From Flying Physics to Dragon Flies: Latest Classes Are Underway

Fresh off our spring break, Eagle Rock School has begun ER 72, which is the 72nd trimester since the school was founded back in the early 1990s. And that means a new offering of nontraditional class is on the schedule for our students.

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For certain there are traditional classroom topics covering everything from English to mathematics, but Eagle Rock has always marched to the beat of a different curriculum, and ER 72 is no different.

For instance, some might consider the topic of physics as rather dry and droll. Not so much when you add roller coasters to the equation. In Physics of Roller Coasters, which you can read about below, our students will learn the physics of roller coasters and build their own Screaming Terror (that’s right, students get to name their rides, too).

Other offerings this trimester include a class called Rethinking Pop Media Culture, another called Dragon Fly Citizen Science — which does not entail giant mutant insects — and a class exploring the classic 1950s stage play, “A Raisin in the Sun.”

Below are class topics and a brief explanation of what it is our students are undertaking in this new trimester: Continue reading…

Classroom Culture Works When Teachers and Students Construct Norms

Every other Wednesday, our Eagle Rock School instructional team convenes for a professional development session that revolves around a predetermined annual theme. The theme this year is classroom culture, which rests on the notion that effective teaching and learning best take place in a healthy classroom culture built on high support and high expectations.

Among the founding principles of our organization is the simple idea we are all in this together, and it takes everyone — staff and students alike — all pulling the oars in the same direction to make a place as unique as the Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center truly work. However, in order to effectively pull those paddles, there needs to be a solid foundation of trust and acceptance. We believe this foundation inside the classroom is built on classroom norms, which have a decisive impact on culture.

School Reform

Educational researchers Robert and Kana Marzano explain this foundation in their article entitled The Key to Classroom Management (PDF file). They write, “Research has shown us that teachers’ actions in their classrooms have twice the impact on student achievement as do school policies regarding curriculum, assessment, staff collegiality and community involvement.”

We couldn’t agree more! Healthy classrooms help teachers react to Continue reading…

Food for Thought: Chemistry Students Host Flavor Fest

Talk about creative curriculum. Our Science Instructional Specialist, Sara Benge, came up with a 10-week Chemistry of Cooking class that recently culminated in the First Annual Formulas & Food Fair — a hands-on event where students and staff had the opportunity to taste the “lab results.”

As usual, we’ve added a twist to your run of the mill chemistry class by focusing on the chemical changes that occur in food molecules during fermentation, baking and emulsification — not to mention the Maillard Reaction. As a result, our chemistry students learned how to identify and describe the features of atoms and molecular structures in specific food items, such as a glucose molecule that happens to be found in a number of carbohydrate and sugar-based foods.

Plenty of experimentation went into these chemistry lessons, with our “chem chefs” creating their own cooking recipes, observing changes in flavors, textures and the appearance of the food, and applying their knowledge of basic chemistry concepts in order to explain why they did or did not achieve a specific result.

The Food Fair was held on a recent afternoon with students in the class each preparing a Continue reading…

Classroom Teamwork Culminates in This Weekend’s ‘Songs’ Musical

For the past couple of trimesters our performance class has been working on the musical, Songs for A New World, which centers on how the choices you make in your life affect your future.

This contemporary song cycle production by Jason Robert Brown is being staged this weekend at the Walter G Ruesch Auditorium at the YMCA of the Rockies (please see the end of today’s post for remaining dates and times).

(Photo Credit: ©2017 - Barb Boyer Buck / for the Trail-Gazette)

(Photo Credit: ©2017 – Barb Boyer Buck / for the Trail-Gazette)

Participating Eagle Rock students auditioned for parts in this musical last trimester and have been rehearsing for more than 10 weeks, with performers practicing on stage both morning and night for the first five weeks. Students worked daily on basic acting and singing techniques.

And regardless of each student’s skill level or experience, all cast members received the Continue reading…

It’s ‘Back to School’ Time for one Eagle Rock School Architect

Who better to teach a course on architecture to Eagle Rock School students than one of the people who was part of the original team of architects that designed our 640-acre campus back in the early 1990s? Noted architect Jeff Winston has returned to Eagle Rock to co-instruct Architecture — a class which explores the spaces in which we spend our days and how these architectural areas define many aspects of our lives.

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Winston is a member of MIG, a planning, design, communications and management services firm with offices in many cities across the United States. With two decades of architectural expertise, Winston is currently the principal director of MIG’s Colorado office.

Harboring a special interest in the design and function of urban spaces, Winston has designed plazas, malls and streetscapes, along with developing design guidelines for public spaces and entire communities. He has taught at the University of Colorado, is a registered landscape architect in Colorado, Utah and Arizona, and holds masters degrees in Continue reading…