Specialty Classes

Elementary Art

Elementary students attend art class once a week for forty-five minutes. Students complete projects in a variety of media, including but not limited to: painting, drawing, collage, sculpture and printmaking. Each grade level will focus on one media for approximately six to eight weeks to develop mastery.  Many lessons coincide with classroom curriculum. Within the lessons, specific art concepts like line, shape, color, and texture are stressed.  Students also learn about famous artists and the style in which they created art.  The art classes focus on exploration and the process of making art. Students are addressed as critical thinkers and problem solvers.

Seventh Grade Art History

The seventh grade class experiences art history for twenty weeks.  In this class they explore and examine how culture and history have influenced art.  The class starts with looking at Paleolithic man’s representations of animals in caves and ends with the study of Modern art.  The class uses lectures, slides and art projects to reinforce the knowledge the students have. The students will become aware of the various art styles and movements.

Lower Elementary Computers

Pre-School through third grade students attend computer class once a week for 45 minutes. The students use a variety of software to enrich the core curriculum of: Math, Reading, Social Studies, History, English, and Geography. Emphasis is placed on familiarity with the different components of the computer such as: the mouse, keyboard, monitor, central processing unit, and printer. Younger students will be able to control basic mouse functions and be comfortable with the operation of the keyboard. Third Grade is introduced to basic keyboarding skills.

Fourth Grade Computers

Fourth grade students attend computer class once a week for 45 minutes.  Fourth graders begin each year with keyboarding. The keyboarding portion of the fourth grade lasts one semester.  Students discuss the importance of being able to type quickly and the need to develop this skill as they progress in school. Students review the correct typing posture, hand positioning, and home row keys. Lessons focus on the main alphabetic keys.  By the end of the course, students are expected to type at least 15 words a minute with at least 90 percent accuracy.

Fourth grade students spend the remaining 20 weeks learning Word Processing skills.  Through guided and step-by-step lessons, students learn about the features that are available in Microsoft PowerPoint: using design templates, auto layouts, title boxes, bulleted lists, and promoting and demoting paragraphs.  They also learn basic terms associated with the program and create, save and run various types of slide presentations.

Fifth Grade Computers

Fifth grade students attend computer class once a week for 45 minutes.  The first 10 weeks of computer class is spent reviewing keyboarding skills.  The importance of proper posture and hand positioning is discussed.  Student activities focus on the alphabetic keys, symbol keys and number keys. The next 10 weeks is devoted to building speed and accuracy. By the end of the semester, students should be able to type at least 20 – 25 words a minute with at least 90 percent accuracy.

Fifth grade students spend the remaining 20 weeks learning Word Processing skills.  Through guided and step-by-step lessons, students learn about the features that are available in Microsoft Word: passwords, word searches, thesaurus, and grammar/spell checks.  They also learn basic terms associated with the program and create and save various types of document files.

Sixth Grade Computers

Sixth graders take keyboarding daily for 10 weeks.  Classes are 45 minutes.  The keyboarding class is designed to enhance and build upon the techniques introduced in the fourth and fifth grades.  The course is focused entirely on speed and mastery of the touch-typing technique. The course makes use of printed exercises as well as tutorial or drill software developed to teach keyboarding skills.  Students type and print work daily. Work is placed in a portfolio to track progress and for grading purposes.  Timed tests are given on a weekly basis.  A final timed test is administered during the last week of the course. By the end of the course, students should be able to type 35 words per minute with at least 90 percent accuracy.

Seventh Grade Computer Literacy

Computer Literacy is a semester long, seventh grade course that focuses primarily on the Windows operating systems and three Microsoft Office programs; Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft PowerPoint. The students review basic computer operation skills such as starting programs, basic mouse functions, and using the keyboard to enter data. In relation to the Windows operating system, students learn how to change settings through the control panel.  Hands-on lessons, with step-by-step instructions, are used to teach concepts such as controlling windows, multi-tasking and other important system programs, such as Windows Explorer, My Computer, Search Tools, and On-line Help.  Students learn about the concept of a Clipboard, and practice cut, copy and paste commands in order to manage files and folders.

The Microsoft Office portion of the course introduces the more advanced features of the Office products. In Microsoft Word the students learn how to use paste special and the drag and drop technique. They learn advanced techniques to control the appearance of fonts, paragraphs, and pages. The students become familiar with the use of the spelling/grammar check, Thesaurus and other features. Each student composes a Memorandum and a block style business letter.

In Microsoft Excel, the students learn the basics behind electronic spreadsheets. They learn how to create simple budgets, and profit-loss statements. They become familiar with AutoSum. The students practice formatting cells using different number formats and become proficient with tools such as the format painter, the fill handle. They will know how to enter formulas to create totals, calculate profits and determine ratios.

With the PowerPoint program, students learn how to create presentations.  They learn basic techniques, such as adding slides to presentations, AutoLayouts, and Design Templates. The students learn how to format slides using bulleted lists, text formats, and paragraph formats. Students learn how to navigate through a presentation and deliver a presentation using an electronic slide show.

Eighth Grade Computer Literacy

Web Design is a semester long, eighth grade course designed introduced students to Web Page Design. Students learn how to design, build, and publish web pages, which contain text, graphics, hyperlinks, tables, and multimedia by hand coding HTML using a text based editor such as NotePad, (this is called hand coding HTML). Students will learn to enhance and optimize graphics using PhotoShop & ImageReady. Students design, build, and publish web pages using a WYSWYG editor such as Microsoft’s FrontPage. Students also create a Personal Web Site about themselves and their interests.  Their sites are at least 5 pages in length and contain content created and formatted by students.

Eighth Grade Creative Expression

Creative Expressions is a semester long eighth grade class that focuses on individual and cooperative practice through the study of drama. The goal and objective of this class is to provide students with knowledge and training to:

  • Appreciate the fine arts
  • Become artistically developed individuals
  • Be able to participate in art, music, and drama.
  • Be able to start and complete projects dealing with art, music, and drama.
  • Be able to connect culture with art.

Creative Expressions focuses on all aspects of performing a play including but not limited to set design, backstage work, and costume design.  Students are required to perform several short plays throughout the semester and one major drama presentation as a cumulative project grade.  Students also recite a choral reading during the December Holiday Program.

Sixth Grade Drawing

This sixth grade art class meets every day for ten weeks.  The class will explore how to draw using pencils, colored pencils, markers, charcoal, and pastels.  The concepts communicated are that anyone can draw; it a skill, with practice drawing improves over time.  The students are encouraged to draw what they really see.  They start out by making symbolic drawings to learning how to add value and depth with pencils.

Sixth Grade Reading

Sixth grade students attend reading class for 45 minutes each day.  In this class, students further develop the ability to decode and comprehend written material.  They learn how to interpret and respond to written material creatively as well as academically.  Students independently search for information through reading and actively seek a variety of reading experiences.  They apply pertinent ideas from reading material to personal experiences and utilize resulting new ideas in a way effective to creative thinking and communication.  Finally, in this class sixth graders will learn how to apply reading comprehension and interpretation to other areas of study and to their continued personal growth and development as responsible, sensitive, maturing young adults.

Elementary School Spanish

Elementary Spanish classes are offered as a fun and challenging opportunity to begin the journey of learning a new language!  Students travel along this new path with games, diverse classroom activities, vocabulary lessons, storytelling and dialogs.  While in the classroom, students reinforce vocabulary skills with classroom activities and translation exercises.  Exercises may be written or oral. As the year continues, the vocabulary increases as well as the length and difficulty of the classroom activities.  Elementary students attend Spanish classes once or twice a week depending on grade level.

Middle School Spanish A

Spanish A is a beginning-level Spanish class offered to seventh graders. Classroom activities are centered on basic grammar and conversational skills. The students learn how to communicate through listening, speaking, reading and writing.  Students will develop proficiency in three modes of communicative competence: interacting with other students in Spanish, understanding oral and written messages, and making oral and written presentations in Spanish. Emphasis is placed on the use of Spanish in the classroom, as use and practice are of the utmost importance when learning a new language.  Spanish A students attend class on a daily basis.

Middle School Spanish B

Spanish B is an eighth grade course that builds upon the basic communication skills mastered in the Spanish A course.  As a continuation of Spanish A, Spanish B is intended to expand the student’s knowledge of the Spanish language and related culture. Students will advance their knowledge of vocabulary, patterns of the language, proper pronunciation, sentence construction, and numerous societal aspects.

The vocabulary presented in each unit focuses on specific communicative topics and language use. Vocabulary and grammar activities progress from simple, guided practice to more open-ended activities. Students participate in a variety of classroom exercises including, collaborative group work and individual projects. The students are encouraged to engage in communication that will require them to recall and reincorporate all previously learned Spanish concepts.  Spanish B students attend class on a daily basis.

Study Skills

Study Skills is a class offered to sixth graders during the first semester.  This course was created to ease the transition from elementary to middle school.  Students learn how to manage space, material, and time.  Students are instructed on note-taking, organizational skills and test taking strategies.  Sixth graders also review how to work collaboratively with others. Students will also study and practice the basic principles and techniques of effective oral communication.  Students will have opportunities to make different types of oral presentations including viewpoint, instructional, demonstration, informative persuasive and impromptu.  Students are given opportunities to express subject matter knowledge and content through creative, analytical, and expository writing as well as reading a variety of literary genres related to course content and speaking assignments.  This course emphasizes research using technology and careful organization and preparation.  Students also practice and develop critical thinking and listening skills.

Physical Education

The Valley Schools also promotes exercise and fitness through physical education classes held daily for each grade.  The Valley Schools is proud to a part of the Presidential Physical Fitness Challenge where awards are given annually to all students who complete the necessary requirements.

Lower Grades PE

Students in Transitional Kindergarten through 2nd grade attend PE classes daily, for 30 minutes.  Activities focus on gross motor skills and cooperative games.  Jumping, skipping, hopping, running, learning how to throw and catch a ball as well as balancing on one foot are all introduced and practiced through drills, games and contests.  During the spring, lower elementary students participate in the Presidential Physical Fitness Program.

Upper Elementary PE

Students in third through fifth grades attend PE daily for 45 minutes/day.  Upper elementary lessons are meant to further develop those skills learned in lower elementary.  Students are also introduced to team sports with lead up games and activities.  There is an emphasis on running and continuous movement.  Students begin to develop the muscles and coordination skills (eye-hand, eye-foot) needed to succeed in athletics.  During the spring, upper elementary students participate in the Presidential Physical Fitness Program.

Middle School PE

In sixth through eighth grades, students attend PE daily for 45 minutes/day. Middle school PE lessons focus on team and individual sports.  Team sports such as football, basketball, baseball, softball, volleyball and soccer are all taught and played during PE class.  Students are also exposed to golf, archery and paddle tennis with drills games and contests.  During the spring, all middle school students participate in the Presidential Physical Fitness Program.

For more information on our Middle School, please click here

For more information on our Elementary School, please click here

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