Elective Department Courses

The Elective Department at John Muir offers a wide variety of enrichment programs that serve to help develop the student’‘s knowledge and skills.

There are programs in:Elective

  • Computers
  • Leadership
  • Digital Music
  • Drafting
  • Junior Engineering
  • Art
  • Spanish
  • Technology TA


Link to California Visual and Performing Arts Content Standards
Link to California Foreign Language Framework
Link to National Educational Technology Standards


Click the Read More link below for a full description of the elective programs.


Industrial Arts

Drafting • Grade Level: 7-8 • Course Length: 1 semester
Drafting is an introductory course in Industrial Arts.  Major areas of instruction include measurement, lettering, use of drafting equipment, sketching, pictorials, graphic enlargement, two and three view drawings, and introduction to computer assisted drafting ( CAD ).  Students will also build projects in the wood shop and be exposed to careers in industry.

Junior Engineering • Grade Level:  8 • Course Length: 1 year
• Prerequisite: Drafting •
Junior Engineering builds on information the students learned in Introduction to Drafting. During the first semester students will design, draw and then build a model of a 1400 Square Foot Vacation Home.  Board and CAD techniques for Architectural drawings are explained. During the second semester students will design, draw, build and race CO2 powered cars.  They will also design, draw and build other projects as time permits.  These projects may include Lighter than Air Balloons, Bridges or Paper Structures.  The Balloons are flown and the Bridges and Paper Structures are tested to destruction.  Careers in industry/trades and Engineering are discussed.



Introduction to Computers • Grade Level: 6-7-8 • Course Length: Semester
Introduction to Computers focuses on on introducing the various medias available for students to produce multi media projects..  This course is project-based and hands-on.  The content of this course is designed for students to explore the aspects of combining text, digital photographs, video, graphics, sound, and animation to create digital media that seek to inform, enlighten, empower and entertain.  Students can expect to experiment with a variety of software applications, digital media, and to create computer-based projects.  All exploration and creation will be rooted in the practice of Planning, Producing, and Publishing quality, finished work.

Computers: Advanced Multimedia • Grade Level: 8 • Course Length: 1 year
• Prerequisite: Introduction to Computers •
The Advanced Multimedia Computers course is a year long exploration in computer graphics and multimedia design.  This course is project-based and hands-on.  Students enrolled in this course can expect to create digital movies and documentaries, work with digital cameras, scanners and photo imaging software, create interactive presentations, work with music and be introduced to web-page design.  During the course students will propose and plan their projects, create their projects and then present their projects in a variety of ways.  This process, the “Plan, Produce and Publish” process, guides students in the creation of quality work and what it means to be an author in the digital world.


Digital Music

Beginning Digital Music • Grade Level: 6-7-8 • Course Length:  1 Semester
This course is designed to introduce students to the basic concepts and principles of music.  Students will listen to, study, and create different types of music. Musical instruments, music composition, and song form and structure are studied.  Students apply what they learn by using the computer and the GarageBand music sequencing software to compose and arrange several original songs.  Students will also learn how to write song lyrics and publish their songs in a variety of ways.

Advanced Digital Music • Grade Level: 7-8 • Course Length:  1 Year
• Prerequisite: Beginning Digital Music •
This course is designed to further the student’s understanding of the fundamental concepts and principals of music and its role in the media. Students will study various forms of music and principals of music theory. Students apply their knowledge by composing world music and symphony music, develop advanced original musical compositions, create podcasts, write song lyrics, create soundtracks for movies, and develop music videos.  Students also explore careers related to the music field.



Leadership 1:  Skills and Practices • Grade Level: 6-7-8 • Course Length: Semester
This class is designed for those students who have an interest in developing their leadership skills while building assets in the school community.  Students will study models of leadership, plan fun school activities, organize school service projects and have a chance to run for school-wide office.  They will plan ways to recognize students and staff for their achievements.  Our goal is to make our school community a place where everybody feels safe, respected and important. Students can only take this course once.



Introduction to Art • Grade Level: 6-7-8 • Course Length:  Semester
The content of this course will focus on developing design and composition skills.  Drawing and perception skills will be developed through a variety of instructional activities.  Students will use a variety of art media such as pencil, charcoal, oil pastel, tempera, and watercolor.  The curriculum covers theory of the elements of design and the principles of composition.  Various schools of art, styles, and artists are discussed.  Students are encouraged to exercise self-expression in their art, learn the relationship of drawing and painting to other art forms and receive an overview of careers in art and other related fields.  Students will develop critical assessment skills by applying what they learn to self and peer evaluation of their art projects.  In addition, selected student work may be selected to go on display on campus or in the community.

Advanced Art • Grade Level: 7-8 • Course Length:  Year Long:
• Prerequisite: Introduction to Art •
This class is a hands-on studio art course that combines art making with the history of art.  Students will have the opportunity to develop and expand their art skills.  Students in this class can expect to use a variety of art materials and media to create exciting and unique projects that reflect traditional art forms from around the world, including the United States.  Other world cultures to be explored include those from Africa, Central and South America, Asia, and the ancient empires Europe. We will also study how art plays an important role in the economic survival, cultural pride, and historical significance of the cultures of the world.  Most importantly, students will have the opportunity to complete many beautiful projects using 2-D and 3-D processes.  In addition, some of your work may be selected to go on display on the Muir campus.



Introduction to Spanish • Grade Level:  7-8 • Course Length: Semester
This one-semester elective course is designed to introduce students to beginning conversation, reading, and writing in Spanish for those who are novices in the language.  Students gain the skills to undertake successful foreign language study in high school.  The class is highly interactive and student centered, with units focused on the family, school, food, and leisure activities.  Students also have the opportunity to experience Hispanic culture and history through simple literature, video, and hands-on artistic projects.  Get prepared for high school, become bilingual, and join the global society!

Spanish H.E. • Grade Level:  8 • Course Length: Year Long
Spanish is the third most common spoken language in the world today.  Fluency in world languages is pivotal in gaining acceptance to university and future employment opportunities.  Spanish 8th, High School Equivalent, offers students who have successfully completed Intro to Spanish the chance to earn 10 units of high school credit in foreign language by exam.  Students acquire large amounts of everyday vocabulary, learn to use present and past tense, and become proficient at writing elementary compositions.  Class activities help students gain fluency in conversational Spanish adequate for travel abroad.  They experience Hispanic history and culture through readings, video, dramatization and art activities.  Have fun, learn to communicate with the world, and earn high school credit!



Technology TA • Grade Level:  8 • Course Length:  1 year
During this course, students are trained to operate all types of campus technology, troubleshoot computer problems and related technology equipment, fix computers and support teachers, students and staff in their use of the technology on campus.  Students enrolled in this course will spend their time assisting teachers in classrooms, supporting staff and students, troubleshooting technology, and performing other duties as they relate to Help Desk Technology.



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