Journey Toward the Caring Classroom 2nd Edition: Using Adventure to Create Community in the Classroom

ISBN: 978-1-939019-10-3
SIZE: 8.5 x 11
PRICE $39.95

“Collaborative group members must approach a task as equals, willing to take risks that will cause all to sink or swim together.  This collective stake in an outcome implies a group that thrives on respect, trust, and common goals.”

Journey Toward the Caring Classroom, 2nd Edition, deftly bridges the gap between conventional and experiential education, empowering educators/facilitators to use their minds, intuition, and knowledge along with a growing body of evidence to create an environment that supports learning, community building, and social-emotional development. Educational theory, concrete in-class strategies, and engaging activities encourage educators to transform their classroom into a caring place where every learner can grow.


“Journey Toward the Caring Classroom, 2nd Edition, brings to life all of the key concepts in teaching and facilitating healthy learning. It is an easy-to-read, masterful blend of theory and practice that will help any educator create a classroom full of engaged learners. A real treasure that is sure to make a difference in the lives of your students! The material is thorough, thoughtful and detailed in content and resourcefulness. I look forward to applying the new information to the team facilitation classes that I teach at Penn State!”
Laurie McLaughlin, MA, Instructor and Program Director, Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center, Pennsylvania State University

“The original edition is being used extensively by both the national staff of Expeditionary Learning and by teachers and leaders in many of the 160 schools in our national network. The inclusion of not only the directions for so many great initiatives and activities, but Laurie’s explanation of mapping the journey—building the sequence—and the value of debrief are supporting teachers in being successful. The climate/culture of a school happens either with intention by the adults in the school or by default with the students. Laurie Frank’s book assists the adults in a school with the background, history, process, and scores of activities supporting a positive learning environment.”
Scott Gill, Director of Adventure and Learning, Expeditionary Learning, former secondary science teacher, dean of students, and a district curriculum coordinator

“A wonderful resource! Laurie Frank’s Journey Toward the Caring Classroom, 2nd Edition clearly indicates her passion, commitment, in-depth understanding of experiential education, and her ability to write in a unique style that combines theory and praxis. It is a book that teaches the teacher, the facilitator, or the trainer and provides curricula that is defined and ready for implementation and assessment. She refines elements of the first edition and adds new concepts and models for understanding their application to a wide range of contexts. This is a book we look forward to using in our undergraduate and graduate classes, as well as a resource for our staff at our Outdoor Center at Georgia College.”
Jude Hirsch, EdD, Department of Outdoor Education, Chair and Professor, Coordinator, Graduate Studies, Outdoor Center at Georgia College

“This book deftly bridges the gap between conventional and experiential/adventure education by re-casting the classroom teacher as educator/facilitator/guide. It is user friendly and empowers teachers to cultivate flexibility within their educational practice and to use their mind, intuition, knowledge, and the growing body of research available to identify where their students actually are and give them what they need, not what standards say are appropriate. “The theory, research, and discussion of social/emotional competencies is solid! This is what we need to make our case in public and conventional private schools. This book is timely and appropriate in that it meets schools’ needs and desires for culture and climate change, addressing bullying, social justice, and social–emotional development while balancing those needs against the needs for research-based instruction and curriculum design and the requirements to meet state standards (in many cases). “I thoroughly enjoyed reviewing this work, particularly as a user of the previous book, as a facilitator, experiential educator, and teacher in a huge public school. I applaud the work Frank has done here, and am excited to see how she developed her work to keep up with where education seems to be headed.”
Steph Frigon, MS Experiential Education, Director of Experiential & Challenge Course Programming, Cooperative Middle School, Stratham, NH

“Laurie Frank has done an incredible job of tying together current research and educational practices to provide a comprehensive look at positive practices for schools, focusing on the individuality of each student. Activities include easy to follow descriptions, modifications, facilitation notes and reflections. This book is a must read for all educators and anybody interested in positively changing our current educational system. As always Laurie has put a lot of thought and heart into this book!”
Judy Wohlleber, School Counselor

“The second edition of Journey Toward the Caring Classroom is an essential resource for educators working to build safe and respectful learning communities. This book provides a solid understanding of the foundations of community building as well as current research and historical perspectives. The activities and facilitation techniques are engaging and fun. Journey Toward the Caring Classroom, 2nd Edition provides the educator with the skills and knowledge to transform their classroom into a caring place where every learner can grow.”
Carla Hacker, Stress/Challenge Coordinator, Madison, WI

“Overall, I think Laurie’s book fits a unique niche that hasn’t been filled by any other author. It offers classroom teachers not just a set of really good activities, but a comprehensive introduction to WHY do this work and HOW to do it. This second addition substantially improves on the first—and the first was quite good, too!”
Alison Rheingold, PhD, Instructional Coach, Christa McAuliffe Regional Charter Public School

“This book is a great resource for anyone who is trying to build a collaborative learning community that includes ALL learners. Keep this one next to your desk because you’ll be reaching for it every day.”
Laura Thomas, MEd, Director, Antioch University Center for School Renewal, author of Facilitating Authentic Learning

“How can you make a fantastic resource even better? Laurie has done it again with the many gifts she possesses and passion she has for learning through experience. The versatility of this resource makes it a must have for the adventure enthusiast or anyone who wants to make a difference with youth. I will guarantee this is a book that will never see any dust on your bookshelf.”
Denise Sather, School Psychologist and Ropes Program Manager, Milwaukee Public Schools

Excerpt from the Book

Put-Ups Instead of Put-Downs

Teasing is a form of passive violence – passive violence is the root of physical violence. —Gandhi*

People love to tease each other. Watch siblings or good friends poke fun at each other’s appearance or behavior. Sometimes, one’s most embarrassing moments are brought up for public view by a close friend or partner. Sarcastic humor is a common form of teasing between friends. Sarcasm, though, can destroy group cohesion. Even if two people who know each other well use it as a form of affection, others may not appreciate this type of humor. They may be unwilling to risk getting to know people who use sarcastic humor for fear of being put down. The result can be a group that cannot progress past the forming stage.
The issue of put-ups and put-downs is probably the most basic for any group to grapple with. A put-down can be a sign of affection between close friends, or it can be a weapon to wield judgment and evoke pain. Since how teasing is interpreted is situational, it is vital to address it when coming together as a community. Sometimes it is necessary to determine what a put-down or a put-up even is. At other times agreeing that students will refrain from using sarcasm to cause pain is enough.
Imagine that a student uses a derogatory term for a homosexual or uses a racial slur. Maybe one student flashes a nonverbal sign to another student that starts a war of words. What do you do? How you, as the teacher, handle these situations speaks volumes to your students. If a community is to develop, it is vital that these episodes are dealt with. Ignoring put-downs implies that they are okay. A variety of interventions are available; the choices you make depend on the situation that unfolds. Here are a few suggestions:
• Engage in a series of activities and discussions to help students appreciate diversity. Allow students to learn about their own commonalities and differences. Then branch out into the world at large. If students can appreciate people as human beings, rather than as labels, it is a step in the direction of preventing future bouts of name calling.
• Stop everything and talk. This can be a short session to check out what’s going on, or it can turn into a longer philosophical discussion about how name calling can be hurtful. Even young children can participate in this kind of talk. No matter how long the discussion, it sends the message that this is a serious matter.
• If it is a minor incident and the class is engaged in another activity, make a note on the board as a reminder to talk about it at a later time – either privately with the parties involved or with the class as a whole.
• Create a “Peace Place”* where students can go to de-escalate their anger and talk about the incident – perhaps with a peer or with you as a mediator.
• If it is a major incident, address it in a class meeting when people are not in the heat of the moment. Make sure there is time to discuss what happened and how the situation might be rectified. Talk about how to prevent incidents such as these in the future.
As a teacher, you need to be alert for put-ups and put-downs. It may not be possible to know how students will deal with this issue until they have had some experience together. After an activity or two, you will know whether you need to bring it up for discussion, or whether it will take care of itself.

Table of Contents

CHAPTER 1: Vision for Community Building
Developmental Considerations for Children (ages 5-12)
Developmental Considerations for Youth (ages 12-18)
The Container Concept
Culture, Climate, Community
CHAPTER 2: Foundations
Creating a Sense of Community Supports Learning
The Brain and Learning
Caine and Caine: Brain/Mind Learning Principles
Howard Gardner: Multiple Intelligences
Daniel Goleman: Emotional Intelligence
CASEL: Social Emotional Learning
Implications for Educators
Creating a Sense of Community Fosters a Safe Learning Environment
Bullying and Learning
William Glasser: Choice Theory
Alfie Kohn: On Compliance and Community
Siegel, Purkey, and Novak: Invitational Education®
Martin Seligman: Positive Psychology
Jeanne Gibbs: The TRIBES Process
Implications for Educators
Creating a Sense of Community is Experiential
John Dewey: Experience and Education
Maxine Greene: The Power of the Possible
David Kolb: Experiential Learning Cycle
Kurt Hahn: Outward Bound
Project Adventure: The Adventure- Integrated Model
Implications for Educators
CHAPTER 3: From Journey to Quest: Defining a Sense of Community
What is a Sense of Community?
Conditions for Creating a Sense of Community
Safe and Trusting Environment
Balancing “Me” and “We”
CHAPTER 4: A Community Building Process
Facilitator Knowledge
Group Development
Sequencing and Flow of the Process
Facilitator Tools
Social Agreements
Challenge With Choice
Goal Setting
CHAPTER 5: Cooperation: Setting the Stage
Cooperation Skills and Issues
Put-Ups Instead of Put-Downs
Hidden Agendas
Active/Attentive Listening
Perspective Taking
Cooperation Activities
Role of the Teacher
Ice Melter Activities
Deinhibitizer Activities
Challenge With Choice Activities
Social Agreement Activities
Summary: When to Move on to Trust
CHAPTER 6: Trust: The Cornerstone of Community
Trust Skills and Issues
Making Mistakes
Risk Taking
Physical and Emotional Trust
Trust Activities
Role of the Teacher
Trust-Building Activities
Emotional Self-Awareness: Feelings Literacy Activities
Behavioral Goal Setting Activities
Low Challenge Ropes Course Activities
Summary: When to Move on to Problem Solving
CHAPTER 7: Problem Solving: Branching Out
Problem Solving Skills and Issues
Decision Making
Group Goals
Taking Turns
Conflict Resolution
Problem Solving Activities
Role of the Teacher
Problem Solving Initiatives
Team Low Ropes Course Activities
Collaboration Activities
Conflict Resolution Activities
Academic Content Activities
Summary: When to Move on to Challenge
CHAPTER 8: Challenge: Stepping Out on One’s Own
Challenge Skills and Issues
Individual Goals
Stating Needs
Collaborative Leadership
Challenge Activities
Role of the Teacher
High Ropes Course Activities
Outdoor Pursuits
Urban Experiences
Summary: Where Do We Go from Here?
CHAPTER 9: Shaping a Community Building Process
Debriefing Strategies
Common Themes
Sequence and Flow
Group Purpose
Facilitator Personality and Style
Group Development Cycle: It Never Goes Away
Appendix A: Activity List
Appendix B: Life Skill List
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