Friday, October 31, 2008

A Long, but Satisfying Week

I'm so happy this week has come to an end. Three days of camp along with the anticipation and excitement that Halloween brings made for a long, stressful, and somewhat exhausting week.
Our fifth graders spent the first three days of the week at Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center outside of Lanesboro, MN. Our time was spent learning about various aspects of the environment in classes such as Wildlife Ecology, Fungus AmoungUs, Pond Life, and Forest Ecology.
Much of our time was also spent with our students being challenged on the high ropes courses the camp offers. Two of their courses are lighted which allowed us some nighttime enjoyment which ended with night hikes, star gazing, and smores. It felt good to slip into the old climbing harness and it brought back some fond memories of my own challenges in the mountains at the end of a rope.
We also learned about the Oneota Indian culture. This was one of the favorites of the students.
They were able to try and build fires, grind corn, play Native American games, and work on a dugout canoe. They used the corn to make corn bread and they also picked wild berry leaves and made tea with them. However, they didn't really enjoy the taste.

The students also participated in a variety of team building initiative which definitely challenged their abilities to work together in a cooperative manner.

During the three days they experienced many successes and also had to learn how to deal with failure. Most of them were able to face their fears and for me as their teacher, it was an absolute joy to watch and encourage them. We had no major behavior meltdowns, but it wasn't without a few minor problems. The camp staff had nothing but good things to say about our students and their behavior, chaperones, and of course...we the teachers.

I'm still not sure if it was worth all the time, effort, stress, and money. Hopefully our students will walk away with some life lessons and of course fond memories. Wish I could post more pics of the kids, but I'm just not comfortable with that.

1 comment:

Tex69 said...

I tell you, as a parent I'm really thankful when my boys' teachers make the effort, however much the kids learn. The chance to tie in seat/school education with the world out there is just priceless (not snark intended). I don't think either has done a team course, but they've cabin and tent camped and been on other outside trips and I know it's a highlight of the year.

As a high-school teacher, I also know the kids I take abroad (Spain, Costa Rica) really come back inspired and invigorated. That said, I don't take huge packs of high-schoolers out and about. They're capable of far too many scary things in the dark.

Keep it happenin'.