Check out our New Furniture!

We received new furniture for the space and couldn't be more thrilled! Thanks to an anonymous donor for livening up our space with several pieces of furniture. 

These yellow chairs came to life in our students' creative writing stories.

Here are some of our student's creative writing prompts about the new furniture.

Ephraim: At the chair factory. Today was a cold snowy day. The storm wind sounds boomed in the factory. Many people worked together to get me and my friends in boxes. “To St. Paul!” one of them said loudly (dramatic lightning). The ride was very traumatic. The entire box shook and slid. I’m very worried for Robert and his wife Heather. They seem way more worried than me. They would hold on to each other only if they had hands. After awhile we landed in St. Paul and we were shipped to MOI. It is great there!
Sahur: One day, yellow chairs were sent to MOI by an anonymous donor. The chairs thought that the car they were in wasn’t nice enough for them. They were absolutely horrified by the place they were in. They expected that the place would be a luxury place like a five-star hotel lobby or a celebrity’s house. Or at Buckingham Palace in England. They think they are way too good for this place. One day, an unsuspecting child came and plopped down in the chair, where he would read his book. But then out of nowhere the chair he was sitting in jumped up and down until he fell off. The child told James. James thought it was a prank. He sat on the chair to prove that it wasn’t “enchanted” when he sat down. It spun and swallowed him up. The people never sat on the beautiful yellow chairs again.

These tables and chairs are perfect for our energetic students creating a short story during Bookmaking and Storytelling Field Trips. They also get a lot of use during After-School Homework Help.

chairs tables.jpg

MOI is even more sea-like with these one-of-a-kind Nick Dahlen murals. Check out his website for some more unique artwork.

We bring the ocean to the sidewalks with Derek Pasley's artwork in the windows, from Apropos, creating an inviting atmosphere. 

fish window.jpg

Purchase tickets to one-time conversation between Dave Eggers & Marlon James!

Tickets are now on sale for Dave Eggers & Marlon James in Conversation. All proceeds from the event supports Mid-Continent Oceanographic Institute's creative writing and academic programs. The event is February 4th, 8:00 PM, Central Presbyterian Church in downtown Saint Paul.  

Click here to learn more about event details. Click here to purchase tickets. 

Mighty Ice Moose the Frost Superhero

At MOI, we offer weekly Storytelling and Bookmaking Field Trips. These are interactive, engaging field trips that teach students the elements of storytelling. The students are encouraged to use their imagination to create a story alongside the assistance of a volunteer author and illustrator. Each student gets to leave with their own copy of the book! 

Here's Mighty Ice Moose the Frost Superhero, written by Mrs. Witt's Class from Horace Mann School. 

Students have the opportunity to create their own conclusion to the story, following the cliffhanger-ending. This is David Z.'s personal ending to Mighty Ice Moose the Frost Superhero.

Help us meet our matching grant on Give to the Max Day!

Give to the Max Day is this Thursday, November 12. We are thrilled to announce that we have received a matching grant from 826National for $4,000. 

Please help us meet our match and take part in Minnesota's biggest day for charitable giving. 

Give to the Max Day was created in 2009 to launch GiveMN, a collaborative venture led by Minnesota Community Foundation and many other organizations committed to helping make our state a better place. That initial spark touched off a blast of online giving — $14 million in 24 hours. Since then, Give to the Max Day has become an annual tradition. Every year thousands of organizations and individuals generate donations and excitement for Minnesota causes that are working to improve the quality of life for all Minnesotans.

View our GiveMN page to schedule or make a donation, and monitor our progress towards our matching grant goal!

The Old Boat

This boat is forgotten at the bottom of the ocean

This boat is sailing on the ocean
It has a net and lights
and underneath are 10 dolphins.

This boat sunk in the ocean and
every passenger got eaten by sharks,
including Christopher Columbus.

This boat is from Little Joe, St.August. 
In the boat are many horses and fish. 
This boat sailed from the town into the ocean. 
By December, it had travelled 15 miles.

There was a hole in the boat
so the last mile was down.

A group poem from ESL Poetry Camp

MOI Writing Contest Winners

The results are in for MOI’s “Let’s Celebrate Water” Writing Competition! Our guest judge, John Brandon, creative Writing Professor at Hamline U., had a hard time selecting from the “pool” of wonderful writing. Find out what he had to say below. If you want to check out all the published entries, click here.

WINNER:  “Superior”, by Medha F. (11th Grade, Great River School, MN)

All of the pieces were wonderful, but my favorite was “Superior”, by Medha. I was struck by the vividness of setting in this piece, conjured by the adept mixing of expected and surprising details.  The piece exhibits agile turns of phrase, a compelling narrative voice, and language infused with urgency.  Also noteworthy is the emotional verisimilitude that runs through the story, and the lovely sustained tension offered by the use of the 2nd-person point of view.  Something universal is captured here—like in much good literature—by the faithful pinning down of the specific and personal.


Runner Up: "Fiesthvnenne", by Ciara C. (South High School)

This piece, “Fiesthvnenne”, was lively, guilt-ridden, and generous.  I was compelled by the strong sense of anxiety, which grew out of the subject matter and the tone of the prose and also out of the form, which was characterized by many choppy paragraphs.  I admired the way new information was gradually, reluctantly released throughout the story, allowing the writer to keep me pleasantly disoriented but also informed enough to want to read on.  This piece treats its topic thoroughly--a well realized, fleshed-out work.

Thank you everyone who participated! Look for more information coming from MOI in the near future!

MOI’s 2015 Writing Competition was hosted by  – “The Online Global Community of Young Writers”

Budding Writers at MOI

We've got some great young talent here at our after-school homework help program! Read one of our star writer's latest flash fictions inspired by this image:  

The Hamburger Protest

There was once a girl whose mom and dad liked hamburgers so much that she had them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Her and her brother, Alex, held a protest to stop eating burgers. They had money from their allowance to buy snacks from the store. Their parents worried that the kids would starve because they didn't like hamburgers so their parents changed the menu to pizza. You might know what happened next...

- Sahur, 10

Free Writing Workshops

Join Mid-Continent Oceanographic Institute for two FREE Writing Workshops in December and January.

KID PRESIDENT: Create Your Own Country 

In this workshop, you'll get to create your own country from scratch. Want to make bedtime illegal and pizza free for everyone? Go ahead! As Leader Supreme, you call the shots in this world-building extravaganza.

Friday, December 12th, 3:30-5:00pm at the Mid-Continent Oceanographic Institute (2388 University Ave W, Saint Paul)
Ages 7-12; parents welcome to stay!



"The Not-So-Bad Guys" Writing Workshop

What if the Big Bad Wolf just had a bad case of the allergies? And maybe Cinderella wasn’t so nice after all … just who was calling her stepsisters “ugly,” anyway? There are lots of “good guy” and “bad guy” pairings in stories we’ve all heard, and maybe the characters we thought were heroes haven’t been telling the whole truth. In this workshop, we’ll give villains the chance to share their side of the story!


Friday, January 23rd, 3:30-5:00pm at the Mid-Continent Oceanographic Institute (2388 University Ave W, Saint Paul) Ages 8-12; parents welcome to stay!

Student Writing- Storytelling and Bookmaking Field Trip

EVIL vs. GOOD: The Story of the "SWAMPINATOR" by Ann Witte's Second Grade Class at Hoarce Mann 

Every Wednesday, MOI welcomes a different class to produce and publish a book in two hours. The entire class works together in large and small groups to create a unique story with interesting characters and a imaginative plot. At the end of the field trip, students are charged to write a unique ending to the story. Below you will find the story from Ann Witte's Second Grade Class. If you are interested in volunteering or booking a FREE field trip, please email 

Once upon a time, in an age before computers, there existed GoldTown: a dazzling city filled with royalty and surrounded by a stone wall.

The city was extremely clean and shiny thanks to all the garbage collectors, and was filled with gilded palaces and towers that were so tall they touched the clouds.

One of the residents of GoldTown was Lady Blunderpants: a pretty, 10-year-old girl with dark green hair that sticks straight up, and who always wears a dress made of golden flowers.  She has stretchy arms, and can turn into animals, as well as change colors like a chameleon.  She was a detective whose main goal was to protect GoldTown, along with her best friend Jumbo Gumbo.

Jumbo was a humongous gorilla who always wore overalls.  Jumbo was mainly motivated by his desire for an endless supply of bananas; when too few were available he could create tantrums with the force of a tornado.

The two friends’ main job was to protect their city from the worst villain in town, Lord of the King of Romance.  This 86-year-old man with the skin of a crocodile wanted to turn the gorgeous GoldTown into a swap, because when he wasn’t in Marshland, he would slowly sink into the ground.  He also wanted a place where his robot crocodile minions could thrive



Lord of the King of Romance had come up with a plan to convert the city of GoldTown into one massive swap.  He had created a machine- part tractor, part truck, with a giant fire hydrant on the top that spewed out mucky water- called a Swampinator.  He hopped in his machine and began to drive it into GoldTown.

 Lady and Jumbo were sitting outside a coffee shop, when they suddenly leapt to their feet.  A huge rumbling noise was followed by the sight of Lord of the King of Romance cackling wildly in his Swampinator and his crocodile robots.  

  “Ready Jumbo?” Asked Lady.

  “Let’s do this.” He responded

Each student ends the story with his or her ending. 

This is Sarah's (second grade) ending:

Suddenly the coffee shop turned into a swamp pool and a tree! Then they charged! They threw ten alligators aside. The SWAMPINATOR aimed at Lady Blunderpants, then she turned invisible. "Where did she go?" yelled Lord of the King of Romance! SMASH! Half of the alligators flew towards the SWAMPINATOR! But it did not budge. Lady Blunderpants looked at one of the alligator's eyes. "They are explosive," she said. They threw threw the alligators into the SWAMPINATOR and everything stopped. THE END 


24 Hour Give to the Max Day Dance Party HAPPENING NOW

Join us for a 24 hour dance party at MOI (2388 University Ave W. Saint Paul) or watch us online




Local Twin Cities DJ, DJ FLIPSTYLE (Honey NE) will spin music at MOI's Headquarters for 24 hours straight. The DJ’s set will broadcast on webcam and guests are invited to attend the dance party in-person as well. Throughout the 24 hour broadcast, there are a number of "mini parties". These parties include Baby Dance, Jock Jams Lunch Break, Study Break with Somalia’s Dur Dur Band, Early Morning Yoga and Study Music. Attendees and viewers will be asked to donate money to request songs and musical genres.

This event is a fundraiser to support Mid-Continent Oceanographic Institute's free after-school homework help, bookmaking and publishing field trips, in-school partnerships and writing workshops. Mid-Continent Oceanographic Institute is in chapter development with Dave Eggers' 826 National.



12 AM Kick-off

1 AM Kick-Off Dance

2 AM Kick-Off Dance

3 AM House Music

4 AM House Music

5 AM Indie Electronic

6 AM  Pajama Dance Party

7 AM Wake Up Jams

8 AM Yoga Class

9 AM  Prince Coffee Hour

10 AM Hip/Hop Brunch

11 AM Baby/Toddler Dance

12 PM Jock Jams Lunch

1 PM Jock Jams Lunch

2 PM Hip Hop Part Two

3 PM Study Hour

4 PM Break with Dur Dur Band

5 PM Study Hour

6 PM Study Hour

7 PM Interpretive Dance

8 PM Robot Dance Party

9 PM  Surprise!

10 PM Dance Dance Evolution

11 PM Dance Dance Evolution











After-school homework help opens on 9/29

Got the beginning-of-school blues? Never fear! We re-open for FREE homework help on Monday, September 29th.

A few changes this school year: MOI will be open for homework help from 3:00 to 6:00PM as usual, but from 3:00 to 4:30PM will be high school drop-in time, while 4:30 to 6:00MP will be reserved for K-8 daily tutoring. 

If you want to register as either a student or as a tutor, email