Monday, December 7, 2009

So far this year, Zoe, Diana and I have talked extensively about the SOP experience and the innards of the program. I realized the other day that we have not however, discussed what we like to call our “off weeks”. As we have already stated, after our month long, extensive training all twenty-nine grads are split into two cohorts. After the split we begin to rotate back and forth between weeks in the field and weeks “off”. Prior to arriving at Islandwood I tried so hard to imagine what this experience would be like and what I was getting myself into! I came up with many different scenarios in my mind, none of which were actually the case. It is hard to imagine a program that has so many different layers to unfold and interpret.

I would like to dedicate this portion of the blog to the elusive “off weeks”.
What are the happenings? What are we held accountable for? What do you have to look forward to? On Monday of our “off week” you and your cohort attend something we like to call, “Super Monday” from 12-2. “Super Monday” is an offshoot of the classes that you are taking that quarter. It is up to the Ed team to decide which class to dedicate those two hours to. (Don’t you love homophones?) This past Tuesday, Cohort B, (The Tiny Horses) galloped down to the pond on that rather chilly, yet sunny day to do a pre-lesson for an Arts Integration course that we will be taking next quarter with Professor Hillary. She read us a perspective story, which in this case was from the perspective of a Big Leaf Maple seed. Later, we were asked to write our own perspectives story, finding something around the pond to inspire us. No activity would be complete at Islandwood without a mind map so that is exactly what we did. We shared our perspective stories and determined what elements in the stories were abiotic, biotic and cultural. This activity was excellently modeled, a regular occurrence on “Super Mondays” and is a much anticipated activity to try in the field.

Thankfully, Tuesday and Wednesday are left free for us to complete homework for that week’s classes and the next week’s classes as you will not have any time to do homework during your SOP weeks. You are also required to visit your liason school on your “off week”. While visiting your liason school you might do a parent presentation, student presentation or teach a lesson. You may be asked to do all three depending upon the level of involvement that the classroom teacher prefers.

On Thursday, all cohort members return to the grad classroom at 9am for “lab time”. “Lab time” is similar to “Super Monday” because it is up to the Ed team to decide which class those three hours will be devoted to. At 12 you are set free to run errands, complete homework or rest until 6pm when the other cohort joins you. Class will ensue from 6-9 on Thursday night and will pick up again at 9:30am the following morning. At 4:30pm our weekend begins. The weekends for many of us include quite a bit of babysitting and homework completion. Others might take a trip to Seattle and others venture even further. No matter your pleasure, you will enjoy your weekend tremendously knowing on Monday, your adventure begins again!

Beautiful pictures taken by Minna at the bog at one of our "Super Monday" classes!

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