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A Look Back at Eagle Rock's Fall Classes

A Look Back at Eagle Rock's Fall Classes

Learning Experiences at Eagle Rock…

  • …center the learner and our organizational commitment to anti-racism and social justice 

  • …are designed to be culturally and historically responsive

  • …integrate experiential, interdisciplinary, and project-based learning

  • … are grounded in the 5 Expectations of 8+5=10

  • …keep evolving to meet the interests and needs of our current learners

Learn about the variety of classes students engaged in this Fall.

In the Mechanics of Movement, students explored the science of movement through the lens of Human Physiology. Students took quantitative data about their bodies as they moved in order to make a claim about the health effects of movement, as well as make predictions about the health effects of movement on their future selves. This class met students where they were (in terms of exercise) and allowed for choice in the movements/exercises completed. Students also learned about the physiology of the human body, especially the musculoskeletal system and the cardo-respiratory system. Students began this Creating Healthy Life Choices Power Standard class by exploring walking, weight training, and stretching. Students then created their own movement plan and collected data weekly in order to make claims and predictions at the end of class.

In Staying Current, students learned the importance of identifying biases within media platforms and how this can affect the way news can be portrayed.  They expanded on this by examining different media outlets and how they portray controversial current events. Students had the opportunity to explore various topics in current events that they could personally connect to. Through this they also showed their understanding by writing a weekly blog, engaging in discussions, and, facilitating discussions with their peers during Saturday Current Events.

College Ready Support was designed to support students taking a college class at Aims Community College. The college class spanned the entirety of the trimester and was taken online within the college's learning management system. The work of this class was around executive functioning: Planning for, executing, keeping track of, and navigating work requirements placed upon by the college. All students enrolled in this class received elective credit, as well as 3 credits from the college (if the class taken was passed). These credits will be transferrable to any future college the student plans to attend. 

We believe that the games we play connect us to our ancestors and culture, connect us to our true selves, connect us, and are also a powerful tool for learning. In Jugemos Juntos, students became more confident Spanish speakers by working together with peers through fun, play, and challenge. As students learned the vocabulary necessary to have basic conversations, collaborate, and give directions in Spanish, they also gained the effective communication skills necessary to lead and facilitate learning in groups, grounded in what is important to them and the participants. By the end of the class, students and their peers designed and facilitated Spanish games for one another, and for folx in the broader Estes Park community.

“To see a world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wild flower… to hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour” (Blake) “For there is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.” (Gorman) “It’s not easy to know what is true for you or me at twenty-two, my age. But I guess I’m what I feel and see and hear, Harlem, I hear you: hear you, hear me—we two—you, me, talk on this page. (I hear New York, too.) Me—who? Well, I like to eat, sleep, drink, and be in love. I like to work, read, learn, and understand life.” (Hughes) What does all that even mean?! Is it poetry? Why are those words important? Are they important? In Verse Upon Verse, students worked to understand and answer those questions, and more, by discovering poetry together. They read, watched, listened to, wrote, spoke, and even performed poetry. 

Cha-Ching: The Stock Market, Investing, & Exponential Growth was designed to introduce students to personal investment options ranging from saving to investing. They came away with an understanding of the basic tools of investing, with an emphasis on the stock market, and had the opportunity to establish and monitor a stock portfolio while they developed and honed their problem-solving and decision-making skills. What are the different types of stocks? What is diversification? What are the statistical factors to look at when deciding on a stock? They competed in a friendly stock portfolio simulation throughout the five weeks while also developing their math skills to analyze data and model future earnings.

Their Eyes Were Watching God is one of the most influential, deeply important, thought-provoking, feeling-invoking, and wildly smart books written. And it was originally largely ignored and forgotten about because it was penned by a Black (speculated Queer) woman. You want to read this book (see below for more)!  Participants in this class read, thought, discussed, reflected, and wrote about the book, the topics therein, the author, and the cultural contexts that prompted Hurston to write it and that prompted us to forget it.  From the Zora Neale Hurston website:  “The epic tale of Janie Crawford, whose quest for identity takes her on a journey during which she learns what love is, experiences life’s joys and sorrows, and comes home to herself in peace. Her passionate story prompted Alice Walker to say, ‘There is no book more important to me than this one.’When first published in 1937, this novel about a proud, independent black woman was generally dismissed by male reviewers. Out of print for almost thirty years, but since its reissue in paperback edition by the University of Illinois Press in 1978, Their Eyes Were Watching God has become the most widely read and highly acclaimed novel in the canon of African-American literature.  With haunting sympathy and piercing immediacy, Their Eyes Were Watching God tells the story of Janie Crawford’s evolving selfhood through three marriages. Light-skinned, long-haired, and dreamy as a child, Janie grows up expecting better treatment than she gets until she meets Tea Cake, a younger man who engages her heart and spirit in equal measure and gives her the chance to enjoy life without being a man’s mule or adornment. Though Jaine’s story does not end happily, it does draw to a satisfying conclusion. Janie is one black woman who doesn’t have to live lost in sorrow, bitterness, fear, or foolish romantic dreams, instead, Janie proclaims that she has done ‘two things everbody’s got tuh do fuh theyselves. They got tuh go tuh God, and they got tuh find out about livin' fuh theyselves.’”

Adventure Filmmaking was a 10-week course that combined documentary filmmaking and outdoor exploration through a variety of activities. Students learned different techniques of documentary filmmaking while building a relationship with nature and reflecting on their identity in the outdoors. They spent many hours outside in all weather conditions hiking, engaging with nature, riding bikes, climbing mountains, and much more. No previous experience was required other than a sense of adventure. Students final projects entailed working with a small group to plan, film, and edit a final short documentary film.

In Graduate Seminar planning for life after Eagle Rock is a complex, multistep, goal-oriented process. It involves identifying where students might want to be in the future, but also what opportunities might look like based on the situation that students will enter after graduation. This class was designed to help students explore what their time after Eagle Rock might look like. Students explored their support network and what that network might look like to support them after graduation. They engaged in some self-exploratory activities, identified a collection of specific potential future paths, and dug deeper into what those paths meant for future learning. Students assessed the development of their “adult backpack” and took action on what they need to do to fill that backpack up with skills and things they'll need to successfully “adult” after graduation. Most importantly, this class is about students future goals and the beginning stages of them bringing these goals to fruition.

Line, shape, form, value, color, and texture. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the elements of art are the alphabet. Students explored each element and how to use them for maximum effectiveness. They also explored and critiqued artworks to be able to answer the question, “Why do I like this?” Elements of Art served as a foundation-building/introductory level art class and focused on drawing 2-D art, and art critique.

Learn how to beat the house! Or, if that's not possible, at least learn how much of an edge they have. In Feeling Lucky? Probability and Game Design, students analyzed casino games (blackjack, craps, poker) as well as other games of chance while digging into foundational probability topics and game theory. Probability goes way beyond casino games. It’s used for forecasting the weather, fantasy football drafts, politics, business forecasting, insurance, staffing, traffic, policing, investing, and even natural disasters. While life can seem chaotic and random at times, you can learn how to break down a lot of things in real life to predict what’s going to happen in the future. Seeing how probability in real life works out can be fascinating and help make better decisions for your future. Participants played games, analyzed them, learned how to determine the likelihood of an event happening, and finally built their own casino game.

Cooking, and breaking bread together, have always been a foundation for acquiring language and building culture and community throughout the world. Food is powerful, a basic necessity. From harvesting and acquiring ingredients for cuisines that navigate the landscape of history, language, and culture across the globe, to daily routines and gatherings that revolve around our meals, we are truly lucky and privileged to be sustained at Eagle Rock. Have you ever wondered where the recipes of the food we eat come from? What the heck are plantains and where did tacos originate? Learn Spanish while exploring the food, recipes, and history of several Spanish-speaking countries. In Recetas de Resistencia students learned how to converse about our food, food preferences, recipes, and more in Spanish. They created a recipe book for their own cultures and communities, as well as spent time cooking together.

Throughout history, masks have been used to conceal, amplify, and alter identity. From theatrical performances to War, masks served the purpose of “concealing one identity to reveal new possibilities.” In Masks, students created masks using clay hand-building and slab techniques through the lens of culture, psychology, and symbolism. This class required and challenged students' patience, time management, and problem-solving skills through learning of the clay-making process and all the variables that inherently come with it. 

In Go Forward With Courage: Songwriting, Performance, and Playing Out students created songs about what's most important. Students connected with their purpose for making music. Students amplified their sound and their message by learning how to use and set up sound equipment.  Students worked in harmony with others all along the way. Then, by the end of the course, individual students and their classmates explored opportunities to express or perform music for Eagle Rock as well as the community beyond.