students and man kneeling in circle in a forest

The fourth grade participated in the My Side of the Forest program with the Flying Deer Nature Center on September 17. This program is based on the novel My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George, in which a young boy learns courage and independence while living on his own in the Catskill Mountains. ELA teachers are reading this novel with their classes to develop language, vocabulary, and skills that are necessary for survival in the woods. Leaders from Flying Deer led groups of students to campsites in the forest behind our school to complete three challenges. This included a blindfold challenge, where students had to safely make it back to the campsite while wearing a blindfold. Afterward, they discussed challenges and advice they would give to someone trying it in the future. For the next challenge, groups had to find sticks, branches, moss and leaves to construct a waterproof shelter. After 30 minutes, students tested the shelter by pouring a gallon of water over the top. The last challenge was to create a survival name. Students shared their favorite part of the day and their leader assigned them a personalized survival name. The fourth graders wrapped up their day in a graduation circle with all participants to share important survival tips in the forest.  This program was made possible through a grant from the Chatham Education Foundation.

students walking in woods

students wearing blindfolds

girls collecting brush

girl in teepee shelter

students building shelter

students building stick and leaf shelter
students standing in circle

students running in field