Intraterm at Quarry Lane is upon us once again. Usually, intraterm is a week of field trips and excursions for most students, and a time to catch up on approaching AP and IB due dates for others. However, intraterm looks slightly different this year.
COVID-19 may have put a halt on socializing, sports, and even in-person school, but nothing can stop the AP and IB tests. For many juniors and seniors, intraterm looks much the same as usual: more time for projects, papers, and studying. Teachers are responsible for running their classes like normal and offering activities for students who are participating in intraterm. I talked to Mr. Squillante, Mr. Meyers, and Dr. Miller about the planning behind some of these activities. All three stated that while they were slightly worried at first about the logistics of planning an engaging activity while also writing the regular lesson plans, they all found the task easier and more enjoyable than they thought. Mr. Meyer stated that although intraterm was initially stressful, regular classes were much lower stress than usual. Mr. Squillante shared that sentiment, saying that the online format actually made it easier to prepare. Mr. Meyer presented Art in Games, Dr. Miller offered a freshman field trip to the Globe Theatre, and Mr. Squillante hosted a bingo game centered around the Great Barrier Reef. Mr. Squillante mentioned that he included bingo on top of the documentary videos to try to engage students and make it more fun. I did attend his Thursday morning session, and I think the game certainly accomplished his goal. Overall, the teachers agreed that despite the diverse nature of their panels, intraterm is a wonderful way to connect with students who are passionate about a specific topic and provides a good break from the usual curriculum.
For those students not taking any AP or IB classes, there was one day in the week solely dedicated to their field trip opportunities. Each grade had a day designated as their “intraterm” day. Freshman broke from class on Monday, seniors on Tuesday, juniors on Wednesday, and sophomores on Thursday. There were a variety of online field trips, tours, and lectures available to students, including Great Barrier Reef Bingo, Women’s Fashion of the late 19th to early 20th century, taking virtual tours of great cities, and more. I loved Mr. Pollack’s lecture on women’s fashion, especially since he had worked in the industry before and brought a wonderful perspective to the presentation. Sophomores Sachi Patel and Hannah Yu really enjoyed the reef bingo hosted by Mr. Squi. They both stated that learning about the reef was a unique and fascinating opportunity. Freshman William Montgomery especially enjoyed playing Geoguessr with Dr. Liddell and touring war museums with Dr. Aranda. He stated that “The GeoGuessr provides a look at other places around the world and their environments, and a look at how our place on Earth is shaped by, and shapes, various artifacts and attributes around us. The military history meeting was interesting because I enjoyed learning about the topics I studied, which had to do mainly with World War II, and about the things other people learned.” William, Sachi, Hannah, and sophomore Sarp Gursel all found that intraterm did not add to their regular homework. In fact, Sarp stated that some of the extra time between activities allowed him to get more done. He also said that he “was able to converse with my comrades because we had some time available to do so,” which was especially nice because online school rarely provides opportunities for socialization.
This year, intraterm looked slightly different than years prior. Although everyone I spoke to thought that intraterm was a worthy use of time, Mr. Meyers did lament the loss of a few in-person trips, like to a nearby park to pick up litter, packing food for charity at the school, and even taking a trip to the movies. Dr. Miller found this year’s intraterm to be much less stressful for him than usual due to the lack of IB practice exams, which can be cumbersome to schedule. For students, most were happy to see that intraterm had stuck around during online school. William stated that “Clearly intraterm this year was the way it was due to the burdensome constraints that the current health situation imposed. I think that, given these constraints, that intraterm was about as fun as it could be.”
COVID-19 may be making it more difficult for the usual school-wide activities to carry on, but this year’s intraterm was a success. AP and IB students appreciated the time to catch up on their work, other students had time for fun activities and socialization, and teachers had a chance to bond with students over non-academic games, lectures, and tours. Overall, intraterm was a welcome break in the usual zoom routine that I think everyone enjoyed.