2017-2018 Course DESCRIPTIONS

Monday 

Morning Meditation
9:00am - 9:15am

Morning Announcements
9:15am - 9:30am
A quick moment for all to get together and see what is on the schedule for the day.  And maybe learn a new word with the morning “word of the day.”

Photoshop & the Digital World
10:00am - 12:00pm
Using Adobe Photoshop, students will learn the basics of how the program is structured, how to mange, reformat and enhance digital photos, and how to alter them to make their own art.  At the same time, we will discuss how Photoshop and "photoshopping" has impacted culture, art, fashion, advertising, the world, and maybe us. 

Public Speaking
10:00am - 11:00am
In this course we will explore some of the basic skills necessary for public speaking and set them in the context of Aristotle's Rhetoric. We will take a look at his three elements of persuasion, ethos (reputation or credibility), pathos (emotional and intuitive connection), and logos (reasoned argument) and put them into practice while considering if there is anything the old guy missed.

Euclidean Geometry: Beginners
11:00am - 12:00pm

This may appear to be a geometry class, but it is so much more. As students advance through Euclid's Elements they progress through the ranks to become a master adeptus in the art of geometry. Using the classic geometry text, The Elements, this class will cover the basic principles of plane geometry, developing skills in analytical reasoning, Euclidean rigor, and demonstration. Students develop demonstrations and present them to the class for evaluation. This class covers the first 6 books of The Elements

Dungeons and Dragons
12:00pm - 1:00pm

Photography
1:00pm - 3:00pm

We will discover how images and the eyes work, and peek into the history of photography and photographers.  Students will learn how to take good still photographs with any device from your smartphone to a fancy camera as well as how to shoot good useful video so you can edit it together for video art.

Math: Skills and Practice
1:00pm-2:00pm

Time set aside to take your math skills to the next level. Usinging the concepts covered in math class we will find ways to hone our skills and practice new concepts. Each student will work at their own pace to develop their math skills in ways compatible with their learning style. 

Makerspace Workshop
1:00pm - 3:00pm

Join us in the makerspace of infinite possibilities! Brainstorm projects, engineer your projects, or get inspired. Together, we will craft our ideas using any means necessary and expand all of our engineering skills in the process! Small focus on arduino and raspberry pi's. 

Biology
2:00pm - 3:00pm

This is a High School Biology course using a variety of curricular materials to cover all the major topics in biology from cell biology to evolution to environmental science. We will use a variety of online sources as well as doing some investigation of our own. One of the key skill we are developing in addition to learning biology is how to take effective class notes.   

Euclidean Geometry: Advanced
3:00pm - 4:00pm

This may appear to be a geometry class, but it is so much more. As students advance through Euclid's Elements they progress through the ranks to become a master adeptus in the art of geometry. Using the classic geometry text, The Elements, this class will cover the basic principles of plane geometry, developing skills in analytical reasoning, Euclidean rigor, and demonstration. Students develop demonstrations and present them to the class for evaluation. This class covers the next 6 books of The Elements.


Tuesday

Morning Meditation
9:00am - 9:15am

Morning Announcements
9:15am - 9:30am
A quick moment for all to get together and see what is on the schedule for the day.  And maybe learn a new word with the morning “word of the day.”

Science Fiction and Social Issues with Laura Fokkena of Rise Out
10:00am - 11:00pm
In this class we will use the lens of science fiction to examine current events. What would it be like to live on a planet with only one gender? Is it ethical to sacrifice some lives in order to save the lives of many? What happens when sacred cultural traditions conflict with the law? Could a society exist without money?

The core of this class will utilize episodes of Star Trek (all versions), Doctor Who, and The Twilight Zone. There will also be a few movies and an optional reading list including writings by Ursula K. Le Guin, Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis, and others.

Reading (Group 1)
10:30am - 11:30am

Explore literature and develop your reading skill at your own pace in this reading group. Students will choose their own books, read aloud, and discuss the books they read together. This group is geared toward students reading young adult literature for the 10-13 year-old age range but all are welcome.

Serial: Civics, Literature, and The Law with Laura Fokkena of Rise Out
11:00-12:00

In this class, we’ll begin by exploring why so many people have described the Hae/Adnan story as "Shakespearean." We’ll talk about Othello and compare it to this modern-day tale of a Pakistani-American teenager, his Korean-American girlfriend, and the African-American friend who testified against him. We'll look at the role of race in the criminal justice system, the rights of the accused, the rights of victims and their families, and the rights of juveniles under the law. We’ll examine evidence, talk about the reliability of witness testimony, discuss teen dating violence, and study the history of the jury system.

COMMUNITY MEETING
12:00pm - 12:30pm The Whole Community

A time for our whole community to connect, get business and announcements shared, and discuss any new ideas, issues, or plans for the community. Duration varies based on topics. 

Dystopian Literature with Laura Fokkena of Rise Out
1:00-2:00
In this English literature class we'll read fiction that imagines worst case scenarios: environmental collapse, authoritarian governments, the total breakdown of society.  In addition to imagining these fictional worlds, we'll also look at the real historical and political circumstances that authors were confronting when they wrote dystopian novels.  

Omnibus of Science
1:00pm - 2:00pm

Hop on the omnibus of science as together we cover a huge range of awesome science topics. We will learn about Earth's different regions, the formation of Earth's wildest places, the life found here, and what is necessary to support it. Find out what makes your eyes the color they are; learn how far you can a kick a ball off a cliff, or even, off of the moon. We will also perform some experiments, and chemical reactions, as well as build an erupting volcano. 

Biology
2:00pm - 3:00pm

This is a High School Biology course using a variety of curricular materials to cover all the major topics in biology from cell biology to evolution to environmental science. We will use a variety of online sources as well as doing some investigation of our own. One of the key skill we are developing in addition to learning biology is how to take effective class notes.   

Reading (Group 2)
2:00pm  -3:00pm

Explore literature and develop your reading skill at your own pace in this reading group. Students will choose their own books, read aloud, and discuss the books they read together. This group is geared toward students reading young adult literature for the 13-18 year-old age range but all are welcome.

Coding Workshop
2:00pm - 4:00pm

Practice your coding skills or work on independent projects in this open format coding workshop with Jack.

Film Making
3:00pm - 4:00pm

In this self-directed learning project members will be working together to write, shoot, edit and produce a short film. Members will work with staff to set up a production schedule, assign tasks, and find useful resources in this project. The project will involve writing, working with the art program and Makerspace to make props and sets. 

Wednesday 

Morning Meditation
9:00am - 9:15 am

Morning Announcements
9:15am - 9:30am

A quick moment for all to get together and see what is on the schedule for the day.  And maybe learn a new word with the morning “word of the day.”

History
10:00am - 11:00am
 
This year in history we are undertaking a study of the Roman Revolution. This period between the late 2nd Century and late 1st Century BCE is among the most important periods of Roman history, involving several civil wars and important political developments. This period also features some of the most noteworthy figures in Roman history. We’ll be using a diverse set of resources including a Roman history course by Garrett D. Fagan of University of Pennsylvania and Dan Carlin of The Hardcore History Podcast. We will also engage some primary sources like Livy and Plutarch. 

Language Lab
10:00am - 11:00am

An open members run class where students can come and practice language learning together.  Many members have taken language in outside classes for years, others have been independently working using things like Duolingo, and several more have decided to work together to learn a brand  new language. Teens have studied; Japanese, Spanish, American Sign Language, and Swedish. 

Mapping the World
11:00am - 1:00pm

Using Davis Smith's innovative curriculum, “mapping the world by heart”, students will learn to draw a map of the world from memory and enlarge their understanding of geography while also gaining global cultural knowledge.  Students will learn the general structure of the globe and how map projections work.  They will then slowly assemble a mental image of the world map, through a variety of hands on activities finishing with a large colored map labeled with climates and many topographical elements.  The class will then do an indepth study on the geography and individual political culture of one continent, culminating in a full color map with countries and capitals along with a rich key of physical elements.

Math Concepts
12:00am - 1:00pm

Do you know your PEMDAS? In this class, we will master the order of operations. There will be a wide range of concepts covered in topics like: geometry, algebra, trigonometry, and beyond. We will see there is nothing to fear about fractions, multiplication, or division, as we hone our math skills together and become math adepts. All math backgrounds are welcome.

GED Prep
12:00pm - 1:00pm

Students will begin this course taking 4 pre-tests.  The results of these pretests will determine the weekly content of this course.  Students will be prompted to do additional studying on their own.  This will allow for customizing each student’s learning path.  Students will be guided through the GED application and formal testing process.  Informational sessions for parents will be scheduled as needed.

Shakespeare
1:00-2:00

This 2-month is a unit study on Shakespeare’s play Othello.  Students will read an adapted version of the play.  This format will allow younger children to participate and enjoy this work.  Older students will be prompted to engage with original texts as well as leveled adaptations that are tailored to each student’s ability.  The course will include “read though” of the play.  This format will allow students to act as characters in Othello without the stress of memorizing lines.  Students will be encouraged to bring in hand props and role-play when in “character”.  The students (and any interested community member) will also have the opportunity to attend a performance of this show at Trinity Rep—Brown University’s theater.  This performance will include an actor talkback.   Prices for student/chaperone tickets are usually $16.  Parents will be needed to help drive students to this event.

World History
1:00pm-2:00pm

Learn the basics of World History by following the Crash Course World History series with George on hand to provide background and to help us work through our assignments.

Biology
2:00pm - 3:00pm

This is a High School Biology course using a variety of curricular materials to cover all the major topics in biology from cell biology to evolution to environmental science. We will use a variety of online sources as well as doing some investigation of our own. One of the key skill we are developing in addition to learning biology is how to take effective class notes.   

Fundamentals of Coding
2:00pm - 3:00pm

Can computers take over the world? In this class find out what computers think, and how humans do the awesome things that we do with them. We will learn together just what an algorithm is, how video games work, and what exactly 'variables' and 'types' are, to name a few of the subjects. We will also program in Javascript, html, C, and maybe more.

Film Making
3:00pm - 4:00pm

In this self-directed learning project members will be working together to write, shoot, edit and produce a short film. Members will work with staff to set up a production schedule, assign tasks, and find useful resources in this project. The project will involve writing, working with the art program and Makerspace to make props and sets. 

Thursday

Morning Meditation
9:00am - 9:15am

Morning Announcements
9:15am - 9:30am

A quick moment for all to get together and see what is on the schedule for the day.  And maybe learn a new word with the morning “word of the day”

Advisory Time
9:45am - 10:00am

A time for advisory groups to meet with their advisors and check in, schedule meetings, and generally fine tune everyone's self-directed learning experience.

Current Events
10:00am - 11:00am
Do you know what is going on in the world? Do you want to know more? Are you still figuring out what your opinions are?  Then join us for open and  informative discussions. Looking at the week's news from a variety of sources we will learn about all kinds of current events, from politics to pop culture, we'll discuss what we think and learn why staying informed is important to participating in a free society.  This course is student and discussion driven so come prepared to participate.

Cooking
10:00am - 12:00am

This cooking class will be based on the geography class.  Students will use the cookbook Eat Your Way Around the World as a guide to recipes from around the world. This class will run bi-monthly. Students should plan for 2-2.5 hours of prep/cooking per class.  The student body including parents will be encouraged to make an advanced reservation ($5 pp.) to eat this meal.   Lunch will include a student presentation discussing the food served.

Psychology
10:00am - 11:00am

This will be a student driven Psychology course. Covering the beginning of the field, how it is used today, and learning and discussing how psychology can help us better understand ourselves. Topics included are human development, mental health disorders, how the scenes work, and how the brain functions.

Math: Skills and Practice
12:00pm-1:00pm
Time set aside to take your math skills to the next level. Usinging the concepts covered in math class we will find ways to hone our skills and practice new concepts. Each student will work at their own pace to develop their math skills in ways compatible with their learning style. 

Stress Management
12:00pm - 1:00pm
Mindfulness meditation is one of the most effective ways to manage stress and alleviate mental and physical pain. Mindfulness is the cornerstone of this class which will also involve a check-in time for students to share issues they may be struggling with. Confidentiality is required for this class.

Creative Writing
1:00pm - 2:00pm

This class will be a safe place to push the boundaries of self-expression and explore experimental and even outrageous ideas in our creative writing endeavors. We will  inspire and support each other as we pursue our creative vision.  Students will make writing goals and will work on them during free write alternate classes, where our small writing community can assist, inspire, critique, and support each other goal progressions.  non- writing alternate classes will cover a variety of writing mechanics and general topics including; grammar, word choice, dialogue, literary devices, imagery & description, and joseph campbell's hero's journey.

Music (w/Sue Gibbons)
1:00pm-2:00pm

Learn about music, composition, and harmonic analysis with an experienced musician and music educator. In this class students listen to Classical, Jazz, and World music to develop an appreciation for all kinds of music as well as an understanding of the structure and history of a variety of music traditions. This course will include field trips to see live performances 

Makerspace Workshop
1:00pm - 3:00pm

Join us in the makerspace of infinite possibilities! Brainstorm projects, engineer your projects, or get inspired. Together, we will craft our ideas using any means necessary and expand all of our engineering skills in the process! Small focus on arduino and raspberry pi's. 

Chess
2:00pm - 3:00pm

Learn to play chess or improve your skills! Explore new tactics, study new strategies, and learn about the heroes of chess as we play the Game of Kings. Students will solve puzzles, discuss openings, master mates and review some of the greatest games of all time with a professional chess instructor! All strengths welcome!

Fashion with Ren
2:00pm - 4:00pm
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Run by a BSLC student will learn any and all things that they are interested to learn about sewing, hand and machine, cosplay, and fashion.  Potential projects could include making your own cosplay costume, sewing pillows, and making your own clothes with a pattern.

Friday 

One Friday will usually have an outing available for members to go on. Past examples of trips were; Canoeing, Boston's Mapparium, Hiking the Blue Hills, and museums including the MFA, ICA, Science Museum and Harvard Museum of Natural History

The center is closed on Fridays for advising or instruction, but may be open for meetings. Contact staff to schedule. 
 
 

 

ABOUT CLASSES

The course offerings at BSLC are always in development and change frequently based on member demand and need. Check back with our listings often to see what our members are learning. Also, members are encouraged to make suggestions and request courses they would like to have.

At BSLC, we do not have tests or grades, and we consider classes to be more of a jumping-off point than an end in themselves. A class is an opportunity for our members to work with others who share their interests and discover the subjects they are most interested in, the projects they would like to take on, and the skills they would like to build. Classes at BSLC place a strong emphasis on seminar-style discussions. They are intended to help members learn to be more self-directed and to carry on their learning outside the classroom. All members are advised to discuss their ideas and interests with their advisors, other members, and the staff and to explore ways to learn and develop skills independently.

INTERDISCIPLINARY FOCUS

All classes at BSLC are interdisciplinary. The goal of learning is to arrive at an ever-expanding and growing understanding of the world and how it works. This understanding should include art, science, politics, religion, technology, and history. The Humanities class, for example, is just as concerned with technological and political developments that have had an effect on human society as it is concerned with philosophy and literature. Likewise, mathematics has had a huge influence on music and art. We always look for ways to make these connections and encourage our students to do the same.

Add/Drop Week

Many classes and workshops in the first two months of the session meet once a week. During these early weeks, we encourage students to visit and try out as many classes as they would like. Add/drop week happens during the last week of September. At this time, we encourage students to choose the classes they are most interested in and to clarify their weekly schedule. After add/drop week, classes may decide to meet more often and cover more material. Our members are not required to take any classes and are free to work independently if they wish. However, if students do want to work in study groups or classes, the instructors and other members of the class will expect consistent participation. After add/drop week, we encourage members to only attend courses they are likely to stay with until the end of the session.

 

Here is last years schedule if you're curious   :D