The Arts program at Rodeph Sholom provides our students opportunities to experiment and produce work in a safe and nurturing environment where they are encouraged to be curious, take risks, and learn from their mistakes. Through process and creation, RSS students develop the skills to be creative thinkers, capable of reflection and solving problems. Students work individually as well as collaboratively in an artistic medium which includes studio and digital art, drama, and music. Our goal is to instill love and appreciation of artistic expression as well as curiosity and personal growth. To provide middle school students with a broad variety of art classes, they cycle through a different art discipline each trimester. By the time students reach 8th Grade, they have a breadth of experience and are able to select two, year-long arts electives that allow them to concentrate on a specific art. In addition to the regular curriculum, students may elect to join an art or music club, participate in the middle school musical and play, as well as be a part of advanced band. Additionally, after school instrumental lessons, taught by professionals from the symphonic and Broadway community, complement our program as do a variety of instrumental ensembles. RSS student work and performances are highlighted at the end of school year annual Arts Festival.
This advanced course offers students an in-depth study of acting. Students focus on character analysis, monologue, and scene study incorporating the physical and vocal techniques taught in previous courses. In addition, the class seeks to enhance the student’s enjoyment and understanding of the theatrical experience as students examine the components of theatre, as well as its history and how audiences view theater today. Activities include warm-ups, games, exercises, solo and partner performances, improvisation, written work, and media.
Digital Arts: 3D Modeling and Graphic Design
In this year-long 8th Grade Digital Arts class, students begin advancing their skills in three-dimensional design. They are introduced to computer modeling and graphic design, and encouraged to use collaborative, and creative skills. During the first trimester, students begin to use Tinkercad, a web-based design program that allows users to create 3D designs that can be 3D printed or used in computer modeling. The students learn how to create a twenty-sided die with specific dimensions to familiarize themselves with the tools. Then, as their primary project, students are asked to recreate an iconic building from a city skyline, to illustrate their understanding of the tools and core design concepts.
8th Grade music focuses on voice. Students are tasked with completing a number of projects that grow in complexity through the school year. They begin the class by recording their voices, separating each word, and forming a word collage that explores the various effects and mixing tools offered in Garageband. Then, they are given a choice of three contemporary pop songs, which they put into GarageBand, chop up, loop, and add their own elements to in order to produce an original piece of music. We call this the "Find the Loop" project, and once students find their loop, they combine the songs into one composite song and create a music video for their peers to enjoy during the talent show
In 8th Grade, students are given the opportunity to choose two out of five arts electives for the year. Two of those electives are studio art classes, and in each of those courses, they create pieces using a variety of mediums. While the classes cover specific topics, the students are given the freedom to create with fewer restrictions on materials than they have had in the past. They choose their mediums and work through their ideas one-on-one with their teachers. In previous years, classes have used recyclable material and created personal history sculptures and paintings with old or broken articles collected from home and at school. Classes have also delved into puppetry and crafts from around the world. These year-long courses culminate with presentations of student work at the all school arts festival in May.