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The Octagon

School adds new humanities, law electives

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(Photo used by permission of Creative Commons)
Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. speaks during The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on Aug. 28, 1963.

Are you interested in the environment, science, civil rights, acting or poetry? If so, there might be a new elective for you.

The high school will add five new electives in the 2017-18 school year: Constitutional Law; Environmental Science; The Long Civil Rights Movement; Performance: Advanced Acting and Competitive Poetry; and Playwriting for Performance.

Performance: Advanced Acting and Competitive Poetry will be taught by drama teacher Brian Frishman.

The class is separated into two sections: acting and poetry. Students may participate in either.

Frishman said that students  participating in the acting section will practice scenes that are more difficult than they are used to doing and work on unfamiliar character types in order to improve their acting skills.

In the poetry section, students will write and recite original poems for slam poetry performances. They will rehearse and perform poems from the Poetry Out Loud competition list as practice.

“Poetry Out Loud is a great way to become a better speaker as you must use your voice to convey atmosphere, meaning, attitude, emotion, humor and dramatic interpretation – all with limited physical interpretation,” Frishman said.

He said that these factors make the elective a really good class for students who don’t speak English as their native language.

Frishman will also be teaching Playwriting for Performance, in the second semester.

In this elective students will work individually or in small groups to learn dialogue techniques, character development, theme, scenes and story arc of a play.

 The play that the students create will be produced during the 2018-19 school year.

(Photo used by permission of Creative Commons)
A representative from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization uses a color comparison chart to determine the pH of a soil sample.

Constitutional Law and Environmental Science will both be taught by chemistry teacher Victoria Conner, a Widener University Law School graduate.

Conner said that she wanted to teach these new electives because “they are both subjects that impact students here every day whether they realize it or not.”

According to Conner, the Constitutional Law elective will focus on what a constitutional issue is and what the Constitution actually is and says.

“We’ll also look at the amendments, especially the Bill of Rights, and (how) court cases have helped shape the rule of law,” said Conner.

The main thing that Conner would like her students to learn in this elective is the basic structure of what a government is, such as what each (governmental) branch is capable of doing, along with what (the student’s) rights are.

Conner’s Environmental Science elective will cover the actual science, such as soil and water testing, to the human impact on the environment, including laws and regulations regarding what people can do to the environment.

Conner said that she wants her students to think about how they “fit into the environment and what impact they might have on it, both positive and negative, trying to turn it more toward the positive.”

The Long Civil Rights Movement will be taught by incoming history teacher Damany Fisher, and will be a year-long elective.

By David Situ

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