RSU 20 fifth-graders begin partnership with Tanglewood

By Tanya Mitchell | Oct 17, 2012
Photo by: Tanya Mitchell At left, Drinkwater Elementary School fifth-grader C.J. McKenna keeps an eye on the group's progress as his classmate Macy Barnhart, right, offers a suggestion to her classmates.

Lincolnville — Fifth-graders from three RSU 20 elementary schools spent much of the day Friday, Oct. 12, at Tanglewood beginning what will be a year-long relationship with the outdoor-based learning site.

Anna Wood-Cox, a fifth-grade teacher at Drinkwater Elementary School in Northport, said Friday's field trip included her own students as well as fifth-graders from the East Belfast School and the Nickerson School in Swanville.

Friday, Wood-Cox's students spent the day participating in several team-building exercises, including one that required her students to successfully maneuver a golf ball through a tilting maze while all but one of them were blindfolded.

"It helps them learn about things like tone of voice and following directions," said Wood-Cox.

Another team-building activity required the students to stand on either side of a plastic rod and use only their fingers to extend the rod over their heads. Then, explained Wood-Cox, the students had to lower the rod to the ground simultaneously, while maintaining contact with the rod but without holding onto it.

That exercise proved to be more challenging than it appeared, as the youths continuously reminded one another to keep their fingers on the rod, to slow down or refrain from gripping the rod with their hands. Within 10 minutes, though, the students got the job done.

"You guys are awesome for keeping going, even if you got aggravated or frustrated," said Tanglewood Service Learning Coordinator Rose Swan.

Swan said that, thanks to an Environmental Living and Learning for Maine Students grant (ELLMS), the fifth-graders will be able to experience the kind of outdoor-based learning programs for which Tanglewood is known. ELLMS, said Swan, is a collaboration between five environmental education sites in Maine that came together because the groups recognized the need to help schools fund environmentally based field trips.

"They saw Maine schools weren't able to afford to send kids to environmental learning centers anymore due to budget cuts," said Swan.

Because of the ELLMS funding, Swan said, all of the fifth-graders will be returning to Tanglewood in the spring for an overnight experience, in addition to the continuation of their environmental studies, both on-site and in the classrooms.

Comments (1)
Posted by: Mark Richards | Oct 18, 2012 09:37

What a great way for our children to learn outside the classroom. Brooke had a blast and can't wait for the overnight in the spring. Thanks to everyone for making this all possible.

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