7th & 8th Grade Courses

7th & 8th Grade Courses

7th Grade Core Subjects

Language Arts: This class will integrate short stories, poetry and novels to enhance student comprehension. Among other things, we will learn about challenging periods in history and how those times affected young people and their lives. Class novels we will study include The Art of Racing in the Rain, The Outsiders, and Inside Out and Back Again. Students will work on strategies for reading and comprehension, expansion of vocabulary and grammar, as well as the ability to respond to a text based on their reading.

Literature and Composition: Enrollment in this course is based on student grades, class performance, and the completion of a summer project. Short stories, poetry, and novels will be analyzed for the author's purpose, themes, use of literary techniques and figurative language. Class novels we will study include Number the Stars (Summer), The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, and To Kill a Mockingbird. Students will also be asked to read more challenging personal novels in the non-fiction, realistic fiction, and historical fiction genres. In response to both literature and non-fiction articles, students will journal, use critical thinking skills to answer both short and long form essay questions, and write argumentative paragraphs and essays. There will be a yearlong focus on expansion and improvement of students' vocabulary. Grammar will also be emphasized as part of the vocabulary program. Students will be encouraged to be active participants in class discussion and to make presentations to the class on both personal and class novels.

7th Grade Math: This course is a transitional math class designed to prepare students for Pre-Algebra. Students will build on skills acquired in Course 1 and introduce new algebraic concepts to prepare students for Pre-Algebra. (Saxon Math Course 2)

Pre-Algebra: This course is a preparatory course for Algebra. It includes review of basic operations with integers, decimals and fractions, solving multi-step equations and inequalities, use of square roots and exponents, basic graphing concepts on the coordinate plane and an introduction to geometry, including perimeter area, surface area and volume. (Saxon Math Course 3)

Accelerated Pre-Algebra: This course is an accelerated course in Pre-Algebra. It is intended for students who have are proficient in basic math concepts and possess the skills necessary to learn quickly. There is a placement test score required to be enrolled in this class. (Saxon Math Course 3)

Religion: The four Gospels are at the heart of all Scripture and present God’s saving action in the life, death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Students will learn from these Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, the Letters and the Book of Revelation. The New Testament is the focus of 7th Grade. In Family Life, students will learn about God’s gift of family, self, life and community. Students will participate in Catholic Connection; a project designed to gain an appreciation and respect for people of all ages, backgrounds, and cultures.

Chemistry: This course introduces students to foundational chemistry principles including the structure and behavior of matter. Students will investigate elements, chemical compounds and chemical reactions. The curriculum for this course also includes Earth science. Students will participate in a variety of STEM activities that help them to build investigative and problem solving skills. Students will plan and investigate their own experiments using the principles of the scientific method.

Accelerated Chemistry: Accelerated Chemistry is a class for highly motivated students who have demonstrated excellent study skills and high aptitude in science, and who have committed to pursuing the study of science at greater depth and complexity than a typical 7th grade chemistry class. The curriculum introduces students to the foundational chemistry concepts including the structure and behavior of matter. Students will investigate elements, chemical compounds and chemical reactions. The course also includes Earth science curriculum. Students in accelerated chemistry explore these subjects in greater depth and at a greater pace than the standard 7th grade chemistry class. Since the accelerated curriculum is challenging, only students who have considerable aptitude and interest in science will be best served by the accelerated class.

Independent research and scientific inquiry are important components of accelerated chemistry. All students must attend the diocesan science fair, which is typically held on the last Saturday in February. Students are required to complete an original science project of a difficulty and involvement consistent with being in an advanced class. Students identify an original project during the summer, and, during the first quarter of the year, independently research the science relating to their project until they achieve mastery of the relevant topics.

Projects, examinations, and other assignments are challenging and will require more critical thinking than regular 7th grade chemistry. This course also focuses on scientific investigation through experimental design while incorporating data interpretation/analysis, advanced math and reading skills to solve problems.

Social Studies: Seventh grade social studies students are given an exclusive opportunity to study both the state of Utah and World Geography over the course of the year.

World Geography: Geography gives students a global perspective through a detailed study of the world’s continents. World Geography uses maps and other geographic tools to identify and understand the relationships between our physical and cultural worlds. These studies will utilize the Five Themes of Geography: Location, Place, Movement, Regions, and Human-Environmental Interaction.

Utah History: Utah is a very unique and diverse state. This course is designed to help students understand the state of Utah at a deeper level by reviewing Utah’s early history, with emphasis on Utah from statehood to the present. Students will understand the interaction between Utah’s geography and its inhabitants. The Utah Studies Core is designed to meet the Utah State Curriculum standards and objectives. Finally, students will study how Catholicism impacted the history of Utah.

Accelerated Social Studies: Seventh grade social studies students are given an exclusive opportunity to study both the state of Utah and World Geography over the course of the year. Honors Social Studies is a rigorous course designed for students with an interest in pursuing an in-depth study of Utah History and Geography. Students can expect to engage in higher levels of critical and analytical thinking. Students will progress quickly through content information, which will involve extensive note taking during class lectures. Lastly, there will be multiple writing and reading assignments, which will deepen a student’s knowledge in regards to the historical writing process.

8th Grade Core Subjects

Language Arts: In eighth grade Language Arts, students continue to develop an appreciation of written and spoken language. This yearlong course focuses on developing reading, writing, speaking, and communication skills. Students will be introduced to the various genres of classical and contemporary narrative and informational text. Through guided reading, the students will enhance their critical thinking skills and increase their vocabulary. Special attention will be given to making predictions, comparing and contrasting narratives, recognizing an author's purpose, making inferences and using context clues in depth. Students will use the stages of the writing process to write clear, coherent drafts and compositions throughout the course. Grammar and vocabulary (Membean) will also be studied.

Literature and Composition: Literature and Composition is a one-year accelerated course for the self-motivated learner. This course will give students the opportunity to practice skills that enable them to be successful in the Honors class and the Advanced Placement class at the high school level. Students will be introduced to the various genres of classical and contemporary narrative and informational text that will be refined, applied, and extended as students engage in more complex ideas, texts, and tasks enhancing critical thinking skills. Students will be challenged to develop advanced skills in reading, composition, oral communication, and logical argument. Special attention will be given to making predictions, comparing and contrasting narratives, recognizing an author's purpose, making inferences, and using context clues in more depth. Extensive in and out of class reading, individual and group projects, challenging class discussions, and a variety of writing experiences will be required. Enrollment in this course is based on student grades, class performance, and completion of a summer project. Grammar and vocabulary (Membean) will also be studied.

Pre-Algebra: This course is a preparatory course for Algebra. It includes review of basic operations with integers, decimals and fractions, equation solving using more than one step, basic graphing concepts on the coordinate plane and introduction to geometry, including area, surface area and volume. (Saxon Math Course 3)

Algebra: This course is a high school entry course. It is a prerequisite for Geometry. It includes solving quadratic equations and systems of equations, operations with polynomials, operations with exponential, radical and rational expressions along with review of operations with all number sets. (Saxon Algebra)

Accelerated Algebra: This course is an Algebra course that will be accelerated. It is meant for students who have a solid understanding of basic math facts and can grasp new concepts very quickly. There is a placement test score that must be met to be enrolled in this class. (Saxon Algebra).

Religion: Faith formation in 8th grade focuses on the Church and what it means to be God’s Church. Through the study of Church history from Pentecost to the present, students will understand the growth of, and God’s plan for, His Church. Students will be challenged to know their faith, in full and authentic teachings of the Catholic Church; to grow in faith, through experience and prayer (rooted in Ignatian Spirituality); and to go in faith, through a call to action of discipleship. These challenges will prepare students for the Sacrament of Confirmation and the presentation of the Living Stations of the Cross during the Lenten season.

Physics: Eighth grade Science is a Physics course. Students will learn information and skills to 1) understand how the universe around them works and 2) pose questions and conduct experiments to answer those questions. In Physics, attention will be given to how objects interact with one another and how energy is conserved, converted, and transferred. Topics include motion, forces, momentum, work, energy, fields, waves and their applications, and optics. Common scientific and engineering practices will be integrated throughout discussion of these topics. The building of algebra skills will be closely integrated throughout every topic in this course. Opportunities outside of class to apply science skills include the school and diocese science fairs in January and February as well as a September trip to the Teton Science School in Jackson, Wyoming.

Accelerated Physics: Students taking Accelerated Science are required to participate in both the SJBMS and Diocesan science fairs. Students who place in the Diocesan science fair may be invited to the Salt Lake Valley science and engineering fair.

Eighth grade Science is a Physics course. Students will learn information and skills to 1) understand how the universe around them works and 2) pose questions and conduct experiments to answer those questions. In Physics, attention will be given to how objects interact with one another and how energy is conserved, converted, and transferred. Topics include motion, forces, momentum, work, energy, fields, waves and their applications, and optics. Common scientific and engineering practices will be integrated throughout discussion of these topics. Critical thinking, experimental design, and algebra skills will enable students to be pushed faster and deeper into the content than the academic level course. Algebra skills will be crucial for success in this course, however they are not prerequisite. Opportunities outside of class to apply science skills include the school and diocese science fairs in January and February as well as a September trip to the Teton Science School in Jackson, Wyoming.

Social Studies: This course is the study of United States history from the Age of Exploration (1500’s) through Reconstruction (1870’s). Students focus on political, economic, geographic, social events and issues related to the colonial and revolutionary eras, the creation and ratification of the U.S. Constitution, challenges of the early republic, westward expansion, sectionalism, Civil War, and Reconstruction. Primary and secondary sources are utilized, and current events are studied in a historical context to give students a better understanding of U.S. history and how it relates to their lives and the world today.

Accelerated Social Studies: This course is the study of United States history from the Age of Exploration (1500’s) through Reconstruction (1870’s), and is designed for students with a dedicated interest in Social Studies and a desire to understand this subject in greater depth. Students focus on political, economic, geographic, social events and issues related to the colonial and revolutionary eras, the creation and ratification of the U.S. Constitution, challenges of the early republic, westward expansion, sectionalism, Civil War, and Reconstruction. Primary and secondary sources are utilized extensively, and current events are studied in a historical context to give students a better understanding of U.S. history and how it relates to their lives and the world today. Enrollment in this course is based on an application process and completion of a summer project.

Electives:

American Sign Language (ASL): This fun and interactive course introduces students to the process and structure of American Sign Language (ASL) and provides basic skills necessary to use the language. Students' expressive (signing) and receptive (comprehension) skills are enhanced by an understanding of Deaf Culture. This is a semester course.

Anatomy and Physiology: Have you ever wondered what makes up you body or how it even works? This course will introduce you to the structure and workings of God’s most amazing creation, the human body. Topics of this course will include skin, bones, muscles, cardiovascular system, respiratory system, digestive system, nervous system, and immune system. Along the way you will also learn about common injuries and illnesses that affect each of these systems. You may not be ready to scrub in on a surgery at the end of the semester, but you will definitely be smarter. This is a semester course.

Art: Is organized into five areas:

Commercial: This course is an introductory class for students who are new to art. Commercial Art introduces students to the skills required to design real-world commercial products, such as hand lettering, packaging and product design, advertising, and layout. Students will create projects that organize the art elements and stress good composition. With an emphasis on the principles of design, students will build basic art skills and exercise creativity. Students will also learn to discuss and critique art constructively and with confidence. This is a semester course.

Drawing: This course is an introductory class for students who are new to art. With an emphasis on drawing from life, this is a skill building class, where students will learn basic drawing skills and principles, as well as different ways to “see” and go about the drawing process. Students will also be exposed to different styles and drawing mediums, and the principles of design. The class will learn how to understand and create meaning in art, and be exposed to some of the great masterpieces of art history. Students will also learn to discuss and critique art constructively and with confidence. This is a semester course.

Illustration: This course is an introductory class for students who are new to art. Illustration introduces students to the concept of using art as a means of story telling. From creating characters to illustrating narratives and text, students will develop their style, and learn skills to become creative problem solvers while studying a broad variety of art tools and materials. The class will learn how to understand and create meaning in art, and be exposed to some of the great illustrations of the past and present. Students will also learn to discuss and critique art constructively and with confidence. This is a semester course.

Painting: This course is an introductory class for students who are new to art. With an emphasis on wet media and color, this is a skill building class where students will learn basic painting skills. Students will have the opportunity to create artwork using many different mediums and in many different styles. The class will learn how to understand and create meaning in art, and be exposed to some of the great masterpieces of art history. Students will also learn to discuss and critique art constructively and with confidence. This is a semester course.

Printmaking: This course is an introductory class for students who are new to art. Printmaking is the process of creating images through the transfer of ink to paper or other materials. This course will teach how to create editions of fine art prints using studio processes such as relief, stencil, calligraphy, monotypes, and various other methods of printing. The class will learn how to understand and create meaning in art, and be exposed to some of the great masterpieces of art history. Students will also learn to discuss and critique art constructively and with confidence. Drawing, Painting, or Commercial Art is a prerequisite. This is a semester course.

Art II: This is an advanced course for students who want to expand their knowledge of art by continuing to develop their drawing and painting skills, as well work with new and different mediums of art. With an emphasis in studio production, students will be using the principles and elements of art and design, different styles, and new processes to create art with meaning and good composition, as well as expand their knowledge on creating perspective and depth in their pieces. Students will further their knowledge of aesthetics, art history, and constructive art criticism. Drawing, Painting, or Commercial Art is a prerequisite. There is a $25 class fee. This is a yearlong course.

Astronomy: The night sky is filled with wonders and mysteries that we have only begun to understand as humans. Take a look at any star and you are looking back in time hundreds--maybe even thousands or millions--of years. Our Universe is infinite, warped and filled with strange things like quasars and black holes. If you wonder what exists beyond our tiny world, please join SJB Astronomy. You will be certain to learn about the mysteries of our Sun, solar system, home galaxy and even about galaxies far, far away. This is a semester course.

Computer Technology: Students will explore the Internet, learn in-depth research skills, and become further acquainted with the practical everyday applications of the Microsoft Office Suite. Projects that support core curriculum include researching a historical person of interest, use of mathematical formulas in charts and graphs, practical budgeting, and presentation presence. We will also discuss technology history, computer ethics, plagiarism, copyright issues and Internet safety. This is a semester elective course. Come learn and expand your technological repertoire!

Consumer Studies: Do you want to learn how to be more confident and independent? This elective is designed to give you knowledge and skills to prepare you for everyday life as an adult. The elective includes etiquette and manners, social relationships, sewing, nutrition, cooking, and household management. The course has numerous lab activities that teach these practical skills in fun and creative ways. The course requires the purchase of a sewing kit and some additional items used in the lab activities.

Creative Writing: Creative Writing is an elective course designed to supplement the 7th and 8th grade Language Arts core classes and motivate students to write. In this class, students will write every day and discover that writing can be fun, imaginative, and meaningful in a classroom environment that is conducive to sharing and supporting one another. With an emphasis on the 6+1 Writing Trait standards, students will become better writers using strategies of the writing process including pre-writing, composition, editing, revision, and presentation. In addition, students will develop the understanding that effective writers are reflective, rhetorically aware, and have a sense of community.

Dance: Is organized into four areas:

Dance I: Students will investigate many styles of dance including jazz, ballet, hip-hop, liturgical and contemporary. Vocabulary, health and fitness will be introduced through reading articles, journal writing and physical exploration. Students will develop their cardiovascular endurance, flexibility and coordination. Students will learn the tools of choreography and compose their own dance with a group of their peers. Students will learn performance techniques and have the opportunity to perform in a concert at the end of the semester. This is a semester course.

Dance II: Students will investigate many styles of dance including jazz, ballet, hip-hop, liturgical and contemporary. Vocabulary, health, history and fitness will be taught through reading articles, viewing video clips, journal writing and physical exploration. Students will develop their cardiovascular endurance, flexibility and coordination. Students will learn the tools of choreography and compose their own dance with a group of their peers. Students will learn performance techniques and have the opportunity to perform in a concert at the end of the semester. This is a semester course. Placement class required.

Hip Hop: Do you find yourself bobbing your head or tapping your toe when you hear music? If so, this semester elective course is right up your alley. We will explore this amazing street style of dance, both it’s culture and basic movements. You will also have the opportunity to contribute some of your own choreography into one of the group routines. The semester will end with a school assembly performance as well as a 2 night dance concert for your friends and family. This is a performance-based elective and daily active participation and dance concert participation is required. No previous dance experience is needed ~ both girls and boys are welcome. The more the merrier! Just Dance! (A nominal costuming fee may be required.)

Hip Hop II: Keep dancing…….Hip Hop I is a prerequisite for this semester elective course. We will go deeper into this eclectic, exciting street style of dance. You will choreograph your own warm-up routines, and contribute to several routines that will be performed in a school assembly as well as an evening dance concert for family and friends. Daily participation and the dance concert performance are important requirements of this level 2 dance class. Bring your moves and your own personal style and help create some awesome routines. You will also learn some basic muscle physiology. Both boys and girls are welcome. (There may be a nominal costuming fee for this semester elective course.)

Eco-Logic: Join us as we explore geographical & environmental sustainability through the perspectives of Social Studies and Science. Don't know what sustainability means? Then you are the perfect target for this class. Our planet has been suffering due to human irresponsibility and it is time we here at SJBMS take a stand and learn how we can LOVE our Earth! Students will learn to be responsible citizens on an international and local scale. We will investigate and examine the human environmental impacts that Pollution, Plastics, Transportation, Deforestation, Oil Spills, Overfishing, Over Population, Animal Endangerment, and more will have on the affects of our Earth and the sustainability of our future. This is a semester course.

Economic Survival: Checks and Balances 101! Students will learn how to write a check and balance a checkbook. They will learn about credit cards and debit cards … and how they are different. The students will “buy” a stock or mutual fund and track is through the semester. Students will also be introduced to mortgages, IRA’s, loans, etc. for practical finances in life. This is a semester course.

Fashion and Interior Design: This course is designed for students to receive a basic review of design principles. During the first half of the semester students will study Interior Design. They will learn about color, textiles, and the basic elements of design. Students will explore basic area planning and the functionality of space, lighting, furniture design, and home accessories. Lastly, students will examine educational and career options involved in these fields. During the second half of the semester students will study Fashion Design. Students will receive a survey in the history of fashion design and will research influential fashion designers. Students will study fashion fundamentals and fashion design principles. Student’s will examine and use various textiles as well. Each student will create his/her own fashion line and personal portfolios. Lastly, students will investigate fashion education and related careers. Projects are an integral part of the learning process within this course, and will be heavily integrated throughout the semester. The course requires the purchase of various assigned supplies. This is a semester course.

Forensics: The Forensics elective offers a fun chance to survey many different scientific fields within the context of crime. We will dabble in the fields of biology, medicine, anatomy, chemistry, physics, earth science, and math in the crosshairs of problem solving, critical thinking, and basic logic skills. Material will consist of hands-on activities, logic exercises, real, current or historical crimes, and multimedia such as murder mystery games from the “Cool Riddles” channel on YouTube. Many times, crimes will relate to mature subjects. Caution will be taken to keep the discussions of these events age-appropriate. This is a semester course.

Great Books and Movies: Did the movie come first, or did the book come first? As a class, we will select books, both classic and contemporary, that were made into movies and discuss the differences between the two. This elective will be a great opportunity for students to read a book, then watch the movie, and subsequently discuss how and why scenes are altered when translating a book to film. Students will be encouraged to suggest titles. This is a semester course.

Mind Benders: Do you enjoy brainteasers or computer games or solving mysteries? If so, this class is for you! In Mind Benders, you will experience many types of challenges. You will play a variety of games, learn number tricks, tease your brain with logic, and participate in hands-on activities. Come bend your mind and have some fun too! This is a semester course.

Mock Trial: (Introduction to Mock Trial) This Fall Semester introductory course will give students the opportunity to learn about the Judicial Branch of the United States government. Students will discover how this branch operates in order to interpret our laws. This will include topics such as the court system, the appeals process, and trials. The main focus of this course will be learning how to prepare for and participate in a criminal or civil trial. During a Mock Trial, students perform all the parts of a trial, including attorneys, witnesses, and the bailiff. This course is designed to build and develop public speaking skills in an authentic and fun environment. This is a semester course.

Mock Trial 2: (Mock Trial Competition Course) This Spring Semester course is specifically designed for students to compete in the Utah Bar Association’s Mock Trial Competition. Students will prepare both sides of a trial (Plaintiff/Defense) and compete against other schools around the state. Mock Trial 1 is a prerequisite for this course, and preference will be given to 8th grade students.

Multi Media Technology: In this project-based semester elective course, we will explore the use of multimedia in today’s largely digital society. We will begin with a business unit, which will include creating business plans, making business cards, scripting and filming commercials and designing a business web presence. Students will further explore digital media through photo capturing, Photoshop enhancement, and photo journaling. Students will also become more adept at presenting digital information to their peers and improve their overall presentation presence. If you enjoy technology, this is the elective for you!

Music: Is organized into different musical areas:

Band (Beginning): Students in Beginning Band will choose from either a woodwind or a brass instrument. No experience is required. Students will learn the fundamentals of music, sight reading of notes and rhythms, and the basics of ensemble playing. They will be exposed to a variety of styles of music and will perform at least once per semester at a concert. This is a yearlong course.

Band (Intermediate): The SJBMS Intermediate Band is for students with at least one year of experience on their instrument. Students with less than one year experience or outside experience through private instruction can audition to join the group with instructor permission. We will continue to refine musicianship and explore more complex literature in this course. We will also perform in Jr. High School festivals in our area. This is a yearlong course.

Choir: The Middle School Choir is an ensemble of 6th, 7th and 8th graders who present concerts and public performances in addition to leading music at school and parish Masses. Students will learn to read a vocal score, learn basic music theory lessons in note-reading and rhythm, and will exercise proper vocal production and breathing techniques. With exposure to a broad range of musical genres and frequent performance opportunities, students will deepen musical appreciation and develop skills necessary for public presentation. Students will also work on pieces to present for a festival competition during spring semester. This is a yearlong course.

Jazz Band: This is an advanced music ensemble open to auditioned students on rhythm section (piano, bass, percussion and guitar) and wind (woodwind and brass) instruments. Students will study various jazz forms such as swing, Latin, rock, and more! This ensemble requires musicians to already have an intermediate degree of proficiency in reading rhythms, producing good tone and maintaining fundamental musicianship. Students will perform outside of school hours at concerts and other community events throughout the year. The ensemble meets in the morning during 0 period at 7:00 AM on A/C days. This is a yearlong course.

Orchestra I (Beginning) - This class is intended as an introductory course for students who wish to learn a string instrument. Students will learn the basics of music theory, producing a good tone and performing as an orchestral team. They will perform at least once each quarter and participate in other school and community events where available. Students must provide their own instrument and book. Contact Aileen Keliiliki at for more information. This is a yearlong course.

Orchestra II (Intermediate): This class is designed for string students who have had one or more years of previous experience on their instrument. Students will learn music from a variety of genres as well as basic music theory. They will perform at least once each quarter and participate in other school and community events where available. Students in the intermediate course also participate in a music tour, and attend an Orchestra Festival. You must have permission from Ms. Keliiliki to enroll in this class. Contact Aileen Keliiliki at for more information. This is a yearlong course.

Percussion I (Beginning): This class is designed to introduce students to the world of percussion. Students will learn proper snare drum technique and will be introduced to a variety of concert and ethnic percussion instruments such as marimba, xylophone, crash cymbals, djembe, congas, cajon and more. Students will also be introduced to the music of Cuba, Brazil and Africa as they explore the instruments of these countries. This is a yearlong class that does require the purchase of some materials. Contact Jed Blodgett at for more information.

Percussion II (Intermediate): This class is a continuation of the beginning percussion ensemble. This is a performing ensemble that requires hard work and dedication from its members. Students must have at least one year of prior percussion instruction or director approval. Students are expected to provide their own sticks/mallets and must be willing to practice outside of class. This is a yearlong course. Contact Jed Blodgett at for more information.

Steel Band: This is a performing ensemble that plays the unique instruments of Trinidad and Tobago. It is offered to 7th and 8th grade students during the second semester and is by teacher approval only. No previous experience is necessary, though students should have a solid background in music and music notation. The group performs regularly at school and community events. Students must be willing to practice on their own time and to participate in events and concerts outside of the school day. Contact Jed Blodgett at for more information.

Peer Ministry: Students enrolled in Peer Ministry will assist in coordinating the ministerial and social life of school events and act as mentors assisting students in their daily lives. Peer Ministers are 7th and 8th grade students who will help set the tone for leadership in the spiritual mission of our school by upholding the virtues of unity, hospitality, service, and spirituality. They accomplish this by working in teams to lead student activities and by displaying leadership in all school functions in which they are involved. Peer Ministry trains students to be leaders in their school community. The course covers human relation skills such as team building, anti-bullying, and communication skills. These skills prepare Peer Ministers to lead classroom discussions and presentations with other students to promote a more positive, inclusive school environment. This is a semester course.

Photography: Photographs play an important role in our world today. We photograph to preserve memories, document events, and create artistic works. This course introduces students to the basics of photography, including camera functions and photocomposition. Students will learn what it takes to create a good photograph and how to improve photographs of animals, people, and vacations. They will also begin working with their photographs using photo-editing software. Through a variety of assigned projects, students will engage their creativity by photographing a range of subjects and learning to see the world through the lens of their cameras. This is a semester course.

Physical Education: Is organized into three areas:

Intro to Athletics: This class is designed to give students an introduction to the principles and activities associated with athletic performance and fitness. Through lecture, demonstration and participation, students will be introduced to the strength and speed program used by Juan Diego athletes in a developmentally and age appropriate manner. The course will focus on: core strength, strength training, speed training, plyomentric training (jumping exercises for speed and explosiveness), diet, flexibility, fitness and general health. This is a semester course.

Physical Education: This course presents physical education as a lifetime commitment. It is designed to be a wide variety of lifetime sports and games experienced by the students. All students will understand in greater detail the function of the body, understand the nutrition required by a healthy body, understand the difference between anaerobic and aerobic training, apply movement concepts and principles to enhance motor skill development and develop knowledge of the rules and strategies of various games and sports. This is a semester course.

Spanish I: After successful completion of this course, students will have completed the equivalent of the first half of first year high school Spanish. In this course students will begin their exploration of Spanish through speaking, reading, writing and listening in the present tense. Activities include dialogues, skits, visual displays, memorization games, weekly quizzes, monthly exams, films and more. By the completion of the course students will have completed the equivalent of the first half of first year high school Spanish. This is a yearlong course.

Spanish II: After successful completion of this course, students will have completed the equivalent of the second half of first year high school Spanish. This course is a continuation of Spanish I. In addition to improving their ability to speak, read, write and listen in the present tense, students will begin to learn to communicate in the preterit (the past tense). There will be a greater emphasis on culture, history, literature and geography. Students must have completed Spanish 1 and pass a placement exam in order to be admitted into Spanish 2. Prior knowledge for native speakers will be considered, though they will be tested before admittance is allowed. This is a yearlong course.

Spanish III: After successful completion of this course, students will have completed the equivalent of the first half of second year high school Spanish. This course is a continuation of Spanish II. While reviewing prior knowledge, students learn to incorporate more advanced vocabulary into their communication. The past, future, and reflexive tenses are used to discuss when and how different actions occur. At an 8th grade level, this course is able to move more quickly and requires more from the students than the previous two Spanish classes. This course is only available to students who pass a placement exam at the end of Spanish II. Students with prior knowledge may be admitted after passing the exam and receiving teacher permission. This is a yearlong course.

Speech and Debate: Speech and Debate is an elective course for 7th and 8th graders who have an interest in public speaking and formal debate. In this introductory course, students can expect to improve their listening, critical thinking and communication skills. Students will learn about the power of verbal and nonverbal communication. Debate will give students an understanding of the proper techniques, rules and regulations associated with public speaking. Finally, students will formulate, research, and participate in multiple classroom debates. This is a semester course.

Technical Design: This course is all about what goes on ‘behind the scenes’ of Hollywood. We will cover the technical aspects of theatre from set design and construction, lighting and sound to makeup, wigs and costuming. Students will use computer programs such as Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop to design their projects. Students will study and create time period/historical costumes along with creating fantasy/futuristic costumes. Students will learn the application of ‘age’ makeup and gruesome and gorries (great for Halloween!). This is a semester course.

Theatre: The primary goal of this class is to instill in each student an interest in the theatre arts. Students will participate in a wide variety of theatre games and exercises designed to awaken their minds and imaginations to the experience of theatre. There will be an emphasis on developing communication skills through singing, dancing, improvisation, monologues and scene work. The history of theatre will be discussed along with various acting techniques involving memory, enunciation, projection, emotion, character, physicality and motivation. The technical aspects of theatre will also be covered including, tactics, stage blocking and choreography. The class will include an end-of-semester musical production that requires occasional after school rehearsals and two Saturday rehearsals. Students who wish to take this class need to express creativity, exemplify organization, be self-motivated, and show a great deal of responsibility.

Yearbook: This course is intended to teach students the start to finish process of creating a school yearbook. We will focus on developing a better understanding and skill set through typography, photography, design and layout, as well as journalism. In order to have a book back by the last day of school we will have to finish the project a couple of months before school is out. At which time the class period turns into more of a journalistic class. The students will be required to share and turn in a weekly article that they have written based on school activities. This is a yearlong course.

Zoology: Animals, animals and nothing but animals! If you’ve always had an interest in the Animal Kingdom, this is the elective for you. We will first discuss the classification of all living organisms and then dive headfirst into the majesty that is the Animal Kingdom. You will learn about the most primitive animals all the way to the modern humans (you!). Get ready to be hands-on. This is a project-based semester elective that will culminate in a field trip. (A nominal fee is required for this course.)