Rio Norte Junior High

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Academic Departments » Electives » Elective Course Descriptions

Elective Course Descriptions

BEGINNING ART & ANIMATION ­ Beginning Art is a semester-long creative opportunity that offers students amazing art projects which include life drawing, animation drawing, painting, ceramics, printmaking, composition, collage, design, technical skills, elements and principles of design and more.  Students get exposed to important artists, galleries, and museums through Internet-based teaching.
BEGINNING BAND ­ The beginning band is the first step into a larger musical world. In this class, you learn how to read music and play an instrument of the wind band. These include, flute, oboe, clarinet saxophone, trumpet, trombone, baritone, Tuba and Percussion. The next step from the beginning band is the Advanced band.
BEGINNING CHORUS This class is the first step into the larger choral world. The students learn basic notation skills, develop skills in vocal production, and how to sing in a choral setting.  The beginning chorus culminates in a semester concert, performing various styles of choral literature. This is a one semester class. The next step from the Beginning chorus, is the Intermediate Chorus.
BEGINNING DRAMA This is a semester long elective that develops confidence and creativity and introduces students to basic acting skills. We learn and develop performance skills through fun, practical activities and build our confidence towards performing in front of an audience. This is the class for you if you like working in groups, learning through practical activities and games, and want to build your confidence and share your creativity. 
BEGINNING GUITAR The beginning guitar class is designed for anyone who would like to learn to play the guitar. No previous musical experience is required just a willingness to learn. In this class you learn to read music, play melodic lines, play chords, and finger-pick. An acoustic guitar is not needed for this class, but students with their own guitar are encouraged to bring theirs.
BEGINNING PHOTO ­ Students have a fantastic opportunity to take digital photography here at Rio Norte Junior High. It is an introductory semester class. Students will learn about an automatic digital operated camera and how to use it to take great pictures. They will work with digital photos and explore Photoshop including photo retouch and more creative digital solutions.
BEGINNING VIDEO PRODUCTION ­ Beginning Video Production is a media technology class. Students will learn skills in broadcast journalism, video production, and film education. Beginning Video Production is designed for students who have or might have an interest in creating video projects and short films. Students will learn a variety of technical career skills that will help them to advance into Rio TV, high school video production, and/or in the job market after high school. Students will also be exposed to camera equipment, video editing software, computers, stage lighting, audio equipment, writing scripts/storyboarding, and directing others, etc. Students will learn to use their communication skills in writing and on camera for an audience.

DIGITAL ART (Priority is given to 8th-grade students and advanced art students, one semester)Student’s will create and explore their artistic potential through Photoshop. Included in this class students learn about the tools and workspace, draw and paint digitally, and work with digital photos. This course is a hybrid of Fine Art and Photography. Finished artwork will be printed out. Students will explore careers connected with Digital Art. Students learn and identify the elements and principles of design in their artwork. Both art appreciation and the state standards will be covered in this course. Students will leave with a Digital Art portfolio of work.

EXPLORING CULINARY 1­ Previously known as Beginning Foods provides a fun learning environment while teaching practical skills students will use for a lifetime! Before beginning to cook in class, students are introduced to important kitchen skills by learning about safety, equipment, equivalents, and measuring. Other topics covered throughout the semester include reading food labels, “MyPlate” and nutrition, the essential nutrients, table setting, and the food and culture of other nations. Students practice new food preparation techniques during a series of approximately twenty cooking labs throughout the semester and by completing five Home Cooking Assignments.
INTRO TO COMPUTER SCIENCE (CODING)­ Is a computer programming class designed to provide students with a basic understanding of computer science and coding. Using Scratch and various other programs students will create fun and exciting projects, video presentations, and games. This class is designed for beginners but will also challenge students coming in with block programming experience.
PEER TUTORING The Peer Tutoring Elective is an opportunity for students to be role models and mentors for our students with varying degrees of special needs. In the classroom, they work with students individually and in small groups modeling appropriate social behaviors. The program benefits all students with friendships that last a lifetime.
TECHNOLOGY: DESIGN & MODELING Introduces students to computer design using a modeling three-dimensional software program. Students will create a portfolio of interesting design projects. Students will have the opportunity to 3D print some of their designs using a MakerBot 3D printer.
TEEN LEADERSHIP Teen Leadership will focus on topics like personal leadership, written communication skills, public speaking, interpersonal skills, conflict resolution, self-confidence, personal responsibility, branding, digital citizenship, how to communicate with adults, and much more! Coursework will also be based on the Capturing Kids’ Hearts program Lead Worthy. For more information, you can visit 

VOCAL JAZZ The Jazz-Hawks, are an extra-curricular ensemble which meets twice a week to further their experience in ensemble and solo singing. To be a member of this ensemble requires current registration in the mixed choir. Members must pass a second set of auditions. This ensemble explores the use of the voice as it relates to the performance of the vocal jazz medium. As a traveling ensemble, the River-Hawk Vocal Jazz ensemble travels throughout the state of California for major jazz festivals and clinics.

The following courses require teacher approval.

They will require an application and/or an audition.

ADVANCED ART ­ The main objective for this course is to give students that have shown and/or demonstrated that they can succeed at creating more in-depth art. Students must have the ability to work more independently. A portfolio of work must be shown prior to admittance. Emphasized is a balance of enjoyment and appreciation of the artistic process, principles of design, drawing painting, sculpture, and exhibiting art.

ADVANCED BAND ­ The advanced band is the major instrumental ensemble at Rio Norte. This group represents the school at all major school functions including the open house, back to school night, 6th Grade Jamboree, Valencia Showcase and the Turkey Bowl game. The ensemble also joins the Valencia High band to play for a football game. This ensemble performs at both local and national music festivals. The Advanced band has two major performances. One in the Fall and the other in the Spring.

Audition Information for Advanced Band:  Click here to sign up for Audition time.

ADVANCED CHORUS ­ or Concert Choir is one ­year commitment to vocal ensemble performance. Members of the concert choir develop skills in vocal performance. Students are introduced to musical notation and basic vocal techniques. The concert choir performs various styles of choral literature for school concerts, community programs, and local choral festivals. Requirements include exemplary citizenship and a positive attitude. An audition is required for this ensemble.

ASB – Associated Student Body – Rio Norte ASB takes great pride in gathering together a group of hard­working seventh and eighth graders committed to making their school a better place by serving others. ASB works during summer, before school, during breaks, after school, in the evenings, and on weekends organizing activities for both the school and the community. Students in ASB work a minimum of twenty hours outside of class time per quarter in service to the school and community.

*INTERMEDIATE CHORUS - or River-Hawk Choir, consists of both Treble, and Mixed choirs. It is a one-year commitment to a vocal ensemble performance. Members of the concert choir further their development of vocal technique and notation skills through vocal performance. An increase in singing solo’s is encouraged. The concert choir performs various styles of choral literature for school concerts, community programs and local as well as national choral festivals. An audition is required for this ensemble.

Please click here to sign up for Audition time.

RIO TV - Rio Norte Advanced Video Production brings our daily morning show--RioTV--to over 1,400 students and staff on YouTube each day. Producing a daily broadcast is a lot of fun, but it's also hard work. If you visit, you'll see all the fun things that happen in front of the camera, but there is so much more that happens behind the scenes--script writing, filming, graphics, editing, organization, communication, leadership, and teamwork. Students will work during class time, and sometimes at brunch, lunch, and after school creating our show as we pursue our four-point goal to INFORM, ENGAGE, INCLUDE, and INSPIRE. RioTV is looking for students who are mature, hard-working, and who can work well together as a team.

THEATER PRODUCTION This class is year long elective for students with some performance experience who want to develop their acting skills, their understanding of theater and for those who want to perform in front of an audience. We currently have a 7th grade group and an 8th grade group. This class focuses on exploring a range of acting skills, and improving rehearsal discipline. We often run sessions after school and do performances on evenings and weekends. If you love to perform in front of an audience, want to be part of a big Theater Family then make sure you sign up for an audition. Information on auditions will be coming soon! 

­ YEARBOOK Students enrolled in Yearbook are responsible for preserving memories that will last a lifetime. Students will learn and practice photography, writing, layout, design, and production skills as they produce the yearbook. Students will spend much of their class time learning new skills and collaborating with other yearbook team members and are expected to spend a great deal of time outside the classroom (before school, brunch, lunch, after school, and on weekends) taking photos at school events and then working on assigned pages.