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640 Humboldt Avenue
St. Paul


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Interim Courses

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Each spring, OWL students participate in a week of intensive, experiential courses called Interim.  The courses are designed to give students the opportunity for in-depth focus on a compelling topic or experience of their choice that most often takes students out into our Twin Cities community and beyond. Listed below are the course offerings for a recent year.

To see a slidshow from Interim 2015, click here.

To see a slideshow from Interim 2014, click here.

Choice A: Open Arts & Crafts
If you are a self-motivated and directed student, come join us for a variety of activities of your choice. The choices available will be from your imagination and with the supplies in the room. At a meeting ahead of time we will discuss the possibilities. Nora loves to scrapbook, so we know that is available. Elizabeth likes to facilitate many an art and craft and so help us use up the supplies so we don’t have to pack them. Bring your own projects from home if you want to. We will vote on eating and other activities. This is the old Open School way. Join us in a relaxing and focused artistic community.
Teachers: Elizabeth and Nora

Choice B: Dog Gone Fun
Many people often wonder how dogs think, what the world looks like to them, and why they act the way they do. This course will give students the insight they need in order to understand the silly, quirky, and apparently irrational behaviors that dogs demonstrate, as well as the intelligence that they possess. See how dogs interpret the world and learn how to help their human companions understand them better. Community experts will guide us on this journey and take us where you never thought we could go before. Into a dog’s world! We will learn about the evolutionary history of the dog and how dogs have been selectively bred to bring out specific behaviors or physical features. Students who participate will create a product that highlights what they have learned about dog breeds and behavior, culminating with a celebration of learning in which they will present their work to an audience of peers.
Teachers: Sheri and Sandy

Choice C: Programming: Then & Now…
We will explore the beginning of the personal computer revolution by looking at the start of Apple Computer and Microsoft. We will then explore programming by using BASIC to write a program that will simulate random numbers being used for a Pick 3 Lotto Game with graphics and user input. If time permits, we will then look at creating the same program for the Android operating system.
Teachers: Barry and Lisa

Choice D: Game Theory
Hate to lose? Lose less by learning how to out-think your opponents. In Game Theory you will learn about basic games that teach people how to think about games and play games where you will get to crush your opponents. Examples include: Scavenger Hunts in Minneapolis, Amazing Race in Saint Paul, Lawn Games like Bocce Ball and a Virtual Maze, table games like Kool-Aid Pong, team games like Conquer, and finally Quidditch. We will also try to team up with an area elementary school to teach them how to play Quidditch as well. Athleticism is option, as the muscle we will rely on and train the most is your brain.
Teachers: Tom and Leo

Choice E: Awesomely GIRL! (girls only)
This interim will focus on both the awesome and the challenging parts of being a girl. We’ll begin by learning about beauty products and pamper ourselves by making our own scrubs and masks. We’ll then talk about physical health and learn about taking care of your health and diet, do some yoga (possibly outside!), and make journal and vision collage boxes. We’ll travel to the U of M to discuss global issues surrounding women’s rights, learn how women succeed in boy-dominated fields (from Britney Griner to Sheryl Sandberg to Michelle Obama), hold small groups around building sisterhood, welcome guest speakers, watch a girly movie, talk about boys and dreams, and have fun! Estimated cost for this interim is up to $9 to cover supplies. Scholarships are available.
Teachers: Anya and Bridget

Choice F: College Field Trips & Career Exploration!
This interim is geared toward 11th and 12th grade students interested in visiting colleges and exploring different career options.  You will get the chance to visit 6 colleges in 3 days: Day 1 we will visit 2 technical/community colleges, Day 2 we will visit 2 four year colleges, and Day 3 we will visit 2 colleges outside of the Twin Cities.  In addition, we are inviting Instructors from St. Paul College to help teach college/career related workshops, such as: writing a college essay, resume writing, how to be a good advocate on a college campus, etc.  We highly recommend 11th graders and 12th graders to join this fun/exciting opportunity to visit different colleges and explore different careers.
Teachers: Vang, Jolene, Anika, and Annette

Choice G: Don’t Get Caught! Crime Scene Basics
The evidence is beginning to pile up… can you help us sort through it to solve a mysterious case? In this interim you will learn how to collect and process evidence from a crime scene and all the details that go into finding the suspect. We’ll learn about fingerprinting, blood spatter analysis, hair sample analysis, DNA gel electrophoresis, gathering impression evidence, and much more! We’ll also learn about professions in crime prevention and crime investigation. We’ll wrap this interim up by learning how to protect ourselves from attackers in a self-defense clinic.
Teachers: Rebecca and Dan

Choice H: Way to go, Sport!
This course is for students who love the thrill of athletic competition, and are interested in learning the business side of sports. Students will create their own sports franchise, including: team name, colors, logo, and uniforms. The next stage in the creative process will be the opportunity to design an athletic shoe in competition against others’ designs. We will be announcing a contest for the possibility of winning the pair of brand name shoes that you designed. Students will also participate in a Fantasy Baseball league, with prizes TBA. Other topics may include nutrition, sports psychology, health, and wellness. A major part of the interim will be daily participation in a variety of athletic activities. We will be playing indoor and outdoor games, including a trip to a Frisbee Golf course. Participation in all activities is mandatory. Athletic clothing and shoes for a variety of weather conditions are needed on a daily basis. Bring your “A-Game” and be a part of the team!
Teachers: Jeff and Joe

Choice I: Latin American Culture
A class for everyone! Students will enjoy learning and living Latin American culture for a week. Dance salsa, cook, listen to music, make your own piñata, and enjoy learning about similarities and differences with your own culture. If you want to be immersed in this trip for a week just talk to Alejandro!
Teacher: Alejandro

Choice J: Music, Youth, and Social Change
When is music not just music? When it is inspiring youth to transform society. From Chuck Berry to Chuck D. we will take a look at how music has influenced successive generations of youth to break down barriers and challenge prejudice and injustice. We’ll be listening to music, analyzing lyrics, watching rock documentaries, and composing our own original songs. Teacher: Scott

Choice K: Deep Portage Trip
It’s not too late to join--we have a few spots still open!
For the 6th year in a row, 6-8th grade students have an opportunity to go on an expedition to the Deep Portage Environmental Learning Center in Hackensack, MN, about 3.5 hours north of the Twin Cities. The Deep Portage trip this year will last 5 days: we will leave OWL on the morning of Monday, May 19th, and return in the afternoon on Friday, May 23rd. You will stay in a dorm room with other students, have access to normal bathrooms and showers, and get fed three delicious meals a day. We’ll do lots of fun activities, which may include canoeing, orienteering, rock climbing, pond and forest studies, and a 1-night overnight camping trip in one of the campsites on Deep Portage’s 6,000-acre campus. We will also take a day trip to the Headwaters of the Mississippi River.  Come explore the outdoors with your friends and experience one of the highlights of the school year! 
Teachers: Tim and Dave (lead teachers)

Choice L: Outward Bound Service Adventure
Pre-approval required.
Students travel to an Outward Bound base camp in the high desert of Oregon to complete service projects and experience outdoor adventures. Eight days of roughing it.
Teacher: Megan