English 9 Freshman English focuses on the development of the essential language skills of reading, writing, speaking, and listening. In addition to the study of grammar, vocabulary, and rhetorical modes, students are engaged in the reading and analysis of poetry, drama, and the short story. Instruction in the research process and the writing of a research paper constitute an additional element of the course.
English 10 In this course, students engage actively in the study of literature. Reading selections focus on major works of world literature such as Huckleberry Finn and Hamlet. Students will continue to hone critical reading, write analytical essays, and expand knowledge of vocabulary and grammar. The research component will involve choosing and researching a British poet of the student's choice and analyzing the poet's work.
English 11 This course focuses on major American writing with a primary emphasis on the twentieth century. The study of literature provides students with the opportunity to develop critical thinking, reading, and writing skills while analyzing such works as The Grapes of Wrath, The Sound and the Fury, short stories by, among others, Hawthorne, Fitzgerald, and Hemingway, and plays by Miller, Albee, and Williams. In addition to the regular work load, students choose one author and read five of his or her novels, as well as critical essays and biography, and then they write an in-depth paper about the major themes in his or her work.
Twelfth Grade Electives The English Department offers semester elective courses for twelfth graders. The goal of electives is to deepen students’ understanding of both traditional and modern literature. Electives also enable students to choose areas of study in which they are interested. One course each semester is designated as honors. The following courses are typical offerings:
Literature of Modern Asia, Honors Asia is an extraordinarily diverse and dynamic region, and as globalization brings the world closer together, Asia and The West are becoming increasingly connected and interdependent. The literature of modern Asia reflects the region's diversity and dynamism, and by exploring novels and short stories, non-fiction and travel narratives, as well as current events as portrayed in newspapers and magazines, the course seeks to address the question: What is modern Asia? The course will pay special attention to the nations of China, India, Japan, and Afghanistan.
World Literature Students in this course are introduced to major authors and works of world literature, including Kafka, Dostoevsky, Borges, Joyce, Woolf, Hesse, Beckett, Camus, and Kundera. Through class discussion and frequent essay writing, students learn to perfect their critical analysis of literature. Reading selections focus on both the development of new narrative forms as well as modernist themes of self-identity, alienation, human connection, and the meaning of life.
Modern Poetry Through the study of major poets and major movements as well as the close scrutiny of forms and structure, this course will give students a broad acquaintance with modern poetry. With specific emphasis on reading, writing, listening, and explication, students will develop their skills for critical thinking and careful exploration of the written word.
Nineteenth Century British Novel This course will examine the major authors from nineteenth century England, including Austen, Dickens, and Bronte. Students will be required to research the time period and give presentations in order to gain a fuller understanding of Victorian England. Weekly response papers will be assigned.
The Short Story This course will focus primarily on the American short story, covering an array of different writers, the themes connected with these authors and the corresponding time periods. It will include short stories written by women, minorities, and contemporary authors. A portion of the course will look closely at the construction of a short story and an introduction to creative writing. Students will also be required to write weekly response papers.
Shakespeare The Shakespeare course is designed to teach students those skills which will facilitate the understanding and appreciation of Shakespeare’s works. Each type of play (history, comedy, tragedy) is presented as are selected sonnets. Particular attention is paid to use of language, characterization, and the relation of these to today’s world. Extensive use of comprehension questions and topical essays and papers reinforce concepts. The exploration and discussion of different interpretations are encouraged.
Writer's Workshop The focus of this discussion-centered and writing-intensive course will be the development of each student’s personal “voice” through the exploration of contemporary intellectual and cultural trends. Students will read widely across the various outlets of contemporary culture (novels, magazines, newspapers, websites, blogs, etc.) and pursue a series of independent, self- directed writing projects with the aim of understanding, participating in, and publishing within the evolving contemporary cultural conversation. Each student will develop an individual portfolio that chronicles their intellectual journey and the development of their personal voice and style.
Spanish 1 This course is designed for students beginning the study of the Spanish language and culture. As much as possible, the course will be taught in Spanish and will immerse the students in the Spanish language. The course will emphasize reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Students will master the basic vocabulary and grammatical structures that will allow them to continue the study of Spanish at the next level. The text is Holt's Ven Conmigo, Level I.
Spanish 2 (Prerequisite: Spanish 1) This course is designed for students who have successfully completed the objectives of the first year of study. The course will be conducted primarily in Spanish. Students will review and expand their vocabulary and grammatical knowledge with increased emphasis on speaking. The text used will be Holt's Ven Conmigo, Level II.
Spanish 2 Honors (Prerequisite: Spanish I with an average of 88% and/or permission of instructor) This accelerated course is designed for highly motivated and talented students who have successfully completed the objectives of the first year of study and plan to take AP Spanish their senior year. The course will be conducted exclusively in Spanish and the use of the language in class is mandatory. Students will review and expand their vocabulary and grammatical knowledge with increased emphasis on speaking, writing, listening, and reading comprehension. The text is Realidades Level I. Students will be studying the second half of the book.
Spanish 3 (Prerequisite: Spanish II with an average of 70% and/or permission of instructor) This course is designed for students who have successfully completed the objectives of the second year of study. The course will be conducted mostly in Spanish. Students will review and expand their vocabulary and grammatical knowledge with emphasis on speaking, writing, listening and reading comprehension. The text is Realidades Level II. Students will be studying the first half of the book.
Spanish 3 Honors (Prerequisite: Spanish II honors with an average of 88% and/or permission of instructor) This accelerated course is designed for highly motivated and talented students who have successfully completed the objectives of the second year of study and plan to take AP Spanish their senior year. The course will be conducted exclusively in Spanish and the use of the language in class is mandatory. Students will review and expand their vocabulary and grammatical knowledge with increased emphasis on speaking, writing, listening and reading comprehension. The text is Realidades Level II. Students will be studying the first half of the book.
Spanish 4 (Prerequisite: Spanish 3) This course is designed for advanced students of the Spanish language. The primary means of furthering students' language skills will be through the reading and study of Latin American and Spanish literature from the 19th and 20th centuries. Genres include short stories, drama, poetry, and may also include excerpts from novels. Students will be required to research and present biographical information on each author they read. An emphasis will also be placed on major historical and political events, which may influence the various authors and literary pieces they will read throughout the year. While listening and speaking skills are emphasized, reading and writing skills take on a greater importance. The class is conducted almost exclusively in Spanish. The text used is Abriendo Paso: Lectura.
Spanish 4 Honors (Prerequisite: Spanish III honors with an average of 88% and/or permission of instructor) This accelerated course is designed for highly motivated and talented students who have successfully completed the objectives of the third year of study and plan to take AP Spanish their senior year. The course will be conducted exclusively in Spanish and the use of the language in class is mandatory. Students will review and expand their vocabulary and grammatical knowledge with increased emphasis on speaking, writing, listening and reading comprehension. The text is Realidades Level II. Students will be studying the second half of the book.
Spanish AP (Prerequisite: Spanish IV honors with an average of 88% and/or permission of instructor) The AP Spanish course is the most rigorous in the Spanish department. This course is conducted exclusively in Spanish and the use of the language in class is mandatory. The main purpose is to prepare students to take the AP exam. The exam requires a wide range of knowledge of vocabulary and a high level of fluency in the writing and oral abilities. The course is designed to help the student demonstrate his/her skills in the the following areas of communication: Interpersonal (interactive communication), interpretive (receptive communication), and oral presentation (productive communication). The text is Una vez más.
Students must understand that this class has a college course level. Thus, it requires more time, commitment and energy than any other course. In addition, the student must be prepared to spend a minimum of one extra hour everyday of the week, to do work outside of class. The student has the responsibility of meeting deadlines in all projects, homeworks, and to seek extra help if necessary.
Latin 1 This course is for beginning students. It introduces students to the study of Latin and the ancient cultures associated with the language. Students will learn basic vocabulary and the elementary grammatical structures which are the building blocks of Latin. Through selected readings, students will learn how Latin sentences communicate meaning. The text used will be Ecce Romani I, Chapters 21-40.
Latin 2 (Prerequisite: Latin 1) As a continuation of Latin 1, this course presents more complex grammatical structures and concepts. Students apply their knowledge in translating Latin authors and in identifying aspects of our culture and language which derive from Latin. The text used will be Ecce Romani I, Chapters 21-40.
Latin 2 Honors (Prerequisite Latin 1 and Permission of Instructor) This demanding course encompasses the material in Latin 2 and Latin 3 and more. It is for the more gifted and self-motivated students who wish to be ready for AP Latin in the future. The text contains for translation a great deal of original Latin by a large number of authors. The class will also read additional parts of works by Cicero, Caesar, Virgil, Ovid, Horace, Pliny and Plautus. The main text used will be Wheelock’s Latin.
Latin 3 (Prerequisite: Latin 2) This course exposes the advanced students to a wide range of authors and subjects including politics, philosophy, religion, and mythology. Comparative readings, grammar review exercises, and cumulative vocabulary study reinforce the development of language skills. Readings are taken from Aesop, Cicero, Caesar, Catullus, Phaedrus, Pliny and Martial. The basic texts used will be Ecce Romani II and Latin Readings.
Latin 3 Honors (Prerequisite Latin 2 Honors and permission of the Instructor) This course covers the last half of Wheelock's Latin, thus finishing the third and fourth year material. Additional material from Martial, Cicero, Aesop, Phaedrus, Petronius, and Horace is included in the course. Although much of Wheelock's material is from the original Latin, the emphasis shifts in the second semester from textbook Latin to Latin in the original. This class is designed to prepare students for the AP class on the next level. Consequently there is also the introduction of scansion, literary devices used by the Romans, and the writing of critical essays necessary for the AP exam. The texts used are Wheelock's Latin, 38 Stories, and Latin Readings.
Latin 4 (Prerequisite: Latin 3 or Latin 2 Honors and Permission of Instructor) This course concentrates on the special issues and concerns of Latin literature. It allows students to explore the culture through encounters with the works of Cicero, Livy, Plautus, Caesar, Virgil, Ovid, Horace and other authors. A section on medieval Latin is included. Comprehension of complex grammatical and syntactical constructions is stressed. The texts used are Latin Readings and Wheelock's Latin Reader.
AP Latin (Prerequisite: Permission of Instructor) This course is designed for advanced students who have successfully demonstrated their ability to understand and translate complex Latin. Considerable emphasis is laid on literary forms, imagery, and accurate and expressive translation. This course prepares the student for the AP exam in Latin. The AP course chosen for 2008-2009 will be Latin Literature, specifically Horace and Catullus.
Survey of Latin Literature Honors (Prerequisite: AP Latin and Permission of Instructor) This course will chronologically trace the development of Latin literature from its beginnings through medieval times. Emphasis will be placed on the development of literary techniques and conventions and their influence on subsequent literature. A large number of topics and authors will be covered in a flexible syllabus adjusted to the interests of the class.
Ancient and Medieval Worlds Designed as a course to introduce ninth graders to the study of history, Ancient and Medieval Worlds covers pre-history up to the Renaissance and encompasses the impact of politics, society, economics, and culture on man's development. Focus will also be on the role of climate, geography, trade, and religion. Students will develop the skills of researching, critical thinking, and essay writing. Readings will include the major text, atlases, and primary sources.
History of Ideas History of Ideas is a course for all sophomores and is the study of the major ideas that changed human history. Using Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything as a starting point, the course then wends its way through religion, philosophy, and eventually history. Charles Van Doren’s A History of Knowledge, The Human Record, Volumes I and II, Indian Givers, and articles from The New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, and other periodicals are all part of the study to explore the interconnection and interaction of humans and the influence of geography, trade, exploration, and revolution.
History 11 (U.S. History) The U.S. History course at Gunston is a general survey course for eleventh grade students. The course follows the narrative of U. S. history in a roughly chronological fashion from the European discovery of America to the post World War II era. It is designed to develop critical thinking, historical argumentation, and an understanding of causal relationships in the American historical narrative. Students must also learn to discern the relative importance of historical facts and develop clear, concise essay writing abilities.
AP U.S. History This course is a general survey of American history, offered to 11th grade students in preparation for the Advanced Placement Exam in U. S. History. The course follows the U. S. historical narrative from the European discovery of America to the end of the Vietnam War. It is designed to develop critical thought, historical argumentation, and a detailed understanding of the political and social development of the United States. It differs from the regular U. S. history course primarily in its quicker pace, broader scope, and more detailed examination of U. S. history.
History 12 Students are required to take American Government; electives are also offered.
American Government This one-semester course examines the foundations of the American political system including an in-depth study of the Constitution and how it functions in modern day America. Economic theory is also introduced.
Recent American History (One Semester) This course’s study begins at the end of the Second World War and continues through President Nixon’s resignation. Designed as a detailed study of turbulent times, this course is generally to be offered to twelfth grade students who have already taken the general survey in U.S. history. Students will continue to hone their skills in critical thinking and historical causation. Students will also be called upon to differentiate between images of the 1960s in film and fiction and their underlying realities.
AP European History This course is designed for seniors in preparation for the A.P. exam in European history. It covers the time period from 1450 to present. Themes include issues in intellectual and cultural history as well as politics, diplomacy, social organization, and economics. Students will be asked to understand the events underlying these themes and to analyze and interpret these events.
Media Literacy The purpose of this course is to prepare students to think critically, to be technologically skilled and deeply informed, and to become responsible creators and consumers of media. Students will learn both to deconstruct and to construct media messages in advertising, politics, war, and peace. Students will also be guided toward effective and responsible use of social media. Following Dr. David Considine’s media literacy research and instruction, students will explore the power of media messaging. Students will learn to ask and answer essential questions: Who created the message? Who is the target audience? What is the point of view? What has been left out of the message?
Psychology The psychology course is an extensive compilation of vocabulary, and insightful and critical thinking skills. The universal enduring issues are emphasized: person-situation, heredity- environment, stability-change, diversity-universality, and mind-body. Texts and books used in the course include Understanding Psychology, ninth edition, An Unquiet Mind by Kay Redfield Jamison, The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, and Psychopathology, A Case Book, by Sptizer, Skodol, Gibbon, Williams.
Applied Ethics (One Semester) This course introduces students to the foundational theories of ethics and encourages the application of these theories to the global, national, communal, and personal ethical issues and dilemmas that confront the human community. The course begins from a theoretical basis, but moves quickly to the realm of practical or applied ethics using a field-based approach.
Economics (One Semester) Students learn basic economic concepts and models, and they will apply interdisciplinary knowledge of history, math, and personal experience to better grasp these concepts. Discussion topics will be drawn from current as well as historical events.
Algebra 1/Honors Algebra 1 (Prerequisite: Pre-Algebra) Modern elementary algebra provides an introduction to the basic structure of algebra. Equations, polynomials, inequalities, and problem solving are an integral part of the curriculum. The textbook provides themes that illustrate real life applications, interdisciplinary connections, and multicultural connections.
Algebra 2/Honors Algebra 2 (Prerequisite: Algebra 1) This second-year course in algebra reviews elementary algebra and continues with a study of linear and quadratic functions, irrational and complex numbers, and trigonometry. Real life applications, interdisciplinary connections, multicultural connections, and connections within mathematics using technology are featured in the course.
Geometry/Honors Geometry (Prerequisite: Algebra 1) This course incorporates the use of spatial visualization, deductive reasoning and algebraic skills with work in the field of coordinate geometry. Postulates and theorems are studied to understand the deductive process of devising proofs. While this course emphasizes formal geometry topics, it also shows the student connections between geometry and the real world by developing multi-step thinking and logical reasoning.
Trigonometry with Applications (Prerequisite: Algebra 2 and Geometry) This one-semester course involves the study of: trigonometric and circular functions; right and oblique triangle trigonometry; graphs of the trigonometric functions; trigonometric identities and formulas; inverse trigonometric functions; and solving trigonometric equations. Graphing calculators will be used throughout the course.
Advanced Algebra (Prerequisite: Algebra 2) This one-semester course extends the student's knowledge to topics not generally covered in a traditional Algebra 2 course. The course includes the study of: variations and proportions; conic sections; systems of linear and quadratic equations; sequences and series; counting principles with probability and statistics; matrices and determinants; and exponential and logarithmic functions with applications. Graphing calculators will be used throughout this course.
Pre-Calculus (Prerequisite: Honors Algebra 2) This course builds a solid foundation of pre-calculus skills and concepts. The students develop techniques to represent real world problems as mathematical models. The topics include trigonometry, functions, polynomials, exponential functions, logarithmic functions, and conic sections. Connections within mathematics using technology are featured in the course.
Calculus (Prerequisite: Pre-Calculus and Permission of Instructor) This course is an introduction to concepts of calculus such as limits, derivatives, integrals, approximation, continuity, asymptotes and methodology of analysis of functions. The emphasis is put on the development of skills in mathematical modeling with applications in business, physical, social, and life sciences.
AP Calculus AB (Prerequisite: Pre-Calculus or Calculus) This is the first course of calculus which begins with a basic review of graphing and trigonometry, and then moves on to the fundamentals of calculus. The topics include limits, derivatives, integrals, exponential and logarithmic functions, and areas under curve. The student will be prepared to take the AP exam.
AP Calculus BC As set forth by the College Board: Calculus BC is an extension of Calculus AB and is primarily concerned with developing the students' understanding of the concepts of calculus and providing experience with its methods and applications. Topics include derivatives, integrals, limits, approximation, and applications and modeling.
Anatomy & Physiology (A Laboratory Course) Anatomy & Physiology I & II will focus on the structure and function of the human body as related to metabolism, skeletal, musculature, cardiovascular, and respiratory systems. Learn the names of various parts of the body systems (anatomy) as well as their functions (physiology). Topics are constantly applied to the latest research on the human body and its function. Both courses will use animal dissection as a means to understand and learn the necessary components of the body and its inner workings.
Anatomy and Physiology I is independent of Anatomy and Physiology II, and students may take one course or both. Anatomy and Physiology I is NOT a prerequisite of Anatomy and Physiology II. These are project and laboratory-based courses where students will acquire knowledge about the human body and actively construct and generate knowledge by interaction with each other, written text (books, magazines, newspapers, internet), graphs and data charts, pictures and video, microscopes, stethoscopes, blood pressure monitors, computers, and specimens.
Biology (A Laboratory Course) This course covers essential concepts in cell biology and chemistry, genetics, evolution, and physiology. Topics are constantly applied to the latest discoveries in disease control, genetic engineering and the human condition including discussions of the ethics of some of these new discoveries. A two period lab meets once a week. Students follow and learn the scientific approach to problem solving and develop study skills for this course and future courses in science. The student will be prepared to take the SAT II in Biology.
Honors Biology (A Laboratory Course) This course covers concepts in cell biology and chemistry, genetics, evolution, and physiology in depth. Topics are constantly applied to the latest discoveries in disease control, genetic engineering and the human condition including discussions of the ethics of some of these new discoveries. A two period lab meets once a week. Students follow and learn the scientific approach to problem solving and enhance their study skills for this course and future courses in science. The student will be prepared to take the SAT II in Biology.
Ecology of the Chesapeake Bay Students will learn about the biggest estuary in the United States and the problems that it faces. The biological and physical features of this watershed and how this can be preserved will be explored. In order to appreciate the sheer beauty of what is on their our very own doorstep , students will take a closer look at the Chesapeake Bay starting off with what it was like when Captain John Smith entered its waters in the 1600’s. Students will be able to understand an ecosystem that was and what it is today. With this understanding students will learn about the problems that the Bay is faced with today and how humans impact its health. Students will do a problem analysis of the Gunston School property and design solutions that will have long term effects on the Bay. There will also be opportunities for the students to be field and citizen scientists participating and collaborating with larger research teams.
AP Environmental Science (A Laboratory Course Prerequisite: Biology, Permission from the department) This two-semester course is equivalent to a one-semester introductory college level course in environmental science. It conforms to the standards of the College Board for AP Environmental Science. The course provides instruction in Earth systems, Earth resources, the living world, populations, land use, water use, energy resources, energy consumption, pollution, and global changes. All of these topics are taught with respect to the scientific process by having students use inquiry to identify and analyze environmental problems while critically examining solutions to resolve them or developing ways to prevent them from occurring.
Chemistry (A Laboratory Course; Prerequisite: Biology, Algebra 1) The purpose of this course is to cultivate scientific literacy in everyday life and to provide a diversity of content relevant to the environmental and medical sciences. This course teaches to the strengths of students who excel in science classes that strike a balance between qualitative and quantitative approaches. The textbook, laboratory experiments, discussions and projects incorporate topics in general, organic, and biological chemistry. A student who successfully completes the course will have strengthened his or her research, analytical and critical thinking, and communication skills.
Honors Chemistry (A Laboratory Course; Prerequisite: Biology, Algebra 1, and Permission from the department) This course is a rigorous and highly quantitative course with a dual purpose: to foster enthusiasm and appreciation for science, and to prepare the student for further study in chemistry. Critical and analytical thinking, problem solving, oral and written expression, and the development of laboratory skills are emphasized. Sample topics include atomic and electronic structure, the periodic table, stoichiometry, the mole, solutions, thermochemistry, bonding, gases, and kinetic-molecular theory. Descriptive chemistry and material science are also integrated into the course of study.
Chemistry II, Advanced This honors level, elective course covers advanced topics in general chemistry and provides an introduction to organic and biochemistry. This course gives students a basis for understanding the chemistry of living organisms. It is ideal for students considering the allied health professions and biotechnology fields. This course includes an independent research and seminar component in which students will investigate applications of organic and biochemistry and present their results to the class. The required laboratory component will utilize microscale techniques that ensure safety and minimize the environmental impact of chemistry lab work.
Ornithology Students will be introduced to ornithology. They will study the biology of birds. Aside from being a fascinating part of the natural world birds can provide an insight into the quality of our natural environment. Areas of investigation will be bird behavior, anatomy, flight, habitat use, nesting and migration. Students will be exposed to local birding. They will learn how to identify birds by sight, sound and habitat. There will be a citizen scientist approach to the class as students become field scientists collaborating with professional scientists contributing to the data that Cornell University Ornithology Lab is collecting. Students will be introduced to technology such as Google Earth and GPS, ebird, and Dendroica. Binoculars, GPS equipment, field guides, and scopes will all be provided.
Introductory Physics (A Laboratory Course; Prerequisite: Algebra 1) This course provides an overview of Newtonian mechanics, electricity, and magnetism and provides a starting point from which to view nature more perceptively. Students learn basic problem solving skills, how to approach word problems, and how to apply these techniques to real life situations. Lab experimentation is stressed and students develop an understanding of the concepts by observing physical phenomena in the lab through instruments, as simulations on the computer, or as demonstrations in the classroom. Topics of physics are presented conceptually before engaging in computation. Hands-on investigative learning is emphasized.
Honors Physics (A Laboratory Course; Prerequisite: Geometry, Algebra 2, and Trigonometry. Precalculus preferred.) This course covers Newtonian mechanics, electricity, magnetism, simple harmonic motion, waves, light, thermodynamics, and topics in modern physics including quantum mechanics and nuclear reactions. The course content is aligned with the SAT Advanced Physics Test. Students learn advanced problem solving skills, how to approach word problems, and how to apply these techniques to real life situations. Investigative learning through lab experimentation is stressed including designing experiments to answer real life questions.
AP Physics C: Mechanics (A Laboratory Course; Prerequisite: Calculus (may be taken concurrently), Honors Physics recommended.) This 2-semester course is equivalent to the first semester of a typical university introductory physics course for scientists and engineers. It is a calculus-based course using differential and integral calculus. The course is designed to prepare students for the AP Physics C: Mechanics test. Topics covered include Newton’s laws, conservation of energy and momentum, rotational motion, gravitation, oscillations, and special relativity. Students learn advanced problem solving skills and how to apply these techniques to real life situations. Investigative learning through lab experimentation is stressed including designing experiments to answer real life questions.
Robotic Engineering (One Semester; Prerequisite: Algebra 1) This course will cover introductory robotic engineering including design, construction, and programming. Students will work in teams to build robots to solve specific challenges. They will learn problem-solving techniques in a group setting while drawing on topics in science, technology, engineering, and math to complete their projects.
Wellness (Required) This course covers topics in nutrition, personal hygiene, substance abuse, human sexuality, first aid, and functions of various human systems such as the heart and kidneys. In addition, articles in the journal Current Health are read and discussed. Outside lectures and films are also used.
Applications (Required, No Prerequisite) This first-year course in computers is designed to provide the student with computer proficiency in graphics, word processing, database, spreadsheet, and communications applications. The student will learn how to integrate the various applications in the Microsoft Office suite to develop real-world applications including databases, automated word processing documents, and multimedia presentations. The course is designed to complement assignments from other academic courses.
Advanced computer courses and independent studies are offered based on students’ demonstrated performance and interest and with the permission of the instructor.
Fine and Performing Arts
Introduction to Music This course is designed to familiarize students with the basic concepts, historical eras, and vocabulary in the major field of music. Instruction will focus on fundamental elements of music and notation, critical listening, and historical/cultural influences. Students will have opportunities to explore the piano, the guitar, and music composition.
Freshman Chorus The ninth grade class will develop basic vocal skills and musicianship, experiencing first-hand the challenges and merits of working in a unified musical ensemble. Students will perform choral music of several historical periods, cultures, and genres in the winter and spring concerts.
The Gunston Chorale In this elective course, ensemble members will sing challenging choral music requiring greater musical independence than freshman year. Students will develop a deeper understanding of the musical elements and the meaning behind each piece. In addition to a mid-year choral festival and special events, the Chorale performs in the winter and spring concerts.
Piano I Beginning piano students will focus on reading music and the basics of keyboard technique and theory. Instruction will include five-finger position, understanding dynamics and accidentals, and playing scales and block chords. All student pianists will participate in music department recitals.
Piano II Intermediate piano students will continue to develop musicianship through appropriate repertoire and skill exercises. Instruction will include the use of extended position, pedaling and expression, and playing more complex chord structures. All student pianists will participate in music department recitals. (Advanced pianists should study independently with a private piano instructor.)
Guitar I Beginning guitar students will focus on reading music and the basics of guitar technique and theory. Instruction will include the use of first position for the left hand to play basic chords and melodies, with both classical fingering and modern picking styles. All student guitarists will participate in music department recitals.
Guitar II Intermediate guitar students will continue to develop musicianship through appropriate repertoire and skill exercises. Instruction will include the use of second position for the left hand, playing bar chords, and varying right-hand technique. All student guitarists will participate in music department recitals. (Advanced guitarists should study independently with a private guitar instructor.)
Vocal Technique for Singers This course is fine-tuned to meet the individual needs of students in a workshop setting. Topics include breathing, diction, posture, sight-singing, and expression. Depending on enrollment, singers may rehearse and perform solos, duets, trios, or small ensemble works. Students are encouraged to enroll in the Gunston Chorale concurrently with Vocal Technique.
Music Theory and Composition This course is designed for students who have mastered the music-reading skills covered in Piano I or Guitar I. Classroom experiences will include instruction in the areas of scale and chord construction, “writing by ear,” building melodies with harmonic support, and using technology in music composition. After studying examples from music literature and writing several short pieces, the course will culminate in the creation of an original composition by each student.
Fundamentals of Art This course is designed to familiarize students with basic concepts, processes, and vocabulary used in the major field of art. Classroom experiences will provide students with a basic understanding of drawing materials and techniques, aesthetics, historical and cultural influences, and critical evaluation of art.
Sculpture A variety of sculptural periods and styles are studied. Sculptures are executed using numerous techniques and materials.
Pottery A variety of pottery techniques are covered in both hand-built and wheel-thrown pottery. Students are expected to work for skills to produce a number of pottery pieces.
Drawing/Painting This course is designed as a study of the techniques of drawing and painting. Classroom experiences will also include instruction in the areas of aesthetics, historical and cultural influences, and critical evaluation of works of art. A wide variety of drawing and painting media will be utilized.
Studio Techniques This course is designed with studio emphasis. Offerings include acrylics and/or watercolor painting, modeling sculpture, drawing and graphics. Instruction will provide students with background in aesthetics, historical and cultural influences, and critical evaluation of art work. All areas include instruction in more than one technique, i.e., graphics include wood and linoleum printing, etching, mono-printing, etc. Students enrolled in this program will arrange individual contracts with the instructor for their chosen area of study.
Wood Sculpture This course is designed to teach the fundamentals of wood sculpture including low relief, 3-D carving, waterfowl, and other wildlife sculpture. Basic concepts such as aesthetic value, historical and cultural influences, critique methods, as well as the use of tools and sharpening, are included.
Silkscreen This is a studio printmaking course designed to present numerous basic techniques of silkscreen printing as an art form. While some commercial techniques may be explored (i.e., tee shirts), the emphasis is on the art print. The instruction includes lab work of techniques, printing, and composition.
Photo I - Basic This course is a studio photography course designed to teach the basic aspects of black and white photography including cameras, lighting, exposure, composition, and presentation. The instruction includes lab work of processing and printing.
Photo II - Intermediate This course is a studio photography course designed to further develop the basic aspects of black and white photography including cameras, lighting, exposure, composition, and presentation. It also puts emphasis on having the student work independently and on assignments that may require an effort to develop a continuity of work, thus giving the artist an opportunity to develop personal style while working for a continuum of quality. The instruction includes lab work of processing and printing.
Photo III - Intermediate This course gives students additional work in black and white photography. Building on basic skills, the course will stress techniques such as the zone system. Special techniques, like toning and other print manipulations, will also be introduced. The study of photographers will be included.
Photo IV - Digital Photography This course is designed to work with all digital images and will include use of various formats, camera types, computer programs for handling data and printing. Composition will also be stresses.
Photo V - Independent This course is designed to give a photographic option for students who have completed all previous offerings and still want to take a credit course. The specific content will be designed to meet the needs and skills of the individual student and could be black and white, color, or a mixture.
AP Studio Art This demanding studio course has as its culminating goal the creation of a portfolio to be submitted to the AP Board for evaluation. This course directs students to advance their skills in both the investigation and the creation of visual art. The course requires a high level of independence as students must work well beyond the classroom instructional hours to meet the requirements of the portfolio.
Art History This course will consist of a year-long investigation into the historic and aesthetic significance of the history of western art. Substantial reading and writing will be required in order to fully cover the text, History of Art for Young People, by H.W. Janson. Field trips to museums in the area will be an essential part of this course.
Team Sports and Athletics Our approach to team sports incorporates safety, healthy competition, and sportsmanship. All students must participate in athletics two seasons per year. Competitive interscholastic sports include field hockey, soccer, basketball, and lacrosse for girls; and soccer, basketball, and lacrosse for boys. Crew, swimming, tennis, sailing, and golf teams are co-ed. GDS is a member of the Eastern Shore Independent Athletic Conference (ESIAC), the Capital Area Lacrosse League (CALL), Maryland Independent Lacrosse League (MILL) and the Mid-Atlantic Scholastic Sailing Association (MASSA).
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