Electives covers Computer Science, Multimedia & Web technology, Physical Education, Fine Arts & Music.
Computer Science Studies
The Computer Science Department is dedicated to helping the students with technology questions and concerns. Primarily, the department focuses on issues surrounding computers, computer software, and computer peripherals. In the beginner courses, students are taught proper use of office and publishing software and are exposed to the use of intellectual property obtained from the Internet. In the advanced courses, students are introduced to computer science ideas and concepts.
Students learn Technology skills best when the skills are not taught in isolation but are integrated with the content being studied as part of their class work. Outside of the 6th grade exploratory courses, technology is integrated into most of the courses offered at the school. The tech department will continues to refine and support the current integration plan, keeping it aligned to the outcomes of the DCS Technology Program
Fine Arts Studies
The Fine Arts Department is inclusive of Visual Arts, Theater Arts and both the Vocal and Instrumental Music programs. The School program is required with the exception of performance. DCS students take classes in all disciplines throughout their years in the school. The School program is completely elective although the school requires that each student complete one Fine Arts credit to graduate. The learning environment for the DCS student is supported by faculty and staff committed to teaching and provides one of the finest facilities. Each student shall have individual studio space, e-mail privileges and access to internet and other networks resources for research, creative work or other communication needs. The school currently employs three faculty members. There are one full-time and one part-time music teachers & one art teacher.
Music Theory & Practice
Music is basic to the human experience and a part of every culture on our planet. Education, to a large degree, is the transmission of culture from one generation to another. As a natural conduit of the human experience, music has inherent value and integrity as part of the curriculum. Performance is an important part of the discipline of music and should be a part of every music class at DCS. However, performance is one of many methods for enhancing music literacy and appreciation and should never supplant the goal of creating a well-rounded, thoughtful, and independent music maker. Music literacy is the ability to use the vocabulary and notation of music to make music. With that as a goal, music courses should be more than experiential and offer students instructional opportunities in how to create, recreate, and appreciate satisfying musical expression.
Students who wish to begin to play a band instrument without previous experience can do so in Beginning Band. Instruments available are flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, Guitar, Keyboards, Mandolin, Jazz Drums, Violin, Tabla, Bass Guitars, Sitar, Bongo, Congo, Harmonium, Tanpura, Dholak, trumpet, French horn, trombone, baritone horn, tuba and percussion. Instruments may be rented through the school. No previous experience is necessary
Physical Education Studies
The DCS Physical Education curriculum follows the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) standards. The emphasis in PE is on fitness and the development of interpersonal skills such as demonstrating respect, offering positive feedback, and demonstrating responsible behavior in terms of physical and emotional safety. Students are encouraged to challenge themselves throughout each class meeting. Activity units are structured for skill acquisition, expanding knowledge about rules and strategies of different sports, problem solving through adventure activities, cooperation through team building games, physical fitness, and enjoyment. The importance of valuing physical activity for its contribution to a healthy lifestyle is also emphasized through encouragement of physical activity outside the school setting.
The Speech/Presentation Skills elective course gives students the opportunity to study and practice skills necessary to develop good oral and visual presentations. Students evaluate a variety of models of effective communication including listening and nonverbal skills, in addition to analyzing different public address techniques. Beginning oral presentations focus on using voice and gesture in dramatic interpretations of monologues, stories or poems. Students will then write and deliver communications in a variety of forms including informative speeches using demonstration skills, impromptu, persuasive speeches including visual presentations, and debate. If time allows, speeches to entertain, honor or inspire and infomercial may also be included.
As the great novelist Willa Cather said, “Most of the basic material a writer works with is acquired before the age of fifteen.” This course in Creative Writing is an opportunity for middle school students to begin to name and express the emerging themes of their lives through writing. Students will discover, analyze, and apply the methods and forms used in various forms of fiction, poetry, and dramatic writing. The course will be taught in a workshop style where much time will be spent in small groups, with peer critique and discussion. Students will succeed in this class if they are willing to write constantly, edit work thoughtfully, and cooperate with others in writing groups. Emphasis will be given to self-improvement and the ability to use the necessary tools of the writing process.
Discover And Do – Indian Arts
This class offers opportunities to create and learn a variety of arts & crafts and performing arts of India. Crafts may include pottery, making and flying kites, basket weaving, puppetry, tie and dye, block printing, wall and floor designs, weaving and traditional games and toys. Performing arts can include Kathakali makeup, puppet shows, clothes and fashions modern and traditional, sample learning of flute, percussion or stringed instruments, bamboo stick & other dances. Visits to theater, crafts, and art museums and cultural centers will enhance understanding of Indian culture and artists through interactions and exhibitions.
This year long course is designed to teach students the fundamentals of journalistic writing and publishing. As reporters, students will investigate events, individuals, and opinions within the school and present their findings on a regular basis to a portion of the school website. They will be expected to conduct interviews and research, create and analyze surveys, and prepare news, feature, and editorial articles for publication that will undergo self-and peer revision. Additionally, students will learn the basics of digital photography and the technologies that underwrite photojournalism. In a second part of the class, students will oversee the editing and publishing of at least two print-based publications, where editing, graphic design and desktop publishing will be emphasized.
In this course students will work as a team to create the school yearbook. Over the course of the year, students will learn an extraordinarily wide array of skills. They will become excellent photographers, writers, editors, graphic designers, marketers, and team managers. They will learn about printing and publishing and how to keep to deadlines. Most importantly they will learn how to achieve results as a group by making decisions together and supporting each other.
Why are we so attracted to animals, especially the “cute” ones? Do animals offer any benefit to us besides food and/or companionship? Are animals worth saving and, if they are, what is the best method to preserve species to be sure they’re still around 100 years from now?
These are all questions we will explore together in this semester course for animal lovers. We will look at all types of animal species, talk about their behavior, habitats, and benefits to humans. Then all of us will decide together what we can do to play a role in being sure animals continue to be a part of our lives.
If you want to design, build, and program robots and then have your robot compete against your classmates’ robots, this is the class for you! Using the Lego Mindstorms components, students work together to design, build and program robots that solve a challenge. Robotics class will also offer students a chance to explore electronics in further depth as they construct motors, circuits and electronic devices.
Students Speak Out
Students Speak Out is a communications class based on the Socratic dialectic model. For students Speak Out builds critical thinking, creative problem solving, active listening, self-evaluation, leadership and reading comprehension skills through lively discussions based on classical texts and other sources from diverse cultures. During Students Speak Out, students will wrestle with such issues as freedom, justice, power, and revenge, as presented in the works of authors including Plato, Rembrandt, Arrested Development, and Malcolm X. To begin the semester, students practice a variety of discussion skills as they explore unfamiliar topics and issues chosen by the instructor. Then as they learn to take responsibility for the quality and content of their discussions students generate the next series of discussion topics. Finally, as they gain confidence in addressing tough issues, the semester culminates with each student leading their own class discussion.
Roots and Shoots
Roots & Shoots is designed to inspire each individual to take sustainable actions to make the world a better place for people, animals, and improving the environment. This course is directly tied to the international Roots & Shoots organization, which emphasizes the principle that knowledge leads to compassion and service which further leads to action. All students will learn care and concern in three areas: the human community, animals, and the environment.
The DCS School Photography Course is an introductory level course for students interested in the act of photography. It provides knowledge of the tools and techniques needed to make a black and white or color photograph, in the student’s own voice. Initially we will focus on manual SLR cameras and black and white photography so as to build a strong foundation in the fundamental concepts. Later on some color and digital photography will be introduced. Students will be encouraged to look at as much work as possible from both the history of photography as well as within the contemporary space. They will be expected to think critically about photography as well as within the contemporary space. They will also be writing assignments in an attempt to clarify visual language problems by verbalizing them.
The hope is that each student will finally create a body of work rather than just individual images. This could explore a purely aesthetic concept or be more photodocumentary in nature but it must show a serious attempt to work out a problem in depth, over a length of time.
The Studio Art class is designed to give students the opportunity to develop their skills with materials, to communicate visually, and to deepen understanding of their personal process as an artist. The course seeks to build on students’ existing skills in a variety of media, as well as to develop inquiry and problem solving abilities through an emphasis on the creative process. Art appreciation and student reflections are included in the assignments.
The Sculpture class will invite students to experiment with a variety of sculpting materials and techniques, with an emphasis on work with clay. Using the creative process, students will be guided to develop their ideas through various stages leading to a final three dimensional form. Depending on their level, students will be encouraged to work more independently, combine materials and find individualized solutions to assignments. Appreciation and discussion of artwork from different artists and periods will also be integrated into the course.
The Graphic Design course is designed as an exploration of design as a communication tool. Students will study the design process, composition and the principles of design. Students will apply these lessons in original projects with an emphasis on communicating concise meaning through such visual means as image, layout, and text. The class is meant to develop students’ sensitivity to the visual impact of the choices they make, their ability to reflect upon their design choices, and their skills to make effective visual statements in any context.
Students in this Drama course will be introduced to elements of drama including terminology, stage movements and blocking, parts of stage, and performance goals. Additionally, they will participate in individual and group exercises to practice facial, voice and body expression in the form of monologues, games, activities, and prepared and impromptu skits. The students will be responsible for writing and performing some of their own work. The goal of this course is to cultivate a feel for drama and how to work together to create a presentation.
Odyssey of the Mind (OM)
Albert Einstein once said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” Do you have a good imagination? Or want to build one? Odyssey of the Mind, or OM, is a class for students who like to use their imagination to solve problems. It is a class designed to build participants’ creativity, enhance skills in problem solving, and promote teamwork in an enjoyable and meaningful way. Students form teams and work together to creatively solve two different kinds of challenges, a Team Challenge and an Instant Challenge. The Team Challenge involves building technical things and takes several months to solve. Throughout that time the teams also practice improvisational Instant Challenges, which stimulate the team’s ability to think quickly and creatively with only minutes to prepare solutions. This class helps students build important, lifelong skills, such as problem solving, teamwork and divergent thinking. Could you imagine being in this class?
Video Productions is an elective course that is designed to develop higher levels of competence in video skills. Specific skills will be introduced in each area and will then be applied in individual and group projects. Students will write, direct, edit and produce short videos throughout the semester as well as a short news broadcast. Productions usually combine sound editing, video filming and production techniques.
A simple animation program may be introduced and included in student created projects. Teams of students will also be engaged in projects stemming from the various service programs run through the School. Teams of students will be engaged in projects such as creating their own advertisements, short movies, and public service announcements.
We will also examine how the advertising world works and ‘deconstruct’ some of the current round of popular advertisements. Some students may choose to work on special documentary projects related to school. The majority of the class time focuses on the development of video as a means of communicating.