Electives are semester-long classes which meet on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons for 90 minutes each, 2:30-4pm.


3D Design, Teacher: Johnny Walker

3D design is all around us but most of it is invisible. We use spoons, shoes, cell phones, paper clips, toothbrushes, apartment buildings, ink pens, coffee tables, couches, highways… but we seldom stop to consider that all of these things were designed by someone. Each of these things was created only when someone noticed that there was a need in the world and then devised a way to meet that need. When we take the time to consider the process of designing and making a thing we become more conscious consumers and better makers ourselves. To be a good designer you have to learn to observe, question, investigate, and respond to the conditions in the world around you. These skills are best developed through practice so in 3D Design we will design and create every day. This will allow us to learn about the elements and principles of 3D design through their application. We will learn about the relationship between materials and form through model making and building. For the first three quarters of this class you will work on assigned projects. In the last quarter of the class you will create your own parameters for a final project and develop it to its fruition. The goal of this class is to teach you the design-build process and to make you more aware and appreciative of how good design helps to make the world better.

2D Art & Design, Teacher: Katy Horan

This course will expose students to the elements of two-dimensional art and design through the exploration of a variety of media and techniques including drawing and painting. These design concepts will be used as a foundation for exploration; once students know and understand the basic rules of design, they are encouraged to strategically follow or ignore them to achieve their artistic vision. Students will learn a basic level of art history and contemporary art, and will be encouraged to reflect on the type of art that resonates with them personally. Students will be challenged through a series of projects to fully develop their concepts and implement all relevant design elements in each piece of work. On the due date of every project, there will be a class critique where students are expected to share their process with their peers. Above all else, students will be taught to explore their personal expression and discover new ways of seeing and connecting through art-making.

AP Computer Science A, Teacher: Dee Chapman

AP Computer Science A is an advanced course in which students will discover how to apply programming skills to solve real-world and socially relevant problems. Students will explore the impacts of computing on their lives and develop foundational computing skills that are essential for their future coursework and careers. This is a year-long commitment and this class also meets during a Wednesday workshop.

Creative Writing, Teacher: Patricia Marquez

Students will learn the fundamentals and creative processes of three genres: fictional prose, poetry, and screenwriting. We will hold traditional writing workshops and every student will receive the opportunity to have one or more writing pieces per genre workshopped by peers. We’ll read short stories, poems, and song lyrics, and examine short film scripts to help inspire the imagination while also exploring structure, format, character development, narrative voice, tone, imagery, and meaning. Special emphasis will be placed on the writing process and plentiful feedback from instructor and peers will serve to boost student motivation and hone skills in crafting personally enriching, original writing pieces.

Designing Interior Spaces, Teacher: Erin Greganti

How do you see into the future? Design it! Design is highly influential in all tiers of humanity. The way a space functions can have potential to promote or prohibit the growth of a society. We will explore how interior design affects our everyday lives and learn the foundational tools for a designer of interiors. We’ll cover the introductory skills of interior designers and apply those skills to an array of hands-on projects, including, but not limited to: taking, reading, and applying dimensions of physical spaces, and drawing and rendering to scale floor plans, elevations, and perspectives. Ultimately, we’ll embark on a 3D project to incorporate and test all the newly acquired experiences.

Foundations of Music, Teacher: Kyle Clayton

This course is designed to teach students the language of music. Students will develop skills in music theory and ear training through a variety of written, aural, and hands-on exercises and assignments. Students will study notation, rhythm, pitch, melody, chords, scales, and other fundamentals. Students will also learn beginner piano, using it to contextualize the concepts we cover. This course will equip students to write their own music and help them become more effective, capable musicians, while giving music appreciators a deeper understanding of the music they enjoy. By the end of this course, students will be able to create and recognize a variety of rhythms, melodies, and chords (orally/aurally, on the piano, and through notation), accurately convey musical ideas, and read simple chord charts and sheet music. **This class is a prerequisite for both House Band and Advanced Composition & Music Theory.

Game Design, Teacher: Sean Eads

In this elective, students will gain a general understanding of video game design and game development using Unity. New students can expect to learn the foundations of the Unity editor and writing code in C# to create their first game. Returning students can expect to expand their Game Design knowledge by tackling new concepts, prototyping more challenging games, and acting as mentors. We will explore further topics as they pertain to game genres and student creations. This class will serve as a foundation for a more advanced Game Design class in the spring. No prior experience with programming is necessary to take this course. Students should have a laptop that is compatible with the latest versions of free software Unity (2021.3.3) and Visual Studio.

House Band, Teachers: Ryan Young & Akina Adderley

Prerequisites: Foundations of Music and either Music Performance Ensemble or Guitar & Bass Ensemble, or teacher approval (based on assessment). This elective is designed for experienced, advanced music students interested in playing music in a band setting. House Band is a “show band,” and as such, rehearses, polishes, and performs covers of contemporary and modern songs of various genres (and occasionally originals). Class meetings are generally for group rehearsal, so students are REQUIRED to practice their individual parts outside of class time. Students will be expected to participate in a few performances both on and off campus (approximately two per semester), representing the vibrant spirit of our school community. Additionally, some amount of recording may be part of students’ work. Prospective new members are required to AUDITION, and students will be selected based on a variety of factors including reliability, skill level, experience, and ability to collaborate.

Photography, Teacher: Alison Eden

Students will learn or refresh their knowledge of the basics of using a DSLR or mirrorless camera with manual settings. Topics include exposure control and ISO, shutter speed, aperture, depth of field and an introduction to editing and processing images using the Adobe Photography CC software. Through photo assignments and critique sessions, students will explore both technical and aesthetic aspects of photography. The class will include off-site trips for shooting. A personal laptop, a digital SLR camera, and Adobe Photoshop CC are required (monthly Photoshop Creative Cloud subscription is $9.99/month). This class is for beginners or intermediate students who want to refresh their skills. PLEASE NOTE: a DSLR camera and Photoshop are required for this class. Please check with your parents before you sign up because if you do not own a camera, you will need to procure one.

Publications, Teacher: Adam Soto

Following standard as well as innovative industry practices, students will launch a web/print literary arts & culture publication for Griffin School. Participants will fulfill duties as editors, staff writers, graphic designers, podcasters, and content creators. On our website and in the pages of our magazine, we will publish student, faculty, and community fiction, poetry, visual art, journalism, reviews, and cultural criticism. We’ll learn from industry professionals techniques in selecting pieces, editing them for publication, and supporting them with beautiful design and an interactive social media presence. Editorial staff meetings will help bolster a healthy and inclusive community based on creativity and collaboration.

Theatre: Postwar American Theatre, Teacher: Robin Grace Soto

“You will only fail to learn if you do not learn from failing.” ― Stella Adler, The Art of Acting. During the fall semester, actors will explore the Postwar American Theatre: Expressive Realism Movement. Using techniques developed by Stella Adler in her book The Art of Acting, actors will study the elements of Expressive Realism in performance. Actors will participate in close table readings, script analysis, and character work using the works of American Realism playwrights Arthur Miller, Lorraine Hansberry, and Tennessee Williams. Actors will keep a classroom notebook and prepare scene work and design presentations to be shared during the Fall Arts Showcase. Prerequisite: Theatre: Contemporary Play Performance, Theatre: Naturalistic Movement, The Actor’s Workshop, or teacher approval based on an assessment interview. This elective is designed for experienced theatre students interested in public performance work, ensemble building, and developing a personal craft.