Heifer 2013

September 29, 2013

The partially completed version of the artwork that our students gave to the Heifer facilitators.

The partially completed version of the artwork that our students gave to the Heifer facilitators. The border pattern comes from the DNA Writer.

This year’s trip to the Heifer International Ranch was as excellent as it has been in the past. Students worked in their CSA garden (planting garlic and picking peppers and tomatoes for example), helped with maintenance on the grounds, assisted with taking care of their livestock, and spent a night at their global village. We saw quite the variety of spiders.

Each night, students spent a half-hour doing some reflective writing in their journals, and we had a discussion or lesson that tied into what they’d done or seen during the day.

  • Sunday: The geologic and geographic importance of rivers. I’d pointed out the all the agriculture on the Arkansas river floodplain when we’d crossed it on the drive down, so we talked about how rivers erode mountains and deposit rich soils on their floodplains, and how important those floodplain and deltaic deposits have been in the emergence of civilizations and the location of cities.
  • Monday: Language Arts. We took a short passage out of one of the students’ journaling to use as an apprentice sentence.
  • Tuesday: Global village. Our group ended up in the Guatemalan house and the slums. The dire situation in the sums evoked some moral flexibility.
  • Wednesday: Art: Drawing vegetables with watercolor and color pencils. We took advantage of having our art teacher along as one of the chaperones. Life in the slums: We also talked about the difference between our experience in the simulated global village and real life in the slums.
  • Thursday: Social interaction. We were paired with the Girls’ School of Austin, who invited us over for smores after our debriefing of the week’s activities by the facilitators. Our boys, in particular, learned how to start and maintain a conversation with people of the opposite gender.

Students also had a bit of time between lunch and the afternoon activities, which they spent playing games and looking at insects under the microscope.

On the last day, we talked about giving something to the heifer facilitators. One student suggested a coded bead string, but since we did not have any beads, we went with a drawing (see above) that was bordered by a DNA sequence giving the names (and symbols) of all the water-balloon babies the group had on their visit to the global village.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2013. Heifer 2013, Retrieved September 25th, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

Outdoor Education in Eminence, Missouri

October 2, 2012

The Tempest Simulation.

The middle school has been studying The Tempest over the last quarter. In order to give students a deeper connection with this Shakespearean play, we arranged for students to experience the titular meteorological phenomenon on our outdoor education trip last week. Since we’re located in the mid-continent, replicating the precise maritime conditions and acquiring the appropriate vessel would have been cost prohibitive. Instead, taking advantage of the local geography and socio-cultural predilections, we improvised by arranging for a series of thunderstorms during a canoe trip in the Ozarks.

In truth, the main purpose of our outdoor education trip was to integrate the upcoming 7th graders and new students into the middle school class. The key advantage of the multi-aged classroom is the opportunity for older students to mentor the younger students, and propagate the appropriate classroom culture and expectations from year to year. But for this to work well requires students to develop strong working relationships and communication skills. The isolation of the trip (no technology) and the coordination required for the tasks we perform (such as paddling a 2-person canoe) greatly facilitate this process.

Despite being drenched, chilled, and a little scared, the group’s performance was remarkable. They endured the worst of the storms, looking out for each other with encouraging words and heartening smiles. They found the strength within themselves as individuals and as a group to keep morale high while on the river. And, when we pulled over, were able to bask in the giddy relief that a good group feels after stressful situations. By the end, they had developed a genuine camaraderie forged by a shared, intense challenge.

P.S. We also did some rock climbing, caving, spent a night on a sandbar, journaled, and learned a bit about geology, hydrogeology, fish surveys, the rock cycle, and some vocabulary (“hubris” was a term, new to many, that was ably demonstrated by the pair who flipped their canoe).

Rock climbing.

Spelunking.

P.P.S. Our excellent, invaluable guides on the trip were from Discovery Ministries, which is a religious organization, but they do non-religious programs for groups like ours.


View Outdoor Ed. in Eminence MO. in a larger map

(From our Eminence Immersion)

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2012. Outdoor Education in Eminence, Missouri, Retrieved September 25th, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

Visit to the Quarry/Landfill

December 18, 2011

We discussed quite a variety of topics just based on the visit to the landfill/quarry.

A single, half-day, visit to the landfill and quarry brought up quite the variety of topics, ranging from the quarry itself, to the reason for the red colors of the cliff walls, to the uses of the gases that come out of the landfill. I still have not gotten to the details about the landfill itself, but I’ve put together a page that links all my posts about the quarry and landfill so far.

There was so much information that we spent the better part of the following week debriefing it in the middle-school science class.

Click the image for more details.

The map below gives a good aerial view of the site.


View Landfill and Quarry (as of 11/26/2011) in a larger map

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2011. Visit to the Quarry/Landfill, Retrieved September 25th, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

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