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Middle School 6-8 » Middle School Electives

Middle School Electives


Middle School Electives

Course Summaries



Music (Trimesters 1, 2, and 3) - Mrs. Ramsey

The Music Elective is designed for students who wish to explore the different components of musical theatre and experience the artistic and creative process through participation in a musical theatre showcase at the end of each trimester. Students will learn the skills required for a musical showcase including vocal technique and vocal health through singing individually and in groups and basic group choreography. In addition to these skills, students will also explore the audition process, the origins of musical theatre, and its relevance throughout history. The class will conclude with a themed Musical Theatre Variety Show with selections from various musicals studied in class.


NaNoWriMo (Trimester 1)- Mrs. Williams

In the National Novel Writing Month elective, students write, edit, and publish an original novel. In a typical period, students brainstorm and write their story or collection of short stories. During the last two weeks of the period, students work to create a cover for their book and print their novels through an outside publishing company. Their published, hard-copy books join the growing, library collection of current student and alumni novels.


Coding Tier 1 (Trimester 1) - Mr. Navarro

This class is focused on beginning coders getting into learning how coding languages work, no experience needed. You will learn the basic coding languages, study how technology affects the world, and leave with student-created projects, like your own coded website! In this class you will learn binary, block coding and level 1 JavaScript and HTML.


Environmental Science (Trimester 1) - Ms. McCaffery

Science allows us to make sense of the world around us, and Environmental Science allows students to use every branch of science to dive deeper into their relationship with the changing planet. Through documentaries, current event articles, and hands on activities, students in this elective will explore their relationship with the changing world around them as they cover topics such as Energy Resources, Climate Change, Conservation, and Pollution.  


Drama (Trimester 1 and 2) - Ms. Mason

This course provides interested middle school students with the opportunity to study theater basics and play structure culminating in a theater production at the end of the second trimester. Continued growth and development of students’ presentation skills may be demonstrated through regular rehearsal, movement and voice exercises, and culminating performances. Students will develop critical thinking skills through journals, script analysis, and critiques. Students will have opportunities to work individually and in small groups, in order to tell a story as a team. Students will explore the essential question: How is identity formed? Who are we? How does this convey character?

(**This is a 2 Trimester class**)


Filmmaking and Broadcasting (Trimester 2) - Mr. Navarro

Lights, camera, action! This class offers students the opportunity to create different types of broadcasts. Students will share audio podcasts that go onto iTunes, create their own vlogs just like the pro YouTubers, and compete in the statewide California Streaming photography contest. The trimester concludes with a large scale quality student created short films we then all get to enjoy.


The Big History Project (Trimester 2) - Ms. McCaffery

Where did we come from? What causes change? Where are we heading? The Big History Project takes on these questions that originate with the dawn of time, and gives students a framework to tell the story of humanity’s place in the Universe. It is more than a history course. Big History helps students see the overall picture and make sense of the pieces: it looks at the past from the Big Bang to modernity, seeking out common themes and patterns that can help us better understand people, civilizations, and the world that we live in.


Speech and Debate (Trimesters 2 and 3) - Ms. Borboa

In line with Common Core standards, 21st Century Skills, the SLEs, and the Habits of Mind, the Speech and Debate Program at Notre Dame Academy builds critical thinking and analytical skills, public speaking and argument skills, encourages the use of evidence to support ideas and claims, and requires students to think flexibly and persevere. Additionally, students in the speech and debate class specifically target the SLE Effective Communicator as students learn to speak in loud, clear voices, in an organized manner, with an engaging tone and intonation, and with poise and confidence


STEM Elective (Trimester 3)

Students will dive deeper into science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in this integrated approach to connect them to the real world. We will be working in teams on several projects over the course of the trimester building models and simulating situations. This integrated approach will also work across the science disciplines of Physical Science, Life Science and Earth Science. Students will work together, and actively engage in discussions, joint decision-making, collaborative problem solving and evaluation of outcomes.


Book Club (Trimester 3) - Mrs. Williams

In the Book Club elective, students read short stories, poetry, and a high-interest novel in literature circles. In a typical period, students are reading or responding to critical thinking questions and tasks about the novel. Students also create multimedia projects, such as a video or podcast, as a culminating project.


Coding Tier 2 (Trimester 3) - Mr. Navarro

This class is only open to seventh and eighth graders who have taken Coding Tier 1 class. In this class, we will delve deeper into HTML and get into the design language of CSS to make your website a more creative representation of you. We will then be learning computer science principles, concepts, and history behind coding with fun activities. We end the trimester with coding in the Apple language of Swift.


Art (Trimester 3)- Ms. Mason

Participants in the studio art elective will engage with materials in practical and experimental ways and develop technique while encountering unique opportunities for creative problem solving through project based exploration. Building upon the art fundamentals they have learned, Art elective students will be challenged to expand their visual and material vocabularies as studio art practitioners, endeavor to develop their practice as makers, and most of all...enjoy the process!