At the Miles River Middle School, the central focus of the art program is the exploration of the creative process. It is within this process that we develop a feel for materials, and make serendipitous discoveries. Our discoveries also help us to form new ideas and to develop relationships with each other. It is through experimentation and exploration of materials that we find creative ways to solve problems. Through these discoveries, students are able to become aware of the uniqueness within themselves. The intra and interpersonal skills and higher-level thinking skills, which are so much a part of the core values of our district, pervade the art department.
Each course we design, each unit we put together, and each lesson we teach is a representation of the unique needs of the students we have in class. Students are encouraged to utilize their own experience, skills and ideas to solve problems creatively. The student becomes empowered as an individual, a group member, a viewer and an artist. Our mission is to instill a great level of confidence within each student so that he or she may question, evaluate and solve problems without hesitation. We also partner with other teachers here at Miles River, making curriculum connections and working with the community whenever possible.
Drama encourages students to explore the human condition. Through drama, we develop empathy for others, interpersonal skills, and self-confidence. We employ our physical, mental and emotional selves to solve problems creatively. We surprise ourselves by taking risks and engaging in new experiences. This course is an introduction to drama.
Through warm-up activities, theater games, and rehearsing, performing and critiquing scenes, students will explore the questions: What is drama? Most of the material used in the course will be created by the students in the form of improvisations and scene ideas. To create this material, students will work in a variety of groupings throughout the course: pairs, small groups, and as a whole class. Students will be asked to engage in self-evaluation as well as to respond the work of classmates through journal entries and critiquing sessions. The necessity of working as an ensemble will be emphasized. The class meets two times per week for one semester.
The Instrumental Program at the Miles River Middle School consists of:
6th Grade Band – An all-encompassing music group that performs at least two concerts during the school year, those being the Winter and Spring concerts. The 6th Grade Band may also play at venues and events deemed educationally worthy by the Director throughout the year. Literature will consist of music pulled from across the spectrum of Wind Band compositions.
7/8th Grade Band – Same as above. An all-encompassing music group that performs at least two concerts during the school year, that being the Winter and Spring concerts. The 7/8th Grade Band may also play at venues and events deemed educationally worthy by the Director throughout the year. Literature will consist of music pulled from across the spectrum of Wind Band compositions.
Jazz Band – Performs at the Winter and Spring Concerts as well as any other venues deemed educationally worthy by the Director during the school year. It is not required of Jazz Band members to be in Concert Band only if they play a non-standard band instrument such as bass, guitar, or keyboards. The literature will consist of music pulled from across the spectrum of jazz with an emphasis on swing and improvisation.
Music engages the student’s mind, body, and spirit. Music is also one of the subjects in the Core of Common Learning mandated in the Massachusetts Educational Reform Act. Music is connected to all facets of life and learning, and it connects with our emotions. It provides a window to our own culture, the cultures of others, and the historical contexts that have influenced these cultures as they exist today.
In music class at Miles River Middle School, students examine different types of music through many types of activities so that all learning styles are addressed. Classroom activities for all grades include singing, playing instruments individually or in ensembles, composing melodies and rhythms, and analyzing and discussing a variety of music. The music explored in the music classroom is often linked to students’ studies in other areas. We are constantly equipping our classrooms with new technologies so that students can explore music in creative and current ways. The study of music theory is ongoing and integrated into each unit of study. Class meets two times each week for a semester. Students are evaluated in a variety of methods, using rubrics and performance-based assessment.