Visual/Performing Arts

In fifth, sixth, and seventh grades, all Middle School students take classes in Studio Art, Drama, Choral and Instrumental Music each year.   In the eighth grade students have the opportunity to take a deeper dive into the arts by choosing two semester long arts classes.  All Middle School students may also participate in a variety of co-curricular and extra-curricular ensembles in addition to their arts classes, such as: Art Club, Drama Club, Drama Collective, Playback Theatre, Vertical Voices, Boys Ensemble, Girls Ensemble, Chorus, Concert Band, Jazz Band, Pit Band, String Ensemble, Handbell Choir, Fall Play, and Spring Musical.

Fifth and Sixth Grade Arts

The Fifth and Sixth Grade Studio Art program is designed to give students the opportunity to develop and express their ideas through various art materials.  Students use and explore a wide variety of tools and techniques in their creation of drawings, paintings, collages and ceramics. Through the creative process students also become increasingly familiar with the qualities and limitations of these different art materials and techniques. Students' interdisciplinary art projects are designed to enhance their understanding of the creative process while complimenting the broader academic curriculum. 

The Fifth and Sixth Grade Vocal Music program develops healthy singing techniques, choral diction, and repertoire in diverse languages while exploring musical styles and rhythms from around the globe. Students receive instruction in reading and writing music.

The Fifth and Sixth Grade Instrumental Music program gives students hands on learning. Each student learns how to play instruments from different countries while performing in drum circles, as well as instruction in flute, clarinet, violin, and handchime choir. Students in the sixth grade also study formal theory and composition.

In Sixth Grade Drama students develop and create characters, maintain points of view, justify physical action, sustain focus onstage, explore genuine human reactions, and investigate status and the influence it holds in the control of a scene. Drawing upon the mind, body, voice, and imagination, students take on the roles of playwright, actor, director, designer, critic, and audience as they bring original scripts to life on the stage. The program emphasizes interpersonal communication skills for personal development and discovery.

Seventh Grade Arts

Seventh Grade Studio Art instruction is based around periods in American art, which are reflected in the seventh grade English and History curricula. The Hudson River School, the Harlem Renaissance, and themes in contemporary art are examples of American art periods which are explored. Drawing, painting, clay sculpture, and collage are worked in conjunction with questions and ideas generated by the themes discovered of these periods.

The Seventh Grade Drama class is called Quakerism and the Arts. This course provides an opportunity for students to reflect on their own ethical and spiritual beliefs while learning about some of the guiding testimonies and practices of the Religious Society of Friends. Playback Theater (a specialized form of improv) is the central method taught and used for reflecting on individual stories.

The Seventh Grade Vocal Music class includes vocal technique, sight singing, music theory, song writing, and performance. Students learn how to read, write, sing, listen to, and write about music through the fundamentals of music notation, solfege, transcription, theory, and song analysis.

The Seventh Grade Instrumental Music class gives students hands on instruction in flute, clarinet, violin, handbells, and drum circles. Students also continue their study of music theory and composition using Noteflight and Finale notation software. For example, students learn to play all twelve major scales on the piano, and compose a Minuet. They perform an American folk song in the percussion ensemble.

Eighth Grade Arts

Eighth Grade Studio Art instruction includes drawing, watercolor and acrylic painting, working with clay, architectural design, and printmaking, as well as art history, art criticism and aesthetics. Assignments such as Designing a House allows students to combine drawing skills, design skills, discussions about aesthetics, math skills, and a sensitivity to and appreciation of advertising. Digital design is addressed in a photo self-portrait assignment in which the students manipulate a digital photograph of themselves using the application Photoshop.  Students in the Advanced Studio Art class participate in all of the activities listed above, but they also have a more intense study of drawing and complete individual projects.

The emphasis of Eighth Grade Drama is to introduce students to the fundamental aspects of the actor’s art and craft while creating, performing and responding to theatre.  Students develop skills in executing a role and gain the vocabulary to clearly and artfully express their beliefs to an audience. The creative process is explored through theater games and improvisations, readings, lectures, group projects and discussions.

The Eighth Grade Vocal Music class includes vocal technique, sight singing, music theory, song writing and performance.  Students learn how to read, write, sing, listen to, and write about music via studying the fundamentals of music notation, solfege, transcription, theory, and song analysis.  In addition, students use composition software and editing technology for individual and group composition projects.  Repertoire selections complement the English and History programs with an overall emphasis on world music.

The Eighth Grade Instrumental Music class covers five areas: Analysis, theory, composition, performance, and ear training. Students learn music terminology to describe works from around the world. They analyze form, contour, articulation, and motives, to name a few. In addition, students learn to transcribe melodies by ear. Each Student writes an original work using Noteflight and Finale notation software. Students write an original drum circle, and continue their study of handbells. During the final four weeks, students do an independent study project. Students who are more proficient on their instrument may elect to take the Advanced Instrumental Music class, where students study primarily music theory and repertoire.