Greek Mythology (Ella)

Note: This class was added after the blog was initially published.

In this Greek Mythology class, we will dive into some of the most fascinating stories of Classic Greek Mythology while asking philosophical questions and analyzing whether or not a story has a moral or modern significance.  Along with that, we will be learning about the history of Greece and Rome from the Trojan War to the Roman Empire.

We will watch movies that relate to mythology and judge them on their accuracy and relevance.

Please note that this class is open to middle and high school students.  You do not need to have taken my previous mythology class to participate.

There will be a small to moderate amount of homework.

Just Write (Sam)

This class is what the title says, Just Write. Let’s gather to work on building our writing skills in a relaxed way. I find that just taking the time to write and process thoughts and ideas helps us to stay connected to the skill of writing. We will have time to free write (journal), work on specific projects, blog, and even the chance to do collaborative work. If you’re looking to get more into writing or take the time to just write more, this is the class for you!

American Lit: Octavia’s Brood: Sci-Fi Stories From Social Justice Movements (elizabeth ortega)

Note: This class is open to high school students only.

Read 25 short stories written by 20 different authors inspired by Octavia Butler, including one written by the South Seattle musician, writer, and hip hop artist Gabriel Teodros. (I’m going to work on having him come as a guest speaker.)

Celebrate diverse voices and stories.

Dive into the blended world of sci-fi and social justice. 

Engage in rich discussion about how to envision and build the world you want to see.

This will be a read-aloud and discussion class. There will also be short writing assignments along the way to practice diving deeper into content and themes.

Octavia’s Brood, exists in part to redress a historical bias toward white male writers. In the 1960s, a poll to find the greatest science fiction novel of all time featured not a single female author… Science fiction “has responded to minority writers as society has responded- slowly.” This is thanks in no small part to the female African-American science fiction pioneer Octavia E. Butler who is commemorated in the title of the anthology. Specifically, the editors name-check the “Octavia Butler scholarship, an Octavia E. Butler Legacy Network, and all the work the Carl Brandon Society has been doing since 1997” as examples of science fiction’s slow progress toward equality across barriers of gender, race, and sexuality, of which Octavia’s Brood forms a part.

“[Questions of social justice] have deep roots in history and they are our responsibility to figure out with more focused attention than a sensationalized 24 hour news cycle allows. We chose to collect short stories that could be read quickly but ask important questions that stick with our readers. Where is home? What is justice? What makes life worth living and fighting for?” Speculative fiction interrogates current societal values through its portrayal of alternative paradigms and social structures, and the editors feel that traditional narratives allow for these complex parallels to be developed to their fullest.”

–Excerpts from an interview with the editors, Walidah Imarisha and Adrienne Maree Brown

 

 

Required texts/materials:

Connection to Place (hannah)

Through place-based learning, this class aims to immerse students in the heritage, culture, landscape, experiences, and opportunities of your immediate environment. 

This class will be divided into two units: your home and your neighborhood. We will begin by learning about the tribal lands which our homes now occupy. Later in the term, you will make a community asset map of your neighborhood to learn about the social organizations, structures, and services shaping the sociocultural landscape today. 

A lot of this class will be outdoors. Your yard and your neighborhood will be your classroom. Lessons will be interdisciplinary, including sociology, science, civics, language arts, and self care, with the objective to deeply learn about your immediate surrounding environment.

Sapiens (hannah)

Note: This class is open to high school students only.

Human history is shaped by three major revolutions: the Cognitive Revolution, the Agricultural Revolution, and the Scientific Revolution. These revolutions have empowered humans to do something no other form of life has done – create and connect ideas that do not physically exist (religion, capitalism, politics, etc). These shared “myths” enabled humans to take over the globe and are now putting humankind on the verge of overcoming the forces of natural selection.

This is the theory of humanity put forth by Yuval Noah Harari in his excellent and illuminating book, Sapiens. In this class, we will explore and analyze the newly released graphic novel version of this book. If you are interested in discussing ideas about where we came from, where we’re at, and where we’re going – this class is for you!

Sound Production (Sam)

 

What goes into making a song sound clean and well produced? This class teaches students to mix audio using traditional and modern digital audio workstation techniques. Topics focus on training the student’s ear to identify different instruments and ranges to better blend music. This course may also cover different types of music editing and surround sound. Audio mixing may be aimed at beginning or advanced students and taught through streaming audio and self-produced songs.

Math: Habits of Mind (Nic)

Have you enjoyed the open-ended, sometimes-puzzle-like activities we’ve done in the synchronous math sessions this year? Sticker this class if you want to keep doing that kind of work to build your math brain.

This class will meet synchronously 2x/week.

There will be no asynchronous/self-paced part to this class. You will not be learning “algebra” or “pre-algebra” per se. If you want my shepherding to keep working on Khan Academy, etc., you should (also) sticker the Skill Sprint class.

Continuing Sex and Health Education (year long) (elizabeth ortega)

Note: This class is open to high school students only.

Here is the description from the beginning of the year to reground you in what is to come.

—————————————————————————————————————————————–

Sexual health and healthy relationships are things all people, especially young people, deserve. In this class I will do my best to be inclusive of a wide variety of genders, sexualities, experiences, and perspectives and focus on the real world and real life experiences.

Relationships and sexuality is a life long journey of learning about ourselves. Here in this class, I want to create a space where you can learn relevant information about sexual and relational health. Talking about sex and our bodies openly and honestly can be hard, but it doesn’t have to be.  It can also be enlightening, informative and exciting!

I will be utilizing two different curriculum sources. One will be Be Real. Be Ready. is SFUSD’s (San Francisco Unified School District) comprehensive relationship and sexuality curriculum for high school students. And S.E.X., second edition: The All-You-Need-To-Know Sexuality Guide to Get You Through Your Teens and Twenties by Heather Corinna as well as various educational media pieces and articles as they relate to the topics.

Wo Pop – World Music and Pop Culture (Sam)

 

Do you ever wonder what music is like in other parts of the world? Being a HUGE music lover, I often find myself wondering about that very thing. Often I’m finding myself going on Spotify and seeing what’s available in many parts of the world.

We will explore music in a variety of ways and find out what makes music so popular in different cultures. We will look for commonalities and differences in sounds and lyrics, and learn about the relationship music holds with that particular culture. Who knows? Maybe we will discover where some of the sounds in America originated from!!!

Fearless English (Scobie)

How I Make My Hypnosis Recordings - Start to Finish | Giovanni Lordi
This is brave creative writing in which you will write from prompts (mostly fiction, but some other possibilities, too). Why brave? Because you need to write work you’re willing to proudly read out loud to the rest of the class, or have read out loud by me. We will promise to be supportive, and to celebrate your wins. But you’ll also need to be ready to hear ideas about where you need to do more work and to accept the challenge to try to improve. There will be writing time given in class, but if you want to make the most of this, you’ll be finding outside writing time as well. Trust me, when the excitement of this class gets going, you’ll WANT to work on your stuff!

Project Euler (Nic)

[Since this didn’t go as an intensive, but there seemed to be interest in it, I’m offering it as a class! The class pitch is reproduced below.]

This is a programming class for people who enjoy math. It’s also a math class for people who enjoy programming.

Project Euler is a website with a collection of simple but challenging math problems, most of which need a bit of computing power to solve easily.

Here’s the first one:

If we list all the natural numbers below 10 that are multiples of 3 or 5, we get 3, 5, 6, and 9.  The sum of these multiples is 23.  Find the sum of all the multiples of 3 or 5 below 1000.

You could solve that problem by writing out all the numbers and adding them up — but that will take a long time!

In this class, we will spend some time writing a simple program to solve this problem—and some of the other 400+ problems on the site—elegantly. We’ll teach each other, learn from each other, and play with math and programming.

Prerequisites:

  • Some programming skills. Which language you know isn’t that relevant—I can imagine using Python, Javascript, C, even PHP to do this work… though maybe not Scratch—but having some familiarity with basic concepts like variables, data and control structures, functions, etc. is essential.
  • If you’re really interested in joining but have zero programming background, talk to me. I could help you identify and complete an online tutorial in Python before the end of spring break.
  • You should also have some general affinity for math. Having some experience with algebra would be an asset.

There are good tools for collaborating on this kind of thing remotely—think Google Docs for code—so we’ll still be able to work together, even from our own homes.

World of Stories (hannah)

Note: This class is open to middle school students only.

How does culture shape our stories and storytelling? How do stories transform when they’re transmitted from culture to culture? What can we learn about other cultures by reading their stories? 

In this class, we will explore these questions by reading literature from around the world. Types of texts will include excerpts from novels, short stories, and poetry by authors including Jhumpa Lahiri, Haruki Murakami, Homer, Yann Martel, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Oscar Wilde, and Isabel Allende. 

This is a class about reading and discussing texts and culture. There will be some analytical writing assignments in and outside of class.

Nomic (Nic)

Here are three things that really make me happy:

  1. Community/teamwork
  2. Improvisation
  3. Playing games

Nomic is all three of those things. It’s a game (it has rules), but playing the game is an exercise in group creative expression. If you appreciate any of these things, you might enjoy Nomic too!

I hope to play Nomic with a group of people over the entire course of Spring Term. We’ll gather synchronously for two slots/week, and might collaboratively invent some asynchronous ways of keeping the game going outside of class.

Character strengths that are useful to have, and can further develop playing Nomic:

  • Creativity
  • Teamwork
  • Fairness
  • Attention to detail
  • Appreciation of beauty

Frames of mind that may make Nomic more challenging or less enjoyable for everyone:

  • Rigidity
  • Cynicism
  • Impatience

Let’s invent together!

Cultural Geography (People and Places) – MS (Sam)

Note: This class is open to middle school students only.

How can one expand their knowledge and study people, places, and societies of the contemporary world? Through a number of different activities, students will explore the influence of individuals and groups on historical and contemporary events, and identify the locations and geographic characteristics of various societies throughout the world. In this class, students will be able to identify different ways of organizing economic and governmental systems

Old Tactics, New Times: Pushback and Breakthroughs in the Struggle for Civil Rights , Part 2 (Larry Metzger)

Note: This class is open to high school students only.

This class is a continuation of the winter term course, Old Tactics, New Times: Pushback and Breakthroughs in the Struggle for Civil Rights, Part 1. Students who did not take Part 1 can still enroll in this class. In Part 2 of the course we will pick up the story of the Civil Rights Movement in the late 1950s with the struggle for school integration in the South. Our exploration of the Civil Rights Movement will culminate with its great victories – the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. We will also look at the history of housing segregation in Seattle. From there we will turn to the ongoing fight for racial justice in contemporary America, focusing on the struggles against police violence and efforts to suppress voting in Black communities.

We will organize our exploration around the following big questions:

  1. What were the goals of the Civil Rights Movement?
  2. What strategies did Civil Rights activists use?
  3. Why did certain strategies succeed?
  4. Why did so many whites oppose equal rights for African Americans?
  5. What choices did both supporters and opponents of the Civil Rights Movement make and how did their choices affect events?
  6. How successful was the Civil Rights Movement?

About the instructor: I was a full-time history teacher a several independent schools for many years until my retirement in 2015. Since then I have been volunteering at PSCS, where I have taught a version of this course, as well as classes on the Vietnam War and Nazi Germany. What I enjoy most about teaching PSCS students is their love of learning, enthusiasm, and willingness to engage with tough issues. During my first four years as a volunteer at PSCS, I was living in Seattle. This summer, however, my wife, Elizabeth Alexander; our dog, Dr. Norman; and I moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico in the high Southwest desert.

Required texts/materials: Pdfs of photocopied materials that I will provide. The instructor will procure the texts/materials.

Writing Group (Sadie)

Do you like writing but don’t have the time? Have you wanted to create a writing piece but procrastinate? This is the class for you! This class will be fairly simple; we will gather synchronously to share what we are working on and write in class together, with optional sharing at the end. I will bring in writing prompts and games, but for the most part you will be setting and accomplishing your own writing goals while checking in with everyone on your progress and giving each other feedback! It’ll be a lot of fun, and a great opportunity to hold yourself accountable for your creativity. Come write with me!

Homework: No outside work.

 

Baking with Mara and Zoe!! (Mara)

Do you miss Mara bringing in treats at the start of the day and then not getting to have any because they were all gone before the first slot?  And do you miss Zoe blocking the pathway at dismissal because she wanted hugs? If the answer to both of those is yes, then this is the class for you. Every day we will bake a new treat including Mara’s chocolate chip coconut cake, Amy’s vegan chocolate chip cookies, and much more. We will have lots of fun sharing pictures of baked goods and music  If you are interested but have dietary restrictions let me know.

 Materials: Electric handheld mixer or stand mixer, cookie cutters, rolling pin, piping tips and bags, and baking ingredients (list provided a week ahead of time).

 

 

Required texts/materials: Students will be responsible for obtaining their own texts/materials. Materials should be procured by: The day of class each week.

Physical Science – HS (hannah)

Note: This class is open to high school students only.

Waves! Electricity & Magnets! Motion & Force! Matter! Energy!

What do all these weird sciency things have in common? They are non-living systems we will study in this class. 

Here are ways you already do science: throwing a frisbee! Listening to music! Heating up soup in the microwave! In this class, we will hypothesize about and experiment with the ways in which these forces shape life and stuff in the universe. 

Here’s an example of something YOU could learn about in this class: momentum

Geometry, The Year Long Course, Continued (Scobie)

This is a full year of high school math linking your current algebra skills to a whole new world of visual and measurement math, with lots of drawing, proofs, projects, and puzzles. What’s more, I’m committed to delivering you into some awesome access to trigonometry during Spring Term, with calculation and visualization skills that many high schoolers never get. If you know you’re headed to pre-calculus and calculus, these skills are precious. If you’re not, they’ll still make you feel like you have special math powers!

Power to the People (Anya)

Note: This class is open to high school students only.

This class is going to be a mix of protest history, and learning about what’s going on right now both locally and on a larger scale in terms of demonstrations and protests. We will cover some BLM, LGBTQ+, Women’s rights, and Indigenous celebration/rights focused protests through things like YouTube vids, podcasts, guests, etc… I (Anya) acknowledge that I am a white/able-bodied/cisgendered person who cannot speak to the experiences of people in communities I do not fit into in the US. That’s why it’s really important to me to have POC, LGBTQ+, Indigenous, female identified, etc.. guest speakers who can speak to those perspectives. Our hope is that this will be a chill space where people feel comfortable enough to ask questions and learn through mistakes. If you’re open to come and join us, we’d love to have you!

Anthropology – HS (Sam)

Note: This class is open to high school students only.

This class studies the various branches of anthropology that deal with the study of culture. The discipline uses the methods, concepts, and data of archaeology, ethnography, folklore, linguistics, and related fields in its descriptions and analyses of the diverse peoples of the world. Called social anthropology in Britain, its field of research was, until the mid-20th century, largely restricted to the small-scale (or “primitive”), non-Western societies that first began to be identified during the age of discovery. Today the field extends to all forms of human association, from village communities to corporate cultures to urban gangs. Two key perspectives used are those of holism (understanding society as a complex, interactive whole) and cultural relativism (the appreciation of cultural phenomena within their own context). Areas of study traditionally include social structure, law, politics, religion, magic, art, and technology.

Studio, Spring Edition: Kites, Gliders, and other spirit-lifting Creations (Scobie)

Styrofoam glider - Micro DLG plane WHAT?? - YouTube

Your Studio package for Spring Term will contain raw materials for beautiful flying things, kits to make kites, bird sculptures, and other aerial delights to draw you both to design and decoration, but also to beautiful indoor and outdoor flying! If we can work it out, we’ll have a (Covid safe) spring kite festival day to fly our creations, and share our successes!  Contribute your art pieces to a chain of kites that rise into a spring sky!

Art through the Ages (Sam)

 

This class will introduce art within historical, social, geographical, political, and religious contexts. How do we look at different works of art and express the deeper meaning behind them? Let get into great conversations about the things we experience and do some creating of our own.

Physical Science – MS (hannah)

Note: This class is open to middle school students only.

Waves! Electricity & Magnets! Motion & Force! Matter! Energy!

What do all these weird sciency things have in common? They are non-living systems we will study in this class. 

Here are ways you already do science: throwing a frisbee! Listening to music! Heating up soup in the microwave! In this class, we will hypothesize about and experiment with the ways in which these forces shape life and stuff in the universe. 

Here’s an example of something YOU could learn about in this class: momentum

1…2…3….Espanol!  (Mara (student) and Veronica (parent))

Vamos! Are you ready to go on an adventure to learn a new language and experience new culture?

Come and join us! We are Mara and Veronica. We are natvie spanish speakers and we would love to share our culture and language with you. 

The class will be tailored to your level and interests. You will learn basic spanish conversation skills while exploring a new culture, through hands-on activities, games, music and more….

 

Los esperamos!

 

Totally Async Dictionary Game (Scobie)

This will be an entirely online term for players who love the game, with no zoom meeting and no class time–just rounds of the Dictionary Game on the app with notices through Slack. It got off to a slow start in Winter Term, but we finally got the hang of it. I’ll publish new rounds and give you a day or two to respond with your word or definition, then run voting, then do the reveal for all to see, and I’ll show the scoreboard from time to time. Plan on playing mostly for fun: don’t count on it to add significant English credit for graduation.

Constitutional Law (continued) (Nic)

Note: This class is open to high school students only.

Open only to participants from the winter term course.

Music Show and Tell (Oscar)

Endorsed by the great Liana Green I bring you the classic PSCS Music Show & Tell experience. For veteran students this will be the same class you know and love. For new students or those of you who just need a reminder, this class is very much as the name describes. Each week everyone will bring in a song based on a prompt (a song you find moving, a song without lyrics, etc).  We’ll spend the entirety of class time listening to everyone’s music; thus, Music Show and Tell. 

 

Duolingo World Language (Amy)

Need a world language credit? Like to work at your own pace and choose what time of day you work? Then this is the class for you. In this course you select a world language to study, sign up for and work using the free Duolingo app, and then report your weekly progress to Amy. That’s it! This is an easy cheesy way to earn a world language credit.

I Need Self Care (elizabeth ortega)

I invite students who have taken this class every time it was offered, as well as students who feel like taking care of themselves in new and maybe even kinda strange ways. Spring Term offers a simple opportunity to slow down, check in with yourself, and engage in practices that help you prioritize taking care of your whole being: mind, heart, body, and spirit.

This class feels more important than ever. Our nervous systems and hearts have been overloaded with stress and anxiety throughout this global pandemic. We need to repair and take care. What better time than to slow down and figure out how to be well through this?

We will come together to take care of our hearts, bodies, and spirits, and get to know each other and ourselves a little better. We will meditate, listen, breathe, make art together, go outside, write, do some yoga (not too much!), stretch, and create our own little sanctuary space in your rooms/homes where you can take care of yourselves right now.

You become what you practice. Let’s practice together.

Math: Skill Sprint (Nic)

If you want to keep working on the asynchronous, self-paced math you’ve been doing in pre-algebra or algebra, this is the place to put your sticker. Spring Term is only eight weeks long… sprint to the finish line!

I will sort students into sections based on the level of work they’re doing. Students will have only one sync section per week, which will focus on supporting the specific skills and knowledge they are studying in their async work. (This is different from Fall and Winter Terms, where groups were mixed across experience levels.)

Students will be expected to complete at least 90 minutes of async work outside of class per week.

(Want to also keep doing the fun, open-ended tasks we’ve been doing in most of our sync sessions this year? Consider also stickering the Habits of Mind class.)

MS Current Events (elizabeth ortega)

Note: This class is open to middle school students only.

Every week we will dive into a different topic. We will gather opinions about what global issues, political matters, current news, we want to explore. We will read articles, watch short videos, listen to news segments, and look at photos regarding the issues at hand. The content will be relevant to what is going on in the world and we will do our best to keep up with the events of this time.

You will have asynchronous time to complete an assignment each week and then, the following week, we will engage in small group discussion in a socratic seminar style.

What did you learn? What surprised you? What activated you? Do you agree with your classmates? What do you still wonder?

Sex and Health Education (MS) (elizabeth ortega)

Note: This class is open to middle school students only.

We will work to create a space where you can learn relevant information about sexual and relational health. Talking about sex and our bodies openly and honestly can be hard, but it doesn’t have to be. It can also be enlightening, informative, and exciting!

This class will be a place to build confidence and friendly curiosity, rather than shame and judgment. Cultivating a relationship with one’s sexuality and body is a journey – and it’s better if you feel informed and aware along the way.

We will utilize the book: Sex is a Funny Word: A Book about Bodies, Feelings, and You “This candid, inclusive, stereotype-defying, and absolutely wonderful primer on sexuality and gender identity embraces diversity in all of its dimensions.” To further inform the curriculum we will also use the age appropriate curriculum: The Get Real middle school curriculum.

Please reach out if you have any questions about the content of this class!

Embroidery and Diverse Voices (elizabeth ortega)

This class is for both returning students and students who are new to embroidery! (I will work with new students to catch you up.)

This class is 2 parts: EMBROIDERY and DIVERSE VOICES.

Embroidery. This is the craft of decorating fabric using a needle and applying thread or yarn. It’s a hand-eye coordination craft. You can decorate anything from a jean jacket to a handkerchief.

You can decorate with words, designs, images, shapes, etc. It’s bunches of fun, requires patience and intention, and is very rewarding when your masterpieces are completed. You can frame your pieces, wear your pieces, or decorate with them.

Diverse Voices. We will listen to various podcasts, Ted talks, and media pieces centering voices that are typically marginalized. We will hear from a variety of folks, from many different backgrounds, across all different identities and life experiences. We will engage in small group discussion during synchronous classes.

I challenge you to join us for some hands on art, listening, connection with each other, and creativity.

This class is for you if you’ve already taken and want to continue to improve your skills and for those who are just beginning and need some extra support with embroidery.