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Feb. 26, 2013

5 electives to take before graduating

by Aanchal Johri, Online Editor-in-Chief
Course selection for the 2013-2014 school year is fully underway. Nearly every day during lunch time, students crowd Blair's counseling office, waiting to talk to their counselors regarding their current and future classes.

Despite the overwhelming difficulty some students have in selecting only seven or eight classes, there are a few additional classes that students wish were taught at Blair. Senior Rachel Darko wishes a personal finance course was offered at Blair. "A class that could help kids learn how to manage money, save up and prioritize their needs would be useful, especially for kids who are starting jobs or going off to college soon," Darko said. Freshman Deandre Holloway would like to have taken a freestyle music class. "There's not much you can do if you like to sing or rap," he said.

As one of the largest schools in the Montgomery County, Blair offers a wide range of elective courses, many of which are not offered at other high schools. Before you turn in your registration cards, consider these electives that are only offered at Blair for your schedule next year.

World Drumming

Students learn to preform with various percussion instruments in World Drumming. Courtesy of MBHS
Students learn to preform with various percussion instruments in World Drumming.
This new course is a great asset to Blair's stellar music department. In this class, students will learn to play a variety of percussion instruments from Africa and other parts of the world. They will learn the importance of these instruments in culture and there will likely be a few performance opportunities during the semester as well.

Learn more about this course from Mr. Stephens at Adam_R_Stephens@mcpsmd.org.

Global Issues

If you love to travel, learn about foreign affairs or debate problem solving strategies, this class is for you. The course is largely discussion based and allows students to research independently to learn about how current global events all fit in with central themes such as immigration and world trade. Students will have the opportunity to watch movies that highlight key aspects of human psychology. Afterwards, they examine different societies around the world and how major issues affect them differently.

Contact Mr. Moose at Paul_K_Moose@mcpsmd.org for more information.

Literature as Film

It's often frustrating to watch a movie that "ruins" the book by leaving out details or distorting your imagination of the characters. In this class, students get to compare the books to their movie adaptions and analyze what the directors changed and why. As a culminating project, students will get into groups and create their stories that they turn into movie scripts and eventually films.

To find out more, talk to Mr. Horne at Michael_J_Horne@mcpsmd.org.

Latin

Many students begin taking a foreign language in middle school and continue learning the same language in high school. However, it is never too late to pick up a new language, especially one that will give you a better grasp of English. Spanish and French, the two most common languages taken at Blair, both were derived from Latin, making it easy for students to see how many cognates these languages have. Enjoy learning an ancient language and impress your friends with your extended vocabulary, which is guaranteed to grow after learning all of those Latin roots.

Contact Mr. Johnson at Robert_W_JohnsonIII@mcpsmd.org for more details

Marine Biology

While the other biology classes at Blair do not devote much time to the ocean, this hands-on class deviates from the typical science class by focusing in on oceanography. Through lab work and research, learn about ocean life, marine animals and their distinctive ecosystems. Take care of real turtles and go on field trips to the Baltimore Aquarium and Natural History Museum. The class also stretches from the history of oceanography to what the future entails with the rise of human pollution to marine ecosystems.

Email Ms. Duval at Elizabeth_G_Duval@mcpsmd.org to learn more.

Regardless, with the expansive variety in course subjects and fabulous new course offerings, there is a high chance that you will be wishing that you could take more than seven or eight classes a semester. Read over the class titles in the course booklet and learn more about the ones that sound intriguing. Go for the ones you truly are interested in and avoid taking classes just because your friends signed up for them. Look into courses you normally would not have signed up for - you may realize that you have a hidden talent or interest.



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  • Wise Senior on February 27, 2013 at 10:38 PM
    Peace Studies (Mr. Freeman) and International Human Rights (Ms. Manuel) are also excellent as are Entomology (Ms. Duval) and Material Science (Mr. Kaluta and Mr. Fowler)
  • dontdoit on February 28, 2013 at 12:47 PM
    DO NOT TAKE LATIN.
    WHATEVER YOU DO, DO NOT TAKE LATIN.

    It is an awful class which I thought would help me with SAT vocabulary and such, but it has not. We focus much more on the grammar, which is useless and superfluous. Multiple quizes everyday, on average two tests a week, suprise summatives, tests on information we were never introduced to/ were told to study
    • DON'T TAKE LATIN on March 1, 2013 at 10:46 AM
      TRUE
  • drum guy on March 2, 2013 at 5:12 PM
    Take world drumming. Mr. Stephens is a great teacher. It is a class with a chill atmosphere, and no previous musical experience is needed. Drumming is simple, and becomes really fun really quickly.
  • wise on March 2, 2013 at 9:47 PM
    take lit as film! Horne is the best and the class if fun!
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