Monday, October 21, 2013

The Alternative Athletic Association

Our AAA is underway.

We opened the program with a visit to Upland Hills School in northern Oakland County. UHS is a small, progressive school, just about our size: they have 17 students in their 7-8 class. They also have a series of Howell-like woods activities, including two zip-wires, a climbing wall, and a low-ropes course.

On Friday, October 4, we travelled to UHS for pizza, gaga ball, and outdoor exercise. Aristea, Ryan, Jianmarco and Saul stole the show by flying through the air on the high zip-wire, but all of the kids toured the campus, tried out one or more of the activities, participated in the Friday afternoon all-school ball game, a sort of amped-up capture the flag in a grassy meadow, and made connections.

It wasn't a conventional away game, which is part of the point. I played a lot of away games in school, but I never wrote a thank-you note afterward. Ours was happily received by the folks at UHS, and we are in the process of scheduling their return visit for a round of playground parkour, a tour of County Farm Park, and some mapping out of where our own equipment might be built, once our students write the project proposal that is the required first step for such an endeavor.

In other news, we are scheduling home-and-away visits with the Friends School of Detroit and a soccer workshop with professional player Kevin Taylor. We have identified two possible Washtenaw County schools to possibly step in for original partner Clonlara. More to come, of course.

Friday's PE Class

Friday I had both the 5-6 class and our 7-8 group for Wake-Up PE first thing in the morning.

The previous day, I had introduced the 5-6 class to the fantastically named fartlek, a Swedish form of exercise in which one alternates aerobic and anaerobic exercise--a fancy way of saying you speed up and slow down. We tried it over at County Farm Park in its simplest form: people walk in a straight line of pairs; the last pair in the line sprints to the front.

Earlier still, I had introduced the 7-8 class to less naughtily named parkour, a French for of exercise in which one creates obstacle courses, using found objects as barriers--a fancy way of saying you jump over things. We concentrated on playground parkour, where the students climbed on monkey bars, balance-walked around the rim of the gaga court, skipped over boulders, and jumped over fallen logs.

Friday's class was a combination of these activities. In nine mixed groups of three, the students created nine parkour events, building a course on the playground. Then each group contributed one member to a fresh group of nine, which learned and then ran the course. Meanwhile, the other eighteen students ran a fartlek around the school building, before forming a high-fiving Gauntlet of Congratulation to welcome the nine parkour runners. Then the groups rotated.

I liked this exercise for its creativity, flexibility, agility--you can do it anywhere--and reliability on the kids' efforts. Also, they were all breathing hard when we were done.

Space Odyssey

I would like to take the kids to see Gravity in Imax during Friday afternoon homeroom time, depending on how prepared they are for next week's round of Exhibitions. Gravity is rated PG-13, so please let me know if you have any questions or concerns about it. I have seen the movie already, so I can speak specifically to what is and isn't scary about it.

Gravity is an odyssey, to be sure. Like Homer's tale, it is an odyssey that originates in a spirit of exploration and adventure, and which, ultimately, is only about trying to get home.

We'd be back to school for pick-up at 3:30.

Monday, October 14, 2013

SK's Odyssey

PenelopeLilyOdysseus' wife
TelemachusJianmarcoOdysseus' son
HalithersesRyanhapless prophet
EumaeusDannyOdysseus' loyal swineherd
EurycleiaAristeaPenelope's loyal maid
Suitors3s & 4s
CirceMikewitchy goddess
PolyphemosTrentone-eyed monster
AeolusMarcellinkindhearted king
OdysseusMayaadventurer extraordinaire
Shades3s & 4s
Sailors3s & 4s
GodsKs, 1s & 2s