Thursday, January 24, 2013

Writing New Year Resolutions in English Class at Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School

Last week at Cedar Ridge Academy Co-Ed Therapeutic Boarding School, English students finished up a two week long writing project that commemorated the New Year. All students that are in an English class have been split up into two groups: Group 1 meets on Tuesdays and Group 2 meets on Thursdays to discuss, work, and learn different reading and writing skills.  As a teacher, I try to focus on a writing skill and a reading skill each hour long meeting.  This helps the students with their academic recovery and development.  In addition, it allows me to focus on the areas that most students struggle with in the online classes that the students work on independently.

Recently, the students have been focusing on being clear in their writing with appropriate grammar and spelling.  To help students improve their writing, they need practice.  And why not practice with something that is interesting? With it being the New Year, I had them all complete a writing assignment about what they wanted to accomplish in 2013. To facilitate this assignment, I passed out two different prompts.

For the first assignment, I handed them all a blank star.  On the star they wrote down the answer to four unique prompts that followed the theme of 2013.  The students wrote:

2 Goals that they have for the year
0 Something that they would like to change this year
1 New place they would like to visit this year
3 New things that they would like to learn this year

The students jumped at the chance to share their goals with their peers and to be creative about what they want to do in the coming year.

Cedar _Ridge_Academy_co-ed_therapeutic_Boarding_School_English_project
Max points out his star on the bulletin board
The second assignment was a sentence that the students wrote the ending for. It said, “In 2013, I will knock your socks off by…”  The clever thing about this sentence is that I printed them on socks. 

After learning of the prompts, the students went to work to write their responses.  When finished writing, they decorated their stars and socks to go up on our main school bulletin board.  The students enjoyed the opportunity to make their writing response unique then publish it for display. Since creating the bulletin board, they have enjoyed reading each other’s responses.  They also look forward to their parents seeing the bulletin board when they come for Parent Workshop in March.

All student projects on display on the school bulletin board

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Cross-Country Ski Activity at Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School

It has been a cold and snowy winter at Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School. For a lot of people cold and snow are not something to look forward to, but for Cedar Ridge’s science teacher, Chad, a snowy winter means opportunities to participate in one of his favorite activities – cross-country skiing. Chad not only enjoys this winter activity himself, but he enjoys teaching it to others and seeing the joy they get from it, so it was with great pleasure that he took a group of students out to ski around the Cedar Ridge campus.

Chad’s first task was to get equipment ready for the students. Fortunately he’s been collecting cross-country gear for years and has a pretty good supply of equipment - especially since a friend who recently retired from teaching donated equipment she’d used with her outdoor club, with the stipulation that it would be used by young people.

Cross country skiing for girls at Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding school

First of all, the students happily tried on boots until each found a pair that fit. These aren’t the type of boot most people would think of when they think “ski boot”. These boots look something like a cross between a hiking boot and a bowling shoe, with a protruding front sole with three holes that match pins on the ski binding. Each student also chose a pair of skis and a pair of poles, based on his or her size.

Once students were fitted for equipment, Chad and the students put on their boots, grabbed their skis and poles, and headed out. It took some time and some help from Chad to get boots hooked onto skis, but eventually everyone was set to go, and the students got to experience what it felt like to cross-country ski (it was the first time for most of the students).

Cedar Ridge Academy co-ed therapeutic boarding school students cross country ski

After some instruction, Chad guided the group to a little knoll where they could try skiing downhill. It took some falls into the soft snow for some of the students to learn to balance on their skis, but they all had a great time before continuing their journey to the top of the ridge.

From the top of the ridge the students had a great view of the Cedar Ridge Academy campus to the south and the Uinta Mountains to the north. Chad pointed to a particular canyon in the mountains and talked to the students about the possibility of a trip there once the students are more experienced. Chad then skied off the ridge and the students each took their turn following. One student was a little hesitant but, with some advice and encouragement from her peers, took her turn. She made it down in great fashion - to the applause of her peers.

Male student cross country skis at co-ed Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School

The group started back to campus, and as they skied, Chad talked about how our brains release endorphins when we do healthy activities like skiing. Cross-country skiing is a great way to get out and see nature, and it also gives some of the best physical exercise you can get by using almost every muscle group. The students all talked about how much they enjoyed the activity, and how they are looking forward to doing it again. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Students at Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School Respond to the March on Washington

Yesterday, I posted about how each week at Cedar Ridge Academy Co-ed Therapeutic Boarding School, certified teachers hold classes that focus on pertinent academic activities that help students to become more engaged in their rigorous curriculum and assist them in their academic development. Yesterday, I posted about what the Social Studies class did this week and promised reflections from students about the March on Washington and Martin Luther King’s speech. Below are the responses from four students in my World Geography class. 

I think that the speech was good in that it worked just fine considering our positions today.  I don’t think that the speech would have been impactful if he would not have been assassinated.  I think that the event was pretty cool considering how many people were at the Lincoln Memorial.  But that is just my opinion; I think that it was cool that he altered the speech. 
–Student #1

In my mind, the March and the Speech were really successful because the March helped protest for more of the minimum wage they get and more of like them getting the same rights as everyone else and the speech.  Also, helped get the wants/needs through to the government and the speech was successful because of the fact that basically everyone in the crowd agreed with the speech itself. 
–Student #2

World Geography students writing their responses
 about the March on Washington
I think that Martin Luther King’s speech was very successful.  He used a lot of emotional appeal to help inspire the crowd.  It is still significant today, his delivery, even after I listened to it, is very powerful.  I believe that Dr. King had the gift of public speaking and utilized it in a way to help and aid all people who are oppressed.  Even today it rings true in the heart of Americans.  
–Student #3

I believe that marching on Washington was very important to happen, because it was a history changer for the best of the African American race.  If this speech did not happen, things might not have been a lot different now.  The speech was definitely successful, because how much ore equality there is now then how it was then.  
–Student #4

Editor’s Note: These responses were completely written by the students.  I have only corrected small errors to prevent confusion.  Their responses have remained anonymous for confidentiality reasons. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Cedar Ridge Academy Students Focus on Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" Speech

This week, students at Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School learned more about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech in commemoration of his birthday this week and resultant the holiday this coming Monday. These activities were done in the Social Studies supplemental instruction that occurs once a week for an hour.  These classes allow students to focus on new academic skills and review material that they are working on in their individual classes. Therapeutically, it allows students to practice appropriate classroom behavior, build relationships with peers, and learn how to communicate with peers in a group setting.

Students were given a copy of an artifact from 1963 that is part of the Smithsonian Museum’s exhibit on the Civil Rights Movement.  Students examined the artifact and were asked to give predictions as to what it might be, describe certain characteristics of it to their peers, and how it might have impacted the events of that time.  The students determined that it was a flyer that advertised the August 28, 1963 March on Washington during which Dr. King gave his famous speech.  In groups, we talked about how the March impacted the movement and how it fit into the overall message of the movement.

A few students working together in a group describing the artifact
After examining the artifact, we listened to a few March participants share their memories of the event and learned that Dr. King almost did not include the “I Have a Dream” section of his speech.  Apparently, King had given that speech numerous times and his inner circle felt that he should give something new.  As a result, they wrote him a new speech to give that day.  However, to the dismay of his friends, King changed the script while standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. 

As a class, we read part of King’s speech and talked about the elements of speech writing that were included, like repetition and symbolism.  The famous part of the speech was actually read to us by King as we watched a recording of the infamous day.  The students seemed to learn a lot more about the significance of Dr. King’s speech. Check out our blog tomorrow to see the students’ written responses on what they think of the speech and its significance.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Students Leave Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School with Gratitude & Clear Goals

Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School staff  and teachers work together as a team to help students achieve their goals in their time here.  For many students, these goals revolve around changes in behavior, academics, friendships, and family relationships.  As students move on to their next step in life, we ask them to reflect on their time here and what they have learned.  Recently, Conrad and Madison left after having a successful stay here.  We asked them to leave us with a few words of reflection and what their future plans are.

Conrad is always such a joker!

Leaving Cedar Ridge is really weird.  It has been my home for the last 16 months.  I really am not too nervous because I know Cedar Ridge has provided me with the skills to be a successful and happy human.  It has really prepared me to move on to my next step, which is to go to Monterrey Bay Academy, a regular boarding school in California. I am really grateful for everyone and everything about Cedar Ridge Academy.
– Conrad

Conrad works hard on his therapy assignment

Madison always has a beautiful smile

I came into Cedar Ridge Academy loving and clinging to school. School was my avoidance. During my time here at Cedar Ridge, the teachers and staff made school plans that best fit me. At times it was slowing down my school, and towards the end of my stay, it was speeding it up. The school was very supportive of my focus on therapy for a long time as well.  I have enjoyed my time here at Cedar Ridge. It has helped me become the person I am today. This new person I am has a future and dreams. My goals for the future start out small, like going to Dixie State College in St. George.  I want to eventually get my Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine at a school called Bastyr in Washington State.  I definitely want to become a doctor and make a difference with the way I practice medicine and the values I hold myself to.  In the therapeutic side of my stay, I gained a lot of growth. When I came, I was struggling with a variety of concerns. Throughout my time here, I have been able to work through all of those issues and I am much better because of it. For my future, my goal is to remain centered, keep up with karate, and stick to my goals and path to success. My stay at Cedar Ridge Academy has been a long, but successful journey. I know I wouldn’t be the person I am today without the help of Cedar Ridge.
– Madison

Madison is very precise in her karate

We wish Madison and Conrad the best of luck on their new adventures in life!

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