Winter Term

Innovative and Immersive Academics

During this five-week immersive academic term students have the opportunity to experience two engaging and exciting courses of their choosing.

This innovative term – designed and facilitated by our faculty – is strength-based, experiential learning at its best and provides an environment where students can flourish in areas of their interest and/or expertise.

From trips that open students’ eyes to the world to courses that allow deep exploration or practical life skills – Winter Term is a time for students and staff to make the most of the winter by doing what brings them joy, while learning!

During Winter Term students spend two and a half hours per day in each class, giving them ample opportunity to delve deeply into the subject material and produce high quality, creative and original work.

2020 Winter Term Courses

Charting the Galápagos Islands

1 History and 1 English Credit

This is a full-day course will provide an in-depth investigation into human exploration by looking into why we explore, the qualities of exploration, and the impact of exploration on culture and humanity. Each student will become an “explorer” and develop their skills in first-hand observation, describing and documenting their interactions, and reporting or explaining their findings. Explorers will rely on a variety of related areas such as history, science, journalism, artistic rendering and culture studies in order to conduct an extensive investigation. Our own expeditions will occur in a number of forms from immediate observation, to local and regional exploration, and finally with our own expedition to the Galapagos Islands in the footsteps of Charles Darwin. During classroom time, students will work to develop and fine tune their skills in observation, description, and explanation and then use those abilities to explore the unusual environs of Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands.

The Power of Film

1 English Credit

Storytelling is one of the most common ways that we communicate to one another. Stories told with film have a tremendous influence on our attitudes and perceptions of the world around us.  In fact, films may be one of the most powerful tools in modern culture for shaping values and conveying information. We will be analyzing various films from different time periods and countries, examining gender roles, major themes, and also aspects of film technique,  learning how to become active participants in the movie world, changing the way we view films forever! 

Winter Ecology

1 Science Credit

Covering a wide range of skills and knowledge the main goal of Winter Ecology is to learn as much about the physical science of cold and snow along with the adaptations of plants and animals living in the highly variable environment of Northwest Michigan.  We will also practice cold weather survival methods and different modes of transportation including snowshoeing and cross country skiing. We will be outside every morning experiencing the challenges and beauty the winter season brings.

Snow Sports

1 Elective Credit

Spend every afternoon on the slopes of enjoying the beautiful Northern Michigan winter. This is a great class for experienced skiers and riders as well as those beginners who have a desire to learn. This course includes study about the ski industry, general strength and conditioning, and skiing and snowboarding techniques. 

Native American History in Leelanau County

1 History Credit

Gain historical perspective of the relationship between the Federal, State, County and Tribal governments. Explore the Native American perspective on Western culture and the social, political, spiritual and economic interaction between two cultures. Many opportunities to meet Tribal government staff; attend Tribal Government Council sessions; meet with Tribal Health, Education, Conservation, Court, Fire Department, and Law Enforcement officials; and use the GTB Cultural Museum as a resource to enhance our learning will be offered.

Math Support

1 Math Credit

This course is an opportunity to redo or reinforce skills in any of our math courses offered during the academic semesters.  Students choosing to enroll in Math Support will co-create an individualized plan including goals to be accomplished. This is also a great opportunity for Calculus students who would like to take the AP exams at the end of the school year.

Duck Decoy Making and Painting

1 Elective Credit

Learn to cut out, carve, and paint a decorative duck decoy.  Along the way, you will learn about the safe use of hand and power tools, how to paint with an airbrush, how to identify ducks and some basic bird anatomy.  We will also explore some of the famous decoy makers of the 19th century and look at the history of decoys going back thousands of years! We will also paint a variety of subjects with acrylics and watercolors.


1 Arts Credit

A class for musicians, poets, and those who always dreamed of writing songs. We will begin by learning the basic skills on the guitar, bass, piano, mandolin, fiddle, drums, etc. All the while working with our voices and practicing writing lyrics. Then we will take all of these skills, work together in small groups, and put them into the wonderful art of songwriting. All songs will be shared with the Leelanau community during the Celebration of Winter Term.

“How to…” Practical Skills for Life

1 Elective Credit

Daily experiential activities to build skills for daily living today and in the future.  Each module will have a theme, such as: basic car maintenance, meal preparation, home repair/maintenance, sewing skills, personal income tax, budgeting, community outreach, as well as other modules suggested by students. Each student will select a specific skill he or she has mastered and will present to the class by teaching that specific skill. Several local field trips with “real life situations” to practice their new skills will be included. 

Abnormal Psychology

1 History Credit

We will be exploring the minds and behaviors of the “misunderstood” piece of society. Delving into case studies that have changed the game in Psychology, we will ask ourselves: What makes people act the way that they do? How do we explain “abnormal” behaviors? What is considered to be “abnormal” and why does this definition vary across cultures and time?

Needles and Thread

1 Elective Credit

Exercise your creativity and improve your sewing and knitting skills while working on your own personal projects for yourself or someone you love. We will utilize videos, instructional demonstrations, and field trips to strengthen hands-on knitting and sewing skills.

Recent Winter Term Classes –

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