Academics » Exploratory Cycles & Electives

Exploratory Cycles & Electives

In addition to the core curriculum students at all grade levels are offered a variety of exploratory classes to enrich their academic experiences.  Exploratory classes encompass art, computer skills, AVID, and Garden Ecology. Subjects may vary year to year.  In addition, at the sixth grade level students participate in Quest, a class that equips students with skills for adolescence by addressing student self esteem, drug use, and alcohol and tobacco use prevention.

 

SIXTH GRADE EXPLORATORY CYCLE

Unless they have elected instrumental instruction, all sixth grade students take one period of an exploratory class. The students will switch classes four times.  They will start with Quest and then rotate through the three classes listed below. Students who need extra help in academics may be pulled from their exploratory class to attend ELL or Math Boosters class. Booster classes may be scheduled for students needing extra assistance in Mathematics and English Language Development (ELD). These classes may be required in lieu of the exploratory cycle for students who are not meeting standards.

ART BASICS

Students will be introduced to the fundamentals of art through various mediums in this course. Areas explored include line, shape, color, and systems of drawing. Mediums include pencil, marker, and watercolor.

UNDERSTANDING IDENTITY AND SOCIAL JUSTICE

Students will build community through a better understanding of themselves and each other through the examination of culture, identity, and concepts of social justice.  The culminating activity is designed to creatively engage students to make a positive impact on their world.

AVID 6

(Advancement Via Individual Determination)
AVID is a program designed to prepare students to succeed in middle school and beyond. The objectives of A.V.I.D. include increasing the participants’ levels of organization, community building, study skills, and critical thinking skills.

 

SEVENTH GRADE EXPLORATORY CYCLE

Seventh grade students may elect an instrumental instruction period, AVID, or to take one period of classes in an exploratory cycle. Students who wish to take either instrumental or AVID and an exploratory may do so by adding a zero period PE class.  Students who need extra help in academics may be pulled from their exploratory class to attend ELL or Math Boosters class.  For those electing the exploratory rotation, they will rotate through three or four of the following courses:

CAREERS

 

This class explores the relationship between education and training for future career choices. Through a California-based simulation, students will identify and explore numerous career fields and look at required education levels, skills, and training necessary to acquire each position. They will also practice completing college and job applications, discuss the path to a college career and explore college choices.

ART

 

This course introduces the student to the basic skills of painting and drawing. Students will be using felt tip pens, tempura paints, and pencil. They will learn color theory and produce landscape paintings.

HEALTH 7

 

This course includes topics in self-esteem, substance abuse, disease, nutrition, fitness, and major human body systems. Parent approval is required for the unit on adolescence and reproduction.

DRAMA

 

In Drama, we build important performance skills that help all students feel more confident, expressive, and quick on their feet. We start the course learning and practicing physicalization, voice, and improv skills. Students are introduced to pantomime, improvisation, memorization, acting, critical evaluation, and various other aspects of the fine arts. Performances include lightsaber broad-sword choreography, a puppet show, and monologues. They will produce plays and skits for audiences of their classmates and peers. A culminating evening showcase will display everything that they worked on in which all students will participate.

 

AVID 7 – year long course (Advancement Via Individual Determination)

AVID is a program designed to prepare students in the middle (G.P.A. between 2.0 and 3.5) to succeed in a college preparatory path for admission to four-year colleges and universities. The objectives of AVID include increasing the participants’ levels of career awareness, giving students college-level entry skills, and increasing the “coping skills” of program participants. It is a one year course and requires students to go through an application/selection process.

MATH BOOSTER CLASS

 

Booster classes are developed for students needing extra assistance. These classes may be required for students who are not meeting standards.

 

EIGHTH GRADE EXPLORATORY CYCLE

In addition to core curriculum, all eighth grade students will take an instrumental, one period of classes in an exploratory cycle or a year-long elective.  The exploratory cycle rotates on the trimester.  Students may choose two elective classes by opting for a zero period PE.

   

VIDEO JOURNALISM

The main purpose of the course is to provide video announcements of upcoming school events for the school to watch every Monday. The second purpose is for students to learn how to produce different kinds of movies on a variety of topics, resulting in a “film festival” for the class. Whatever the movie, students learn how to create good audio, video, text, spacing, and storytelling. They develop skills in planning, organizing, script writing, interpersonal communication, team building, and media literacy. They work individually, with partners, and in collaborative groups.
INTRO TO ETHNIC STUDIES

 

This course is designed to give 8th graders an introduction to themes of identity, history and movement, systems of power, and social movements and equity as they begin to analyze and answer the essential questions of 1) How has race and ethnicity been constructed in the United States, and how have they changed over time? and 2) How do race and ethnicity continue to shape the United States and contemporary issues? Students will engage in discussions that will enable them to develop their critical inquiry and thinking skills as they read and listen about the different perspectives and experiences of people of color in America from the past to present as they connect to the four major themes. Students will also engage in self-reflection as they learn and share their narrative to help understand and see shared and unique experiences.

 

EIGHTH GRADE ELECTIVES 

AVID 8 (year-long course)

AVID is a program designed to prepare students in the middle (G.P.A. between 2.0 and 3.5) to succeed in a college preparatory path for admission to four-year colleges and universities. The objectives of AVID include increasing the participants’ levels of career awareness, giving students college-level entry skills, and increasing the “coping skills” of program participants. It is a one year course and requires students to go through an application/selection process.

LEADERSHIP (year-long course)

This year-long course is for the highly motivated student who has a real desire to become involved in student activities, student government, and school/community service. Students develop an understanding of student government, leadership styles, communication, time management, goal-setting, and decision-making. Students learn and develop their leadership skills through direct participation in planning and organizing a variety of programs. (Examples of activities are organizing noontime activities and school-wide assemblies, planning and decorating for school dances, and carrying out student and staff recognition programs.) Students will read and implement The Seven Habits of Highly Successful Teens. Enrollment is limited to 8th graders who complete the application process and have exemplar teacher recommendations.

DRAMA (year-long course)

In Drama, we build important performance skills that help all students feel more confident, expressive, and quick on their feet. We start the course learning and practicing physicalization, voice, and improv skills. Students are introduced to pantomime, improvisation, memorization, acting, critical evaluation, and various other aspects of the fine arts. Performances include lightsaber broad-sword choreography, a puppet show, and monologues. They will produce plays and skits for audiences of their classmates and peers. A culminating evening showcase will display everything that they worked on in which all students will participate.

SPANISH 1 (year-long course)

This is a full-year, college prep course equivalent to Spanish 1 at Castro Valley High School. Students will develop proficiency in listening, speaking, reading, and writing, as well as an appreciation and understanding of Spanish speaking culture through readings, music, rhyme, and video. Communication skills are emphasized and taught through comprehensible input. Individual, paired, and grouped activities, projects, and tests should be anticipated. Comprehensible communicative activities will be practiced each day. Daily study and homework assignments are expected. Upon successful completion of this course with an “A” or “B” semester grade, and based on teacher recommendation, students may advance to Spanish 2 when entering high school.
Criteria:
Students must have a “C” or better in 7th grade English and the recommendation of their English teacher in order to enroll in this high school level course.

Strongly Recommended: 
A “B” or better in English, an excellent attendance record, strong English skills, and good study skills.

YEARBOOK (year-long course)

This course focuses on four areas: layout and design, copy writing, photography, and marketing. Within these areas, students will learn the skills necessary for production of any desktop published document and will be responsible for the production of the Creekside Yearbook. Students will develop leadership skills and have the opportunity to work in an editorial position on the staff. Enrollment is open to eighth graders and is based on an application process, including teacher recommendation. Applications will be available in the spring for the following year.