:
     
    This is a beginning course in drama and theater literacy.  Vocabulary, pantomime, voice, movement, improvisation, scene study and audience etiquette are emphasized.  It improves verbal expression, enhances listening skills, builds body awareness, increases interpersonal intelligence, and boosts self-confidence. Among the many things we will cover is an exploration of:

    • Basic acting techniques
    • Character work
    • Relationships on stage
    • Scene work with partners
    • Motivation
    • Improvisation exercises and games 
     
    AVID:
     
    AVID prepares students for attendance at four-year colleges and universities. Students must have satisfactory citizenship, good attendance, and a G.P.A. of 2.0 or higher. Students participate in twice weekly tutorials with college students wherein tutors provide content area support in math, English, social studies and science. Motivational activity days include college and career activities, guest speakers from area colleges and local professionals, and field trips to local colleges and universities. Curricular days develop students’ note-taking and study skills, while also teaching time management and goal setting.  
     
    STEM (Project Lead the Way/Coding/Robotics):
     
    The jobs of the future call for creative thinkers that can synthesize their academic skills and work as a team. In S.T.E.M., students learn skills in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics to solve real world problems. They also work collaboratively to invent new products and innovate improvements to existing designs. Focus is on the engineering process, using curriculum from Project Lead the Way. In addition to learning and creating real world products, students get a chance to be creative and social in the S.T.E.M. class. They may use what they learn here in other fields, or this course may be the beginning of their journey into Engineering. 
     
    Debate:
     
    In Debate, students fine tune their public speaking skills, participate in mock debates and prepare to compete in tournaments held throughout the year as a member of the highly competitive San Gabriel Valley Middle School Debate League comprised of six private schools and two public schools. 
     
    Art Appreciation (Visual Arts):
     
    In Art Appreciation students are taught visual art through a discipline-based art education model -art production, art history, art criticism and aesthetics while also integrating the core curriculum subjects. Students will learn about the Elements and Principals of Design and will create a portfolio of many different genres of art, work with a variety of mediums, learn about the various careers in art, art history, art from around the world and  will develop an extensive art vocabulary.  Art is a full year elective and is a very hands-on, projects-based class where all students are expected to participate productively with and open-mind and respect for themselves and others.  
     
    Leadership:
     
    Leadership students assist to organize and oversee school activities, including fun nights, spirit days, lunchtime activities, fundraisers, staff vs. student sports, service projects, and more. Through the experience of the student activities program, a variety of leadership skills will be developed, such as public speaking, communication, organization, problem solving, group facilitation, and decision-making. Leadership Students will work hand-in-hand with the elected student council, Administration, and staff to make the best possible environment for all members of the school community. 
     
    Yearbook:
     
    Yearbook captures memories for the school through pictures and written captions during the first part of the school year.  When the yearbook is finished, Yearbook transitions and works on weekly video newscast that air throughout the school.