Junior High Electives Program

The following electives are being offered to 7th and 8th grade students for the 2019-2020 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 July 31st 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.

Fine Arts Electives

Offered 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 deepen their understanding of 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. Students will also 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!

Offered Trimester 2

Seventh and eighth graders will delve into multiple printmaking techniques including, but not limited to, linocuts, monoprints, relief printing, gelli prints, and stamping using everyday objects. Each work will be combined into a final portfolio. Students will also learn about the history of various printmaking techniques and processes, as well as the evolution of printmaking, from masters to modern artists.

Offered Trimester 3

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. They will use their knowledge to create a final fired WOW piece.

Because ceramics is one of the most ancient industries going back thousands of years, students will also touch on the history of ancient pottery making and conduct their own investigations on some of the earliest pottery fragments found.

Popular Music in Society
Offered 1st and 3rd Trimester

This elective will examine pop culture, mainly music, and its impact on our lives. Students will explore key concepts including compositional elements, technology, media, and entertainment. We will be engaging in activities that include writing lyrics, class discussions and surveying compositional methods on various instruments.

We will reflect upon our society by analyzing the music and careers of artists such as Katy Perry, Ed Sheeran, Adele and others. This course is open to anyone who enjoys music— from performing, to making playlists, or just listening in the car.

*This class will be working with age appropriate material.

Survey of Jazz
Offered 2nd Trimester

In this course, we will explore the history and development of jazz, from its earliest origins to the present. We will survey different styles of jazz, including bebop, swing, big band, and dixieland. Students will learn about the instrumentation, form, scales, and chord changes used by jazz musicians and how they evolved over the years.

In this elective, 7th and 8th graders will analyze the impact of jazz as part of the American identity. Jazz is America’s music and has been fostered in Chicago’s soundscape since the style’s founding.

Offered 2nd Trimester

The course explores  the fundamentals of acting as the actor uses their  voice, mind, and body, through the utilization of exercises and games, through which the students develop ensemble and individual performance skills.  Designed to develop an appreciation for and understanding of the theater. Small units make it possible to introduce many subjects, stimulating the desire for further learning. 

Language Arts Electives

Heroes, Villains and the In-Between
Offered Trimester 1, 2, 3

Knights and dragons, humans and zombies, and Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort all have something in common; they are heroes and villains battling in a world of their own. What makes a great hero? What makes a great villain? Who falls in between? We will be exploring all of these questions, these characters, and their stories in this elective. Come explore epic quests, trying times, and examine behind-the-scenes patterns of some of your favorite stories.


STEM Electives

Intro to Robotics 
Offered Trimester 1,2,3

This course provides seventh and eighth graders an  introduction to robotics for students with little to no programming background using LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 kits. Projects will expose the students to the Engineering Design Process. Students will learn to 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.


Perilous Math
Offered 2nd Trimester

Students will dive into adventures, using their math skills to avoid grave consequences! Each student receives their own copy of The Book of Perfectly Perilous Math: 24 Death Defying Challenges for Young Mathematicians by Sean Connolly which serves 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.

Fantasy Sports
Offered 1st and 3rd Trimester

In this elective, students will have the opportunity to create fantasy teams and leagues for soccer (PR Premiere League), football, basketball, 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.