Classroom education here at the Eagle Rock School resumes on Monday, Nov. 6, following Explore Week, a brief, five-day period of time during which our students are taking advantage of an opportunity to explore new and diverse subject areas they otherwise might have dismissed or never knew they could study.
This is the latest in what has traditionally been a three-times-a-year educational experience that enables students to ‘poke a stick’ at a particular subject matter with which they might not be familiar, but which might appear interesting. If nothing else, these engaging courses — which are taught by subject matter experts who often travel great distances to be with our students for the week — serve as an introduction to future career pursuits or hobbies that can be followed up on by the students themselves going forward.
Not necessarily unique to Eagle Rock (other progressive schools across the country — including West Leadership Academy in Denver, Colo., and the Bowman School in Palo Alto, Calif. — offer something similar for their students), Explore Week is an opportunity for our students to relax their minds and learn something new, something that they’re most likely never going to see listed on the curriculum of traditional educational institutions.
Here then is a listing and description of courses that are offered in this, our most recent Explore Week, which wraps up tomorrow — Nov. 4:
Create Your Own Music Video: In this course, taught by Patrick Coe Selvage of Coe Productions, students are writing, directing, shooting and editing their own music video, visually expressing themselves through a favorite song. The secret to this endeavor is collaboration. Students discuss and listen to music from all genres, ranging from story-driven songs to parodies — as well as the camera techniques that help get a point across. This course’s instructor, Patrick, has taught a number of Explore Week courses over the years here at Eagle Rock. He graduated with a BFA in film production from the University of Colorado-Boulder. Since then he has worked on more than 200 feature films, commercials, music videos, and documentaries. He now runs Coe Productions — a Boulder-based company that services clients from Crocs to the Sundance Film Festival.
Eagle Rock Radio: Students interested in pioneering a radio project at Eagle Rock, have signed up for this Explore Week course that uses simple technology and online audio-sharing platforms to record, edit and get a student’s story out into radioland. Lisa Morehouse instructs this course, along with Aaron Segura (our 2016/2017 Public Allies Teaching Fellow In Curriculum), with the intent of teaching the basics of radio reporting and producing. Students are learning how to conduct an interview, and they’re being introduced to audio editing software and the use of music to enhance a story. They’ve been making audio pieces to develop skills as audio storytellers — with projects that will be shared with the entire Eagle Rock community and beyond.
Morehouse, whose name might be familiar on account of this being her second trip to Eagle Rock for Explore Week, is an award-winning public radio and print journalist whose work has taken her from Samoan traveling circuses to Mississippi Delta classrooms. She’s filed stories for NPR’s Morning Edition and Latino USA, PRI’s The World, KQED’s The California Report, Edutopia, and McSweeney’s. She produced the public radio series After the Gold Rush: The Future of Small Town California and is at work on California Foodways.
Word Up: Who better than Kane Smego — an international touring spoken word poet, MC and educator — to teach students how to use hip-hop and poetry as tools for self-expression, community building and social change. Students in this course are crafting their own poems, verses and songs to aid in exploring their own identity and life experiences utilizing these powerful literary devices. For his part, Smego has performed and taught poetry and Hip Hop workshops across the country and abroad in Africa, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, Europe, and Latin America. He is a native of Durham, NC but is currently based out of Los Angeles, Calif.
Hot Glass & Art: In this course, Vickie Mastron has introduced students to working with lampwork glass. In addition, students are learning torchwork and loads about safety, equipment, technique, supplies and resources. They are also learning the fundamentals of metal embossing, using sheet metal aluminum and sheet metal copper, and are getting to create embossed, relief images that are being utilized as elements for mobiles. Finally, students in this Explore Week course are offered an opportunity to create their own art book using images that they have crafted from a variety of media, including colored pencils, markers and watercolor. When completed, these one-of-a-kind art book creations become valued treasures to participating students.
Student and Staff Leadership Group: Eagle Rock’s own Jesse Beightol (Outdoor Education Instructional Specialist) and Jesse Tovar (Health & Wellness Counselor) are helping students and staff alike develop their leadership and personal development skills, utilizing a “co-curricular leadership model” that is a balance of self, social, context specific and general leadership activities. This unique Explore Week course incorporates a mix of physical activities — work in the dojo and meditation, for example — as well as leadership and personal growth theory and feedback.