Experiential Education

Winterim/Immersion Blog 2019

Welcome to the 2019 blog for Dawson's Winterim and Immersion programs. Posts are added as received, so scroll down to check in on groups of interest. Dates are the date posted to the blog, not necessarily the date the activity took place. Note: Some groups send information more frequently than others; keep checking in periodically to see the latest. 
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France Immersion 3.27.19

Our intrepid French Immersion students return home to Dawson on Thursday! Here are some final thoughts they had on this amazing experience:

What have been some of your favorite moments of this experience?
* I really enjoyed going to a movie in French with Raouda, Isa and her host, and one of their friends. It was a cool way to expand my vocabulary. I’ve also liked PE and getting to make friends on the bus rides there and then run around in the woods with them for an hour. (Lucy)
* My favorite moment in France was probably spending Sunday at my host sister’s grandparents' house. I liked this because her grandmother makes incredible food, and after we ate we just watched French TV and it was super fun. (Maddy)
* So far, my favorite moment was having a sleepover at my friend’s house that goes to Notre Dame La Riche with my host sister. This was my favorite moment because no one in her family spoke very good English and so I was able to practice my French a lot, given she had a lot of siblings who wanted to talk to me. It was also fun spending time outside of school with someone other than my host sister. (Elizabeth)
* My favorite moments have been going to the Eiffel Tower, the Champs Elysees and, now in Tours probably being able to teach French kids to play baseball and then being able to have a complete conversation with them.  I love being able to see the different chateaus here and learning the stories behind them. (Tommy)
* My favorite moments have been when I actually have a full conversation with somebody or when I’m out in public and someone assumes I’m French and starts talking to me in rapid French and I try to hold my own. I had a guy come up to me and talk to me about my FC Monaco jacket and I got through the conversation without (from what I can tell) him being able to tell I wasn’t French. Other great moments have been with friends I have made through school, like teaching some french kids how to throw and catch a baseball. (Nate)
* My favorite moments have honestly been every moment I’ve been here. From every class at school, to going into town after school to get Nutella paninis, to going out with family and friends and exploring the city and drinking Orangina until midnight, to making a new best friend. I’ve honestly loved every moment here. (Isa)
* My favorite moments are when they took me to see the chateau d’Ussé and when we went to the island of Ré. (Margo)
How do you feel now in comparison to when you first arrived in France?
* When I first got to Tours I was terrified and barely spoke for like the first day home and the first day of school and I thought that French people were mean and scary. Now I am a lot more open and go out of my way to start and participate in conversations with my French friends and family. (Lucy)
* When I first arrived I didn’t understand even half as much as I do now. I would zone out in classes just because I didn’t understand what the teacher was saying, the only words I would say were, “oui, non, merci, and quoi?” And now, I understand at least 95% of what people say to me. In class I no longer zone out because I actually comprehend what the teacher is saying to me, and I’ve learned a lot of new things from that. I can now actually carry a casual conversation with people in the halls. My ear has adapted so much and I not only understand more, but I speak more too. (Isa)
* I’m feeling much better, in fact I’m wishing I could stay longer, as I’m having lots of fun. At first I was hesitant and was looking at the downsides, but now that I have acclimated I love this place. There are so many new things to see and new foods to try! (Nate)
* I feel much better this week than when we first arrived. My ability to understand French is much better and I feel very comfortable with my host family and sister. I think this whole experience has made me understand that there is a much bigger world than just Colorado. I am very grateful that I got to have this experience. (Maddy)
* I feel a hundred more times comfortable speaking with people, today in school I had multiple conversations with kids where I understood their questions responded and didn’t make a fool out of myself. (Tommy)
* The first week was rough, I struggled with my French and socializing with the others. Now everything has kinda smoothed over, my French has improved and I am comfortable with everyone here. (Margo)
* In comparison to the first week, I feel much more comfortable with not only speaking French but also with the people here in general. I have also adapted well to the environment at school and at home. (Elizabeth)

What are the most important things you want to do before you leave?
* I want to really go out of my way to talk to my host family and friends before I go even if I’m exhausted or really not in the mood. There is a chance that I will never see some of these people again so I want to make the most of the time that I still have with them. (Lucy)
* These last few days I want to make sure to make the most of it. I’m making a video of my trip so I want to make sure to get lots of footage. I also want to take pictures with the friends I’ve made here. And I want to be able to say thank you to the people here for making me have such an amazing time in this new country. It’s going to be a hard goodbye. (Isa)
* With less than a week left, I feel that I have used these last few days to my advantage by talking to more people. However, I think I can use these few days to take more pictures because I will want those memories once I’m gone. (Elizabeth)
I just want to enjoy my last few days here and make sure I make the most of them. (Maddy)
* With less than a week left I want to make sure that I leave with solid relationships with the people here.  I want to also make sure that I have gifts for my family back home.  (Tommy)
* Before I go home I want to make sure I can communicate with my host family after, and I want to see my former host. (Margo)

France Immersion 3.19.19

Our students are beginning their third week in France and they've been learning a lot both in school and out! Here's what they have to say:
When I first came to Tours I thought that all french people would look down on me because I am an American. However, the more I stay here the more I realize that France is one of the most accepting cultures I've had the pleasure to know. There is a decidedly multicultural aspect to everyday french life, the food and studies are a blend of the world, and most french students invite more and more people to come and be a part of their culture. I have seen castles and monasteries, seen period dramas and reflective mysteries, I feel immersed in french culture. I wish to pay it forward to my wonderful host family, and share with them American culture. (Margo)
The longer I’ve stayed here the more I have realized that the French students are really similar to the ones back in the States. I feel like I am getting way better at understanding people which was one of my goals, and I think I am also getting better at speaking. Before we return I would like to continue to speak a lot more French and also get closer with my host sister. (Maddy)
My impressions of France continue to change, as there are so many intricacies that you would never think about, but exist. Some examples of this are things like the integration of American culture into their everyday life. A lot of people want to look American, but also want to make it seem like they are French too, so the mixing of styles is very interesting. I’m getting to see a bunch of things I would have never thought of, like a professional handball match. I don’t know exactly what I want to see, but that’s because I don’t know all the cool things here yet! Handball is a very cool sport, and it was much more intense than I originally thought it would be. There was a lot of fighting and contact, and the ball comes pretty fast for being at such a short range. (Nate)
I’m starting to get adjusted to the French lifestyle and the people. At first it all was a bit new to me and I didn’t understand some things, but with time I started to understand them and I came to really enjoy their way of being. French people are really different from American people- in the best way possible. And the French lifestyle is completely different in every way. My impressions of them no longer change because I’m used to it now, I’m going to miss it a lot. I think I’ve hit every one of my goals so far, I think I’ve definitely become more fluent and along with that I can now comprehend a lot of French. The first day I was very overwhelmed because they were talking at a pace I was not used to and I couldn’t keep up, I didn’t understand a thing. Now my ear has adjusted and I understand almost everything at their pace. I am also learning a lot about the culture and trying new things. I don't want to leave!! (Isa)
My impression of French people hasn’t been changing throughout the course of these few weeks, because they have been very friendly overall. I feel like my original goal of improving my French has been going well so far since I am much better than when I got here. I am hoping to continue making friends and make the most out of these next few weeks. (Elizabeth)
My impressions are changing of France because just lots of things that I thought were really weird are now seeming really normal.  They way that they interact with each other is quite different than how we do in the US and before I thought it was really awkward but it is just how they act.  I still have questions but I feel that I have less than I had at the beginning because I am really starting to understand life here.  I feel that I am doing really good, I am trying to speak lots of French and I think I might end up going to more classes than are on my schedule.  I really enjoy how well I am fitting in at school and I feel that I am throwing myself in headfirst to trying to speak lots of French. I am hoping to try to advance my vocabulary and try to continue to communicate in a better manner.  (Tommy)
I’m definitely starting to see more of the similarities between French and American culture now that I’m here I think due in part to the fact that the culture shock is wearing off. I feel like I’ve made an effort to speak as much French as possible and have reached out and made an active effort to make new French friends. In these last two weeks, I want to spend as much time with my host family and as much time with my French friends as possible. (Lucy)

MS Washington 3.17.19

On our unexpected extra day in DC, we headed straight for the Smithsonian Zoo.  It was so nice to see the pandas and read about their history in DC!  Afterwards, we went over to the National Art Gallery to view art old and new.  After a quick trip to the hotel, we finished off the day with a return to one of the students' favorite restaurants, Rhodeside Grill, which was packed with a very lively St. Patty's Day crowd.

Baja Kayak 3.16.19

On the Baja winterim, we explored the ecology of Espiritu Santo Island off the coast of La Paz, Baja California Sur. We arrived last Saturday and set off for the island on Sunday. On the front and back end of the trip, we enjoyed the beautiful Hotel Catedral in downtown La Paz. On our trip, we spent two days sea kayaking. Learning how to pack a sea kayak was definitely a challenge but we got there eventually! Most kayaks were doubles and some were singles. In between kayaking trips, we snorkeled around the gorgeous beaches and got to look at fish like the Parrotfish and the Cortez Rainbow Wrasse.  We swam with sea lions near their rookery, and saw many green sea turtles over their feeding grounds while we kayaked.  We also learned a lot about the geology and early inhabitants of the island from our guide Chino. 

The only rough spot on the trip was on Monday night, when there was a ton of wind and some rain on the island. Some tent poles broke and we were all pretty chilly but luckily Ms. Carson and Ms. Drozda brought us tea, coffee, and warm quesadillas as 11 of the 14 students huddled in a tent. We were able to fix the poles and it was all sunshine and clear days from there on.

MS Washington DC 3.15.19

Thursday began with a trip to the beautiful Library of Congress.  Students walked through the extraordinary building, checked out Thomas Jefferson's original book collection, and observed the reading room chamber from above.  We then took a shuttle over to see one of the Boundary Stones of Washington, DC at the Jones Point Lighthouse.  The shuttle then took us over to George Washington's estate at Mount Vernon, where students were able to walk through George and Martha's home, enjoy the fresh air along the Potomac, and even pet a few sheep.
The shuttle took us over to Old Town Alexandria where we had an interesting meal of "Meggrolls" and slaw.  Right around the corner we arrived at Escape Quest for good new-fashioned teamwork.  Two groups attempted to complete "The King's Ransom" and "The Black Widow"--both successful and lots of fun!
The next morning we took the sub over to Arlington National Cemetery, which was certainly an awe-inspiring trip for the students.  They learned about religious markers, saw JFK's burial site, and watched the historic Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  They couldn't believe that this ritual was performed on an hourly basis under any condition--amazing!
The shuttle then picked us up and took us over to Udvar-Hazy.  What a cool opportunity it was to visit the National Air and Space Museum, where we saw NASA's Space Shuttle Discovery, the Concorde, Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, and countless other feats of aviation.  
After some down-time at the hotel, we had an absolutely delicious Italian dinner at Il Radicchio.  The kids had a bit of time to spend with their roommates in the evening--hopefully all are resting up for our unexpected day in DC Saturday due to flight delay!

Raku Ceramics 3.15.19

Friday, the Raku Ceramics Winterim fired their pieces in Dawson's Raku kiln. Students learned to load the kiln and about the process of removing their work after the kiln reached 1800 degrees F. They carefully removed their pieces using large metal tongs and placed them into trash cans filled with newspaper. Once each can is full of pieces and the paper ignites, the cans are sealed and the pieces cool inside. Once they are cool, the pieces are removed and a variety of finishes including coppers, reds, and blue colors are revealed. It was a great culminating day to the week!

Italy 3.15.19

Hello from Rome. We spent the morning in Orvieto. It’s a smaller Mt town with only 20 thousand people living in the town. We were given a tour of the town and the Duomo.  Students were then given an hour to get lunch and to do a little shopping or exploring. We got back on the bus and then went to Civita di Bagnoregio. It’s known as the dying city, due to the land crumbling under it. It only has 7 permanent residents, and may only have 100 more years before its end. We then got back on the bus and headed to Rome. We checked into our hotel and went to dinner. After dinner we headed to the Trevi fountain, Pantheon and Navona Square. 
Great day. 

Cuba 3.15.19 - Photos Pt 2

Catching up on photos from Cuba!

Cuba 3.15.19 - Photos Pt 1

Better connectivity, so photos from Cuba!

Bread & Cheese 3.15.19

On Tuesday, we made many different breads (sourdough bread, wheat bread, white bread) and rolls (cinnamon rolls, sourdough cinnamon rolls, sourdough dinner rolls and whole wheat dinner rolls). We also took a trip to Moxie Bakery in Louisville, where owner Andy explained his baking history and approach to bread making. We also got to sample some delicious sourdough bread and gorgonzola cheese!

On Thursday, it was a feast! Using the laminated dough we prepared last week, Miche Bacher, our guest pastry chef, led us through making palmiers, kouign amann, apple and cherry turnovers, danishes, cheese bread sticks, and croissants, among others! We also prepared gluten-free goodies, including baguettes, brioche, cinnamon buns, and palmiers. It was quite the smorgasbord!

Friday, we started the day by joining the middle school Winterim "Food, Glorious Food" to fry and fill donuts. We had three different fillings: pastry cream, cream cheese, and strawberry jam. Then, we got back to cheese making! Kate from the Art of Cheese came to walk us through making cheddar and finishing the camembert we started last week. To round out the experience, we're having lunch and a lesson at the Cheese Importers in Longmont.

Sports Science 3.14.19

For Thursday’s outing, the Sports Science crew braved Broomfield’s icy roads and snow-shrouded traffic signals to go to Strength2Strength. Founder Tommy Flanagan views sports as solving problems through movement. He strives to improve speed, strength, and awareness so athletes are better able to adapt and react to the dynamic situations they encounter. Tommy, Leisha, and Brandon guided the group through a two-hour workout focused on improving speed and acceleration by making movements more efficient. In some cases, the improvements were striking. Alas, those most advanced in age instead demonstrated just how slowly the human form can move, which was not one of the stated objectives for the session.

Baja Kayak 3.14.19

From yoga on the beach to camping on a desert island, a glimpse of life in Baja!

Judicial System 3.14.19

Today, we started with the Newseum, which the kids really enjoyed, in particular, the 911 exhibit and the Pulitzer Prize winning photography.  After that we went to the Federal Court, where we were able to see a jury trial, and then we spent more time walking the monuments.  Charlie Veraza, a Dawson alum who currently has an internship at the State Department joined us for a nice dinner.

Food Glorious Food 3.14.19

Today was a very interesting day, on Food, Glorious Food!  We began our day finalizing the design for our cookbook, finally settling on a theme!  Here's the hint--all of our recipes have to fall into one of two categories: sugar or spice.   Then we headed out for Food Lab in Boulder.  Ms. Lopez greeted us on the bus with fresh doughnuts. They were sweet and chewy.   We knew we were in for a good time at Food Lab when we pulled up and amazingly, found a parking space, right in front, truly incredible in Boulder!  

Our cooking class was focused on Indian food and Chef Scott, our teacher, entrusted us with so many tasks.  He first showed us some very fascinating knife skills; then we began cooking our various dishes. We started with veggie muffins filled with carrots, ginger, onions, and pepper. Then our teams of four proceeded to make samosas. We first made the dough, which had to set for 30 minutes. Then we stirred in the potatoes, peas, and other vegetables. Then we fried them to crispy perfection.  Did you know that the perfect temperature for frying is 350 degrees?   We then helped make a mean chicken tikka masala, accompanied by coconut rice.  The loveliest part of the lesson was eating all the food that we had made - all together at a big table. Then we said our goodbyes to Chef Scott and headed back to campus, where we plan to finish off the day with some fondue making...where will we find the room in our stomachs?

Backcountry Skiing 3.14.19

The Backcountry Ski Winterim had a fantastic last day in the San Juans. We began the day with assessing the forecast and avalanche conditions using a variety of tools including Google Earth. We then headed towards Ridgway for a tour, lessons, and ski. Students dug snow pits, analyzing layers and crystals, and used their probes to measure the entire winter's storm cycles. We then enjoyed several powder laps under a brilliant blue sky. We then finished up with a rescue scenario. Students recovered two buried beacons in just five minutes! Their communication and teamwork were incredible to watch. We’re soaking tired muscles in the Ouray Hot Springs before our final night.

Cuba 3.14.19

Photos from Cuba!

Italy 3.14.19

Hello from Siena. We spent the day traveling the hills of Tuscany. Truly beautiful country. 
Our first stop was San Gimignano. Maybe one of my favorite Mt towns. After a tour of the town and a little shopping and some gelato, we were off to Agriturismo Orgiaglia  farm for a Bruschetta class. It was so much fun. The farm and family were amazing and the food was awesome. Or last stop of the day was Volterra. One of the oldest towns in the region. We made our way back to Siena and quickly dropped our stuff in the hotel and then student went out to dinner on their own ( in groups of 5 or 6). They all had a great meal and are all back safe and sound. 

We will make our way to Rome tomorrow. 
Dwight and Sarena 

Bright Lights, Big City 3.14.19

Wow - look at our talented new aerialists!

MS Art in the City 3.14.19

Today our group went to Brian Wood’s studio in Lafayette to learn about the art of letterpressing. We came back to Dawson and Brian brought some table presses and everyone made their own letter presses, including a collaboration piece we all did together!

MS Scuba 3.14.19

Scuba divers need to understand about pressure. We just toured the innards of Deer Creek Reservoir’s hydroelectric dam (a location that uses water pressure to create electricity)! It was fascinating!  Our students had so many questions. What a great experience! 

Taste Explosion 3.14.19

Thanks to Chef Ashley and the SAGE team for helping us to make Chef Daniel Asher’s of River & Woods original fusion menu today, based on the four cuisines we studied this week: Indian, Thai, Vietnamese, and Mexican. 

SE Coastal History 3.14.19

Busy fun with the SE Coastal History group!

Baltimore College Visits 3.14.19

Today members of the D.C. / Baltimore Winterim toured their 9th college: Johns Hopkins University. We've already seen Georgetown and the Naval Academy among others, and tonight we'll watch two local colleges square off in an improv competition.

MS Washington DC 3.14.19

Wednesday began in typical fashion with breakfast at the hotel and a subway ride downtown.  Our first stop was the African American Museum, which documents African American history from slavery to the present, while celebrating contributions to American culture.  From there, we hustled over to Shake Shack for burgers and, you guessed it, shakes.  After lunch, it was a short walk over to the FBI Headquarters on Pennsylvania Ave.  What an incredible opportunity this was!  Students had a chance to walk through the actual FBI Headquarters alongside retired FBI agents.  We learned about how the FBI does their work and how things have changed since 9/11.
After the FBI, we had just enough time to run back to the hotel to change into nice clothes for our fancy night out.  Another subway ride downtown brought us to MXDC Cocina Mexicana Restaurant.  Our three-course meal concluded with churros and tres leches...yum!  We then walked over to the iconic Ford's Theater for a showing of Into the Woods, the same play the MS performed just a few weeks ago.  At the same time, students were able to see the place where President Lincoln was ambushed and shot in the balcony above us. It was a late night--we didn't get back to the hotel until after 11pm.  Exhaustedly, we all reported promptly to our rooms and went to sleep.

(Photos to come later!)

Bright Lights, Big City 3.13.19

Smiling two-bellied, one elbow, one handed monster at Frequent Flyers! The group is making amazing progress at aerial dance.

Judicial System 3.13.19

We had a great day in Washington, D.C.  We started with a visit to the Supreme Court where we got a personal tour and then we met with two of Justice Gorsuch’s clerks.  The students were able to ask lots of questions and got lots of insight about the inner workings of the court.  Dawson alum, Maddie Pelletier, who is currently interning at the Supreme Court met us for the tour and for lunch afterwards.  She had valuable advice about college and about applying for internships in D.C.
After the Supreme Court and lunch, we met a staff member from Senator Bennet’s office for a tour of the capitol building.  Tachi literally ran into Chuck Schumer and we caught a glimpse of the back of Nancy Pelosi’s head.  We also got to listen to a speech from the House Gallery and watch them adjourn for the day.
The weather was beautiful tonight, so we walked to several of the monuments to see them at night.

6th Grade Snow Mountain Ranch 3.13.19

Our Grade 6 students have a different definition of Snow Day than our close-to-campus counterparts!  Today we had a Snow FUN Day, enjoying snowshoeing in champagne powder and building amazing snow forts as part of our outdoor survival course.  The day ends with board games, hot chocolate, and Mrs. Yelvington's epic read aloud of Ghost Boys by Jewel Parker Rhodes. 

Backcountry Skiing 3.13.19

The Backcountry Ski Winterim had an outstanding day in a winter wonderland. We hiked in the south section of the world famous Ouray Ice Park and climbed several routes in the Chef’s Slabs. Using ice tools and crampons, they got in several climbs and a top-to-bottom rappel. They also belayed one another and took excellent care of themselves and one another. We’re feeling incredibly lucky for such an amazing and educational experience.

Cuba 3.13.19

We have been having the most wonderful trip! Arnie and I have been so proud of how flexible the students have been with all kinds of situations and different amenity levels than they are normally accustomed to. They have been so incredibly open minded and seem to be really connecting with the people here in Cuba as well as bonding with each other. Many of them even admitted today that they have been grateful for the opportunity to disconnect - we’ll see if they are still feeling that way once they have their devices back in hand and are re-plugged in. 
On Monday morning we hit the road from Havana and had a pretty long day of travel to Guanahacabibes National Park, and it was really cool to be on the far westernmost tip of Cuba! The Park Rangers received is with a warm welcome and excitedly shared about their research and conservation initiatives. That evening we stayed in the tiny community of La Bajada, originally founded as a fishing community.  The community received us so incredibly warmly, opening their homes to us, cooking us food, and preparing an evening program for us with activities and live music. The next day we helped clean up the beach a bit, went snorkeling and then feasted on an amazing spread of local fish and fresh fruit. This humble village really rolled out the red carpet for us!
We then traveled Tuesday after lunch to Vinales, where we settled in and explored town before dinner and joined the locals for some dancing in the central plaza. This morning we toured a local organic farm (run by a former professional baseball player who pitched for the Cuban national team!) focused on educating locals on how to make a living for themselves while also preserving the natural resources and beautiful landscape. After another incredible meal, we made our way back to Havana. The rest of the trip holds for us salsa dance lessons, a visit with local artists, visits to a museum, checking out the handicrafts market and a farewell dinner.

(connectivity challenges, so no photos for now)

Italy 3.13.19

Hello from Siena. We woke up a little later today (7:45), had breakfast, packed up and were on the bus to Siena by 8:45. It was just a quick ride to Siena (1hr &15 min). Dropped our bags in the hotel, and walked down to Piazza del Campo. After a little exploring, students went off for lunch.  We met back at our hotel to meet our local guide who showed us around Siena. 
She took us on a walk around town and we learned the local history as well as going into  the Duomo and a few other places. 
We had dinner in Siena and then a few students walked around the Campo. We will head to San Gimignano, Volterra  and Agriturismo Orgiaglia farm (we will have a Bruscherta class at the farm)tomorrow for a day trip. 
Really good day. 

MS France 3.13.19

Hello! What an eventful day today! We visited le Château Royal de Blois and Le Château de Chambord. Mr. Schuhmann is by far our favorite tour guide!

Lower School 3.13.19

On Tuesday the Lower School students began the day working on a project led by a local Girl Scout.  She read a book about different ways to cope with feelings of stress and the students created their own 'Cope-cake' pictures to help them to remember things they can do to help themselves.  Then we boarded the busses and headed to The Denver Zoo for the day.  The students had fun while participating in a zoo scavenger hunt and working in their reflection journals about what they observed.  It was a fantastic day!

Arizona 3.13.19

If you missed the Arizona group's updates on Twitter (@MsHandTeacher, #AZWinterim19), the crew had an awesome visit to the Desert Museum yesterday, meeting cool species and interacting with stingrays. (Unfortunately, it appears two of our students have turned into desert plants.)

SE Coastal History 3.13.19

In case you haven't seen the Southeast Coast group's posts on Twitter ( @Ms_Roebuck), they had another successful day yesterday, studying the history of the south. "Can't wait for our drive to Charleston tomorrow, and tour of Boone Hall Plantation!"

Raku Ceramics 3.13.19

The Raku Ceramics Winterim group has been hard at work in the pottery studio for the past two days. The students learned the process of wedging their clay and centering it on the wheel. This can be a challenging skill to learn and the students dove right in to begin learning to throw on the wheel. We have also been learning some hand-building techniques including using the slab-roller to create flat pieces of clay to construct ceramic pieces. On Tuesday, our group started out the morning working in the studio and then headed out on a field trip to visit local ceramic artist, Terry Crook, at her studio in Boulder. Terry spent about an hour with our group giving us a tour of her studio as well as doing a live demo of her process of throwing on the wheel. She talked with us about how she formulates her own glazes to tweak the results to her specific desired finish. She also explained a variety of different firing processes that she uses including Raku, saggar, and high-fire. Finally, we got a tour of her gallery where the students could see some of her finished work. After lunch, the students returned to the studio at Dawson with a renewed sense of purpose and a clearer vision of the types of pieces they wanted to try to make. We will be continuing to create new pieces tomorrow followed by finishing up our creations and glazing on Thursday and our culminating Raku firing on Friday! 

Food Glorious Food 3.13.19

Title: Goats + tea = goatee (hence the beard nets)
We began Tuesday volunteering at Three Leaf Farm, which supplies ingredients to many local restaurants, including the Dushanbe Teahouse in Boulder, where we had an amazing lunch and drank way too much tea (if such a thing is possible). Then it was on to Celestial Seasonings for more tea tasting and a factory tour. Everyone enjoyed cleaning out their sinuses in the mint room and wearing fashionable blue hairnets (and, in a few cases, beard nets).

Life on the Fly 3.13.19

Last week, we learned how to tie flies, the basics of casting, and we collected bugs from Boulder Creek. 

Tuesday was our first day on the Arkansas River down near Salida. Everyone caught at least one fish! Beautiful rainbow, brown, and cutbow trout. Tonight we've been playing games and cooking as we prepare for a lot of snow tomorrow. 

Catalina 3.13.19

Hello everybody!

Luke here with your daily dispatch. We are finishing up our second full day in one of the coolest ways possible - some bio luminescent night snorting. A little hard to picture, but basically our movement in the water causes millions of these rare microscopic organisms around us to glow. So, for example, if you move your arm really fast out in front of you, it’s like you are shooting jets of light out of your fingertips. 

We started the day with our fingers crossed that the grey and cloudy weather of the last two days would be gone, and we were rewarded with sunshine and blue skies all day! 

After breakfast we had our orientation snorkel. We learned about the fish we were going to be seeing, had a wetsuit-putting-on instruction by famed “Wild Wetsuit Wrangler” Jedediah “Danger” O’Malley (you’re just going to have to ask your kid), and headed down to the beach. It was very cold, but the kids were troopers and we had a good time spotting the fish we had just learned about. Free time before lunch was all about lying in the sun warming up!

We had some more free time after lunch, and a bunch of the kids continued a favorite activity from yesterday. We are at CIMI with two other schools with younger kids, and our 8th graders have been amazing at interacting and playing with them during free time. The favorite game is easily 8th graders vs 5th graders basketball. There are about 5 or 6 of our 8th graders vs hordes of small children who have the time of their lives yelling “GET HIM!!!” as they charge towards whichever 8th grader has the ball. 

Early afternoon had us heading to the high and low ropes course. First activity was a huge swing. You get hoisted up into the air about 30 feet high by the rest of the group via a pulley, then release yourself from one of the knots so that you free fall and then swing dramatically forward. This all happening up on a wildflower covered hill overlooking the beautiful coastline.  Quite a stunning place for a challenge course. The group was very supportive and everyone tried it out! 

After some more challenge activities on the low ropes course, we headed back down for dinner and the last bit of free time for the day before night snorkeling. 

MS Washington DC 3.13.19 Part 2

MS DC Day 3! Just like yesterday, we grabbed breakfast at the hotel and then hit the subway.  Today's destination was the US Capitol.  After making it through the heavily-guarded security checkpoint, we met up with two interns from Senator Michael Bennet's office.  They took us on an in-depth tour of the Capitol building, including all the areas no longer in use, like the old senate chambers and supreme court.  Students stood out of the way of very important-looking politicians who cruised through touristy areas surrounded by staffers.  We even had a chance to quietly sit in the balcony of the current senate chambers.  Although there wasn't much happening besides staffers milling about below, it was still neat to see where their senators do their work.  Next up, we actually had a chance to meet one!  Students had a chance to shake hands with and ask questions to Senator Cory Gardner.  He showed them his schedule on his cell phone (something happening every 20 minutes throughout the day) and then we posed for a picture.  Students commented on how nice and approachable he was!
Next up, we had lunch at the National Gallery, then walked over to the Newseum.  This incredible museum allowed students to see how important events have been covered by the media for centuries.  Special exhibits included media coverage of the 9/11 attacks, a chunk of the Berlin wall, and LGBTQ rights.  After the Newseum, we had just enough time to walk through the Botanic Gardens.  Still tired from yesterday, we went back to the hotel to decompress.  In the evening, we met up for games and NY-style pizza.

MS Washington DC 3.13.19 (3.12 update)

It’s amazing to think of all the things the MS DC trip did on their second day of Winterim.  After breakfast at the hotel, we took the Metro train from Virginia to DC.  While we waited for the Smithsonian museums to open, we walked over to the Washington Monument.  Students learned about why the obelisk changes color about a quarter of the way up (do you know?).  Around the corner, we walked through the massive World War II Memorial, where kids tried to find the approved graffiti (“Kilroy Was Here”).
At 10am, we headed over to the American History museum.  Students loved seeing Abraham Lincoln’s hat, Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers, and the extensive exhibit documenting the American transportation industry.  We then had lunch at the Holocaust Museum café—most of the kids opted for hot dogs, pizzas, and smoothies.  Shortly thereafter, we took the elevator to the top floor of the Holocaust Museum and made our descent through history.  Students were struck by the horror of the Holocaust, pausing to reflect on the piles of confiscated shoes and the drawings of children trapped in the ghettos.
Back outside, we walked over to the White House.  Students remarked that it looked smaller than they expected, then posed for a group picture.  Next…dinner!  We enjoyed some state-of-the-art grilled cheeses at GCDC. 
After dinner, a private shuttle picked us up so we could begin our tour of DC after dark.  Students had a chance to see key monuments and memorials under the night sky.  Highlights included: the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, the Revolutionary War Memorial, the Vietnam War Memorial, the Vietnam Women’s Memorial, and the Lincoln Memorial.  Lastly, we took the shuttle over to the Pentagon to see the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial.  Although we ran out of time to see it up close, students got to see the Air Force Memorial from the shuttle bus.
Exhaustedly, we all headed to our rooms and went to bed.  To be continued!

Kauai Ethnography/Botany 3.12.19

Hiking into Limahuli Preserve... beginning to clear invasive species... 
Before... Clearing fern rhizomes... 
Happy worker... Dawson and Sari volunteer coordinator...
Planting papala...

Judicial System 3.12.19

Great day in DC today.  We started with a visit to the new National Museum of African American History and Culture, where students could learn about the African American experience as it has related to the American judicial system.  From there, we walked to Representative Ken Buck’s office.  The students heard from Representative Buck’s legislative director and asked questions before meeting Ken Buck himself.  Students learned about Buck’s role on the United States House Committee on the Judiciary and on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.  Before dinner, we stopped by the Air and Space Museum and the National Portrait Gallery. Our final stop of the night was a quick photo op outside the White House.

5th Grade Keystone Science Center 3.12.19

We are having a wonderful time here at Winterim! We have so far had beautiful weather and so many amazing adventures cross-country skiing on the trails around Keystone.

There are plenty of things to do here on campus and many flat, close trails to ski. We currently have a snowman invasion being built that we can add to, and we are all becoming expert cross country skiers and sledders. Tonight we are having a campfire and using the observatory. The kids are super happy and have actually gotten some sleep even on the first night! 

Please know that your amazing kids are in good hands and having a blast!

6th Grade Snow Mountain Ranch 3.12.19

It was a fantastic and beautiful first full day for our Grade 6 mustangs at Snow Mountain Ranch! Highlights of the day included students enjoying snowshoeing, tubing, and learning about snow science.  Tonight we are off to the pool and then to the rollerskating rink.  Tomorrow the fun continues!  

MS France 3.12.19

We have been busy! We had a blast visiting the town of Amboise and its Château Royal. We also visited Le Château de Loches. It sure was windy today! Nothing like exploring and learning with your friends in France! Fun fact of our visit today in Amboise: We visited the Chapel of Saint-Hubert, famously known as Leonardo da Vinci's burial site.

Italy 3.12.19

Hello from Florence. We were up early and off to the Uffizi Gallery. We spent three hours taking in some of the most impressive art work in the world. We then walked over to the Accademia and saw many of Michelangelo’s sculptures and of courses the David. 

Then off to the Mercato Centrale (central Market) for lunch. Students where then given time to go off in groups to shop many of the small shop around the area. We met back in front of the Duomo and climbed to the top of the Bell tower: amazing views of Florence. Great workout too. Clocking in around 6-9 miles a day (depending on how much shopping one does). 
After the tower, students went back out to do some more exploring of Florence. Beautiful day in the mid 50s. You really gotta love Florence. Dinner at 8:00. And then an after dinner stroll. 

France Immersion 3.12.19

After a week with their host families and attending school in France, we asked the French Immersion students to reflect on the following questions:
How is France similar or different to what you expected?
France is very different from what I had expected, I didn't anticipate how structured the school is or how many people smoke. But, the vast part of my expectations have been met. There is a lot of national pride and lots of cheese, bread, and wine culture. (Margo)
So far in France the one I thing expected that is true is that the food is amazing! Other than that everything is pretty different especially school. (Maddy)
Have you been surprised by anything you have seen or experienced?
I was surprised by how much they talk in class. There is a stereotype of the loud American but the French, from what I’ve seen, are much louder! (Lucy)
I have been surprised at how little the people here drink water and also how little homework the students receive. I was also very surprised at how small all of the streets and roads are, and how people drive so quickly on such a small street.  (Maddy)
I have been surprised by the amount of old churches and cathedrals. It seems that there is an old building from the 1500s on every corner, and it is interesting how they have integrated new technology into the old buildings. (Nate)
What successes have you experienced so far?
I’ve been able to hold full conversations and successfully explain an American concept completely in French a couple times now and been able to express all that I wanted to say. (Lucy)
It's been fun to have people try to speak to me in English and then say I would rather speak in French. And when I can understand what my host family is saying to one another without them slowing down their French for me? The ultimate success. (Margo)
I am finally starting to fit in with the kids here and I am beginning to have better conversations with them where I can understand a lot more of what the people are saying to me.  I like that I am starting to understand the people and what they are saying, and I am also starting to get to understand more of the customs.  (Tommy)

Backcountry Skiing 3.12.19

The Backcountry Ski Winterim began their Tuesday with an in-depth analysis of the day’s weather forecast, the anatomy of avalanches (courtesy of flour and sugar- see photo below) and headed out to Weehawken, a historic mine-turned touring area just north of Ouray. Students will continue to practice their touring, rescue, and terrain-reading skills in the stunningly beautiful San Juan mountains.

Bright Lights, Big City 3.12.19

Our intrepid Winterim-ists trying their hand at aerial dance with Boulder's Frequent Flyers troupe.

Kauai Ethnography/Botany 3.12.19

Our second full day on Kauai was another big day. We started out with some exercise, with most of the group having a yoga lesson on the beach while others ran or got a few extra minutes of sleep. Then we had a surf lesson at Anahola beach and everyone gave it a try. With the help of our instructors everyone stood up despite the choppy conditions. The afternoon was our first full group paddling session at the Hanalei Canoe Club, and we took a nice trip down the river. Everyone explored Hanalei for dinner, trying out various restaurants in town.

MS Art in the City 3.12.19

Dawson students working with Boulder artist and Dawson parent Will Day in his studio on abstract art! 

Taste Explosion 3.12.19

Continuing fun and exploration yesterday at Foodlab in Boulder as we delved into Indian cooking! We made muffins with Indian spices and vegetables, Samosas and Tamarind Sauce with filling of potatoes / peas, and Chicken Tikka Masala, the classic Indian dish with a tomato cream sauce and several Indian spices. Our day in Boulder also included the students breaking up into three teams and doing a scavenger hunt along the Pearl Street Mall, items such as a menu in one of our class cuisines, different kinds of salt, some food with a weird texture and more. Today we head over to cook Vietnamese food which will be a fun compare and contrast to our restaurant visit last week to New Saigon. 

MS Washington DC 3.12.19

MS DC checking in! Wow, yesterday was so busy and action-packed, we didn't get back to the hotel until 10pm. Those of us with step counters clocked close to 30,000 steps! Needless to say, we were all super tired and went straight to bed. 
  (see update above, 3.13.19)

SE Coastal History 3.12.19

Via @Ms_Roebuck on Twitter: We've been having such a fantastic time in Savannah! Yesterday we visited a gorgeous history cemetery, explored the town, and enjoyed an absolutely fabulous dinner. Now, on to hilton Head!

L.A. College Tour 3.11.19

We had a great day at the Claremont Colleges, setting foot on each of the "5 Cs." We began with a tour of Pomona. Maria Jose Urbina (Dawson class of 2018) met us to share her experience there and also took us to Claremont McKenna and Scripps. After lunch, most of us toured Pitzer while some others toured Harvey Mudd. We enjoyed learning about the consortium, which offers five very distinct schools and the benefits of shared resources.
We headed to Pasadena for the night, eating Italian for dinner and Japanese cheesecake for dessert.
All in all we saw 5 colleges and logged close to 10 miles on foot. Tomorrow we head to USC and UCLA.

Sports Science 3.11.19

We spent much of today at the Sport Stable, a massive, privately-owned indoor sports complex in Superior housing two full-sized hockey rinks, over 3,000 square yards of turf surface, multiple courts, batting cages, restaurants, and much more. The $27-million facility operates on a business model similar to a shopping mall. The Sport Stable provides the basic infrastructure, and a variety of independent businesses rent out space to conduct business. We toured one such business, Synapse Physical Therapy, and worked out under the tutelage of Tim Naimen of Impact Sports Performance. (You can see in the photo below that Tim has really let himself go since he began to devote himself full-time to training athletes.) After lunch, we had the opportunity to try out curling. Though we look competent sliding, curling, and sweeping, let’s just say that Dawson students need a lot more ice time before we can field a competitive team. We ended with a bootcamp workout under the expert guidance of Dawson’s own Katie Boyle. This high-intensity workout induced feelings of ethereal lightness before bringing us crashing down in complete exhaustion.

Catalina 3.11.19

After a very long boat ride this morning we arrived at CIMI’s Fox Landing Campus on Catalina Island! Since then we went kayaking (super cold by the end - the kids were ready to be done!), spent some free time playing basketball, volleyball, and ping pong.  Getting ready for the squid dissection now! 

Judicial System 3.11.19

We are all safely arrived in DC.  Last week, we met with several people involved in the local justice system, including lawyers, judges with the Colorado Court of Appeals, law students, law professors, and police officers.  We toured the Colorado Court of Appeals and CU law school as well.  Today was a travel day.  Tomorrow, we’re looking forward to going to the African American Museum and to meeting with staff from Representative Ken Buck’s office to learn about the Federal Judiciary Committee.  

6th Grade Snow Mountain Ranch 3.11.19

The 6th grade and our 15 Adventure Leaders arrived at the YMCA Snow Mountain Ranch today.  We enjoyed a day full of snowshoeing, roller skating, practicing our snow survival skills, ice skating, and snow tubing!

Backcountry Skiing 3.11.19

The Backcountry Ski Winterim had an excellent first day in Ouray! We began our work in the classroom with some hands on lessons on types of avalanches and safety equipment. After being outfitted with gear, we spent the afternoon practicing beacon searches, probing, and shoveling. Students did a tremendous job practicing their skills and supporting one another as we got used to new equipment and surroundings. 

Gear Monkeys 3.11.19

Gear Monkeys had a great Monday. We started off the day by purchasing a 1995 Buick Le Sabre - we look forward to taking it apart, diagnosing, and hopefully fixing its problems in the week ahead (see attached pictures of Buick).This afternoon we visited Aerosuds and Sill-Terhar Motors in Broomfield where we were given a tour by Janelle Ertl (maiden name: Sill-Terhar) who graduated from Dawson in '96. While there we got to glimpse behind the scenes in the auto and detailing shops, ask questions of a Lamborghini mechanic, and see (and in some cases sit in) the Lamborghinis and Aston Martins on the show room floor. (See attached pictures of the group in front of the Lamborghini show room.)

Food Glorious Food 3.11.19

Mostly by Nolan Silver (8th grade): Sugar, spice, and we didn't eat lice! We started the day (Monday, Mar. 11) with a trip to Hammond’s Candy Factory to learn about sugar and ways we can incorporate it into our cooking. Then we continued our adventure deeper into Denver and had lunch at Comida, a Mexican restaurant inside the trendy Source Hotel that uses spicy, fresh, local ingredients—including, sometimes, crickets from the Rocky Mountain Micro Ranch, our final stop of the day. At the Micro Ranch we learned about insect farming and sampled mealworms, crickets, and “bug jerky,” all great sources of protein that are steadily gaining popularity in the United States (having long been a staple in many South and Central American and Asian countries).

Bread & Cheese 3.11.19

From student Aya Kaneko: During our first days of Winterim, we did many different activities. Amonth the group we made a variety of breads, ranging from sweet to savory. Today - Monday - our focus is cheese. Last week, we made soft cheeses, and the basics of cheese. The main four ingredients: culture, salt, milk, and renett. During this first cheese learning experience, we were able to apply our techniques to today. Today we are making hard cheese, the texture and the steps are hard, like the name. We are excited for today's outcome as well as the rest of the week.

Italy 3.11.19

Hello, we spent the morning in Venice exploring St Mark’s Square with a tour of St Mark’s Basilica and the Doge’s palace. We then walked the canals, exploring Venice waterways and amazing shops. Students were given time to go off in small groups to shop and have lunch. Nothing like sitting by the waterways, drinking espresso and, of course, eating gelato. In front of the palace... boat ride in Venice...

We then took a bus to Florence for dinner and an evening stroll around the city. Duomo in Florence... Really great day!

Lower School 3.11.19

Lower School started off the morning with Mr. Atekpatzin Young, who spoke with us about Native American peoples and shared a blessing with us as we began Winterim Week.  Each student filled a bag with much needed first aid supplies for Project Cure's program called Kits for Kids.  In the afternoon we participated in two workshops run by the Arvada Center for the Performing Arts and we also had a mindfulness session.

Arizona 3.11.19

Middle School adventurers in Tucson are getting a taste of area history, culture, and surroundings. There were a few 'outlaws' at the Arizona Historial Society, before the group got some sunshine at Sabino Canyon.

Follow @MsHandTeacher and #AZWinterim19 for the latest from the Arizona group!

Kauai Ethnography/Botany 3.11.19

Starting a day of learning in Hawaii with 7:00 a.m. yoga and mindfulness on the beach.

MS France 3.11.19

After a quick stop in Iceland, the Middle School France travelers have arrived! In Orleans, the group visited the statue of Jeanne d'Arc.

Glass Arts 3.11.19

The group had a wonderful trip to the Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Arts in Denver before getting hands-on at Ambrosia Glass Arts in Longmont.

MS Art in the City 3.11.19

Art in the City is having an awesome first day! Working with Boulder artist Anne Pendergrast making Mini Creatures with clay today!

Italy 3.10.19

Hello from Venice Italy.  It’s been a full day of travel. Literally. Clocking in almost 24hrs we boarded our last flight to Venice and then said goodbye to airport life. The energy was high and everyone was looking forward to the last leg of our trip: the boat ride to St. Mark's Square, where the trip truly begins. Once in the boat taxi, the long trip was worth the time.  Off to sleep and up early to begin exploring Venice! Breakfast and a cup of coffee and all is well. 

Bright Lights, Big City 3.10.19

Thursday's and Friday's adventures- touring though the Denver Center Performing Arts Complex, the Crushed Walls around the Denver Central Market, seeing the musical "Sweet Charity" at MESA State theater, a Commedia dell'arte workshop at the Denver Center for Performing Arts, dinner at Noa Noa, and fashion design with Carol Mier. Students even put on their own improvised fashion show! 
It's been a fun-filled, action-packed couple of days and there's so much more to come! Back to the DCPA for improv and "The Play That Goes Wrong" on Wednesday. Stay tuned! 

Kauai Ethnography/Botany 3.10.19

We arrived in Kauai safely late Saturday and have been busy ever since! Our camp is right on the water of Anahola Beach, which was a thing of wonder when we got up in the morning to actually see it in the daylight. 
Sunday we split the group for two activities. Half of the group went to the First Hawaiian Church of Kapa’a to experience their unique service that is half in Hawaiian and half in English. We were warmly welcomed by the congregation with a surprise potluck lunch in our honor. Everyone was open in sharing their lives and stories with us and we left having made new friends.
The second group participated in a service project, as our long time friends at the Hanalei Canoe Club wanted help fixing a ramp to get boats in the water. The ramp was damaged in the massive flooding last spring. After carrying endless buckets of sand the students were treated to a lesson on how to rig an outrigger canoe, and then they got to try out some of the boats.
The day finished up with all of us on Kalapaki Beach practicing interview skills, trying to find out more about life in Hawaii today. This led to a few of our students meeting a descendant of the royal family of Hawaii, who is also a master of traditional Hawaiian medicine. It was an amazing opportunity to meet an interesting individual!

Before heading back to camp we stopped by to see the voyaging canoe that is currently moored here in Kauai, one of the few carrying on the Polynesian tradition of celestial navigation. Kauai and Ni’ihau ‘s voyaging canoe Namahoe is moored in Nawiliwili harbor in Lihue. We could see that the double hull was rigged with the same style of lashing that we learned earlier in the day.  The Namahoe sailed from Kauai to New Zealand and back. The traditional system of rigging is truly long distance ocean voyaging worthy.

Sports Science 3.10.19

Our group spent the entire day last Friday at Boulder’s Revo Physiotherapy and Sports Performance, a facility that works with everyone from high school athletes to elite cyclists and triathletes. The day included two workouts guided by Revo instructors. While the movements and equipment were simple, the workouts were intense! For much of the day, Matt Smith, a Doctor of Physical Therapy and Revo’s Sports Performance Director, showed us a range of treatments for injuries from massage to dry needling. Students were able to try out Air Relax Recovery Boots. We also observed a Revo client using blood flow occlusion to improve her weight training efficiency. A few of us even endured extreme discomfort to try out this technique, which transformed sets of simply curls into an extreme challenge. Finally, Matt Smith demonstrated the system Revo staff uses to retrain athletes to minimize risk of ACL tears due to improper movement. The system combines a force plate and high speed camera, the data from which is analyzed via computer. Amazing science!

L.A. College Tours 3.10.19

The LA college tour had an uneventful flight this Sunday, and we are joined by Dawson alum Lesley Chavarria tonight for Thai food in Claremont, California. We are excited to see Claremont colleges tomorrow morning!

Last week, we spent one day in prep including a panel of admissions reps from various colleges, a trip to University of Wyoming on Thursday, and a trip to Boulder to see University of Colorado and Naropa University on Friday. Each school we visited had very interesting experiences for us to discover.

Catalina 3.10.19

We made it safely to the Queen Mary and just finished a nice walk along the Bay into downtown Long Beach. Waiting for tables at California Pizza Kitchen now; excited for the week ahead!

Backcountry Skiing 3.10.19

The group arrived safely in Ouray, CO today. After a long drive, they relaxed in the Ouray Hot Springs and had a great dinner in town. They will base out of Ouray and jump into learning about their avalanche safety gear tomorrow. It is surprisingly dry in town, but apparently 40+ feet of snow still on parts of Red Mountain Pass.  

MS Washington DC 3.10.17 Pt. 1

The MS trip to Washington DC is fully operational!  Mr. Thesenga, Ms. Hefty, thirteen 8th graders and three 7th graders met in the airport this morning.  We made it through Security nearly without incident…one of the TSA officers suspected Skye had food in her bag…it was actually tiles for Bananagrams and Rummy Cube!  Once Skye promised not to eat the game chips, we headed over to the gate and enjoyed the extra time on our hands for breakfast and games in the terminal.
Our flight on Southwest turned out to be a lot of fun.  A flight attendant “picked on” Gemma, Sydney, Skye, and Margaret, telling the students to follow him to the back of the plane.  They thought they were in trouble, but he actually had them pass out crackers to the entire flight.  Everyone clapped and the kids got some pretty cool Southwest swag for their efforts.  Next up were Finn, Alfie, and Leehman.  Sorry, boys, your task was collecting trash!  More applause and swag for the Dawson troopers.
All arrived safely at our hotel for bit of down-time and relaxation before heading over to grab dinner and see the Iwo Jima memorial.

MS Washington DC 3.10.17 Pt 2

Day 1 of the MS DC trip finished with a low-key dinner and some sight-seeing.  After checking into our hotel, we walked over to the Rhodeside Grill for some fantastic apps and entrees.  With full bellies, we wandered over to the Iwo Jima memorial, which was an awe-inspiring and humbling experience for all.  Students couldn't believe the size of the statue they had only ever seen in pictures, which was lit up against a background of night sky.  We discussed the statue's history, the lives lost at Iwo Jima, and how the memorial continues to honor Marines serving internationally.  

Cuba 3.10.19

We are having a wonderful time here so far! We have had two very full days of activity. Snorkeling in gorgeous blue waters, having (virgin!) mojitos on top of the hotel Inglaterra while attempting to learn some salsa moves, an informative chat with a marine biologist, a walking tour of old town Havana, a visit to Fusterlandia, and a tour of town in classic convertibles (perhaps the highlight so far?) that ended at the Morro (fortress) just to name a few! 
Tonight we have an economist coming to chat with us at our casa particular, and tomorrow morning we leave Havana and head toward Guanahacabibes national park on the far western tip of Cuba, which will be a long travel day but we are excited to see a new part of the country. 
We have been enjoying so much this groups open minded attitude, curiosity, willingness to practice their Spanish, and flexibility. We are blessed to have such an awesome group of chicos!! 
We are trying to send an email with photos but the connection is poor and not working, but wanted to at least send some words! 
Hasta pronto,
Gia and Arnie

MS Scuba 3.10.19

The academic classroom training for scuba certification is over… Now for the pool sessions! Here we go!

Kauai Ethnography/Botany 3.10.17

Greetings from Kauai! Clearly this group has arrived safe and sound. Just because you're studying ethnogrphy and ethnobotany, doesn't mean you can't enjoy the beach...

Baja Kayak 3.10.17

Greetings from La Paz! We landed in Cabo, and drove to La Paz. We got to the hotel, and had a chance to look around. The hotel is in a really pretty part of town! We met up with our guide and we all went to dinner at a nice restaurant, where we talked about what we’re going to be doing on the island.
 - Isabelle and Ashley

Cuba 3.9.19

We have safely arrived in Cuba! We got to our hostel in Havana last night and had a wonderful first meal, and then we were visited by a local hip hop artist named Telmari Diaz (who is actually traveling to Canada later this week because she was nominated for a Juno award! It was a really neat visit. We are excited for the week ahead!

Taste Explosion 3.8.19

Today, the Taste Explosion group cooked Thai food at The Food Lab in Boulder. We worked on our knife skills, made red curry from scratch, and learned about layering flavors and textures. The results were delicious!  Afterwards, we experienced our first “fusion” dish by experimenting with a variety of candies and taste-testing unique combinations. The Star-Kiss was a winner! 

College Tours 3.8.19

Before our college tour trips travel out of state, they visit some of our wonderful area schools. The group's at University of Colorado, Boulder on a gorgeous Boulder morning!

Backcountry Skiing 3.7.19

The Backcountry Ski group got in the climbing mood with a group hike up Mt. Sanitas this morning - summit above the clouds!

Baja Sea Kayaking 3.7.19

The Baja Winterim group got immersed in things aquatic before they set off for their kayak/camping adventure next week! Today, the group visited the Denver Aquarium for some study, journal sketching, and getting up close with manta rays and fish from the Sea of Cortez. According to Isabelle and Phoebe, "Today when we got to school we packed ourselves a lunch and got on the bus to go to the Denver aquarium. When we arrived, we each got a partner and were assigned to different exhibits in the museum. We all had to come up with two questions for the other groups. When we all got back to the meeting place, we exchanged papers and went back through the aquarium to find the answers to our questions, like a scavenger hunt.
We all loved to touch the stingrays in the pool, some of us even got to feed them! We also found some species of fish that we might be able to find in Baja. My favorite animal to see were the sharks!"

Urban Geography 3.6-7.19

The Cincinnati: Urban Geography Winterim visited the Denver Zoo on Wednesday to discuss the role of zoos in great cities. The group got insights from Dawson alum Tom Shermerhorn, the zoo's director of education programs. The group also toured the RINO Denver grafitti murals. Today we also visited the Blair-CaldwellAfrician American Research Library in 5-points.
The Art of Backcountry Skiing Winterim jumped right in on day one to prepare for our time in the backcountry next week. We learned about meteorology and forecasting from Joel Gratz, founder and CEO of, who is clearly passionate about weather. He provided a great example to show that it is possible to make a business out of something you are truly passionate about. (Side note: If you are a skier and don’t currently use to figure out where to get the best powder, you will want to start!)
We then worked on teamwork, communication and problem solving with some initiatives using the trollies (pictured below). Next, Travis Brock, head of the Eldora Ski Patrol and CO Avalanche Information Center instructor, presented Know Before You Go, an avalanche awareness class, to the group. Students learned about about avalanche clues, types and triggers as well as safety systems we will use while in the backcountry. We finished up with some journaling and discussion about what we need from the group and what we can contribute to the group experience. This group is forming nicely and getting excited about our adventure next week.

Bright Lights, Big City 3.6.19

Students in Bright Lights, Big City had a tremendous first day! We spent the morning hip-hop dancing with Rico at Streetside and the afternoon learning to fly at Frequent Flyers! Most had some reservations heading out, but the group was feeling unanimously victorious, although a bit sore, after conquering fears and soaring to unexpected heights on the very first day! 
   (Hip-hop on over to Dawson Instagram to catch a video of the dancers in action!)

Sports Science 3.6.19

We spent the morning at NoCoast CrossFit in Louisville. First Mary Finck, a doctor of physical therapy spoke about current protocols for diagnosing and treating concussions. We then transitioned into a talk on the basic principles of CrossFit presented by Dan Finck. CrossFit focuses on  high-intensity interval training, weightlifting, plyometrics, and even gymnastics, all to achieve well-rounded fitness and better longterm health. Dan then guided us through a short workout that incorporated some of these elements. Some of the students noted the intensity tired them out. Unlike the adults, somehow none felt that their thighs has been brutalized. In the afternoon, we worked with Jody Baldwin, Dawson’s own athletic trainer. Our students can now tape ankles and fingers, skills that will be put to test in competition tomorrow.

Taste Explosion 3.6.19

Today was an awesome kickoff for our food and cultural exploration of the next week and a half. Some fun introductions this morning followed by an episode of Anthony Bordain in Vietnam. Then a great trip to one of the top Vietnamese restaurants in the county - New Saigon in Denver. Below is a link to the items we had on the menu today. We also spent time this morning talking about our project of putting together a cookbook where everyone contributes a family recipe. Hopefully there is talk going on about this. In case there are not concrete family recipes to share, we want them to research “family recipes” for your cultural background and find one that looks interesting to write up. Tomorrow we have three Dawson families coming to talk about family recipes and their native foods of Vietnam, India and Mexico. We will also have a Skype session with a Dawson alumni who has become a successful world and Chicago chef/ restaurant owner. Will keep you posted on our upcoming activities and cooking days!

French Immersion 3.2.19

Bonjour tout le monde ! 
Saturday proved to be a very busy day! We started with a guided walking tour of our neighborhood, Montparnasse, and other parts of the left bank, ending at the Notre Dame Cathedral. We also visited the Galeries Lafayette, spent some time at the Louvre, and went to see the Eiffel Tower lit up at night. This morning, we'll take a quick trip up the 56 stories of the Tour Montparnasse for a panoramic view of Paris before taking a TGV into Tours. The students then meet their host families and will start to get settled for this new adventure! 

French Immersion 3.1.19

After a jam-packed first day in Paris, we're all back resting comfortably at our hotel and we're getting ready for a good night's sleep. Today we took a boat tour on the Seine, visited the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe, strolled the Champs Elysees, and had several successful metro journeys! Looking forward to another fun day tomorrow, starting with a guided walking tour of the left bank. À toute à l'heure ! 

We asked the students to reflect on 1. What are your hopes and goals for this trip? And your worries and fears? 2. How do you plan on achieving those goals? 3. How do you plan on making the most of this month long experience?

I want to learn a lot of French and be immersed in French (and Chadian) culture. I’m scared that my French isn’t good enough, that my host family won’t like me, and that my host sister will be weird. I will try to speak as much French as possible and try to make new French friends instead of relying on other Dawson kids. I’m going to try to immerse myself in French language and culture in any ways that I can.
Margo Ray:
I hope to come away from this immersion with new friends, memorable experiences, and a new understanding of french culture. My goal is to improve my french to the point where I can communicate clearly and quickly. I'm worried about my french skills and whether or not I will be able to connect with others with the language barrier. My greatest fear is that something important will happen when I'm away and I will miss it. I intend to improve my french by trying to speak it with everyone, my fellow American students and host family especially. I want to reconnect with my old immersion student and try to see as much of France as I can, to make the most of it. 
Tommy Noonan:
1. My hopes are that I learn a lot about France and their culture while propelling my ability to communicate in French.  I am really hoping that I can speak French in a much better accent and that I am able to communicate at a higher level.  My worst fear is that I will not like my French family, even though I feel that I will like them.   2. I plan on achieving those goals by making sure to speak French with my family as much as I can and really attempting to communicate entirely in French.  I am looking forward to trying the food and throwing my self in headfirst to their culture.  3. I want to try to go to multiple places with my family there and I want to be able to try to do as many things as I can.  I want to speak lots of French, do lots of French things and try to live life like a French person.  
Nate Bernstein:
1. I hope to improve my French while I’m here, and have a lot of fun with my host sibling. I am worried that I won’t get along with people or I won’t be good enough at French to communicate well. 2. I plan to go with the flow and take every chance to improve my French and step out of my comfort zone. I want to try to get out and experience the French countryside while having fun with my host. 3. I plan to step out of my comfort zone and try to experience everything around me to the fullest
Isa Bravo:
1. My hopes for this trip is to become more fluent in French. And to open my mind and to learn about a different culture.  2. To achieve these goals I will go into this trip with an open mind and for a curiosity to learn  3. I plan to go in eager to participate in everything and when I come back I hope to share what I’ve learned with my friends and family. 
Elizabeth McKean:
1. My hopes for this trip is to come back significantly better at French and to make a lot of friends and memories in Tours. I’m worried about the speaking aspect and that it will be harder than expected to communicate with people.  2. I plan on achieving these goals by trying my best to speak French in every possible situation.  3. I plan on making the most out of this month by trying to branch out from my American friends and making more in the French school.  
Check back regularly for updates! The French immersion students departed Thursday and are getting acclimated with some fun in Paris before meeting their host families this weekend to start their month-long stay in Tours. Bon voyage!

Upper School Winterim begins March 6, and adventures will be underway K-12 by March 11. Hands-on, deep-dive learning: the Dawson Difference.