2022-23 Electives

Humanities Seminars (10-12)

Instructor: Stacy Barnwell
ourse fee: $320 (8 payments of $40)

discount for students taking another of Ms. Barnwell's classes - $240 (8 payments of $30); open only to strong readers and students with consistent parent support

Printing fee: $20

Grade level: 10th - 12th

Minimum/maximum enrollment: 4 -12 students

Required materials: usual school supplies

Core texts with ISBNs:

The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, J. R. R. Tolkien (I will send the ISBNs I'm using, but you are welcome to use family copies.)

I, Robot, Isaac Asimov, 978-0553382563

Jurassic Park, Michael Crichton, 978-0345538987

Cinder, Marissa Meyer, 978-1250768889

part of Pluto, Urasawa x Tezuka

possibly Klara and the Sun, Kazuo Ishiguro

Course description: Each semester will explore a specific topic. Humanities seminar courses are usually writing intensive, but this will be an inquiry-based discussion course. We’ll explore works within their historical and cultural context and consider what lessons, beyond invaluable entertainment, they offer us today. Grades are based on class preparation and participation, including forum responses.

LoTR: Wood and iron, warrior and friend
This semester will be centered on Tolkien’s works. We’ll explore how his books reflect the effects of industry on an agrarian society and discuss the ideals of heroism and the cost of war. Our primary readings will be The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy, but we’ll also read essays, excerpts from other Tolkien works, and a paired play or other book.

Science fiction, science faction
We’ll look at some common themes explored in science fiction, specifically artificial intelligence, genetic engineering, and class-based societies. We’ll also read telescripts, short stories, essays, and articles. Technology promises to improve lives, but even technological visionaries such as Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking urge caution.


Instructor: David Petershack

Course Fee: $400 (8 payments of $50)

Copy/Supply Fee: $20

Grade level: 9th-12th

Minimum enrollment: 6 students

Supplies: Students will need a notebook or binder with lined paper, index cards, and access to a computer for research.

Course Description: We will be covering and practicing speaking to a group, leading meetings, impromptu speaking, and preparation for job and college interviews. We will use a modified Toastmasters approach for public speaking and leading meetings. We will be going over possible interview questions for jobs and college admission, learning appropriate answers to those questions. We will then practice taking an interview in class. In addition, there will be at least one team or group presentation.

Course Expectations and Grading: This is a hands-on, learning by doing course. I expect to keep this course fun, but not necessarily easy. Students will be expected to prepare and practice speeches at home to be given in class, about 1 per month. They will be given feedback on speeches and are expected to improve over time. With that in mind, grading will be more stringent the second semester. Students are graded on class participation, oral speeches and interviews. If a student is absent a day they are expected to speak, they will speak the next class day. Ten points will be deducted per week for late assignments unless a parent excuse has been given.

Theater Production

Instructor: David Petershack

Course Fee: $400 (8 payments of $50)

One time Fee: $60

Grade level: 9th - 12th; mature 8th graders

Minimum Enrollment: 5 students

Curriculum Required: None required.

Prerequisites: None required

Course Description: This is a course designed to acquaint students with the beauty and magic of theater. It will be fun! fun! fun! We will focus on voice, stage movement, and role playing. By using improvisational skills, the class will train students to express themselves joyfully and with confidence. They will learn to create a believable character and portray it with technical skill in a production scheduled for the end of the year at a real theater (either on stage or as a technical aid). Past productions include Much Ado About Nothing, Wizard of Oz, and Arsenic and Old Lace. Class is graded pass/fail based on participation. If you have questions about grades please contact me.