My Elective Selection

  • Course Descriptions:


    Advanced Band

    Advanced band is for students who already have an understanding of basic music reading, instrument assembly and maintenance, correct playing position and sound tone production. Instruction offers continued focus on the refinement of tone quality, technique, aural skills and music literacy. We perform many times throughout the year in the community.  


    Beginning Concert Band

    Beginning Band offers middle school students with no musical experience an opportunity to begin the process of learning a concert band instrument.  Students learn to read music and develop skills that can be applied to areas such as musical performance, composition, and general musical literacy. All sixth through eighth graders are eligible and performances are included in the course. Band instructors assist each student with placement and instrument selection before the first day of school.


    Percussion Ensemble

    In this class you will learn to play many different types of percussion instruments such as the marimba, steel drums, bells, chimes, marching drums, drum set and many more.  We perform many times throughout the year for the community. 


    6th Grade Wheel Music Appreciation  (one quarter)

    Performing Arts Exploratory is a non-performance based course that focuses on three elements of music—rhythm, melody and harmony. Students are introduced to basic music theory and learn to recognize notes on the staff and note values. Creativity is encouraged and listening skills are refined through the study of composers and artists. Students are given the opportunity to become familiar with the piano keyboard and to make their own musical instrument. This course is designed to help the student gain an appreciation of music in a fun atmosphere.


    Advanced Dance

    Students will build on their prior dance knowledge and build on their technique in this class.  Students will learn various dance styles, such as jazz, tap, hip hop, lyrical, and ballet. This is a performance-based class, students will perform at school and in the community. 


    Beginning Dance

    Students will learn the fundamentals of dance, various dance styles, and participate in performances.  Students will learn styles such as jazz, hip hop, lyrical, and ballet.  There is no prior dance experience necessary.


    Drama (All grades)

    In this class students will be introduced to the basic concepts of theater arts.  Students will use various creative drama techniques to build confidence in presentation and skills through individual and group work.  Students will learn different theater skills, play improvisation games, and build on techniques to prepare them for Advanced Drama.


    Advanced Drama

    In this class students will perform in our school’s theater productions.  Students will use various creative drama techniques to build confidence in presentation and skills through individual and group work.  Drama will cover ensemble work, dance, improvisational skills, character analysis, monologues, and performance.


    Intermediate Spanish (Non-Immersion)

    This course will emphasize the four language skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing, as well as an appreciation of Hispanic culture. To develop these skills to the best of the student’s ability, active participation by the student is required. This course is intended to teach basic vocabulary and grammar of beginning level Spanish. After studying all materials and resources presented in the course, the student will be able to: 

    • Engage in conversations using level-appropriate grammatical structures including narrating events that take place in the past.
    • Demonstrate understanding of level-appropriate spoken Spanish produced by Spanish speakers of diverse origins.
    • Write simple to moderately complex sentences using level-appropriate grammatical structures and organize them into cohesive paragraphs.
    • Read and comprehend level-appropriate authentic texts.
    • Identify and discuss traditions, customs and values of the Hispanic world.
    • Compare and contrast the traditions, customs and values of the Hispanic word with characteristics of their own culture. 


    Introduction to Spanish (Non-Immersion)

    In this course, the goal will be to acquire Spanish language. “Acquiring” a language is very different than “learning” a language. Acquiring is something that happens to you instead of something that you make happen. When you learned how to speak your first language, you acquired it naturally by listening to other people speak it around you for a long time; not by studying it. Therefore, almost all of the class time will be spent using Spanish--not using English to talk about Spanish--and the focus will be more on listening and reading than on speaking and writing. Those skills will come naturally as you take in more and more Spanish by listening and reading, but they will not be a major focus of the course.


    Mandarin Culture

    This course focuses on Chinese culture and Mandarin basics. You will have authentic cultural and arts experience including martial arts, calligraphy, Chinese painting, paper folding (aka origami), movie appreciation. You will also have a chance to learn about Chinese food, music and famous travel sites. In addition, we will teach you basic language acquisition skills such as character writing and pronunciation, so you have the tool for studying Mandarin language in the future. 


    Introduction to Mandarin (Non-Immersion)

    In this course, students will be introduced to many basic word phrases as well as conversational sentence frames of Mandarin. Students will be able to apply their use of the knowledge learned in this class to the real world and the greater Chinese community. Engaging activities are planned accordingly to allow students to produce speaking output.  Topics will include but not be limited to: (1) self-introductions, (2) numbers, (3) time and date, (4) family members, (5) hobbies, and (6) colors.  Students will additionally be able to gain an understanding of Chinese culture and participate in a variety of cultural activities. Cultural topics such as Chinese holidays, traditions, history, and food will be covered.  After this class, students will be able to make significant connections between both the English and Chinese languages.


    Yearbook (Requires Teacher Approval, grades 7th and 8th only & is a yearlong class)

    Produce the Tierra del Sol Yearbook. You must be able to follow directions and be an independent worker who can meet strict deadlines. Skills needed would be good writing skills, be willing to photograph and attend some after school activities as well as lunchtime activities. You must be a good student with good grades so that a teacher in another subject might be willing to excuse you from a portion of their class from time to time to take photographs or interview another student or staff member.


    Intro to Art (all grades & is a 1 trimester class)

    Learn and be introduced the elements of art through art history, and varied two and three dimensional art projects.


    Advanced Art (Ceramics, Graphic Design, 3D & is a yearlong class)

    For those who want to further their exploration and advance their skills with art. Projects will include the use of different mediums in both two and three dimensional art. Learn the techniques to work in clay, graphic design, painting, drawing and screen printing.


    Photography (all grades & is a 1 trimester class)

    Learn everything from composition to shutter speeds. This class will also include traditional art projects but will emphasis photography.


    ASB (Requires Teacher Approval, grade 6)

    6th Grade ASB is a service class for students with outstanding Citizenship and Work Ethic that want to make TDS and our community a better place. Students must be trustworthy role models and independent workers.

    Requires teacher recommendation and interview process to apply for this fun and rewarding class. Additional outside Community Service hours will also be required.


    ASB (Requires Teacher Approval, grade 7)

    7th Grade ASB is a service class for students currently on the Citizenship Honor Roll that want to work to make TDS and our community a better place. As role models in the classroom, students must also have a good work ethic and strive to be on Honor Roll or Principal’s List.

    Requires teacher recommendation and interview process to apply for this fun and rewarding class. Additional outside Community Service hours will also be required.


    ASB (Requires Teacher Approval, grade 8)

    8 th Grade ASB is a service class for students currently on the Citizenship Honor Roll that want to work to make TDS and our community a better place. As role models in the classroom, students must also have a good work ethic and strive to be on Honor Roll or Principal’s List.

    Requires teacher recommendation and interview process to apply for this fun and rewarding class. Additional outside Community Service hours will also be required.


    Project Lead the Way

    All PLTW classes are subject to change by grade level. However, if students are in PLTW, they will take all classes listed below before the end of 8th grade.


    PLTW-6th grade

    Flight and Space: The exciting world of aerospace comes alive through Flight and Space. Students explore the science behind aeronautics and use their knowledge to design, build, and test flying machines.


    Medical Detectives:  Students play the role of real-life medical detectives as they collect and analyze medical data to diagnose disease. They solve medical mysteries through hands-on projects and labs, measure and interpret vital signs, dissect a sheep brain, investigate disease outbreaks, and explore how a breakdown within the human body can lead to dysfunction.


    Computer Science for Innovators and Makers: Throughout the unit, students learn about programming for the physical world by blending hardware design and software development, allowing students to discover computer science concepts and skills by creating personally relevant, tangible, and shareable projects.


    PLTW- 7th grade

    App Creators: This unit will expose students to computer science as a means of computationally analyzing and developing solutions to authentic problems through mobile app development, and will convey the positive impact of the application of computer science to other disciplines and to society.  Students will learn to use an Internet based block-coding program to create their very own apps. 


    Design and Modeling: Students apply the design process to solve problems and understand the influence of creativity and innovation in their lives. Using Autodesk® software, students create a virtual image of their designs and produce a portfolio to showcase their innovative solutions.


    Automation and Robotics: Students trace the history, development, and influence of automation and robotics as they learn about mechanical systems, energy transfer, machine automation, and computer control systems. Students use the VEX Robotics® platform to design, build, and program real-world objects such as traffic lights, toll booths, and robotic arms.


    PLTW- 8th grade

    Green Architecture: In this unit, students learn how to apply green concepts to the fields of architecture and construction. They explore dimensioning, measuring, and architectural sustainability and apply what they have learned to design affordable housing units using Autodesk’s® 3D architectural design software.


    Advanced Robotics

    This course is an extension to learning VEX Robotics as students explore additional mechanisms and begin to advanced their coding skills.  Students will be able to work with either the VEX Legacy Kits or the new V5 kits to complete autonomous and user controlled missions.  The design process will be emphasized throughout the course. (Prerequisites:  PLTW: AR, Beginning Robotics, or Advanced Robotics)


    Femineers (Females only)


    Creative Robotics (Year 1)

    This is a 30-year project in which participants learn basic electronics in a fun and engaging way.  Participants learn:

    • Safety procedures
    • How to use tools
    • How to work in teams to design robots out of everyday materials


    In the first year, participants are introduced to the use of hand tools, including a screwdriver, a utility knife, a tape measure, etc. In Creative Robotics, students learn about basic electronics, wiring, sensors and motors, as well as operation of the Hummingbird microcontroller using Scratch programming language.


    Wearable Technology (Year 2)

    This is a 30-year project that incorporates computer and advanced electronic technologies into clothing and accessories. Participants learn:

    • Basic circuitry and C programming
    • How to use conductive thread, bright neopixels, and wearable microcontrollers


    Femineer Recommended Prerequisites:

    • Minimum 3.0 GPA
    • Minimum B average math grade
    • Outstanding behavior
    • Outstanding attendance
    • Recommendation from teacher


    KTDS- Student Broadcasting Elective

    Students create a morning broadcast for that goes out to our school.  In this class you can create commercials for upcoming events, be a host or anchor, or edit shows.  KTDS keeps everyone up to date with our events on campus.


    Financial Literacy Course

    Come on a journey of getting to know yourself better so that you choose a career path in life that will make you happy to go to your job every day! Learn how to land the job of your dreams by preparing a great résumé and learning about some very effective interview skills. After researching how much you will be making (your income), learn how to open up a bank account, balance your money, write checks, and fill out a direct deposit form. Learn how to make your money work for you so that you can meet life goals such as being a homeowner and saving for unexpected expenses. You will learn how to be your own hero so that you are financially independent and you do not have to rely on other people when emergencies come up. You will learn how to earn interest on your money, how to use credit cards responsibly, and what a FICO score is and how that number helps you to be able to make big purchases, such as buying a house and a car. By the end of this course, you will understand how to make your money work for you instead of you working for your money.


     Classroom or Office Aide (Requires Teacher Approval)