High School Curriculum — Electives

Film Studies

Through the study of film, we explore the dynamics of storytelling—character, setting, narrative—and the art of storytelling made visual, particularly the subtle crafts of editing and composition. Our Film Studies elective also includes a creative component, allowing students an opportunity to try their own hand at filmmaking.

Introduction to Philosophy

Through in-class readings, videos, and discussions, students will tackle five key ideas from both a Western and Eastern Perspective: 1) What is Knowledge, 2) What is Happiness, 3) Is There a God and What Might God’s Nature Be, 4) What is Good and Evil, 5) What is Beauty. Participants will gain an appreciation of these questions that have been asked for thousands of years and come to find an immediate relevance in the answers provided by these traditions.

History of Psychology

Through in-class readings, videos, discussions, and experiments, students will learn the history of psychology – the history of both “What is the Soul” and “What is the Mind” from both a Western and Eastern Perspective. Working psychologists will visit the class and offer their experience, and experiments in sense perception will also be explored. Students will leave the class with insight into both humanity and themselves, as well as aspects of psychology as a profession.

Digital Publications - Photoshop and Web Design

Students will gain intermediate Photoshop skills during this course, especially the tools for website content development. Participants will then go on to look at interface design and narrative structure. Final creations will be live blogs and websites using HTML, CSS, as well as employing platforms such as WordPress, Wix, and Blogger.

Digital Publications - Yearbook

Students will gain basic graphic design principles and learn Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop. Participants will then apply their photography and layout skills to create the school yearbook. There are writing components, planning elements, and overall concept fulfillment, providing many opportunities for students to develop specific skills. It’s a great project that has a product that lasts for the life of the school.

Music

Music is an ensemble based class that give students of all abilities and interest levels a chance to perform together as well as challenge themselves on an individual level.  Students learn to work together and perform a repertoire of their choice in at Showcase at the end of each semester.  Most of the classwork is geared towards preparing and rehearsing performance material, however, we also spend time discussing the mechanics of music theory and technique.  No prior experience is necessary and everyone is encouraged to join.

Honors Music

Honors Music is embedded in both classes for students who wish to challenge themselves further.  In addition to all the requirements of Music class, there will be off-campus performance opportunities, in-depth music theory and additional responsibilities for Showcase preparation.  There are no prerequisites for Honors Music, but some music background and experience is highly recommended.

French 1

Students who choose to pursue French will embark on a study of the language as well as the rich cultures of the French-speaking world.  In this course, students learn the basic grammar, syntax and vocabulary while reading, writing, listening and speaking the language.  Only French is spoken in class from the very first day.  This way, students quickly develop their oral skills.  Students are provided with a wide variety of formats for expression, ranging from class discussions and small group work to the creation of an electronic portfolio, websites and video production.  Students learn to communicate in the present and future tenses, and get introduced to the past tenses.

The Art of Living and Learning is crucial in this class as we create a safe environment to explore and take risks together.  Oral participation is essential for learning a language, therefore it counts as 60% of the grade.

French 2 / 3

This second French course will prepare students to communicate with confidence in the Present, Future, Imperfect, Passé Composé, Conditional and Subjunctive tenses.  In this course, students learn grammar, syntax and vocabulary while reading, writing, listening and speaking the language.  Emphasis is placed on communicating with authenticity and native-like pronunciation.  Students read and retell stories, as well as create their own.  They read their first novella: Le Petit Prince, and create an electronic portfolio, which helps them self-assess their own learning.  Students continue to explore the rich cultures of the French-speaking world by reading articles on current events and watching cultural videos.  Only French is spoken in class at all time.

The Art of Living and Learning is crucial in this class as we create a safe environment to explore and take risks together.  Oral participation is essential for learning a language, therefore it counts as 60% of the grade.

Prerequisite: French 1/2

Economics

The purpose of this course is to give you an introduction to economics, including basic economic principles, and the fundamentals of microeconomics and macroeconomics.  The overall goal of the course is to understand the economic choices and decisions individuals have to make and how their particular socio-economic status affects those decisions.  

Expected School-wide Learning Results:

The following skills will be addressed in this course:

  1. Critical Thinking – through examination of basic economic principles and applying them in real-world situations.
  2. Problem Solving – through “problem sets” applying the concepts taught in class
  3. Communication – through verbal and written exercises applying economic concepts and developing coherent stances on economic issues that impact society
  4. Understanding Economic Structures and Global Interdependence – examining how the basic principles of economics express themselves in individual consumer choices and societal choices

Ceramics

The objectives of the Ceramics program are to develop introductory pottery and studio skills and to further student capacity to create and appreciate art through the medium of clay. Ceramics combines functional design and craft skills with the aesthetics and self-expression of visual art. Throughout the year, techniques such as throwing, coil, pinch, and slab work will be learned and used to create functional or sculptural work. In addition, methods of glazing, decorating, and the basics of bisque and glaze firing will be covered. Students will learn what can be expected from different clay bodies and glazes, and test combinations to discover the materials’ properties. The class will develop criteria to evaluate their pottery both from a functional and creative point of view. Students will formally assess several of their pieces and reflect on their learning process. Ceramic artists will be discussed with the intention of deepening the students understanding and work. Learning studio skills such as preparing clay, and maintaining equipment, tools, and the studio will also be emphasized.

The Arts of Living and Learning are alive in our practice of Ceramics. Students will be expected to live respectfully in our space that is shared with Elementary art. This respect involves attention to safety, cleanliness, cooperation, and proper care for the work created. The Art of Learning in a craft like pottery needs many practical skills, but the right state of mind is even more essential. Master potters think of themselves not as experts but as continuing learners. It helps to be curious and interested, to value the learning process over product, and to cultivate the ‘beginner mind’:

The other kind of learning … is to observe without the accompaniment of previous knowledge, to look at something as though for the first time, afresh.
(J.Krishnamurti)

Digital Design

This is a course that focuses on photography and graphic design. Students will review lighting, composition and the elements and principles of successful design while becoming proficient in the use of Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. We will learn how a camera works, how to take successful photos and how to manipulate the photographs using computers. We will learn how to work with existing lighting as well as to control studio lighting, and have a few off-site photo shoots as well. While becoming proficient at the art of photography we will also work in the world of graphic design with projects of increasing complexity as the year progresses. Students will be asked to record all the steps of their design process—from initial brainstorming to final layout— and present project to the class.

Throughout the semester we will work on and with Oak Grove’s Arts of Inquiry (students will observe, question, fact find, conduct original research, and engage in self-reflection), Communication (they will speak, write and listen), Academia (they will learn to present work according to the highest academic standards), Engagement (they will learn about what motivates them, develop a sense of self-direction, examine their own thinking, and learn about learning), Aesthetics (they will experience a sensitivity and appreciation to many forms of arts, they will continue to discover the artist within and nd many ways and mediums to express themselves artistically), and Caring and Relationship (they will develop self-understanding of how they are creative in their life and appreciation for how others express themselves creatively in diverse ways. They will see how creativity has been expressed in different cultures and learn to appreciate the diversity and what is being communicated)

Studio Art

In this studio art course will be working on projects that have many components to them. Students will be responsible for keeping visual and written records of their creative process and should be prepared to present these to fellow students, teachers, and parents. We will be working in a variety of mediums and learning how different mediums can change the meaning or concept of an artwork. For those seniors who wish to attend Art School, we will also focus on preparing an Art Portfolio for applications to Art Colleges.

Students will be asked to work in depth on each project, to always improve their artistic techniques, to organize their time wisely, to take risks on new things, and consider often why they create art and what are they trying to communicate by doing so. Most projects will be theme based. Students will also be asked to research various artists and artistic movements.

Throughout the semester we will work on and with Oak Grove’s Arts of Inquiry (students will observe, question, fact find, conduct original research, and engage in self-reflection), Communication (they will speak, write and listen), Academia (they will learn to present work according to the highest academic standards), Engagement (they will learn about what motivates them, develop a sense of self-direction, examine their own thinking, and learn about learning), Aesthetics (they will experience a sensitivity and appreciation to many forms of arts, they will continue to discover the artist within and nd many ways and mediums to express themselves artistically), and Caring and Relationship (they will develop self-understanding of how they are creative in there life and appreciation for how others express themselves creatively in diverse ways. They will see how creativity has been expressed in different cultures and learn to appreciate the diversity and what is being communicated)

Introduction to Drama

In this course students will be exposed to the fundamental concepts of dramatic performance, culminating in one or more short performances at Showcase. Students will engage in improv and other theater games, will study scripts and learn some of the terminologies of the stage. Drama, as a form of artistic expression, is concerned with the fundamental questions of human existence. Students will understand how actors reflect life, and how theater holds a mirror up to society.

Begin the application process. If you have any questions, we’re happy to assist you.