Play in a Week: Getting Even with Shakespeare

Othello as a rap? Titus Andronicus as a cooking show? Julius Caesar and Macbeth in under one minute? Hamlet backwards? Loosen up, man. Shakespeare's dead; he can't do anything about this abuse of his plays dreamed up by three snarky British guys. Our version will culminate in a performance on the final day of Winterim to whatever audience shows up. Students will be actors, costumers, prop collectors and builders, musicians, technicians, and set constructors. Drama geeks, drama novices, and people who are itching to get even with Shakespeare are all equally welcome. 

  • Enrollment: 6-18
  • Cost: Free
  • Course leaders: Art Ward & VJ Sathyaraj

Gardening Gurus 

Come join us as we explore and volunteer in the gardens around Portland. You can complete a service project by volunteering at Fulton Community Gardens for four days. As it will be March, there will be plenty of cleanup and work to do in preparation for spring gardening. It will be great exercise! For the other two days, we'll spend time at the Chinese Gardens downtown (and visit their tea house to warm up!) and another fun day at the Japanese Gardens where we'll chow down on 23rd Street for lunch in order to load up on all of the calories we burned from tons of manual labor. We'll get to learn about the history of community gardening in Portland and get to visit two of the most impressive gardens in our area. 

  • Enrollment: 6-12
  • Cost: Free + $ for a few lunches out
  • Course leaders: Lauren Shareshian

Exploring Indian Immigrant Culture

Read, eat, and listen to Indian immigrant culture! Students will explore Indian immigrant culture in the Portland area in a variety of ways, including reading and discussing a few short stories by Indian immigrant author Jhumpa Lahiri, watching and discussing the movie "The Namesake", based on a book by Jhumpa Lahiri. Students will learn how to cook some traditional Indian meals, such as chana masala, naan and curry. Students will explore Indian music by Rabindranath Tagore among other composers who strove to fuse Western culture with traditional Indian culture. We'll venture into local homes and schools for cooking and music lessons with local Indian chefs and musicians, including Shankar Viswanathan and master teacher Rose Okada.

  • Enrollment: 6-18
  • Cost: Free + some $ for a few lunches out
  • Course leaders: Gowri Meda & Adam Steele

Helping Hands 

Six days of service to the community and learning about how our community supports those in need. This year we’ll focus on the experience of homelessness, and explore different points of view: adults, families, children, youth, homeless advocates and allies, and even our homeless canine & feline friends. Students are encouraged to take a leading role in planning our activities. Participants earn 20-30 or so hours of off-campus credit in the week, or can get a good start on a long-term SL Project. Plus, you'll reap the great rewards of doing something to help others, and learning a lot in the process. Daily reflection time, posting to a group blog, and planning for future service are all part of the schedule. And, it’s fun!

  • Enrollment: Total of 13 in two groups
  • Cost: Free
  • Course Leaders Robin Schauffler & Kara Tambellini

Be a Tourist in Your Own Town!

Portland is an amazing city with so many things to see and do! Have you done it all?

This Winterim will provide you with opportunities to explore the multicultural aspects of Portland. We will choose from a Portland Walking tour, a visit to the Portland Mercado, a stroll through the Japanese Gardens, an insider view of Nike, experiencing the historical Pittock Mansion, wandering through OMSI and a tour of the Blueback submarine, the Zoo, Portland Art Museum (Constructing Identity - African/American art exhibit), Milagro Theater, Mt.Tabor (the only in-town volcano in the USA), World Forestry Museum, and a guided tour of Tryon Creek. We will also explore the cultural richness of the “foodie” world in Portland.

  • Enrollment: 6-15
  • Cost: Free + $ for a few lunches out
  • Course Leader: Carmen Boyle

Lower School Interns  

Have you always dreamed of going back to your 1st grade classroom? Thinking about being a teacher someday? Here is your opportunity to explore those dreams and return to the Lower School for the Lower School Internship program. You will be spending time with our young OESians, helping them out in the classroom or other activities, such as P.E., science or art. You will be able to choose the age group and specialty. These children will know and love you forever!

  • Enrollment: 8
  • Cost: Free
  • Course Leader: Robin Weitzer

Get in the Swing: The Basics of Golf 

This course is designed to teach the basics of golf, and is intended for beginning and intermediate golfers. Each day our group will go to a local course, where students will receive instruction on the full swing, chipping, and putting. There will be ample time for practicing these skills, but we will also provide plenty of opportunities to take your skills out on the course. Golf etiquette will also be emphasized, so you will always be welcome at any course you visit in the future.

During the week we will play at least 36 holes of golf on full-size courses. Depending on weather and the interests of this year's group, we might do some mini-golf as well or make a trip to TopGolf. We also plan to spend at least a half-day doing a golf-related service project, such as working with the First Tee program at the Children’s Course in Gladstone. Sustenance is an important part of every golfer’s game, so daily visits to the snack shack or a nearby eatery will also be a priority. We’ll supply you with equipment if you don’t have your own.

  • Enrollment: 12 (Sorry, OES golf team members may not take part in this course)
  • Cost: Free + $ for a few lunches out
  • Course leaders: Joel Gray & Chris Meyers

Conservation and the Columbia Land Trust 

 The Columbia Land Trust is a local organization which works with landowners to buy and preserve areas of natural beauty and sites of special scientific interest in the Portland area.  They own and manage a number of reserves.  Students in this Winterim will work with the Columbia Land Trust to perform a variety of jobs on several different sites to monitor and improve them. These sites could include Spady Easement, Columbia Stock Ranch, Cranes Landing, Keller Woodland, Woods Landing, Schoolhouse Creek, Indian Jack Slough and others, and the jobs we will be doing include tree planting, weed removal (blackberry, ivy, and holly), ecological surveys, fence removal, aquatic system improvement, cleaning out wood duck and purple marten nests boxes, and restoration planting.

There will be tours and walks within some of these reserves, many of which provide habitats for rare native species.  Those interested should be prepared to work outside in all weathers, have sympathy with the conservation movement, and delight in hard toil. There will be some driving to reach the reserves. All participants will receive at least 30 off-campus service hours, and, with prior agreement and planning, there may be opportunities to do an extended project either during or after Winterim.

  • Enrollment: 6-12
  • Cost: Free + $ for a few lunches out
  • Course leader: Peter Langley

All Things Hawai'ian 

Come explore the arts of Hawai'i with Tanja & Sue!

Learn how to cook a pig - Hawai'ian style - for our luau, make a flower lei with daisies, plumeria, roses, orchids and carnations, learn the hula, transform bananas into works of art, watch Hawai'ian movies, paint a large scale painting, carve a large woodblock to print and make prints to sell for the turtle-tagging program to help threatened Hawai'ian green sea turtles. We will take field trips to see the arts of Polynesia and eat at restaurants featuring Hawai'ian food! Aloha!

  • Enrollment: 12-16
  • Cost: $75 for art projects
  • Course Leaders: Tanja Horvat & Sue Jensen

Wildwood in a Week 

 Only a few minutes’ drive from OES is a forest trail that stretches nearly 30 miles almost to Sauvie Island in the north. We’ll tackle it section by section to eventually thru-hike the entirety of the great Wildwood Trail.  Along the way we’ll make stops to understand Portland’s history as it relates to Forest Park and explore current issues like homeless encampments, invasive plant species and wildlife conservation.  We’ll enjoy as much of what the park and trail system has to offer while teaming with Forest Park Conservancy to maintain trails and work as citizen scientists to gather data for ongoing plant and wildlife research. Students can expect to earn 10-15 service hours and could have a great start to a service learning project. 

  • Enrollment: 6-12
  • Cost: Free + $ for a few lunches out
  • Course Leaders: Tyler Green & Deb Walsh

Game Play and Design: Card and Board Games

This course introduces students to the various game-playing genres of card and board games. Students will play mostly unfamiliar games that require them to think strategically, collaboratively, and creatively.  After building a level of competence and discovering the game mechanics they enjoy the most, the goal will be to combine their favorite features and design their own game. In addition, students will receive instruction from a professional game designer and take a trip to a game museum. We might also spend an afternoon introducing and playing games with members outside the OES community.

  • Enrollment: 6-14
  • Cost: Free
  • Course Leaders: C.T. Henry & Brad Hoffman

The Happiness Project 

In this course we will actively explore the ideas and research about what makes people happy. Students will create the schedule for the week, based on theories of happiness, interviews with children and adults, and the individual choices of the group. We may be doing everything from walking in a beautiful natural area to taking a chocolate-making workshop to performing random acts of kindness. Service is on most lists of what makes people happy, so we'll do a day of service. We will all commit to sharing our ideas, trying out diverse activities that make us and others happy, and sharing our findings with the community
  • Enrollment: 6-12
  • Cost: Free + $ for a few lunches out
  • Course Leaders: Debby Schauffler & Julie Sikkink

Social Justice Training Grounds

Deep conversations about identity and -isms can take more than an hour to develop; some experiences need more than three hours to achieve full engagement. This Winterim, we’re giving a lucky group of invested students the opportunity to engage in these discussions, often provoked by an outside source (including movies and board games).  After engaging in these full day workshops, the students will receive facilitation training and leave this Winterim with a fully developed workshop they can offer at a future Culture Shock. Students signing up for this must be ok with facing mature content in film (along with with discussion that follows) and recognize that they are receiving the training to lead workshops and change in the community.  

  • Enrollment: 6-14 (NOTE: Students should be interested in leading Culture Shock workshops in the future)
  • Cost: Free
  • Course leaders: Gabriel Edge & Dori King

Explorations in Pure and Applied Mathematics

This course is designed to help students experience creative, fun, and intellectually stimulating ideas in mathematics. Each day students will investigate a topic in pure mathematics and explore connections between that topic and the art, entertainment, and natural phenomena that surround us. Our daily topics for exploration include infinity/fractals, geometry/origami, puzzles/problem solving, and Rubik's cube/group theory. Activities include visiting an art museum/gallery, going to Uwajimaya for origami paper (and snacks), watching math movies, visiting Reed College for a math seminar, and teaching middle school students how to solve Rubik's cube. There will also be a day of solving and designing hat puzzles and eating pizza.

  • Enrollment: 6-16
  • Cost: Free
  • Course leaders: Greg Drugan & Owen Gross

Head Start Helpers 

Head Start is a federally funded preschool program for low-income families. Their mission is to provide a safe, nurturing, caring, and culturally sensitive environment for their young students. As a Head Start Helper, you will read to children, play educational games, assist the teaching staff with classroom activities, and help supervise outdoor play. You will have the opportunity to interact and develop meaningful relationships with young children from very diverse backgrounds. Participants in this Winterim will earn service learning hours and may turn the experience into a service learning project.

  • Enrollment: 6
  • Cost: Free
  • Course Leaders: Head Start Teachers & Dana Mosher Lewis

Meet Your Robot Overlords

Build robots (including a scratch-built quadcopter with FPV [first-person-view] system) using a variety of parts/techniques/experimental methods including lithium polymer batteries, solar, and wind power systems. Use sculptural materials to enhance your ‘bot’s aesthetics. Code. Consider THE FUTURE and what this might look like; make infographics/videos/websites to explore and present information about energy sustainability, overpopulation, global warming, water usage, etc. and what technology is offering/might offer to respond to these critical issues. Watch a lot of cheesy robot movies while working/exploring/researching/making/imagining. 

  • Enrollment: 6-18
  • Cost: $75
  • Course leader: Cameron Jack & Guests


Discovery is a five day, 40 hour apprenticeship opportunity open to 10th-12th graders who want to create their own individualized learning experiences. The deadline for submitting an application to do a Discovery during Winterim 2016 was November 13, 2015. Students who have not already submitted an application may not register to do a Discovery during Winterim 2017. If you are interested in setting up an apprenticeship for the future, and would like to learn more about Discovery, please click here.

  • Enrollment: Open to students who have already completed the proposal process
  • Cost: Free
  • Course leaders: Dana Mosher Lewis & Corbet Clark 

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