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Grade 8 Elective Courses

SVMS Electives for the 20.21 School Year : 8th Grade


  • Band is for students that have learned an instrument at their elementary school, are continuing on their instrument in middle school, or would like to learn an instrument.  This is a trimester elective, but students are encouraged to continue for the year. Band will have a winter and spring performance, and may occasionally be asked to perform for a community or school event. Concert band instruments only. No prerequisite needed.


  • Students will learn all about the performing arts, namely the art of stagecraft. Student participation in the class will expose them to skills such as acting, blocking, choreography, line/cue memorization, lighting schematics, sound design, set design, costume/makeup design, and stage management. Students will enjoy an all-inclusive environment, where they are free to express themselves in a theatrical context, learning how to be comfortable in front of an audience. Students will learn to collaborate, work in teams, and understand the process of putting a production together. In addition to an end of trimester public production, students will be performing throughout the trimester individually and in small groups.

Elective A - Art of the Ancient Civilizations

  • Elective A - Elective A has 12 sequential, age-appropriate lessons that provide a high-quality visual art curriculum.  The multifaceted lessons tie closely to the ancient cultures studied in the sixth grade. Not only will students create various art projects using several mediums they will also respond to and present their projects to others.

Elective B - Art of the Medieval Ages

  • Elective B - Through the masterpieces of da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael, students learn the techniques of foreshortening as well as shading and the arrangement of composition . Projects are to include decorative design, architectural concepts of balance, symmetry, and unity found throughout the works of Renaissance and beyond. Works from the following artist will be analyzed and used as inspiration for student work: Jan Van Eyck, Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Paolo Uccello, Sandro Botticelli, Leonardo Da Vinci, Raphael Sanzio, Michelangelo, Hokusai, Kandinsky, and Ruth Asawa.

Elective C - American Art

  • Elective C - By exploring the changing American ideal from the Civil War period to modern art, students learn from artists such as Dorothea Lange, Roy Lichtenstein, and Edward Hopper to express complex ideas in their artwork. The class involves using pencil, watercolor, pastels, markers and tempera.

Elective D - Audio Productions

  • Elective D - The Audio Productions course is designed to give students an introduction in creating music using Soundtrap software. Students will learn create music, record music and sounds, create loops, and re-mix existing songs. Students will learn to create podcasts and new compositions that mix various musical instruments to create exciting customized music.

Elective E - Yearbook

  • Elective E - Photography, page layouts, yearbook themes, design ideas – putting together a yearbook from start to finish is full of tasks that get the creative juices flowing. The goal of yearbook class is to capture the atmosphere of Scotts Valley Middle School and include every student's picture in the book. Students are partnered up and given the opportunity to design a yearbook spread that they can work on both at school and at home. Yearbook class will help reinforce writing and social skills, as well as time management, prioritizing, reliability, and the responsibility of following through on tasks when others are depending on you. For students who are looking for a creative outlet, yearbook class is the place to be.

Exploratory Spanish

  • Exploratory Spanish is introduction to basic Spanish vocabulary.  Units of study include greetings and common phrases, numbers, classroom words, telling time, the calendar, seasons, weather, clothing and body parts.  Activities include art projects, singing songs, playing vocabulary and number games, and taking an occasional test. Written homework is assigned one or two nights a week.

Geometric Art

  • In this course, students work in two and three dimensions to create artworks that use geometric shapes and principles. Students work with a variety of mediums including water colors, thread, colored pencils and origami paper. They learn to use a compass and straightedge to create precision works. Course content varies slightly from course to course.


  • As leadership students, you will have daily responsibilities of being active role models in our school community; creating, publicizing, and facilitating  school events; fundraising; and “one on one” communication to the classrooms as needed. Other expectations include contributions to weekly class meetings; time management; organization; publicity/marketing strategies; understanding the importance of active kindness, inclusion, and compassion; positive communication; considering the opinions of your peers; and team building. In order to implement effective leadership, you will engage in evaluation processes, character education, conflict management, goal setting, and career exploration.

Life Skills

  • Life Skills is designed to increase student knowledge and skills necessary for everyday living, because life doesn’t come with an instruction manual. Whether students are having a face-to-face meeting or are tweeting with hundreds of strangers, there are real human beings with real thoughts, feelings, and needs on the other end. We'll work on social skills and communication. Learn some healthy alternatives to ketchup spaghetti and cup of noodles with some simple food prep lessons, as well as other household skills. Learn how to budget, build credit, and balance your needs so you're ready for your first paycheck. Learn basic first aid and know what to do in a crisis, because a box of bandaids won't solve all of your problems.

Roadtrip: A Pursuit of World Geography

  • Geography has become an increasingly important topic in our ever shrinking world. Just as we must know and understand our own culture and nation, we must also have an unbiased understanding of other nations and cultures to function in a multicultural, global environment. This class will review the following concepts and subject matter:  thinking geographically, physical geography, political geography and human geography.

Spanish 1 (Please fill out Google form, not available to course request through Illuminate)

  • A year-long course that provides students with a level one knowledge of the Spanish language.  Students will learn parts of speech, and how to put a sentence together to produce short essays, conversations, and art projects, as well as take an occasional test. Verbal activities include singing, presenting short plays, and a prepared speech.  The homework load is light; once or twice a week.

Traditional Study Hall

  • Students will be provided a supervised setting to complete homework.  Essential school materials will be available for student use. This may allow for peer to peer support however should not be considered direct instruction/tutoring for individual students.