Issaquah Middle School
2023-24 Course Descriptions
Core classes are designed to support and challenge students. Students are required to take a full-year of Language Arts, Social Studies, Math and Science at each grade level. Advanced and accelerated options are available to students in Language Arts, Math and Science and placement in these courses is done using an informed self-select model.
ADDITIONAL REQUIRED CLASSES
- Homeroom – This 25-minute 1st period class, students transition to their school day. Students complete SEL (Social Emotional Learning) lessons, hear about IMS school news and ASB activities, learn and practice good work habits and initiative, and more! It is also a time for silent reading, studying and homework.
- Health and PE – 7th and 8th grade students are required to take one trimester of Health and two trimesters of PE each year. 6th graders take one trimester of Health and one trimester of PE. 8th grade students may be eligible to take Independent Health and PE 8 outside of their school day. Information about Independent Health and PE 8 can be found in the year-long elective section of this course guide and on the district website.
HIGH SCHOOL CREDIT CLASSES – IMPORTANT, PLEASE NOTE
High school level courses (Algebra 1, Geometry, Biology, ASL, Spanish 1, Japanese 1) taken in middle school will automatically be added to the student’s high school transcript and the grade will be factored into the high school GPA. This will impact students who choose to start in Math 1/2 or CC7/8 in grade 6, choose pathway 2 in Science, or choose to take Spanish 1 or Japanese 1 in grade 8. Students can request to have these credits removed completely from their high school transcript. Students should consult with their high school counselor to make this request, which must be done no later than the end of their junior year of high school. Please note that once the grades and/or credits are deleted from the high school transcript, the grade and credit cannot be added back and will permanently be excluded from the student’s grade point average.
6th Grade Electives
- Beginning Band – This class is for students who are interested in learning to play a traditional band instrument such as flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, French horn, trombone, tuba or percussion. No prior music experience is necessary. This class will establish a foundation for students in the field of music. Students will explore the beginning elements of reading music, proper playing techniques, proper practice techniques, instrument care and maintenance. Beginning Band will be divided into two classes; Brass and Woodwinds. Instrument is required for each student and typically available to rent from a local music store or from IMS. Daily practice and participation in concerts are required and are part of the student’s grade.
- 6th Grade Chorus – For students who love to sing! Or, who want to learn how! In this class, grade students sing in 2 parts and by the end of the year advance to some 3-part singing. Through the study of vocal technique, music theory, rehearsals, and performances of a wide variety of choral literature (including pop, jazz, blues, folk, multi-cultural and classical), students grow in musicality. Evening school performances occur in each trimester and concert attendance is required. Students are also eligible to participate in the Eastshore Solo/Ensemble Festival. A positive attitude is the key for success in this class.
- Beginning Orchestra – Orchestra is for students who wish to develop their skills with string instruments such as violin, viola, cello and double bass. No previous experience is required. In this year-long class, students will explore a myriad of skills needed in Orchestra including; beginning elements of reading music, caring and maintaining your instrument and proper playing and practice technique. Students are required to have an instrument which can typically be rented from a music store or the school and should be willing to commit to daily practice. Participation in concerts is required and is part of the students’ grade in the course.
- Exploratory 6 – This elective option consists of 3 single-trimester electives; Introduction to Leadership, Art Exploratory and STEM Sampler.
- Introduction to Leadership – This classes focuses on the foundational elements of leadership on both an individual and community level. In this class of individual leadership skills, students will learn and practice skills that are essential for success at the secondary level: ways to study, use of a planner, staying organized, note taking and other executive functioning skills. Community leadership skills are also honed as students are taught how to get involved in school beyond the classroom and the walls of IMS itself. Students will learn such things as what to expect in middle school outside of the classroom, welcoming new students at lunch, the importance of kindness and how to embody the “IMS Way” as well as how they can help our community and world through charitable acts and philanthropy.
- Art Exploratory – 6th grade art exploratory will be an introduction to the three core IMS art classes with 4 weeks devoted to a sampling of each class: Studio art – a drawing and painting class, 3D Art – a sculpture class and digital photography – an introduction to photography and Photoshop.
- STEM Sampler – In this exploratory class, 6th graders will be introduced to pre-engineering, coding, and digital media concepts and will design and create projects in our school technology lab. For students who are interested in hands-on, real-life projects, this course will be a great introduction if they wish to expand their knowledge or go onto more advanced CTE electives in grade 7 and 8.
7th and 8th Grade Electives
Year-long Music Electives
These electives are scheduled around your child’s core and other required classes. Every attempt will be made to honor elective choices however some courses may not fit in your child’s schedule and therefore, cannot be guaranteed.
Intermediate Band – This class is for students who have completed Beginning Band or any student with prior experience playing a traditional band instrument. The majority of students in this class will be in the 7th grade. The focus of the class will be on more advanced elements of reading music, continued reinforcement of proper playing techniques, as well as introducing more advanced concert literature. An instrument is required for each student and typically available to rent from a local music store or from IMS. Daily practice and participation in concerts are required and are part of the student’s grade.
Concert Band – This class is for students who have completed both Beginning and Intermediate Band or who have significant prior experience on their instrument. The majority of students in this class will be in the 8th grade. Focus is placed on advanced instrument techniques, and preparing students to play advanced band literature. The Concert Band will perform at the Eastshore Region Music Festival in the spring. An instrument is required for each student and typically available to rent from a local music store or from IMS. Daily practice and participation in concerts are required and are part of the student’s grade.
7th and 8th Grade Chorus – The Bass Clefs (Boys) or The Treble Clefs (Girls) – For students who love to sing! Or, who want to learn how! Seventh and eighth grade students will sing in 4 parts. Through the study of vocal technique, music theory, rehearsals, and performances of a wide variety of choral literature (pop, jazz, blues, folk, multi-cultural, and classical) students will continue to grow in musicality. Concerts include evening school performances and the Eastshore League’s Choral Festival. Concert attendance is required. Students are also eligible to participate in the Eastshore Solo/Ensemble Festival. Every other year, this advanced Chorus class has taken a trip (along with the advanced Band and Orchestra students) to perform at Silverwood’s Music in the Park Festival (where they always come is first!) Eighth grade Chorus students may also audition to sing in Crystal Voices (see description below). A positive attitude is the key for success in this class.
Crystal Voices Program Description – Crystal Voices is an advanced choir selected by audition. This group specializes in a cappella singing and performs for special events throughout the community. Members must be in 7th/8th Grade Chorus. Crystal Voices provides an opportunity for advanced singers to excel.
Intermediate Orchestra – This class is designed for students who wish to progress to a higher level of performance on their stringed instrument. The majority of students in this class will be in the 7th grade but any student who has completed Beginning Orchestra or has prior experience with a stringed instrument is welcome to sign up for this course. The focus of the class will be developing expressive and technical skills needed to understand and perform a more advanced variety of music. Students are required to have an instrument which can typically be rented from a music store or the school and should be willing to commit to daily practice. Participation in concerts is required and is part of the students’ grade in the course.
Chamber Orchestra – This class is for students who have completed both Beginning and Intermediate Orchestra or who have significant prior experience with their stringed instrument. This class will be made up of primarily 8th grade students. Students will learn advanced techniques preparing them to play more advanced music. Students are required to have an instrument which can typically be rented from a music store or the school and should be willing to commit to daily practice. Participation in concerts is required and is part of the students’ grade in the course.
WORLD LANGUAGE (8th grade only)
It is strongly recommended that students taking World Language in 8th grade have a B average in 7th grade Language Arts(for Spanish 1 or a C average for American Sign Language. Students should have excellent study habits, and be willing to commit to additional daily homework. Course will cover vocabulary, conversation and composition. Students who successfully complete World Language in 8th grade will be prepared to take level 2 in grade 9. Note: World Language course offerings are dependent on instructor availability and are subject to change. The grade earned will be included on the student’s high school transcript – see information above under High School Credit Classes.
- Spanish 1 – This class builds novice and intermediate skills of listening, reading, writing and speaking the Spanish language, the second most commonly spoken language in the United States. Students will be required to memorize vocabulary for accuracy and long-term retention. They will learn and apply new grammatical concepts and demonstrate competence with learned concepts in reading and writing as they apply newly learned vocabulary and conventions. They will develop listening and speaking as they use interpersonal, interpretive and presentational modes of communication. Through readings, video, music and art, students will develop an understanding of the cultural practices and perspectives of Spanish-speaking countries.
- Japanese 1 – Japanese 1 is a year-long course that provides an introduction to the spoken and written language of Japan. Students develop listening and speaking skills and are introduced to elementary grammar. Students learn hiragana, katakana and some basic kanji. Emphasis is on understanding the culture embedded in the language. Good attendance is essential and listening and speaking skills depend on class participation. The class contains a lot of in-class activities, pair work, fun projects, and some crafts.
ASB – SOUND TECHNICIANS (DMQ) – YEARBOOK
Admission to the class is by application only and is based on student election results and teacher appointment. Information about how to apply will be available in late spring. If elected or appointed students will become part of the yearlong hybrid ASB/Sound Technician/Yearbook class. Some students may have to drop other electives OR sign up for the Independent Health and PE 8 Option (this option is only available to grade 8). The Registrar will contact you to discuss a schedule change.
ASB – Students become an active member of our ASB school community. Use and grow your social, artistic, technology and leadership skills as you collaborate to plan engaging activities for IMS students including assemblies, spirit days, fundraisers, the talent show and more.
Sound Technician (DMQ) – Yearbook– Working collaboratively in production groups, students will bring daily news and information to students and staff at IMS, take and edit pictures to capture important moments at IMS, write captions to describe photographs and help create the yearbook pages. Students will learn composition, angle, lighting and leans while using video cameras and a variety of software including Sony Vegas Movie Studio, Visual Communicator and Adobe Photoshop. Students in this class will:
Plan and evaluate their own work.
Enhance imagination and creativity.
Use drama as a means of confidently expressing their worldview and developing their personal “voice."
INDEPENDENT HEALTH AND PE 8 (8th grade only)
Students wishing to take two full-year electives must obtain a health credit outside of the school day and fulfill a Physical Education class requirement. Full-year electives that qualify for this option are Band, Chorus, and Orchestra (providing this is not the student’s first year in a music elective) and World Language. Elected ASB officers and appointed Sound Technicians are also eligible. Students choosing this option will pay a course fee of $130 in the fall and will be issued a Health textbook. Complete Independent Health and PE information.
7th and 8th Grade Trimester Electives
Trimester electives are determined by student interest and staffing. Therefore, final elective offerings are NOT guaranteed. In addition, trimester electives must fit around required classes and may not work in the student’s schedule. In this instance, the elective will be replaced by a different elective.
- Arts & Crafts – This elective is perfect for students who like to work in many different artistic areas. In this craft-oriented class, students will explore a variety of craft techniques and materials. Projects may include the use of sewing, textiles and papier Mache.
- Automation and Robotics (STEM) – Students in this class will trace the history, development, and influence of automation and robotics. You will learn about mechanical systems and different types of mechanisms, energy transfer, machine automation and computer programming of robotic systems. Students will use robust robotics kits to design, build and program robotic solutions to solve existing problems. Each kit contains over 1800 parts that the students will use to build their robotics projects from scratch. This class has a $15.00 fee
- Backyard Forest – Explore the flora, fauna, and geology of the Issaquah Alps and learn about backcountry survival, through classroom activities and hands-on exploration. As part of the course, students visit Cougar Mountain and Tradition Lake Plateau, with a final hike being a 6.5-mile journey to the top of Poo Poo Point. Backyard Forest is one of many educational-but-fun electives students can participate in, here at IMS!
- Board Games – Get your game face on! Come learn and play classic and modern board games, games from around the world, and even create your own! Release your creative, strategic, cooperative, and competitive self as we explore what it means to play.
- Design and Modeling (STEM) – In this elective class, students will be introduced to the design process and will use it to solve problems and understand the influence that creative and innovative design has on our lives. Students will learn to use industry standard 3D modeling software (AutoDesk Inventor Professional) to create virtual models of their designs. 3D printers will be used on some projects. Student will save their work in an electronic portfolio to showcase their creative solutions. There are many hands-on activities in this course that supplement the use of the computer modeling software. This class has a $15.00 fee..
- Digital Photography – Using digital cameras, students will learn about composition, angle, lighting and lens. Students will make a digital portfolio to demonstrate use of these four basic rules for taking pictures. Students will use Adobe Photoshop to modify their digital photos, and photos taken from the internet. This class has a supply fee.
- Drawing & Painting – This trimester elective is offered to students who have a desire to learn the fundamental skills of drawing and painting.
- Intro to Drama – This fun trimester elective is for students with no experience as well as students who have previously been involved in theater. Students will build social skills, confidence and the ability to work collaboratively while experimenting with different acting styles and using various creative drama techniques including improv, monologues, turning classic stories into plays, and more.
- Peer Tutor – This course is for students who like to work with peers that need extra help in academics and social skills. You will be working in the LRC2 class or in an elective or PE supporting your peers with their assignments or participating in physical education. If you truly want to help your fellow IMS peers that need a little extra help, this course is for you! This course requires good attendance, organizational and people skills.
- Study Hall –The study hall elective gives students a dedicated period to complete class and/or make-up work, prepare for exams, or complete projects with general assistance from the teacher as needed. Students taking this elective are expected to come to class with the necessary materials and ready to meet their goals for the day.
- TA – Teacher (Note: Students may be assigned to the office, library or classroom and must be willing to work where assigned).
- Office – This responsible job includes assisting students, parents and staff in person and over the phone, making deliveries rain or shine, and helping with various office duties as directed. You will be expected to act in a professional manner and maintain confidentiality at all times.
- Library – TAs are responsible for many day-to-day tasks in the library. These include: checking books in and out, shelving books, making sure shelves are in order, printing overdue notices, making deliveries, processing new books and magazines and straightening and cleaning. In short, it’s like having a job, but instead of a paycheck you get a grade.
- Teacher –This responsible job involves helping a classroom teacher with a variety of tasks as directed.
- Team Sports – This advanced Physical Education elective is designed to provide opportunities to acquire strategies and skills in a variety of non-traditional team sports from around the globe. Student in this class are generally highly competitive. Rules, techniques, sportsmanship, cooperative learning and safety practices, necessary to participate in selected team sports will be included. Maintenance and/or improvement of personal fitness will also be stressed.
- 3D Art – Students will create 3-deminsional art using a variety of materials including clay, gourds, textiles and “found” objects.
- Walking Fitness – In this elective, the class will utilize local trails as a way to improve overall fitness. In addition to hiking, students will work toward increasing cardiorespiratory and endurance fitness.
- Yoga – This elective will introduce students to the basic postures, breathing techniques, and relaxation methods of yoga. Students will experience the benefits of stretching, moving, and breathing to relieve stress and learn to relax and enhance daily life.
- Intro to Zoology – Students will learn about the major ecosystems on Earth and how animals have adapted to their environments. They will also learn how to distinguish animals from other organisms and describe the structure and function of the animal body.
ACADEMIC SUPPORT CLASSES – Enrollment in these classes is based on teacher and counselor input.
- Read 180 – Read 180 is a yearlong, multi-faceted class that gets students reading, writing, speaking and thinking critically in all content areas. The foundational curriculum of this class is research-based and proven to raise reading achievement for middle school students. While using highly engaging fiction and non-fiction texts, students will work on developing their skills in decoding, spelling, vocabulary development, comprehension and fluency. This support class requires teacher and counselor input.
- Study Skills – In this yearlong class, students are guided through developing study skills to improve academic and work performance. They are provided instructions (through mini-lessons) on topics such as time management, organization, memory, self-advocacy, reading, writing, note taking, critical thinking, test taking and researching. Students have the opportunity to work with adults (teacher, para) to better understand their homework assignments and challenging concepts. This is for students who need academic or organizational help, not just quiet work time. This support class requires teacher and counselor input.