Next week middle school students go on their spring Experiential Education (EE) trip! Below, high school English teacher John Miller tells a story about eighth graders getting ready to go.
“That doesn’t look much like a tent. More like a broken kite,” Mr. Miller teased as one eighth grade advisory struggled to fix the tent poles to the fabric wafting in the light breeze. Preparations for the eighth grade overnight EE experience were underway.
Students rotated through three stations where they engaged in a variety of hands-on experiences to prepare them for the EE trip to Gangwon-do next week. In one station, students scrubbed a goo composed of strawberry jam, chocolate syrup and coffee grounds (a mixture that was playfully nicknamed “EE jigae”) from plastic plates to simulate the experience of washing their own dishes, something many students had never done before. “In this experience, the dishwasher is not a machine; the dishwasher is you” said teacher Tara Verenna.
In another station, students practiced safe hiking techniques and overcoming trail obstacles. Using the hiking trails right above our KIS campus, students learned how to safely negotiate sidehill walking and learned various techniques for group movement. Participants in this experience learned self-care and deepened their sense of environmental awareness.
“Camping is intense!” punned English teacher John Miller, as several word-savvy students groaned in acknowledgment of his bad joke. At the tent station, students assembled shelters of various types, using teamwork to unpack and repack the contents of the tent stuff-sack. “I can do this!” exclaimed one student as she saw her tent take shape.
The EE preparation stations were an exercise in adaptability and empowerment, two of our KIS core values. By the end, it was clear to most of the students why EE is an integral part of character education at KIS.