Yolo Electives

Ag Exploration

Agriculture Exploration is an elective course to explore agriculture systems “Career Pathways” as it relates to California Agriculture, Central Valley and the FFA program.  Using skills and principles learned in the course, students will create presentations, projects that address issues currently facing the Agriculture Industry. Students will learn the role that the FFA plays in today’s Agriculture industry.

Ag Mechanics

This course is designed to give students a basic understanding of the Power, Structural and Technical Systems related to the Agriculture Industry.  Students will learn Basic Hand Tools, Basic Safety of Wood working tools, Electrical Tools, Plumbing Tools, etc. Students will learn measuring skills.  This basic course will teach students: Rope, Electrical, Wood working, Plumbing and Cold metal Skills needed at Orestimba High School to enroll in the Agriculture Mechanics Pathway.

Art 1 & 2

These classes focus on understanding elements of Art and Principles of Design as a basis of composition. Students will explore a variety of artists, art processes and materials such as drawing, painting, printmaking, two- and three-dimensional design, and digital art.  


Ceramics is a project-based art class that focuses on the use of clay in which students will learn basic hand building techniques and wheel throwing. Through application, students can put these techniques into practice every day and create artworks that are three dimensional. The best part about ceramics is keeping everything you make! There will be an emphasis placed on process participation, hand-building construction techniques, craftsmanship, and reflection. Students are expected to manage their time, self-grade, build independence, and stay safe.


Drama class is set up to smoothly feed into the high school drama classes.  Students learn the elements of drama, voice projection, basic stage directions and blocking, characterization, Improvisation, and Mime.  Students will be exposed to stage design, costume design, and possibly lighting.

Introduction to National History Day

Introduction to National History Day is a 6th grade elective where students learn the basic skills for an NHD project. Students will learn what the NHD contest is and what types of projects they can make. The quarter-long elective will cover the following topics: What is the NHD Theme, How to choose a NHD topic, how to write a NHD Thesis and how to do serious research to create a project. The class ends with students creating a mini NHD project so they understand what it will take to win a medal on the NHD team. The class is fun and beneficial as students can use the skill they learn in this class to complete their writing and research in other classes.


Is an elective designed for 6th grade students.  In this course, students learn different life skills, including how to be respectful, kind, and overall a great student citizen.  Students work in different small groups to develop collaboration skills and the ability to work with a variety of peers.

National History Day Team

The National History Day Team is an advanced history class where students focus on any topic of their choice and create a project based on that topic. Students can create a website, paper, performance, exhibit or documentary which will then be placed in a competition against other students at the school, county, state and national level.  Students can win medals, certificates and even scholarships for winning projects. If you are a competitor and enjoy history and creating projects then NHD is the class for you.


Project Based Learning.  Newspaper students are directly responsible for the writing and publishing of Panther Paws, the Yolo Middle School newspaper.  Students learn the basics of AP Style writing format, brainstorming story ideas, creating questions for - then doing interviews with students and/or staff to get information, writing a rough draft which is then revised after a writing conference with the teacher, and a final draft is turned in for publishing to student body, parents, and through the YMS and NCLUSD websites.  Successful students will be self starters who can meet publishing deadlines, working alone and with others to complete newspaper stories. 

Public Speaking

Public Speaking will prepare you to conquer every person’s number one fear: speaking in public! The class provides a friendly, safe and supportive environment where students encourage one another to practice public speaking skills with the goal of mastery. Some skills we learn in the class that are essential to successful public speaking include standing up straight with shoulder’s back (to evoke confidence), appropriate hand gestures (no hands in pockets!), enunciation (we need to speak clearly), eye contact (we need to connect with the audience) and voice projection (we need to be loud enough to be heard).

Over the course of the class, students write original speeches on such fun topics as “My Pet Peeve,” and “Why I Deserve a Hiding Place During the Zombie Apocalypse.” Students also have the opportunity to create a “product” that they must “sell” to the class using persuasive language.

Not only do we learn how to be good public speakers, but we also learn how to be awesome listeners. While listening to our classmate’s speeches, we practice good listening skills by sitting quietly with all our attention on the speaker. Since every speech is an opportunity to improve on our skills, we help one another by providing constructive criticism so that students can “build” upon their skills and ensure that the next speech is even more impressive than the last. 

Public speaking is a skill prized by employers and also handy to have when giving toasts at weddings. Stand out among the crowd and join us in Public Speaking!

Spanish (Non-Native Speakers) 1 & 2

This course is designed for students whose families speak little to no Spanish in their homes.  Students who are EL students or at whose home where Spanish is spoken are not permitted to take this course.  Students in Spanish 1 learn fundamental concepts in Spanish such as the alphabet, numbers, months of the year, speaking with classmates in short dialogues, and basic writing, grammar, and spelling.  These concepts are extended in Spanish 2,  where students explore concepts such as verb tenses, learning to write in paragraphs, and to read and analyze language.  They will also explore culturally diverse music from Latin American countries.

Spanish (Native Speakers) 1 & 2

This course is designed for students whose families speak Spanish in their homes. Students in Spanish 1 learn fundamentals of grammar in reading, writing, and spelling. Students will learn correct usage of verb tenses through writing exercises and language games. The class will read short stories and plays to analyze the language. Students will explore culturally diverse music from Latin American countries and create a presentation of the music they explored. In Spanish 2, students will read novels to strengthen their analytical skills in literature, from poetry to fiction. Students will explore literary concepts that will reinforce their usage in ELA class.

Sports Teams

Students will be introduced to and participate competitively in a wide variety of sports and games.  In addition, students will learn rules and demonstrate knowledge of the rules of the games/sports by participating correctly and participating as judges, umpires, or referees of the various games/sports.  Students will be expected to display good sportsmanship and be accepting and helpful of different skill levels.  Students will also be respectful of themselves, others, and all classroom equipment.

Student Council

Student Council is a student directed class, in which students plan, prepare and execute activities for the Yolo campus.  Students will be organizing food drives and fundraisers, as well as developing culture across campus.  Students should be in good academic standing, as well as well-rounded, hard workers in order to be successful in this course.  Student council offers must be academically eligible to hold office.  After school hours and community service are a requirement for this.

Weight Training

Weight training is designed to enhance the student’s knowledge and skills regarding the basic techniques of weight training using free weights and machines. This class includes instruction and practice in safety techniques, weight room etiquette, dress code, basic weight training exercises, and basic anatomy.


Project Based Learning.  Yearbook students are directly responsible for the design, photography, and writing of the Yolo Middle School annual yearbook.  Students learn basic photography skills and design techniques, which are practiced throughout the year, responsible for procuring 8th grade TOSCA ads, and business sponsorships, culminating in the YMS annual yearbook.  Successful students must be self-starters in order to meet publishing deadlines, willing to stay after school on occasion for taking event photos, and able to work alone and in groups to complete page designs.