Natures Classroom Daily Blog
We departed RCS on schedule and made our way down to Charlton via I-91 and the Mass Pike. It was all smooth except for the fact that Mrs. Sweeney (and Mr. Boisvert following) went to the Hilltop campus first. Not to worry, we found our way to the Prindle Pond site and the kids were off and running in no time. And, by the way, the weather is just as good here as it is there.
After moving gear in and setting up rooms, we had a fire drill with the NC counselors and were then off to lunch. It was well after 12 and most students were hungry. Lunch was Pizza, French fries and salad bar (way to make friends!) and the students were given the meal expectations. One rule is the water rule, where you must have a glass of water first, then you may choose another beverage, but before you can take another beverage, you have to have a glass of water in between. The NC counselors went over the waitron duties and the procedure for clean up. (Waitron: A person from your table that is designated to pick up the food for the table, then in charge of clearing later on.
After lunch we split into field groups. The field groups took a tour of the grounds and got to know everyone in the group. We have mixed with a small school (St. Patricks) from New Hampshire. They have brought 27 sixth graders. We also mixed with St. Patricks at the dining room tables. In Taylor’s field group they went on a long hike, while Kalie’s group saw some turtles down by the pond. Lillie and her field mates chewed some coniferous greens and spit green!
In between activities is called Transition time. That’s the time that Mike B & I usually take the kids back to the dorm to change, fill water bottles, switch shoes, etc. There are T-times between field group and classes. Monday’s classes from 4:00-5:00 included a choice between Atomic Ice, Water Rockets, Tree Tag, or Turtle Hurdles. (be sure to ask your student about their class adventures!)
Dinner was giant chicken fingers with rice pilaf and corn. The evening activity was entitled Quest, which was a sampling of cooperative activities. One task was to support each other as a human table. Another was to pass a pitcher of water around without using your hands or arms. A third was a hula hoop that seemed to be filled with helium, and the last was called Acid Lake. After a quick snack of teddy grahams, campers took turns in the bathroom & showers and settled in nicely.
Oh- and did I mention the singing? After every meal there is Entertainment ((WOW- you are supposed to say). The Waitrons do a song and dance about ORT (leftover food on the plates), then one of the NC counselors have a group sing/activity to culminate the meal.
NC day two (Tuesday)
Breakfast this morning was waffles, sausage, and choice of cereal and bagels or English muffins.
Field groups spent about 2 hours out on the grounds this morning before lunch. Some groups went out as far as the Tornado Zone (the same tornado that hit Springfield Mass last June) and checked out the damage there.
Lunch was an amazing mix of hot dogs and nachos. I guess you could have made a chili cheese dog, but most of the adults stick with the awesome salad bar.
Classes this afternoon included Mad Science with Brynn & Moody, Yeastie Beasties with Face, Icky Sticky with Morgan, and a mystery dissection (turned Red eared Turtle) with Switch. In Mad Science they burned money and found out you cannot do a quad stretch while standing against a wall. Switch dissected a turtle, Yeastie beasties played with the powers of yeast and made some little samples, and Icky Sticky made slime and did some experiments on the properties of slime.
During our longer T-time today, we played a quick game of Krazy Kickball on the big green- which is still kind of brown. During the other t-times we all usually hang around below the dorm on the bb & tetherball court. The GaGa pit is almost done, and hopefully we can learn that game this week.
Classes this afternoon were a selection of Roller Coasters, Sleepy time, Garbage Dissection & recycled art, Oil Spill!, the Water Cycle. Sleepy time was a look at the stages of sleep, that included the stage that people sleep walk, sleep talk and dream. Roller coasters was very cool. I joined Ethan as he and his friends from St. Patrick’s learn about potential and kinetic energy and then created a roller coaster. In the water cycle students played some trivia, and those in garbage dissection made some creative art pieces Those in oil spill .
Dinner was spaghetti with green bean and garlic bread. Ava sang a story about a shark and a unique circle of life.
The evening activity was a night vision exercise. Students went out in the woods and tested their night vision. We then met on the green where some students looked at the stars through the telescopes and we all got to do some amazing star gazing.
Who are Steve-O, Brynn, Face, Moody, Switch, Kai, Ranger, Ava, Kai, Squirrel, Lefty, you might ask? These guys are an amazing group of educators who are committed to providing outdoor education and experiences for kids.
NC day three
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Breakfast consisted of scrambled eggs, sausage links, hash browns, and some amazing yeast bread samples from yesterday’s Yeastie Beasties. Ranger was our breakfast guru and sang a little ditty about an alligator. Ranger, in simple terms, is one of the coolest counselors on the planet. I guess the best way to describe him is one part Bill Nye the Science Guy, one part Jim Carey, and one part Rambo. Ranger also spoke to everyone after breakfast about ORT (leftover food) and general waste. Make sure you ask your camper about his antics and his messages.
The field groups went on all day adventures today. They bagged a lunch and set off at 9:30 am. Some groups were planning a trip to the far reaches of the property, while others had a specific spot not so far away where they intended to set up camp/lab.
At extended t-time today we had some free time so there was an option to rest, since some of them have not been sleeping well. We split the time so we could play GaGa and tetherball and basketball. We also had a chance to play frogs & ants with St. Patrick’s school.
At 4:00 students attended the Underground RR class, while the adults got their assignments and walked through the course. (unknown to the kids of course). After UGRR classes, we played a few quick games of GaGa with St. Pats.
The UGRR class simulated the slave trade. Students were instructed to keep their heads down and experienced a voyage that an African slave might have made. They were “stuffed” into a boat and made to put their knees against another’s back. The captain was loud and mean, and threw dead bodies overboard. The slaves were traded and sold upon arrival. Students also experienced a slave auction and discovered that females were sold at a higher price because they could reproduce and had domestic skills.
Dinner was tacos with some heavenly donuts for dessert. There was no “entertainment” because of the set up for the evening.
The real excitement came after dark during the UGRR simulation. Some students were taken by bounty hunters, others lost their pass, most of the money was taken, and most of them made it to Canada.