January Term 2015

What is Jan Term?

From January 6 through January 23,  West Sound Academy will participate in Jan Term 2015. In Jan Term, the normal seven period class schedule is suspended and students study two intensive classes for three weeks. Jan Term provides a forum for students to put the academic skills they have been building into practical application. The day is divided into a morning Jan Term class and an afternoon Jan Term class. Students are graded and earn 0.25 elective credits for each of their Jan Term classes. 

A total of thirteen classes will be offered for Jan Term 2015. Twelve of the offerings will be half-day classes meeting for three hours per day. Students choose a morning Jan Term and an afternoon Jan Term for a total of two separate classes.  The thirteenth course will be our traditional Jan Term music class, led by Paul Burback and D’Arcy Clements, with the entire day devoted to music. 

jan term 2014 paul directing

With winter break and Jan Term representing five weeks without our traditional academic schedule, the transition back into second semester is made smoother for all if enrichment is done during that time. Students will be given three specific tasks to do on their own time during Jan Term:

  1. Complete an individualized math practice packet.
  2. Read a book (either assigned or free choice depending on their English teacher’s directions.)
  3. Watch a movie chosen by the teacher for the language the student is currently learning.(Each movie will be screened once at school in the evening for students' convenience during Jan Term.)

The courses that will be offered for Jan Term 2015 are listed below.

See Forms & Flyers for WSA Families for Course Selection Form.

Due December 1, 2014

All Day Jan Term Class

Music Immersion  (This class meets from 8:20 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.)

Instructors: Paul Burback and D'Arcy Clements

Paul Burback & D’Arcy Clements are offering a supersized music class during Jan term this year. Students considering taking this class should have intermediate to advanced experience on at least one instrument, although being able to read music is not mandatory. The class will work together as an ensemble.  

Students will be actively involved in putting together a concert for their final performance - they will come up with the material and decide how it should be arranged. 

mark gsellman upper school music

The final performance will feature an eclectic mix of styles of music. The last three years' performances have included World Music, Classical, Gypsy Jazz, Rock, movie and video game themes and much more. The idea is to free your mind and see where the music takes you! 

Morning Jan Term Options

(These classes meet 8:20 to 11:20 a.m. every day of Jan Term.)

Food Art

Instructor: Gary White

A feast for the eyes; treats for the tongue.

Play with your food and create bushels of delicious artwork. We will examine traditional and contemporary cultures for inspiration. Projects will range from Día de Muertos Sugar Skulls to Bento Box Beasts. We will explore a variety of aesthetic concerns. We will sample a range of techniques including carving, arranging, mold-making and more. There will be a broad range of projects, simple enough for anyone to accomplish, yet beautiful enough to be hung in an art museum (or be served in its restaurant).

biq ice cream in melon

Before we handle anything edible, we will study the Washington State Food and Beverage Workers' Manual.  Part of the materials fee covers the cost for students to obtain a Food Handler Permit (Food Worker Card.)

Appetizers (aka Planned Class Projects)

  • Gingerbread Tardis (it’s even sweeter on the inside)
  • Grilled (pancake) Dinosaur
  • Powdered-Sugar Graffiti, public art alla Banksy
  • (Francis) Bacon Fondant
  • Toast Ghosts
  • “Too Cool to Pool” Ice Carving
  • Fried (dough) Cthulhu
  • Better in Butter
  • Shrunken (apple) Heads
  • Maori (Banana) Skin Tattoos
  • Fimo Dough Snackettes
  • Eat Your Face, by Arcimboldo
biq-ice sculpture

Gender & Contemporary Culture

Instructor: Eric Bright

This class seeks to explore, demystify, and critique cultural constructions of gender—beliefs about what it means to be a man, woman, or someone who identifies with neither category—which structure and govern our perception of ourselves and the world in which we live.

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To this end, we will read some theoretical works on gender which we will use as an analytical framework to interrogate and examine how these constructions affect our daily lives and inform the creation and reception of art, literature, pop culture, institutions, and contemporary social and political policies.

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Students will draw upon the knowledge and insights they acquire through reading and discussion to develop their own individual or group reflections on gender through a work of art, short fiction, documentary, or presentation.

West Sound to West Hollywood:  An Acting Experience

Instructor: Chris Soldevilla

Chris has been an adjunct instructor with West Sound Academy since 2007. A professional actor, coach, and principal owner of The Studio located on Bainbridge Island, Chris specializes in preparing actors for today's acting industry & confidence building for life in general. No experience is necessary, just a willingness to try.

chris soldevilla

Relying heavily on improvisational games and techniques, we will explore ways to communicate, perform, and create scenes using these acting methods. We will work to create an improvised performance as well as scripted scenes designed for stage and camera. Students will hone their acting skills and dabble in the environments of not only performing, but what it’s like to write, cast, create, and even shoot scenes, ads, and shows.

There will be a final performance demonstrating the improv games learned and possibly a previewing of any taped work that is accomplished. A great experience for any creative minds wondering what it is like to pursue a career in acting, and the necessary skills needed to do so.

filming 1935

The Art of Cinema

Instructor: Catherine Freeman

Make film viewing a conscious, critical and analytic activity, as well as a fun one. You will learn about the elements of film language and aesthetics as we explore the development of cinema as an art form and cultural artifact.

This course is meant to be a journey through the world of film.

biq damsel in distress
biq clint eastwood fistful of dollars 1964

We will watch movies of a variety of film styles as well as genres including but not limited to silent film melodrama, film noir, comedy, the war film, and the western.

We will talk and write about these movies as we analyze them with a number of engaging activities. Popcorn is included!

The History of Fun

Instructor: Allan Batchelder

This class will explore the history, nature and various manifestations of fun, from early man to the present. We’ll examine how fun is experienced in many cultures and even species, around the world.

Students will experiment with active, creative, scientific, even culinary activities from a wide range of regions and historical periods.

biq toy testing at ideal toy company 1955
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We’ll have something to suit every interest and learning style, and you’ll find joy and enjoyment in things you were never aware of before. With luck, you may even find a reliable, repeatable recipe for fun as a method for stress management and overall quality of life!

Gohn Dagow Martial Art

Instructor: David Miller

Self-defense is a valuable skill for anyone to know regardless of age, size, or gender. This class will teach students an ancient form of kung fu known as Gohn Dagow.

Gohn Dagow originated in 2800 B.C. The art centered within the secrecy of religious temples until approximately 638 A.D., when a monk named Chin Li brought the art out of the temples.

gohn dagow

A fifth generation grand master, also named Chin Li, brought the art to the United States from China in 1945.

In Gohn Dagow we learn and practice physical techniques for health and self defense. Hand and foot techniques, as well as holds and throws are taught. Ancient philosophies are also shared with the students.


Through practicing the physical techniques, students develop their inner chi (energy) and learn the self-discipline, patience, perseverance and humility that comes from within.

Mr. Miller has been a student of Gohn Dagow for almost 30 years and has trained over 200 students in the art of self-defense. This course will focus on self-defense, prevention, philosophy, and strength conditioning.

yin yang

Afternoon Jan Term Options

(These classes meet 12:00 to 3:00 p.m. every day of Jan Term.)

Awesome Athletic Adventures

Instructors: Barrie Hillman and Lisa Gsellman, with guest instructors

This Jan Term class is a physical education experience taken to a new level of adventure and fun. Students will experience a variety of sports both indoor and outdoor. They will learn new skills that promote a love of exercise and a firm commitment to the belief that there is no bad weather, there is only inappropriate clothing.

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Students will learn everything from building a fire to playing rugby to fly fishing to yoga to ultimate Frisbee to rock climbing to many other adventures. Your fearless leaders will begin by conducting team and confidence building activities and then introducing new adventures with background information, instruction and practice. No experience is necessary - just a love of exercise and willingness to work in all kinds of weather.

All during our journey we will be capturing photos and videos to edit into a final documentary of the class. Students will be graded on their participation and engagement, preparation, proper clothing, and their sportsmanship and team work. We will be using some of our local vendors so the fee will cover those costs.

september2013 climbing club 5

Craft Sensations

Instructor: Jen Silvernale

In our busy, fast-paced world having the time and space to create functional art with our hands is a luxury. If you have dabbled in the past with hand-crafted projects or are interested in learning new skills this class will introduce you to multiple craft mediums. Each afternoon, our group will have the chance to create new and fun CRAFT-centered inventions.

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biq glass etching

Planned projects include: knitted or crocheted scarves (and a knitted tree in our school garden!), beaded jewelry or accessories, scrapbook pages with your favorite photos included, glass etching, felt-stuffed animals and any other projects we can concoct over our three weeks of right-brained-learning freedom.

No prior experience is necessary other than a willingness to try new things! Come join our craft-stravaganza and let your inner crafter roar!

Devised Theatre: Think It, Share It, Create It

Instructor: Gretchen Nordleaf-Nelson

Dive into the world of theatre! The Devised Theatre Workshop will be one of the greatest opportunities you will ever have to immerse yourself in the theatre experience in a great atmosphere that only West Sound Academy can offer. You will work hard, learn along the way and make new friends – you might even find out you all have similar dreams, ideas and visions – imagine that!

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biq red velvet curtains

The Devised Theatre Workshop is for beginning, intermediate, and seasoned actors who love to learn and want to build their theatre skills through hands-on workshops and rehearsals. Workshops will include Theatre Games, Improv (so much of Improv), Acting, Movement, and Script Writing all tied into rehearsals for our final show.

Devised theatre is an exciting way to create theatre and get your voice onstage! Using personal stories, news articles, music, dance, and pop culture, the students will create scenes and vignettes inspired by their own and their classmates’ experiences. Funny and poignant, devised theatre is sure to leave an impact. Performances may be at the end of each week or take place at the end of the Jan Term.

Join us for an incredible three-week experience that will last a lifetime!

biq coffee and biscotti

Star Trek: Its Influence on Technology & Culture

Instructor: Lionel Pummell

Star Trek has embedded itself in our daily lives and sparked the minds of scientists to go where no man has gone before. In Star Trek 4 (1986) Scotty sold the formula for transparent aluminum, today Surmet makes ALON transparent aluminum armor. Communicators, transporters, tractor beams, Phasers, tricorders all things of the far future in 1966 when Star Trek first aired are now currently used or being developed.

biq star trek tv 1966
biq star trek tv 1966 transporter

And it’s not just for the tech-literate among us: “Set Phasers to stun”, “Beam me up Scotty”, “Live long and prosper” have become part of the American lexicon. Through discussion, writing, online and scientific exploration as well as viewing selected episodes we will see why Star Trek has endured the test of time. So warp speed ahead and sign up for the Star Trek Jan Term because resistance is futile.

Imposters in Film, Literature & Culture

Instructor: Julieta Vitullo

Impersonators, imitators, con artists, pretenders, deceivers, fraudsters, hoaxers, tricksters, swindlers, scammers: the world is full of them, although one might wonder why people risk so much to be someone they are not. Throughout history and across the planet, artists and writers have expressed different renditions of imposture, drawing from real life events and the real social and historical conditions that lay the ground for those narratives to come into being.

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mata hari 1906 dance of the seven veils

One needs not to look only at fiction because history is full of examples that were later fictionalized, from numerous adaptations of spy and femme fatale Mata Hari’s life, to Steven Spielberg’s account of Frank Abagnale, one of the youngest conners in history, in Catch Me If you Can. In this class, we will explore the figure of the impostor through films, short stories, plays, music, art, and texts on psychology and the animal world. Students will read, discuss and participate in hands-on activities that will even involve a delightedly deceitful culinary experiment. They will be given writing prompts to write their own impostor stories, create visual art pieces and theatrical performances.

By exploring some of the sociological, historical and political implications underlying these narratives and analyzing their relationship to identity, we will try to answer the question: what are the conditions that allow imposture to emerge and what do these narratives tell us about the status of authenticity in a society.  

If you think you know who your friends truly are, sign up for this class!

george harrison pushes john lennon in wheelchair 1965

Writing, Walking and Wondering

Instructor: David Sumner-Smith

Afoot and afield, putting pen to paper, this intrepid and mellifluous Jan-Term course combines creative writing and local treks.

We will craft creative writing – poetry and short stories – and take attentive, purposeful walks in the woods and along the shores of our area. We might also explore some book arts.

biq wet driveway bainbridge island

For centuries writers have used walking as a way of being mindful, clearing cobwebs and generally sorting out ideas as they sought inspiration.

biqthe wordsworth lake rydal water lake district cumbria england

A journey on foot integrates mind and body: the legs move, and the mind wanders. By being forced to focus on quick-passing logistical realities such as stepping over uneven ground, the brain is freed up from having to contemplate background worries, which are both more tedious and less specific, than the ground underfoot.

Walking for us can be like a phonograph needle that has been lifted up off its original track, and is now free to land along a new groove of its own choosing. The trick of forgetting can be used to the poet’s advantage, if he or she can get free from the same old thoughts for a little while - long enough to land in a new space of creativity. The writings of William Wordsworth, the English Romantic poet, are correlated to walking the Lake District and all over the English countryside.

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biq colvos passage kitsap peninsula in distance

In this sense, Wordsworth’s walks were clearly (or nearly) transcendent. Whether or not his walking brought him into a state beyond the ordinary realms of space and time, certainly he escaped the collected tedium of his daily life.

Our walks will not be strenuous; nonetheless, clenching and carping are forbidden. Dare I say they will be pun(ished). Carpe-ing the diem on the other hand is encouraged.

Independent Jan Term

Upper School students use the Jan Term Independent Proposal Form to propose a three week independent study.  Forms must be submitted by December 1, 2014.

No proposals are considered without a completed form with parental signature and a designated mentor. Independent Jan Terms require initiative and dedication with concrete deliverables assigned in addition to making a presentation to the school community.