The Sharon Academy High School Electives, Marking Period III

Posted by on Jan 13, 2016 in Uncategorized

High School Electives, MP III


Elective classes meet for 1 hour and 45 minutes on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. The elective block allows students to explore interests that may not be covered in the core curriculum, to learn about a topic they may never have considered before, teach one of their passions, and to mix with different student groups.

Every full-time teacher at TSA teaches at least one elective. This allows students and teachers to engage with each other in a different setting, acknowledging the multi-dimensional aspect of each person. For instance, a math teacher may teach a Physical Fitness elective, allowing students and the teacher to know each other as athletes.  Having our “core teachers” also teach an elective has the added benefit of modeling life-long learning.

In addition, many members of our community – parents, alumni, and residents from surrounding towns – teach electives on topics about which they are passionate. Students benefit from a wide variety of expertise and experience, developing significant relationships outside of the TSA teacher community.


Marking Period III

* = successful completion of this class earns .25 studio art credit

^ = successful completion of this class earns .25 P.E. credit


Filmosophy (Graded)

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





  • To play with the English language and its usage
  • To gain a stronger understanding of the working language

Like word play? Love etymology and word sources? Tend to be the one making the puns that make your friends and family groan? Come play with language with like-minded students. In this class, we will play word games and explore the use of language. Topics may include etymology and language usage, palindromes, puns (including feghoots), mondegreens and malapropisms, oxymorons, linguistic ambiguity, or other topics (as driven by student interests).

Instructor: Kimberly Barnhart

Maple Sugaring


  • To complete the work needed in order to operate a sugar bush.
  • To make available the traditions of sugaring to the TSA community.
  • To provide opportunities to students who wish to participate in experiential education.

The sugaring elective does all the work necessary to produce maple syrup from sap to syrup. This includes, but is not limited to: running and repairing line, set up of the arch and evaporator, tapping trees, sugar bush maintenance, boiling sap and finishing syrup. Students are expected to be outside in all weathers during elective time working on the operation. Outside work on weekends and evenings is not mandatory but would be extremely helpful!

Instructor: Rob Stainton

One Act Play

This elective roster is determined by auditions, which are taking place on January 20.

Instructors: Robin Chadwell & Charlie McMeekin

Introduction to Programming

This elective is designed for students with little or no programming experience whatsoever.  To start with, students will play games that teach programming concepts and procedural thinking.  We’ll move from there to a visual language, where students will solve basic problems, create animations, and make a simple game.  At the end of the course students will learn the basics of a real programming language – Python.  This course is NOT a mandatory prerequisite for the 4th quarter Software Development/Game Design Elective, but it will help to prepare anyone who is starting fresh for that elective. Programmers with experience should consider skipping this and just taking the 4th quarter elective.

Instructor: Chad Behre


Many teenagers deal with high levels of anxiety and stress on a day-to-day basis. This impacts their performance at school and their overall well-being. Flo will draw on the work and teachings of Jon Kabat-Zinn and Thich Nhat Hanh and on the “Learning to Breathe” and “.b Mindfulness in School Project” programs, to design this elective. We will talk about stress, anxiety, and emotion regulation. We will learn simple techniques that can be used anytime when dealing with these issues.

Instructor: Florence Tolbert

^Personal Fitness

Personal fitness is a course in which students set fitness goals and work toward them, tracking their progress along the way.  The class will be held at the Vermont Law School (VLS) fitness center.  The facilities at VLS include an aerobics room, weight training equipment, and a number of treadmills, stationary bikes, and elliptical machines.

Instructor: Steve Basham

^Telemark Skiing

Free the heel; the mind will follow! This class will focus on everything from telemark skiing basics to expert level techniques. It will be fun for both beginners and experts. The majority of class time will be spent on snow. Students will learn new tele techniques, movement patterns and tele stances. Most classes will take place at Jacob’s rope tow on Elephant Hill in nearby South Royalton. There will also be a few adventures into the backcountry. Locations may be suggested by students but will ultimately be determined by the overall ability level of the class. The class will be taught by telemarker Jacob Mayer. There is also the potential for guest coaches from other areas such as the Killington Ski School. Get ready to bend the knee!!


  • Must have previous cross-country or alpine skiing experience.
  • Must be able to attend class until 4:00 for elective periods (a few days of exception may be discussed, if you are on a basketball team and would still like to ski, talk to Jacob and maybe we can work something out)
  • Must have warm winter gear to wear during elective period

Instructor: Jacob Mayer 

*Shadow Puppetry

In this elective we will explore the magic of shadow puppetry. Students will be divided into teams and then using popular children’s stories and fairy tales these performance teams will generate scripts, punch-lists, storyboards, shadow puppets, props, and scenery. After a few rehearsals each team will then perform their piece on a shadow stage. The shadow stage will reside in Moore Hall for the duration of this elective. This elective is limited to 12 students.

Instructor: Jay Mead


In this class each student will develop a relationship to the content of their work by creating a series of block prints around a theme. Each new print assignment will challenge the students to solve a design problem.  Discover the joy of creating relief prints by learning design, carving, and printing techniques.

Instructor: Jennifer Brown

*Dark Room Photography

This class will be taught during D Block and Elective time.  Students must have D block study hall to be able to sign up for this class.

Instructor: Laura DeCapua


Winston Churchill once said “the best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.”  The aim of this course is to battle this kind of cynicism and to simultaneously engage in the hard intellectual work it takes to be active participants in our democracy.  In an increasingly polarized political and social climate it can be difficult to find common ground or to appreciate the value of well crafted rhetoric.  So we will try to shut out the noise and engage in civil debate, working from the stances of the current presidential candidates on both sides of the aisle, in an effort to speak well on important topics and to hear each other in the process.  Students will be expected to complete group work in preparation for debates, speak, and self-assess their own work and growing skills.  Homework will be decided by the groups each week.

Instructor: Spike Carter

Psychology of Child and Adolescent Development

The Psychology of Child and Adolescent Development will be a theory-based class combined with opportunities to reflect on a personal level about one’s own development and experiences. We will be focusing on four main topics: Moral Development, Intimacy and Attachment, Identity Development, and Achievement and school experience. We will be using a psychology text, film, various articles and literature to guide us. Each class will have a small information/interactive lecture component, an activity, and most classes will have a time for a prompted journal entry and personal reflection. A creative final project will be required.

Instructor: Kate Sensenich

Drivers’ Education

Students should have already registered and paid a deposit for this class online at

Instructor: Gabriella Netsch

Introduction to Circus Arts

Have you ever wanted to learn how to juggle? Do you think that you have natural balance or flexibility? Then this class is for you. This class will be an introduction to a wide variety of circus arts. Circus skills range from a broad variety of skills from slapstick and clowning to equilabristics to contortion. All of which can be taught and learned with effort and hard work.  It is a great foundation for many other skills in life as well and might put a smile on someone’s face along the way.

Instructor: Patrick Branstretter

Study Hall

This is a not-for-credit class, which provides students with quiet time in which to do work.  Students who wish to take this class should submit a written plan for how they will spend their time to the Electives Coordinator.

Facilitator, TBD