Eagle Rock’s Student Body Begins 74th Trimester of Progressive Classes

The first trimester of 2018 is well underway here at Eagle Rock School, marking a total of 74 trimesters since we began our own progressive brand of education back in the early 1990s.

And by progressive education, we’re talking about competency-based learning rather than a traditional education platform, the latter which might offer students “book learning,” but often falls well short of life experience, personal development and an open-eye view of the people who populate this planet.

Photo © by Jeff Sheldon on Unsplash | Used with permission

Photo © by Jeff Sheldon on Unsplash | Used with permission.

For example, this trimester we’re offering a class for camera buffs who appreciate that photography doesn’t have to revolve around a rectangular cellphone with a camera attachment. We’re talking old school black-and-white photography here, complete with darkroom experience and creative writings to accompany students’ camera art.

Or a human sexuality class that goes way beyond the typical high school “sex ed” programs of yesteryear that featured archaic body part posters and stern warnings about promiscuity. In this class, students find themselves in a safe, comfortable environment where they can discuss important issues such as gender and sexual identity, consent, contraceptives and healthcare access.

Below is a listing and short description of each of this trimester’s class offerings, with the first three classes scheduled for 10 weeks and remainder for five weeks. Continue reading…

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…

Our Latest Class Offerings Span From Robots to Sex-Ed

We’re comfortably squeezing in an abundance of learning between this week — which heralds the beginning of the second half of the fall trimester — and Dec. 9, which is the last day of classes before Winter Break.

From robotics to woodwork, from astronomy to sex-ed, this 70th trimester in the history of Eagle Rock School includes classes that are both challenging and potentially life changing to participating students.

Late last month we listed the first batch of new classes (see Eagle Rock 70 Classes Underway — And Here’s What’s Being Offered). Below is a list of other classroom offerings for the trimester, along with a description of each class:

Robotics
In the past decade, we have seen the rise of smartphones and drones, along with the first computer to beat a world-ranked Go player. With this growing sector around computer technology come job opportunities galore, not to mention the enjoyment of toying with robots, solving tricky problems, software coding and the intricacies of electronic circuitry. In this class, students demonstrate what they’ve learned in teams, each designing, creating, testing and redesigning a robot to meet specific challenges.

Human Sexuality
In this class students are exploring sex and sexual health from a number of perspectives. However, this isn’t your father’s sex-ed class. Instead, participants are looking at sexuality through different newspapers, magazines, websites, documentaries, films, fiction and non-fiction. The focus is on stories and experiences from around the world that can be used to better understand sexuality and healthy relationships. Digital recording and podcasts are also being used to share stories and information.

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Theater Tech
Theatre Tech is designed to provide Eagle Rock School students with a basic understanding and practice of Continue reading…

Winter Classes Range from Musicals and Murals to Soilless Gardening

erslogo2Eagle Rock’s busy student body is already well into the winter trimester, with many among them enjoying a number of class offerings — most of them new — that promise to challenge their intellect and maybe even spark interest in an avocation, adventure or activity that can last an entire lifetime.

Ten-week classes sprinkled among the mix for ER 68 (our 68th semester since our founding of Eagle Rock School in the early 1990s) include:

La Telenovela: In this class, which we first offered in the fall of 2014, students analyze and create their own Spanish-language “soap opera” episodes. By doing so, they are gaining insight into telenovela structure, characters and themes by viewing real telenovelas. (For the uninitiated, a telenovela is a type of limited-run serial drama and popular on European, West Asian, Southeast Asian, Latin American, East Asian, South Asian, Arab World, Brazil, Portuguese and Spanish television networks.) By watching these programs, students are refining their reading, writing, listening and speaking skills in Spanish, which is enhanced by working together on their Spanish in the classroom. As a final project, students will be asked to script and film their own telenovelas — themselves portraying the characters as well as completing all of the required behind-the-scenes production work. They will work on acting as well as filming and directing techniques to produce the final episode. (Brighid Scanlon is teaching this class.)

Data Analysis: In this class, which first appeared at Eagle Rock School in the spring of 2015, students are beginning to explore data sets, looking for patterns and using statistics to answer student-generated questions. Each student explores one question, researching data that will help answer that question. By analyzing the information, they can communicate their newfound knowledge using infographics, written articles, presentation or blogs. Experts in the field, peers, and Eagle Rock staff will review the work and provide feedback for the inevitable revision. (Becky Poore and Helen Higgins are teaching this class.)

Five-week classes offered this trimester include:

101 Years of Murals: This all-day class presents students with the opportunity to appreciate what murals can teach us, communicate and add vitality to our lives. Students are part of a hard-working team with an emphasis on leadership that is designing and painting a mural in the Rocky Mountain National Park. We are learning how to use different mural techniques to create Part 2 in a series of murals. Students in this class are already capable at drawing — or are teachable — and they’re all willing to take risks. This class promises a lot of hard work, but it also promises to yield a lot of new skills as well as possible connections that may benefit them in the future. (Cindy Elkins and Claire Oliphant are teaching this class.)

RMNP Mural ER65

The Wiz” Musical: Ease on down the road with Continue reading…

This Trimester Offers Classes from Statistics to Dystopia

Editor’s Note: Today we’re please to share Dan Condon’s second of two blog posts covering the unique class offerings we have at Eagle Rock this trimester — you know, the ones that steer clear of conformity and provide students with real opportunity to reengage in their own education. The first installment can be found here: Eagle Rock Classes That Add New Meaning to the Term ‘Non-traditional’.

Why these particular classes? Our diverse student body didn’t arrive at Eagle Rock with math books and chemistry mineral charts in hand. One of the reasons they come here is to get an education that includes taking classes that enrich, enlighten and engage.

By Dan Condon, Associate Director of Professional Development

Who Made Those Nikes? In a world where technology is connecting us across time and space, why are we becoming more and more disconnected from where things come from and the people who make them? In this class, students trace some of the items we consume every day — coffee, shoes, flowers, gasoline — from cradle to grave. And yeah, who made those Nikes? What conditions do they work in? Why does it matter? What roles do power and inequality play in global capitalism and what does this mean for our environment, our global community and specifically — the Eagle Rock student?

In Fresh Prints students explore the possibilities that exist in printmaking. We focus on silkscreen printing and we print our own designs on wearable and collectible objects. Here, we learn some of the history of printmaking and about current modern printmakers who are working today. In this course, our students discover the power of print to share a message, spread the word and explore their own creativity.

Do you ever look up into the night sky and wonder what’s up there? In Astronomy, we explore the features and origins of some of the most amazing occupants of the universe: galaxies, stars, moons, planets, black holes, comets and asteroids. We learn about the theory of gravity and how it affects objects in space. We also take night sky walks and learn how to Continue reading…