A Veteran’s Lesson

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In honor of Veterans Day in November and of those who have served our country, today we had a history unit on Vietnam. A veteran of the Persian Gulf War, our history teacher Bob talked about events leading up to Vietnam and then showed a documentary, The Day the 60’s Died.  

The film chronicles  April 30, 1970, the day President Richard Nixon shocked the nation when he announced that U.S. troops were invading Cambodia. At college campuses across the country, masses of students took to the streets in protest. Five days later, four Kent State students would be shot dead by National Guardsmen. The mayhem that followed has been called the most divisive moment in American history since the Civil War.

Traveling Trunk

Bob also brought in memorabilia such as military and training gear.  We saw artifacts from Vietnam itself as we hosted the Traveling Trunk from the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Foundation.  The Trunk contains reproductions of documents and other authentic artifacts from the Vietnam War and the Vietnam era. The objects and documents for this trunk help explore answers to the essential question: How does war affect soldiers, families, and nations? Contents included original photographs, draft cards, dog tags, and CDs of oral history, which we hope to listen to in the next few weeks as the trunk resides at FlexSchool.  The high school English students will continue exploration of this time period by watching Apocalypse Now after they finish reading Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. Incidentally, students celebrated Halloween at FlexSchool today, too….see if you can find what our students dressed up as.

Click here to see images from this event and more on our FlexSchool gallery.

At FlexSchool, we build our curriculum around providing all around high-quality educational experiences for our students. Visit https://flexschool.net

Hulbert Outdoor Center

FlexSchool Fanwood NJ Hulbert Center trip

This week’s FlexFriday found us in Fairlee, Vermont as part of our five-day excursion to the Hulbert Outdoor Center. Established in 1978, Hulbert is a non-profit educational institution that serves 7,000 participants annually through programs designed to foster personal growth, self-reliance, confidence, cooperation, and a sense of community in people of all ages. We thought this could be beneficial to our students for team building as well as environmental science hands-on lessons. Our students participated in group challenges, forest ecology, astronomy, a blindfolded night journey with echolocation games, archery, survival and fire-building skills, and a high ropes course. The food was delicious and the cabins were very comfortable. This Monday, when we returned to regular classes, the first question was, “When can we go back to Vermont?”

The students learned more than can be taught from books, but let’s let them tell you:

“My time spent in VT has been a great time not only to self reflect but also to bond with my fellow classmates.”

Through different games “I learned that relying on other people has helped me to work on trusting others.”

“Not every part of the solution involves you.”

“My favorite part was the ropes course. I was able to get to the top, but it was much harder than I thought it would be.”

“I’ve learned through fun, interactive activities how important one person can be, and how without teamwork we can’t do our best at many challenges.”

“What I have learned in VT is that the forests are called eastern deciduous forests.”

“In the shelter building exercise we communicated better so that each member’s voice was heard more clearly.”

“We did a variety of teambuilding exercises that taught me about allowing people to voice their opinions; the most vocally present person may not have the solution to the problem.”

“I have learned how to stop for a second and really think about a situation, and I have also learned about trusting people. When we did the blindfolded night walk I was anxious, but soon I was able to trust our counselor.”

“I feel a greater connection to my environment and those around me. I felt awake and ready to have fun throughout the day.”

There are just some things in life that simply cannot be learned inside the classroom. Click here to see images from this event and more on our FlexSchool gallery.

At FlexSchool, we build our curriculum around providing all around high-quality educational experiences for our students. Visit https://flexschool.net

 

WWII and the Holocaust

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Robert M. Movie took our students on an historic trip with great educational and philosophical merit. He did an excellent presentation and showed a movie of WWII and the Holocaust. Robert is the grandson of a Holocaust Survivor and shared with students  the vision of one man whose mission was to save as many Jews from the Holocaust as possible.

Robert M’s grandfather escaped to Sweden when the Nazis invaded Latvia. While he was able to save his wife and child, he could not save the remainder of his immediate or extended family; of the 60,000 Jews in Latvia before the war, only 3,500 were alive when the Allies freed Europe. Robert’s grandfather, with nothing but courage and hubris, decided to save all of the Jews he could. We watched the incredible documentary produced in Sweden about his unrelenting campaign to stop Hitler. We stopped the movie many times so that Robert could give us the behind-the-scenes information he had learned from his grandfather. The discussion after the movie ranged from shock at some of the details none of us had known to philosophical questions about when a person should put family ahead of people he or she doesn’t know. The students and the other faculty members in the room asked many questions. Robert made his grandfather’s story relevant to all of us.

Being exposed to History in this personal, detailed presentation had a profound effect on all of the students and faculty. We are so grateful to Robert for his time and knowledge and know that the students of FlexSchool have been very fortunate to experience this time and events in this way.

Click here to see images from this event and more on our FlexSchool gallery.

At FlexSchool, we build our curriculum around providing all around high-quality educational experiences for our students. Visit https://flexschool.net

 

New York Comic Con

FlexSchool fanwood nj comic con special event

On a beautiful fall October day, we at FlexSchool boarded a train to NYC and encountered many TV and movie characters along the way: Indiana Jones, Dr. Who, and Heisenberg were just some…No, it wasn’t for Halloween, but rather for NY Comic Con when thousands of pop culture aficionados, some in full costume, descended upon the Javits Center. We found artists drawing fan artwork, handmade leather goods which inspired us to make our own, and even a ten-foot tall Hulkbuster*. Lego Master Builders worked on a life-size display that was reportedly going to take the full four days to construct. Holograms ephemerally appeared on mist. Doc and his DeLorean were attempting to hit 88mph. Graphic novels are becoming a recognized form of literacy and we have talented artists and writers among our students, so we encourage them in non-traditional ways. Comic book series often reference myths and literature, and I (as the English teacher) was pleased to see a Fahrenheit 451-themed interactive media one. Will we go again? Absolutely! And next year, we plan to have a FlexSchool group costume. Will we be characters from Harry Potter? Avatar? Divergent? Stay tuned to find out…

*For those of you not familiar with the Hulkbuster, please see news coverage of his appearance.

At FlexSchool, we understand that students learn from doing. This week, they enjoyed a day spent at #comiccon in NYC.

Click here to see images from this event and more on our FlexSchool gallery.

At FlexSchool, we build our curriculum around providing all around high-quality educational experiences for our students. Visit https://flexschool.net

FlexSchool visits The American Museum of Natural History

FlexSchool fanwood nj natural history museum visit

AMNH Became FlexSchool’s Alternative School for the Day

This FlexFriday we led the students on a trip to the American Museum of Natural History and the museum became our school for the day as Dr. Matt, one of our FlexSchool social study/history/philosophy teachers, guided and sent the students on a scavenger hunt during our visit. Students took a step back through time, beginning with a short film on the Big Bang. We descended down the cosmic pathway as we travelled back to the future and followed the birth of the earth and other planets. Each step on the pathway represents one million years. We continued striding through halls filled with creatures of the past: vertebrates, mammals in America, and, of course, dinosaurs!

The American Museum of Natural History is one of the world’s preeminent scientific and cultural institutions. Since its founding in 1869, the Museum has advanced its global mission to discover, interpret, and disseminate information about human cultures, the natural world, and the universe through a wide-ranging program of scientific research, education, and exhibition. The Museum is renowned for its exhibitions and scientific collections, which serve as a field guide to the entire planet and present a panorama of the world’s cultures.

Click here to see images from this event and more on our FlexSchool gallery.

At FlexSchool, we build our curriculum around providing all around high-quality educational experiences for our students. Visit https://flexschool.net.