When students venture into nature, the value of learning outside the classroom becomes evident. IAH students go beyond field trips, though, and have opportunities to experience and connect with the natural environment every day. The connections they make—with the forest, with each other—are meaningful and lasting. Once a student establishes a meaningful relationship with a place, it becomes part of their world. It becomes part of who they are. Check out Cassie’s story—after all, she’s the one who wrote an essay about this!
Nature is the best way to change your mood, it can help with stress. Now I know that if one day I don’t feel good, or am without energy, I can just go into a park near me and go for a walk, or sit with nature, and it is going to help me be active.
As part of the IAH curriculum, students read excerpts from a variety of books that highlight health habits that are important for humans to thrive. Beyond the Movement Lab where they practice fitness activities, there is a lot of research into a variety of topics. In the video below, Andrez shares a bit about his topic: insomnia. As he notes and shares with his peers, getting an appropriate amount of sleep is incredibly important to stay healthy.
Now I know how to take care of myself and I learned the exercise benefits in our brain. Exercise can change our mood and concentration.
Hale is proud to partner with Another Course to College, which was just named a 2018 Best High School by U.S. News & World Report. The publication bestowed this honor upon less than 30% of schools. We look forward to continued collaboration on innovative programs for Boston Public Schools students!
IAH’s newest class, Movement Lab, provides an opportunity for students to explore and experience the brain-changing benefits of exercise and nature. Every day, students review a new piece of research that explores exercise as it relates to academics, brain structure, heart rate, mental health, and more.
Then, they engage in one of three exercise options that range from running to P90X to hip hop dance. At the end of each class period, students reflect on how their attention, energy, and mood change following exercise. Ultimately, they prepare a short written assignment in which they synthesize the research with their personal experience.
During the exercise I learned more about myself. I learned that while exercising I stop thinking about stuff. My mind goes blank…I’m at a quiet place just exercising and focused on myself. The way I can translate it into my everyday life is that I work better outside than I do inside. And I should try that more often. My goal is to get more exercise and a lot more work done each and every day.
Even one day of Movement Lab made a difference. Students arrived with a lethargic, glazed look in their eyes, but they cheered each other on, explored parts of Hale they had never seen before, and experienced the drastic mood-altering effects of aerobic exercise. They left laughing, smiling, and eager for the next day. Just imagine what an entire semester of this class will do!
Today was a little chilly, but spring is here, and it’s time to get into dirt bike mode. Students left their comfort zones and tried something new: while all the riders were able cyclists, we reviewed shifting, braking, and the ever-important “ready” position. Our first ride circled Cat Rock and toured the edge of Storrow Pond. We heard a few riders say, “I can’t make it up that,” only to then conquer the hill. The IAH spirit is alive and well.
IAH students are talking about “collective learning,” how that ability makes humans unique, and how it enables us to advance as a species. To explore the concept, they’re looking at how ancient peoples used rock from Hale’s quarries to develop tools and weapons. They’re also building shelters…a surprisingly time-consuming task! By sharing ideas from different groups, they are practicing collective learning and discovering that knowledge is a process.
WBZ-TV’s Paula Ebben reports on how our one-of-a-kind pilot program for 11th graders from Boston Public Schools is taking the classroom outdoors. Click the photo to check out her Eye on Education story.
IAH students joined the New England High School Cycling Association at Landry’s Bicycles Norwood this afternoon, where Aaron and Hannah taught them about mountain biking equipment and outfitted them with bikes, helmets, gloves, shoes, and shorts. As the newest members of the Westwood Wild Ones, the students will join coaches Eric Arnold and Seamus Foy as they explore Hale’s trails this spring.
After a busy first few weeks, students and staff alike were rewarded with a well-deserved break: a whole week to sit back, relax, and enjoy some time away from school. But IAH is not your average school, so when we offered an optional trip to summit a mountain, six students jumped at the opportunity.
Mt. Monadnock is 3,165 feet high, and it’s February. We expected to encounter winter weather. But instead of snow, ice, and frigid temperatures, Mother Nature blessed us with a sunny, 70-degree forecast!
Before the sun was even up, our sleepy-eyed band of adventurers was on its way out of Boston. A dense, eerie fog took hold as we approached Mt. Monadnock, and our trepidation was palpable. What if it rained the whole time? What if there was no view? What if this whole trip was a bust?
We put those thoughts aside, enthusiastically jumped out of the van, attached our MicroSpikes, and began the climb. It was no easy feat. But as we climbed 1,700 feet over two miles, the fog cleared, the sun rose, and soon enough, we were rewarded with spectacular views.
At the peak, we broke out our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, enjoyed the view, and appreciated that moment together. It was the highlight of February Break. For our student climbers, this was their first mountain summit, and they returned eager for another.
As Lead Outdoor Guide, I’m excited that our staff and students supported each other through a challenging and successful climb. Our students are excited to have explored a part of our country that many of them had never seen. Luckily, this was just the first of many extracurricular adventures to come.
Today Intrepid Academy at Hale welcomed its first cohort of high school juniors from Boston Public Schools. Our blog will feature updates from our program director, field notes from our guides, and reflections from the students themselves. Here’s to an adventurous semester!