Saturday, October 6, 2012

Educating the WHOLE child

I just returned from our Annual 5th Grade Camp Trip.  For those of you that don't know we visit Mystic Lake YMCA Campground in Clare, Michigan.  I've been fortunate enough to enjoy three great years.  This week the focus is on educating the Whole Child.  Each year grade levels design field trips that will educate, inspire, and improve students.  Some of the field trips that students experience are Potter Park Zoo, Binder Park Zoo, Safetyville, Impression 5 Museum, GreenField Village, Waterloo campground, and 5th Grade Camp.  I realize there are more, but the point is students are giving several opportunities to learn and grow.  

This brings me to the point of this week's blog:  "Educating the Whole Child". I was asked a few weeks ago if 5th grade would survive without the camp experience.  I paused and thought of my response carefully.  I finally said, "Survive, yes, but the goal is not simply to educate academically, we're invested in educating the whole child."  I received a nod, the meeting was positive, but I clearly could tell that in challenging financial times we have to fight for what we believe in.  

I believe in educating the whole child. I often talk to kids about Respect and Responsibility.  I frequently will talk with 4th and 5th graders about setting a strong example and being leaders.  I tell them they can lead in many ways, and they must find the way that suits them best.  When our 5th graders go off to camp I sit and talk with all groups at various points of the trip.  I ask them about the experience and what has been challenging.  For three years I have heard similar responses; the biggest challenge is working as a team and communicating with classmates.  

By the time 5th graders leave they are more aware of their own feelings, they feel more self confident, they've learned that communication and teamwork are vital traits, and they learn how to square dance!  The point is this:  For three days we leave behind MEAP prep, Math and Reading books, and learning at our desks.  We learn by doing, we learn by experiencing it first hand, and our 5th graders return with a new understanding of each other and themselves.  This is teaching the Whole Child, and this is the difference I want to make!

I hope field trips never go away.  When we look back on our own education we typically remember the most impactful events.  I, for one, remember a few major events such as our middle school trip to Toronto, the elementary trips to Sauder Village, GreenField Village, and Kellogg in Battle Creek.  Field trips are memorable and education shouldn't be limited to paper, pencil, and book.

Things to be on the lookout for:

*  MEAP begins Tuesday.  Please pick up your #2 pencils and Test Administrator books.
*  On the MEAP note, 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade teachers should email me students for small groups.
*  Monday is Columbus Day!
*  SAU tutors begin this week.  If you need to contact your tutor by email please let me know.
*  1st grade to Safetyville
*  Friday is Picture Day
*  Tornado drill this week, I've fallen a bit behind. (My bad.)

Next Week at a Glance:

Monday, October 8th:  Columbus Day
Monday, October 8th:  1st grade Safetyville
Monday, October 8th:  Tornado Drill in the PM
Tuesday, October 9th:  Warner String Team from 4-5pm
Tuesday, October 9th:  MEAP begins for grades 3-5
Tuesday, October 9th:  Happy Birthday to Carmen Hinkle
Wednesday, October 10th:  Assembly for grades K-2 8:45 (makeup from last week )
Friday, October 12th:  Picture Day
Friday, October 12th:  Happy Birthday to Deb Trudell

Great Things Noticed or Heard:

*  Loved the "book" that was created for me, "While the Cat's away...the Mice will play"
*  Very pleased with our High School Counselors, in my three years at Camp this was the best group by far!
*  No complaints from students about weather, kids can be very resilient.
*  Loved my hugs from Young Fivers on Tuesday, so many said they would miss me
*  Jessica and Rebekah amazed me on the Giant Swing, both went to the top!
*  Proud of how our fifth graders treated each other.  
*  Can't wait to see Mr. Baum playing the BANJO!
*  Big thanks to Mrs. Shearer, Mrs. Struck, Mrs. Soper, and Mr. Baum, they picked up the slack with our group being one man down.  Great job group.

Articles Worth Your Time:

Videos Worth Your Time:

Where good ideas come from... (4 min)

Are you past oriented or future oriented? (10 min)

Why work doesn't happen at work. (17 min)

Fun at Camp!

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