Day and Boarding; Grades 6-12

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Arts

Graduation requirement: 1 credit

The multidisciplinary Arts program at Pennington connects students to humanity through hands-on projects that foster inquiry, curiosity, correlation, response, and analysis. Students can expect to create original works of art in both visual and performance courses. Our highly skilled and passionate Arts teachers guide students through creative processes to think critically, to connect to and create story, to identify and participate in human commonalities, as well as to make sense of and express their understanding of the world.

Drama

Drama I: Scene Study; Grades 9–12

Drama I: Scene Study
Grades 9–12
.5 credit
Open to all Upper School students, this semester course explores basic elements of theatre such as character, plot, improvisation, design, movement/blocking, and stage geography. Students will explore naturalistic acting techniques such as emotional and sense memory, as well as the practice of incorporating action and beats into scene work and monologues. Improvisation will be stressed as students move toward analyzing scripts and mounting scenes. Students work alone, in pairs, and in small groups, and their studies include a performance project based on a decade of theatre history and notable works by American playwrights.
Offered fall semester

Drama I: Shakespeare; Grades 9–12

Drama I: Shakespeare
Grades 9–12
.5 credit
Open to all Upper School students, this semester course explores basic elements of theatre such as character, plot, improvisation, design, movement/blocking, and stage geography. Students will explore the life of William Shakespeare and a few of his works. The focus is on performing sonnets, monologues, and scenes. Students learn textual, vocal, and physical acting techniques to aid them in the understanding and staging of the works of Shakespeare. Students work alone, in pairs, and in small groups, and their studies include a final performance piece.
Offered spring semester

Drama II: Acting; Grades 10–12

Drama II: Acting*
Grades 10–12
.5 credit
Drama II: Acting is a semester-long advanced course that focuses on advanced acting techniques and habits of mind. By becoming familiar with improvisation through specific character exploration, students are prepared to enter scene work with an open-minded approach to their character development. Improvisation and advanced performance techniques are applied to monologue work and scene work. Verbatim theatre and devising performance techniques are also explored. Students will give a presentation on a particular actor and his or her craft. The class functions as an ensemble, with each student essential to the success of the whole class. Drama II is for students who wish to pursue theatre at Pennington and beyond.
*Prerequisite: Drama I or permission of the instructor
*Successful completion of this course also satisfies the required .25 Public Speaking credit.
Offered fall semester

Drama II: Directing; Grades 10–12

Drama II: Directing*
Grades 10–12
.5 credit
Drama II: Directing is a semester advanced course that focuses on the directing process for first-time director. The course focuses on crafting a director’s vision, mastering The Viewpoints (a language of movement and timing for directors and actors to use in rehearsal), and designing a production. Each student will direct a final scene using their classmates as actors. The class functions as an ensemble, with each student essential to the success of the whole class. Drama II: Directing is for students who wish to pursue Pennington theatre projects such as directing the Spring Play, or continued study beyond their high school years.
*Prerequisite: Drama I or permission of the instructor
Offered spring semester

Senior Seminar in Drama I; Grade 12

Senior Seminar in Drama I*
Grade 12
.5 credit
This semester course prepares the graduating senior for study and work in the world of theatre. After reviewing theatre history around the world, students begin to narrow their focus on their future in theatre. Students interested in acting learn skills to aid them in the audition process and prepare two contrasting monologues or songs. Technical theatre students work on building and preparing a portfolio for college submission and review. All students complete a portfolio of their written and directing work. Work begins on the creation of the Spring Play, and the first written draft of that production is completed by the semester’s end.
*Prerequisite: Drama II or permission of the instructor
Offered fall semester

Senior Seminar in Drama II; Grade 12

Senior Seminar in Drama II *
Grade 12
.5 credit
This second-semester course is geared toward the creation of the Upper School Spring Play. Students will take charge of the writing, direction, design, marketing, and production of the show. In addition, students also reflect on and refine their own process as theatre artists.
*Prerequisite: Senior Seminar in Drama I or permission of the instructor
Offered spring semester

Music

The Pennington School Chorus; Grades 9–12

The Pennington School Chorus
Grades 9–12
.5 credit
Chorus is a yearlong, twice-weekly course open to all students interested in singing and performing. Collaboration and camaraderie, as well as healthy voice use and singing techniques, are taught as the foundation of good choral sound. A broad range of contemporary, classical, and popular music is taught and performed. The Chorus has a performance schedule both outside and within the School community. Students enrolled in Chorus are eligible to audition for the School’s select vocal ensemble, Pennington Singers.

Drum and Marimba Ensemble; ​Grades 9–12

Drum and Marimba Ensemble
Grades 9–12
.5 credit
This semester course is open to all Upper School students who would like to create, learn, and perform music on drums, rattles, bells, and marimbas. No previous music experience is necessary. A wide range of music from around the world will be learned while students learn to read and write rhythms, improve drumming techniques, and enjoy ensemble participation. Increase your focus, expand your creativity, and use rhythm to relieve stress and express yourself!
Offered fall or spring semester

Music I: Music Technology; Grades 9–12

Music I: Music Technology*
Grades 9–12
.5 credit
Music Technology is a semester course in which students develop technological literacy of both electronic and acoustic music using our state of the art performance and recording studio. This course introduces the students to historical and recent trends in electronic music and recording technology, focusing on a hands-on approach using the computer for music production.
*Successful completion of this course also garners Technology credit
Offered fall and spring semesters

Rhythm of the Sacred; Grades 11-12

Rhythm of the Sacred*
Grades 11-12
.5 credit
This semester course explores how music has been a powerful and essential part of religious experience in various parts of the world. Major world religions such as Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, and Sikhism will be covered. Students will have the opportunity to do in-depth music research on a religious culture of their choice, or on a musical element that exists in more than one tradition (such as drumming, vocals, etc.). Understanding of musical style will be enhanced by listening to recordings and the performance of music on a variety of instruments.
*Prerequisite: Religion in America.
*Successful completion of this course also garners Religion credit.
Offered fall and spring semesters

Music II: Music Theory; Grades 10–12

Music II: Music Theory*
Grades 10–12
.5 credit
In this semester course, students learn terminology and structures needed for writing and performing music. Through the keyboard, listening, and sight-singing, students learn notation, scales, intervals, chords, modes, progressions, and analysis of all styles of music. This course serves as a prerequisite for Advanced Placement Music Theory.
*Prerequisite: Music I
Offered fall or spring semester

Music Composition I; Grades 9–12

Music Composition I*
Grades 9–12
.5 credit
In this semester course, students gain insight into the underlying workings of music and develop their musicianship as they manipulate the various elements of music into compositions. Students listen to, analyze, compose, and perform compositions.
*Prerequisite: Permission of the department
Offered fall semester

AP Music Theory; Grades 11–12

AP Music Theory*
Grades 11–12
1 credit
This yearlong, college-level course focuses on comprehensive musicianship, integrating melody, harmony, rhythm, form, analysis, and composition in tonal harmony, history, and style. Students are introduced to tonal harmony, realizing figured bass in four parts, harmonizing soprano melodies, harmonic dictation, analysis, and sight-singing.
*Prerequisite: Music II: Music Theory

Visual Arts

Art I: Drawing Foundations; Grades 9–12

Art I: Drawing Foundations
Grades 9–12
.5 credit
This course is a semester-long study of the techniques and intellectual understanding of creating strong compositions and the sensation of depth on a two-dimensional surface. It is a time for students to use their hands and eyes to sincerely observe the world around them in order to create images that are grounded and realistic. Students will learn the principles and elements of art through creating compositions with pencil, charcoal, and Conté crayon. Students will learn a variety of drawing approaches including, but not limited to, gesture drawing, blind contour studies, visual measuring, negative space observation, blocking-in, and chiaroscuro. This foundation-level course provides ample opportunity for students to develop the following habits of mind: perseverance, confidence in expression, quality craftsmanship, and critical thinking. Students who wish to pursue AP Studio Art: Drawing are required to take this course.
Offered fall semester

Art II: Color and Design; Grades 9–12

Art II: Color and Design*
Grades 9–12
.5 credit
This is a semester-long course designed for the student who has a sincere interest in two-dimensional design. The focus is on the use of art as a visual language through deliberate manipulation of design concepts: color, composition, line, shape, balance, contrast, and pattern. Students learn more advanced rendering techniques in first dry and then wet media, with the goal of creating the illusion of space. This intermediate-level course provides ample opportunity for students to expand on their already developed habits of perseverance, confidence in expression, quality craftsmanship, and critical thinking. Students who wish to pursue AP Studio Art: 2D Design are required to take this course.
*Prerequisite: Art I
Offered fall semester

Art III: Art Studio; Grades 10–12

Art III: Art Studio*
Grades 10–12
.5 credit
Art III is a semester-long intensive study of the issues incorporated with drawing, painting, and design. This course is composed of two distinct quarters: one dealing with drawing and painting issues, the other with 2D & 3D design problems. Art III is a time for students to focus on, develop, and refine their perceptual skills and understanding of art as an experience. Students will develop and expand on their techniques and learn to integrate concept, composition, and more advanced technical skill into their work. Students will produce portfolio-ready works of art, for either college applications or pre-AP course work. An experience sketchbook is maintained for daily doodling and reflecting. Students are also required to play a primary role in exhibiting artwork throughout the school year.
*Prerequisite: Art II: Color and Design
Offered fall and spring semesters

Art IV; Grades 10–12

Art IV*
Grades 1012
.5 credit
Art IV is a semester-long intensive study, created for those students moving on to the Advanced Placement Studio Art course. This advanced course covers the issues incorporated with drawing, painting, and design. It comprises two distinct quarters. The first quarter is one in which the students start to carve out the direction in which they want to do further study: drawing or design. The second quarter is composed of exploring and producing work for the pre-AP portfolio. Art IV is a time for students to focus, develop, and refine their perceptual skills and understanding of all aspects of art as an experience. Students will develop and expand on their techniques and learn to integrate concept, composition, and more advanced technical skill into their work. Students will produce portfolio-ready works of art, for both their college applications and pre-AP course work. An experience sketchbook is maintained for daily doodling and reflecting. Students are also required to play a primary role in exhibiting artwork throughout the school year.

*Prerequisite: Art III: Art Studio
Offered fall and spring semesters

AP Studio Art; Grades 11–12

AP Studio Art*
Grades 11–12
1 credit
AP Studio Art is a yearlong course devoted to the student’s completion of a body of work of personal exploration and growth. Emphasis is upon the refinement of individual expression and the student’s ability to make personal connections to his or her work through theme-based lessons. Students should express interest and desire to independently set goals, solve problems, and evaluate and revise their work. Students are expected to submit a portfolio for the AP examination, which may include 2D Design, 3D Design, or Drawing portfolios.
*Prerequisite: Art IV and permission of the department

Modern American History and Art: Context and Creation; Grade 11

Modern American History and Art: Context and Creation*
Grade 11
.5 credit

Where do artists find inspiration for their work? How does the work of artists reflect the culture and society in which it was created? This course will explore United States history and American experience through the lens of visual art. Students will encounter the unique expression of U.S. politics, ideology, and social and technological change conveyed from a variety of notable artists. Visual and interpretive literacy skills will be developed as students create their own artwork that reflects the themes and styles of these artists, produce sketchbook discoveries, deliver describe-interpret-evaluate speeches, and write short papers. Close reading of excerpts from various primary and secondary documents will be used to provide historical context for each image. A field trip to a local art museum or similar experience is planned.
Offered spring semester
*Prerequisite: Any Art course
*Successful completion of this course also garners History elective credit.

Ceramics I; Grades 9–12

Ceramics I
Grades 9–12
.5 credit
In Ceramics I students are empowered to design and craft objects from raw malleable clay into finished, functional objects. Employing both their hands and minds, students will create objects inspired by personal context and the study of contemporary craftspeople. Each student will learn a variety of hand-building techniques as well as learn how to use the potter’s wheel.
Offered fall and spring semesters

Ceramics II; Grades 10–12

Ceramics II*
Grades 10–12
.5 credit
This semester course is designed for students who have a sincere interest in pursuing clay as a craft and an artistic medium. Students will answer both technical and conceptual problems in clay. There is a focus on the potter’s wheel, giving students the opportunity to hone their skills on this global tool. Students will learn about surface treatments, including slip trailing, and practice advanced glazing techniques. Students who wish to pursue AP Studio Art: 3D Design are required to take this class.
*Prerequisite: Ceramics I
Offered fall and spring semesters

Ceramics III; Grades 11–12

Ceramics III*
Grades 11–12
.5 credit
In this semester course, through a student-centered approach, students will build upon skills and principles taught during Ceramics II, as well as explore symbolism, metaphor, and the technical properties of clay. Moreover, students will continue to find connections and create original works of art that speak to each student’s personal narrative. This advanced level course provides ample opportunity for students to develop a portfolio of work that can be used in the college application process--regardless of major. Students who wish to pursue AP Studio Art: 3D Design are required to take this class.
*Prerequisite: Ceramics II
Offered fall semester

Photography I: Foundations; Grades 9–12

Photography I: Foundations
Grades 9–12
.5 credit
In this semester course, basic concepts in handling the 35mm camera, film development, and darkroom techniques are introduced to the student. Students will learn the principles and elements of art through assignments in in-house and studio lighting from set-up through production, as well as investigations into perspective and space in architectural settings, in and around campus, as well as outside of school. As students learn how to handle the 35mm camera, emphasis will be placed on learning how to evaluate negatives more critically and to alter exposure and development of film to produce better negatives while fine-tuning their printing skills. Along with the 35mm camera, students will also explore lens-less captured imagery through the use of pinhole cameras and photograms. This class also includes an introduction to Photoshop, an image-editing application. Students will learn to scan black-and-white prints, save, size, adjust contrast, and apply a duotone for printing. Along with technical skills, students engage the aesthetics of photography through critiques, presentations, and written assignments. Print finishing and photographic presentation are important aspects of the class, as are craftsmanship, effort, and timeliness.
Offered fall and spring semesters

Photography II: Digital Imaging; Grades 9–12

Photography II: Digital Imaging*
Grades 9–12
.5 credit
In this semester course, students are introduced to the creative and critical use of digital photography and digital image-making. Students create images with 35mm cameras using color and black-and-white film, as well as with digital point-and-shoot cameras, digital SLR cameras, smart phones, and flatbed scanners. Once images are captured and catalogued, students learn to retouch, color balance, enlarge, and crop their images. They also learn to color black-and-white images and create photomontages. Special attention will be paid to image resolution, color fidelity, and printing output. Along with learning the fundamentals of digital imaging, additional emphasis will be given to its historical context, through readings, online research, and class discussions. Assessment of student performance will be based on completion of assignments, effort, and timeliness.
*Prerequisite: Photography I
*Successful completion of this course also garners Technology credit.
Offered fall and spring semesters

Photography III; Grades 11-12

Photography III*
Grades 11-12
.5 credit
In this semester course, students delve further into the history of photography and the meaning of images in cultural context as well as continue to improve technical understanding and craftsmanship. Students may work in traditional, experimental, and conceptual processes depending on their skill level, investigating infrared film, pinhole cameras, medium and large format cameras, as well as apply advanced aesthetic considerations to making and viewing images. At this level, it is expected that the student can work independently, setting goals, solving problems, and evaluating and revising their work.
*Prerequisite: Photography II
Offered fall or spring semester

Digital Visual Arts

Video Production I; Grades 9–12

Video Production I
Grades 9–12
.5 credit
In this foundations class, students learn the basic skill of video production, enabling them to move on to the higher-level video production class. Using the School’s Macintosh lab, students learn the digital non-linear editing software Final Cut Pro. They learn and demonstrate mastery of camera controls by using high-definition digital video cameras. Students explore editing concepts covering topics such as shots, continuity editing, 180 rule, master shot sequence, direction match, eye-line match, and, finally, parallel action/crosscutting. Projects include a movie about any inanimate object, such as a water bottle, a rock, or even a late pass. The goal of this activity is for the student to think visually and get the audience to empathize with the inanimate object. Students will also create and analyze a poetry or music video.
Offered fall and spring semesters

Video Production II; Grades 9–12

Video Production II*
Grades 9–12
.5 credit
In Video Production II students learn story structure and screenwriting. They go through the process of writing a screenplay treatment and a four-to-five-page screenplay. After each student pitches his or her story to the class, the class will choose a screenplay to produce. As a collaborative team, students will produce the movie, and then each student will write a reflective paper based on his or her production journal.
*Prerequisite: Video Production I
Offered fall and spring semesters

Video Production III; Grades 10–12

Video Production III*
Grades 10–12
.5 credit
This course aims to develop in students the skills necessary to achieve creative and critical independence in their knowledge, experience, and enjoyment of film. Students will learn to view movies and television more critically. At the end of the first semester, students present a textual analysis of a film. In the second semester, each student will write a screenplay treatment and a six-to-seven-page screenplay, and then will pitch the story to the class. The class will select and produce a short movie. Each student will assume and be assessed in one of the following production roles: director, editor, cinematographer, or field sound mixer. The students will create a sixty-second trailer for the movie, and each will write a reflective paper based on his or her production journal.
*Prerequisite: Video Production II
Offered fall or spring semester