It was a cold, damp, and gray Monday morning; nevertheless, you could find five Oliverian students eager to begin their day with a hike up Wright’s Mountain in Bradford, VT. Another group of students was preparing to, quite literally, smash ceramics into pieces to create their own “archeological artifacts,” and a third class was learning the science of the apple in anticipation of pressing their own apple cider later that week. This certainly does not sound like a typical academic week, but for Oliverian, this was all but abnormal and so very welcome.
Each year, for one week in the Fall, Winter, and Spring, we break from the traditional academic schedule and host our Electives Week. These weeks allow students to explore new interests while gaining academic credit. As a part of Oliverian’s unique approach to learning, Electives Weeks are placed strategically within the school year to provide educational diversity, and revitalize student interest in academics. During Electives Week, students choose from a variety of fun and innovative classes that appeal to their curiosity and interests.
This season, in addition to Fall Hiking, Archeological Adventures, and All Things Apple, students chose a Spooky New England course, where they learned the history of the spooky in our very own Pike and Oliverian Valley, created apple witch carvings, and dove deep into the Salem Witch Trials. Our budding filmmakers participated in a Guerrilla Filmmaking course travelling to downtown Plymouth, creating a storyboard for their films, and shooting and editing all film on their own to create individual cuts of their own productions. Choosing to stay a little closer to campus, students could also focus on a math skills building option, movie analysis, ceramics, and even Camp Craft, where they built an outdoor classroom space and fire pit on campus for all to use.
In a unique turn of events from our usual unusual week, we ended the sessions with a whole school get together around the handmade fire pit viewing the films created by our students. It was particularly meaningful to bring everyone together as a community after a week of intense exploration and individual growth.
Until the winter…