- Fine Arts
- Health/Physical Education
- History/Social Science
- World Languages
- Course Request Form
In Seventh Grade English, students read to improve their critical thinking skills and knowledge of how culture and history affect character (and vice-versa) through the following texts: Young Samurai, the Way of the Warrior; The Outsiders; To Kill a Mockingbird; Other Words for Home; Reading the World (various short stories, poems, and essays from across the globe); The Girl Who Drank the Moon; and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Students further develop their skills and ability to analyze text through monthly outside reading and by writing their own stories and essays. In addition, students participate in various hands-on, creative group projects throughout the year to stimulate curiosity and enhance real-world “soft” skills like cooperation and leadership. The course also includes online grammar instruction through IXL and “live” grammar learning via competitive editing games; students are expected to demonstrate the results of this learning in their own writing, with standards “tightening” as the year progresses.
Debate (Year-long Elective)
Students enrolled in Speech and Debate are members of The Altamont Speech and Debate Team and are required to compete in at least 3 tournaments during the course of the year. Students will join the National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA) and have the opportunity to compete in the areas of Public Forum and Lincoln Douglas Debate and in the following individual Speech events: dramatic interpretation, humorous interpretation, program oral interpretation, and extemporaneous speaking. The Speech and Debate course functions as a workshop for practice and preparation, wherein students conduct research, write cases, and select pieces for performance. Generally, the workshops divide into a seventh and eighth grade elective and an upper school elective, though students will travel to and compete in tournaments as one Altamont Speech and Debate Team. Students may take the course throughout 7-12 grades.
Creative Writing (Year-long Elective)
The grade seven-and-eight Creative Writing elective at Altamont starts with discussion and analysis of two related questions, the answers to which will become clearer as the course progresses: Why is writing important? And what makes good writing? Students will be given or create their own stimulating writing prompts, with most class periods devoted to a rare and elusive commodity: protected writing time. With help from their teacher and from peer editors, students will produce works of creative nonfiction, short stories, opinion pieces, poetry, drama, commercial scripts, and more. We will welcome local writers into the classroom to encourage and inspire our budding artists. Students will bolster their editing and mechanics knowledge through a competitive class-versus-teacher game called “The Editing Battle.” Finally, our young writers will enter writing contests (which we frequently win), and have the opportunity to submit work to Dragon's Tooth, the Middle School’s arts and literature magazine.
Students begin to learn the basic elements of art, using a variety of techniques and media. They gain experience in printmaking, sculpture, painting, and drawing and are exposed to various art history movements and artists.
This course provides choral and vocal instruction to enrolled students. The students learn and perform choral music from all periods providing the students with the means to express themselves through singing. Specialty performances and competition groups are selected by audition from choral music students.
Students produce creative non-fiction, short stories, poetry, and drama. The students enter local and national writing contests and frequently win awards. Whenever possible, teachers welcome local writers into the classroom to encourage and inspire our budding artists. Most of the workshops are held in the computer labs, where students may easily compose, revise, and archive finished pieces. Student work is occasionally presented to small groups for peer editing. Finished products are kept on file, forming the student's portfolio, and the basis of The Dragon's Tooth and The Dragon's Toe, Altamont's creative writing publications.
Open to woodwind, brass, piano, guitar, bass, and drum set, this course will go through the basics of jazz and blues playing. The focus will be on developing proper style, music reading skills, listening skills, and improvisation. Students will follow a methods book complemented by performance pieces. No prior experience in jazz music is required; however, students must have acquired basic playing skills on their instruments. This ensemble will participate in the orchestra concerts throughout the year. Students are strongly encouraged to sign up for lessons. Due to instrumentation limitations, enrollment will be limited for guitar, bass, and drum set players.
Designed for piano, drum set, and string instruments, including violin, guitar, and bass, this course will cover a variety of styles for performance. Students will continue to develop their mastery of music through use of scales, sight-reading, and listening exercises. This ensemble will participate in the orchestra concerts throughout the year. Students are strongly encouraged to sign up for lessons.
This group is for all woodwind, brass, and percussion players. In this class, students will learn how to put together their instrument, take care of it, and play a variety of styles, pieces, and scales. Students will be required to purchase a method book for the class. This ensemble will participate in the orchestra concerts throughout the year. No prior musical experience is required. Students are strongly encouraged to sign up for lessons.
Prerequisite: An inexpensive digital camera labeled with a strap and memory card.
This course is for beginners who want a taste of excitement as they explore the many different areas of photography. Whether you like sports, food, light painting or animal portraits, this course will let you experiment with the different areas and subjects that photography offers. There will be a field trip to the Botanical Gardens to explore nature and subjects in their surroundings. No experience is needed in this course and students can participate in a photography show in the Livingston Gallery as they learn to use each person's unique visual voice.
Prerequisite: An inexpensive digital camera labeled with a strap and memory card.
For students who have had photography and those who are beginners, this course will focus on more wildly, creative, and interactive projects. Students will have the opportunity to begin the art of food photography in class. They will also have opportunities to enter photography competitions on state, national and international levels. We will take a field trip to the Birmingham Museum of Art to study the world famous photographs in their collection. Students can design the area of interest that they want to focus on this year, and also the projects that go with that focus to help have a more fun and interesting in depth experience.
Video and Theatrical Production
Photography and Theatre converge as students learn Video Production with the art of acting, lighting, backdrops and theatre production. This class for 7th/8th will be an exciting blend of the challenges of both classes learning together. Video productions will happen on and off stage as actors work with photographers for screenwriting and theatre production. This class will meet in the photography classroom at the beginning of the year but will be in the theatre, drama classroom and photo lab as different projects unfold and are presented throughout the busy year. Video cameras are provided and no experience is necessary!
This year-long course provides the student with the fundamentals of theatre through a study
of its history, literature, and design. Basic acting techniques feature oral interpretation of scripts, voice and diction, physical presentation, and improvisational theatre. An overview of the technical aspects of theatre introduces students to set, makeup, costume, lighting, and properties design as well as stage management, direction, and publicity. Reading and analysis of play scripts each month during the academic year and attendance at school productions are required.
Physical Education Program
Divided into classes by gender, these students receive instruction in the same team and individual sports and activities as in previous years. Current offerings include basketball, softball, indoor and outdoor soccer, flag football, tennis, track and field, volleyball, and ultimate Frisbee.
The course is designed for seventh and eighth grade students and will be taught in a single gender environment. A series called “Film Clips for Character Education” will be used. Various movie clips are used to present topics such as Honor, Respect, Cooperation, and Empathy. Additional exercises, games and activities will be used to completely understand each topic.
The seventh grade year involves students in an examination of physical geography and its effects upon cultural and historical development. Every region of the world is studied in terms of its topography, population, natural resources, climate patterns, and the resultant historical and socio/economic developments. Students are instructed in the proper use of maps and statistics, both of which are vital instructional tools in our upper level history courses. An analysis of current events, particularly those of environmental consequence, helps students to appreciate the symbiotic relationship between human civilization and the natural environment.
This course, building on the students’ solid foundation in arithmetic, leads them to generalize their knowledge of arithmetic processes into algebraic expressions and to use the basic vocabulary of mathematics intelligently and precisely. Areas of emphasis include reasoning, verbalizing, and problem solving, and repeated and extensive use of fractions and negative numbers. The course includes work with geometric figures, probability, data analysis, linear and non-linear functions.
Seventh and Eighth Grade Math Team (Year-long Elective)
Classes meet twice per week.
Math Team is a competitive academic activity. It exposes students to a wide variety of advanced problem-solving techniques. Team members learn to work together, helping each other in a relaxed, positive atmosphere. The math team participates in several in school math competitions throughout the year, including Mathcounts, Math Olympiad, the American Mathematics Competition through the eighth grade, and the Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi Math League as well as several Saturday offsite invitationals. Students who join Math Team must have a desire to participate in at least one offsite competition.
Integrated Life Sciences
The third science course is designed to give students the opportunity to explore life science by participating in a variety of learning activities and hands-on, inquiry-based lab experiences that stimulate critical thinking and problem solving. Emphasis is placed on constructing and testing explanations using knowledge, models and experimental evidence. The units of study include: characteristics of life; diversity of living organisms; structure and function of cells, tissues, organs, and organ systems; heredity; interdependence of organisms and their environments; and biological evolution. The course is designed to prepare students for higher intellectual engagement offered by future science courses. Participation in the annual science fair is highly encouraged and supported.
Exploring Computer Science(Year-Long Elective)
This course was developed around a framework of both computer science content and computational practice. Assignments and instruction are contextualized to be socially relevant and meaningful for diverse students. Units utilize a variety of tools/platforms, and culminate with final projects around the following topics: Programming, 3D Design, Problem Solving, Web Design, Computing and Data Analysis, and Robotics.
This first formal course instructs beginners and near-beginners in French. Progress is made in the areas of listening, reading, and writing, with an emphasis on correct spoken French. Students learn French vocabulary and grammar by engaging in personalized discussions, hearing and reading engaging stories, and writing and telling their own creative stories. By the end of the year, students are expected to achieve a novice-high proficiency level in French.
This introductory course provides the student with a solid foundation in vocabulary and grammar through selected readings and in conjunction with a formal study of grammar we will study English word formation and derivation, Classical mythology and art, the daily life of the Romans, and important people and events in Roman history.
This course is designed for beginners and near beginners in Mandarin. Like the Introductory course, students will focus on the four key areas of language skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing, with an emphasis on the last two in particular. Students are expected to quickly handle basic conversational tasks related to greeting, self-introduction, numbers, and family. Additional vocabulary themes explored in this course are countries, languages, jobs, school life, vehicles, and sports. Beyond language learning, various games, art crafts, Chinese cartoons and other projects related to Chinese culture are important components of this course.
The first formal year of Spanish instruction introduces grammar, extensive vocabulary, as well as cultural and historical information about a variety of Spanish-speaking countries. Oral and written proficiency is a goal, with audio and video clips incorporated on a regular basis in classroom instruction. This is a novice-mid level course.