Archive for the ‘Electives’ Category

By Alissa Baker
Cougar News Blog

     Cactus Canyon’s choir spends most of their time behind closed doors, practicing for concerts, carnivals, and other special occasions.
     Many people outside of choir might see the group as just a school elective, but it is much more than that. All the students and instructors are connected through their love of music and shared frustration of hard work. The members of the club really do feel the connection they have with each other, and they are willing to support one another all the way.
     “Choir is like a family to me, so that means we work together through the hard times and protect each other afterwards – and we don’t leave each other out,” said Katriel Hamilton.
     Mrs. Chung had been preparing her students for their Dec. 20 and has been giving them various practice methods. Many of these practices include warm ups at the beginning of class. These seem to be helping the students with their singing and even with their natural speech. Some of the singers who want to continue singing in the future even find it helpful.
     “I’m planning on singing again in the future, so I think the warm ups Mrs. Chung has been giving us are helpful,” Alondra Urias said.
     A lot of the participants were very excited during the concert in December. There are also many people who were nervous, and didn’t know how to cope with it.
     “I’m a little bit nervous because of the solos that we are doing, since we do them by our selves, but I am also excited because we get to dance and stuff.”

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By Chloe Mayes
Cougar News Blog

     There has been a murder at Rundown Abbey. Follow along with the characters to find out who the killer is at the Cactus Canyon drama production.
     Students can come see Murder at Rundown Abbey at 7 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 8, Apache Junction High School Performing Arts Center. Tickets are only $1 and will be available at the door.
     The play, set in the 1920s, follow detective Sam Splayed as he goes undercover as a butler to solve a murder at the English estate owned by the Crumbledowns.
     Adviser Lisa Schroeder wants her student to enjoy the experience and develop a love for drama.
     “I want them to enjoy this process and it is my hope that they truly fall in love with the theater and want to explore more or similar opportunities in the future,” said Schroeder.
     The drama students have been working for about two and a half months to prepare.The student have many techniques that they use to practice. Some students like when they can practice with their fellow peers that are also in the play.
     “When I practice, I find I improve when I talk to someone with my lines,” said seventh grader Nevaeh Erlandson.
     Since CCJH has not had a play in about five years, the class had to come up with all the costumes and props. Although, thanks to some generous people, they were able to get donations for most of the things they needed. All the money that the play raises is going toward their next play that will be in the spring.
      “We had to obtain all aspects, such as costumes, props, set pieces, etc.,” said Schroeder. “We obtained these items from various resources such as teacher, parent, and community donations. We made many of our items from recycled materials such as old boxes, and fabrics.”
     Drama students said they are really grateful to get the opportunity to put on the show and said the experience has made the group like a family.
     “Drama has taught me that no matter who I am I can always act and be myself because family isn’t always blood,” said eighth grader Kaitlin Greathouse. “It’s the people in life who want you in theirs. The ones who accept you for who you are. The ones who would do anything to see you smile and who love you no matter what.”

Members of the marching band practice outside in preparation for their trip to Arizona State University. The group played on the field at halftime of the ASU football game on Oct. 8. (Photo by Brooke Wine)

Members of the marching band practice outside in preparation for their trip to Arizona State University. The group played on the field at halftime of the ASU football game on Oct. 8. (Photo by Brooke Wine)

Sigfrido Ibarra
Cougar New Blog

     The Cactus Canyon marching band had the benefit of performing with ASU’s own marching band during halftime of Arizona State’s football game Oct. 8 in Tempe.
     The group, along with other bands from around the state, helped ASU by performing “Maroon & Gold,” ASU’s fight song and “1999” by Prince.
Aimee Vining, the band director, thought it would be a excellent way to get her class a hands-on experience on the field.
     “I really just wanted them to experience marching band in a big way,” she said. “They were able to interact with the members of the band.”
     The CCJH marching band members thought it was a good idea to visit ASU, have a tour, and thought that playing on the field would help them in the long run for other activities at school.
     “This would help me in marching band because I know what playing on a field is like,“ said Melvin Lopez, who plays the trumpet.
     Ms. Vining heard about the trip by getting e-mailed by the coordinator from ASU. The trip costs the school about $100, but that money was used to pay for the bus to get there and back. Student had to get a slip signed by their parents to be able to go to ASU and they had to learn the songs.

Alissa Baker and Savannah Barr read the announcements while Mya Palomino holds the teleprompter and Stanley Cook films. (Photo by Mr. Davis)

Alissa Baker and Savannah Barr read the announcements while Mya Palomino holds the teleprompter and Stanley Cook films. (Photo by Mr. Davis)

By Mya Palomino
Cougar News Blog

     A new addition has been added to the morning announcements – video. In order to help more students be engaged with the news, the Journalism 2 students are recording the segments each day for the following morning.
     The announcements are now online for teachers to play and for students to view. The Pledge of Allegiance and school pledge are still done at before the video, as are any announcements that were added after filming was completed during fourth hour.
     Although the announcements are student recorded, they are being edited by adviser Jason Davis for now, but they are aimed to be done by just the students soon. This project will hopefully help students in their speaking and presenting standards.
     “While there are no traditional English or math standards associated with this project,” said Davis, “Arizona College and Career Readiness Standards include speaking and presenting.”
     The production has also gotten better with a more efficient set and better, more professional graphics. There was also a teleprompter added to help students look at the camera more often. Mr. Davis said he expects the videos will get better throughout the year.
     “Our reporters have come a long way already,” said Marie-Wilbur, seventh grade teacher. “They are starting to look at the camera and we as an audience get to see their faces.”
     There are many benefits to the announcements now. Not only do students get to feel what journalism is about, this is a way for the world to know that our school has many great opportunities. It’s also a better way for students to pay attention to the announcements.
     “I feel like students pay attention a lot more now,” said eighth grader Hannah Molino. “Everyone is quiet since it’s a video and they pay attention more so it’s easier to get information to our students now.”

Ms. Wilbur-Bowers demonstrates during a lesson in CCJH's new computer coding elective. (Photo by Hannah Molino)

Ms. Wilbur-Bowers demonstrates during a lesson in CCJH’s new computer coding elective. (Photo by Hannah Molino)

By Skyler Wolfe
Cougar News Blog

     Someday there may be a game created by a Cactus Canyon student on the App Store.
     A new coding class is now taught by Marie Wilbur-Bowers and is offered to both seventh and eighth graders as a seventh hour elective.
     Students are learning how to code on the website hourofcode.org. The students are also learning about the development of games and mobile applications. Students spend the hour working independently and work as they go.
     Students use programs such as Javascript and move onto more challenging courses. The program used has different levels and difficulties to keep challenging students so they get better and understand more about coding. Students are expected to understand coding and how it works by the end of the semester.
     “I expect students to understand that there is a lot more that goes into programming a game or app,” said Mrs. Wilbur-Bowers. “Students will hopefully walk away with an intense interest to keep learning to code.”
     A key point of why teaching coding is so important is because these students live in a world revolving around technology and need to further understand it. Students have been learning how to program a character to move through a maze. They code in ICC which stands for the International Code Council. Programming also teaches students how to code something from start to finish.
     “In ICC we do coding, which is make a code and see if it will work to let the character or anything else reach the finish,” eighth grader Nycholas Robb. “Coding class helps me learn how to control a character and guide its way to the finish by programming the right parts.”

This photo of eighth grader Tatum Schuh was posted to the Cactus Canyon Instagram page on Monday, Sept. 26. (Photo by Megan Ash)

This photo of eighth grader Tatum Schuh was posted to the Cactus Canyon Instagram page on Monday, Sept. 26. (Photo by Megan Ash)

By Megan Ash
Cougar News Blog

     It’s the gram you can instantly see yearbook photos on. The yearbook staff is now moving forward and posting on Instagram, they are posting a picture every day. The pages is entirely student run and photographers will be posting pictures from sporting events to academics and everything in between.
     On Instagram the pictures are of Cactus Canyon, which is at cougar_media. Cougar Media has 171 followers and students have posted 21 days continuous days.
     The account was started to give students to show their work on a regular basis.
     “We spend a year working on a product that comes out one time, but these students are tremendous photographers and their work deserves to be seen,” said yearbook adviser Jason Davis. “Not just once in May, but all year long.”
     Yearbook students are planning to start advertising the account. The staff is going to start making posters and handing out flyers asking people to follow them.
     “It would be cool for students to see what the yerds (yearbook nerds) do during the year that leads up to the fantastic yearbook at the end of the school year,” said eighth grader Chloe Krueger.
     Mr. Davis hopes being in charge of the page will help all the staff members learn leadership by setting an example for the seventh graders, and by not forgetting that it is their day to post.
     “Students need to be able to be in control of something because it helps them take ownership of what we’re doing in yearbook,” Davis said. “I direct a lot of what we do for the book, but I want it to be as student-driven as possible. If students feel like they can be in charge of the Instagram page, hopefully it gives them the confidence to take more of a leadership role for the book.”

Passing a cup during during a team-building activity, drama students learn to work together, which is an important skill for performing. (Photo by Hannah Molino)

Passing a cup during during a team-building activity, drama students learn to work together, which is an important skill for performing. (Photo by Hannah Molino)

By Alissa Baker
Cougar News Blog

     Actors in Lisa Schroeder’s drama class are preparing for the upcoming play being hosted in December.
     Mrs. Schroeder is both an English and drama teacher. Drama is one of the new electives this year, and it seems to have attracted many students. Zack Kinion, one of the members of the class, is really happy about the class but is a little uneasy the auditions.
     “The drama class exceeded my expectations and it was fun,” he said. “I am really excited for the upcoming play, but I’m nervous for the tryouts.”
     Students in the class and after-school club will be performing “Murder at Rundown Abby,” which is a spoof of the BBC and PBS show “Downton Abby.”
     Mrs. Schroeder claims that theater helps her students learn team work, gain self-confidence, and learn leadership skills.
     It wasn’t Mrs. Schroeder’s plan to become a drama teacher, but she said she did perform when she was a student.
     “As I built my family I began to teach acting classes for the stage and screen, along with special effects, makeup, costume and set design, and ballroom dancing for musical theater,” she said. “I am pleased with my outcome and I am glad to watch others reach their goals. It is rewarding to see the transformation.”
     The class spends most of the time playing trust and teamwork games, working on vocal and dancing exercises, and reading script. At home, students look up hair, makeup, and clothes from the 1920s, since that’s what time “Abby” takes place. Many of the young actors are happy that the play revolves around a murder mystery.
     “I personally like the concept of Rundown Abby the most,” said eighth grader Kyra Garrett. “The idea of the 1920s is very interesting.”
     “Murder at Rundown Abby” will be performed in December at Apache Junction High School.

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In this first post of 2016-17, yearbook students were asked to practice using their cameras in manual mode. The class has been studying advanced settings and the relationships among aperture, shutter, and ISO.

     Staff members from the Cougar Chronicles recently earned recognition in the Journalism Education Association’s Junior High and Middle School National Media Contest. Three students – Lauren Powell, SeAnna Brennan, and Justin LaPrise – earned Superior ratings for their photos and received medals for their efforts, as only 10 percent of entries receive Superior ratings.
     Brennan and Megan Wagner earned two Excellent ratings, while Skylar Sosa and Brooke Wine each earned one.
     Wine and Robin Marshall each earned two Honorable Mentions, while Powell, Tiffani Morris, Mariana Rios, and Madonna Parker each earned one. The entire staff received an HR for theme development throughout the book.
     In all, 17 of the photos submitted by Chronicles staffers were recognized. Mr. Jason Davis is the staff adviser.