Devonshire Alternative Elementary School
6286 Ambleside Drive
Size of School / Organization
Indoor low challenge course
Portable adventure equipment
Start year of Project Adventure affilliation
Our PA story…
1. Devonshire Alternative Elementary School is a K-5 public school located in the Columbus School District. Columbus is a large urban school district located in central Ohio. According to the school district typology developed by the Ohio Department of Education, Columbus is considered a category 5 district (major urban/very high poverty).
2. The school was founded in the late 1980′s. Some staff who had attended a PA workshop guided the school to adopt a Project Adventure approach and even named the school, ‘Devonshire Project Adventure’.
3. The Adventure group process and the Full Value Contract are key elements of instruction and the social fabric of the school. Each class begins the year with a hands-on activity through which they brainstorm desired behaviors for the classroom. They take their time to generate a list then to group and prioritize the desired behaviors until they have a workable set of norms in the student words. These agreements guide their intentions for the year. The resulting set of behavioral norms qualifies as a Project Adventure ‘Full Value Contract’ in that the norms are: 1) generated and agreed upon by the group, not assigned by the teacher; and 2) their agreement is to pursue and check-in on performance, not to ‘be perfect’. Reflection is built into the process. Class norms are evident on doors and prominently displayed in classrooms. They support five school-wide learning themes: Challenge, Problem-solving, Risk, Trust, Cooperation. These student generated norms to which students buy-in result in positive peer pressure. One teacher says, ‘Kids know that if we are going to be successful we have to work together. Kids will pressure others to buy in, to behave.’ Peer to peer feedback starts at a young age and is a strategy for handing students genuine responsibility for personal and group behavior. It is also a key indicator of effective adventure-based facilitative teaching.
One teacher explains how she uses Project Adventure concepts like the Experiential Learning Cycle (ELC) and the Adventure Wave to prompt student reflection and engagement: “What strikes me about what makes us effective is the goal setting with briefing and debriefing. For instance I give a layout of the day and the week describing where we are headed. After learning activities, we address questions like, what have we done today? Where are you in the challenge? Modeling is important also so to challenge myself I have started to use the Smart Board as a debriefing tool. Students ‘tap out’ touching an area that describes their experience or viewpoint. At the beginning of the year, our weekly meetings are longer with cooperative games. Now that our community is strong, games are shorter and we can press harder on content, but we still do a brief and debrief.”
Physical Education Models
Adventure Curriculum for Physical Education
Professional Learning Communities
Community & Team Building
Learning & Behavioral Styles Inventories