What Are You Doing?

It isn’t clear what some classes are about, so what are people actually doing in class?

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If you’ve ever had questions about some of the electives offered here at Liberty, this article will hopefully hold some answers. AP Studio Art, Argumentation and Debate, Contemporary Issues, Criminal Justice, Home Maintenance, Sociology, Child Development, Clothing, Fashion Design and Merchandising, Housing and Interior Design and Senior FACS are described as the teachers would explain them to students and include what projects are done throughout the year. If you have considered taking one of these classes but are wary because you aren’t sure if it is the right kind of class for you, read what teachers and students have to say about each one.

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Madelyn Birkhead works on one of her personal art pieces during AP Studio Art.

Class: AP Studio Art
Teacher: Mr. Tiemann
Credit: 1

Description: AP Studio Art is the highest level visual arts class offered at Liberty. Serious artistic students who have the desire to grow in both technical skill and creative methods of expressing their ideas/imagination are encouraged to sign up for this class. Being a year-long class, students are given the opportunity to fully explore a large variety of media in order to develop a portfolio of high-quality work to be submitted to the college board for college credit. As a result of taking AP Studio Art, students become more confident in their skills and better prepared as they pursue an art degree at any art school, college or university.

Projects: Every week, students submit the progress they have made on their work in order to receive constructive criticism from fellow classmates. Students have presented ideas that are very personal and meaningful to their life experience, as well as issues that are light-hearted and comical. Topics can range from social commentary, political satire, gender identity, life, death, diversity, tolerance, family, mental health issues, body image, belief systems, alter ego, hopes/dreams, fears, etc. Students gain a deeper appreciation for art and the other students around them.

What students and teachers are saying about the class:

“My favorite part of teaching AP Studio Art is getting to know the students on a deeper level in order to help them express themselves through their art. As an art teacher, there is nothing better than to watch a student’s eyes light up as they realize how all of their hard work paid off when they see their finished pieces. The talents they exhibit, the pride they take in their artwork and the encouragement received from their peers is incredibly exciting.” – Mr. Tiemann

“At the beginning of the year you’re walked through how the class will be set up and what you’re doing in the class and then you’re just left to your own devices to create whatever you want.” – Madelyn Birkhead (12)

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Argumentation and Debate - After spending lots of time researching, students start to debate about their topics.

Class: Argumentation and Debate
Teacher: Mrs. Franke
Credit: .5

Description: Argumentation and Debate focus primarily on how to formulate a good argument, and how to argue against a bad one. The students debate real topics that are debated at tournaments and have real-world implications. They also write bills and resolutions about topics that matter to us and then debate them. Students spend a lot of time working with partners; very seldom do people work alone.

Projects: We discuss controversial topics that you don’t normally get to discuss in class, as well as silly things like which cartoon character is better.

What students and teachers are saying about the class:

“I love getting to hear the viewpoints of all the students in class. I also like that I can foster curiosity in topics that kids may have never thought of before simply because they haven’t been asked to think about them.” – Mrs. Franke

“I love how enthusiastic everyone is about their topics. When you witness a debate, everyone is so passionate. It’s so entertaining to watch. I love debating and researching and everything so it’s great to be in an environment where everyone else loves it too.” – Ashley Russell (12)

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Students listen intently to Mr. Barker during their class discussion about arming teachers.

Class: Contemporary Issues
Teacher: Mr. Barker
Credit: .5

Description: In class, students discuss current problems in society and we brainstorm creative solutions after analyzing the problems.

Projects: Right now we are creating our own Public Service Announcements. They are fun, short, and student created about problems they see in their worlds.

What students and teachers are saying about the class:

“I love my students. They are very bright, and they bring great ideas and conversations to class.” – Mr. Barker

“We actually did something pretty interesting where we were doing these video PSA’s. A lot of people in class grouped up and did these PSA’s on issues going around Liberty but a lot of students did stuff on other things. This one group did a really funny video on vaping that was really good. They worked with the school and Mr. Pryor to make that video. Overall it’s a really super laid back class. Some days we kind of just discuss and talk but it all can be related back to contemporary issues. Mr. Barker is like the greatest teacher ever so it’s a really fun class.” – Brandon Hennis (12)

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Criminal Justice gives students an insight into how real cases are handled by experienced attorneys.

Class: Criminal Justice
Teacher: Mr. Tutterrow
Credit: .5

Description: Criminal Justice is a class that explores the United States’ Criminal Justice system from What is Crime? to Corrections. Currently, students are learning about policing and will be transitioning to two rounds of mock trials so they can learn the adjudication process.

Project: The most interesting thing we do is mock trials and discuss controversial cases. There is also a piece of moral philosophy we discuss to develop a student’s notion of right and wrong.

What students and teachers are saying about the class:

“I love to see students develop interests they didn’t have at the beginning of the semester.” – Mr. Tutterrow

“My favorite part about criminal justice is all the thinking we do. Thinking about what is just in the criminal justice system. What is the right thing to do? What should be allowed? Is it okay for this to be happening? I really enjoy the classwork we do. It’s pretty simple but it makes you think.” – Evan Mantz (11)

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Though a class not widely known about, many students report immensely enjoying LaBrots class.

Class: Home Maintenance
Teacher: Mr. LaBrot
Credit: .5

Description: In Home Maintenance the class covers a variety of “homeowner” type problems. They spend some time doing typical classroom learning – that is to make sure we all understand the norms and are on the same page. Then they spend shop time working with their hands. They start by framing a mock wall with a rough in-window opening, then move onto electricity, wiring the wall with a working switch and outlet. The class spends a few weeks on plumbing, learning how to build a plumbing system as well as fixing common problems that homeowners face. They finish up by applying drywall over the surface of the mock wall.

Project: Building the Mock Wall: Discussion wise, sometimes we get into talks about life after high school and working in the world; doing something like electricity becomes interesting to kids and they start asking questions about getting into the trades.

What students and teachers are saying about the class:

“There is never a dull moment and I like seeing kids gain the confidence they didn’t know they have.” – Mr. LaBrot

“The class is taught by Mr. LaBrot but then he kind of makes it self taught where we go out individually and make our own projects. He shows us the basics of how to to do our own woodshop projects and we just go from there, after he shows us how to use all the cutting utensils. After that, we just make whatever we want.” – Zach Brickner (12)

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McFarland teaches this class in a unique way, sharing information to make sure that students understand it.

Class: Sociology
Teacher: Mrs. McFarland and Mr. Barker
Credit: .5

Description: This course is meant to help us better understand the interaction of people in society by looking at the world through their eyes. The study of sociology helps us to make connections between human behavior and society. In this class, we will study culture, social structure, family settings, inequalities and how they impact the world around us.

Project: The class has done a silent observer project in the lunchroom where students look at different social groups. They also just finished our breaking of social norm videos.

What students and teachers are saying about the class:

“I love the discussion and watching students make connections with the content and their real-life experiences.” – Mrs. McFarland

“My favorite part of sociology is seeing how I act and noticing my social norms. Then I see how society on a grand scale has implemented those behaviors in me to know, ‘This is embarrassing,’ or, ‘This is wrong to do,’ or, ‘I should dress like this.'” – Allyson Fox (12)

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Liberty's student teachers stand with their preschool students on the first day of school.

Class: Child Development
Teacher: Mrs. Genenbacher
Credit (Child Development 1): .5
Credit (Child Development 1): 1

Description: Child Development I covers the development of babies from conception to age 3. We talk about fetal development, developmental milestones (crawling, teething, walking, etc), safe sleep, brain development, and theories relating to how babies learn and grow.

Project: The unit on Pregnancy/Labor is pretty difficult (much like pregnancy and labor in real life!) so at the end, the class celebrates with a baby shower! They bring in food, play shower games, and talk about silly old wives’ tales (Craving sweets? It’s a girl!). It’s a fun day to relax and get excited to learn about newborns in the days to come.

What students and teachers are saying about the class:

“I love seeing my students becoming confident and comfortable discussing pregnancy and babies. Students come in scared of the RealCare Baby or empathy belly or worse yet childbirth videos, but they soon learn that all of these things aren’t so scary. Most students end up loving the RealCare baby; I usually hear “nooooooo” when I turn them off. The empathy belly really teaches empathy because it’s a lot more difficult than most students expect. And the childbirth videos are optional. Yep, the rumors aren’t true. If it really freaks you out to watch you can look away. Although, most students think watching C-Section birth is pretty interesting.” – Mrs. Genenbacher

“It’s not just women who should take this class. Everyone should know how to take care of a baby because everyone will have to take care of a baby at some point.” – Hannah Cole (12)

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Students create a color wheel out of cookies.

Class: Clothing I/Clothing II/Fashion Design and Merchandising/Housing and Interior Design/Senior FACS
Teacher: Mrs. McFadden
Credit (all): .5

Description: Clothing I is a basic level 1 sewing class with no prerequisites. In Clothing I, we create various projects including PJ pants, quilted pillows, and boxy zipper pouches. In Fashion Construction (Clothing II), students continue to improve their sewing skills by creating more complex projects including a custom outfit. Fashion Design & Merchandising explores the business side of fashion. Students design fashion lines and learn how to market and sell their designs. There is no prerequisite for Fashion Design & Merchandising. Housing & Interior Design is a design class with no prerequisites. Students will design many spaces including an entire home for the final using written plans and digital programs. Senior FACS is a life skills course for seniors designed to prepare students for life after high school. Basic sewing, cooking, and personal finance topics are taught.

Projects: Clothing 1 – snap bags, quilted pillows, PJ pants, boxy zipper pouches/ Clothing 2 – full garment/ Fashion Design & Merchandising – create a fashion line and market to the public/ Housing & Interior Design – design many spaces including a single-story home for the final.
Senior FACS – sew lanyards and aprons. We wear aprons during the cooking unit – make young adult-friendly meals aka cheap and easy to make… pizza, grilled cheese, mug brownies, dragon noodles and more.

What students and teachers are saying about the class:

“I love it when students sew at home or make one of our Senior FACS cooking labs for their family at home.” – Mrs. McFadden

“I’m taking Senior FACS and Housing and Interior Design this year. I also took Intro to Clothing (Clothing 1). Clothing 1 was a super fun class. I really loved it. The reason I didn’t take it any of the first years was because I thought, ‘Oh, I suck at sewing. This is going to be horrible.’ But then we got to learn everything together so it was just really nice to come in not knowing anything at all and figure it out. Housing and Interior Design is a really fun class because you get to be really creative in it and you kind of get to pick and choose your ideas and put them together. It’s really nice because you really get to learn the details of houses because you look at a house and you don’t think anything of it but when you actually go back and learn that there are specific features that make a house a home and different from other houses. Senior FACS is great because you’re in the same class with a bunch of people that are your age, you’re all going to graduate soon and it’s just a little bit more fun that way. It’s a little bit of everything. So far we’ve sown and then we made some aprons and now we’re getting ready to start cooking. I know there’s also a personal finance unit and stuff too so it’s a lot of life skills.” – Leanna Kamburov (12)