Middle School Curriculum Guide
- FIFTH AND SIXTH-GRADE ART
- FIFTH-GRADE MANUAL ARTS
- SIXTH-GRADE MANUAL ARTS
- SEVENTH AND EIGHTH-GRADE ART ELECTIVES
All visual art forms are composed of common design elements, including line, shape, form, color, and textures. Students learn to compose with these elements by considering various design principles, including rhythm, contrast, emphasis, repetition, pattern, harmony, and balance. These elements and principles are considered in different projects using a variety of materials and techniques. In addition to analyzing their own work, students are exposed to the work of other artists and crafts people from diverse cultural backgrounds. Two- dimensional projects may include drawing, painting, collage, mixed media, photography, and printmaking. Three-dimensional projects include papier-mâché, clay construction, and found objects. Most projects are based upon visual motivation: videos, reproductions, still life, nature, the manmade environment, and figure and perspective studies. In addition to studying design and technique, students are encouraged to explore and develop respect for their materials. They learn how to use them properly and are responsible for cleaning them and returning them to the correct storage areas. Student artwork is displayed frequently in the Middle School. Two school-wide art exhibits are held each year in the fall and in the spring.
Manual Arts for the fifth grade is the introductory course for the Middle School wood shop program. All of the projects are at the beginning level from the start of the school year, with the assignments becoming more challenging as the year progresses. Because safety is the biggest concern, there is no project quota or time limit imposed on students. They are allowed to work at a comfortable, safe, and reasonable pace with the quality and success of their work being strongly emphasized. Projects can be adjusted to the personal level of each student, and cooperative assignments may be included, as well. Students will learn the basics of shop safety, wood preparation, wood alteration, wood construction, power and manual tool usage, basic measurement, simple engineering, and full color finishing techniques as they progress through a specially designed assignment list. Practice projects and a chance to explore, discover, and learn from their mistakes are part of the process. Creativity, imaginative thinking, and personal expressions are greatly encouraged with teaching demonstrations, discussions about tool choices and proper applications being covered throughout the school year. Tools used will include the following: jig saw, scroll saw, coping saw, wood shapers, files, rasps, sandpapers, electric sanders, brace and bit, electric drills, wood planes, wood lathe, sawzall, drill press, wheel cutters, and a variety of measuring/tracing aides.
Students learn about various types of wood and receive more advanced instruction on wood preparation, construction and assembly techniques, damage repair, decoration, and finishing. All this is applied to the creation of a simple wooden box. Once students have completed the simple box, they are encouraged to take their designs to the next level by considering a specific topic or theme that includes more sophisticated sides, top, and decorative carvings or illustrations. To get there, more precise tools are introduced, and the class discusses three-dimensional design and wood sculpture techniques to help create miniature scenes or “handle” sculptures for the box lids. Students will progress through all the steps from initial concept, research, and paper planning through the final finishing techniques.
CERAMICS (T1, T2, or T3)
The Ceramics course offers an in-depth exploration of basic ceramic techniques and three-dimensional design. Students first learn how to prepare clay for use; then they are guided through a series of exercises to discover what clay can and cannot do. At this stage, the physical process is emphasized more than the final results. Students explore various hand-building techniques such as coiling, pinching, and slab construction. Later in the course, they embark on more ambitious and more inventive projects, which may be representational or abstract, functional or nonfunctional. In addition to reflecting on their own work, students are exposed to the works of other sculptors and ceramic artists from various cultures and time periods. Although most of the projects involve hand-building techniques, students are also introduced to the throwing wheel and have the opportunity to practice basic throwing techniques.
DRAWING & PAINTING (T1, T2, or T3)
This course is an introduction to drawing and painting techniques and materials. Students will learn to employ line, value, shape, color, gesture and perspective using a range of materials, including charcoal, pencil, ink, collage, colored pencils, oil pastel, marker, watercolors, acrylics, tempera, etc. While the course explores both drawing and painting, students have the ability to focus their efforts on one area more than the other. Students will draw and paint from observation, pictorial references, imagination, and emotion. Projects will include still-life, landscape, portraiture, and abstraction, and students will be exposed to artists and art movements ranging from Impressionism to today.
STUDIO ART (T1, T2, or T3)
In this course, students will explore the many facets of the middle school art studio. There will be an emphasis on the development of a personal style through the exploration of both traditional and non-traditional media as well as a variety of subject matter. Students will create artworks that require creative thinking, problem solving, and attention to aesthetics. They will concentrate on, and deepen their understanding of, the elements of art and principles of design through drawing, painting, printmaking, assemblage, and installations.
DESIGNOLOGY (T1, T2, or T3)
We live in a visual culture, one in which ideas and information are communicated through increasingly sophisticated visual media. Have you ever driven by a billboard or seen an advertisement and said to yourself: "Wow, that's really cool!" Do you want to understand what makes these – and other – images so visually compelling? Well, here's your chance! In this course, you will develop an understanding of basic design elements and the way designers use these elements to create images that are engaging, compelling, and stay in your memory. Through a variety of assignments, you will experiment with typography, composition, form, and texture to explore how designers actually design. We will use Adobe software and other equipment to create our work.
DIGITAL ART WORKSHOP (T1, T2, or T3)
An increasing number of artists are creating artworks using digital media. In this course, students will explore a range of digital media to create innovative artworks of their own. Students will learn digital painting, green screen techniques, animation, and more and they also learn the basics of various Adobe software. The course allows for exploration and flexibility based on students’ interests. The broad goal is for students to become comfortable using various digital art-making technologies to give visual form to their ideas.
GOOD MORNING RCDS PRODUCTION (T1, T2, or T3)
In the Good Morning RCDS Production Class, students will become the core team behind the production of the RCDS Middle School’s smash hit morning show. This team will learn on-camera journalism techniques necessary to anchor and to create weekly segments. Students will work on voice projection, eye contact, comedic timing, as well as annunciation. Along with developing on-camera skills, this class will have the responsibility of being the creative force behind the pre- and post-production of each weekly morning broadcast. Students will generate ideas for episodes, write scripts, arrange and light sets, film episodes, and learn the ins and outs of the video editing program Final Cut Pro. Whether you are interested in being on camera or behind the scenes, you will acquire the skills necessary to make Good Morning RCDS happen.
SHOP I: BASIC BUILDING AND DESIGN TECHNIQUES (T1 and T2, or T3)
This is the entry level course for the Middle School shop program, in which students learn to design and develop ideas, draft plans, sketch or draw them on paper, and then construct, assemble, and engineer their designs. Students in this class can choose to follow a preexisting plan at their appropriate skill level, or they may elaborate, alter, re-think, or re-design an existing shop project to suit their own individual interests, creativity, and imaginations. In this course, the emphases are on conceptual development, paper planning, drafting/sketching/drawing, proper tool choice and usage, power and hand tool instruction for both wood and other building materials. For students who are also enrolled in classes that utilize 3-D printing as part of the curriculum, the potential to design and create objects that are made in collaboration with the 3-D printing systems will also be explored where appropriate. Color finishing and painting techniques may be possible if there is time and opportunity to do so, but much of that work happens in Shop II. This is a two-trimester course (fall and winter) for students wanting a longer, sequential experience with Shop II, or a one-trimester course (spring) for students wanting a shorter one-time experience.
SHOP II: CONTINUING AND ADVANCED COLOR TECHNIQUES (T1 and T2, or T3)
This class will primarily focus on the artistry and color finishing techniques that beautifully enhance projects in a more complete, personal, and creative way. Once finished with their Shop I projects, students in Shop II will explore multi-media color finishing, full color decorating, faux finishing, wood burning, texture and sponge painting, drawing and hand painting decoration. Wood, foam core, sculpting foam, paper, papier-mâché, or canvas board painting techniques will also be explored. Students should have successfully completed a project in Shop I that they can bring to a more complete and advanced state of finish in Shop II. However, for students who have not completed a Shop I project, but who are interested in learning the specific skills taught in Shop II, several simple projects will be offered, and those students will be expected to complete one for use in the Shop II class. For students who are also enrolled in classes that utilize 3-D printing as part of the curriculum, the potential to design and create objects that are made in collaboration with the 3-D printing systems will also be explored where appropriate. This is a two-trimester course (fall and winter) for students wanting a longer, sequential experience after Shop I, or a one-trimester course (spring) for students wanting a shorter one-time experience.
THREE-DIMENSIONAL DESIGN AND FINE SCALE MODEL MAKING (T1 and T2, or T3)
This class focuses mainly on the design and building of three-dimensional scenic dioramas, architecture, or other types of fine scale models. Samples of projects and suggested assignments will be available for students to choose from, but input from the students will also be encouraged and included whenever possible and appropriate. Real or imaginary subjects will be equally welcome. Students will explore all aspects of planning and constructing small multi-media scenic dioramas, architectural or structural fine scale models. They will explore foam sculpting and shaping, wood cutting, shaping and assembly, special scale model scenery applications, painting and multi-media finishing techniques, wood burning and basic soldering. Advanced special effects such as lighting, sound, smoke, or other specific visual enhancements may be added if time permits. Specialized fine scale modeling hand tools, power tools, and construction techniques will be explored, demonstrated, and utilized throughout the assignments. For students who are also enrolled in classes that utilize 3-D printing as part of the curriculum, the potential to design and create objects that are made in collaboration with the 3-D printing systems will also be explored where appropriate. This is a two-trimester course (fall and winter) for students wanting a longer, sequential experience, or a one-trimester course (spring) for students wanting a shorter one-time experience.