Friday, March 26, 2010

The Wrap Up

Well, we did it! Our breakfast of jumbo french toast sticks, syrup, cereal, fruit, bagels, bread with sun nut butter, juice, and milk result in ZERO ORT! Nice job, CMS!

Once breakfast was cleaned up, we packed, cleaned our rooms, had them inspected and reported to Shakespeare for a final slide show .... Cudahy students and their Nature's Classroom experience.

After that, students met with their field groups one last time where they reflected on their week together and each received respect beads. Groups were followed by a game of Capture the Flag on the prairie where we watched a red winged blackbird and a hawk in a battle in the sky. There was no apparent winner and eventually, we lost sight of them.

Lunch was then served ... cheese pizza, salads, fruit, and water. The staff were kind enough to load our luggage for us and we were on our way home! Thanks to the fabulous staff at Nature's Classroom (Geoffrey, Kelly, Corinn, Kelly, Nicole, Katelyn, Bryan, Derek, Dave, and Charles)for a memorable, educational, and fun week.

To the students: Welcome home!

3/26 ~ Our Last Morning Together

Everyone's up and moving very slowly. There's an eerie quiet that I haven't heard all week; a combination of exhaustion and sadness over leaving combined with excitement to return to our families and comfy beds (maybe that's just me). It's sunny today and the winds have died down. In about 5 minutes our waitrons will report for breakfast duty. It is our last chance to have zero Ort ~ let's keep our fingers crossed.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Picture Collage

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Night Activity

Dinner consisted of turkey, potatoes, cooked carrots, water, and the usual options of salad bar, fruit, and sun nut butter. ORT REPORT: 1/8 lb (okay, now I'm getting worried)

This may be the most difficult activity for our students; a simulation of the underground railroad. For some, it will be a bit frightening. Students will become slaves and will sneak through the property, visiting safe houses in an attempt to reach Canada to earn their freedom from slavery. They encounter bounty hunters and even a sheriff (Mr. Vandenberg. They will eventually come to a safe house run by a "friend of a friend" Betsy (Ms. Cesarz)and her crabby old husband, William (Mr. Seaman), where they will be required to hide under a porch until the sheriff and his deputy leave. In the end, students will acquire their freedom. Things were a bit tenuous for Dillon C as he was captured by the sheriff & William.
Text Color
In reflecting on this activity, many students were surprised to learn what slaves actually went through (if they survived the journey) and how long the process took. Many students shared that the underground railroad had a new meaning now; one they never truly understood by reading about it in class.

There are mixed feelings in the dorm. All of the girls are anxious to see their families but at the same time, they don't want this experience to end. I anticipate a wave of emotions tomorrow (which usually happens) but it is all for good reason. I am so glad to have had this opportunity to get to know the kids on this level.

Thursday Afternoon

Today had to be a lunch favorite: Mac & Cheese, pickles, sweet potato soup, salad bar, rolls, fantastic banana chocolate chip bread, water, and brownies. ORT REPORT: 2/3 lbs ... UGH

After lunch, students will participate in a simulation where they start out with a scenario that usually involves being disadvantaged in some way; in need of a job, home, or food. They will then need to track down the resources needed. This activity requires focus, determination, reasoning skills, and a desire to succeed (and unfortunately, some of them will not). In the wrap up for this activity, students discuss new appreciation of what people go through when they find themselves in this situation. Hopefully, students will walk away with a sense of understanding of circumstances that life can create for people.


Today will be a test of our ability to layer; it is dramatically colder than yesterday. We started with a fulfilling breakfast of French Toast, cereal, bagels, fruit, and juices. ORT REPORT: 1/4 lb. WE'RE GETTING CLOSER!

Right now, students are with their field groups; exploring the property and attempting team challenges. While at the farm, Lyra O'Brien from Channel 12 came to interview teachers and students. They were very interested in the program and our experience here. Be sure to watch the news for video footage of your classmates.

Today's class choices are: Earth Sculptures, Engine Dissection, Mission Possible, Fire Fire Fire, Dream catchers, and Turtle Power (turtle dissection). Students will pick during field group and class today will run from 1:30 - 3. We have a large group activity tonight from 7:30 - 9:30. It's going to be very cold and very dark and I am excited to participate with the students.