8 - Elective Courses

  • Elective classes must have adequate registration requests to become part of this year's school schedule. Students requesting courses that are not offered due to low enrollment will be notified by their counselor and assigned their alternate elective choice.

    Fine Arts - Semester Courses
    M8410 Art 1

    Prerequisite: None

    This is a semester-long studio course where students learn to work and behave like artists. Students will make sketchbooks and learn basic skills in drawing, painting, ceramics, printmaking and sculpture. We practice a creating process that helps students go from developing an idea to completing original works of art. In addition to the creation of art, students will also learn to critique a work of art. By the end of the course, students will turn in a portfolio presentation to showcase their work.

    M8420 Art 2
    Prerequisite: Art 1

    This is a semester-long studio course for students who have successfully completed Art 1. Students will make a new style of sketchbook and expand on what they learned in Art 1. We will work on developing skills in drawing, painting, printmaking, ceramics, and sculpture. More emphasis is made in mastering basic art skills and on good presentation of artwork. In addition to skill based work, students will develop their own original artworks of choice. Students will also learn to develop opinions around art controversies. By the end of the course, students will have a portfolio presentation that showcases their art.

    M8430 Art 3
    Prerequisite: Art 2

    This class is designed for the serious art student who has successfully completed Art 2. Students will choose a specific genre, subject, or art medium to explore in depth. Students will be required to plan in a sketchbook, meet with the teacher to discuss plans and materials, and work independently as an artist. In addition to the creation of art, students will learn more about art history and the business side of being an artist. At the end of the course, students' work will be showcased in an art exhibit they design. This involves preparing the work for hanging, design signs, labels, and ads to promote the show, and attend an opening event to celebrate!

    M8450 Drama 1
    Prerequisite: None

    Drama 1 is a course that explores several aspects of drama that will enhance or develop the foundational basics of theater including:

    • scriptwriting,
    • basic theater terminology,
    • basic theater history,
    • vocal and physical warm-ups,
    • reflective writing,
    • exploration of voice and body,
    • ensemble building,
    • pantomime,
    • improvisation, and
    • reader’s theater.

    M8460 Drama 2
    Prerequisite: Drama 1

    Drama 2 builds upon the theater skills learned in Drama 1. Students will further deepen their understanding and skill set exploring various aspects of drama, including:

    • scene study,
    • monologue and audition skills,
    • script analysis,
    • acting for the camera,
    • character development, and
    • introduction to Shakespeare and stage combat.

    Music - Full Year Courses
    M6904 Beginning Band

    Beginning Band is a first-year band class offered to seventh and eighth grade students who have little to no experience playing a brass or woodwind instrument. Students start with the basics of becoming familiar with their musical instruments (assembly, proper finger placement, air flow and breathing). Students progress in their knowledge of reading music, beginning with basic note identification and ending with more complex compositions of music. Regular practice outside of class is required as homework.

    M8000 Band 8
    Prerequisite: Band 7

    Eighth-grade Band is open to all students who have successfully completed seventh-grade Band. Students who are new to our school program may join the Band if they have had a comparable experience in another school and complete a brief audition for the Hixson Band Directors. Students will continue to develop individual playing skills and will perform a variety of music. Students will also complete lessons in music theory, music history and music technology. The 8th grade Band will perform three concerts in addition to the 8th Grade Band tour during the school year.

    M8105 Choir
    Prerequisite: None

    Choir is open to all students who want to improve their singing. Students who have not gone through the Choir program are welcome to join and will receive learning aids to help them catch up. This class is designed to strengthen individual voices, as well as develop choral singing abilities. The class will focus on learning to sight read notes and rhythms, sing in 3-4 part harmony, and sing in different styles, languages, and genres. Students will perform one mandatory concert per semester. Students who are interested in performing with the WGHS choir in the future are strongly encouraged to take this class.

    M6900 Beginning Orchestra
    Prerequisite: None

    Beginning Orchestra is a first year orchestra class offered to students who have little to no experience playing a stringed instrument. Students who are interested in playing violin, viola, cello, or stand-up bass will learn to read and play music on their instrument of choice at a beginner level. Students will be required to rent or purchase their own instrument and music book for the class. Students who choose violin or viola will bring their own instrument to class to use every day and take home for home practice. Students who choose cello or stand-up bass will use a school instrument for class and keep their personal instrument at home for home practice. Regular practice outside of class is required as homework. Orchestra students will work as a team to successfully perform three concerts a year. Students will learn how their performance literature relates to music theory, music history, and current global cultures.

    M6901 Intermediate Orchestra
    Prerequisite: District Placement Criteria

    Intermediate Orchestra is a second level orchestra. It is open to all students who have successfully completed at least one year of experience on their instrument in an orchestra class or private lessons with a certified orchestra teacher. Students are required to audition for this class with approval from the Hixson orchestra director to register. New techniques and concepts will be introduced that build on the foundational skills and knowledge previously learned in the beginning stages. Students will be required to rent or purchase their own instrument and music book for the class. Students who play violin or viola will bring their own instrument to class to use every day and take home for home practice. Students who play cello or stand-up bass will use a school instrument for class and keep their personal instrument at home for home practice. Regular practice outside of class is required as homework. Orchestra students will work as a team to successfully perform three concerts a year. Students will learn how their performance literature relates to music theory, music history, and current global cultures. Orchestra members are also invited to audition for the Hixson Honors Orchestra, an after school group that collaborates with Wind Ensemble and Choir for two Sounds of Hixson concerts per year.

    M6902 Advanced Orchestra
    Prerequisite: District Placement Criteria

    Advanced Orchestra is an upper level orchestra. It is open to all students who have successfully completed at least one year of experience on their instrument in an orchestra class or private lessons with a certified orchestra teacher. Students are required to audition for this class with approval from the Hixson orchestra director to register. New techniques and concepts will be introduced that continue to build on skills and knowledge previously learned at an intermediate playing level. Students will be required to rent or purchase their own instrument and music book for the class. Students who play violin or viola will bring their own instrument to class to use every day and take home for home practice. Students who play cello or stand-up bass will use a school instrument for class and keep their personal instrument at home for home practice. Regular practice outside of class is required as homework. Orchestra students will work as a team to successfully perform three concerts a year, in addition to an orchestra tour around the district. Students will learn how their performance literature relates to music theory, music history, and current global cultures. Orchestra members are also invited to audition for the Hixson Honors Orchestra, an after school group that collaborates with Wind Ensemble and Choir for two Sounds of Hixson concerts per year.

    Practical Arts - Semester Courses 
    M8510 Family and Consumer Science 1
    Prerequisite: None

    FACS 1 is designed to give students an introduction to Family and Consumer Sciences. Topics covered include:
    Food Prep,
    Nutrition,
    Hand & Machine Sewing, and
    Child Development/Babysitting.

    M8520 Family and Consumer Science 2
    Prerequisite: FACS 1

    FACS 2 is offered to students who have successfully completed FACS 1. Students will build upon knowledge gained in FACS 1 about food prep, nutrition, and hand and machine sewing as well as gain an introduction to interior design.

    M0044 Gateway to Engineering
    Prerequisite: None

    Gateway to Engineering is a 7th and 8th grade experiential learning course covering a wide spectrum of Engineering disciplines including Civil, Electrical, and Mechanical. Topics include Design and Modeling, Automation and Robotics, Flight and Space, Magic of Electrons, and Medical Detectives.

    M0080 Sustainability: Helping Others and the Environment
    Prerequisite: None

    This experiential learning course will take an interdisciplinary approach in helping students understand inequities in our society relating to reducing environmental impact, food insecurity, and distribution of resources. Students will create environmentally sustainable solutions to community-based problems by auditing our environmental impact (ie: energy, waste, consumption etc), determining the needs of the community, and addressing those needs through community outreach. In addition, students will continue to develop the sustainable outdoor courtyard, build and maintain raised garden beds and engage in urban gardening to grow food that can be distributed within the Hixson community and/or donated to local organizations to support others in need.

    M0074 Computer Science 1
    Prerequisite: None

    In this experiential learning class, students with little to no circuitry or programming experience necessary will explore the foundations of Computer Science. They will learn the basics of computer hardware, software and networking, data, user centered design, physical computing, and programming with artificial intelligence. Students will create websites, apps, games, and create electronic projects with micro computers. They will learn how to complete more advanced projects using HTML & CSS, Python, and JavaScript coding languages.

    M0076 Computer Science 2
    Prerequisite: Computer Science 1

    Video games in school! In this experiential learning class, students with some programming experience will develop the fundamentals of game design using the technical skills of developing applications using Unity as a primary development tool. Students will create 2D and 3D cross-platform games for PCs, consoles, mobile devices, and the internet to gain a broader understanding of the design principles in developing video games and interactive applications. At the end of each semester students will host a hackathon where students will showcase their interactive applications for the community to experience.

    M8610 Shop 1
    Prerequisite: None

    This semester course is designed to allow students to gain hands-on experiences with power tools as well as hand tools. In the lab setting, this course will involve drafting, measurement, safety, and constructing projects. Students must pass a safety final, with 70% proficiency, before working with power tools/equipment in the lab.

    Project choices in this class may include:

    • lettering,
    • puzzle/scroll saw object,
    • truss/bridge,
    • catapult,
    • cutting board,
    • large cooking spoon or spatula,
    • triangle game, and
    • a paper towel rack.

    M8620 Shop 2
    Prerequisite: Shop 1

    This semester course is offered to students who have successfully completed Industrial Technology 1. This class will build upon the knowledge gained on drafting, measurement, safety and constructing projects. Students will work with a variety of materials including metal, plastic, and wood. Students must pass a safety final, with 70% proficiency, before working with power tools/equipment in the lab.

    Projects in this class may include:

    • pencil tray,
    • keychains,
    • puzzle/scroll saw object,
    • wooden mallet,
    • large wood project,
    • jewelry box,
    • intarsia with frame,
    • kitchen pegboard,
    • bookends, and
    • large cooking spoon or spatula.

    M0048 Introduction to Robotics
    Prerequisite: None

    This experiential learning class uses a hands-on approach to introduce the basic concepts of robotics, focusing on the construction and programming of autonomous mobile robots. Course information will be tied to lab experiments; students will work in groups to build and test increasingly more complex mobile robots, culminating in an end-of-semester robot contest. We will be using LEGO® Education SPIKETM Prime as our platform. This will allow students with both previous and no coding experience to access the curriculum. Students will be divided into groups and complete a variety of robot construction and programming activities within the confines of these groups.

    M0091 Digital Multimedia Arts
    Prerequisite: None

    Digital Multimedia Arts is a project-based course that allows students to creatively express themselves through digital graphics, print media, computer animation, and other newly emerging forms of digital media. This experiential learning class will allow students to explore a wide range of programs while considering their audience, mode of expression, and editing skills. Students will also be given the ability to facilitate meetings, serve as team leaders, manage project timelines, and produce professional products like our weekly school show, the Hixson Happenings.

    M0058 Thrive Jr
    Prerequisite: None

    This project-based course guides 7th and 8th grade students through the experience of becoming entrepreneurs to solve a problem. As students reach milestones throughout this experiential learning class, they create a portfolio that documents their journey from problem/solution ideation through evaluation of sales. Students evaluate the world around them, identify a problem to solve, create a product concept, sell this product in an e-commerce marketplace, evaluate the performance of their business idea, and iterate to incorporate learnings. With involvement of local mentors and volunteers, students experience authentic learning, providing them an opportunity to be entrepreneurs.

    World Languages - Full Year Courses
    Students who are interested in pursuing a foreign language in middle school may plan on a two-year course of study beginning in seventh grade with Level 1 and continuing with Level 2 in eighth grade. These two years count as the equivalent of Level 1 and 2 at the high school and allow a student the possibility to enroll in Level 3 as a freshman, depending on teacher recommendation. Therefore, these classes are for students who are able to manage the pace and workload of high school courses. Students may also begin a foreign language by taking Level 1 in eighth grade or high school.

    M8210 French 1
    Prerequisite: None

    In French 1, students will begin their journey towards proficiency in the French language through a communicative, comprehensible input approach that focuses on student understanding of written and spoken French, as well as an ability to communicate in French using simple words, phrases, and sentences. French input activities include discussions around student interests, story telling, music, picture and movie talks, games, vocabulary building, an exploration of grammar in context, and more! Discovery of Francophone cultures will be woven into topics including school, hobbies, family, home, food, and clothing. 7th graders who successfully complete French I have the opportunity to continue with French II in 8th grade. 8th graders who successfully complete French I can begin with French II in high school.

    M8200 French 2
    Prerequisite: French 1

    In French 2, students will continue their journey towards proficiency in the French language through a communicative, comprehensible input approach that focuses on student understanding of written and spoken French, as well as an ability to communicate in French using simple words, phrases, and sentences. French input activities include discussions around student interests, story telling, music, picture and movie talks, games, vocabulary building, an exploration of grammar in context, and more! Discovery of Francophone cultures will be woven into topics including daily routines, travel, and more! 8th graders who successfully complete French II can begin with French III in high school.

    M8400 German 1
    Prerequisite: None

    In German 1, students will begin their journey towards proficiency in the German language through a communicative, comprehensible input approach that focuses on student understanding of written and spoken German, as well as an ability to communicate in German using simple words, phrases, and sentences. German input activities include discussions around student interests, story telling, music, picture and movie talks, games, vocabulary building, an exploration of grammar in context, and more! Discovery of German speaking cultures will be woven into various topics. 7th graders who successfully complete German I have the opportunity to continue with German II in 8th grade. 8th graders who successfully complete German I can begin with German II in high school.

    M8405 German 2
    Prerequisite: German 1

    In German 2, students will continue their journey towards proficiency in the German language through a communicative, comprehensible input approach that focuses on student understanding of written and spoken German, as well as an ability to communicate in German using simple words, phrases, and sentences. German input activities include discussions around student interests, story telling, music, picture and movie talks, games, vocabulary building, an exploration of grammar in context, and more! Discovery of German speaking cultures will be woven into a variety of topics! 8th graders who successfully complete German II can begin with German III in high school.

    M8300 Spanish 1
    Prerequisite: None

    In Spanish 1, students will begin their journey towards proficiency in the Spanish language through a communicative, comprehensible input approach that focuses on student understanding of written and spoken Spanish, as well as an ability to communicate in Spanish using simple words, phrases, and sentences. Spanish input activities include discussions around student interests, story telling, music, picture and movie talks, games, vocabulary building, an exploration of grammar in context, and more! Discovery of Spanish speaking cultures will be woven into topics including school, hobbies, family, home, food, and clothing. 7th graders who successfully complete Spanish I have the opportunity to continue with Spanish II in 8th grade. 8th graders who successfully complete Spanish I may begin with Spanish II in high school.

    M8304 Spanish 2
    Prerequisite: Spanish 1

    In Spanish 2, students will continue their journey towards proficiency in the Spanish language through a communicative, comprehensible input approach that focuses on student understanding of written and spoken Spanish, as well as an ability to communicate in Spanish using simple words, phrases, and sentences. Spanish input activities include discussions around student interests, story telling, music, picture and movie talks, games, vocabulary building, an exploration of grammar in context, and more! Discovery of Spanish-speaking cultures will be woven into topics including daily routines, travel, and more! 8th graders who successfully complete Spanish II may begin with Spanish III in high school.

    Gifted Fine Arts - Semester Course
    M8477 Gifted Fine Arts
    Prerequisite: District Placement Criteria

    This course offers eligible students the opportunity to explore fine arts in three areas: visual art, music and drama. Students develop skills in communication and perception, cultural and historical awareness, response and evaluation, creative expression and performance, and leadership. If electing to take GFA for a full-year, students will select the class twice when entering their elective requests into the Student Information System.

    Algebra - Full Year Course M7220 Algebra
    Prerequisite: Math 7

    Students who did not meet the placement criteria to enroll in Algebra may elect to take it in place of an elective course. (Students who enroll in Algebra as an elective will take two math classes.) This is the beginning course in a sequence of college preparatory courses. Topics covered include solving formulas, graphing functions, analysis of linear functions, analysis of quadratic functions, analysis of basic exponential functions, solving equations and inequalities, solving systems of equations, and sequences. It is highly recommended that students complete Math 8 prior to enrolling in Algebra.