Exploratory



As a Catholic school in the Ignatian tradition, St. Joseph School is philosophically committed to the holistic development of each unique child. St. Joseph School believes that in order to prepare our students for the 21st century they need the abilities to synthesize, evaluate, and reason; abilities which are attained by studying a rich curriculum in math, literature, science, history, geography, music and art.

We provide a middle level curriculum that is challenging, exploratory, integrative, and relevant. Our exploratory program offered to students in grades seven and eight compliments the academic program and allows our students to more deeply explore a topic or subject.

We are excited to offer our students the following choices for the 2016-2017 school year. Classes will begin on Monday, September 19th and are scheduled Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 2:10 – 3:00 p.m.

New this year, at the end of each trimester, students’ work will be showcased at an evening “Celebration of Learning.” Date and time TBD.

Courses

Art

Instructor: Molly Crocker
8th grade only - 7th grade students have Ms. Crocker for art during the school day.

Art is a trimester long course focused on refining art skills. Preparing students for art courses, which are offered in high school. Students will go into depth in their study of the elements and principles of design. The 10-week course will focus on drawing (still life, scratch board and urban sketching) and painting (watercolor and acrylic). Students will also be responsible for working collaboratively on their 8th grade project (gift for the school). Note: there will be at home sketching projects and due dates on all projects.

"Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time."
-Thomas Merton

Advanced Band

Instructor: Sean Richarz
Students may take one trimester or more and are encouraged to take more than one trimester.

Band is open to 7th and 8th grade students who are interested in learning to play band instruments. Our hope is that 7th and 8th students would sign-up during trimester 1, and continue in band if they fell called. Instruments offered are flute, clarinet, trumpet, trombone, french horn, alto and tenor saxophone, electric bass and drums. Students need to provide their own instruments; rentals can be arranged through Kennelly Keys Music. You will learn the basics of playing the instruments, playing in an ensemble and basic music reading skills. Band will be performing throughout the year. This is a great class to take if you would like to be in a high school band. Please note: next Tuesday, September 15, the Blanchet Band will be onsite to perform for the students and allow them to see first-hand the instruments and dynamics of a band.

Choir

Instructor: Collin Whitfield
Students may take one trimester or more and are encouraged to take more than one trimester.

Do you LOVE to sing…everywhere? Have you ever wondered what it is like to sing a solo or learn how to harmonize? Already an experienced singer and love making music within a group? There is no greater way for students to grow in their musical understanding than by connecting to the breath and creating music with their peers. Choral music has been the foundation of western music for over a millennium, and so any and all time spent singing in a group will be invaluable to the students’ development as a musician and human being. Students will have the opportunity to sing in a choir and learn the fundamentals of music theory and history. They will learn and perform a wide variety of music, ranging from traditional hymns and classical repertoire, to jazz standards and popular music of the 20th/21st centuries.

Dance (New!)

Instructor: Ciara McCormack
Trimester 2: Ballet/ Jazz/ Choreography
Trimester 3: Ballet/ World Dance/ Choreography

The focus of dance class is on developing students’ confidence, voice, creativity, and strength through the experience of dance. Students will be introduced to foundational dance concepts and techniques, including Ballet, Modern, Improvisation, and Choreography in trimester 1. Lessons will include dance history and functional anatomy, and the trimester will culminate with a performance showcasing student choreography. Students with and without dance experience are encouraged to participate.

Drama 1 - Drama Performance

Instructor: Darcy Carlsen
Two-Trimester Class (T1 and 2)

Drama Performance is a two-trimester course for 7th and 8th graders, beginning in mid September and ending in the middle of March. Following script selection, students will participate in a tryout process before rehearsals begin. Through rehearsals, students will develop and refine dramatic skills, memorize lines, understand and follow stage directions and use proper techniques for voice and body control. Students will also learn to command audience attention by developing a stage presence and adopting and maintaining character. Students are expected to aid and participate in the choreography of dances and support set design, costume creation and the gathering and placement of stage props. Students will come to understand and operate all aspects of production during the performances, including lighting, sound effects, music, pyrotechnics, and curtains. Students will advertise their production to encourage community attendance and will create programs, sell tickets and collect donations during each performance.

Drama 2 - Evening of Entertainment

Instructor: Darcy Carlsen
Trimester 3

Evening of Entertainment is a one-trimester course for 7th graders only, offered in the third trimester of the school year. One of the main goals of this course is to improve public speaking and presentation skills and to encourage the development of critical skills for students to evaluate their own work and the work of others. 7th graders who wish to join Drama 1/Drama Performance the following school year are encouraged to first participate in Drama 2/Evening of Entertainment. Students will begin by selecting, rehearsing and performing monologues and, from there, will move on to more complex and focused exercises to develop the acting skills necessary for putting on a creative dramatic performance. As a culminating project, each student is expected to perform in the Evening of Entertainment skits in June. It's a ton of fun and a nice way to get your feet wet and feel the thrill of performing before a large live audience without having to memorize many lines.

Entrepreneurship: Ideas to Reality

Instructor: Kara Connally
Offered Trimester 2

The course invites students to look at the world differently, to delve into the why and the passion behind every day products and exciting new ideas. Throughout the course students learn about the basics of an entrepreneur, team dynamics, and business idea development, all culminating with the creation of a business plan which is presented to a Shark Tank Panel. Students gain first-hand experience from local entrepreneurs, work with classmates to generate ideas and engage in discussions on how to truly make an idea a reality!

Guitar/Rock Band (New!)

Instructor: Robert Carroll, Ph.D.

Have you ever wanted to play in a rock band? In guitar/rock band, students will learn the basics of rock guitar playing and then add other rock band instruments, culminating in a performance at the end of each trimester. Beginners are welcome as are those who have prior experience on guitars. Some instruments and amplifiers may be available, but most students will need to purchase or rent their own instruments. (Dr. Carroll can assist with this.) All students will learn some guitar basics, and we will need some students to perform on other instruments such as bass guitar and drums. Singers and students who already play other instruments (piano, saxophone, etc.) are encouraged to participate—the goal is to take advantage of the talents that students bring.

Music Production (New!)

Instructor: Jake Crocker

Intro to Music Production is a trimester long class which will provide a platform for students to begin exploration within today’s music industry. The main goal of the course is to establish an understanding of computer music production through software (Ableton). Computer music production consists of combining virtual/acoustic instruments to create full-length songs. No prior musical experience needed for this course, the only requirement is a desire for creation!

Street Law and Justice

Instructor: Julie Johnson
Offered Trimester 1 and 2

How does the law affect you in daily life? What about a students' right to free speech? What are your rights and responsibilities as a citizen? How do the courts work? Do I have a right to a Lawyer as a juvenile? Is the pledge of allegiance constitutional? What about the death penalty? Should Drug testing be allowed in schools? Do I have a right to privacy in my locker? On my phone? Would Rumpelstiltskin win a Court case against the Queen for her first born? What do lawyers really do? What are judges really like? Would I make a good juror?

These are some of the questions we will attempt to answer in this class through lively debate, dueling opinions, mock trials, games, contests, guest speakers, and a field trip to the King County Courthouse, and yes maybe even with the help of the Simpsons.

STEAM in Action (New!)

Instructor: Laura Laun
Offered Trimester 1, 2 and 3

Trimester 1: This course will make STEAM (science, technology, art, engineering and mathematics) exciting though hands-on activities, demonstrations and project based learning. Students will work in teams to brainstorm new ideas and solutions to challenges facing God’s creations today. Students will create solutions for the future and learn about existing and new emerging technologies such as drones, 3d printers, 2d materials, nanosensors. Teams will submit their ideas to the largest National STEM competition, Exploravision, with a chance to win a $10,000 savings bond per student and a trip to Washington DC for the finals.

Trimester 2: Students will work with a local business, Hello Robin, to understand current challenges and opportunities. They will apply science, technology, art, engineering and mathematics to recommend solutions. Students will learn how to think critically, effectively, creatively, collaboratively and logically. In addition, they will learn how to apply their skills in a team environment and work collaboratively to present their ideas to Hello Robin. You just might see your idea being implemented at the cookie and ice cream business across the street.

Trimester 3: Students will work with Amazon to understand current challenges and opportunities. They will apply science, technology, art, engineering and mathematics to recommend solutions. Students will learn how to think critically, effectively, creatively, collaboratively and logically. In addition, they will learn how to apply their skills in a team environment and work collaboratively to present their ideas.

Technology

Instructor: Jamie Read
Offered Trimester 1, 2 and 3

Trimester 1: Students will focus on Lego Mindstorms robotics kits. Students will build and program robots to solve a variety of challenges. Students participating in robotics are eligible to participate in robotics league competitions and challenges.

Trimester 2: Students will focus on programming. Students will learn the basic concepts of programming using the Java language to write actual working programs.

Trimester 3: Students will focus on Lego Mindstorms programming. Students will use their programming and building skills to prepare an entry into a Robotics Extravaganza held by local schools.

Exploratory Teacher Bio's

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Darcy Carlsen

Titles: Drama, Exploratory Teacher

Robert Carroll, Ph.D

Titles: Rock Band, Exploratory Teacher
Kara Connally

Kara Connally

Titles: Assistant to the Principal

Jake Crocker

Titles: Music Production, Exploratory Teacher

ENROLLMENT

7th and 8th grade students should carefully review the class offerings with your parents/guardians and select their top five choices. Students will have the opportunity to register for exploratory classes in class using a GoogleForm. We will make every effort to place students in their top choices.

Eighth grade students receive priority in exploratory class selection. Seventh grade students might not receive their first choices. Please have back up choices to your top three exploratory classes.

Grading

The grading policy for exploratory classes is based on the following 4 skills:

Participation
Work completion
Behavior
Working in groups

Students will receive a grade of "O" (outstanding), "S" (satisfactory), or "N" (needs improvement). Teachers will go over the grading rubric with students the first week of classes.

If you have any questions please email Mary Helen Bever, Middle School Director.