An Open Letter to My 8th Graders
South Dakota Field Investigation Trip
All year, we waited for the South Dakota Field Investigations Trip, then just like that, it was over. There were many tears on the last day. Why? Simply, or maybe not so simply, because of connections.
You made connections to your planet Earth this week. You trekked the soft soils of the Badlands, viewed the awesomeness of Devils Tower, and went into the depths of Wind Cave. You saw glimpses of the past in humongous dinosaur fossils, and a possible glint of future energy sources at the Lake Benton wind turbines. You pieced together stories of how mountains formed and land eroded from the clues ever-present in the Earth. Every day new connections were made to the Earth and its past, present, and future.
You made connections to new people. College students Christian, Leila, Molly, Jackson, and Allie were strangers on Monday, but like family by Friday. You laughed, played cards, worked on journals, and shared amazement at the beautiful scenery. They saw you with fresh eyes and new expectations. They encouraged you to go beyond your tentativeness and believe in your ability and yourself. You in turn reminded them of the importance and honor of what it is to be a teacher.
You may have known them on some level before, but you also made connections to parents. These parents ate meals with you, helped you with journals, and made sure you helped with camp chores for the week. They took a week off of work, knowing the importance of this trip for all of our 8th graders. They became parents to all of you, even though they may have originally intended to be there for only their own son or daughter.
Finally, you made connections to one another. Even though many of you have known one another since kindergarten, this was “knowing” on a whole new level. You saw each other through a new lens. You realized classmates had little known talents, and intelligence. You saw people with more compassion and acceptance. As well, they allowed you to be who you really are - and not the person you may put on within the school building, or the confines of Parkers Prairie.
Nurture the connections that you have made this week. Don’t feel obligated to return to the person that you were previously. On some level, you really cannot, as a part of you is forever altered by those connections. Perhaps simply and best put in a recent Facebook post by a participant in the first (2003) excursion: “This trip changed my life.”
Thank you for a great trip! Continue to connect, now and always.
Mrs. Schoeneck :)
Yellow Purple Eaters Journal
Tuesday, May 12, 2015
Will, Rayce, Trevor, Matt, Jade, Ellie, Gunnar
Parents: Becky and Jon
College Student: Jackson
Once upon a time, there were seven dwarfs that went from Chamberlain to the Badlands. They saw a river valley formed by high energy water. Since the river was so wide, they went across the river on a rainbow. However, Travis fell off the high bank and broke his foot, but Willie caught him since he was such a good friend.
The seven dwarfs caught the flying mini bus that was piloted by Uncle Dave, with co-pilot Jon, since the snow banks and hills were so high. We crash landed into the Badlands at Door Trail. We got off the bus and stepped on slippery wet clay. We started walking along a trail and saw dusty popcorn dirt that didn’t look like home. It looked like the tall jagged rocks surrounding us replaced the trees from home.
All of a sudden we saw Snow White hanging from a jagged muddy cliff. We tested the rocks to see how sturdy they were to climb up and save Snow White. We found the tools, including a rock hammer, jars, and water from Dora’s backpack, who left it on the magic bus. We took three samples from the hillside. We measured the rocks before putting them in the water in the containers to see how quickly they would crumble beneath our feet. We found out that the white porous rocks were hard and the red bottom rocks dissolved in water. Rayce followed the white rock road to save Snow White. Jade suddenly appeared on a big horn sheep and led the dwarfs through the pass back to our hobbit hole in Hot Springs.
Purple People Eaters Group
Monday, May 11, 2015
Taylor, Noah, Hunter, Joe, Tanner, Casey, Katelyn
Parent Chaperone: Tom
College Student: Christian
Day one walking down the path and we was lichen how it was lookin’.
Frost ice wedging breaking up the rocks, trying not to get wet especially on our socks,
And we were feeling all the love, with the rock faces above.
Until we saw the dead deer and then our hearts dropped:’’(
And while we were mumblin Hunter and Tanner were a-tumblin.
As we were walking, about the cross bedding, we were talking.
As the water was falling the mud on our feet was balling.
As we saw the Oracle it was quite historical.
As we walked by the quarry it told quite a story.
The propeller whirring, whizzing, whispering, brought out many thoughts- producing energy at around 500 kiloWatts.
Jim Nichols gave us a tour outside it smelled like cow manure.
The bridge at Devil’s Gulch was really scary, Jesse James trigger finger was quite hairy,
Getting on the bus filled us with disgust, being outside in nature is a BIG must,
We are the Purple People Eaters, but today we were the poet leaders.
A good time has passed since Christian’s last gas, enjoy this poem on a trip that will forever last!