Thursday, February 14, 2013

Last School Year- January to June 2013

South Whidbey Academy
Expeditionary Place-Based Learning
(hint - click on photos to enlarge)
(Also click on South Whidbey Park program at right to see student activities on alternate Tuesdays this Fall)
Last Year Journey 15
Tuesday June 11th, 2013
Return to Langley
Solo writing - descriptive with 5 senses
More minus tide immersion with marine science from Clea and much physical interaction with the Mother Ocean
Big Pizza Lunch at Village Pizzeria

Alex holding his station and proud of it

the Knitty Purl Kid
Darien on solo time on the water treatment tank

Hud doesn't know how lucky he is to have this location for solo time

Fayth composing her field notes on her telephone

Liv on station at the half abandoned former Langley Drug

Streetwise with a fine headpiece

Nevada in hiding maybe writing

Kareena from inside the library

For a while Holley thought seriously that she had inherited a dog

Anxiety? Why?

 Erric at his regular spot in front of Knitty Purl's
looking at the real world

small girl big village

heading out to the dropoff

feet first science

getting their feet wet

Will post relevant student writing for journey 15 next week


Journey 14
The Dyke at Deer Lagoon

A transit ride to Bayview

A walk from Bayview to Sunlight Beach Rd and thence to the easternmost dyke
at Deer Lagoon
An hour of solo writing time (prompt find a creature and describe it in detail over the hour)
Return walk through Useless Bay Colony
to SR 525 at Thompson Rd.
Transit to SWA

The star of the day was the weather - as one student put it, 

"It's like we are in a different country."  


Journey 13
Maxwelton Beach
Extreme Low Tide
Seabed Research
with biologist
Clea Barenburg

First Batch of Photos


Journey 12

Bayview Corner
Buildings and Businesses
more words and photos coming soon
Chilling above the Corner

Chatting with Ms. Torget, Goosefoot Manager
(hereafter known as Debbie)

May 13 2013

 Fayth and I walked up the steps of Bayview to the office of Debbie, the woman who owned Bayview corner. We had tried to learn about the bike shop, a cute little building called Half Link Bike shop. They knew hardly anything about it, the three people inside had all told us to go and ‘talk to Debbie, she knows everything.’, So that’s what we intended to do. A clamor behind us alerted us of the fact that one of the larger groups was coming our way, I glanced behind us and confirmed my suspicion that Adah, Luna, Holly and Kareena were coming up behind us, most likely intending to do what we were doing, going to talk with Debbie.

“What are you doing here?” Kareena asked us, sounding rather annoyed.

“We’re going to talk with Debbie. What are you doing here?” Fayth spoke before I could.

“But you are supposed to do the bike shop, not the Star Store!” Kareena exclaimed as her group grew level with us on the stairwell.

“The bikeshop didn’t know anything. They told us to come and see Debbie.” I spoke more quietly, trying to slow down the quickly accelerating conversation.

“Oh.” Was Kareena’s only response.

We finished our climb in silence and started to search for her office. I followed the directions that the bike shop's employees had given me. I beckoned to the others and they followed me to the door that opened into a room with a woman, Debbie, sitting at a desk.

“Are you Debbie?” Fayth asked her.

“Yeah, that’s me. What are you all doing here, may I ask?”

Livia - Her Version



Today Alex and I went to WICEC. WICEC is an art place. What i liked about it, is that they had a 3D printer so they could print out 3D objects made of plastic. It was really awesome. Half Link Bike Shop has been open for eleven years. They get their part from two-three different distributors, Depending on stock/price. When I went in David was working on a bike, But this wasn’t a normal bicycle, It had a gas powered engine on it. I asked him about how much that bike would cost, He said it would probably cost around $1,000-$1,500. If you ask me, I say thats a fair price considering, you could go probably about 50 MPH on that bike. He also told me that he enjoyed working there, Just being around bikes in general made him happy. I want to work there when I turn sixteen (Thats how old you have to be to work there.) Some time soon, I want to get a 3D printer too, That would be awesome, But the person at WICEC told me that people were making guns, that actually fired bullets, If you ask me thats scary because they could take them on airplanes, and the security at the airport wouldn’t detect it because its made of plastic. So it made it easier for terrorists to take guns on planes. If I got a 3D printer, I wouldn’t make guns, I would print out cool toys, Not weapons. I also want a gas powered bike because then, I wouldn’t have to get up so early because i could just ride down the highway on this bike around 8:15 and get to school around 8:25 so I would be on time. Also, I want it because it would be A LOT faster than a regular bike, and i wouldn't have to do as much work, If any. When we walked into the art place, the guy was in his office, and we asked for a tour, and he said “Wait, First, Who are you?”

 Chilling up Meinhold Road

 Spring Blooms


Journey 11
Langley Buildings and Businesses Histories

Generic Transit (looking for familiar faces at LMS?)

Herding Cats?
two weeks ago on Tuesday the entire class caught the 7 transit to langley to go walk around and find a building to learn about Livia and I chose sassy sirens long walk up a hill then we see the big bright CLOSED sign great livia says with her facial expressions. great lets go find snelling. as we walked down the hill oooh lets go there i said! what moonraker livia asked no the star store i said then livia was like nooooooo how about we stick to the moonraker okay fine i said but first lets find snelling livia said ahh no he won't care we can go in really fast learn some stuff the get out of there. we go to walk in and see snelling out of the corner of our eye oh hey snelling sassy sirens in=s closed so we are going to ,moonraker if that's okay with you? livia said yeah thats fine ill be around here in 45 mins get to work . alright see ya later i said so we walk in the store and right away livia say hi we are here for a school project and we need to learn about a store and we chose this store. okay what do you need to know the lady with short red hair asked us with her silent voice umm how long have you guys been around do you think uhh 41 years i think oh thats nice um well how many book do you think you started with uh about 1000 with no upstairs oh wow how many do you have now approximately 7000 woah i said what were you guys before the moonraker i said the post office she said oh thats cool livia walks out snaps some pics and comes back in then she said okay we should go now okay we walk out wait a few minutes he doesnt show up im going back in i said to livia okay ill come too we walk up stairs to check it out it looked nice then she said okay lets go im like he will come in if we have to go shes like lets just wait out side so we did that as we walked out i stopped to look at some books and then said thanks for your help then we left we waited like 10 minutes for snelling finally he came then was aking us what we asked and if we got alot of information we didnt get to much but its okay but after that we ccaught the bus back to schoool and that was my day down in langley

By Fayth who experiments with run-on sentences but hey the stream of consciousness is pretty readable

Side Show - The Eagle and the Seal Carcass


A real constrast to interviewing business people in the village above this beach wilderness

First hour of the day was devoted to a terrific presentation by Kendal Campbell. Kendal is the official archaeologist for the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station
aka NAS Whidbey
She explained the basic goal of archaeology and brought a fascinating collection of artifacts dug up at NASW for the kids to puzzle over and analyze.

Building Histories

Still collecting photos from our latest outing to the village of Langley.
Students chose a building/business and in pairs went in to interview knowledgeable persons on the life story of the building housing the service/business (which is scary for kids, thus the need for a partner)

E. and H. interviewed one of the owners of the Hellebore Glass Studio
A. and N. checked out the historic Star Store
F. and Lu. wound up in the Moonraker because the Sassy Siren was closed (their first choice)
Ad. and S. did the library
H. and K. got the bank (?)
Check back soon for their reports and pics.

April 30th. 2013

Two weeks ago on Tuesday the entire middle school class of South Whidbey Academy caught the Island Transit to Langley, a town only a few miles away. We split up once we arrived there, each of us had been assigned a building to investigate. Fayth and I had decided to pair up and take the store Sassy Sirens, a small clothing and accessory shop that is known for being a bit too chic for the small town. The turquoise building was out of place in the more pastel buildings around it. We trudged up the slow but gradual hill, sun beating down on us, until we flopped onto the small and shaded bench near the entrance. Leaning back I groaned as the large and colorful ‘CLOSED’ sign came into my view, hanging in the window of the small door.
“I guess we’ll have to find a new building.” Fayth looked up tiredly at this.
“Wha? Why do we-” I pointed to the sign and we stood, craning our head for our teacher, Mr. Snelling. I remembered what he had said ‘Don’t move until I come and get you’ So I knew that we had to find him and telling him that we had to select another building.
“How about Moonraker?” I asked Fayth.
“Moonraker? What’s that?” At this I chuckled.
“You know, that bookstore I pointed out to you on the way up here.” I explained as we started back down the hill.
“Why don’t we go to the Star Store?” She asked, snapping her gum. I balked at the idea of that many people.
“Noooo. Think about all the people we would have to talk to!” This apparently hadn’t occurred to her because she quickly assumed the same facial expression that I had.
“You're right, let’s do Moonraker.” I laughed at this and we hopped up the small steps to Moonraker, I opened the door for her comically and she laughed as she entered.
“Do you need something?” A older woman with short red hair asked us.
“I was wondering if we could ask you some questions about the place, history, what this place used to be before the bookstore, you know, stuff like that.” She nodded and pondered the questions.
“Hmmm. I am afraid I don’t know very much about the place. I do know that this used to be the post office before the bookstore, we’ve been open 41 years.”
“Oh yeah, I remember seeing an article in the paper about that, the 40 year anniversary.” She pointed to an article pinned to the wall and I nodded. “Yep. That’s the one.”
“I’m afraid I don’t know much else. We had 1000 books when we started and now we have around 7000. That’s all I know.” I thanked her and took a few pictures, inside and out. We left a few minutes afterward, after seeing Mr. Snelling when I had stepped outside.

From the keyboard of Livia - Because she knows how to use one.
Journey 10
Paradise Found Fiber Farm

They are in the camel family
(which may explain a lot or maybe not)

Mary Donaty hosted the MS Expeditionaires this past Tuesday.
We only had to get ourselves on transit #8 and up her longish access road. Mary explained the history of the various breeds of fur-bearing animals under her care.
She asked that the kids each send an email about one thing they learned and we are working on that today (Thursday) and including a photo of the student writing.
The girls were especially interested in the production side of the farm - the spinning of the fiber in particular.
All students liked being close to these animals and the animals seemed to feel the same way about the kids.
Afterward the class was placed along the access road for solo writing time (which we are behind on as far as transfering their written work to the computer journal and posting some it here. aka check back soon.)
Only one incident of spitting (on the part of the animals) occurred and it was not the kids' fault.

Main barn

one of the girls (llama)

K. in action on the wheel

A. enjoys making field notes
As does D.
well perhaps not so much

And H.

Late Lunch in Langley
Journey 9
Nichols Bros Boat Builders

Adah likes the safety gear
April 16, 2013 Nichols Brothers Boat Builders                                                                                                                           l found the place overstimulating; there was too much welding and constant noise. There was also about 105 people working there so it seemed to be bigger than it was and more people than in real life . I’m glad it is over now. It was an educational experience though for sure. The guy that showed us around knew a lot about building boats and the process to the point that the boat was fully built.

I’m much happier now that I am near the beach listening to the waves. It is a lot quieter
and calmer.  It is colder now that I am near the beach. I wish I had brought warmer clothes. Now I think I will stop writing because I need to do some exercise to get my blood flowing because I am cold.

By Adah
D and James inspecting the rigging

Tractor tug pilot house

Got to watch these two

Little people, big tent

D and the 28 valve fuel manifold
fuel tanks are apparently many and placed in many appropriate locations throughout the vessel (this is probably for the tractor tug) thus the need for this unit. 

A and the tractor tug hull

tractor tug thruster mounting tubes

James shows D & E the pipe threader
E dismounts from solo writing spot

E attempts to retrieve field notes from gnarly old yew tree

Journey 8
Saratoga Woods Preserve
Most pics are still on kids' camera phones
and needing to be transfered
Come back later for more pics
It is Spring

Some new Expeditionaires

Then there is this one

Couple of the guys are into Ender's Game

Had to say Goodbye to this guy

Unknown plant

Waiting for the bus back to SWA

Students bussed out to the Saratoga Woods Preserve
Started with the graves of several locals who chose to have their ashes buried in the meadow and a redwood tree planted over them.
Proceeded to the glacial erratic at the far end of the preserve beyond the abandoned airstrip.
One hour solo writing session followed.
Lunch and walk of about 2 miles through the woods to Goldsmith and Brooks Hill Road to catch the transit back to SWA.

Journey 7
Callahan's Firehouse Glass Studio
 Callahan demos

 Adah wonders what

 Grace works the stick

 Josh is focused

 Luna has doubts

 Darien gets it

Erric has reason to pay attention

What they wrought
Clam Floats? 

Clam Bubbles?

After the glass working session (and lunch at Sea Wall Park)
the kids spent an hour of solo time at chosen spots on First Street in the warm Spring afternoon sun doing some descriptive writing as well as documenting in prose the glass working experience.

(Their writing will appear here as soon as they transfer it to their online journal in Google Docs and edit/revise same for publication. In other words, check back later to read their own words on the experiences herein pictured and from their writing stations on the street)

We are planning to start a novel using the places and events of our journeys around the South End, with the young adult mystery we are reading in class, Edge of Nowhere, as a model.

Journey #6
March 19th

Bocce in Langley
Solo Writing Session
Picture Documentation - Favorite Spot
History of the Village Research in the Library 

J. gets kittenish on the bus

Glass probably from Callahan's  

Precision scoring
This is a rare shot of a rare individual, Clea Barenburg, who has supported our experiential and expeditionary efforts by actually going with us everytime and making the experience so much better for all concerned. 

kids seem to appreciate the Spring flowers
(who knew?)

this is not posed

nor is this

E.'s favorite place

Not so much

what can I say?

Journey #5
March 12th
Goldsworthy II, South Whidbey State Park Beach
Grace's field notes from this day at WISP

A. posts-
March 12
Goldsworthy 2 at South Whidbey State Park
From now on when I go on these field trips i’m going to bring a towel. This is because today I am cold and have clay all over my boots and pants from my project. I didn't think that I would be working with clay when I woke up this morning but when I went down to the beach the cliffs seemed like they were calling to me. At my old school I had a clay class but I have never really worked with natural clay before. I didn't realize how much succtune clay can create!  
I thought that it would be really easy to stick clay on a the wall but it just kept falling of. Then I figured that you have to use wetter clay to help it be stabilized. Before I figured that out that technique I was so frustrated...... My boots kept on sticking in the mud and then it flicked mud all over. Ahhhh!

A few pics now
more later 
March 5th, 2013
Journey #4 - Island Recycling

A. posts -
Tuesday                                                                                                         March 5, 2013
Recycling Center

I’ve always believed that some people throw away ridiculous things. Yesterday when I went to the Island Recycling Center and I was amazed at how true I was when I looked at everything there. There was paintings, books, statues, records, posters, stuffed animals, a cage, cars, and lots more things that I wanted to take home.

It was interesting to see how they recycle everything though. I also liked how the workers at the paper recycling part of the business collected box tops for our local schools. One other thing I liked about the recycling cycle was how organized everything was. The glass was separated into green, white, and brown so it was easy to dispose of. Right next to the glass was cans which was separated into soup cans and soda cans. The labels on the cans also were also collected and given to the schools.

By Adah

L. posts -
March 5th 2013
Today we went to island recycling. We took the transit and had a one mile walk. Then we walked in the forest by the highway there were lots of thorns and prickly bushes.Then we got to the place there was a creepy clown  behind the sign where it said island recycling. The lady who owned the place was Jill and the kind of second owner was susie (who wasn’t there but mr snelling told us she's the second owner ). Jill took us around and we saw big piles of different colored glass the first container were for jam jars tomato sauce jars and other jars. The second container were for green glass like wine bottles and other green bottles. Then brown bottles were for beer bottles. then cardboard things like corrugated cardboard and boxboard. after that the aluminum the stuff in there was soup cans and soda cans and that was all for that area. Then we saw the paper compactor we saw a picture of marilyn monroe. i took a video of the paper falling down from the inside and a video and a video of the back of the truck moving back into place. After that we went to where all the recycled pictures and other stuff jill had dibs on a jesus picture they are allowed to have dibs on stuff they want lucky. Then we saw stuff like: old cars, (darien pretended to ride one of the trucks)  old bikes, sinks, dumbbells, skis and other stuff. And we took pictures of the all the stuff. After that we walked back and waited for the bus for a while. Darien was throwing something rotten at fayth adah livia and I we got mad at him and threw it back at him and then it was like we were playing catch. then finally the bus came.

 recycling center
             march 6th ,2013 day 6

todays adventure to the island recycling center. we went to the transit stop and waited for like 10 minutes then we got on and roade to freeland we got off and started walking walking we walked for about 20 minutes but felt like an hour but finally we got to a trail we walked through the trail and sooner or later we would get to the high way we crossed the highway to get to the recycling center we walked up the hill and we saw a bunch of different stuff going up we got all the way up and saw jill, jill is the owner of the recycling center she said she was going to be showing us around so first she showed us the glass there was brown glass green glass and clear glass the we saw the aluminum and the tin that was cool but gross too then we walked over to the paper there was boxboard newspaper paper cardboard lots of different stuff then we went in the area where they smash the paper into squares but before they smash them the would make sure there was no box tops if there was they would take them off after they smashed the paper jill saw a box top and said that really bugs her i just laughed then darien tried to pull it out didnt work then we were walking to the garbage and saw this tin can box it was all smashed and rusty it was really cool then we got to the garbage and was looking to see if there was any thing that could be recycled i didn't find anything but i did find a picture of marilyn monroe i was wondering why would someone throw that away but we finally got to the metal and there was piles of just broken metal old metal cars just so many different thing there was this box in this van that one of the workers while looking through lots of jesus stuff. we got done looking at the metal the just got to look at other thing we found a shopping cart sinks seats snowmobile and just lots of cool thing at the end of the day we said thank you and she gave us cookies then we left we stopped at the entrance and took a picture with this creepy clown thing then we left crossed the road then went straight to walking through the trails finally we stopped for some lunch we didn't have too long so we started walking we got to the transit and waited and waited and waited finally the transit came we got on rode to bayview and got on the 7 transit rode to the school what a great. 
By Fayth, who hardly believes in periods.

3-5-13 Island Recycling
 In this graveyard of abandoned things, rusty memories and shells of things passed, left behind by countless souls eager to rid themselves of the past. We pass through these paths, stepping over the shells and abandon ideas of people who have left pieces of themselves to decay here. It is melancholy and sad, these small items that meant so much to others, to us shapeless forms of rust. We can go and pick up an item, ask for a price and buy a memory, a remnant of the past that we can simply take as our own, to make our own.  Rust blankets everything, like bloodied snow. Old abandoned train cars filled with warm scents of old books and mildew beckon invitingly, crooked doors on rusted hinges.
We are a new generation of souls, searching for a memory to take home and use. I see a small birdbath, looking into it I see the raindrops making a silver pool in it’s depths. Phantom birds dance through the air, laughter of children long dead echo. Faces and smiles long forgotten appear in my head. Past owners and souls dot this graveyard. Residual emotions drift, tangling us into the web. Already people have become attached, random things for different people.
A metal detector rests in the hand of a classmate, beeping, detecting the heaps of of metal and rust piling up around it. Others are drawn to balls, axes, pickaxes and tubs. I stand silent, observing and judging those around me. Nothing truly touches my heart here, it is nothing but rust and metal to me, not anything more except vessels for memories and souls to rest. I have enough thing in my houses, memories I would rather forget, others that I must keep, to precious to lose. My peace doesn’t want to be disturbed by the lives of others, I want my life to be the way it is now.

Slowly I draw to the edge of this tumult. Camera’s snap images of this place. Preserving this day forever in digital memory. As we leave the tendrils of emotion and memory tug at me. I shrug them off and continue.

By Livia

J posts -
Island Recycling March 5th
we went to the recycling center. we took photos and had a tour. alex  found a metal detector. there was a cool old forward car. It was in bad shape. There was good stuff there. I bought the metal detector don't tell alex.

darean got in a truck and pretend to drive.

Jill gave us cookies and a tour of the joint -

A few quick selections from the 300 pictures snapped yesterday

Journey 3
Andy Goldsworthy Activity
Langley Beach East
A. finds a writing nook for reflection on the day's work

G. embeds lines in bluff wall
Another pic of G's work
February 26, 2013

G. writes -
Langley Beach

Even though my hands are on the verge of numbness, I found some sort of inner willpower to get these words on the page. As you can see, my penmanship has decreased significantly because of this. Next time, I will bring gloves. Oh, well. Pity party aside, though, the weather is mild but bitterly cold. I like it, but it’s not beach weather. For anyone.

Everything is a shade of gray. Beautiful monotony. Choppy water in modest hues make for white noise while I write. That is the only sound, however, as the world is still in a peaceful winter slumber. It had awoken in a stupor yesterday, but all signs of activity are slowing down once more, returning to a state of rest.

Stay down, pages! Stop bending to the wind’s will. I am greatly disappointed in you, notebook.

What is this? There’s a hint of sunshine breaking through the clouds. A bird makes chatter with no one. It appears to be that the Earth is stirring...

D. continues obsession with anything Minecraft

Today we went to the beach and made sculptures. I made a full set of stone tools from minecraft. Josh made a bench. At first we couldn't find anything to build...Then we had an idea..I started making tools, And josh started making a thing. I finished the tools, and started recording Josh. He was kinda wierd in the film....Saying “I don't know” a lot. It was quite annoying. The bench ended being kinda cool. My tools were still cooler. It was a really fun day. Its too bad some people didn’t get to go, cuzz they would have had tons of fun. Then we caught a bus back. And here i am sitting here in the classroom typing this...board as a glass  

J. tries out his bench/art

Today we went to the beach  darian made minecraft tool kit    
i made a bench. Sort of win we were done

Previously J. wrote-
What I remember  from yesterday i saw the great blue sky, trees, berry bushes, squirrels,  frogs. The great outdoors. After a few minutes I fell  in a mud puddle and a frog goes and peeks  it’s head out 

A. and E. creation

A. top and E. bottom get in a bit of reflection

Journey 2 
(medium length)
2 Island Transit buses to South Whidbey State Park
solo writing time along the trail
return to SWA by 1:30pm

February 19th 2013
A. -
        Todays scenery was completely different than last week. I am sitting on a hard log that looks like it is sixty feet long. There are trees as far as my eyes can see in every direction. It is pretty warm today for the northwest and the sun makes splotches of light on the ground all around me.
       There was so much greenery on the ground around me. Moss covered stumps and decaying branches everywhere. The forest is so quiet. There is hardly any and noise except for my pencil scratching out this message. If I stop writing for a while I can hear several different birds and the trees seems to creak.A small bug just flew into my forehead and when I looked up to swat it away I saw a spider web that was glowing with sunlight. I also noticed that the trees around me may seem as though they are unmoving but really the trees are slightly swaying in the wind. Looking, smelling, touching, and hearing the things me makes me feel as if i’m miles away from any human being. In reality though in reality my classmates are probably forty feet away. It is strange feeling but I kind of like it.

We went on a walk. then took the transit. Then we went on to another transit. and then walked to south whidbey state park and had solo time. (More later)

D. guards his turf
Today we went to S.W. State Park and walked the trails. Theres such a unique smell of the dirt. I smell the dirt. I hear cars on the road. I see a bunch of trees. I feel the twigs poking my arms. I saw an awesome bird and got some video of it.
(film at 11)


Journey 1 (small)
Walk from SWA via trails to Coles Rd. thence to Langley
solo wrting time on beach
followed by various activities as pictured below
The Expeditionaires
February 5, 2013
Coles to Langley Beach Writing

Looking back, much of it was fun, though many of the kids either raced ahead or were left straggling behind. In a manner of cause and effect, multiple times the group had to stop and wait for those in a lower or higher pace to return to the teacher. Never took too long, but it was a moment of interruption from moving forward. For the most part, I hung around the teacher, though mostly because he was taller than me and, because of that, took most of the bushes’ drenching blanket of rainwater. It was also nice to hear his and Luna’s thoughtful comments throughout the hike.

Trekking through the trail consisted of many senses being activated. The scent of the morning’s rain flimsily coated on our surroundings was obvious to my nose, drowning out the smell of pine and greenery. Much of the shrubbery left parts of my jeans and jacket a bit damp, but due to the water’s evaporation from earlier today (And Mr. Snelling walking ahead of me), it was pleasant and invigorating. While there wasn’t a lot of birdsong, what was there, along with other outdoor sounds like wind rustling the trees, was music to my ears. However, the boy’s ramblings when nearing were not. They didn’t bother me much; simply an irritation that was ignored very easily.

by Grace

The Obelisk?

day one: I remember going in the woods with the class, walking through the small fence that blocked the path that led deeper into the forest. while I thought of what other cool things I will see, other than what I have seen already, when i entered the forest with the class i saw a small puddle because it had rained earlier in the week. after a while of walking in the woods, Darien started to complain about his legs being tired

by Alex - who says little but says it well.

Day one before the real Day One above Monday, February fourth, 2013

What i remember from yesterday is, A moist cold stick, that smelt of moss. I was swinging it back and forth...Breaking bushes. It was kinda gross at first, Then it dried in my hand. After it had dried, Mr.Snelling had took it from me... I didn't know why he took... So i took it back. We had gotten almost all the way to Coles Road, and it was time to turn back, Well i was quite tired from the ¾ mile walk out, so of course I walked slowly. About five minutes after we turned around, Mr. Snelling took my stick again, only this time he took it so he could peel the bark off it, (He says he likes to do that). After peeling it all off, he gave it back. We continued down the trail, about ¼ way back, I found a large piece of wood (Snelling says its a fence post, I don't buy it) anyways, I carried all the way back to the school. He put it in his room so it could dry out. He said we could maybe make a fire with it (I hope so). When we got to the school, I got on my bike and went to the bus. Thats not a typical Monday afternoon, but it was awesome.

-Darien speaks.


City Hall wasn't quite sure about the obelisk either

The Expeditionaires get a tour of the Hub

D has a bite after writing

Today was awesome. We walked from the school through the woods to Coals Road. Then we walked on coals road into langley. I found a beer can and stuck it to my shoe, and called it a beer foot. When we got to langley we went to the beach, which is where I am now writing about this trip. I see the beautiful ocean, I smell wood, sand, and water, I feel wet sand, smooth leaves, and logs and sticks, I hear water running, birds chirping, and crows cawing. Anyway, i will keep you informed about our future trips.

local flora collected

The Curriculum and the Itinerary for this recurring experiental program

South Whidbey Academy
Middle School Expeditionary Place-Based Learning Program

Begin to build students’ awareness of the physical, economic, and social environment of their community.
Inspire better engagement with reading and writing by immersing students in the 3 dimensional and unpredictable reality of their home place.

Method - Examined Expericence - Plan and execute a diverse set of fieldtrips into the South Whidbey community, both natural and built environments in which our group of middle level students will do the following:

Plan - figure out what, how and when
Exploration - go carefully with open eyes and minds
Investigation - look carefully and examine together
Identification - name
Documentation - record
Reflection - mull over, consider after the fact
Communication - share, produce and publish out experiences

February Plan and Schedule
Gather equipment
Appropriate Clothing - waterproof outer layer, walking shoes, hat, etc
Zlite on which to sit and write or draw or record with device
Cameras - video and still
Voice recorder
Ipad - with ziplock bag
Journal - with ziplock

Prior to outing -
Orient with Maps, identify, prioritize, plan, brainstorm, questions, areas of interest, public facilities, etc. -
The lay of the Land - walk and bus the near area -

Short walks with middle school group to assess fitness, trust, compliance - transit forest west of campus to within sight of Coles Road and return to school on a schedule; repeat on walk from campus into Castle Park and the trails east of the part and return to school on schedule include practice documenting outing and communicating with SWA using cell phone.

Begin Read Aloud/Read Along with the young adult novel by local Langley bestselling author Elizabeth George. Reading an engaging story by a professional mystery author set exclusively on South Whidbey Island and particularly in the town of Langley itself has several potential benefit for our Expeditionary Place-Based project: increases student engagement in the project by stimulating their imagination with regard to their community, enhances their estimation of the of their homeplace as worthy of use in a story with a national or international reading audience,  as a unique and significant stage for their own narrative creativity, and as a compenidium of writing techniques that can and should be applied to the writing of creative non-fiction.

First Expedition -
Walk to Langley via woods trail to Coles Road -
Journal Entry #1 - ½ hour solo time in 40 acre wood west of primary/elementary campus.
Writing focus - record the natural scene using all 5 senses and noting the components of the living environment (trees, low plants, animals, insects, birds) as well as the physical aspects of the place (light, air, earth)  
Document general look and feel of locale, written description in journal, various image recordings (video and still) and soundscape recording with H2 device.

Bag lunch in Langley in Seawall Park

Journal Entry #2 - ½ hour solo time at a street locale in the village (1st street, 2nd street, Anthes, etc.)

Writing focus - people and objects of the man-made environment (continue to use senses but narrow subject to one or two types (people passing by, vehicles, sounds and smells for example)
Document general look and feel of locale, written description in journal, various image recordings (video and still) and soundscape recording with H2 device.
Choose or have assigned a personal spot for subsequent visits and a detailed research document on that spot which will include a building exterior and interior, people associated with that location, history connected with that location and machine recordings of same (photos, drawings, sound and video recordings, interviews, etc.)

Return to SWA by Island Transit bus (northbound #7)

Journal Entry #3 - short reflection on the day and thoughts about tweaks, subtractions, additions, suggestions, likes and dislikes.
Second Expediton -
Front-loading activity - view Andy Goldworthy documentary film on land art
Repeat initial steps from first outing. On arrival in Langley proceed to beach near marina to create art object from natural and artificial? items ala Goldsworthy.
Bag lunch
Journal Entry #3 - solo time on the beach - descriptive writing focussing on the waterfront emphasize natural or man-made details, sensory images.
Record with available digital devices - scene and art projects
Return to campus via Island Transit
Journal Entry #4 - short reflection as before/above
Third Expediton
Journey to South Whidbey State Park and Wilbert Trail
Journal Entry #5 - solo time in the old growth forest - focus on compare and contrast with 40 acre wood adjacent to SWA campus
Document area with all digital devices

Lunch at the giant cedar or similar

Return to SWA by Island Transit buses (NB #7 and NB #1 outbound and SB #1 and SB #7 inbound)

Journal Entry #6 - on bus or in classroom - short reflection writing
Fourth Expedition -
Island Recycle Center
Island Recycling
20014 Washington 525
Freeland, WA 98249

Mailing Address:
PO Box 730
Freeland, WA 98249

Phone: (360) 331-1727
Travel by Island Transit buses (SB#7 & NB#1)
Interview center manager
Monthly Reflection

Create composite document to house a set of the highlights or the month’s community experiences - Creative non-fiction writing, multimedia mash-up of video clips, sound clips, drawings, field notes - organize short summary of all experiences chronologically, or by personal preference, distance and by a specific and elaborated focus on one experience which may include historical research done prior or after outing (Cherry, Waterman)

National Common Core Standard applicable

 Definitions of the standards’ three text types


Arguments are used for many purposes—to change the reader’s point of view, to bring about some action on the reader’s part, or to ask the reader to accept the writer’s explanation or evaluation of a concept, issue, or problem.
An argument is a reasoned, logical way of demonstrating that the writer’s position, belief, or conclusion is valid. In English language arts, students make claims about the worth or meaning of a literary work or works. They defend their interpretations or judgments with evidence from the text(s) they are writing about. In history/social studies, students analyze evidence from multiple primary and secondary sources to advance a claim that is best supported by the evidence, and they argue for a historically or empirically situated interpretation. In science, students make claims in the form of statements or conclusions that answer questions or address problems. Using data in a scientifically ac- ceptable form, students marshal evidence and draw on their understanding of scientific concepts to argue in support of their claims. Although young children are not able to produce fully developed logical arguments, they develop a variety of methods to extend and elaborate their work by providing examples, offering reasons for their assertions, and explaining cause and effect. These kinds of expository structures are steps on the road to argument. In grades K–5, the term “opinion” is used to refer to this developing form of argument.

Informational/Explanatory Writing

Informational/explanatory writing conveys information accurately. This kind of writing serves one or more closely related purposes: to increase readers’ knowledge of a subject, to help readers better understand a procedure or pro- cess, or to provide readers with an enhanced comprehension of a concept. Informational/explanatory writing address- es matters such as types (What are the different types of poetry?) and components (What are the parts of a motor?); size, function, or behavior (How big is the United States? What is an X-ray used for? How do penguins find food?); how things work (How does the legislative branch of government function?); and why things happen (Why do some authors blend genres?). To produce this kind of writing, students draw from what they already know and from primary and secondary sources. With practice, students become better able to develop a controlling idea and a coherent fo- cus on a topic and more skilled at selecting and incorporating relevant examples, facts, and details into their writing. They are also able to use a variety of techniques to convey information, such as naming, defining, describing, or dif- ferentiating different types or parts; comparing or contrasting ideas or concepts; and citing an anecdote or a scenario to illustrate a point. Informational/explanatory writing includes a wide array of genres, including academic genres such as literary analyses, scientific and historical reports, summaries, and précis writing as well as forms of workplace and functional writing such as instructions, manuals, memos, reports, applications, and résumés. As students advance through the grades, they expand their repertoire of informational/explanatory genres and use them effectively in a variety of disciplines and domains.

Although information is provided in both arguments and explanations, the two types of writing have different aims. Arguments seek to make people believe that something is true or to persuade people to change their beliefs or be- havior. Explanations, on the other hand, start with the assumption of truthfulness and answer questions about why or how. Their aim is to make the reader understand rather than to persuade him or her to accept a certain point of view. In short, arguments are used for persuasion and explanations for clarification.

Like arguments, explanations provide information about causes, contexts, and consequences of processes, phenom- ena, states of affairs, objects, terminology, and so on. However, in an argument, the writer not only gives information but also presents a case with the “pros” (supporting ideas) and “cons” (opposing ideas) on a debatable issue. Be- cause an argument deals with whether the main claim is true, it demands empirical descriptive evidence, statistics, or definitions for support. When writing an argument, the writer supports his or her claim(s) with sound reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.

Narrative Writing

Narrative writing conveys experience, either real or imaginary, and uses time as its deep structure. It
can be used for many purposes, such as to inform, instruct, persuade, or entertain. In English language arts, students produce narratives that take the form of creative fictional stories, memoirs, anecdotes, and autobiographies. Over time, they learn to provide visual details of scenes, objects, or people; to depict specific actions (for example, movements, gestures, postures, and expressions); to use dialogue and interior monologue that provide insight into the narrator’s and char- acters’ personalities and motives; and to manipulate pace to highlight the significance of events and create tension and suspense. In history/social studies, students write narrative accounts about individuals. They also construct event models of what happened, selecting from their sources only the most relevant information. In science, students write narrative descriptions of the step-by-step procedures they follow in their investigations so that others can replicate their procedures and (perhaps) reach the same results. With practice, students expand their repertoire and control of different narrative strategies.

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