Fine and Performing Arts

The District strongly believes that fine and performing arts should be a part of every student’s day. To that end, students in Kindergarten through 5th grade are enriched in art classes each week. Students engage in art making using a wide variety of materials such as sculpture, paint, collage, fibers, drawing and printmaking. Students are versed in art history and think critically about essential questions when confronting each unit theme. Students as young as pre-kindergarten experience music on a regular basis. Students in third through eighth grade add drama to the rotation and several performances are offered during the year.  

The Fine Arts Team believes that students of middle school age should be allowed choices in the fine arts, to diversify, differentiate and develop appreciation in any or all of the arts. Exploratory subjects are an opportunity to try materials and activities that can be enjoyed throughout life as vocation or avocation. Classes are structured to enhance skill development on a continuum through sixth, seventh and eighth grades.

Acting I

CURRICULUM: Students will continue to expand on the skills they learned in sixth grade with emphasis on the actor’s tools of body, mind, and voice. Games and activities will be focused on expressing emotions, improving vocal quality, and using gestures and movement. Individual monologues will be assigned so that students can work on characterization skills. They will also develop an understanding of stage directions and blocking. The common core standards of writing, listening and speaking, and comprehension are incorporated into the curriculum. 

Advanced Acting

CURRICULUM: Students will develop advanced methods for portraying the actor’s tools of body, mind, and voice.  Emphasis will be placed on character development and interpreting dialogue.  Students will also get the opportunity to direct and perform scenes for their classmates.  They will learn to critically reflect on performances of themselves and others. 

Band 

CURRICULUM: Students will be developing general musicianship skills while improving individual and ensemble technique. Rehearsals will focus on ensemble playing skills and performance preparation, with concerts. Lessons will concentrate on developing individual technique and preparing for performances, as well as, continued work with music theory and music concepts.

Chorus

CURRICULUM: With at least three performances a year, chorus will provide members with the opportunity to perform many styles of music. Students will be focusing on good vocal production, stage presence, musicianship, music reading and ensemble skills. Experienced as well as novice singers can succeed in this course. As their final exam, the students perform in a concert. There is no cost to be part of choir.

Film Arts

CURRICULUM: This class involves analyzing films based on narrative, dramatic, and cinematic elements. The students will identify and discuss different techniques that filmmakers use such as camera angles, set design, and editing. They will also explore the theme of “the hero’s journey” and create their own digital storytelling project or write a film review. The common core standards of listening and speaking, writing, and comprehension are incorporated into the curriculum. 

Guitar

CURRICULUM: This class is for students with little or no guitar experience. Students will start with the basics and learn different strumming patterns, chords, and songs. Guitars will be provided, so students need not have their own guitar to participate.

Improvisation

CURRICULUM: Students will learn the art of improvisation and it’s role in stage performance. Units will include idea generating, developing characters, dealing with conflict, and tackling obstacles. They will collaborate with class members to create working scenes based on listening and communicating, giving ideas, saying “Yes!” By the end of the trimester students will have the opportunity to host an improvisation show for their fellow eighth grade classmates. The common core standards of listening and speaking are incorporated into the curriculum. 

Lights, Camera, Action

CURRICULUM: Students will explore this art form by working as part of a collaborative production team and get hands-on experience as they create their own movies. They will learn the crafts of screenwriting, storyboarding, production design and editing.

Music

CURRICULUM: Sixth grade music is designed to enhance students’ musical background and to expand and broaden student's’ knowledge of music in our own country and music from around the world. Other key elements that are covered are music theory, music history, vocal sight-reading and good singing skills. Non-musical skills that are fostered are responsibility, dedication, perseverance, and confidence. Class activities stress working as a cohesive unit, confidence in one’s performance ability, and the joy of making music. The common core standards of listening and speaking are also be incorporated into the music curriculum.

Theatre Arts

CURRICULUM: This class highlights all the aspects of theatre including directing, set design, costumes, and choreography.  Students will experience all these roles through a variety of group and individual activities such as radio drama, scene directing, and reader’s theatre. The common core standards of listening, speaking, and comprehension are incorporated into the curriculum. 

Visual Arts 

CURRICULUM: The art studio at Lake Bluff Middle School is based on the principles and practices of the nationally recognized and researched Choice-Based Art Education and Teaching for Artistic Behavior (TAB). Through our art curriculum that aligns with the National Core Art Standards, the students will explore various media in both two and three dimensions allowing them to pursue their own ideas as artists. I will offer guidance, suggestions, resources and demonstrations for supplies, techniques and art history. The students are free to make their own choices concerning subject matter and materials. Through exploration, independence and responsibility, students are taught and expected to create original works of art based on their own ideas and interests.  

The art studio is arranged into carefully organized centers to promote student responsibility, self-reliance, and creative exploration. These centers are divided by media or subject matter and are opened methodically throughout our time together. Over the course of the trimester as students’ abilities, confidence and independence develop, new and more complex techniques and supplies are introduced.

There are many benefits to learning and teaching in this manner. Students are highly invested in their work because it reflects their personal interests and style; therefore, they take ownership of their learning. Much of the teaching is individualized because it exposes the me to what is really happening in the minds and lives of students, which allows us to learn about each other in a safe and caring environment.