Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Pre-travel jitters

Well, just over 2 months to go before my two lovely daughters and I set out for our biggest adventure together yet.  In fact, it's WAY bigger than anything we have done together before.   I have been lucky to travel to the Golden Mountains of the Altai Republic twice before; once with some female colleagues from Paul Smiths College, and once with a team of Education Researchers with whom I collaborate. It has, until now, only been a dream that I might share the people and place that I have become so attached to with my own girls.  Wow, how lucky I feel!  Thank you Fulbright! and thank you Paul Smith's College for making this a reality!  It helps my Jitters to talk about it! The preparations are overwhelming to me (who hates logistics) when I think of them all at once

Lest it seem like I am only interested in the travel from the perspective of exposing my daughter to the rich history and culture and natural beauty of another place, let it be known that right now as I type, a few wonderful teachers in the local elementary schools, are implementing our protocols for trying to understand the how and why of young students attachment to place and nature here in the Adirondacks.  This is the research portion of what Im going to do there in rural schools with my friend and education colleague Natalya Yurkova.  Ill be teaching two courses there as well and will write more about them later!!

Over the last several years, amazing and dedicated teachers here in the Adirondacks (Karen Rappolo, Sarah Benzce, Bill Peer and Erika Bezio and others) have been collecting data in their classes that we will be using to develop a picture of the different influences rural students have on their attachment and knowledge about the environments in which they live.  When I get back with the Altai data we will all sit down and make meaning and try to apply the knowledge to curricula - I LOVE THIS STUFF.  This is ultimately a collaboration among Adirondack kids, Altai kids, my Russian academic colleagues and the teachers there and here.

A Tupper Lake 3rd Graders image representing what they vlaue about their 'place'

An Altai Republic 3rd grader's pictoral expression of what they value about their 'place
I wanted to put a couple of the artifacts we are collecting from each student in each classroom here on teh blog so you could see more than anything the similarities.  Each student provides us with 8 artifacts to analyze including word lists,a narrative to accompany these drawings, and a survey about time spent outside doing what and with whom..  We also collect parent information about how many generations students have lived in their 'place' and what sort of work do partents to.
If you want to know more about the research, here is a link to the Press Release that went out from the College (

Stay tuned for more pictures of the places we'll go and the people we'll see...........

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic! We are proud of you. :-) Have a great trip -- post often! :-)