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School Bored? : Summer classes give kids and adults the chance to try something new for the fun of it.

July 09, 1993|JOHN MORELL | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES; John Morell is a regular contributor to Valley Life.

If your primary activity this summer looks like it will be turning up the air conditioning and running in and out of the video store, maybe it's time for some cultural enrichment.

"Getting out and pursuing an interest through a class is a very healthy thing to do," says Dee Roberts, a Burbank psychologist. "If you feel like you're in a rut and you need a change, a class can help you try something new."

You'll also be able to meet others who share your interest, and perhaps develop new friendships. Here is a sampling of unusual classes for children and adults being taught in the area. Be sure to call for registration details before showing up for class and remember, the only grade you are striving for is an "F" for fun.

Mission Improbable?

If ghosts exist, you'll probably find them hanging around the San Fernando Mission, which has a reputation for eerie apparitions.

In "Ghosts of the Missions," you'll learn some of California's mission history and get a tour of the San Fernando Mission. Psychic Richard Senate will also be on hand to conduct supernatural experiments, such as dowsing for water. And, if the spirits are willing, a poltergeist or two just might add a little spice to the tour.

Mission College. $26 per person, $32 per couple. Class is 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Tubular Rasa

Surfing is an integral part of the L. A. youth culture, and you don't have to be 16 to learn (although it couldn't hurt).

In these surfing classes in Malibu, kids 11 and up will be taught about board safety and local beach hazards, as well as how to balance and find the tube. Surfboards are provided. To participate, you must be able to swim at least 100 yards.

Pierce College. $59. Two-hour classes will be held over six Saturdays beginning Saturday. Three sessions offered, starting at 8, 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

The Jurassic Years

Just when you thought that the dinosaur craze was going the way of, well, dinosaurs, "Jurassic Park" has made your kids wild again for the likes of triceratops, brontosaurus and, of course, tyrannosaurus rex. If their prehistoric curiosity remains piqued, enroll them in "Discovering Dinosaurs."

They'll be occupied with dinosaur craft projects making fossil imprints and Mesozoic dioramas, as well as getting the inside scoop on what the dinos looked like (and looked for when they were hungry).

Pierce College. $29 plus $6 materials fee. Hourlong classes, for children 6 and 7, begin at 10:30 a.m. Mondays and Wednesdays July 19 to Aug. 4.

Call 'Em the California Raisinettes

If you've had a fixation on Gumby since your preschool days and your psychiatrist hasn't helped, try making your own Gumby, or perhaps an animated version out of dried fruit. "Claymation Techniques," taught by James Arnett, provides the basics of creating a Claymation video, the same technology used to create the infamous and overexposed California Raisins.

Working with other class members as a team, you'll write a story line, develop characters and figures, and use a 16-millimeter camera to shoot an animated music video. Remember, though, "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" has been taken.

Learning Tree University. $139 plus $42 materials fee. Three-hour classes begin at 10 a.m. and are held over five Saturdays starting July 24.

Wild Things

It wasn't that long ago, before Gelson's and Jerry's Deli, that American Indians and missionaries in the San Fernando Valley had to live off the land, finding things to eat in the wild. Those roots, berries and herbs are still around; you just have to know where to look.

If you're interested in learning about early California life, "Discovering Edible Wild Plants" will take you into the Santa Monica Mountains, where you'll be able to identify edible flora and medicinal plants, as well as learn about the lives of the first Valley residents.

Pierce College. $34 plus a small materials fee. Two-hour classes begin at 10 a.m. and are held over four Saturdays beginning Saturday.

A Bunch of Pawns

Contrary to popular belief, you don't have to be a member of Mensa to play chess. The game can be played well by anyone--or so we're told.

"The Mastery of Chess," taught by national chess master Abe Riazi, covers the rules and terminology, as well as basic strategies and theories of the game. There will also be a group competition and practice exercises.

Mission College. $39. Two-hour classes will begin at 7 p.m. on six Wednesdays starting next week.

Scare Tactics

Do you have a burning desire to make someone's skin crawl? You may have what it takes to write a horror novel.

In "Tales From the Crypt: Writing for the Horror Market," you'll learn the basics of how to keep a reader awake at night, from developing creepy characters to writing a plot that makes your story all too real. You'll find out the basics of what makes a horror novel frightening, and you'll be in for a real scare yourself--your work will be critiqued in class. AHHHHH!!!

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