Arts Electives

In middle school, the Open Window arts and movement offerings shift from “grade-level specific” classes to “content offerings” where students gain broad experience in arts and movement while having some choice of their classes.  In addition to these content offerings, students have grade-level physical education classes.
 
In order to ensure that our students have a well-rounded experience, middle school arts classes are divided into three divisions: Music, Visual Arts, and Movement & Dramatic Arts. Fifth and sixth grade students are required to take two music, two visual, and two movement/drama selections during these two years. Seventh and eighth grade students are required to take one of each class type over their last two years, which allows them take more courses within their passions. Each class is eleven weeks long, which provides time to go into depth for each subject, especially for those classes that meet for double periods.
 
Classes vary by year, but examples include:
 
Music (Acoustic Band, Garage Band, Music Theory, Pops Choir)
 
Visual Arts (Conductive Creations, Pencil Drawing, Photography, Sculpting, Soft Circuit Sewing, Watercolor)
 
Movement and Dramatic Arts (Acting & Improv, Fighting with Shakespeare, Fitness for Life, Musical Theater & Dance, Playwriting & Directing, West African Dance Influences) 

Art

The ultimate goal of the Open Window School Visual Art Program is to provide a supportive and non-competitive environment where students build confidence in their ability to create. Students explore classical art techniques, learn art history, as well as discover and follow their own unique creative interests. By studying the works of modern designers and makers, students gain insight into the design thinking that inspires innovative art and design.
 
In order to ensure that our students have a well-rounded experience, our Arts classes are divided into three divisions: Music, Visual Arts, and Performing Arts and Movement. Our fifth and sixth grade students are required to take two music arts, two visual arts, and two performing arts/movement selections during these two years. Our seventh and eighth grade students are required to take one of each class type over their last two years, which allows them take more courses within their passions.
 
Over the summer, our visual arts teachers create a menu of classes for students to rank at the start of the school year.  Offerings include drawing, photography, painting, ceramics, conductive sewing, and more. 
 
In all middle school visual arts classes, students explore new tools and techniques that will further their exposure and understanding of the fine arts. Students study key figures and art movements to gain a better understanding of the progression of world art history. In our new Art Studio setting, students can make their own paint and learn to use a laser cutter. From hand molding clay to 3-D printing, from pencil sketching to digital editing of photographs in Photoshop, students have an almost unlimited ways of self-expression.

PE & Movement

Students in fifth to eighth grade PE focus on establishing and maintaining healthy lifestyle choices. Students better understand human bodies and human movement potential by reviewing skeletal anatomy, learning muscular anatomy and undertaking various diverse activities, sports and challenges. Emphasis is placed on maintaining cooperative, supportive attitudes and habits, even in competition, and developing autonomy in training and playing.
 
Activities include:
  • Concussion Training and Basic First Aid
  • Cooperation in Competition
  • Dance and Movement
  • Equipment Manipulation as Extension of Self
  • Fitness, Coordination, and Agility
  • Leadership and Advocacy in Athletics
  • Muscular Anatomy (and Skeletal Review)
  • Obstacle Courses and Parkour Training
  • Teamwork, Trust, and Communication
  • West African Dance
  • Yoga and Martial Arts
 
In addition to their grade level physical education courses, middle school students have the opportunity to take additional movement courses as part of the arts elective program.  In order to ensure that our students have a well-rounded experience, middle school arts classes are divided into three divisions: Music, Visual Arts, and Movement & Dramatic Arts. Fifth and sixth grade students are required to take two music, two visual, and two movement/drama selections during these two years. Seventh and eighth grade students are required to take one of each class type over their last two years, which allows them take more courses within their passions. Each class is eleven weeks long, which provides time to go into depth for each subject, especially for those classes that meet for double periods.

Drama

In order to ensure that our students have a well-rounded experience, our Arts classes are divided into three divisions: Music Arts, Visual Arts, and Performing Arts and Movement. Our fifth and sixth grade students are required to take two music arts, two visual arts, and two performing arts/movement selections during these two years. Our seventh and eighth grade students are required to take one of each class type over their last two years, which allows them take more courses within their passions.
 
Over the summer, our Performing Arts and Movement teachers create a menu of classes for students to rank at the start of the school year.  Offerings include Acting and Improv, Fighting with Shakespeare, Painless Playwriting, Musical Theatre, Directing, Musical Production, Filmmaking, Technical Theatre and more.  Performance options are available to all students.
 
In all of our MS Performing Arts classes, students further develop their critical thinking skills. Students make connections between theatrical knowledge and prior knowledge, building on their innate curiosity and purposefulness. Cooperative learning and problem solving are central elements of the drama curriculum. Mastering these skills help students in all other academic and social areas. The study of drama also provides a structure for the development of creative thinking and a place to showcase the creative ideas of the students.

Music

In order to ensure that our students have a well-rounded experience, our Arts classes are divided into three divisions: Music, Visual Arts, and Performing Arts and Movement. Our fifth and sixth grade students are required to take two music arts, two visual arts, and two performing arts/movement selections during these two years. Our seventh and eighth grade students are required to take one of each class type over their last two years, which allows them take more courses within their passions.
 
Over the summer, our music teachers create a menu of classes for students to rank at the start of the school year. Offerings have included "Listen to This!," in which they choose, analyze, and present a piece to their classmates; Band, in which experienced and novice vocalists and instrumentalists learn to perform rock or blues songs; "Composing using Garage Band on iPads," in which they learn to use chord progressions and unity/variety to create their own songs; and Pops Choir, in which they learn to read octavos and sing popular songs in two parts.

Library Learning Commons

The major goals of the Open Window Library Learning Commons program are that students cultivate a love of reading and that they become effective and ethical users of information. Classes build on each other over time, from developing foundational skills in kindergarten to advanced research techniques in the upper grades.

In middle school, the information literacy program covers advanced search engine techniques, creating citations, evaluating websites for quality, paraphrasing rather than plagiarizing, note-taking, outlining and more. We subscribe to a number of high quality databases, as well as having a print and eBook collection targeted at middle school readers. Information literacy instruction is integrated with humanities and science so that students learn skills that directly connect to work they are doing and can apply immediately. Students are also welcome in the Library Learning Commons at all times, whether they need a quiet place to work, individual support with research or just want to take a few moments to relax with a good book.