JANUARY TERM IS SOMETHING UNIVERSITY HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS CHERISH EACH YEAR. For three weeks in January, between the first and second semesters, students take a break from their usual classes and immerse themselves in a single subject of their choosing.
From robotics to soccer, from protest art to cake decorating, our J-Term topics change each year, but students always enjoy the opportunity to learn something new, travel, and focus on a single subject. January Term classes count as a single semester class.
THE BENEFITS OF OFFERING A JANUARY TERM
- Hands-on, applied, active, and creative learning activities
- Different kinds of experiences and the teaching of unconventional classes
- Opportunities to get off campus, travel, and bring in outside speakers and resources
- In-depth, intensive, and rigorous classes that reflect student interest
- Deeper understanding of the school’s core values
THESE ARE EXPERIENCES. These are ideas that jump from the page of a textbook into real life, and that nourish a love and appreciation for what it really means to be a student and a scholar. In everyday life it is rare for students to be truly and unapologetically passionate about a particular topic, but at University High School in the dead of January, it is not only possible, it is inevitable. And that is exactly what happened to me over these three weeks.
Class of 2017
2021 JANUARY TERM COURSE DESCRIPTIONS
The Art of French Cooking & Baking
Basketball & Beyond
In this course, students will learn all about Broadway, on and off the stage. They will learn the process of producing a show, and they will gain an appreciation of theatre through observing and analyzing filmed productions and listening to guest speakers. The course will end with a performance. Students will have the choice to be on the production team or to be a performer.
Developing Leadership Through Wilderness Exploration
“Wilderness to the people of America is a spiritual necessity, an antidote to the high pressure of modern life, a means of regaining serenity and equilibrium.”
– Sigrid Olson
Over the course of J-Term, we will enter the wilderness to seek refuge in ourselves, learning how nature can serve as a catalyst to knowing one’s self with a deeper, more holistic understanding. From leadership surveys to wilderness observation and survival skills, this course will help you garner a deeper understanding of yourself and how to respond to and lead the world around you. A significant portion of this class will take place outside hiking, observing nature and ourselves in nature, and building survival techniques. Warm winter gear and willingness to be, both physically active and solitarily still, outside will be essential. Explorers will build up to spending a significant portion of our day hiking and camping out in the beauty that is winter. It is our hope that our culminating challenge will take place over the course of three days and two nights at an Indiana State Park.
Elements of Design: Art, Architecture & City Centers
This course will examine historical elements of art, architecture, and design within the context of the city landscape. Using Vienna and Indianapolis as our models, we will look back at creative developments to understand what currently exists around us in urban centers and look forward with big ideas to the future of cities.
Graded work will include reading articles and excerpts of books, participating in class discussions, journaling, and producing creative projects. This is not an art class, and while experience or talent in art is not required, willingness to engage in the creative process is a must.
We’ll explore works of art and artists, visit Indianapolis landmarks, take virtual trips to Viennese sites, host virtual guests from both sides of the Atlantic, and have hands-on experiences in the classroom. For those who want more, optional evening or weekend outings will allow additional in-depth exploration. (These optional outings will have no bearing on understanding core course topics or grades.)
At the end of the course, students will have a broadened perspective and understanding of design elements that we can find all around us.
While this J-Term course was originally designed to study the art, architecture, and design of Vienna, Austria, the pandemic has made travel to that city impossible in January 2021. Therefore, we have expanded the course to include Indianapolis for exploration and comparison.
The course and all grades will be complete in January. We hope to offer an optional summer 2021 excursion to Vienna for class members who wish to experience the city directly. We will share more about plans, including costs and timing, as details become available.
Epidemiology: Outbreaks to Pandemics
Exploring Korean Culture & K-pop
This class will examine the changing face of Korea and how current modernization has impacted Korean culture, language, and traditions. The Korean value system will also be explored through the lens of its oral and written language. We will also look into the assimilation patterns of Korean immigrants and compare and contrast the widening gap between Korean-American and native-Korean culture. We will listen and study some K-pop and discuss its appeal and the widespread popularity. We will also get a chance to watch the evolution of Korean drama and film in class and explore Korean food by cooking some popular dishes as well as visiting local restaurants.
Heroes & Villains: Conflating Good & Evil in American Popular Culture
The History of Independent Film in America
This course will explore the evolution of independent cinema in the United States from the New Hollywood period of the late 1960s up to the present. Students will come to understand the basics of film art and the ways in which independent filmmakers have driven the form forward in innovative ways that caused important changes in the film industry as a whole. The course will require students to trace this history through the work of important directors, the viewing of seminal films, and the exploration of the growth of film festivals and independent cinemas in the United States. Students will also be making short independent films of their own. Our work will culminate with the class virtually attending the 2021 Sundance Film Festival through the festival’s online portal.
New Orleans: The One & Only
In this class, we will study the city of New Orleans — its history, its people, and its many contributions to American life. In its 300-year history, New Orleans has seen successive waves of newcomers, each bringing something new to the city and its culture. Whether it is jazz or Mardi Gras or gumbo, everyone knows something about New Orleans. With this J-Term, you will come to know the whole story behind what makes New Orleans unique, read literature inspired by the city, study the forms of music associated with New Orleans, and learn about Creole and Cajun cuisine. While we will not be able to travel to New Orleans in January, we will work hard to recreate the New Orleans experience ourselves, by supplementing the original curriculum with virtual visits to local historical sites, exploration of various musical styles, and the sampling of authentic New Orleans cuisine.
Paranormal: The Truth Is Out There
The Physics & Metaphysics of Star Wars
Rwanda: A Study of Reconciliation & Reconstruction
Peace and forgiveness begin within. How do you forgive, especially after a horrific tragedy? In 1994, an unbelievable calamity occurred within the nation of Rwanda when more than 800,000 people, mainly ethnic Tutsis, were slaughtered during a violent genocide, yet the nation has managed to reconcile and rebuild itself successfully. In this course, we will examine the idea of forgiveness as well as reconstruction with a focus on Rwanda. Through in-class activities, guided readings, film viewings, guest speakers, and focused class discussion, we will explore the tools and mindset necessary for forgiveness. Although we will not be able to physically travel to Rwanda, we will explore its gorgeous geography and culture through films, virtual visits, and interactive activities. Emotional maturity is required as genocide will be discussed during this course.
Tennis: A Sport For Everyone
What Moves Us: An Exploration of Dance
This course will be divided into three sections: (1) The origin/history of major dances around the world; (2) The performance of (some) of the dances studied; and (3) The mental, physical and emotional benefits of dance.
Global history of dance will be presented in a variety of learning contexts and via the use of various media. Discussion and presentation of dance styles and genres will include, but will not be limited to the following: early tribal dance, early Greek/Roman dance, courtly dance, contra dance, Kathak, Middle Eastern dance, classical ballet, jazz, modern dance, tap, flamenco dance, capoeira, salsa, merengue, tango, street dancing, breakdancing, hip hop, reggaeton, and Zumba.
A portion of the class will entail learning and performing a variety of dances. Guest instructors will be a part of this course and will introduce and teach several genres of dance both on and off campus. In addition, we will learn how dancing has mental , physical, and intellectual benefits that have the power to maintain or enhance the following: physical fitness, mind/body coordination, social engagement, memory, mental health, accessibility to diversity, and artistic self-expression.
So, put on your dancing shoes and make the mind-body connection!
The Worst of American History
Students are responsible for making their own arrangements, but they will receive the guidance and support of the director. Students submit a daily electronic journal entry at the end of each day. In addition, each student will articulate his or her personal experience and evaluate his or her work during the internship through a longer written piece and an oral presentation to the school.