There’s no doubt about it. Most of our students weren’t attracted to Eagle Rock School because of a stringent adherence to reading, writing and arithmetic. They were drawn to our mountainside campus — among other reasons — because of the diversity of classes available, and what that says about our interest in their interest in their own education.
That, and the prospect that living and learning here with us in Estes Park, Colo., is for the purpose of building one’s integrity, citizenship, knowledge base and ability to create and make healthy life choices.
If you take a look back at the class offerings we’ve made available to students since 2005, you’ll see topics ranging from to gambling to Guantanamera — a study of Cuba; from river watching to map-making; and from Internet research to American sign language.
But that was then and this is now. Here’s a short list of classes available at Eagle Rock for the second half of ER-64 (ER-64 = the 64th Trimester of Eagle Rock School since Eagle Rock’s been around):
Heartivisim: What do you believe in? What does culture have to do with it? What values should Eagle Rock have as a school and as a society? How do we change what we value? Given that before we stand up for something, we must understand where we stand, this course helps students examine ways of communicating messages that change the world. At the same time the class is exploring what it means to be an activist at Eagle Rock.
You Are What You Eat: By examining what they eat, students are learning how the foods they consume impact their daily and long-term health. Students track their food choices, discover how those food choices affect their bodies, and then make predictions about their future health based on their current choices.
La Telenovela: In this class, students are analyzing and create their own Spanish-language soap opera episodes. Students are gaining insights into telenovela structure, characters and themes by watching real telenovelas. They are also refining reading, writing, listening and speaking skills in Spanish by watching telenovela episodes and working on their Spanish in class. As a final project, they will script and film their own telenovelas, portraying the characters as well as performing the required behind-the-scenes production work. They work on acting as well as filming and directing techniques to produce the final episodes.
Fiber Arts: Students are learning to tie-dye, sew, use resist on silk and cotton, stencil and hand paint on fabric. Students discover the history of fiber arts and participate in an exciting, ever-changing art form that impacts the fashion world. Students are making their own clothes and learning how to embellish that clothing.
Sacrificial Poets: Students are reading, writing, watching and performing spoken word poetry while exploring their identity, refining their writing and analytical skills, developing performance and public speaking abilities and building self-confidence. Students are traveling off campus to watch nationally renowned poets from the Denver youth poetry team and poets from around the country perform in poetry slams and open-mic nights. Students are also learning how to use storytelling techniques, powerful imagery, figurative language and literary devices to write and perform their own poetry. The end results of this hard work will be a published anthology of poetry and the chance to perform in a Denver open-mic night or poetry slam.
Musical Improv: Imagine having to stand in front of an audience and make up a song or speech on the spot. This is improvisation, a state of being and creation without advanced planning ahead. In this course, students are learning about the various contexts of improvisation and performance through multiple music stylings. This class performs live music daily in a music circle or through cipher. Using hand drums or various instruments, each student plays an accompaniment while the soloist improvises. At the end of the course, this class will perform for the community. As participants, students will learn to apply the skills involved with improvising: organizing coherent thoughts, debating productively, public speaking/performance, cooperating and responding with a theme. And they will find themselves effectively communicating with an audience.
Feeling Lucky: If the house always wins, why do people gamble? Is there a best way to play roulette, blackjack and craps? In this math-based class students will gamble, read and discuss gambling issues, and consider whether or not gambling is worth it. This course, based in the casino world, will help students practice making calculated decisions. As students study the mathematics of games, they will learn about the world of gaming and its social impacts. In class, students will gamble, discuss real life decisions that need to be made, and create casino-style games to host a casino night for the Eagle Rock community!