Part II: Todd's "Teacher Corner": On The STEM Trail To More Team-Room-Based, Real-World-Learning For K12 Students
In addition to REALMS students’ EL Education award-winning project, there have many other similar team-based experiences being planned.
Click on the graphic to the right to see a video of their team-room, project-based world. It’s one of those “I do and I understand” places to learn. Sure beats the “Hear and Forget” and even the “See and Remember”. It’s the “Do and I Understand” part that’s critical in today’s world.
Last week we published our RE@LBlog on on Teacher Corner Todd’s school award. Click here or on Todd’s photo in case you missed it.
Here are Todd’s remaining comments about his recent REALMS school real-world learning activities.
“After just returning from our annual 3 day “Confluence” school trip to the Suttle Lake camp, I was reminded why we take the time and make the extra effort to provide our students with these experiences.
Our school always ends our extended fieldwork trips with an “Appreciation Circle”. It allows our students and staff to reflect on who made a difference to you on the trip. We write the appreciations on slips and hand them to those we want to appreciate. We also allow a chunk of time for students to appreciate members of our learning community in front of each other. What a powerful experience.
Throughout my teaching experience, I have always been involved in extended trips from 3 day “sustainability expeditions” to Portland, winter ecology trips to the mountains, to 10 day-Travel Studies to the San Juan Islands and Redwoods of California. Click on the graphics to the left for more information. Thanks to EnvironmentalScience.org for their overviews.
Our school values the importance of these trips, as shown by the extensive fundraising efforts of our families and school friends to help pay for the costs. At REALMS, we don’t call them just”field trips” because everything that we do in the “field” is connected to curriculum in the classroom.
Our activities are clearly not just the “one and done” experiences that lessen the use of our learning time and field trip budget.
For many, the task of getting students beyond the school walls and out into the community is an overwhelming task, not to mention a major logistical challenge. But, importantly, it starts with one, singular effort, getting staff and administrators on board, connecting learning experiences to the standards we are teaching, and then looking back and assessing how well met our goals. Often we learn even more ways to improve learning expeditions. So, then we go about building on those experiences to create more and better experiences.
The next trips planned for this school year are a 3 day trip for our 7thgraders in March to the Warms Springs Reservation. Students are studying about injustice through the lenses of the Freedom Riders/Jim Crow Laws, the Migrant Workers Rebellion and the injustices of Native Americans.
The 6thgraders take a trip to Portland in April to support their study of Global vs. local food sources and how we are all responsible for our food system and how it affects us.
Our 8thgraders travel to the San Juan Islands for their 10 day Travel Study where each student develops an independent study about Science and Cultural Anthropology of the area. They research a topic and then we line up experts to meet with there to answer their research question.
We also do a 4 day adventure component where students ride self-contained to three spots on different islands, carrying their own gear, cooking their own food and sleeping in tents along the way.”
Thanks to Todd for telling us these empowerment stories of new learning experiences. Yes, their students listen and see, but it’s the doing that makes this learning experiences memorable. So much so, that at later school reunions, these are events in their lives they will remember…and, more importantly, still learning.
Here’s how Todd closed his REALMS message:
“It would be truly cool (and informative) to follow one of these trips
from the beginning to end, for a really dynamic blog post.”
Indeed it would! RE@LBlog and our readers are waiting to see it!
RE@LBlog is ready and waiting to hear the stories from you and those lucky REALMS students….
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