I am back from the camping trip with this ‘new’ class of nineteen students (one student sadly could not go), the assistant teacher who will be the core teacher next year, the experiential education trip teacher, and one other chaperone. We camped, did chores, learned how farms become sustainable, heard coyotes in the night, admired the moon and beautiful Mt. Sopris as we went to bed and rose each morning, ate food that was prepared from the farm’s bounty, and used an outhouse. Thursday night we had the pleasure of swimming in a nearby hot springs pool, and Friday, on our way back to Denver, stopped to go ziplining across the Colorado river. The only way it could have been better was to have been longer.
|a favorite chore-feeding the chickens, turkeys and ducks|
What are the things we value when we travel with our students? Among those particular to the setting described above, there is also
· Learning one can manage without adult help to unpack and pack one’s clothes, set up a tent with tent mates, arrange the tent so that each has comfortable and personal space, awaken without waking others and without being crabby.
· Learning about reflective listening to all group members when working in small groups for common goals. Conversely, learning about speaking up with a group so that personal ideas and opinions are heard.
· Arriving at destinations prepared with proper equipment and dressed appropriately; i.e., journal and drawing bag, plenty of layers for putting on or taking off.
· Assessing the food wished on the plate, serving oneself, and eating what’s chosen.
· Learning to SEE: what details surround us where we find beauty and what people around us need help, and then taking action to capture the details or offer the help.
· Attending to the goals set at the beginning and finding ways to nurture them throughout the journey.
· At our ending, applying the knowledge learned in some important final project. Whether three-dimensional, reflective writing, entertaining response, etc., the new information gained should be shown in some way.
|another favorite-feeding the goats|
|learning about the bees|
|indoor classroom-the parts and their connections|
|more discussion of the critical parts|
|Adding some of our labor for the pleasure of future visitors!|
|a bigger view of the planting time|
|making plans for later discussion|
|one of our 'wake-up' callers|
|"fowl" duty also means washing the eggs|
|My favorite breakfast-granola & cream right from the cows!|
|preparing the mud/adobe to repair one of the chicken house walls|
|applying the mixture-all washed later in the water canal, or the hose|
|a special evening, campfire, the moon, and music|
|view from most of our tents-one of the farm dogs sleeping in the sun-a Great Pyrenees|
|one of my favorite scenes|
|Creating their vision of a future community!|
I imagine you too could add to this list. We do not have set experiences that guide us, but choose according to the class needs assessed through the year, academically, socially and emotionally. I’ve shared some photos that reflect some of our good time. It may be my final school trip and I will treasure it.
|the 'boss' dog-Mojo!|