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6th Grade Electives

Semester Courses

Art I
Art students will work on two-dimensional projects in drawing and painting using pencil, pastel, color pencil, pen and ink, tempera paints and more. Students will be evaluated according to effort and attitude. 

Computer Graphics
It's art on the computer! Learn to paint, draw, and animate using software that digital artists and graphic designers use. Students will use Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop to create their own works of art, make art mashups, and edit photographs. Students will also have a unit of digital photography and will use their own photographs in class projects.

This hands-on class fosters innovative thinking by allowing students to tinker and to use their creativity to solve problems. Students engage in a variety of activities, sharing various materials, tools, and resources. Students seek solutions to problems that may arise in making their prototypes, collaborate to improve their plans, and work to complete their projects. 

In this inquiry-based and hands-on course, students are introduced to the field of robotics using the Lego Mindstorms EV3 program which integrates computer science and engineering. Using skills learned in math, science, and through observation, students work in teams to build machines and to complete a variety of challenges. Students will also gain skills in project management, time management, resource sharing, teamwork, problem solving, systems analysis, and communication.

Students will explore clay techniques and art expression through a series of introductory clay hand-building projects.  The class will also work with paper maché and be introduced to pottery. Students will be evaluated according to effort and attitude. Students may repeat this course and will receive new, advanced projects.


Video Production
This beginning video class explores today's vast media scene with an emphasis on doing. Students will learn camera and television operations. Post production will be introduced including computer editing. The students will work alone and in groups for scripting, performance, and criticism. Basic television acting will be introduced with awareness of the unique qualities of TV as a medium for drama. Access to a video camera is helpful.  Students will also work to produce KOIS broadcast. KOIS is Orinda Intermediate School's broadcast for school announcements. Students learn visual storytelling, nonfiction writing, public speaking, news gathering, and the basics of journalism.

Students will learn basic principles of woodworking including proper use and care of hand and power tools. Students will also learn shop math, measuring, and reading plans. Students will complete assigned projects designed to introduce various tools and processes. Emphasis is placed on safety, responsibility, and cooperation.

Full-Year Courses

Bulldog Band
The OIS Bulldog Band is open to students in Grade 6. This course is best suited for students who have at least one year of musical experience on their instrument and are able to read music. Instruction includes the fundamentals of ensemble playing, i.e., technique and tone quality. Students will perform a wide variety of music at assemblies and school concerts.

The focus of sixth grade chorus will be singing, building upon current music reading skills for choral competitions, concerts, and learning to be complete musicians. Choristers will learn to sing in 2-part and 3-part Harmony, and will perform a variety of repertoire at OIS concerts, performances in the community, and CMEA competition. First semester will be dedicated to seasonal and other classical music. Second semester will be a combination of Pop and Broadway music, along with folk and classical music in preparation for choral competitions. No prior experience is necessary for a student to participate in Chorus.

Spanish 1A
Learn to speak in a new language the very first day of school – emphasis is on speaking and conversation. Students will learn to speak Spanish to friends and family about topics of interest to adolescents such as school, hobbies, food, eating, weather, and more. In addition, students will apply their learning through culturally appropriate art projects, music and games, and they will learn to appreciate their cultural studies through food tasting, videos, and the celebration of certain holidays.  Please note: This is an academically rigorous course that is recommended for 7th graders.

The String Orchestra is open to violin, viola, cello, and bass students in Grades 6/7/8. This course is best suited for students who have at least one year of study experience and can read music. This performance-oriented ensemble performs a wide variety of music at assemblies, concerts, and community events.