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On this page, you will find descriptions for all of the electives that may be offered at Abbott in the 2017-18 school year.  6th grade electives are at the top of the page, and 7th & 8th grade electives are at the bottom of the page.

6th Grade Electives

6th Grade Electives Update

When Abbott sent out the 6th grade electives sign-ups sheet in March, our plan was to offer incoming 6th graders 2 electives for next year.  6th graders only have one period in their schedule available for electives, but we had planned to offer an elective rotation where students visited each of their two electives classes every other day during the same period (Odd/Even schedule).

For their electives choices, students were asked to select their top two choices from these 3 options: Art, Computers, and Music.  The music offerings included Band, Orchestra, and Chorus.   As it turned out, trying to offer each of these classes on an Odd/Even schedule proved to be very complicated and produced a number of electives classes with very low enrollments.   

To simplify the 6th grade schedule, we have modified the elective plan with the following changes:

  • Instead of an Odd/Even elective schedule, student will either take a year-long music class, or a semester of Art and a semester of Computers.
  • Students who selected Band or Orchestra as one of their choices are scheduled in a year-long Band or Orchestra class that will meet every day.
  • Students who selected Art & Computers as their top choices will take one semester of Art and one semester of Computers. 
  • Chorus will not be an option for 6th graders due to low student enrollment in that course.  If your student selected Chorus, he or she was placed in the Art & Computers classes.
  • If your student did not turn in an elective request sheet, your student was scheduled in the Art & Computers classes.

If you have questions about your student’s elective classes or would like to change your student’s elective selection, please reach out to your 6th grade counselors prior to August 1st:

Last names A-K: Kristen Holland (kholland@smfcsd.net)

Last Names L-Z: Carolyn World (cworld@smfcsd.net)

6th Grade Electives Course Descriptions 

Art 6 is a semester-long class that meets every day.  This introductory course is designed to give 6th graders a sampling of art projects that emphasize the elements (line, form, color, value, texture) and principles of art (balance, variety, harmony, emphasis). Understanding and appreciation of self and others through art history, culture, and heritage is emphasized. A variety of media and techniques create an active learning experience. Cultural and historical references from 6th Grade Social Studies are an integral part of the curriculum.  Students will develop creative skills through sampling a variety of experiences that may include drawing, painting, sculpting, printmaking, fiber arts, and book arts. Students will investigate the elements of art and principles of design and learn techniques to improve art skills. (K. Ayala)

Computer/Technology Lab is a semester-long class that meets every day.  Students will begin to explore concepts of computational thinking and computer science.   Students will learn how to use advanced features of Google Drive, Docs, and Sheets, and will learn key aspects of digital citizenship. Students will apply basic concepts of computer language through activities including pre-scripted blocks, commands and procedures.  Students will explore a variety of software applications, such as: Lightbot.com, Code.org, Blocklygames.com, and Google CS First.  Extended lessons include introduction of various computer languages including HTML, Python, Java and C++.  Students will also learn basic and advanced concepts of digital video and audio editing. (T. Hillborn)

6th Grade Strings is a year-long class that meets every day.  Emphasis in the class is on playing technique and reading music notation.  There will be two performances throughout the year.  Students can continue playing the stringed instrument they started in 5th grade.  If you did not play an instrument in the 5th grade or want to switch from one you played, you can also begin on any stringed instrument in this class.  There are some instruments available to check out for students who do not have their own. (D. Torke)

6th Grade Band (Flute, Clarinet, Saxophone, Trumpet, French Horn, Trombone, Tuba, Baritone Horn) is a year-long class that meets every day.  In this course, students will learn basic technique and will learn to read music notation.  Students may continue to play the woodwind, brass, or reed instrument they played in 5th grade or may select a different woodwind, brass, or reed instrument.  There are instruments available for students who do not have their own instrument. There is a limited number of spots for students who desire to learn drums and percussion. Those students need to speak to the teacher in advance. Performances are a requirement of this class. (K. Schacht)

7th & 8th Grade Electives

Below you will find descriptions for each of the electives that may be offered for 7th and 8th graders in the 2017-18 school year.  The electives are organized in the following way: STEM electives, followed by Visual & Performing Arts Electives, followed by Languages, followed by Other Electives (Leadership, Yearbook, etc.).  Students will sign up for electives in early April using a Google form that will be distributed via a SchoolLoop email.

STEM Electives (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)

Bio-creativity: Art and Science (Semester):  Study the science of art and the art of science. Do you enjoy learning about the living world? Are you interested in the ways in which science can inform the creation of art and the ways that art brings scientific concepts to non-scientific audiences? Below are some of the units where we’ll explore the Art and Science connection: Animal Hybrids and Adaptations; Cartography with Sea Creatures (real and make-believe); Earth Art and Recycled Art; Insect Anatomy and the Scientific Illustration; Microbiology and Biography; Printing with Nature; You Can Learn a Lot of things from the Flowers.  (Ayala)

Advanced Computers (Semester): Students will explore advanced concepts of Digital Citizenship including copyrighting, fair use, social commentary and critiques, patent law, trademarking and general marketing policies. They will also broaden computer science skill sets to include coding of various languages including HTML, Java, Python and others. Students will have an opportunity to build their own for profit or non-profit company which might include services, applications, games, language, software, ringtones, or any other technology related product pertinent to the class. Students will also be creating much more sophisticated media projects and websites aimed at marketing their company including, slide presentations, soundtracks, advertising and promotion. Each semester class will take a field trip to the Computer History Museum in Mountain View. (Hillborn)

Robotics 1 (Year): Love Legos?  Being creative?  Want to take it to the next level?  Join Robotics 1 and learn programming and engineering principles while crafting Lego robots to meet design challenges from maze racing to search and rescue.  Robotics 1 uses the NXT smartbrick and NXT visual programming language to introduce basic computer and robotic engineering design.  Students also create independent projects and presentations demonstrating aspects covered over the course. (Delsener)

Advanced Robotics (Year): In this course, we will take the Lego NXT kits beyond the classroom.  Through a series of guided projects and open-ended challenges, students create unique solutions to engineering problems.  Some past challenges include: autonomous mine mapping with bluetooth communications, surveying tree growth and environmental sensing, one-on-one soccer competitions, and quality control for beverage processing.  (Delsener)

Visual & Performing Arts Electives

Art 1: Beginning Art & Design (Semester):  This is a foundational class in two-dimensional (2D) media: the primary focus being around drawing and painting, use of art tools and techniques. Emphasis is placed on composition, color theory, The Elements of Art and finding solutions to visual problems. (Ayala/Torke)

Art 2: Creative Expression and Contemporary Art (Semester): The second level course introduces art with historical and cultural context. Students will create two (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) pieces that further develop the elements of art and principles of design. Students will have opportunities to make personal choices and focus on creative expression. Students will be able to describe and speak about art. Prerequisite Is A1. (Ayala/Torke)

3-D Design (Year): This course will include the use of a variety of different media, different categories of sculpture, and problem solving for design. All work will be three-dimensional.  Students will participate in the design process from envisioning, developing maquettes, and to creating the final product.  (Torke)

Beginning Drama (Semester): Theatre is an excellent way for students to have fun, work with their peers, and gain confidence! Students will learn many exciting aspect of theatre including acting, playwriting, directing, production design (costumes, lighting, sound effects), and more. All are welcome. No experience necessary. Come enjoy the show! (Von Der Lohe)

Intermediate Drama (Semester): So, you enjoyed Beginning Drama and are ready for “Act Two”? Then come join the fun of Intermediate Drama! Students will continue to build their theatre skills, including acting, playwriting, directing, and theatre production (costumes, lighting, sound effects), and more. Previous experience in theatre is preferred, but not required.  (Von Der Lohe)

Band (Year): 7th / 8th Grade band is a year-long class that meets every day. This course is a continuation of skills learned in 6th grade. Students improve upon their technique and music reading skills; play simple, complex and mixed meters, greater parts with more complicated rhythmic values. There are limited instruments available for students who do not have their own instrument. There is a limited number of spots for students who already started learning basic rudiments on drums and percussion in sixth grade. The band tour of elementary schools and one field trip to the high school occurs in the spring. The band may also participate in CMEA competitions. (Schacht)

Orchestra (Year): Orchestra is a year-long 7/8 mixed class that meets daily.  It is a continuation of skills learned in 6th & 7th grade Strings classes.  Students will work on more complicated techniques of playing their instrument, reading more advanced rhythms, and music notation.   A variety of styles, cultures, and historical and contemporary music will be learned in this class.  Students will prepare two performances to be given at Abbott in the winter and spring.  (Torke)

Language Electives

Spanish 1 (Year):  Spanish 1 is a year-long class that covers beginning speaking, listening, reading, and writing.  We use textbooks, workbooks, tapes and film.  By the end of the year, students can talk about a variety of topics and readings in the present tense. (Johnston)

Spanish 2 (Year): Spanish 2 is a year-long class that continues where Spanish 1 left off.  Together, Spanish 1 and 2 credits students with one year of high school Spanish.  Spanish 2 covers speaking, listening, reading, and writing.  We use textbooks, workbooks, tapes and film.  By the end of the year, students can talk about a variety of topics and understand readings in the present and past tense. (Johnston)

Other Electives

AVID (Year): The AVID program is designed to prepare students for higher education through rigorous levels of reading, writing, cooperative learning, and inquiry skills. Students complete many fun projects on various topics that utilize writing, reading, inquiry and collaborative skills needed to succeed in high school and college.  The class allows students to take ownership in their learning while working together to deepen their understanding of content area subjects.  (Bollbach)

Science Fiction (Semester): This elective course will explore the genre of Science Fiction and give students an opportunity to write their own fiction in the genre. Students will read and watch works of science fiction (short stories, novels, television, film) and explore how the genre is connected to the history and culture it is created in. Students will also have the opportunity create their own works of science fiction that reflects the world around them.  (Alexeeff)

Kids, Cops and Courts (Semester): This course provides an introduction to the Juvenile Justice System and explores a wide variety of topics dealing with Law Enforcement and youth services. We discuss drugs, alcohol and youth safety.  Guest speakers representing different parts of the Justice System are invited to speak to the class. (Haycock)

Leadership (Year): The Leadership class is responsible for organizing all student activities here at Abbott.  The students have direct input and direction over the activities that occur throughout the school year.  Also, the Leadership class reaches beyond the Abbott campus by organizing many philanthropic events during the school year.  The class is entirely student-driven, and all of the events we coordinate are run and organized by student commissioners.  The members of the Leadership class also learn a class curriculum centered on: government, civil rights, advertising, public speaking, and personal growth and leadership.  Students must apply in order to be a member of the class. (Bollbach)

Yearbook (Year): Yearbook is a year-long elective that meets every day.  Student in this class will produce the school yearbook along with a monthly newspaper.  Students will be introduced to photography techniques such as rule of thirds and leading lines, interviewing skills, layout design, and editing photos and content, all of which is on the computer.  Students will critique layouts in magazines and other publications to help create a fun and interesting yearbook.  Students must be motivated and able to work in groups and independently.  Students must be willing to work outside of school, taking pictures at games, concerts, clubs, and activities that happen outside of the regular school day.  Students are not required to have a camera, class cameras can be checked out on a daily basis.  (Marcone)