High School Electives for Marking Period III

Posted by on Jan 14, 2015 in High School

High School Electives, Marking Period III

Below please find short descriptions of the electives offered for the second marking period.  Electives are offered throughout the year as a way for students to explore areas of interest different from, or more focused than, their core classes, as well as a way for mixed age groups to interact with teachers involved in a (sometimes) different setting.

Students are encouraged to reflect upon their personal learning plan over the course of their entire time here at TSA high school when signing up for electives; to intentionally build a narrative of who they are as a student and a person.  Also please keep in mind that each student has a graduation requirement to earn .75 studio art credits and 1.5 P.E. credits over the course of their time here.  Long-term thinking and planning can be helpful in creating more flexibility senior year.

Please contact the named instructor(s) or Christa Wurm with any questions.  Classes are populated based on seniority.  There is a one week add/drop period, during which a move to a different class is not guaranteed.

Key to Elective Symbols:

* This elective provides a .25 studio art credit
^ This elective provides a .25 physical education credit

*Introduction to Art
For this introductory studio course students will explore drawing, painting, and collage. We will develop a common language that integrates the principles and elements of design. Special attention will be paid to the strengths and attributes of various media:  charcoal, pencil, ink, pastels (oil and dry) watercolors, tempera, acrylics and mixed media. The students will create observational drawings and abstract compositions. This course is a prerequisite for other studio art courses and will be an excellent starting point for those who want to build a strong visual portfolio.  Successful completion of this class will earn a student .25 Studio Art credits.

Instructor: Jay Mead

*Photo 1
This course will explore basic photography techniques, including:  light, compositional creativity, and camera parts and their functions.  Students will receive weekly assignments and are required to upload photographs to a web-based archive for in class critiques. Students will also maintain a photo blog throughout the course.  Students in this class will likely contribute to the photography used in the school yearbook and on the TSA website.  Some instruction on digital imaging and digital ethics will be discussed.  Students taking the course should be aware that the weekly assignments are mostly done outside of class. This means you will have homework in this elective. Prerequisite:  Intro to art or permission from teacher.  Required equipment:  2G thumb drive, your own digital camera that can be used solely on manual settings.  USEFUL, but not required:  laptop.  Successful completion of this class will earn a student .25 Studio Art credits.

Instructor: Laura DeCapua

*An Introduction to Drawing People
In this elective we will practice studying, drawing, and painting people. We will observe and study figures from life and photographs as well as incorporate our own memory and imagination to create compositions in pencil and some watercolor or acrylic.  Successful completion of this class will earn a student .25 Studio Art credits.

Instructor: Jennifer Brown

^Collaborative Movement and Dance
This movement and dance elective is open for all students who are interested in learning more about the art of modern dance in various forms. This will be an active class where students are expected to join in on the warm-ups and the learning of the choreographed routines and sequences. There will be opportunities for students to collaborate and share their ideas. Successful completion of this class will earn a student .25 PE credits.

Instructors: Kate Sensenich & Lucia Gagliardone

^Winter Running II
We’ll go running on nearby dirt roads and go out no matter what the weather. You do not need to be able to run very far or fast to take this class. It is fine to start out mostly walking and then build up the amount of time you spend running. The overall goal is for students to increase or maintain their fitness, develop or maintain good exercise habits and get outside. Students will be expected to be outside for up to one hour every class and one day per week outside of class. Students must show up ready on the first day with: running shoes; synthetic fabric long underwear, hat and socks (no cotton); gloves or mittens; water-resistant shell; lightweight synthetic jacket or other warm layer; and a stopwatch or other way to keep track of time. Students may not take this elective if it will interfere with their sport. Everyone will be expected to fully participate every class.  Successful completion of this class will earn a student .25 PE credits.


  • To help get students outside during the short winter days.
  • To establish a pattern of exercise to continue after the elective is over.
  • To increase strength and fitness.

Instructor: Larry Satcowitz

^Weight Training
Classes will be held at Vermont Law School.  This is a trial basis.  Students will develop fitness regimes, which could be goal or sport specific, consisting of free weight, nautilus and aerobic components.  Females as well as males are encouraged to participate, and all participants should be ready to work hard.  Basic elements of anatomy, physiology and nutrition will be addressed.  Grades will be based on the following components: written regimen, goal sheet, training log, participation and safety awareness.  Assessment methods may include short quizzes, readings or small projects, like presenting an exercise to the class. Successful completion of this class will earn a student .25 PE credits.

Instructor: Steve Basham

^Maple Sugaring
This will be a hands-on class, and students will even have the opportunity to design their own project to improve the sugar bush with the possibility of implementation. This elective is designed for students who are interested in actively participating in the project and continuing work even after this elective is finished (sugaring season doesn’t end until the beginning of MP4). Students will be expected to be prepared to be outside every class and expected to stay outside for the whole class. Students should not be afraid of hard work, such as dealing with firewood, hauling sap, stringing sap line and many more sugaring related activities. The primary goal of this elective is to allow students with any level of experience (even who have never been inside a sugar house) to come learn about sugaring and become active in the Sugaring Project while having fun and enjoying the outdoors.   Especially welcome are students potentially interested in a leadership position.  Successful completion of this class will earn a student .25 PE credits.

Instructor: Rob Stainton

Filmosophy (Philosophy and Film)
Graded- based on attendance and participation
In the Philosophy and Film elective we are going to be exploring the fundamental concepts of human existence and emotion through the storytelling of film. Throughout the elective, we will be watching films whose story lines invoke journeys of self-discovery and self-reflection. After each film viewing, we will have an in-depth discussion covering subjects that center on the intricacies and meaning of everyday life.

Instructor: Blake Fabrikant

 Exploring The Self: Personal Essays
¼ English Credit: Graded
The personal essay is most often associated with college essays, forced and often canned and lacking the kind of personal punch that makes the genre so engaging.  In this course we will seek to break that mold and seek to access ourselves through honest reflection and consideration of the hard questions we grapple with on a regular basis.  This course is offered for English credit and will require weekly readings and participation in class discussions.


  • To offer an outlet for students who need to write down the struggles they are going through.
  • To engage with students who “aren’t writers” and turn them into people who no longer fear writing.
  • To prepare students for the daunting task of college essays by getting the hard part, honesty on the page, out of the way.

Instructor: Spike Carter

Drivers’ Education (14 max)
Students should have already registered and paid a deposit for this class online at yankeedrivingschool.com

Instructor: Gabriella Netsch

Stringed Instruments
Dust off your fiddle and borrow a uke!  In this class, students will set goals regarding their acoustic stringed instrument and work to accomplish them.  Each class will have goal setting and review, practice/instructional time, and time to jam!  Reading music is not required, nor is a performance at TNC.  All levels, all stringed instruments welcome – this is an experiment!  Talk to Christa or Randy if you do not have an instrument – we will try to find you one.  Let’s make our own Goat Rodeo!

Instructors: Christa Wurm and Randy Leavitt

SAT Preparation
The SAT is seen by some as the epitome of everything that we try not to do in the classroom. Formulaic, impersonal, critical, and anxiety-producing, does it really measure anything that makes life worth living? Yet it is an entrance requirement of most colleges. What is the best way to deal with this necessary evil? Simple practice in the company of good friends and a trusted guide will go a long way to diminishing your stress levels and making sure you earn the best score possible. Plus it will make your mom really happy (You could call it an early Mother’s Day present.)

The objectives for this course are:

  • to learn about the different sections of the SAT, how it is scored and what to expect the day of the test
  • to practice different problem types, informally as well as under test-like conditions
  • to learn the strategies for different problem types that will work best for your learning style
  • to optimize your score on the practice tests

This course will have homework and will require purchasing The Official SAT Study Guide, second edition (no dvd) by the College Board.  This book costs around $17.00 If purchasing this book presents a problem, please contact Christa Wurm or Janice Stumpf.

Instructor: Tracy Gillespie

Model United Nations
The Model UN elective will focus on preparing students for the Dartmouth Model UN conference on April 10-12. Students will learn about the United Nations, practice their debate skills and plan fundraisers to benefit the Model UN program, along with researching their assigned country for the Dartmouth conference. It is a Pass/Fail course and the only prerequisite in that you are available the weekend of the conference.

Instructor: Paige Bissaillion

One-Act Play
Students audition to be in this elective, whose sole purpose is to perform a one-act play in the Vermont Principals’ Association and Vermont Drama Council one-act play festival in March.  This year’s production is The Bald Soprano, by Eugene Ionesco, and is our first offering from what’s called the theater of the absurd.  Student directing this year will be Robin Chadwell. Students enrolled in the class MUST be available to participate for the Saturday of the regional festival in March. We will learn the date when regions are assigned on January 9.

Instructor: Charlie McMeekin