Friday, January 4, 2008

The Maine National Guard and the Adventure Program

Today I found myself catching up on paperwork (or perhaps a better term would be organizational-work) in my tiny cubicle on the perimeter of the Oxford Hills Middle School library. This is often a great place to be because (1) there is a wealth of AC outlets within easy reach, and (2) as a multi-purpose area, I am often introduced unexpectedly to many special activities that are happening in the school. Today was no exception when seventy-five 7th graders filed in and two national guard instructors. I was about to experience the 2nd day of the Adventure Program that has a history at this school. Students have two classes on decision-making, cooperative learning, and team-building . . . and in the Spring will go to Bog Brook for outward-bound type activities.

Although this Maine program is not without controversy, I was impressed with the focus, which was process skills, and the enthusiasm of the facilitators.

This particular activity today was to have students work as teams to develop an egg-catcher, given a set of materials with which to work. It culminated with a contest to see which worked the best. Students described how they created their "catcher" and the reasoning behind it. Engaged Learning!

Do our schools have something to learn from military training methods?

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