Here’s Some of What We’re Learning This Trimester at Eagle Rock School

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Each trimester, we offer classes that traditional high schools might term progressive or unique. And while we pride ourselves on these offerings (please see our latest class descriptions below) because they truly engage students in their own education, there’s an approach to education that’s at work here at Eagle Rock School that may not be readily evident by just reading a bulleted list of class names.

Ours is a high school that has deep interest for classroom topics that make students think, build and validate their skills, and provide insight into what to expect in the real world upon graduation. And if everyone involved in the process — students and instructors alike — experience enjoyment along the way, all the better. Our instructors are as knowledgeable and helpful as our students eventually are eager and enthusiastic.

Lily Lake — Site of ER 78’s Phenology of Lily Lake Class.

It’s worked quite well for us this past quarter of a century as we continue to provide meaningful and engaging classes for our student body. Below are some of the topics we’re tackling this trimester, as well as a description of each. We’ll publish a second edition of classroom offerings for this, our 78th trimester since our founding in the early 1990s, at the beginning of July:

U.S. History and Photojournalism: Photographs pack a punch, and in this class (which meets the Eagle Rock School Power Standard for Engaged Global Citizen), students are exploring U.S. history through photojournalism. There are famous images that have defined the history of this country and raised awareness of a variety of issues on a national scale. Students are learning about the historical context of these photographs along with the artistry behind them. Additionally, during this 10-week class, students are picking up the fundamentals of photojournalism, including learning how to take and develop powerful film photos.

Ethnic Studies: This 10-week introductory class in Ethnic Studies examines U.S. history and contemporary social issues from multiple perspectives. If all goes according to plan, students and the instructors for this class will arrive at a plural and multicultural understanding of our society. This class, which satisfies our Effective Communication Power Standard, introduces students to core concepts and methods used in the study of race and ethnic relations in the United States through important writings by Latino, Native American, African American, Asian American, and mixed-race writers. The history of ethnic studies programs in the United States, their development, and, their struggles are also up for discussion. The end result is students who are prepared to do independent research and lead conversations around power, race, gender, and class.

Social Psychology: Psychologists consider much more than the individual, because the individual is built upon the family structure. Which is built upon society and culture. Which is built upon history, thus dictated by evolutionary and biological needs. In this class — which satisfies a Distribution Requirement for Creating Healthy Life Choices — students are looking at the big picture in order to identify the conditioned behaviors that we exhibit. The objective is to learn how to form life-altering habits while avoiding the psychological pitfalls inherent in our DNA and our psyche. A five-week, all-day class, , this offering provides students with opportunities for deep dives into key psychology studies and looks at how these theories might be playing out in their own lives.

Under the Stars: In this class, students explore how the human mind organizes observable phenomena such as the stars through the use of narratives. Students are learning how astronomers like Copernicus and Galileo created explanations for the movement of the earth and the stars using scientific and mathematical reasoning. Students are also seeing how explorers not only used the stars as a navigational tool but created mythological stories about the stars to explain why things are the way they are. Successful participation in this class earns students an Expanding Knowledge Base distribution requirement.

Phenology of Lily Lake: Here, students go outdoors, performing citizen science for nearby Rocky Mountain National Park, including documenting the blooming patterns of the plant life around Lily Lake, which is situated at the headwaters of Fish Creek, which flows for roughly five miles into Lake Estes. Using written observations as well as scientific drawings, class members are learning about plant biology. In addition, the data gathered helps the national park as it attempts to determine if climate change is affecting plant life cycles around the 17-acre lake. Successful completion of this class earns students an Expanding Knowledge Base distribution requirement.

Sacrificial Poets: Students in this five-week class are busy reading, writing, observing and performing poetry readings while exploring their identities, refining their writing and analytical skills, and exploring the meaning and application of unique experiences. The class travels off campus to watch nationally renowned poets from the Denver Youth Poetry Team and poets from around the country performing in poetry slams and open-mic nights. Specifically, students enrolled in this five-week class — which also offers an Expanding Knowledge Base distribution requirement — are looking at how to use storytelling techniques, powerful imagery, figurative language, and literary devices to write and perform their own poetry. And each student will be asked to contribute to a published anthology of poetry, with the opportunity to perform in a Denver open-mic night or poetry slam.

RecreARTé: Here, in this popular five-week class which satisfies our Effective Communication power standard requirement, students are learning how to explore natural and man-made materials through the “recrearte” theme — creating art with purpose. Our student artists are learning how to make art from extraordinary resources, photograph their creations and travels, and perform a service by cleaning up the environment. The idea is to help students see the benefit of stepping out of their comfort zone in order to learn how to repurpose materials as well as how to properly dispose of them.

Editor’s note: For information about power standards and distribution requirements, please see The Role of Power Standards in this Trimester’s Class Offerings (Jan. 23, 2019) and Distribution Requirements Play a Big Role in This Trimester’s Latest Class Offerings (March 8, 2019).

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  1. Pingback: Second Half of Eagle Rock’s School’s 78th Trimester Gets Underway - Eagle Rock Blog

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