Monday, November 16, 2009

Roughing it in the Woods!

Thank you for visiting! During the past two weeks an amazing amount of growth has taken place. I was fortunate enough to have a partner in crime last week. Danielle, a fellow grad and I team taught, sharing lessons and ideas and inspiring each other to be better instructors in the field. We, (many Cohort Survivor grads) were faced with an incredibly challenging group, a face that presented itself early in our week. The team teaching experience was exemplary, (while not every grad agrees, there are many who welcome the comrade). The support during scheduling and lesson planning was so helpful and the debrief sessions at the end of every day contributed to the maintenance of sanity during the moments of exertion.

A riveting game of tornado in team Marsh pulled a Red Alder from standing to permanently reclined. The incident resulted in a terrified instructor and an unharmed, thoroughly amused student. The majority of the teams seemed to move slower this week and accomplish less in the short time that we have with the students. It is amazing to see the differences between each group that you work with. If you are not familiar with a KWL chart, you will be after a week in the field! Each group has different interests, varied previous experience/knowledge and an array of strengths and areas for improvement. Oddly enough, consistency and flexibility seem to be two of the most important factors to remember and embrace while in the field.

Tuesday night was the most amazing night hike yet. Flashlight-less instructors led their groups through dark, canopy covered trails with a full moon shining down through the branches. A few groups were fortunate enough to witness a meteor dancing through the sky. For many of them it was a first and “life changing” experience. The week continued with challenges and successes. The team’s course is an incredibly enormous moment for the students, teachers, and chaperons. The students are given planning time and after, are invited to attempt the challenge that has been presented to them. Often times they struggle with kindness and tone of voice but it makes for a wonderful debrief afterward.

This past week we did not have any student visitors as all schools in Seattle had Wednesday off to celebrate Veterans Day. Don’t worry though, we were not left without anything to do and a full week to make trouble. Instead we spent the week reviewing the enduring understandings and revisiting classes and projects that may have been put on the back burner because of the intensity of the SOP program. One of the most insightful moments was when three alumni came to speak with us on Tuesday. They shared their experiences both at Islandwood and at the UW. The advice was much appreciated by all of the grads and gave us an idea of what to look forward to and plan for.

Cohort Unicorns welcomed a brand new group of kids off of the buses today. For the next four days they will be imparting their knowledge and love for this beautiful place. Good luck galloping grads!

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