Course Descriptions

Course Descriptions: Session 4

For registration directions, visit our registration link.

General course descriptions for Session 4 (March 20-June 2) are listed below. Please read them carefully before selecting courses, as some courses have requirements, prerequisites, or details which may impact your selection. Thank you!

  • CRPD classes: payment for CRPD enrichment courses must be done through the CRPD (or Teen Center); please indicate which CRPD enrichment courses your child is taking when registering for OSA courses.
  • To view our pricing, see the Course Schedule.
  • Some courses follow a full year course of study* and require independent work.
OSA Academic Courses 

  • English Language Arts (ELA) for 6th-8th*
  • Literature and Composition*
  • Math at Your Level (MAYL)
  • Pre-Algebra*
  • MS Algebra*
  • Foundations of Math*
  • Bubbleology
  • Hands On Botany
  • Human Anatomy
  • Our American Story
  • Mapping the World by Heart*
  • Body Talk 2
Enrichment Courses 

  • Food Fascination
  • Fine Art: Pop Art Portraits
  • Readings Brought to Life
  • Creative Writing
  • Book Club
  • Understanding Religions
  • Learn to Crochet
  • Math Alive
  • Rocket Science
  • Physical Education
  • Running Club
  • Gardening
  • Study Session
  • Community Circle and Lunchtime
CRPD Courses 

  • Physical Science Lab for 8th-11th (and study session)*
  • Math Through Chemistry (part 4 of 4 molecular science series)*
  • All Sorts of Sports
  • You Build It, You Keep It

English Language Arts (ELA) for 6th-8th
Mondays/Wednesdays, 9:00-10:30
This two-day core course will focus on reading and composition, and can accommodate a range of skills provided students read at (at least) a 6th grade level. High-interest articles, essays and book excerpts will be enjoyed, with time for discussion, evaluation and writing.  Scholastic SCOPE or similar materials will be used for analysis of current events (subscription included). Social studies/current event topics are often incorporated into lessons, with a range of activities to be expected (group presentations, reader’s theatre, etc). Focus in Session 4 will be response to literature and narrative writing (creative/poetry); students should expect to complete at least two final draft essays. Basic conventions, mechanics and editing will be practiced each week. Additional independent reading will be assigned, as well as extra writing practice if needed. Materials needed: Spiral notebook, folder, assignment notebook, and pencil/pen. Instructor: Lori Peters. Max: 12 students. Independent reading and writing is required, 2-3 hrs/week. Students will need to have an approved novel of choice for independent reading at all times. At least 5 novels should be completed annually.  9:00 class is recommended for levels 6th/7th. 11:00 class is recommended for those at 8th level. Subsequent sessions will focus on argument writing, response to literature and narrative.
Literature and Composition
Tuesdays, 9:00-10:30
This year-long course aligns with the recommended curriculum for Golden Valley 9th graders, but is open to 8th-12th graders who are proficient in foundational English skills (composition/grammar) and can read proficiently at or above an 8th grade level. (For GVCS students, this course will fulfill most of the core reading/writing requirements for GVCS 9th Literature and Composition 1; grammar practice outside of composition editing, some study guide activities, and GVCS required text-based lessons are not part of this course). Over the year, students will complete at least four classic novels (selections include novels by Bradbury, Golding, and Orwell), and several classic short stories or poetry, relevant articles and/or speeches. All reading will be accompanied by in-class reflection, discussion, note taking, critical analysis, and historical and cultural connections. At least two essays per session will be completed and assessed. Lessons in composition skills (summary and literary analysis) will be included. Independent reading and writing is required, 2-3 hrs/week. Instructor: Lori Peters. Max: 10 students. This is a full year course of study. (Text selections are on syllabus.)
Math at Your Level (MAYL)
(Times, days vary)
Each unique 1.75 hour, 1.5 hour, or 1-hour math class features small class size, individualized instruction, immediate feedback, and support with your home school math curriculum. Although a variety of levels are welcome in any class, the longer math blocks are recommended for students who need extra assistance. If further practice is needed, students may be introduced to excellent math websites, including Khan Academy, which offers individualized lessons and immediate feedback. Materials needed: spiral notebook and independent math work/text. Instructor: Laura Erlig or Kalli Gedwed. Max: 9. Students MUST come to each class prepared with their assigned home school math materials. 
Mondays/Wednesdays (11:00-12:30)
In this twice a week, year long course, students will be provided instruction specifically targeting pre-algebra skills in order to build proficiency with key algebraic concepts, such as analyzing, using, and applying proportional relationships, rational  numbers, algebraic expressions, linear equations, and appropriate geometric and probability and statistics concepts.  This course will align closely with 7th grade math standards and is designed to prepare students for Middle School Algebra (8th grade math).  Format of lessons given are direct instruction, independent practice, problem solving, and project based learning.  Instruction may be that of a “flipped classroom”. Family may replace independent, “at home” work with textbook practice if required from student’s charter school. Materials Required:  1 subject spiral bound notebook, loose leaf lined paper, pencil & eraser, scientific calculator (TI-30 suggested), ruler. Instructor: Kalli Gedwed. Max: 8 students. Independent work is expected. Pre-assessment is required for placement into classThis is a full year course of study.
Middle School (MS) Algebra
Mondays/Wednesdays (9:00-10:30)
In this twice a week, year long course, students will be provided instruction specifically targeting algebra skills in order to build proficiency with key algebraic concepts, such as analyzing, using, and applying rational numbers, algebraic expressions, linear equations, functions, and appropriate geometric and probability and statistics concepts. This course will align closely with the 8th grade math standards and is designed to prepare students for high school level Algebra 1.  Format of lessons given are direct instruction, independent practice, problem solving, and project based learning.  Instruction may be that of a “flipped classroom”. Family may replace independent, “at home” work with textbook practice if required from student’s charter school. Materials Required:  1 subject spiral bound notebook, loose leaf lined paper, graph paper, pencil & eraser, scientific calculator (TI-30 suggested), ruler. Instructor: Kalli Gedwed. Max: 8 students. Independent work is expected. Pre-assessment is required for placement into classThis is a full year course of study.

Foundations of Math
 Mondays/Wednesdays (11:00-12:30)
This course is designed for students needing to solidify their foundational math skills before Pre-Algebra, typically 6th grade, but the course is open to any student 6th-8th in need of foundational skills in math. Using Everyday Math, participants will practice foundational skills including basic algorithms of multiplication and division.  They will also explore relationships between fractions, decimals and percents and perform all operations involving decimals and fractions. Word problems, games and activities will be used to enhance understanding. Materials required: spiral notebook, folder, assignment notebook, and pencil. Instructor: Laura Erlig.  Max: 9 students. A course syllabus will be available mid-August. Independent work is expected, 2 -3 hrs/week. This is a full year course of study. $20 lab fee for Everyday Math Text, volumes 1 and 2. Wednesday afternoon’s Foundations of Math: Games! Class is highly recommended as a perfect complement to this course.
Tuesdays (9:00-10:30)
Bubbles are not only captivating, colorful, and fun to make, they are also excellent demonstrations of scientific phenomena. In this unit, students combine intense enjoyment with important concepts in chemistry and physics through imaginative experiments with soap bubbles.  Bubble behavior has attracted and compelled observation by chemists, physicists, mathematicians, and engineers.  The search for a deeper understanding about bubbles has yielded intriguing connections in many technical fields. Instructor: Laura Erlig. Max 10
Hands On Botany
Thursdays (9:00-10:30)
In this broad, lab-type science course, students will learn about botany and plant ecology in a hands-on manner. Topics will include the different types of plants (e.g. moss, conifer, flowering plant), plant structure and function (e.g. how leaves, flowers, fruits, roots, and stems work), and the ways that plants interact with their environment (e.g. seed dispersal, phenotypic plasticity). Each meeting will include a mixture of lectures and activities. Activities will include: making a dichotomous key, plant dissections, working in the OSA garden, and collecting data/samples from the plantings around the Teen Center. Some light homework will be required. Instructor: Tim Handley. Max: 12
Human Anatomy
Fridays (9:00-10:45)
Students will learn about the eight main organ systems of the human body.  Each week we will focus on one system, analyzing its function and learning what organs are involved.  The final week we will cover nutrition and how what we eat affects every body system. Some light independent work may be required; plan for about 1 hr/wk. This is the same course that was offered in Session 3. Instructor: Kalli Gedwed. Max: 10
Our American Story
Fridays (9:00-10:45)
Students will acquire a general overview of the 8th grade social studies standards. Please note: not all important events and concepts can be presented. Students will be introduced to the development of American democratic institutions, founded on the Judeo-Christian heritage and English parliamentary traditions, particularly the shaping of the Constitution. Students in grade 8 should be able to trace the development of American politics, society, culture and economy, and relate them to the emergence of major regional differences. They will learn about the challenges facing a new nation, with an emphasis on the causes, course, and consequences of the Civil War. They will make connections between the rise of industrialization, and contemporary social and economic conditions. Each class has a different focus, with information being presented through discussion, reading, note taking of BIG ideas, and video (primarily America: The Story of Us, from Jamestown to Reconstruction). Participants should read proficiently at a 7th grade level. Weekly independent work required. Expect about 1.5 hrs/wk. Course culminates with an independent project. Instructor Lori Peters. Max: 12
Mapping the World by Heart
Thursdays (9:00-10:30)
This full year course will allow students to dive deeply into world geography, starting at any level. By the end of the year (if attending all four sessions and completing all assignments and recommended independent practice), students will be able to draw a map of the world by heart, on a Mercator grid, and– dependent on his/her starting point of knowledge– will include most of the world’s 190-196 countries (that final number is dependent on the source, as some countries do not recognize others as independent countries), major bodies of water, and major landforms. Like anything, the final product is determined by the time and effort put into it, which began in September! Lessons taken from David Smith’s “Mapping the World By Heart” curriculum, as well as video and other sources, will support the understanding of various maps, globes, regions, climates, coordinates, the spatial relationships of countries and continents to one another, and regional/cultural and historical information about some countries. Instructor Lori Peters has taught this unit many times before, and former students claim it was, without a doubt, one of the most beneficial projects they ever had. Max: 10 students. Independent work is expected, about 2 hrs/week, and a culminating project in each session.

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Food Fascination
Tuesdays OR Thursdays (11:00-12:30)
Learn to create nutritious, delicious meals that will help your body be strong and healthy.  Students will learn about seasonal produce, the importance of nutritious food and what it provides our bodies, and will prepare a balanced meal for their peers.  They will research interesting recipes and bring them to the group.  They will also learn the basic home economic skills of reading recipes, cutting and chopping up a variety of foods, proper use of cooking and food prep tools, baking, and exploring a bounty of organic fruits and vegetables. Thursday’s class will enjoy a lab at the Four Seasons on Thursday, May 25. Lab fee applies.  Important! Participants are required to bring a clean apron to each class, which must be worn while cooking (brought home for laundering), and hair that hits shoulders must also be worn off the face during the kitchen portion of class, either in a ponytail or pinned back. Those with short hair need to wear a bandana, hat, wide hair band or hair net to adhere to health and safety guidelines. Anyone repeatedly forgetting an apron may be denied participation. Instructor: Laura Erlig, assisted by Jerri Baker and Sue Eaton. Max: 9 students
Fine Art: Pop Art Portraits
 Thursdays (1:30-2:45)
Learn about the culture of Pop art while creating an amazing self-portrait on artist’s gallery canvas. During the first lesson, students will view a power point presentation about our greatest pop artists and their work. Then photos will be taken of each student, and these are “transferred” in pencil onto canvas using a projector. Students will then work with non-washable acrylic paint and use vivid colors to create their masterpieces, so make sure to bring an apron or old t-shirt to pull on top of clothes. This art is one for the walls! Instructor: Helle Rasmussen Max: 10. $25 lab fee required for the special canvas and materials.

Readings Brought to Life
 Tuesdays (1:30-2:30)
This is a relaxed course that moves beyond a “read a loud”. Instructor Sally Primm will be covering areas in environmental awareness and stewardship of the earth by reading the work of three prominent writers and one Native American story. Maps, artifacts, photos will be shared during class hour. It will be a terrific journey! Literature will include The Long Walk by Joseph Bruchac (based on one of the tragedies of 19th century America, the Navajo Long Walk is an epic of tragedy and triumph all Americans should know), The Sea Around Us and Silent Spring by Rachel Carson (excerpts from these books will focus on the shape of the ancient seas, the moving tides, the global thermostat, and the detrimental effects of pesticides), My First Summer in the Sierras by John Muir (a classic of environmental literature, this 1869 diary remains an unexcelled introduction to California’s mountain poetry, granite gorges, lupine meadows and towering cloud lands), and Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey (Abbey’s account of two seasons he spent in the southeastern Utah Canyonlands (1956-57) as a park ranger for a little national park in a remote area called Arches). Instructor: Sally Primm. Max: 10
Book Club
Thursdays (11:00-12:30)
Through engaging with literature on their own and with their peers, students will discover new ways of communicating their ideas and opinions, building upon the concepts presented in the classroom. In-class discussions of various themes such as power, compassion, morality and acceptance will help promote in students a deep understanding of literature and how it relates to the world around them. The group’s interests and reading pace will determine the first novel choice, which will be chosen the first day of class. Students should be proficient readers (6th grade reading level or above) and enjoy reading! Instructor: Melanie Ware. Max: 8 students.
Understanding Religions
Wednesdays (1:30-2:30)The idea for this course was prompted by an OSA student whose recent argument essay called for more education on various religions, to increase empathy, tolerance, and understanding. This aligns with the “interfaith” clubs common on university campuses. With that objective in mind, each week, a guest speaker will share about his/her religion. We will be connecting with community members and/or leaders of different faiths (representing Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and perhaps some lesser known faiths) to share the tenets and practices of their religion or belief system, and answer student questions. Facilitator: Melanie Ware. Max: 10 
Learn to Crochet
Mondays (1:30-2:30)
From fine lace to scarves, to dishcloths and potholders, crochet has a long history. Once thought to be a handcraft only for the wealthy, crochet has become more and more popular. Crochet is also relaxing for busy minds! In this class we will cover basic stitches and how to read a pattern. From there you can make whatever you want! Perhaps you want a potholder for Food Fascination, a belt, or cap for the winter? The cost of the class includes yarn and a crochet hook. Instructor: Robin Lindsey. Max: 10
Math Alive
Thursdays (11:00-12:30)
A hands-on math class where we’ll use technology to subvert the dominant paradigm of pre-college math instruction: that math is static. Static math is a good place to start, but life is change. For math to be useful in life, math must be able to describe and accommodate change. Math must come alive! In college, this is done on paper with calculus and differential equations. But with the advent of drag-and-drop programming languages, we can now bring math to life for everyone! In this class, we will use Scratch as a tool to understand the physics and math of motion by bringing that math to life. Starting from first principles, students will write a small but elegant set of rules to create a simulated universe with momentum and gravity ­– a place where moons orbit planets, and rockets can fly from world to world. Instructor: Tim Handley. Max: 8 
Rocket Science
 Thursdays (1:30-2:45/3:00 TBD)
A STEAM-style class involving math, science, rocket construction, rocket art – and yes, a rocket for every student! We’ll cover the physics principles behind rocket propulsion and space travel, and use those ideas to understand the advantages and disadvantages of various propulsion methods (e.g. chemical rockets, ion engines, solar sails). Then, we’ll get practical. We’ll build the mathematical and physical tools required to answer the three most common questions asked by young rocketeers: “How high?”, “How fast?”, and “What happens if it explodes?” Finally, we’ll build rockets. Each student will build and paint their own working, reusable, Estes-style model rocket. EARLY on Saturday June 3, our rocket scientists will make their way to the Santa Fe Dam in Irwindale**, where we’ll join the Southern California Rocket Association’s (fire department approved) launch day– and launch our rockets! Parents- please mark your calendars! Parents are need to transport students for this trip so please keep this in mind when signing up (Tim will meet you there, as he lives in Duarte), but carpools will be encouraged and coordinated. For each class: students will need to bring pencil, paper, and notebook. All other materials will be provided. Instructor: Tim Handley. Max: 12 **Field trip is not required for participation in this course. However, there are very few areas in SoCal where rockets can be launched safely. We learned our lesson last year when our Rocket Science class couldn’t launch their rockets. The field trip is highly recommended.

Creative Writing
Fridays (11:00-12:30)
Learn how to write engaging stories. Through discussion, sharing, and writing, this course will explore the dynamics of creating interesting characters, colorful settings, and enticing plots. Take your stories as far as desired. Some independent work is expected (and brought to class weekly), but the level of effort and production is up to the author. Instructor Melanie Ware. Max: 8 students.

Running Club
Wednesdays (1:30-2:30)
This “club” is for students who enjoy running or are willing to give it a try, but who also want to work on form and stamina while having a great time! Students already on site need to eat a hearty snack and then a very light lunch (runners can eat early). Class will begin with a warm up and walk. The route may change weekly, with the distance and pace dependent on the group. Running shoes and athletic clothes are required for participation. The course will culminate with a 5K run/walk. Instructor: Kalli Gedwed. Max: 8
Physical Education
Tuesdays or Fridays
We will focus on overall fitness, a love for movement, healthy outlooks, sportsmanship, and FUN.  The first three weeks will be dedicated to strength and flexibility; the next three weeks will be focused on cardiovascular movement; the last two weeks will be a team sport to be determined by the class interests.  Class will be held in the gym, outside behind the Teen Center, and at the neighboring park– dependent on weather and activity. Instructor: Kalli Gedwed. Max: 15
Fridays (9:00-10:45)
Students should be prepared to get dirty while having fun and being outdoors, as they learn about gardening from the ground up! They will create garden beds, use tools, revamp our compost bins and watering system, and generally repair our garden beds.  If time permits, students will repaint the wood. The goal is to get the beds ready for soil testing and planting. Instructor: Laura Erlig. Max: 8 
Study Session (times vary)
This time is for independent study only, and a chance for students to practice valuable self-directed study skills. A trained educator or qualified assistant will support, monitor and/or supervise students in their learning as needed, but students must come to EACH class with home school or OSA course materials to work on for the full-allotted time, an assignment notebook (so supervisor knows what is meant to be accomplished), and an appropriate book to read if done with assigned work. Parents should help students create a schedule of lessons to complete per day. Wi-Fi available if students bring laptops/iPads. Students may listen to their own music (with ear buds) during study session Facilitators vary. Max: 10 students.
Daily, M-Th (10:30-10:45)
This special time prior to first break is for our group to come together for an open forum discussion to share what matters to them, resolve any conflicts that may be brewing, or support peers in their needs. No charge. ALL students on the premises at this time are asked to attend this important time for connection.
Two options. Sign up for each day. Break: 12:30-1:00 Lunch for all: 1:00-1:30. Lunchtime supervision only from 12:30-1:30, bring your own healthy lunch and beverage. No microwave is available. Healthy Lunch: Our lunches are genuinely delicious, and good for you! Instructor Laura Erlig has created a masterful healthy menu that will entice any appetite. Lunch items will be fresh and varied, and beverages included (water, iced tea, lemonade, juice)– all prepared ON SITE. As part of our community commitment, students who select this option are asked to participate in clean up.

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CRPD: Physical Science Course and Labs
Tuesdays, Course is 11:00-12:30 and LABS from 1:30-3:00. 
This Physical Science lab is to supplement the text-based course for 8th or 9th graders, but is appropriate for 8th-10th students (or older). *It is designed for students who require a solid background for continuing high school science in biology, chemistry and physics. If your student’s math and science exposure has not been comprehensive, then physical science should be taken instead of chemistry or biology in 9th grade. This is a rigorous high school level science laboratory in physical science. Over 30 experiments are planned if taken over the course of the year. Students will learn to write laboratory reports and conduct experiments in a safe and responsible manner. The labs generally correlate with the topics presented in the Physical Science text from Glencoe Physical Science with Earth Science, 2009. We use the MicroPhySci Kit Standard 2nd Edition from Quality Science Labs, LLC, a comprehensive kit. This is a great opportunity to work with real laboratory equipment. Instructor: Steve Yoshinaga, Ph.D. Enrollment: Max 10 students. Independent study/reading required.
Math In Chemistry
Tuesdays (9:00-10:30)
If you like math and science, chemistry blends both in elegant and useful ways. Math in Chemistry allows you to use your math skills to understand, organize, and quantify matter itself! Each class will focus on chemical concepts and how numbers help us convey these concepts. From balancing chemical equations to using the power of the mole, this class celebrates the math we use in chemistry. Some knowledge of elementary algebra is needed. Instructor: Dr. Steve Yoshinaga. Max: 15 
CRPD: All Sorts of Sports
 Mondays (1:30-2:30)
Enjoy a sampling of dodgeball, soccer, basketball, and volleyball, and maybe a few wild team games in between. This is a class for kids who are ready to play, and ready to be a “team-player”. Instructors Steve Kraetsch and/or Robby Williams. Max: 16
CRPD: You Build It, You Keep It
 Tuesdays (1:30-2:30)
This course provides a hands-on experience in building your own computer. When completed, you take the computer home. Donated computer components provided. No experience necessary. Instructor: Charles Hacker. Max: 9


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