Arts


Forest Ridge offers a robust Arts program designed to spark new passions. Students can explore music, visual arts and emerging digital technology. Music is known to support learning in other subjects. All 5th and 6th grade students study music theory, play handbells and learn effective singing and speaking performance skills. Students in 7th and 8th grades can choose to take part in Glee and enjoy several performance and studio arts electives.

From the ceramic studio to our Digital Media Lab filled with cutting-edge technology, we have created a new kind of STEAM playground built for active imaginations.

High school offerings include unique electives such as Design Thinking and Digital Music Technology. Photography, dance and studio arts classes are also offered. Throughout the arts curriculum, students will develop their own artistic voice by embracing the creative process through experimentation, perseverance and refinement.


Middle School: 5th-8th Grade

Grade Five

Studio Art  

Fifth-grade studio art is an introduction to a variety of materials and techniques along with study of design concepts and global art history. In the fifth grade, studio art focuses on the big idea of empathy, and how artists express emotions and design pieces with other people in mind. Students work with mediums of drawing, painting, ceramics and more.

In addition to hands-on making and attention to craftsmanship, students begin to explore skills of observation and imagination. Fifth graders learn with and through mistakes, begin to make creative choices, and reflect, in order to evolve their work.

 
Music  

All fifth graders take music in the second semester.

Students learn basic voice technique, including good breathing, speaking and singing habits. The students listen to music from all the major eras of history. They also learn about the history and culture in which the music was created. Skills are put to practical use as students design and perform their spring concert.

Grade Six

Music  

All sixth graders take music during the first semester.

Students study music theory, learn to play handbells, and learn effective singing and speaking techniques. Throughout the semester, the students design, implement and perform their holiday concert. Students explore all aspects of performance from the perspectives of performer, director, producer and costume designer. The students learn how to be creative individuals within a strong ensemble. The entire class performs together in this concert in early December.

 
In the second semester, sixth-grade students choose one course from these options:  
 
Computer Programming  

This elective course is an introduction to programming. Students explore the tools to problem solve using design and testing though Python®. Python is a great starting point for programming because it is similar to giving directions in English and can be learned with relative ease. Python is also a language used by programming professionals. Students will attempt to break down broad problems into sub-problems and have the opportunity to write clear and concise projects.

 
Drama

In drama, students develop an appreciation of theater and the ability to perform through an introduction to the basic concepts and skills of acting. Through viewing and participating in performance activities, students enhance their imagination, poise and confidence.

Over the course of the semester, students explore the following topics: actor and theater vocabulary, pantomime and storytelling, vocal expression and health, as well as create and cultivate characters through improvised and scripted scenes. Students develop skills such as non-verbal communication, vocal flexibility, memorization, script scoring and collaboration on preparing a polished scene study.

Students develop their projects using coaching from their peers and their teacher. At the end of the semester, the class demonstrates their skills by performing a short, memorized scene study with a partner.

 
Studio Art

Sixth-grade Studio Art focuses on an exploration of art materials, along with an introduction to design concepts and global art history. In the sixth grade, Studio Art emphasizes the big ideas of home and the environment, and how these concepts are expressed through art-making.

Students work with a variety of techniques and materials such as drawing, ceramics, metal tooling, and watercolor painting. They also collaborate on a student designed end-of-year mural. In addition to daily hands-on art making, students critically reflect upon their creations. Sixth graders work to improve their skills of observation and imagination and begin to develop confidence in their creative choices.

Grades Seven and Eight

Fine arts classes combine seventh- and eighth-graders; students choose two of these one-semester courses. Classes may not be offered if enough students do not select that class.  
 
Ceramics

Students create both functional and decorative clay forms in this introductory course. They are introduced to the fundamentals of ceramics, including the stages of clay development: planning, construction and creation, glazing and firing. While this course emphasizes hand-building techniques, each student will also experience clay creation on the potter’s wheel. Using written reflections and art-centered conversations with peers and the teacher, students develop an understanding of form, function, texture and balance in ceramic art.

 

Computer Programming Basics

Computer Programming Basics introduces students to basic computational thinking concepts and basic programming skills.  Problem solving and teamwork are emphasized.  Students begin the semester working in teams to program our NAO® robot, Rosie, to dance or tell a story. Rosie is programmed using Choreographe®, a block-programming language, and can also be programmed using Python®.

During the second half of the semester, students study Python. They learn new skills through in-class activities and apply them during self-selected independent and group projects. Project management, record keeping and self-reflection are practiced regularly as students make use of the creative design process to turn ideas into products.

 
Drama

In Drama, students become more confident as communicators and performers. During the semester, students rehearse and perform a published monologue and break the steps of monologue performance into small, attainable goals, such as facial expressions, physical gestures, movement, eye contact and vocal expression. Each student’s preparation process includes coaching from her peers and her teacher, as well as video and audio feedback.

During the second half of the semester, each student either creates a monologue journal and develops one of her favorite entries into a refined theatrical piece, or she writes a short play in collaboration with a group. The original pieces are rehearsed and performed as a final project.

 

Graphic Design

In Graphic Design, students are introduced to the elements and skills that make good design. The semester begins with an overview of design. Students study categories of typefaces and their uses in design, and learn about the basic design principles of proximity, alignment, repetition and contrast. Students then build upon their design skills to create posters, flyers and other products combining type and images for on-campus advertising use. Students work with the programs Adobe® Photoshop®, Illustrator®, and InDesign® to create vector-based images while learning other features of the programs.

 

Introduction to Creative Writing

In this semester-long course, students unleash their creative writing voices. Expanding on the writing skills they’ve developed in their English and writing classes, students explore the writing process across a variety of creative modes. Students help construct this workshop-style course through model selection and genre prioritization.

While the course focuses on process, feedback, and iteration, it also includes publication and/or performance elements in order to share and celebrate the work of the students. Publication/performance modes may include blogs, slam-style events or participation in Write the World competitions.

 

Maker Lab: High-Tech Wearables

In Maker Lab, students develop an innovation mindset by actively engaging in open‐ended, self‐directed projects. Projects center around designing high‐tech wearables. This course is taught out of The Fabrication and Innovation Shop where the core tools of this course are available, including LilyPad® arduinos, sewing machines, an Epilog® laser cutter, leatherworking tools and Chibi® lights.

An innovation mindset is cultivated through the growth mindset practice of effortful work, the maker mindset practice of personal initiative and the team mindset of productive collaboration. Progress is measured through regular self‐reflection, peer feedback and teacher observations.

 

Public Speaking

Public speaking class helps each student develop poise and confidence when speaking to groups of people. Each project is designed to develop skills applicable to real-life communication situations. Additionally, students learn about vocal health and vocal anatomy. The projects for this class involve prepared opportunities for practicing public speaking. Planned projects may include, but are not limited to, formal introductions, reading aloud to a large audience, story-telling, dramatic monologues, debate skills and poetry recitation.

 

Studio Art
In Studio Art, students learn the skills and habits of an artist using a variety of media. Studio Art focuses on the big idea of identity over the course of the semester. After exploring the many facets of their individual identities and how these are expressed in their hopes, thoughts and daily lives, students develop this theme through ceramics, painting, photography, calligraphy ink drawing and more. In addition to hands-on art making, students ground their studio work in the larger context of art history, contemporary culture and global issues. Students study various sources of artistic inspiration, continue to build confidence in their creative choices and use feedback to refine and evolve their work. 
 
Video Production

Students learn proper camera and tripod use, as well as studying a basic understanding of frame composition and types of shots for filming. Students individually generate ideas and create script treatments and then participate in groups to create detailed storyboards for at least three film projects during the semester. Much of class time is devoted to working in small groups to film and edit these projects. Students edit using Adobe® Premiere Pro® software, learning and applying skills for capturing and cutting footage, using layers of film and audio tracks, adding transitions and credits and exporting final productions.

High School: 9th-12th Grade

Graduation Requirement: 2.0 Credits (Four Semesters); Students may choose from any of the Fine Arts courses to meet this requirement.

Music

Glee
Year-long

The Glee is a year-long, non-auditioned choir. Over the course of the year students will learn the basics of good singing, presentation skills and different genres of choral music from traditional to pop. The course is focused on building community through singing and developing good basic singing and presentation skills.

One highlight of every year is the Composer Workshop, where we prepare music of a composer we enjoy and then spend a weekend with that composer exploring their music and creative process.

Prerequisite: None
Grade level: Open to all students
Credit Earned: 0.5 Fine Arts
 
Chamber Choir
Year-long

The Chamber Choir is a year-long select, auditioned choir that meets three days a week during zero hour and approximately once a month after school or on a Saturday. Chamber Choir is a musical ambassador for the school which performs outside of school and tours every other year. Choir members will have an advanced sense of pitch and musicality and be able to learn advanced choral repertoire independently, as well as to commit to our rehearsal and performance schedule.

Prerequisite: None; Audition Required
Grade level: Open to all students
Credit Earned: 0.5 Fine Arts
 
Beginning Handbells
Year-long

Students learn basic music reading and ensemble skills in the context of preparing music for performance, covering a variety of musical styles. Class includes one evening concert each Semester as well as participation in liturgies and school assemblies. Maximum class size of 22.

Handbells is currently a zero-hour class, meeting before school.

Prerequisite: none
Grade level: Open to all students
Credit Earned: 0.5 Fine Arts
 
Advanced Handbells
Year-long

Students increase their music reading and performance skills while expanding into areas such as conducting, arranging and concert planning. In addition to one on-campus evening concert each Semester, this class includes several off-campus performances as well as participation in liturgies and school assemblies. Maximum class size of 14.

Handbells is currently a zero-hour class, meeting before school.

Prerequisite: One year of experience playing handbells
OR significant experience on another musical instrument.
Grade level: Open to all students
Credit Earned: 0.5 Fine Arts
 
Digital Music Technology
One Semester

This course includes hands-on exploration of music technology, including synthesizers, digital audio software, and virtual studio technology. Basic music theory concepts and compositional techniques are covered as well. Students will end the class with a portfolio of multimedia examples they have created. This class makes use of the Digital Media Lab.

Prerequisite: None; previous musical experience is helpful, but not required.
Grade level: Open to all students
Credit Earned: 0.5 Fine Arts

Performing Arts

Theater Arts Production

High School Theater and its participants have helped shape our society throughout history. The theater program is designed to challenge, excite, empower, ignite and celebrate girls as they delve into the art of being human.

Why theater at Forest Ridge? Girls explore the following in this program: how empathy changes the world, personal expression, public presentation skills, the power of storytelling, time management, communication skills, trust with self and others, diligence, generosity of spirit, acting technique, vocal technique, dance technique and much more. All students are invited to participate in this ever-evolving program. There are three main projects a year, allowing those with multiple interests to choose a season that works for them.

High School Drama Production is a currently an after-school activity at Forest Ridge.

Prerequisite: None; Audition required
Grade level: Open to all students
Credit Earned: 0.5 Fine Arts;
students eligible to receive once during High School, awarded after the first show for performers only

 

Rhetoric
One Semester

This course presents a unique opportunity for intensive practice and development of oral presentation and academic writing skills. Students work to create meaning and knowledge through writing and speaking as they negotiate issues of language, culture, and power.

This workshop-type course explores and develops presentation skills for students through projects that include, but are not limited to: debate, impromptu speaking, oration and civil discourse, mock interviews and tools for cross cultural dialog. While the teacher will provide exercises and projects, students work towards meeting their own goals, and evaluation is based on growth. Students may earn credit for either a Fine Arts class or an English elective.

Prerequisite: None
Grade level: 10, 11, 12
Credit Earned: 0.5 Fine Arts

Dance

Dance: Technique
One Semester

This class is offered in alternate years. It will not be offered in 2019-20. It will be offered again in the 2020-21 school year.

Students in this course experience multiple forms of dance through their history, movement vocabulary and works of choreography. Forms may include Modern/Contemporary, Ballet, Hip Hop, West African and others. While exploring these forms, students develop confidence, body awareness, and performance skills, and have opportunities to choreograph their own works.

The material in Dance: Technique is suitable for students with any level of previous dance experience or none, from first-time beginners to advanced dancers! This course satisfies the prior dance experience prerequisite to choreograph for DanceFest.

Prerequisite: None
Grade level: 10, 11, 12
Credit Earned: 0.5 Fine Arts or PE

 

Dance: The Creative Process
One Semester

This class is offered in alternate years. It will be offered in the 2019-2020 school year.

Students in this course experience multiple forms of dance through an exploration of the creative process. Over the semester, students build foundational skills in choreography using movement vocabulary from Modern/Contemporary, Hip-Hop, Jazz and other forms of dance. Students develop confidence in movement improvisation and create short solo works, big group dances and everything in between!

No prior dance experience necessary; the material can be tailored to any level of dance background. This course satisfies the prior dance experience prerequisite to choreograph for DanceFest. 

Prerequisite: None
Grade level: 10, 11, 12
Credit Earned: 0.5 Fine Arts or PE

Studio Art

Drawing and Painting I

One Semester

This course is open to all students who want to explore various drawing and painting mediums like pencil, pen, charcoal, scratchboard, paint, pastels and watercolor, and understand when and where those mediums and techniques were used in art history. By the end of this course, students will know how to successfully implement shadows by blending values, utilize the grid-transfer, mix colors, add texture and more.  Maximum class size of 18 students.

Prerequisite: None
Grade level: Open to all students
Credit Earned: 0.5 Fine Arts

 

Drawing and Painting II
One Semester

Students will extend and cultivate their understanding and development of various drawing and painting mediums and techniques in this one-semester course. Students will focus on creating a thematic concentration to their work while incorporating personal meaning to their work.  Maximum class size of 18 students.

Prerequisite: Drawing and Painting I
Grade level: Open to all students
Credit Earned: 0.5 Fine Arts

 

Studio Art I
Year-long

Open to juniors and seniors who have previously taken a studio art course and who have passed a portfolio review. This course is designed for high-level art students who can work independently, are critical and creative thinkers and are considering a further pursuit of art at a higher academic level. Students build a portfolio through exploring creative concepts and by utilizing a sketchbook, through researching artists and various techniques and by understanding and implementing themes and personal meaning into their artwork.

Prerequisite: Previous studio art course and portfolio review
Grade Level: 11, 12
Credit Earned: 1.0 Fine Arts

 

Design Thinking I
One Semester

This semester long course is an introductory course to the visual arts. This course is open to all students who want to explore the elements of art and the principles of design through two- and three-dimensional art making. Students experience drawing, painting, graphics, printmaking and sculpture, and learn more about their world by studying the many art worlds in which artists engage.

Prerequisite: None
Grade level: Open to all students
Credit Earned: 0.5 Fine Arts

 

Design Thinking II
One Semester

This semester class offers students the opportunity to delve deeper into the art making processes explored in Design Thinking I. Students generate and conceptualize artistic ideas, adding to their art-making skills with a variety of art mediums. There is an added component of art and design utilizing the Forest Ridge Shop, with projects using the laser and vinyl cutters, 3D printing and more. Students learn about artists throughout history and about the art of contemporary artists.   

Prerequisite: Design Thinking I
Grade level: Open to all students
Credit Earned: 0.5 Fine Arts
 
Digital Photography and Design I
One Semester

This semester long course combines principles of digital photography and imaging with elements of graphic design. Students begin by exploring essential aspects of digital photography:  What is aperture? Shutter speed? ISO? White Balance? Light Meter? How is Photoshop® used to effectively edit photos?

This first part of the course focuses on basic camera mechanics and the development of compositional skills. Students learn photo editing techniques utilizing Lightroom® and Photoshop®. With basic photography skills firmly in place, students then begin an exploration of graphic design with a focus on typography, illustration and color theory. The course culminates in a short project that combines all these skills.

This course requires students to have a digital single lens reflex camera which allows students to have manual control over aperture and shutter speed. Cell phone cameras are not acceptable.

Prerequisite: None
Grade level: Open to all students
Credit Earned: 0.5 Fine Arts

 

Digital Photography and Design II
One Semester

This semester long course extends the skills learned in Digital Photography and Design I. The class is organized around design challenges that allow students to experiment with more advanced photography skills such as long exposures and double exposures. Likewise, students deepen their understanding of Photoshop® with projects that focus on advanced compositing skills. These design challenges will also give students opportunities to explore more advanced aspects of graphic design such as sequence, visual hierarchy, grouping and symbol recognition. Students are assessed through the development of a portfolio developed throughout the semester.

This course requires students to have a digital single lens reflex camera which allows students to have manual control over aperture and shutter speed. Cell phone cameras are not acceptable.

Prerequisite: Digital Photography and Design I
Grade level: Open to all students
Credit Earned: 0.5 Fine Arts
 
Ceramics I
One Semester

This course introduces the student to several different methods of hand-building and wheel work. All ware is fired and glazed and put on display throughout the school. Students also learn to work with several different types of clay and glazes. Maximum class size of 12 students.

Prerequisite: None
Grade level: Open to all students
Credit Earned: 0.5 Fine Arts
 
Ceramics II
One Semester

Ceramics II expands on knowledge learned in Ceramics I. While assignments are given to students, it is up to them to tailor the assignments to fit whatever ceramic method they choose. Ceramics II students are required to plan each project, establish benchmarks and goals and track their progress in a workbook. Maximum class size of 12 students.

Prerequisite: Ceramics I, or permission of instructor after a portfolio review.
Grade level: Open to all students
Credit Earned: 0.5 Fine Arts