January 24, 2013

Road Trip to Mesa Verde – A First For Friends’


Captain’s log.  Stardate Monday, April 8. 2013. 07:30 hours. Friends’ School parking lot, Boulder, Colorado.
Stop by before the start of school that Monday morning. A shining white luxury coach will be parked outside of school.  I’ll be there. Our fifth grade class will be there too, waiting, ready for the adventure of a lifetime.
This year, for the very first time, our fifth grade class will be embarking on a five-day four-night trip to the Four Corners region of Colorado.  They will have a week-long educational experience at the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center.
Crow Canyon is dedicated to understanding, teaching, and helping to preserve the rich history of the ancestral Pueblo people (the Anasazi) of the American Southwest.
Our fifth graders will spend three full days learning the basics of Pueblo Indian history, excavating at a site that represents different time periods, and participating in a variety of "ancient lifestyle" activities at Crow Canyon’s pithouse and pueblo learning centers. Their program will wrap up with a day-long tour of Mesa Verde National Park, where our students will explore the spectacular cliff dwellings and other archaeological sites for which the park is famous.
This week-long expedition will be one of the wonderful culminating experiences for our graduating class.  Like all Friends’ School classes, in 2nd grade they began this journey of overnight experiential trips by spending a night ‘camping’ indoors in our school’s Great Room. In 3rd grade, they spent one night at Cal-Wood Education Center in Jamestown, above Boulder.  In 4th grade, they returned to Cal-Wood for a two-night, three day trip.
Crow Canyon Archaeological Center near Cortez, CO
In 5th grade, their year began with a new tradition for Friends’ 5th grade: their theatrical production of HarryPotter and the Sorcerer’s Stone that I directed.  With the October play behind us, we began talking about this upcoming adventure. A few of the students seem as excited by the idea of riding in the big shiny white bus as they are about the archaeological experience.  It has a DVD player AND a bathroom!  Their teachers and I are pretty confident that, when they return, their parents will hear more about Mesa Verde and excavation than about the bus.
Helen Keller famously said, “Life is either an adventure or nothing.” All of us at Friends’ are very excited for our 5th grade students and their forthcoming adventure.  We want to honor their final year at our school by presenting them with an opportunity to bond as a class, to give them lessons they could not learn back at school, and to recognize their impending graduation as brand new middle schoolers. 
We’re looking forward to offering a similar adventure the following year for our current fourth graders.  In the years ahead, every fifth grade class at Friends’ will be ready for all of the new challenges that lay ahead of them.  This Four Corners trip will be not only a culmination of their time at Friends’, it is also a launching pad to new adventures outside of Friends’.
For our 5th grade class, this road trip to Crow Canyon, just like their fabulous Harry Potter play, will be an important part of their development, their education, and their irreplaceable memories of Friends’.
Bon voyage!

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