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Middle School Visual Arts Curriculum

The Middle School program continues to build on the knowledge gained in the Lower School studio through discussion about artists of the past and present and about the influence of time and place on their artistic expression. Students continue to build skills and begin to develop a personal aesthetic that drives their creative thinking and expression. A variety of 2D and 3D media continues to be explored.

Grades 5 & 6

In Grades 5 and 6, students meet twice weekly and their art experiences are many and varied. The coursework includes abstraction and realism, design and color, composition and construction. In Grade 5, in addition to drawing and painting, students work with the pattern and arrangement of shapes, using media such as collage, pastel and clay to explore this area. In Grade 6, careful observation of the real world is one underlying theme through nature drawings and portraits using ink, pastel, collage, clay and other materials. Both grades collaborate on various projects including service-learning projects.

Grades 7 & 8 Electives

The elective program in the Middle School encourages our Grade 7 and 8 scholars to pursue, engage and explore interests and passions beyond their core classes. Students can choose from a wide variety of courses in art, design, engineering, liberal arts and technology. The electives run on a trimester cycle allowing students to experience six unique courses.

List of 3 items.

  • Art & Comedy

    There is a general misrepresentation of art as something that must be serious, beautiful and/or miraculous in its execution. Contemporary artists all over the world have worked to demystify those preconceptions by giving viewers permission to have fun. Art & Comedy is a class that examines how artists have utilized comedy and play as a way to embrace and expand their audience. In this course, what Middle School students find funny is explored, and how to integrate humor into artwork is determined. Students learn about, discuss and create responses to “bad paintings,” performance art, memes, video art, stand-up and sketch comedy. Throughout this process, how comedy functions as a mode of communication and the role art plays in society are questioned.
  • Ceramics

    It’s time to explore personal expression through the versatile, and oh-so-messy, medium of clay using the pottery wheel and other hand-building techniques. Students explore all of the wonderful elements of sculpture (form, structure, negative space, balance, symmetry) as they grapple with the technical and conceptual issues related to sculpture and the creation of a vessel. They learn how throwing becomes a tool to achieve their desired sculptural object when in combination with other ceramic techniques including coiling, hand building, sculpture, as well as surface enrichment and glazing methods. The material of clay will be explored as a material in context with chemistry, surfaces, physics, geology, design, archeology, contemporary art history, drawing, sculpture and painting. Students participate in group critiques and reflection to develop their own critical tools, vocabulary and individual voice. Central to the work are class discussions, one-on-one instruction, collaborative explorations, self-directed projects, and “quick and dirty” challenges to keep the energy alive and flowing. 
  • Digital Image Works

    Do you want to learn the tricks and skills to program presets and curate the perfect Instagram feed? In this class, students learn the basics of how to control a camera in manual mode in order to create motion and capture a story through photos and videos. They dive into understanding how the lens and digital processors perceive light and how to manipulate them, plus post-processing. This will entail learning how to edit in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop to bring images to life and portray a creative story and using Final Cut Pro X and Motion 5. Students learn how to use simple HTML/CSS to display their works on a structured and presentable portfolio website.

La Jolla Country Day School

9490 Genesee Avenue
La Jolla, CA 92037
858-453-3440

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