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Kiku Honda

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Posts : 768
Join date : 2011-02-01
Age : 28
Location : Composing poetry among the cherry blossoms.

PostSubject: About Classes   Sat Aug 04, 2012 7:39 pm

Since the school is located in New York, the following is a description of American classes and subjects. The basic structure/curriculum I have chosen to follow is based on the structure of a public system high school, sometimes referred to as secondary education. Public school students are not generally as advanced as private school/privately tutored students, so the classes may repeat from a private grade school to a public high school, or vise versa. (I warn you now, be prepared for the worst mind killing in all mind killing...as American education is...really weird x.x)

Generally, at the high school level, students take a broad variety of classes without special emphasis in any particular subject. Students are required to take a certain minimum number of mandatory subjects (sometimes referred to as 'core' courses), but may choose additional subjects ("electives") to fill out the remaining required hours. These subjects are often referred to as "electives"

The following minimum courses of study in mandatory subjects are required in nearly all U.S. high schools. The main level (marked with a 'I' here) cover general aspects of the subject they are attached to:

i) Science - Usually three years minimum. These are not often taught in any particular order
- Biology I - covers basic biology; use of microscopes and general identification of microscopic organisms, dissection of frogs is common in this year.
- Chemistry I - covers basic chemistry; periodic table of elements, basic chemical reactions, focuses on lab experiments that familiarize the students with the various lab equipment (burners, etc.)
- Physics I - basic physics; laws of motion, experiments focused on testing physics theories and equations and proving them/solving them. Math levels are recommended to be at least at the algebra level.
SOME ELECTIVES: Astronomy, Earth Science, Ecology, Marine Biology, Neuroscience, Psychology

ii) Mathematics - usually four years minimum. Usually four of the five below are chosen, depending on the students' level of math proficiency. (i.e. A student who does not pass pre-calculus will not advance to calculus, but a student can bypass pre-calculus if they test and score high enough)
- Pre-Algebra - Offered for those who never received it in their primary school, or those who performed badly in math in primary school. The basics of algebra; statistics, equations, order of operations, etc. The books are typically several chapters long, and it is rare for classes to finish the entire textbook due to time constraints.
- Algebra - basics in algebra; expanded from Pre-Algebra.
- Geometry - basics in geometry; area, two-dimensional shapes, three dimensional shapes, etc.
- Pre-Calculus - basics in calculus, must be taken before calc.
- Statistics - specific branch of math, more focused. Basics are taught in algebra. Not always a required area of study.
- Calculus - expanded from pre-calculus, not always taught as a required area of study
SOME ELECTIVES: Trigonometry, Discrete Mathematics, Probability and Statistics, Calculus

iii) English - usually four years minimum.
- Literature - Most common form of English taught in schools. The 'Lit' category is often divided up by era, authors, or some other specification. (i.e. British Literature, American Literature, Literature of the 1800's, Shakespeare, etc.). Often this is the 'course' a student will take for most of their 4 required ones, but different types (i.e. first year, Shakespeare; second year, American Lit; etc).
- Humanities - another way to classify literature courses in schools. Some schools do not use this category.
- Composition - Focuses on the written language, especially grammar. Paper writing is a must in this class.
- Oral Language - Focuses on vocabulary, and often times presentation skills. A major presentation of a paper or an idea is often required. Sometimes this class is paired with Composition.
SOME ELECTIVES: African Literature (or other specialized World Lit classes that are not British or American Literature), Genre courses (i.e. short stories, poetry, etc.), Writing (stories or poetry, different focus than the Composition classes)

iv) Social sciences - Usually three years minimum.
- History - Specifically, American history. This usually starts shortly before 1770, and is usually primarily our history from our interactions with Europe onward. Classes typically end with either the end of WWII, or the end of the Cold War. More studies or more in-depth studies are considered specialized classes/electives.
- Government/economics - Sometimes split into two years or two different courses. The government aspect focuses on American government (Bill of Rights, law-making, branches of government, etc.) while the Economics part focuses on the stock market, stock market crash, etc.
SOME ELECTIVES: World History, European History (or specific histories to continents, such as Asian History), History of Wars (specific to the wars), American History: Pre 1700s (very rare)

v) Physical education - at least two years. An extracirriculur sport does not take the place of P.E., but programs that prepare a student for the armed forces can replace a P.E. requirement.

vi) Health - Usually one year minimum.
- anatomy
- nutrition
- first aid
- sexuality
- drug awareness
- birth control
- Anti-drug use programs are also usually part of health courses.

In many cases, however, options are provided for students to "test out" of this requirement or complete independent study to meet it.

SCHEDULING

Periods - Periods are time chunks of 40 minutes. When they are combined, they create a block, and the block lasts for 90 minutes. When they are separate periods, the extra 10 minutes goes throughout the day to give students time to transition between classes (usually about 3 minutes). A 'period' might start at 11:47 for this reason, rather than at 11:50.

Block Scheduling - Several schools have their schedules divided up into 'blocks', which consist of one or two 'periods' in the day. Block scheduling makes classes last approximately 90 minutes each. The two exceptions are smaller elective classes (music sometimes only lasts 40 minutes), lunch (40 minutes), and a study hall (40 minutes). Two of these (i.e. lunch and a study hall) are often combined into one 'block'. (Though lunches are often times 'shorter' than normal blocks in block scheduling, for the ease of keeping time in an already confusing system, lunch is going to just be one 'period' and study hall, the same thing.'

ABAB, AABB, Cycle scheduling - This is known by many names and divided in many ways, but the basic premise is that either:
a) You'd be taking the same classes, every day, until you switched cycles. OR
b) Your classes would differ depending on what 'day' of the cycle it was. Days 1,3,5 you might follow Schedule A, while even days you might follow Schedule B. Sometimes, this even changed when your lunch fell during the day.

Lunches - There were usually 4 different lunches, to keep the cafeterias from being overwhelmed. Changes in your day schedule could alter when your lunch would be.

(For those who just got their minds imploded, don't worry so much about this, unless you wanted to be highly specific, since we don't go through our posts saying 'Oh, it's Wednesday, Day 2' in every post XD)

ABOUT ELECTIVES/OTHER THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

Advanced Placement (AP) - These courses often require excellent grades, as well as professor recommendation. Not all areas of study have AP courses associated with them (programming depends on the school and its funding).

Electives can also be filled by the next 'level' of a course. For example, Biology I is required to be taken by all students, but not Biology II, a more focused Biology course than the previous one. If a student does well in Biology I and wishes to study that science, they can apply to Biology II for one of their electives the next year.

Foreign language and some form of art education are also a mandatory part of the curriculum in some schools, however, some schools count these as electives. (For the ease of the RP, and so that people have more 'choices' in their courses, foreign languages, art, and music will be considered as 'electives'.)

Vo-TECH (or similar program names) are classes offered by an institute or sister school that are not taught at the student's primary school. These are often trade-focused classes, such as shop classes. They are often taught off campus due to the other school having the funds and facilities that the primary school does not. These take the place of electives and are usually slightly longer than a regular class due to their transit time.

***

(If anyone has any questions or wishes to add something to this list, just post below and we'll start a discussion on it.)
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