New Opportunities Abound This Winter Term

New Opportunities Abound This Winter Term

No need for any back-to-school blues: When students resume classes on January 7 following winter break, they'll get to dive right into one of the exciting courses they chose for themselves as part of Brooks School's annual, three-week Winter Term.

See pictures from Winter Term 2020 at!

Each of Winter Term's 31 intensive courses focuses on one topic, putting into practice the concept of "depth over breadth." Ten brand new classes will make their debut this year — thanks to fresh ideas and faculty talent.

View the Winter Term 2020 Course Catalog and visit our Winter Term page for more details about the unique program, including photos and video from previous classes.

The school's seven new teachers provided "a nice mix of new ideas to what we've done in the past because everybody brought their own interests and ideas to the table," said Associate Head for Academic Affairs Lance Latham, who has overseen the program for the past seven years and begins working with teachers to develop the course catalog in late summer.

Brooks' new Center for the Arts also made more arts courses available to students than previously offered. "It's great," added Latham. "We have quite a few opportunities this winter for kids to continue their study in the arts — or to try things."

Visit Academics Overview to learn more about the curriculum at Brooks, sneak a peek inside of our classrooms and see the course catalog.

That is, after all, the whole point of Winter Term. "We do everything we can to design courses in which students are going to be engaged and active," said Latham. Because the program emphasizes collaboration among classmates and experiential and project-based learning, "It's teaching and learning in a different way . . . allowing students to really throw themselves into their course and engage more deeply."

In addition to classroom visits from alumni, day trips off-campus and overnight excursions, professionals in various fields come to Brooks to share their relevant expertise. Last year, for example, New Orleans artist Emilie Rhys tutored students for a week an artist-in-residence, inspiring them to sketch live performances and try new ways of drawing.

Read on for a round-up of the first-time courses offered this term, alongside long-running, beloved classes such as Car Wars, Mock Trial and the Great Outdoors.

Classmates and families will get to see the results of students' work in these and other classes at the end of the term in the school's Winter Term Symposium celebration on January 24!

  • Adventures in Professional Pathways (exclusively for students in the class of 2023):
    This career exploration asks students to ponder their future and offers meetings with a life coach to help them identify strengths and values for the long-term goal of identifying potential future careers.
  • Brooks Is Cooking! (exclusively for students in the class of 2023):
    Aspiring chefs will learn how to cook and how food is used in many international cultures as well as our own.
  • How Did Massachusetts Get Its Name? (exclusively for students in the class of 2023):
    Local Native American history and culture is the focus of this course, which will include visits to local reservations, museums and universities.
  • Beyond the Lights: Telling the Story of Sports:
    A mix of sports journalism and business, this class looks at what goes on behind-the-scenes of your favorite sporting events — from the media side and institutional side — to produce the articles that fans read and the interviews they see.
  • Chasing Creativity: Exploring Why Artists Make Art and Cultivating Your Own Inner Artist:
    Examining "the meanings and purposes of a wide variety of art," according to the course catalog, students will meet artists, visit art exhibitions and discuss art of all kinds to learn "what drives art-making at the most basic level."
  • Pottery and Raku:
    The most-requested course this Winter Term, Pottery and Raku students will throw pots, make masks and then light them on fire with visiting artist and professional potter Laura Nichols using an outdoor raku kiln in the Center for the Arts courtyard. (Nichol's exhibit "Playing with Fire: Risk and Reward" will be on display in the Robert Lehman Art Center January 7-25).
  • Setting the Stage:
    Writers, directors, set-makers and actors will all be busy in this class that offers students the opportunity to create a production based on a current issue. The last week of Winter Term they'll take their show on the road — and perform it in local schools and libraries!
  • Spill the T:
    "Take a break from distractions . . . and reflect on the truth and the meaning of life," urges the write-up of this course in the Winter Term course catalog. Using different tea and coffee rituals to learn about culture and religion, students will engage in deep conversations about one's identity while learning how to brew following western and eastern traditions.
  • Step-Up: Step, Stomp, & Slide:
    Dancers get moving in this class teaching foundational dance styles of stepping and stomping. Students will also take in performances off campus and meet with amateur and professional dancers.
  • The Power of Observation:
    An exploration of how we see the world, providing skills gained through observation, this course uses original works of art in a museum setting to teach Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS). After learning the system of observation, students will go to an elementary school and teach it to the youngsters!

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Teachers as Students

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