Intersession, which began three years ago, is an opportunity to take a break from the normal ebb and flow of classes. The week before spring break each year, the term ends and students dive into a week of elective classes that strike a balance between relevance and fun. Students choose classes with topics ranging from art, music, and video production to cooking, curling, and journalism. Students can also try their hand at woodworking, put the school’s Life Through Service motto to practice, or be an intern and mentor at our Lower School. Many of these classes are taught in a way that pulls both students and teachers out of a traditional classroom setting. If you are still a little hazy on the backstory of this yearly event we created a video for you that cuts right to the chase.

On Monday, February 29, our students began this immersive week, which concluded on Thursday, March 3. The benefit of the program’s structure is that each class meets all day for the entire four days. Any teacher you speak to is quick to note how much can be accomplished and how deep the learning is  when students are able to commit four full days to a class. The challenge then for the teachers is to keep the kids engaged and the material fresh and interesting. The result is that many Intersession classes go off campus to better explore their topics. The Journalism class wasted no time trekking to NYC to visit various magazine headquarters, such as Rolling Stone, where students were treated to a behind-the-scenes view. There is nothing quite like experiencing first hand the application of your topic in the real world.

Whether intentional or not, Intersession brings both students and teachers closer to the learning process. As Head of the Upper School Flynn Corson noted, “The variety of enrichment experiences brings teachers and students together to try something new, and is a great example of hands-on teaching, learning, and experimentation—a testament to the fact that at IMS, school is full of meaning, relevance, and fun.” This is an important observation and one that is not missed by our students. By fully engaging in a four-day, intensive course, both students and teachers are challenged to dive deeper and more actively than is typical. The result is something fun, enriching, and all around important in both informing and building a better learning environment at the school.

Plus, it is a great way to brush up on your curling skills, in case you are ever called on to join the Olympic team!

For photos from Intersession, head over to Flickr!