MIDDLE SCHOOL CURRICULUM OVERVIEW

The Sciences in our Middle School are taught through the lens of Environmental Studies, providing students with not only the scientific concepts they will need and employ in High School, but also providing them a far more comprehensive understanding of the biological, geological and ecological challenges their generation will face.

While offering a rich academic curriculum in Middle School at TREE Academy, we do not give letter grade assessments, but rather use a Credit/No Credit approach, combined with Teacher narratives. Since colleges do not use Middle School grades to assess a student’s GPA, we focus instead on developing a student’s love of learning and fundamental academic skills during these formative years as we prepare them for their High School work. TREE Academy offers a rich array of Elective Classes and a student chosen/curated Passion Project. Our Life Skills classes focus on Social and Emotional learning, and our Meditation classes and practice help students to rest, recuperate and establish lifelong and health-giving techniques for finding an inner calm despite the pace and demands of our modern lives. Everything we do in the Middle School is designed to encourage, support and celebrate a love of learning. 

MIDDLE SCHOOL

 

ENGLISH

English 6 - Language Arts

This course will introduce students to a variety of literary genres. They will read across the curriculum to develop academic and personal interests in different subjects including themselves and their world at large. Students will gain understanding of both the structure and the meaning of a literary work in order to think critically and communicate its purpose. The students will engage in research and the writing process. Instruction in language conventions will occur within the context of reading, writing, and speaking, rather than in isolation. Developing vocabulary, speaking, listening, researching, and test-taking skills are integral parts of this course.

English 7 - Language Arts

In building and strengthening their abilities to write more in-depth, to read more independently, to think more critically and to formulate more informed literary analyses, 7th grade students engage with a variety of challenging reading material, explore thought-provoking topics of discussion, and produce increasingly more sophisticated, cogent and well-crafted writing assignments.7th grade students will continue to strengthen these skills by delving further into elements of critical reading, interpretations of poetry, the study of rhetoric and composition, textual annotations, traditional grammar and vocabulary development, sentence emulations, and socratic discussion skills.

In exploring poetry, students will focus on a variety of poems, their historical context and their various elements (imagery, meter, metaphor, etc.), as presented in Laurence Perrine's Sound and Sense.Students will explore poetic devices in writing assignments and the occasional poetry memorization-recitation assignment, with the opportunity to write (and share) their own poetic creations.

In further developing their analytical reading skills, students will read and discuss such novels as All American Boys (Jason Reynolds/Brendan Kiely), Front Desk (Kelly Yang), and The Wave (Todd Strasser); short stories by Alice Ruth Moore, Shirley Jackson, Charles Dickens and Edgar Allan Poe; and essays by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Eli Weisel. Reading assignments will be followed by long-form essays, Personal Responses and/or multimedia projects, in which students will demonstrate their understanding of the readings’ central themes and messages, as well as their own ideas of their readings’ relevance to their lives.

 

The study of grammar and rhetoric will focus on two books as points of reference: The Art of Styling Sentences (Longknife) and The Elements of Grammar in 90 Minutes (Hollander.) The main teaching of composition will occur in tutoring sections, where each student's mastery of grammar will be addressed while examining their written work with the instructor. This is also where students will further develop and strengthen their approaches to proofreading, sentence combining, exercising diction, drafting and revising in order to submit their highest caliber work.

English 8 - Language Arts

Utilizing the skills they learned in 7th grade, 8th grade students explore a variety of challenging and interesting reading material, with the goal of participating in our socratic discussions in order to continue to develop and strengthen their command for well-structured writing assignments — specifically, 5-paragraph essays. Additionally, 8th grade students will again engage in the frequent poetry explorations while simultaneously considering the historical context and their various elements (imagery, meter, metaphor, etc.), in those poetic works. Students will explore poetic devices in writing assignments and the occasional poetry memorization-recitation assignment, with the opportunity to write (and share) their own poetic creations.

In strengthening their analytical reading skills, students will read and discuss such novels as Fahrenheit 451 (Ray Bradbury), Long Way Down (Jason Reynolds), and Brown Girl Dreaming (Jacqueine Woodson), as well as short stories by Neil Gaiman, Langston Hughes, Kate Chopin and Katherine Mansfield.

Reading assignments will be followed by longform 5-paragraph essays, Personal Responses and/or multimedia projects, in which students will demonstrate their understanding of the readings’ central themes and messages, as well as their own ideas of their readings’ relevance to their lives. Students will also consult two books as points of reference in their study of grammar and rhetoric: The Art of Styling Sentences (Longknife) and The Elements of Grammar in 90 Minutes (Hollander.) Composition will be learned during class time as well as in tutoring sections, where each student's mastery of grammar will be addressed while examining their written work with the instructor.

 
 

HISTORY

History 6 - Ancient Civilizations

The achievement goal of this course is that students will be able to identify and analyze the historical themes of the Ancient World by producing a concept map that employs the historical thinking skills of Periodization and Causation. Students will survey all seven continents in search of how these historical themes influenced civilizations throughout the Ancient World and the impact that remains in post-Modern Society. Through collaborative assignments, projects and individual exploration every student will be able to construct a unique perspective on the themes of Religion, Technology, Art, War, Geography and Social Structures from 10,000 B.C.E. to 500 B.C.E.

History 7 - Medieval World

The achievement goal of this course is that students will be able to identify and analyze the historical themes of the Medieval World by producing a sound evidenced-based historical argument. Students will survey all seven continents in search of how these historical themes influenced civilizations throughout the Medieval Ages and the impact that remains in post-Modern Society. Through collaborative assignments, projects and individual exploration every student will be able to construct a unique perspective on the themes of Religion, Technology, Art, War, Geography and Social

Structures from 500 C.E. to 1500 C.E.

History 8 - U.S. History

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the history of the United States through a multicultural lens. Students will examine the experiences of racial minorities and other marginalized groups of Americans throughout our nation’s histories. Students will begin by examining early exploration and how each of the big three countries, Great Britain, France, and Spain fought for their stamp in the new world along with the complex societies and cultures each developed. Further down the line we will see the clash and encounter of cultures, plagues, religious fervor and political intrigue. Students will critically assess and read multiple primary and secondary sources in order to evaluate and synthesize information to produce original ideas and arguments. Students will also develop their independent research skills on various topics, as well as oral communication and listening skills through audio resources and presentations. The main goals for this course is for students to gain a substantive understanding of how the United States developed its structure and for students to gain critical thinking skills about historical issues.

 

MATH

Students are placed by level of understanding not by grade level.

Math Concepts

Math Concepts is designed to assist students as they make the transition between the concrete subject of arithmetic and more abstract subjects like algebra and geometry. This is accomplished by working with variables, variable expressions, equations, inequalities, and formulas. Subjects covered in earlier math courses such as fractions, ratios, percent, exponents, roots, and probability are studied in further depth for greater mastery. The students also explore basic algebraic concepts and skills. In addition, this course aims to develop students’ ability to communicate technical information and mathematical knowledge, which places a heavy emphasis on the processes and reasoning to support answers as well as proper mathematical notation.

Algebra Bridge

Algebra Bridge is a course designed for students who have taken Math Explorations and Math Concepts, but are not yet ready for Algebra I. Emphasis will be on content from the last semester of Math Concepts and the first semester of Algebra I. Concepts such as proportional reasoning, one and two step equations, inequalities, powers and exponents will be reinforced through riddles, puzzles, and complex mathematical problems. Students will focus on formulating and reasoning about expressions and equations, solving linear equations and systems of linear equations and analyzing two- and three-dimensional space and figures using distance, angle, similarity, and congruence. In addition, precision and notation is emphasized throughout the year.

Algebra I

Algebra I is split into two main parts: lines and curves. The first half of the course will focus on learning all about lines. Students will learn about how to graph a line, how to write an equation

for a line, the slope of a line, how lines are used to model real life situations, and how to solve systems that have multiple lines. The second half of the course is about nonlinear equations, or curves. Students will learn about exponents and quadratics. They will learn how to graph and write equations for curves and how to solve nonlinear equations. This class is intended to explore the world of algebra through engaging activities and math discussions. Students will learn to think critically, come up with creative solutions to problems using previously learned tools, and focus on detail and precision.

 

Students will be able to:

  • Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.

  • Reason abstractly and quantitatively.

  • Model with mathematics.

  • Attend to precision.

  • Look for and make use of previous knowledge, patterns and structure.

  • Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others

Geometry

The topics covered in Geometry include inductive and deductive reasoning, angles, polygons, congruent triangles, constructions, circles, right triangles, similarity, solids, logic, and introductory trigonometry. Student will read proficiently to gather, analyze, and evaluate information, solve challenging problems, communicate effectively through written and oral language, use technology skillfully to solve problems, demonstrate self-discipline and work effectively in groups, make decisions using critical reasoning skills, and show acceptance of different learning styles and levels of development. By the completion of this course, students will develop skills in the following areas: problem solving, communication, deductive reasoning, spatial perception, basic geometric concepts, proofs, congruent triangles, lines, parallel lines, three dimensional geometry, polygons, similarities, Pythagorean Theorem, circles, area, volume, coordinate geometry, locus, and constructions.

 

Students will be able to:

 

  • Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.

  • Reason abstractly and quantitatively.

  • Model with mathematics.

  • Attend to precision.

  • Use tools appropriately

  • Look for and make use of previous knowledge, patterns and structure.

  • Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.

Algebra II

Algebra II expands the learning of foundational topics covered in Algebra, giving students a more complex understanding of the subject matter. The primary focus for students in this course is developing logical reasoning by making and justifying generalizations with a focus on meaningful problem solving.

Building on the study of linear functions from first-year algebra, functional relationships are extended to include quadratics, radical, rational, exponential, and logarithmic functions. In addition the course will include a review of probability and statistics. Students will work with datasets, interpreting and analyzing various representations and models. The course will end with an introduction to trigonometric functions and solving right triangles.

Precalculus

Precalculus starts taking a much deeper look at functions and why they are so important in preparation for Calculus. Students will learn about polynomial functions, how to find their zeros, how to graph functions, and how to solve nonlinear equations. Graphing and solving of equations will also be extended to several types of nonlinear equations such as exponentials, logarithms, radicals, and rationals. After polynomials have been covered, the focus will turn to trigonometry and geometry. Students will learn about the unit circle, right triangles, trigonometric functions, and conic sections. Also, a brief introduction to limits will be discussed at the end to help familiarize students with Calculus concepts. This class is intended to explore the world of algebra and prepare students for entry into Calculus through engaging activities and math discussions. Students will learn to think critically, come up with creative solutions to problems using previously learned tools, and focus on detail and precision.

Precalculus Honors

Precalculus starts taking a much deeper look at functions and why they are so important in preparation for Calculus. Students will learn about polynomial functions, how to find their zeros, how to graph functions, and how to solve nonlinear equations. Graphing and solving of equations will also be extended to several types of nonlinear equations such as exponentials, logarithms, radicals, and rationals. After polynomials have been covered, the focus will turn to trigonometry and geometry. Students will learn about the unit circle, right triangles, trigonometric functions, and conic sections. Also, a brief introduction to limits will be discussed at the end to help familiarize students with Calculus concepts. This class is intended to explore the world of algebra and prepare students for entry into Calculus through engaging activities and math discussions. Students will learn to think critically, come up with creative solutions to problems using previously learned tools, and focus on detail and precision.

Calculus

Calculus is composed of two main sections: differentiation and integration. In this course students will be focusing on limits, derivatives, definite and indefinite integrals (antiderivatives), and the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus. Differentiation will be the first focus of the year where students will build the foundation needed to move onto integration, the antiderivative. This course will mimic the same topics and concepts that would be expected of a first year Calculus course at college level. Students will be challenged to think outside the box, and be pushed to critically think about mathematical concepts through engaging activities and lessons. Students will learn to think critically, come up with creative solutions to problems using previously learned tools, and focus on detail and precision.

 

SCIENCE

6th Grade - Earth Science

The science curriculum in 6th Grade emphasizes the study of earth and space sciences. The standards in grade six present many of the foundations of geology and geophysics, including plate tectonics and earth structure, topography, and energy and earth systems. The material is linked to resource management and ecology, building on what students have learned in previous grades.

7th Grade - Life Science

Seventh-grade science is a standard and laboratory-based program. Introductory principles of life science will be explored in detail. The standards in grade seven present many of the foundations of biology, including cell biology, genetics, and evolution.

 

Constructivist methods of teaching are employed to ensure the best possible comprehension and retention of science concepts. Science activities will be based on the California Science Standards as outlined in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

8th Grade - Physical Science

The purpose of this course is to help students understand real world phenomena in relation to the physical sciences such as chemistry and physics in order to prepare them for further studies of science in high school. Students will experience an introduction to chemistry by exploring topics such as atoms, molecules, atomic theory, laws of conservation, mixtures, chemical reactions, the pH scale, and acids and bases. Students will also experience an introduction to physics by exploring topics such as the different types of forces, Newton’s Laws of Motion, interactions between forces, the nature of energy, laws of conservation, waves, and electromagnetic radiation.

 

FOREIGN LANGUAGE

Students are placed by level of understanding not by grade level.

Spanish Beginners

In Spanish Beginners, students have their first contact with the Spanish Language. They are taught the basis of the language like genders, numbers, vocabulary and grammar introduction. We use the four key areas of foreign language study: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. For Spanish beginners, as in any other foreign language learning, it is very important cultural immersion in order to understand the morphological, syntactic and grammatical differences between their mother tongue and Spanish language.

 

Luckily we live and socialize in a multicultural and multilingual city, where Spanish language is one of the most spoken languages in Southern California.

 

The classes are developed in a very active environment where the participation of the students is absolutely essential. They need to cooperate, participate and collaborate in every session in order to acquire the required knowledge. Actually, tests and quizzes have less weight than participation, a positive attitude and collaboration . These skills are essential to obtain a great grade.

 

The sessions are usually based on two parts. The first part is the introduction of the topic (grammar, genders etc) and then exercises related to the topic. The second part is based on oral communication and listening, so the students are asked to watch a video, listen to a song or perform a role-play and the following oral discussion.

 

To sum up, students will learn about grammatical structures (genders, numbers), verbs (ar, er and ir verbs always in Present Simple), new vocabulary words (animals, jobs, places in the city, colors, food, etc).

Spanish Intermediate

In Spanish Intermediate, students already have a basis in Spanish language, especially in grammar. They also have a great knowledge of vocabulary words that will be very helpful this year to be successful.

 

This school year will be essentially focused on new grammatical structures, verbs and their uses, irregular verbs and other grammatical knowledge. The goal of this school year is that students will end the year having a good understanding of verbs and their uses and why Spanish is a special language that needs to be studied thoroughly. They will have to work in groups and individually to acquire the needed information in order to pass the subject.

 

Cooperation, collaboration, a positive attitude, team spirit and respect are absolutely essential in the classroom. These skills will have a huge weight on their final grades and they are even more important than tests or quizzes.

Spanish I

Spanish I is a broad-based course designed to introduce the student to all aspects of foreign language study. Grammar, reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills are included. Cultural information is provided and taught throughout the duration of the course. Students will do research on various cultural topics. This is achieved by groups, partners and individual practice dependent on the subject. Emphasis is placed on conversation, vocabulary & correct usage of the language. Correct pronunciation & oral proficiency are primary goals. This requires a daily emphasis on listening & and speaking. The classroom experience will provide an appreciation & development of cultural awareness through various readings, media resources and authentic materials.

 

Standards and Objectives:

 

During the year, instruction in Spanish 1 will address the World Language Content Standards for California Public Schools, and the Common Core Standards for 9th-12th grade English Language Arts. Below is a partial list of the objectives, & the hyperlink is for the previous standards (http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/st/ss/documents/worldlanguage2009.pdf).

 

This year, students will:

 

Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9-10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1).

 

Come to discussions prepared, having read and researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence from texts and other research on the topic or issue to stimulate a thoughtful, well-reasoned exchange of ideas (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1.a.).

 

Respond thoughtfully to diverse perspectives; synthesize comments, claims, and evidence made on all sides of an issue; resolve contradictions when possible; and determine what additional information or research is required to deepen the investigation or complete the task

(CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.1.d).

Spanish II

Admission as a Spanish 2 student requires the completion of Spanish 1 with a grade of C or higher. A placement test will be given the first week of class for proper placement. Name of the Book: Spanish Verb Tenses, Premium Third Edition, Practice Makes Perfect ISBN 978-0-07-184185-6 ($11.00 in Amazon)

 

The Spanish 2 curriculum covers Spanish grammar in accordance with the foreign language requirements set by the State of California in order to graduate from high school. The program includes:

 

. The Direct Object Pronouns

. The usage of the verb ¨Gustar¨ and the Indirect Object Pronouns

. The Preterite Tense with Regular and Irregular Verbs

. The Imperfect Tense with Regular and Irregular Verbs

. The Future Tense with Regular and Irregular Verbs

. The Conditional Tense

. The Imperative mood with ¨Affirmative Tú¨

. The Imperative mood with ¨Negative Tú, Usted, Nosotros, Ustedes¨

. The Present Subjunctive tense after expressing a wish

 

The students will be taught Spanish through an approach that focuses on 4 key skills: (1) listening; (2) reading; (3) writing; and (4) speaking. The course blends language training in class, online, through assigned lectures, and handwritten homework. Students will be taught common expressions as well as grammatical rules. Active participation is the key to success in this course.

 

I use the Peer-teaching method for teaching information about the Hispanic countries, where the students learn and teach their peers about an important Hispanic country, a site or a person. Historically significant cultural sites include Machu-Picchu in Peru, Antigua Guatemala in Guatemala, Vilcabamba in Ecuador, and Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia. Hispanic figures will include Female Hispanic presidents, Gustavo Dudamel, Jose Mujica, Jaime Escalante, Diego Rivera, and Frida Kahlo.

 

After reading Spanish paragraphs, students will be asked to respond to comprehensive questions using complete sentences, in the tense indicated by the lecture. Students have to pass Spanish 2 with a grade of ¨C¨ or better in order to continue to Spanish 3.

Spanish III

Spanish 3 is a class for the students who have successfully completed Spanish 2 with a grade ¨C¨ or better. The class will mainly be conducted in Spanish. In grammar, students will learn the Present Perfect, the Past Perfect, the Present Subjunctive and the Past Subjunctive.

 

We will review the Present tense plus the Imperative Mood and how to put them together in order to form the Present Subjunctive. We will review the Imperfect tense plus the Imperative Mood and how to put them together in order to form the Past Subjunctive.

 

The students will listen to conversational Spanish by watching TED-Talks and other Podcasts in Spanish. They will listen to lectures read in Spanish in person and online. They need to read paragraphs and listen to lectures in Spanish, without a particular grammar order and respond to comprehension questions in Spanish.

 

The students are expected to fully understand and be able to write paragraphs in Spanish using the Present, the Preterite, the Imperfect, the Imperative, the Subjunctive, and the Perfect tenses. They will have to study diligently in order to learn the content of Spanish 3 which is at the university level.

 

The class includes Hispanic cultural awareness, such as The Spanish Civil War. Students will learn about historically significant writers and at least one of their works such as Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra and selected sections of Don Quijote de La Mancha. They will learn about famous Painters such as Diego Velazquez and his Masterpiece ¨Las Meninas''.

 

The students will be taught Spanish through an approach that focuses on 4 key skills: (1) listening; (2) reading; (3) writing; and (4) speaking. The course blends language training in class, online, through assigned lectures, and handwritten homework. Students will be taught common expressions as well as grammatical rules. Active participation is the key to success in this course.

 

The course is closely aligned with national standards as set forth by ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages). Every student’s progress will be tested and monitored through periodic assessments that include oral exercises. Students are responsible for their learning.

 

The Spanish 3 course includes:

. Review the Imperative Mood

. The Present Subjunctive-Regular Verbs, Irregular Verbs

. The Past Subjunctive -Imperfect

. The Present Perfect

. The Past Perfect

. Selected sections of Don Quijote de La Mancha

. Selected sections of the poem ¨Los niños tontos¨

. The painting ¨Las Meninas¨

. Cultural Awareness

Spanish IV

The students will be able to engage in conversation and comprehend another person’s dialogue without much repetition. Topics go well beyond basic needs and include: personal and family affairs, current events, school, work, etc.

 

The students will comprehend descriptive and narrative lectures referring to past, present, or future events. They will participate in dialogues and will comprehend other students´ dialogues in specific situations. They will read aloud, understand, and explain narratives of a field of interest to the class.

 

There will be an increased comprehension of in-depth material about special interest topics used in class. Grammar will include the Conditional, the Present Perfect, Past Perfect, Future-Perfect, the Present Subjunctive and the Past Subjunctive. Students work toward building a larger reading, speaking and listening vocabulary through use of materials representative of the Spanish speaking culture.

 

The students will be exposed to paintings, poems, and works of arts from different people in the Hispanic community including Ana María Matute and selected sections of her poem ¨Los niños tontos¨, Gabriel García Márquez and selected sections of his book, ¨Cien años de soledad¨ they will choose and present a work of art of their choice.

 

HUMAN DEVELOPMENT

Life Skills 6th - 8th

Life Skills emphasizes social and emotional learning . It is a cornerstone course at TREE, providing our students dedicated time to listen, discuss, share, reflect, and express their beliefs and thoughts. They can ask questions of themselves and others, and learn by sharing their stories and listening to the stories of others. Students can contemplate their identity and self-image, their values, who they are in relationship to friends, family, and the larger community.

 

Life Skills classes include discussions, games and Council Techniques . Council is an ancient form of communication where participants sit in a circle with a talking piece. The skills of Council include listening and speaking from the heart. This formal yet flexible structure provides a safe, supportive setting in which everyone can be heard. Ritual is a key element.

 

Reinforcing TREE’s philosophy, Life Skills classes weave in issues related to social justice, environmental stewardship and diversity by introducing current and historic events/themes as opportunities for personal action. Students are encouraged to be reflective and grow the skills of mindful awareness of self and others. Themes are grade specific and often include topics such as life-choices, values, family, friendship, emotions, personal well-being and the ethical and spiritual aspects of life. At heart, Life Skills provides students an opportunity to grow in self-awareness and emotional intelligence.

 

Students are expected to come to class prepared to participate and be open to new ideas and methods with which they may not be familiar. Students discover things about themselves and their classmates as they imagine, wonder, inquire and relax. We are committed to helping our students on their journey from childhood through adolescence with increased independence and responsibility, supporting their growth.

ELECTIVES & ARTS

The Sciences in our Middle School are taught through the lens of Environmental Studies, providing students with not only the scientific concepts they will need and employ in High School, but also providing them a far more comprehensive understanding of the biological, geological and ecological challenges their generation will face.

 

* indicates required for 6th - 8th grade

ART

* Super Illustrators: Foundations of Illustration

This special SUPER Illustrators Foundations of Art course is designed specifically for Junior high-grade levels 6th- 9th. This course is designed to provide enrolled students with the foundational knowledge and skills needed to comprehend, compose, and create works of art while exploring fields within the illustrated arts. Students will learn the foundational elements to art-making through fields of illustration such as comics books, fashion illustration, children’s book illustration, architecture, political cartooning, and more. After this course, students will be able to identify the different forms of illustrative art and implement illustrative art techniques into their works of art.

Super Illustrators: Super Social Justice Art Course

SUPER Social Justice Art course is designed to educate students on the importance of art as it relates to social justice issues, political movements, and environmental causes. Students will engage in discussions about issues relating to racial justice, gender equality, LGBTQIA+ rights, environmental preservation, and armed conflict resolution. In Addition to exploring the evidence supporting the significant impact that art has on impacting social and environmental justice, students will engage in art-making by creating art that inspires action to become involved in social and environmental justice causes within their local community and abroad. Students will explore works of art by activists and artists such as Shephard Fairey, Emory Douglas, Erye Crowe, Keith Haring, Mine Obuko, Gorilla Girls, and more.

Digital Media Art

This entry-level digital media course covers the concepts of traditional photography and imagery, and how it translates to digital technologies. Digital programs are used to create artful digital images, computer graphics, digital design, and websites. The course includes the history of photography, digital media, and the use of digital imagery in personal and commercial applications such as advertising and commercials. Students will create and critique a unique portfolio, sharing work via social media.

Human Anatomy & Figure Drawing

In Human Anatomy and Figure Drawing, students will learn to use an array of art materials, techniques, and artistic approaches in both 2D and 3D forms to create characters of their own. We will take inspiration and references from animation, video games, webtoons, manga, comic strips, and more. Students will be exposed to the character creation process of diverse historical and current accomplished artists like Walt Disney, Masashi Kishimoto, and Rumiko Takahashi. This class will supply students with the ability to create characters in any style they like while also developing a rich and creative style of their own.

Painting 101

This studio course explores the fundamentals of painting, focusing on both the traditional and experimental uses of acrylic paint to make an expressive work of art. Students will learn about artistic movements from the past such as Fauvism, Abstract Expressionism, and Cubism, creating their own masterpieces. Students will also study the practice and techniques of contemporary living artists such as Kehinde Wiley, Felicia Forte, Kayla May, and Banksy, in order to bring their original ideas to life. Emphasis will be placed on a conceptual framework for critical analysis through contemporary art theory.

 

MUSIC

* Music Appreciation with Instruments

Do you love music? This class gives you the opportunity to experience music by playing (Drums, Bass, Guitar, Piano, and more). Students will learn the basics of playing instruments. Students will be encouraged to try all the instruments to better understand how they function and work in the music we love.

BAM - Black American Art

“BAM Black American Music - The Music that Defines Popular Culture”

A journey through Black American Music and how it shapes American culture. Students will learn about improvisational music, blues, funk, soul, rock, hip hop, rap, and more. Musical examples will be played and the students will also experiment with playing instruments in these styles.

Creating Music Videos (Spring Semester)

Students must have taken “Music Production and Live Recording” to enroll in this class. Students will produce, direct, film, and edit videos for their music. The projects will be done in Pic Play Post (phone app) and Final Cut Pro.

Music Production and Live Recording

This course will show you how to run a recording studio. Students will set up, perform, record, and mix live performances in the studio. Students will produce, program, and edit each project as a team. The sessions will be recorded and mixed in Logic X.

Musician/Producer Essentials

Can you speak musician?! Learn to communicate in the musical language. Students will learn rhythm, harmony, composition, notation, and how to transcribe melodies and chord progressions in a variety of music genres.

Rock Band: Beginning

Intro to playing music in a band! Students will learn Pop, R&B, Funk, Blues, Rock, Jazz, Hip Hop, and other genres. This class gives you the opportunity to play (Drums, Bass, Guitar, Piano, Sing, and more), Students will learn songs, play together and communicate as a band. This is a performance class.

Rock Band: Advanced

This class is for the more experienced musician. Students will learn Pop, R&B, Funk, Blues, Rock, Jazz, Hip Hop, and other genres. This class gives you the opportunity to play (Drums, Bass, Guitar, Piano, Sing, and more), Students will learn songs, play together and communicate as a band. This is a performance class.

Drum Circle Class: Rhythms of the World

This course allows you to express yourself through percussion. This course is designed to be an open structure with different musical influences incorporated from around the world. The class will create a space for students to express themselves individually through rhythm as their peers support them. This class will be about inclusion, making space, working together, and playing instruments and rhythms from around the world.

Intro to Guitar

Welcome to Intro To Guitar! In our elective, students will learn the basics of playing the six-string guitar, including fingering and strumming techniques, chord construction, standard tuning, and major and minor scales. With the help of the occasional music appreciation exercise, students will also develop an ear for recognizing guitar in their favorite songs and even learn how to play a guitar song of their choosing. Rock on!

 

CULINARY

Culinary Science: Beginners

This class aims to introduce the students to the foundations of cooking, baking, and the science behind food’s physical and chemical changes.  All recipes used to demonstrate these changes will be mostly plant-based and executed in class with the student’s participation.  The course follows sustainable practices and encourages the students to consume more vegetables for a healthier, more balanced diet.  The students will develop skills such as knife handling, a basic understanding of sanitation and safety, the use and storage of fresh produce, the proper use of herbs, spices, and cooking techniques.

Culinary Science: Intermediate

This class builds on the foundations laid by the culinary science one course.  To further the student’s cooking skills and understanding of the different processes, the recipes will offer a greater degree of difficulty. Mostly plant-based recipes and sustainable practices will continue to be at the core of every class, emphasizing how to have a lighter footprint on the environment.   The students will learn the basics of sous vide cooking and molecular gastronomy and become acquainted with more tools and techniques available to the modern cook.  The students will also learn how to pickle, can, and preserve foods using salt, sugar, dehydration, and acids such as vinegar.

Culinary Science: Advanced (by invitation only)

This course reinforces the knowledge acquired in the previous culinary science classes.  Students will lead the class based on instructions and recipes chosen for their complexity and teaching value.  Cooking presentations, competitions, and lectures will be an active part of the hands-on learning experience.   The class will include recipes and techniques from different regional cuisines.  The course will also have kitchen math, conversions, and an in-depth look at sous vide cooking and molecular gastronomy.

Cake and Cupcake Decorating

Explore your creative side--through cake!  Based mostly on the Wilton methods, we will learn the ins and outs of cake and cupcake decorating.  In this class, we will explore some of the tried and true techniques for decorating with buttercream, as well as delve into some of the new and trendy styles.  We'll start with the basics, but by the end of the course, you will have an arsenal of design ideas in your toolbox.  You'll be able to create professional-looking treats for any occasion!

 
 

HUMANITIES

Women's Studies

The purpose of this course is to offer a greater variety of theoretical perspectives to many academic inquiries. Students will use the knowledge gained from their previous courses in History and Social Science, English, Art, and Science as a basis for better understanding of relationships between men and women of all racial and ethnic groups fostering better understanding and communication between the sexes.

 

Students will critically examine the place of men and women in human culture and society. This course surveys a wide array of social, economic, political, and global topics included within the boundaries of gender studies. The goal of this class is to provide students with an analytical lens that they can use to understand the social construction of gender and sexuality.

 

The course will begin by analyzing the construction of gender and how it intersects with power, oppression, class, age and sexual identity. The course will then focus on analyzing how gender and sexuality impacts privilege and oppression and the effects that these concepts have on the nation’s perception of the female gender, body and beauty. Next, the class will highlight and follow the development of gender in popular culture to focus on how it has been presented in both the past and present. This course will allow students to critically think about the concepts of how gender and sexuality play out in people’s daily lives, institutions, and media.

Dramatic Scene Study

During the semester, students will be introduced to dramatic scene study in order to develop an appreciation of the art of acting as well as a general introduction to the world of theater, film, and television. Students will also develop an understanding of how a variety of acting techniques may be employed to heighten the student’s self awareness and as a tool for self-realization. Scene study gives students the opportunity to experience the joy and rewards of theatre arts while developing poise, social skills, confidence and the ability to work with others.

Sociology

The aim of this class is to introduce students to the underpinnings of Sociology. In specific, we will be examining the ways in which various theoretical perspectives-- ranging from Functionalism to Dramaturgy-- apply to modern systems and structures. Students will be examining the ways in which society structures all people based on differences, and the ways in which these differences, especially in terms of intersectional identities, come into play as we interact with the world around us. To this end, we will be utilizing a variety of case studies, holding root in Supreme Court rulings, to examine whether or not the anomie has set in to reduce or replace pre-existing social norms. This examination will take place on a macro-level of analysis, one in which runs parallel to the structures established more concretely in the micro-level side of Psychology.

Creative Writing

Creative Writing provides student writers with sensory imagination exercises designed to perfect communication and vocabulary skills. In this class, we will work on improving the language arts composition of each one of the students' choices of prose fiction, screenplays, stage plays, rhyme scheme, song lyrics, or blank verse poetry.

Conversation Corner

Conversation corner is an alternative to Learning Lab for students that would like to have a scheduled break in the day to socialize and converse with other students. The nature of the conversations varies from group to group as the students take the lead in generating topics for discussion.

* Speech and Debate

This course is designed to teach students argumentation, critical thinking, public speaking, and refutation. It involves students practicing using the Public Debate Program format and small group discussions.

 

Students who successfully complete Debate and Public Speaking will be competent in the following areas:

 

• Developing an informed opinion using the ARESR method

• Answer ideas in an organized manner using the 4-step method

• Understand logical fallacies and be able to identify and answer them

• Be able to implement dynamic verbal and non-verbal public speaking techniques

• Effectively use online research techniques

• Understand different speech structures and their unique benefits

• Compare and analysis cause and effect relationships

• Use strategic thinking for effective problem-solving

• Develop critical listening and note-taking skills

* Sustainable World Studies

This class aims to develop an awareness of what sustainability means personally and globally. The students will be introduced to the relationship between society, the economy, and how they affect the planet’s ecology. Culture, traditions, religion, agriculture, farming, transportation, and economic models will be explored to bring a complete understanding of the current state of affairs of the planet and the possible solutions to the most pressing issues affecting our environment and civilization.

Student Government

In this course, students will be able to examine different levels of the United States government and political movements throughout the world. Students will cover current local, national and international events through varied forms of media. Concurrent with each unit, students will be applying their perspectives in class to create a socially engaged student community and culture. The main goal of the course is to develop students’ critical thinking skills in regard to the larger world around us and create an inclusive community for all students.

SOCIAL JUSTICE

Human Rights Watch: Student Task Force

Student Task Force is the student-led branch of the international Human Rights Watch (HRW) organization. The HRW Student Task Force chapter at TREE Academy provides youth with a unique leadership opportunity by way of empowering student advocacy for human rights in a dynamic, collaborative and focused environment. Students in this class will both develop and lead new projects/initiatives while building awareness and actionable change in support of human rights locally and globally. Students in this course should be leaders who are firmly committed to social justice and human rights education. For students applying to colleges and universities, membership in TREE Academy's HRW Student Task Force chapter is an exemplary addition to students' college application portfolios. 

Racial Justice Co-Conspirators

Racial Justice Co-Conspirators is a club for students who wish to explore the impact of white privilege on our community.  We will be expanding from the summer reading requirement "The Black Friend: On Being a Better White Person," to generate explorative conversations around the impacts of systemic racism and how white identified folx might use our privilege to push back against these systems. 

Black Student Union

The TREE Academy Black Student Alliance is a faculty mentor led student affinity group that invites the African-Diasporic identified students within the community to join together to connect and cultivate a communal space where they can discuss topics and participate in community programming pertaining to the cultural heritage, achievements, advancements, and accomplishments of the African-American community. The space is intended to uplift and inspire students through cultural engagement and enrichment as it relates to the African-American experience. BSU members will work collectively with racial allies within the community to support and inspire cultural diversity within the campus community.

 

VARIOUS SKILLS

Woodworking

In this course, students will learn woodworking skills through direct instruction, demonstrations, and practical application. The class will complete a series of projects of increasing complexity and detail to learn the various steps of the woodworking process and the tools and techniques used along the way. Students will learn to operate tools and conduct themselves in the workshop in a safe and responsible manner, always demonstrating respect for our equipment and space. All members of the class will be expected to help keep the workshop clean and with the maintenance of the tools. In addition, students will also learn general safety procedures, identifying wood, reading plans, layout, measuring and marking, sawing and cutting, drilling, fastening, joinery, sanding, finishing, and evaluating the project. Potential projects include a wireless speaker, wooden tote, jewelry tree, cutting board, wood puzzles, furniture, and even a skateboard!

Makers' Lab Workshop

In this course, students will learn how to safely and effectively use the multitude of tools -both physical and technological - that are available to them through the FIO (Figure It Out) Maker’s Lab facility at TREE Academy.  They will use these tools to create actual physical objects of their own design.  In doing so, they will join the vibrant worldwide Maker’s community movement.

 

Student tools will range from a carpenter’s pencil and hand saw through a full spectrum of power tools, and continue through computer aided design (CAD) and 3D printing.

 

Students will learn the physics, engineering, mechanics, and design concepts necessary to make things that are stable, robust, and function as intended.  They will also learn that making anything that works well is an iterative process, and that expertise is something gained through making mistakes and then learning how not to repeat them!

Financial Literacy

This course will focus on the exploration of primary financial vehicles and tools that students will encounter in the world around us. This includes how the stock market works, how a mortgage works, keeping a budget and banking, the good, the bad, and the ugly of Student Loans, carrying insurance, and how our dollars can help urge and seed social and environmental change.

 

PHYSICAL EDUCATION

Physical Training

This course provides students the opportunity to gain individual and team-based fitness skills and knowledge. The course focuses on the fundamental components and principles of physical fitness, including competency in the strategies and skills needed to perform a variety of physical activities. Students will demonstrate knowledge of fitness concepts and strategies while working towards achieving a level of physical fitness for health and performance. Students will also demonstrate teamwork and active cooperation while participating in a variety of team sports and group activities.

Boxing Training & Fitness

In Boxing Training and Fitness, we will explore and discover different methods of training and fitness. From martial arts training, to sports training, to physical education, students will experience a breadth of activities where fitness and health can be found. Class will also include activities that will actively community build amongst the students and their relationships.

Boys' Basketball Team

TREE students work closely to develop their basketball skills while embracing teamwork and participating in competitive, off-campus games.

Girls' Volleyball Team

TREE students work closely to develop their volleyball skills while embracing teamwork and participating in competitive, off-campus games.

* Meditation

At TREE, we believe meditation is an essential life skill. All students at TREE are required to spend a semester each academic year taking our Meditation course, offered by teachers with extensive meditative practices and teaching experience. Our curriculum is based on The Inner Peace Education, from Venerable Burin Thitakusalo, Director of The Middle Way Meditation Institute.

 

Inner Peace Education teaches students how to live a purpose-driven and peaceful life is a key to true happiness. Students will learn about the four fundamental foundations: Body, Heart, Mind, and Spirit, and how they relate to their success and happiness.

 

Teachers will introduce tools and techniques that help to calm the mind and enhance concentration.

Yoga

This beginner yoga class is done at a gentle pace in order to learn the foundational poses of yoga. We work with simple slow movements, breathing techniques and positive intentions, allowing the students to learn the benefits of yoga as a moving meditation.  This all levels class will leave students with some freedom in both your mind and body without breaking too much of a sweat. Classes progresses from movement to stillness to bring balance to both body and mind. This soulful class will leave you feeling refreshed and energized to take on the rest of the day.