At School One we want every student to be challenged to work to their potential. Students enroll in classes based on their skills and interests and many classes contain students from varying grade levels. So you won’t find “10th Grade English” here, but you will find an advanced first year student in the same history or science course as a junior.
- Flexibility Student progress is evaluated by teachers every trimester, and students can move to a higher level course at the start of any trimester.
- Course Selection Support Advisors work with students to select the most appealing class schedule using recommendations based on a student’s entrance exams or their prior work at School One. Students college goals also factor into their course choices.
- We Keep It Interesting There are multiple courses at any given skill level to appeal to students interested in different kinds of content. For example, a student with intermediate writing skills might have a choice between a course on dystopian literature or a course on literature that delves into American history.
- Choice Like at many colleges, students always have a week at the beginning of the trimester to change classes if it’s not the right fit.
- Small Class Size None of our classes ever is larger than fifteen students, and classes with fifteen are rare. Teachers in small classes can easily respond to students’ questions, provide extra help, or allow students to tailor projects to their own interests.
British Literature IV: The Victorian Dark Side
Our world has changed enormously during the last two hundred years. We’re almost used to this swift pace of change, but what was it like for people who weren’t? Was a society that became obsessed with séances, mesmerism, and phrenology reacting reasonably to the pressures of the time? We will explore this question primarily through Victorian horror literature, beginning by reading MacBeth in class and Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities at home. We will use these texts to deepen our understanding of the craft of horror writing and to investigate horror’s political context. We will then examine more typical Victorian horror texts including LeFanu’s vampire story Carmilla, Walpole's hilariously bad The Castle of Otranto, Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Oscar Wilde’s The Picture Of Dorian Gray. We will read dark poetry by Tennyson, the Brownings and the Brontes. The kindly Charles Darwin will make a crucial appearance as well. Be prepared to write regular essays that are full of evidence. Each student will teach a soliloquy and a poem to the class and will be expected to participate in discussions and close reading. Punctuality of students and assignments and willingness to voice opinions and ask questions will be vital to earning credit. This class is not for the faint of heart!
Literature of the American West
In this yearlong course, we will take a literary journey into the rugged expanse of the American West. The first trimester begins in the early 19th century with selections from James Fenimore Cooper’s Leatherstocking Tales. We will follow his hero, Natty Bumppo, a white man raised among Indians, as he teaches us to survive on the frontier. We will pay particular attention to his portraits of the American Indian as a “noble savage” whose way of life was threatened by the callous advance of white civilization. Native voices will also give their testimony in this course through primary and secondary source documents that tell the history from an Indian perspective. As we travel westward, we will explore the idea of Manifest Destiny and try to understand how and why the United States claimed the huge chunk of land between the shining seas. Once at the Mississippi River, we will read Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. This classic novel paints a portrait of Missouri, the gateway to the West, as it began to teem with civilization in the 1840s. We will finish the trimester with Willa Cather’s O Pioneers, a gruesome but beautiful novel about a woman’s attempt to survive and prosper on the prairie. This course will involve a lot of reading, writing and thinking, and students will be asked to demonstrate thorough reading through discussions, quizzes, reading logs, in-class writings and essays.
Science Fiction: Invasive Species
In this yearlong course, we will explore some of the great works of science fiction. We will study novels, short stories, films and television shows that transport us to the edge of our reality and beyond. In the first trimester, we will read works that involve “invasive species,” beginning with H.G Wells’s classic of alien conquest War of the Worlds. We will also compare the original text with its many film and radio adaptations. We’ll also read John Wyndham’s lesser-known parable of ecological disaster The Day of the Triffids, in which genetically modified plants turn out to have a real taste for human flesh. We will end the trimester with Octavia Butler’s Dawn, in which aliens come to save us from ourselves by altering our genes and challenging traditional notions of gender in the process. This course will challenge us to think deeply about human beings, their technologies, and their place in the universe. To earn credit, students need to complete all reading comprehension and analysis sheets, pass vocabulary and reading quizzes, participate in discussion and complete all essays with revisions.
If You Meet the Buddha, Kill the Buddha: The History and Practice of Eastern Philosophy I
“To study Buddhism is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be awakened by all things. And this awakening continues endlessly,” said Eihei Dogen, the 13th century founder of Soto Zen.
This trimester we will study Buddhism, and ourselves. We will examine the origins of Buddhism with Siddhārtha Gautama’s Middle Way, and explore its history and growth. We will understand Buddhist concepts such as Impermanence, Non-Attachment, Karma and Nirvana, and principles including the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path. Most importantly, we will learn to apply the philosophy and practice of Buddhism to questions and problems in our lives, and try to start walking a Path with Heart. A critical part of this course will be the practice of meditation and breathing exercises. Students will be required to complete all class work, participate in class discussions and bring a notebook to each class. Future trimesters will center on other Eastern philosophies.
HerStory I: Women of Colonial America
Erin Victoria Egan
This trimester course is the first of a series on the history of women in the United States. This course will try to present a more balanced portrait of history by exploring the often overlooked roles women have played in public and daily life. The course will also examine the roles of Native women and African women in their own cultures and in the world of colonial America. An overview of European traditions includes an examination of women as the lady of the manor, women in the church, town women and female rulers of the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries. With that context, we will look closely at the building of colonial America and the significant role women played in the success of the colonies and the American Revolution. Students should be prepared to maintain a notebook, complete reading and writing assignments, including research projects, and be willing to express their thoughts in class discussions.
Explorers needed to know where they had been and needed to determine accurately where they were going. Geometry, or the measurement of the earth, grew out of their interests and also those of landowners who wished to determine the boundaries of property. Artists, architects, builders, inventors, engineers, surveyors and planners all use geometry in their work. Geometry is the result of mankind’s attempts to understand space, shape and dimensions.
We will become familiar with the vocabulary of geometry, formulating our own definitions and discovering generalizations through investigation. Many of the geometric investigations will be carried out in small groups in which students cooperatively plan and find solutions. Students will derive formulas for regular quadrilaterals and triangles, convert linear and square measurements and learn the vocabulary of polygons, points, lines and planes. We will discern patterns and use inferential thinking. Students will become proficient with a compass and straight edge and will be able to create classical constructions including bisecting angles, congruent angles and use these and other elements in creating works of art. We will go over SAT and PSAT review questions for interested students. Assessment will be based on timely completion of homework, short quizzes, tests, participation in class and attendance. A project, such as the creation of a polygon book, may be assigned. All areas will be considered when assigning credit.
Pam Stokinger, Stephen Martin
Do you hate word problems? Do equations and graphs look like hieroglyphs? Embrace your fears, and explore the world of algebra! This trimester in Advanced Algebra, we will explore the algebra of linear systems, modeling them on graphs and in equations and exploring them through word problems. We will tackle systems of equations (some with fractions or decimals as coefficients) through graphing, addition and substitution. Students will also be exposed to three-variable systems. Credit will be earned by successful completion of in-class and homework assignments, quizzes and examinations as well as good attendance. Prerequisites: Students should have completed both Geometry and Intermediate Algebra (Algebra I) or have consent of department chair.
Siobhan Ritchie Cute
What makes us human? What defines healthy? stable? normal? For more than 100 years, psychologists have been attempting answers to these questions through controlled experiments and analysis of data. Since the beginning of time, however, we humans have been attempting answers through basic observation: Why did he do that? Why do I feel this way? How can I change? The answers are elusive.
In this introductory course, we will examine the foundations of the discipline of psychology and its underpinnings in philosophy and biology. Students will gain familiarity with important pioneers in the field, including Freud, Skinner, Piaget and others. We will explore the relevance that their works have today and the role that psychology plays in our everyday lives. Students will earn credit by completing reading assignments outside of class, participating in discussions and demonstrating knowledge and commitment through quizzes and project work.
The laws of physics are a “user’s guide” to the universe. Physics helps us understand all phenomena, whether on earth or in space. In this course we will learn from Galileo, Newton, Einstein, von Braun and many others. In the fall trimester, mechanics, the science of mass, force and motion will be explored. We will begin in one dimension – understanding velocity and acceleration – and move to two-dimensional motion with a study of vectors. We will learn about Newton’s Laws as the foundation of mechanics and all classical physics. The statics of rigid bodies will be studied: the force and torque vectors must each sum to zero. The linear motion of rigid bodies will be studied from the point of view of “dynamics,” using the concepts of velocity, acceleration and force. Motion will also be studied from the point of view of “energy,” using the concepts of work, kinetic energy and potential energy. Collisions will be analyzed using the conservation of linear momentum. In uniform circular motion, the body is subjected to centripetal force. The angular motion of rigid bodies will be investigated using the concepts of angular velocity, angular acceleration, torque and angular momentum. Finally, fluid mechanics will be studied for liquids and gases.
This course has a laboratory component. Lab reports will adhere to standards of clarity, accuracy and precision. Course credit is earned through the satisfactory completion of in-class and homework assignments, lab reports, quizzes and examinations, as well as good attendance.
Prerequisites: Completion of 2 years of high school science and Advanced Algebra (or Adv. Alg. concurrently)
Siobhan Ritchie Cute
Bienvenido al mundo del espanol avanzado...welcome to the world of advanced Spanish! Students who have completed two years of high school Spanish or who (through native speaking ability or extensive study) have arrived at a firm foundation in the language are welcome in this course. Students should enter Spanish 3 with secure knowledge of the present, present progressive, preterite and imperfect tenses; reflexive, indirect object and direct object pronouns; and cognates as well as commonly used vocabulary and expressions. The third year of Spanish language instruction rests on the foundation built during the first two years. The frame of verb conjugations, tense familiarity, and vocabulary will soon be filled with walls and a roof; your conversation will flow. Spanish 3 students will be exposed to long periods of immersion. We will watch film and video in Spanish, and practice conversations that go beyond basic tourist activities. We will read and discuss literature, poetry, newspaper articles and more.
Expect to cover the following grammatical concepts: commands and the imperative mode, the subjunctive mode, the future and conditional tenses and idiomatic expressions. Project work for the first trimester will involve an exploration of the Latin American holiday el Dia de los Muertos. Spanish 3 students are expected to complete written assignments that are 1-2 pages in length. In order to earn credit for this course, please come prepared for class, keep an organized Spanish notebook, participate in all class activities, complete all assigned homework and projects, perform well on all assessments and do your best to learn your own role in our collaborative and creative classroom. Bring your honest selves to the conversations; conversing in a new language can be challenging but fun!
Fine Art class will combine a survey of art history with creating pieces in 2D and 3D media. For example, you’ll learn about the importance of frescoes in the Italian Renaissance and you’ll create a project using fresco technique. Projects will experiment with different approaches that enable students to explore diverse techniques and approaches to solving problems. Students will produce a variety of work that exhibits understanding of the elements and principles of art and reflects their understanding of art in a historical context. Students will have weekly homework that will include reading assignments and written essays. Completion of all homework assignments and projects is required to earn credit.
This class teaches basic illustration, focusing on skills and concepts of comics, cartooning and visual storytelling, as well as classical illustration. Students will learn about the world of commercial art, exploring editorial illustration and visual story exercises early on, and then move on to longer comics. A variety of basic skills and processes such as thumbnailing, storyboarding, character design, story structure, penciling, inking, digital-painting and basic zine-style and web self-publishing will be covered through in-class and at-home assignments. Students will be required to keep a sketchbook for developing ideas and completing homework assignments and will study examples from all over the world. This class aims to start students on the path towards being able to tell their own stories, and those of others, in a visual medium.
Improvisation & Acting for the Theater
The course focuses on training the actor and the improviser. We will learn to use our physical instrument (body, voice, face), deep concentration, and commitment to inhabit imaginary circumstances and characters, and to then live truthfully in the moment. The course explores the principles and skills essential to improvisation, which is at the core of an actor’s ability. Through this course students will learn to be fully present on stage, to connect with scene partners, and to respond honestly and emotionally through the lens of a character. We will draw from several great acting and improv teachers, including Sanford Meisner and Viola Spolin. Students will have the opportunity to develop their own scripted material as well as to work on scripted material from outside sources.
Tai Chi Chuan: Strengthen your Body, Clear your Mind, Find your Chi
Do not be fooled by appearances. Tai Chi Chuan may look like nothing more than slow, relaxing movements, a method of moving meditation and health, but beneath the surface lies a deep and ancient martial art. Every movement in the Tai Chi form contains not only martial applications - strikes, kicks, takedowns and joint locks - but techniques to build and circulate Chi (Life Energy). This course will cover basic stances to establish your root, breathing exercises to calm and center your mind, and drills from the Tai Chi form to control your body and move your Chi. We will also cover two-person exercises (“Push Hands”) to find and maintain your emotional and physical center in all kinds of situations and to exchange energy with another person. Make sure to wear loose comfortable clothing that will allow freedom of movement.
Phil Goldman, Eve Kerrigan, Diane Postoian
Are you interested in telling your own story as well as listening to others’? Are you interested in collaborating with people of different ages to create work (both written and performed) that is authentic and meaningful? Explore the literary and performing arts in Working Stories, an inter-generational creative arts workshop with professional writers and performers. Participants will learn and practice elements of storytelling, interviewing, creative writing and performance. Older adults from outside the School One community will join the class to collaborate with students on projects. This will be a two-way street: everyone shares and learns from everyone else. Final collaborative projects will be shared at a public showcase and published. In order to earn credit, students will be expected to write and perform as part of this class and at the showcase.
En Plein Air Landscape Painting
A nine-week outdoor landscape painting class led by well-known Rhode Island artist, Ida Schmulowitz. Participants meet weekly on Blackstone Boulevard, set up easels and paint, trying to capture the light hitting homes and trees.