Friday, September 27, 2013

Constitution Day at Cedar Ridge Academy Private Therapeutic Boarding School

On September 17th, the country celebrated Constitution Day.  At Cedar Ridge Academy Private Therapeutic Boarding School, we held an assembly for the students to learn more about the Constitution to understand why the Constitution is so essential to our government. This assembly was a great opportunity for the boys and girls to enhance their academic development and continue our blended learning model. As a certified teacher of Social Studies, I was really glad to have this opportunity to explain to the students that even if you don’t agree with the government’s decision or how the Constitution is interpreted; you still can appreciate the fact that it was revolutionary for its time and what our country would be like without it.

Students work on placing quotes
We started out by discussing what exactly happened on September 17, 1787 and painted the picture of what it was like to be at the Constitutional Convention.  The students began to understand what it was like to be a member of the 55 delegates for three and a half months trying to form a government in the middle of the summer. They were very amazed to find out how much work this really was.

We then went over the six principles established by the Constitution. These principles were: federalism, limited government, separation of powers, checks and balances, individual rights, and popular sovereignty. After defining these principles, the students split up into groups with ten quotes from the Constitution.  As a group, they read the quote and determined which principle it matched with and then taped it to a poster for that principle. Overall, the campus did a nice job with getting the quotes in the correct spot.

After we split up all of the quotes, we focused in more on the individual rights principle and talked about the Bill of Rights.  The students were given eight scenarios that had been presented to the Supreme Court as violations of the Eighth Amendment that prohibits “cruel and unusual punishment”. They gave their own opinions on whether it was or not and then we learned what the Supreme Court actually said.  Some of the decisions genuinely surprised the students.  As we ended, the students wrote down what they took out of our discussions and what impressed them the most about the Constitution. 
This visual shows the student's responses
to why they feel the Constitution is important

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Summer Fun in Uinta Canyon at Cedar Ridge Academy Private Therapeutic Boarding School

As a school, we try to take advantage of the great outdoor explore that is at our fingertips around Cedar Ridge Academy Private Therapeutic Boarding School.  Being in Roosevelt, Utah, we are very close to the Uinta Mountains.  As mentioned in a previous post, the girls recently had the opportunity to spend a day in the mountains.  They hiked, did arts and crafts, cooked over a fire, and many other fun activities. We have more reflections to share with you today.

One student remarked:
Creativity expressed in crafts
I had a good experience when we went hiking and then afterwards made arts and crafts.  I liked that we got to enjoy the nature, such as the deer, rabbits, streams, and many mountains. Another thing that I thought was fun was when we each got to decorate our own letters of our first names.  Lastly, I liked that we got to cook our own food on a campfire and prepare it ourselves.  Overall, I had a pretty good time when we went to the mountains.
One student told this story:

The hike today was beautiful. I'm so grateful to spend this time with my Cedar Ridge family.  I loved being able to encourage the girls that had a harder time with the hike.  I could empathize with the ones that felt like they couldn't make it because I can remember one specific hike with my brother and my dad in Colorado where they were in much better shape than me.  I struggled, but I knew that it would be worth it for the view.  So I was able to use this experience to empathize and I'm grateful for that.
Finally, this student expressed this:
The girls enjoying table tennis
Exploring the nature and the sun beating on myself is beautiful. I like to feel as if I'm on an adventure in this beautiful place I call home.  Climbing up the mountains made me feel stronger and uplifted me.  I strived to get to the top.  The sky was grey, but there was a small glimpse of a ray of sunshine that would go upon my face. I take climbing up mountains as it is in my program at Cedar Ridge.  I was motivated to reach the top and feel powerful from each step I took.  The view is so outstanding, the trees were huge, and the birds were chirping.  Up here in the Uinta Canyon feels like heaven.  Life is filled with new adventures and endless possibilities. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Therapeutic Retreat in the Uinta Mountains at Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School

At Cedar Ridge Academy Private Therapeutic Boarding School, students enjoy an opportunity to hike through nature, revile in the outdoors, and spend time together.  Recently, the girls had the chance to go up into the Uinta Mountains to explore the area there and themselves. The girls wrote about their experience to share with all of you.

One student said:
Busy painting the first letter of their name
My experience today was fairly enjoyable.  I'm not a fan of hiking, but the hike today was alright.  The way down was by far the best part, because we ended up walking through the Aspen trees and the dried up creek bed where the run-off comes down.  It was fun to navigate your own path through the trees and down the rocks.  I enjoyed just spending some time with myself while hiking; just having a long time to zone out in nature and think. Coming back to camp and spending time with the girls was nice as well.  Just having some time to hang out and be creative with our craft projects. Overall, just having some time to hang out was really nice. 
Another student commented:
 Overall, the experience up at Uinta Canyon was undeniably amazing.  The day started off slow and kind of hectic, but the fun picked up the minute we got in the car.  From hiking to ping pong matches and arts and crafts--the day was definitely a success. But at the end of the day, my favorite part about the trip was the bonding.  I loved how close I felt to everyone by the end of the day and I can't wait to do it again.

 Finally, this student stated:
Becoming better friends
Today, I had a really good time being out in nature and just observing my surroundings.  The hike was perfect for me, because I love exercise and climbing.  Even though some of the girls had a hard time, I think the overall experience was good for everyone.  It was nice to just connect with the world and let all my problems and worries go. Once we came back to camp, it was really fun to spend time with the girls.  On the hike, it was especially nice to bond with [my new friend]. I loved the way the sky looked; it was gray, but had patches of sun which looked absolutely beautiful.  Experiences like this don't come every day, so when we have them, we should enjoy them.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Fishing at Cedar Ridge Academy Private Therapeutic Boarding School

Every month or so, Cedar Ridge Academy Private Therapeutic Boarding School plans a student workshop for the students.  The idea is to get them doing something different and unique while focusing a bit more on their therapeutic progress.  As we mentioned in our last blog post, some of the boys recently went camping and fishing. This is great fun for them as a lot of them come from wilderness programs before arriving here. This student did just that, and had a unique perspective to offer about their recent adventure.

So a few weeks ago, a few of the guys on campus had the privilege of going on an overnight camping trip for a few nights. We actually had a lot of fun with fishing, hanging out with each other and the two staff that took us on the trip, and just having fun.  It was great being out in the woods for the first time in a long time, especially for the two of us that went to a wilderness program prior to coming to Cedar Ridge. We got to cook our own food, for the group of us, and joke around with each other in a way that was actually fun and easy to do in a non-disrespectful way. The five of us students had a ball spending time with our off-campus versions of some of the staff, which was definitely a huge bundle of fun.
Enjoying our tarp shelter!

The main point of this trip was really to go fishing and to have fun with that, but along the way we got to go frolicking in a field the furthest away from any parental authority any of us has been since before CRA. It rained the day we drove up to the mountains where we were going to be camping during the trip so while we were setting up our shelters we got a little wet, but it was still fun. The two of us that went to a wilderness program prior helped our the other three guys set up their tarp shelters since its really an unusual way to camp. But since we had experience, we thought, “why not” and just helped to fix up their stuff. Anyway, all of the kids that went on the trip caught at least one fish and our fish catching leader caught nine! One of the kids actually caught his first ever fish, which was pretty cool to see. I hope to go fishing again soon.

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