Sunday, February 22, 2015

EdVentures: a #5Sigma Take-Away

I spent the last two days at Anastasis Academy and learned how their out of the box education format is empowering students. Part of that format is weekly EdVentures (educational adventures).  In the past, I've planned our Friday Field Trips for the school year every February based on the themes we'd be learning and talking about each week in preschool. This coming year I will not be teaching the 3 year old theme based preschool group anymore.  This leaves our Field Trip Friday options open to a new interpretation for the coming school year.
I'm looking forward to incorporating many of the ideas from Anastasis into our LEARN group for the upcoming year. 

Here are the specific types of EdVentures I'm thinking through:

1. Experiential Education - traditional field trips but think outside the box.  Interested in car mechanics?  Visit a mechanic shop.  Interested in food diversity?  Tour behind the scenes of different grocery stores, specifically different cultural grocery stores.  Attend performing arts, theater, speakers and events. Etc.

2. Service Learning - Once a month I'd like to do a service project.  At Anastasis they go to the same location each month (soup kitchen, homeless shelter, retirement community, etc).  

3. Outdoor Education - Sand Dunes, Camping, Black Hills, Local Parks, rock climbing, bike riding, hiking, swimming, etc.

4. Cultural Immersion - Religious Pilgrimages (mosque, Buddhist temple, Hindu temple, go to the experts to learn from them), Local Artists (photography, Music, Spoken Word), etc.

5. Community Building - park days, ice blocking, lunches out, team building activities at each event

Anastasis doesn't plan any of the EdVentures prior to the school year.  They  develop plans for EdVentures based on the direction the kids are taking their learning conversations.  I think it would be a good starting place for the LEARN group to plan a few key activities and perhaps an outline (like Service on the first week of each month, etc).
One of the key components to EdVentures making an impact is allowing purposeful, natural interaction between students and the experience and then reflecting on the process.  Currently, our field trips are more like a fun activity that we get to do.  It was purposefully planned (we'll fly kites the week we're talking about wind and weather, etc.) but it isn't purposefully being reflected upon.  I'd like to take the opportunity to allow ourselves (the adults and the kids) an opportunity for reflection.  Discussing the interesting content we learned (any facts?), discussing things that we were surprised by and how we reacted to different situations and sharing questions and ideas we're pondering after the EdVenture would give the experience a reason to be important in our lives.  And then, just as Anastasis Academy, we need to share our learning.  It's highly likely that in the near future Nexus Homeschool will host a variety of new posts by guest bloggers CJ (6 years old) and EMan (4 years old) about what they are learning. 

Though I'm still developing an understanding of the process of embedding EdVentures with powerful meaning and connections into our school year a little framework will aid in a big change.  Thanks #5Sigma

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