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Elective Classes

Howard Academy for the Visual and Performing Arts Course Descriptions

Performing Arts Academy Courses

  • Beginning Band: This course is open to students in grades 6 – 8 who wish to learn an instrument. No experience necessary. Students will learn the basics of every instrument then choose their “Top 3” favorites. Students will audition or try-out each of these 3. With the band director’s help, we will choose the best instrument for each student. Students will also learn to read Treble & Bass Clefs and learn the basic fundamentals of music performance on their chosen instrument. Students will perform in a minimum of three concert performances per year.
  • Concert Band: This course is open to students with one year of experience on an instrument. Students will build upon the fundamentals of performance that they learned in Beginning Band and will perform intermediate band literature. Students will perform in a minimum of three concert performances per year.
  • Wind Ensemble: This is the premier performing ensemble at Howard Middle School. This course is open to students with at least one year of experience on an instrument. Students are placed into this group based on audition, skill, and behavior. Students will learn advanced instrumental and ensemble techniques to perform more advanced band literature. Private lessons are highly recommended for each student in this ensemble. Students will perform in a minimum of five concert performances per year.
  • Jazz Band: This course is available to students with at least one year of playing experience and play Trumpet, Trombone, Alto/Tenor/Baritone Saxophone, Drum Set, Piano, Bass Guitar, and Electric Guitar (other instruments are possible to add). This can be their main instrument OR their secondary instrument. In this course, students will learn the fundamentals of Jazz performance including swing style and improvisation. 
  • Beginning String Orchestra: This course is open to students in grade 6-8 who have never played a stringed instrument before. Students may choose to play violin, viola, cello or bass. They will learn the fundamentals of string playing, note reading, rhythm, and musicianship. Students will perform in a minimum of three concerts per year.
  • Intermediate String Orchestra: This course is open to students in grade 6-8. At least one year of private or group instruction is required. Private lessons are highly recommended, but not required. Students will continue in their development of great technique, musicianship and music theory. Students will perform in a minimum of three concerts per year.
  • Advanced String Orchestra: This course is open to students in grade 6-8. At least one year of private or group instruction is required. Private lessons are highly recommended, but not required. Students will continue in their development of great technique, musicianship and music theory. Students will perform in a minimum of three concerts per year. 
  • Guitar (Beginning, Intermediate, Advanced): This course is open to students in grades 6 - 8 who wish to learn to play the guitar. No experience is necessary to be a part of this class. Students will learn basic guitar technique, how to read music, and the basic fundamentals of ensemble performance. Students will perform a minimum of three concert performances per year.
  • Beginning Girls' Chorus: This chorus is open to all students, regardless of previous experience. Anyone can learn to sing! Students will learn basic, healthy vocal technique, and they will also explore a wide range of music genres.
  • Ranger Chorus (Girls): For students with previous choral experience, this group is the premier ensemble at Howard Middle School. In this chorus, your will sing a wide range of music, including pop, jazz, world music, classical, and folk. There will be several field trips and performance opportunities throughout the school year!
  • Boy's Chorus (6th, 7th, 8th grade): Calling all boys! This ensemble will sing a large quantity of music in many different styles, while exploring the middle school male voice in a relaxed, pressure-free environment!
  • Digital Music Theory/Composition: This course is an innovative course that utilizes our Mac Lab, midi keyboards, music notation software, and GarageBand to teach students about music theory, piano skills, and composition. Students will compose original music in various styles and forms while in this year long class.
  • Dance (Beginning, Intermediate, Advanced): The purpose of this course is to enable students to develop fundamental knowledge and skills in two or more dance styles, recognize choreographic processes, enhance aesthetic awareness, and make connections between dance and other subject areas.
  • Acting (Drama/Musical Theatre): The purpose of this course is to enable students to participate in varied aspects of acting and musical theater, with special attention to the fundamentals of voice production, stage movement, acting, characterization, dance, and technical aspects of a plays and musicals.

Visual Arts Academy Courses

  • Beginning Art: This is an introductory course where students will create art in various 2D and 3D media including drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, and digital art. Students will also learn about art history, art criticism, aesthetics, and art careers.
  • Digital Videography: Students will learn to use digital media tools as an effective communication tool. Some of the categories of videos students will create are: Instructional Video, Book Trailer, Drama, Comedy, and Public Service Announcement. This class meets in an iMac computer lab and uses iMovie, iPhoto, GarageBand, and Final Cut Studio. (May be repeated)
  • Graphic Arts (Digital Photography/Graphic Design): Students will learn to use a digital camera to explore photography as an art form. This will include digital manipulation and layering. Students will also learn the fundamentals of graphic design. This class meets in an iMac computer lab and uses iPhoto, Aperture, GIMP, and Photoshop Elements. Cameras and drawing tablets are provided for use during class time. (May be repeated)
  • Advanced 2D Art (Drawing, Painting, Printmaking): Students will continue to develop art skills and techniques in 2D media including drawing, painting, and printmaking. Students will also learn about art history, art criticism, aesthetics, and art careers. Students will develop an art portfolio, participate in art competitions, and learn to exhibit artwork. Students may also be selected to be in National Junior Art Honor Society. (Prerequisite: Beginning Art) (May be repeated)
  • Advanced 3D Art (Ceramics, Sculpture, Fiber Arts): Students will continue to develop art skills and techniques in 3D media including ceramics, sculpture, and fiber arts. Students will also learn about art history, art criticism, aesthetics, and art careers. Students will develop an art portfolio, participate in art competitions, and learn to exhibit artwork. Students may also be selected to be in National Junior Art Honor Society. (Prerequisite: Beginning Art) (May be repeated)
  • Yearbook: Students learn aspects of yearbook design and production. These aspects include, but are not limited to: planning a yearbook ladder, creating and implementing a theme, publication design, photojournalistic writing, organization skills, and teamwork. Students will be collecting and taking photographs, conducting interviews, writing captions and stories, organizing the information in to well designed page-layouts, meeting deadlines, and editing the pages for spelling errors and misinformation. The overall class goal is to yield high-quality yearbook pages. They will be using equipment such as digital cameras. Leadership opportunities are available and students will also deepen their understanding of advertising. Class work time may be required outside of the regular class period. (Prerequisite: Digital Photography or teacher approval) (May be repeated)

Enhanced Elective Courses

  • STEM: ‚ÄčThroughout each grade level in the engineering/STEM classes, students will dive head first into the engineering design process.  Continually, working hands-on, the students will become an army of problem solvers.  They will constantly be planning, building and rebuilding their designs.   
     
    At the sixth grade level, students will be brought up to speed on environmental issues such as sustainability. Then they will use their newly developed engineering minds to help problem solve and make our world a better place.  
     
    For the seventh graders, they kick the year off learning how to design and draw like an engineer.  They will learn a basic form of CAD.  (Computer Aided Design)  Essentially, they will learn how to draw their design and then go on to build it!  The second half of the year, the students will learn all about flight and space.  The will be immersed in the world of flying.  Learning how to fly drones and flight simulators, students are taught the principles of flight and much of the engineering that goes into getting things into the air.
     
    Eighth graders will be immersed in robots!   The year starts by students becoming efficient in mechanics, but within a few short weeks they will have built and programmed their first robot.  Additionally, they learn the ins and outs of circuitry and apply it to the function of a robot.  
  • Aviation: Students explore the aviation industry by learning about: History of Aviation, Basics of Flight, Aircraft Design, Power Plants/Engines, Aircraft Instruments, Aerodynamic Principles, Evolution of Flight and Design, Modern Aircraft Design and Careers in Aviation. We do this with hands-on activities designed to engage students in real-world STEM applications, including designing and building and testing small airplanes (both powered and non-powered) and flying one of our six classroom flight simulation stations.
  • Legal Studies (Pre-law): The Legal Studies Elective will provide students an opportunity to acquire an understanding of the American Legal system, including concepts of criminal and civil law and the trial process.  Students will also research real world application of the legal system through interactions with professionals in the legal field in addition to career exploration in law.  An emphasis on Environmental, Medical, and Technology related law issues will be focused on in class.