Next Level Electives
Volume 4 Issue 2
January 16, 2024
Image provided by The Guardian
New School Year, New Electives
Creative Writing, Public Speaking, Journalism, Intro to Film, and Theater are some of the many English electives offered here at North. What if students had the opportunity to take English electives that would prepare them for their English studies outside of the English classrooms here at North? For the 2024-2025 school year, the English department proposes five English electives, three that will provide North students with the opportunity to earn college credit from either Molloy College or Stonybrook University. How does will these new opportunities impact students’ future studies of English at the college level? Are they worth taking? Students should definitely consider taking these new English electives as they will encourage students to expand their horizons and delve into multicultural literature, essay writing, film, creative writing, and theater at a college level, while earning college credits before ever leaving high school.
Why Take Electives to Begin With?
As we go through our years here at North, our schedules become fuller, and the workload becomes heavier; it’s easy to set aside our passions to focus on core curriculum classes. Although most electives don’t have any weight to your GPA, they do carry some weight apart from your transcript. By taking electives you can “identify and develop new skills that will make you a valuable addition to any workplace” (College Raptor, 2023). Electives can essentially help you learn more about yourself and your interests. You may discover a new passion while taking an elective, and discover it as something you may want to pursue a future career in. Apart from opening yourself up to new experiences, electives provide you with the power to control what you learn about and help foster an intrinsic motivation to explore different topics (Marzano 2023). Choosing an elective because you are passionate about it or because you want to try something new may feel like a breath of fresh air in a day packed with more traditionally structured classes. It’s a common belief amongst many highschoolers that your schedule must be packed with as many AP classes as possible, but it's time to consider that electives have a different type of importance; they may lead to the discovery to new passions, help balance your schedule and motivate you to learn.
College Theater and Film: Behind the Curtain and Behind the scenes
Theater and Intro to Film are electives currently offered at North; however, College theater and Film will be offered in cooperation with Stony Brook University. College theater will provide students with the opportunity to play all the roles in theater; students can play the role of an actor, director, and playwright. College Theater may be the perfect elective for those that participate in the VSN Drama Club productions regularly, but it may be equally suitable for someone who’s never stepped foot on a stage. Electives are your chance to step out from behind the curtain and into the spotlight. You may find yourself surprised by what theater can do for your public speaking and performing skills. Giving up your seat in the audience to learn about the backstage goings on of theater may prove to be an enlightening experience you wouldn’t have lived otherwise. I’ll also encourage you, whether you are a film buff or not, to move from in front of your screen to behind the scenes with the college level Intro to Film elective. In this half-year elective, you will learn the various components of film, from directing techniques to the social impact of film. Taking a walk-through time as you explore the different film styles from eras will expose you to the unique perspectives of accredited film makers and deepen your appreciation for the countless themes that those behind the cameras portray. For three college credits, Stony Brook welcomes you to take a walk behind the curtain and behind the scenes.
College Creative Writing: Learning the Craft and How to Draft
In cooperation with Molloy College for three college credits, our English department here at North offers a college creative writing class taught in a workshop approach. For those, like me, who took Creative Writing in the past, this course offers the chance to delve deeper into the writing process touched upon in Creative Writing. For aspiring poets, or those who can appreciate strong creative writing pieces, this elective will help you master the craft of imagery, creating dialogue and analyzing the many wonders of literature. You may want to consider taking this elective as a break from the typical non-fiction pieces that take up your class periods throughout the day and focus on something a little more personally realistic, like the deep ideas conveyed through creative writing.
Finding Your Voice in Literature and English College Prep: Multicultural and Multifaceted
Our Valley Stream North English Department encourages you to ‘’expand your horizons’’ and immerse yourself in ‘’diverse literary landscapes’’ with the new elective, Finding Your Voice in Literature. As we’re taught in Social Studies classes we live in a globalized society, meaning we should acknowledge and try to understand the different perspectives of the world around us. Exposing yourself to multicultural literature will enable you to hear the powerful voices of people around the world through silent letters of a page. Our English Department teachers remind us of the danger of having a single story, a reminder of what author Chimamanda Adichie talks about during her TED Talk, The Danger of a Single Story. You may want to think about welcoming multi-cultural literature into your world, not just in preparation for college, but for your own edification. On the topic of voices through writing, the English College Prep elective helps you learn to distinguish your voice from the thousands of other applicants through your college essay, a personal narrative. Your college essay gives you the freedom to show admissions officers who you really are, so I’d say it is worth your while if you're looking to wow the admissions officers. We all know by now that the college application process is multi-faceted and requires more than just a college essay; resumes can be equally as important. This elective will help you create a resume that will shine a light on your passions and the skills you have to offer, so that you can stand out. The transition from high school to college is far from easy, but you may decide to try this elective to help smooth your transition and make the multi-step application process seem less daunting.
Will you consider giving these electives a try? If so, what will you choose? Will you explore what goes on backstage or behind the camera? Or will let your imagination wild with creative writing? Maybe you’ll learn to make your voice stand out. Whichever electives you choose to check off when Guidance comes around, you’ll surely be able to get an idea of the exciting college elective experience.
College Raptor Staff. “Why Students Should Take College Electives - College Raptor.” College Raptor Blog, 23 Oct. 2023, www.collegeraptor.com/getting-in/articles/questions-answers/take-electives-electives-important/.
Marzano, Robert. “The Highly Engaged Classroom, Tips.” The Highly Engaged Classroom, Tips, www.marzanoresources.com/resources/tips/hec_tips_archive/. Accessed 7 Dec. 2023.