Posted by: csdailyblog | August 25, 2011

First Day of Canoeing at Conserve School

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Today in Field Instruction, students learned how to portage canoes and execute several different paddle strokes. Then they headed to Big Donahue Lake to try out their skills.

When not out on the lake, students worked in small groups on a teamwork challenge, since teamwork is so important in paddling a canoe skillfully. Each student was given several paper pieces that, when combined with pieces from their teammates, formed a square. The goal of the activity was to have each group complete four perfect squares. No talking or gesturing was allowed and students couldn’t just take pieces from others. All students could do is silently offer their pieces to teammates. After inevitable moments of frustration and then epiphanies, the groups all succeeded. Gathered back together into a large group, the class concluded the activity by discussing how the teamwork challenge compared to canoeing and to life in general.

The Field Instructors and I were impressed by the cooperation and generosity of the students. These qualities became evident not only when students joined forces for the squares activity, but also when they canoed together and tied knots. Some students were very skilled in canoeing or knot-tying, while others were complete newcomers to these activities. The “experts” in the group stepped right up and offered assistance to their less experienced classmates, without any encouragement from adults, and the “newbies” accepted their guidance graciously. As you watch the slideshow, look for the shots of students tying knots next to one another. You can see a few students who turned out to be whizzes at knot-tying giving one-on-one coaching to  their classmates.

– Mary Anna

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