AREA OF KNOWLEDGE (AOK) COURSE DESCRIPTIONS
Mind and Body Wellness
Our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and attitudes can positively or negatively affect our biological functioning. In other words, our minds can affect how healthy our bodies are! Stress is ‘taken’ by the individual and not ‘given’ by the pressure of everyday living. It is not about how much pressure one has, but how they react to the pressure. In fact, some people welcome stress, as it acts as a motive to get things done.
Stress is a natural part of life and we cannot eliminate it altogether. Instead, we must learn to control or ‘manage’ stress to avoid the negative symptoms by which we are threatened. Stress is not always a bad thing, having stress in our lives can actually benefit us in some way or another. This course will include stress management skills and techniques and will combine a fitness component to promote the well-rounded “whole” individual. Students will identify and describe stress symptoms and the effects on the body, as well as their own physical fitness level and activity. Students will recognize when their stress levels are high.
Some of the techniques/tools that will be taught are:
- Stress management action plan
- Stress Diary
- Relaxation Techniques (Progressive muscle relaxation, autogenic relaxation, meditation, relaxation response, diaphragmatic breathing, biofeedback, self-hypnosis, etc.)
- Physical activity (aerobic exercise, weight lifting, yoga, tai chi, games, etc.)
- Stress management tests
- Guided imagery
- Diet and Nutrition
- Doing things you enjoy (hobbies)
Sparking Courageous Conversations
This course aims to center discussions about race and racism. Digital texts, picture books, articles, essays and other types of texts will be used to spark conversations that help students recognize individual, interpersonal, and institutional racism. Essential to these courageous conversations is the racial literacy skills students will acquire that help them to recognize, name, and challenge various forms of everyday racism.
Common Core Connections: In compliance with Common Core Literacy Standards, this course provides students with frequent opportunities to analyze texts from diverse cultures and time periods, and contribute accurate, relevant information during discussions about race and racism. As a result, students will build a foundation of knowledge and utilize the vocabulary and tools demonstrated in the AOK class to speak about issues of race and racism in developmentally appropriate ways.
- Understand that racism exists in many different arenas and capacities
- Understand that biases are often not obvious or immediately present on the surface
- Learn key racial literacy vocabulary such as: race; ethnicity; racism; racial justice; antiracism; allies; assumptions; colorblindness; discrimination; equity; identity; individual, interpersonal, and institutional racism; marginalized; microaggressions; narrative; counternarrative; oppression; prejudice; privilege; supremacy; systems; social, economic, and political conditions; stereotype
- Learn conversational strategies to discuss racism
- Learn tools to challenge topics
- Learn strategies to deconstruct canned, racial narratives and acquire counternarratives that provide perspectives that have been silenced
Theater ArtsThe Theater Arts Area of Knowledge class is an acting workshop taught by district Performance Coordinator Gerard Marciano. It is a class in basic improvisation performance art, and an introduction to more formal high school acting study. It is taught in the eighth grade and hosted in the HHS Auditorium.Students become familiar with the stage as a performance space. They also practice, in a warm-up line, various approaches to acting from a character/context perspective. Each student finds their own strength as a performer. While acting is not for everyone, we ask students to enter the world of performance art and find their own comfort level with various stage games and acting prompts.
Art and Design
Art and Design is a chance for the 8th graders to build off of the knowledge and practices from the general middle school art curriculum. Students will explore 3-Dimensional Design techniques and methods of construction. They will learn how to use metaphors and symbolism in an artwork, and ultimately create pieces that express meaning and ideas. Art and Design is also a chance for students to create artwork to potentially better the world they live in. They can highlight something in their environment that deserves a closer look, or something that has possibly gone overlooked. Ultimately students will learn that the power of artwork goes beyond simply making things that are aesthetically pleasing. An artist can be an activist and often they are one and the same.
Some of the media and techniques explored:
- Cardboard Sculpture
- Mockette Design
- Acrylic Painting
- Colored Pencil
- Watercolor Painting
- Poster Design
- Color Theory
- Expressive Color