Posted by: Phil DeLong | March 5, 2015

Winter Waterfall Trip

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From the teacher webpage of Jeff Rennicke, English teacher (all photos courtesy of Jeff):

The study and experience of nature does not stop at the classroom door at Conserve, or even at the end of the school day or week. Every encounter with the natural world gives students an opportunity to learn about themselves and about the world around them. [On a recent weekend], I took a group of students to Bond Falls on a frigid, windy Saturday adventure. The falls roared. The mist froze to our faces. The sub-zero temperatures chilled our bones and we caught sight of a winter beauty almost frozen in time. When we could no longer feel our fingers, we hiked back to the van for hot chocolate, homemade scones, orange slices, warmth and a poem (I am an English teacher after all). Here is the poem I recited to them after a visit to the waterfalls that flows into Lake Superior:

THE SINGING

 

SOMETIMES, I HEAR SINGING.

EARLY IN THE MORNING

WHEN THE MIST LIFTS AND WISPS ITS WAY

ACROSS THE BLUE-BLACK BACK OF THE WATER

 

OR LATE

WHEN THE LAKE ROLLS AND MOANS

BENEATH ITS STAR-STREWN BLANKETS

THIS LAKE HAS A VOICE.

 

IT’S IN THE WHISTLE OF AUTUMN WINGS ACROSS THE WATER

LOW AND SOFT AND GONE.

 

IT’S IN THE SUN-KISSED LIGHT OF SPRING

MELTING A WINTER’S ICE

DROP, BY DROP, BY DROP.

 

IT’S IN THE SUMMER WIND

STRUMMING THE WAVES

THE SLOW, REPEATING VERSE OF THE SURF.

 

THIS LAKE HAS A VOICE.

 

I HEARD IT MOST CLEARLY ONCE

CAMPED DEEP IN THE THROAT OF A CANYON

THAT BELLOWED ITS RIVER

STRAIGHT INTO THE LAKE

IN ONE SWIFT LEAP … SSSSSSSSSSSHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

 

IT’S ONLY THE SOUND OF THE WATERFALLS

THEY TOLD ME.

 

OF COURSE IT IS,

I SAID

 

AND DIDN’T BELIEVE THEM.

 

THERE IS NO NEED TO BELIEVE ONLY THE OBVIOUS

TO HEAR

ONLY THE SOUND OF WATER

WHERE THERE ARE

VOICES

SOFTLY SINGING

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Responses

  1. Do you think this curriculum would wo4k as a full year curriculum or only for a semester?

    • We certainly could build upon our curriculum to make it work for a full year. We’ve chosen the semester model, as it best fits our mission and goals.

      • Interesting, does your school host professional development courses or internships? I would like to learn more, f possible

      • We will be hosting, in late June this year, the Wisconsin DPI’s No Teacher Left Inside institute. Check our website in the next few weeks for details. At this time, we have no internships. Feel free to email info@conserveschool.org for more information.

  2. I live in a state that almost never gets snow or a real winter, what curriculum do you use doing the winter months?

    • Our teachers have created a curriculum that is flexible enough adapt to the dictates of weather and outdoor conditions. For instance, the science teachers take advantage of winter’s cold and snow to introduce students to concepts such as albedo, feedback loops, and animal tracking, while saving things like water chemistry for the weeks when our lakes are ice-free.

  3. Life is the adventure you make it – what an incredible experience these students are having!


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