Unified Arts Subjects

Dodd Middle School offers students a range of opportunities to develop skills in Multimedia Communications, Engineering & Production, Robotics & Programming, Digital Design, Economics, Physical Education, Art, Music, Health, Reading, and World Languages (Spanish, French, German, and Latin).

Students at Dodd Middle School participate in a full range program of the Unified Arts. The seventh grade year is one of exploration, during which students are introduced to the various disciplines so that they have exposure to each. It is as eighth graders that each student selects the courses that they have developed an interest in for a more in-depth study.

The Fine Arts, which includes art and music, help to provide students with a well rounded education. Art is taken by all students in the seventh and eighth grades as a half-year program of study. The music program consists of three electives. Students may choose to participate in band, chorus, and/or orchestra.


The 7th and 8th grade art programs are designed to provide students with the knowledge and opportunities to explore a variety of art disciplines. Courses are offered in three disciplines: Drawing, Painting and Three Dimensional Art. Each course is a quarter in length. Art history and aesthetics are taught as they relate to specific assignments. Within the confines of each lesson, students will develop the skills necessary to define problems, make choices and obtain creative solutions. Students will also have opportunities to reflect upon, describe, analyze and interpret their own and others’ work.

The art curriculum is cumulative and the content and skills are taught according to the developmental level of the student. Evaluation is based on the National Standards for Visual Arts, journals, critiques, creation and reflection.

Visual Art Teachers

Ms. Theriault

Mrs. Berkun


All students are required to take Art for one quarter in grades 7 and 8. They may elect to take additional Art classes.

A sketchbook (at least 8” x 10”) with blank pages is required for all art classes. Students are expected to work on each assignment to the best of their abilities, following the guidelines stated in the assignment specific rubric. Ample time is given in class for each assignment, and students are expected to complete their work by the assigned due dates.

Art is a required course and students will receive a letter grade on their report cards. Grades are derived from assignment specific rubrics, journals, written evaluations, work habits and quizzes.


Ms. Carson

Grade 7 & 8 students will have the opportunity to study Consumer Economics. The goal of Consumer Economics is to improve the financial literacy of middle school students by engaging in real-world, project-based performance tasks. This course incorporates innovative, web-based assessment practices that support the school and District initiative to provide a solid foundation of finance language and skills through the exploration of personal finance, the stock market, and entrepreneurship. Students will engage in activities to develop their understanding of wants versus needs, supply and demand, cost-benefit analysis, and virtual investment research and management of a $100,000 portfolio by means of a stock market simulator competition. Classroom content is enhanced through the use of community resources.

All classes are paperless, incorporating 1-to-1 Chromebooks and Google Drive. Students will create and maintain a digital portfolio in their Google Drive throughout the course. There will be online, formative assessments with the use of applications such as Socrative and Google Forms, as well as web-based content assessments through the Council for Economic Education and Everfi.

Career & Technical Education

Ms. Heffernan

Dr. O’Day

Grade 7

Each 7th grader will take Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses every other day for one semester. Course time will be divided among three areas: Computer Software Applications, Computer Design and Programming, and Engineering and Communication Technology.

Each curriculum area provides opportunities for developing problem solving and decision-making skills. Students work as teams or partners to explore a variety of software and technology skills for everyday living.

Multimedia Communications I: The focus of this class is on communication and how we do that effectively since much of what we do each day revolves around the ability to get a point across. Grade 7 students will engage in the communication process through the creation of a “How To” video As we create these video news stories, we will look at the idea of how to communicate effectively to get a point across in an engaging manner. To achieve these skills, students will be using the applications of Google Drive (school-based account), WeVideo and Audacity just to name a few.

Robots & Programming: Robotics is a lab-based course that uses a hands-on approach to introduce the basic concepts of robotics, focusing on the construction and programming of autonomous mobile robots. Course Information will be tied to lab experiments; students will build and test increasingly more complex mobile robots, culminating in an authentic robot mission. Students will also explore the role robotics and automation plays in society.

Introduction to Engineering and Design: Invention and Innovation Students learn about the design process and how feedback loops drive change in industry. Students work collaboratively to design, build, and test various engineering designs using architectural and engineering principles. Students will also learn about the world of digital engineering and basic CAD and visual programming.

Grade 8

All 8th grade students will rotate through the three courses of Applied Technology every other day with one quarter in each course: Electronic Communication Technology, Digital Design and Programming, and Engineering and Production.

Each curriculum area provides opportunities to expand problem solving, decision-making and technology skills in current topics pertinent to middle school students.

Multimedia Communications II: The focus of this class is on communication and how we do that effectively since much of what we do each day revolves around the ability to get a point across. Grade 8 students will engage in the communication process through the creation of an informative news story which could take the form of a video or podcast. As we create these new stories, we will look at the idea of how to communicate effectively to get a point across in an engaging manner. In addition, students will learn how to conduct an effective interview with someone knowledgeable about their topic of choice. To achieve these skills we will be using the applications of Google Drive (school-based account) WeVideo and Audacity. In addition students will work with various recording equipment.

Digital Design: Through the design process students will create, edit, and design using both Adobe Photoshop and PixlrE. Students will learn the features of the programs by creating original designs and artwork. Students will also learn about the nuances of photo manipulation by altering, retouching, and making new art with photos.

Engineering and Design: Manufacturing and Design: Students develop processing skills, demonstrate safety skills and learn the proper use of equipment in an Industrial/Technology lab. Projects cover engineering in both the physical manufacturing world and how CAD-based software is used to design and build customizable projects to meet the needs of the consumer.

Library Media Center

Follow the Dodd Library on Instagram @doddmslibrary. Stay up to date with new books in the library as well as lots of great programs and events!

Mrs. Shanley
Library Media Specialist

Mrs. Hunter
Media Technician


Students at Dodd may participate in three music programs. These programs are band, chorus, and orchestra. It is important to note that enrollment in any of these groups is a full year commitment.


Ms. Kliegl

The band program is structured to provide large group rehearsal as well as small group lessons; both are equally important and, therefore, are required components of band membership. The small group lessons help to develop further musical and technical ability and allow for proper assessment and evaluation of each student. These lessons are scheduled during the school day on a rotating basis. Students may choose to participate in Jazz Band and Percussion Ensemble. Please click on “Band Home Page” to read about some helpful hints for starting the year off on the right note.


Ms. Conrad

The Orchestra program at Dodd consists of large group rehearsals and required small group instruction. Rehearsals occur on alternating days during period seven; students do not miss basic subjects for rehearsals. The lesson component necessitates that students meet during basic subject time once each week. The rotating schedule has students missing each basic subject class about once a month. Attendance at lessons is very important.


Mr. Fitch

Dodd Middle School has a long history of providing students with a quality vocal experience. Chorus has long been a very popular program and one that many students have enjoyed. The Dodd Chorus meets every other day for ensemble rehearsals.

Vocally talented students who want to do more may audition for Select Chorus. This group meets once a week after school.


No. At least one year of experience with a band or orchestra instrument is required, and two years is preferred. Enrollment in band and orchestra is subject to the recommendation of your child’s present instrumental teacher.

Yes. Students are assessed and graded in Band, Orchestra, and Chorus just as they are in all subject areas at Dodd.

There are no requirements outside of the school day except for the performances and home practice. However, all three subject areas offer small ensembles that students may opt to join.

Physical Education & Health

The goal of the physical education and health program is to help students become physically literate.

Physical Education & Health Webpage

Physical Education

Physical Education is an integral part of the middle school program. Every student participates in a planned, sequential program unless specifically excused by a doctor. At Dodd, students wear designated uniforms with socks and sneakers. Locks and lockers are provided. Students’ evaluation is based on skill performance, knowledge of games, and participation. Activities vary and range from fitness, recreational and lifetime leisure, and dual and team sports.


Grade 7: Based on the State and National Standards, health covers a wide variety of topics. Areas of concentration include understanding a Wellness Lifestyle, Nutrition & Fitness, Disease & Accident Prevention, Decision Making, Substance Abuse Prevention, Harassment & Bullying Prevention and Digital Citizenship. The importance of taking responsibility for one’s own health is a primary focus of the grade 7 course.

Grade 8: Health introduces a wide variety of topics that will be the foundation for Gr. 9-12 Health classes at Cheshire High School. The major topics discussed are Mental/Emotional Health, Stress Management, Human Growth & Development, Healthy Decision Making, Problem Solving, Disease Prevention, Substance Abuse Prevention, Career Exploration, Harassment & Bullying Prevention and Digital Citizenship.


Mrs. Gunneson

Mr. Raccio

Mr. Rahn

Mrs. Vieira


Grade 7 students have Health every other day for a semester and Grade 8 students have Health once every 4 days for the school year.

Specific Health Education topics are mandated for K-12 students. Our curriculum offers these topics in a developmentally appropriate sequence reflecting state and national standards. Every student is required to receive substance abuse prevention education each year.


Reading Strategies that Work for All Subject Areas

 Before Reading:

    • determine your purpose/reason for reading
    • look at the cover, title, & think about what you
      know about the topic – connect
    • look at the author’s plan/organization
    • think about a possible notetaking strategy
      (ie – Venn diagram, concept map, 5W’s, web,
      plot diagram, main idea/detail notes, power notes,
      pictures, diagrams, etc.)

While You Are Reading:

    • make mental pictures – visualize
    • identify confusing parts; reread them – clarify
    • predict what will happen; then adjust or confirm
    • ask questions and read on to discover answers
    • connect to something/someone you know
    • use pictures, graphs, and charts to understand
      confusing parts – clarify
    • identify unfamiliar words; use context clues
      to determine meanings
    • stop and retell to see what you remember –
    • form opinions as you read – evaluate
    • mark the text or use post it notes when possible
    • use selective highlighting when possible
    • monitor your comprehension
    • vary reading rate

After Reading:

    • make inferences about the theme
    • reread to answer questions
    • skim to find details
    • write a summary
    • connect to a similar experience
    • evaluate the selection
    • discuss or write your reaction
    • decide on best notetaking strategy
      and complete

Language Arts

The art of communication is measured by the ability to cooperate, exchange ideas, and interact with others. This interaction, whether verbal or written, is basic to all relationships throughout our lives. During the course of a single day people share information and beliefs, make plans, and respond intellectually and imaginatively. In each language arts learning environment at Dodd, students are provided with a variety of opportunities to develop and improve communication skills. To achieve this end, an integrated approach to instruction occurs.

In addition to each student’s Language Arts class, direct reading instruction also takes place.

Mrs. Shanley
Language Arts Division Leader
Library Media Specialist

Literacy Support Classes

These classes of 4-8 selected students provide opportunities to strengthen students’ word attack skills, learn and practice literal and inferential reading skills, develop a broader reading vocabulary, improve reading fluency, and acquire strategies for reading across the curriculum. The teacher uses motivational materials, books appropriately leveled for each student, and direct strategy-based instruction to improve each student’s confidence and attitude toward reading. These classes meet every day. Students selected for these classes are not enrolled in world language and may begin their world language studies in grade 9.

Ms. Castellano
Literacy Support

Mrs. Bellina
Literacy Support

Summer reading list


Students are selected for this class using data from standardized assessments coupled with teacher referrals through the SRBI process.

Students take Literacy Support in place of selected UA classes or I-Blocks.

Yes, students in all Literacy Support classes earn grades.

Yes. In 7th and 8th grade, Literacy Support class is a supplement to Language Arts class.

The reading teacher works with both students and teachers to extend the before, during, and after reading strategies into all subject areas in both 7th and 8th grade.

World Languages

The Language program at Dodd has been designed to meet the needs and abilities of middle level students. A four skill, proficiency-based approach involving listening, speaking, reading, and writing is employed. Students are encouraged to speak in the language, develop related projects, and experience the target culture in a variety of ways. This beginning approach encourages students to see the study of another culture and language as worthwhile and useful, and helps students better understand their own language and culture as well.

Students are encouraged to continue their study of another language in high school so that they can ultimately learn to communicate effectively in that language.

World Language Teachers:

Mme. Kochanowicz

Frau Gulielmetti

Magistra Torrence

Sra. DiCenzo

Sra. McCormick

Sra. Smith


Yes. However, depending on teacher availability and student requests, some students may not be placed in their first language choice.

All high school equivalent world language classes meet every other day for the year in 7th grade. In 8th grade, these classes meet every day.