High School Mini Projects

While the high school senior class is visiting our sister schools in India each year, the high school students still at Oak Grove dedicate two weeks to their “Mini Projects.” During this time, instructors lead small groups of students through an in-depth learning experiment into a craft, skill, or concept that piques the curiosities of both teachers and students.

As with other group projects and excursions throughout the year, Mini Projects provide an opportunity for teachers to share a special skill with interested students and build on relationships across grade levels.

This year, High School Mini Projects included “Personality and Career Exploration,” “Five-in-Five Improvisation,” “Needle Felting,” “Better Baking,” “Wilderness Survival Skills,” and “Pottery Wheel Throwing.”

Families joined students and faculty in the High School Student Center, where finished projects were shared and demonstrated, including photos and priceless improvisational skits. Students also briefly reflected on what they learned.

Five-in-Five Improvisation

Led by Oak Grove Dance Teacher Cassidy Linder, students choosing this Mini Project explored improvisation and comedy. For their presentation, with several topics from which to choose on the white board, five students acted out five-minute skits based on topics called out by the audience. After their quick-witted and hilarious skits, students followed up by explaining how they were able to confidently develop a number of different characters in a short amount of time, with one student explaining that ”you just can’t be afraid to act stupid and weird!”

Needle Felting

Under the guidance of High School Math Teacher Marie Samson and 11th grade parent Robin Lawson, students learned the fundamentals of needle felting while working on small, hand-sized objects that took the shape of animals and other characters. During their presentation, students explained how they incorporated different colors into their projects and how much they enjoyed the relaxing time of sitting, sipping tea, and chatting with each other along the way. Heartfelt cries came from the audience as they showed off their creatively felted creations.

Pottery Wheel Throwing

Alison Frey Andersson, our High School Ceramics Teacher, worked with students on centering clay on the pottery wheel, forming shapes, trimming, and glazing. While some of our students had previous experience with ceramics, others learned about it for the first time. However, all of our students were able to see results and take home a variety of beautifully glazed ceramic pieces.

Personality and Career Exploration

Under the guidance of our High School College Counselor Joy Maguire-Parsons, this unique Mini Project provided our students with an opportunity for discovery and self-exploration by creating personal resumes and exploring personality assessments, as well as observing several local businesses. While visiting ExVoto Chocolates & Confections, Sanders & Sons Gelato, and The Humane Society of Ventura County, students were able to speak directly with employees and business owners and get a realistic glimpse into the larger professional world.

Wilderness Survival Skills

After his uncanny demonstration of tracking techniques, a group of students were eager to join Outdoor Education Teacher Paul Wachur, as they ventured out into nature for this Wilderness Survival Skills Mini Project. A skilled outdoorsman who has led past high school backpacking trips, Paul showed students how to make a fire without the benefit of matches or a lighter. They also learned how to build a shelter with raw materials and played games to learn about their senses. Students were blindfolded to learn to listen more carefully and recognize sounds, and played hide-and-seek to learn how to find clues in nature. During their presentation, students noted that learning basic survival skills was not only fun but also built confidence as they look forward to a lifetime of camping, hiking, and enjoying nature.

Better Baking

During the Better Baking Mini Project, students had the opportunity to explore their culinary skills both by following recipes and getting creative with their own ideas. Led by Sydney Robertson, our Learning Resource Program Teacher and High School Registrar, students had fun together in the Besant House kitchen creating a number of baked goods and delicious dishes, from cookies to crème brûlée and focaccia bread. They noted the unpredictability of how ingredients work together, how heat in ovens may vary, and how to accurately follow recipes. Students expressed appreciation for the ways in which cooking and eating together are timeless and enjoyable experiences that provide an opportunity for connection.

The Art of Living and Learning

At Oak Grove we approach teaching, learning, and living as an art form – The Art of Living and Learning. Our dedicated High School faculty will help you tap into their interests and explore their natural creativity. Students develop life-long practices of intellectual discipline, good communication, self-reflection, understanding, and clear thinking. We offer a challenging college-preparatory curriculum that is approved by the University of California and is designed to exceed admissions requirements for the most rigorous and selective universities across the country. All Oak Grove High School students select from a number of fine and performing arts electives which encourage and support the development of an aesthetic sense toward all art forms as well as integrate and honor individual student interests and passions.

Discover Oak Grove High School

We all remember our first time walking through campus, visiting with teachers, and how the philosophy of Oak Grove’s approach to education resonated with us. There’s nothing more exciting than to see that in new students, parents, teachers, and friends visiting the school. Please take a moment to explore our website, links to high school details, and contact us to schedule a tour.

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