NHS Designs


Welcome to NHS Designs!

While you are in our design room, consider yourself an employee of an exciting new design company. I’ll train you and evaluate your learning, but sometimes you’ll train yourself or another student. As you gain more training, you’ll gain the confidence to take on projects for real clients.

I will teach you how to be a professional. You will work hard, but expect to have fun too!

Basic Information

Instructor:                Dawn Pedersen
Room:                      K202
Phone:                      916-641-4960, ext. 2202

About Mrs. Pedersen

This is my second year teaching design at Natomas High School. I have worked as a teacher for five years. I have also worked as a graphic and web designer for seven years, studied art for countless years, and have enjoyed making art my whole life.

I love teaching! My goal is for everyone to find something inspiring, interesting, fun, or new. I look forward to learning from - and being inspired by - you too.

Lab Fee

Graphic Design: There is a $15 lab fee. This is used to buy the art supplies we use. Please pay cash only at the bookkeeping window. Show me your receipt. KEEP that receipt so you don’t need to pay twice if records are lost.

Web Design: There is no lab fee.

Class Website

I created this website to make your learning easier and more organized. Click on your course from the home page, and you will see a detailed academic calendar. Individual subjects are accessible through the right-hand submenus.

You will be using the Forum for vocabulary responses and for discussions on class topics. There is a Gallery there too for student work.

Let me know if you have any ideas to improve our Web site!

What Can I Expect From Mrs. Pedersen?

  • A variety of challenging projects using different media and skills
  • Clear instructions and demonstrations for using the materials and doing the projects
  • Encouragement and guidance in evaluating your own and your peers’ work constructively
  • A clear grading policy and frequent formal or informal progress reports
  • Respect for your input, ideas, and personal interests


Course Objectives

Comprehensive Objectives – All Design Classes

As a result of taking this class, you should be able to:

  • Work professionally within a design team.
  • Identify numerous design careers which are available.
  • Evaluate designs (your work and others’) for audience, meaning, and effectiveness.
  • Use the elements and principles of design in a decisive fashion.
  • Plan a design project according to a client’s needs.
  • Build a design gradually using thumbnail sketches and mockups.
  • Create attractive layouts that communicate messages effectively.
  • Use color to communicate ideas to others.
  • Use typography effectively in a design.

In addition to the comprehensive objectives, you should be able to:

Graphic Design 1

  • Use Adobe Photoshop to edit photographs, create artistic imagery, and make Web graphics.

Graphic Design 2

  • Use Adobe Illustrator to create illustrations, logos, and Web graphics.
  • Use Adobe InDesign to create publications such as advertisements and brochures.

Web Design

  • Evaluate Web sites (your work and others’) for usability and accessibility.
  • Use Dreamweaver to create Web pages and Web sites.
  • Code Web pages by hand using XHTML and CSS according to Web standards.
  • Structure a complete Web site that is flexible and expandable.



I believe that every one of you is capable of receiving an A in my class, even if you’ve never worked on a computer before. I give lots of opportunities to improve sagging grades, including redos and extra credit.

How Will My Grade Be Calculated?

Grading is done on a semester basis: we start fresh each semester. Students’ grades will be based on:

  • lessons (20%)
  • design projects (20%)
  • quizzes (20%)
  • final project (20%)
  • Forum participation (10%)
  • professional conduct / good behavior (10%

I will use the standard final grade breakdown:

  • A   90-100% (Exemplary)
  • B    80-89% (Proficient)
  • C   70-79% (Partially Proficient)
  • D   60-69% (Incomplete)
  • F    59% or below (Failing)

How Will Design Projects be Graded?

Whenever possible, I will provide rubrics for each design project that tell you what I expect for Exemplary, Proficient, Partially Proficient, and Incomplete work. I consider three main things in evaluating student’s design work:

  • Effort (visible in the work and/or demonstrated in class; spend quality time on your work!)
  • Creativity (how original your work is)
  • Following Directions (did you explore the assignment as given?)

Often, projects will be broken down into components, each component having its own due date, and no component accepted until the previous components have been turned in. Doing things in the right order means a better result. Also, when I see your work several times during a project, I can give you meaningful feedback that will probably make your work easier. Components turned in late or in the wrong order may receive little to no feedback.

Forum Participation

Forum Participation counts for 10% of your grade in class. You will be expected to participate in the Forum here on nhsdesigns.com. Here are some examples of discussion topics:

  • Vocabulary Reponses - 1-2 paragraphs in response to a prompt given regarding a new vocabulary term or concept
  • Topics related to your lessons
  • Project planning

There are some additional areas in the Forum:

Instructor's Office
Post questions or comments here that are meant for me.

Student Lounge
The main purpose of the Student Lounge is to allow students to talk together about issues unrelated to the class.

Offensive language and inappropriate discussions will not be tolerated. Please exercise the same courtesy and professionalism here that you would in class.

How Will My Behavior in Class Affect My Grade?

Professional Conduct means good behavior and it is worth ten percent of your grade! Each student starts with 50 points per week. I’m assuming everyone is a “good kid.” If your behavior in class is a problem, it will reduce your Professional Conduct grade for the week. See the “Behavior” section below.

How Do I Make Up Missing or Incomplete Work?

You are expected to keep up with lessons and projects in class. Keep track of course assignments and due dates at nhsdesigns.com. Late or incomplete work can be turned in during the same semester for a reduced score. If the work is late due to an excused absence, you will have one extra school day per day of excused absence to complete it without a reduction in grade.

If your work is only partly complete by the due date, my advice is to turn in what you have so far. Then complete the remainder of the assignment. Please let me know as soon as you have submitted a late assignment. Otherwise I will not know to look for it.


If you receive a low grade on an assignment, you will have one chance to revise it for an improved grade. This will encourage you to master the subject. Please let me know as soon as you want to resubmit an assignment. There will not be redos on quizzes.

Extra Credit

Opportunities for extra credit will be given every-so-often during a semester. Extra credit assignments will be calculated as “lessons” in my gradebook. Examples of extra credit opportunities are:

  1. Extensively helping other students
  2. Completing additional projects or lessons
  3. Winning a game based on a lesson
  4. Correctly answering additional questions on a quiz

Open Lab

On occasion I will have an open lab after school to allow for the completion of class work. Let me know if you need an open lab. I often schedule these at student request.



What Are My Responsibilities?

Since everyone learns about design here, everyone is considered a designer. Get used to thinking of yourself that way! My job is to teach you professionalism in addition to design skills. Professionalism means being respectful to yourself and others around you, and behaving in an acceptable, predictable way.

Design Room Rules

Refer to the Student Handbook in your planner for school-wide rules. We have design room rules too:

  1. Don’t prevent me from teaching.
  2. Don’t prevent others from learning.
  3. Be safe.
  4. Keep things clean.

What Do those 4 Rules Really Mean Day-to-Day?

Here are some examples to show you what I mean. These are examples. Use your common sense when interpreting these rules.

  1. Don’t prevent me from teaching.
    1. Don’t speak while I am instructing the class.
    2. Raise your hand if you wish to speak, and wait for me to call on you.
    3. Don’t interrupt when I am giving personal attention to another student.
  2. Don’t prevent others from learning.
    1. Don’t behave in a disruptive or distracting way.
    2. Don’t engage in lengthy off-topic conversations.
    3. Keep the volume of your voice down.
    4. No singing, rapping, or other disruptive noises.
  3. Be safe.
    1. Don’t throw, toss, flick, or roll anything across the table, floor, or classroom.
    2. Don’t roll across the classroom in your chair.
    3. Use classroom materials in a safe manner.
    4. Don’t behave in any way that threatens harm to anyone or our equipment.
  4. Keep things clean.
    1. Clean up after yourself so your station is ready for the next student.
    2. Return classroom materials to the proper storage place.
    3. Don’t eat messy things that can leave residue on the computers.
    4. Keep your language clean.


If you have forgotten one of the school or design room rules, I will give you a verbal reminder. Willful, severe or repetitive poor behavior will result in one or more of the following consequences:

  • student conference
  • parent contact
  • seat change
  • reduction of “professional conduct” grade
  • loss of privileges and/or materials
  • extra assignment
  • clean-up duty
  • in-class detention
  • administrative detention
  • office referral
  • class suspension

Good Behavior

Keeping our classroom welcoming, safe and interesting depends on everyone. Here’s what I offer if you have a great attitude and behavior:

  • A fun, exciting design room where you can learn cool skills.
  • I will praise you for your outstanding professionalism.
  • I will treat you like a responsible adult.
  • 100% of your professional conduct grade.
  • The opportunity to work on real projects for school activities.


Academic Honesty


If you cheat in my class there is an extremely good chance that I will catch you at it. Cheating means that a student is not completing an assignment, quiz or project honestly and completely. It is cheating if you do the work for someone else, or if you give your files to him/her in some way after you have completed them. It is also cheating if you simply give someone the answers to a quiz, or if you read the answers off of someone else’s paper. It is not cheating if you help someone, but he/she must do all the actual work themselves. For example, completing tasks with the keyboard or mouse on someone else’s computer is cheating, not helping. Talking that student through it so that he/she does every step him/herself is helping. In other words, hands off!

Because they are usually both involved in the attempt to cheat, typically both the student doing the actual work and the student who did not do the work will be punished for cheating (see below).


You will be asked to complete a number of short writing assignments in this class. These assignments must be written in your own words.

Plagiarism is a form of cheating in which a student directly copies words or unique ideas from other sources. Here are just a few of the forms that plagiarism takes:

  • It is plagiarism to copy an entire encyclopedia entry.
  • It is plagiarism to copy an entire paragraph from a Web site.
  • It is plagiarism to steal copy the design that another person has created for the Web or for print.
  • It is plagiarism to copy what another student has written in his/her notebook or essay.

Plagiarism not only has its consequences at school (see below), but it the “real world” it can get you severe financial or legal penalties.


Lying is not professional. It damages relationships. I give all my students my trust when the school year begins. If I catch you lying, I will be very disappointed. I will no longer trust you until you earn it back. I may also respond with a consequence.


The consequences for cheating, lying or plagiarism will include one or more of the following:

  • A zero on that assignment for all parties involved. There will be no opportunity to change this assignment grade at a later time.
  • A call or email home to the students’ guardians.
  • A referral to a counselor or Vice Principal.


Computer Policy

  • Computers in this lab are for work for this class only.
  • Exceptions to this policy may be made only with my permission on that specific day.
  • You may not touch any part of another student’s computer without my permission.
  • Don’t eat or drink over the computer/keyboard, or touch them with messy fingers.

“Free Time” on the Computer

Students earn free time on the computers by maintaining a good grade and keeping up in class. You will be allowed free time on the computer only if you meet the following criteria:

  • You have asked for and received my permission.
  • You have completed that day’s task.
  • You have an A in the class – OR – you have completed all assignments so far in the semester.


If you fail to respect the computer policy, you will lose your access to a computer for that day. This means that if you are found using the computer for anything other than our assignments (and you have not been given “free time” as above), you will be asked to log off for the remainder of the period.


Other Policies and Procedures


You are tardy if you are not seated in your assigned seat when the tardy bell rings. I take attendance the moment it rings. I follow the designated tardy policy of the school. Tardies typically result in detention. I will only excuse a tardy if you receive a written pass from another teacher that has the date and time written in ink. I will usually follow up with an email to verify the excuse. Forging a hall pass is lying and will result in appropriate consequences


I have assigned seating. Please do not move to another seat without my permission, and please do not ask for this permission before or while I take attendance.

Class Dismissal

I dismiss you from class, not the bell. Make sure you have cleaned up your area and returned any supplies to their storage containers before you go.

All Are Welcome

Every student regardless of gender, race, religion, or sexual orientation can expect a safe environment in my classroom. Any prejudicial or derogatory conversations or language will be halted immediately.

What about My Freedom of Speech?

You do have the protection of the Constitution regarding free speech in most places in the United States. However, according to law, school is a special place. The Supreme Court has said that speech is not allowed that “materially and substantially” disrupts class. Any inflammatory speech against a group or individual will be considered disruptive to the learning environment.

Personal Electronics

  • Cell phones are never allowed in any classroom at NHS. If you use your phone inside my classroom, you will risk detention or confiscation of your phone.
  • Cameras may be used in the classroom with my permission.
  • MP3 players can be helpful when focusing on an assignment. They are allowed within the following guidelines:
    • Don’t use them during instruction.
    • Don’t use them during group activities.
    • When you are working independently, you may use an MP3 player so long as it is not audible to others.
    • Don’t sing along with your music. This is disruptive to others.


I will often play music from my computer which is audible to everyone. I have a variety of music tastes. If you want to hear something specific, you may request it or bring a CD in. It must be an original, official CD with lyrics included so that I can check them out. Vulgar lyrics will prevent me from playing a CD. Please don’t whine if you don’t like the music I am playing. Someone else probably likes it besides me, and I might end up playing music you like tomorrow.

Student Planners

Write all your assignments down in the student planner Each day. The agenda is available on the white board and on the class Web site. I recommend you bring your planner every day because it also contains your hall pass and important calendar events.

Hall Passes

You must have your student planner in order to have my permission to leave the classroom during class for the restroom, health office, or other reason. Your planner has your name on it, and you may not borrow another student’s planner. Don’t ask for permission for a hall pass until I have taken attendance and I am done with instruction. About six minutes should be sufficient for a restroom trip. If you abuse your restroom privilege, you will lose it for a period of time.

Your Health

If you are sick, please minimize your contact with other people in the classroom. Cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough. I will try to provide these health supplies throughout the year from my own money:

  • Band-Aids
  • Antibacterial gel
  • Tissues

Classroom Decor

I like to put useful posters and student work on the walls. If you have additional ideas for how to decorate our design room, I’m all ears!

Food and Drinks


  • Beverages in screw-cap containers.
  • Food that is not messy.
  • Gum that is not noisy or left under desks/chairs.

Not okay:

  • Beverages in cups, cans or cartons without a screw-cap.
  • Messy foods – especially Cheetos!
  • Food or drinks consumed over the keyboard or other part of the computer.
  • Trash on floors or desks – clean it up!

Abuse of my lenient food and drink policy will mean you lose food and drink privileges for a while.


Take the Quiz!

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