Curriculum Introduction

Your students are about to engage in a life changing experience, but we know that equipping them with the right skills beforehand is integral to their growth. You’ll find a series of lessons on communication skills, collaboration, perseverance, self-management, peer-leadership, and more. Use these lessons to build skills that students can use on their Outward Bound program, and in life!

Similarly, leaving the learning and growth on the trail won’t make much of difference in students’ lives and communities. We’ve created a series of post-program reflection activities to help teachers (even the ones who did not go on the expedition) to guide students through self- and social- awareness, and then create opportunities for students to apply that learning at home and school.

Of course there are a myriad ways to craft a cohesive and progressive lesson map. Begin by identifying what your goals are. Where do you see your students growing, or needing growth? What skills could help them work as a cohesive team or work through challenge?
Begin by doing a lesson that introduces a theme such as communication or challenge. Next, pick a lesson that teaches a useful tool, such as body language or self-regulation. Finally, pick a group challenge. Group Challenges are designed for students to practice those skills in the context of a new activity.

Introduce the Theme --> Learn a Tool --> Practice the Skill

Research shows that repeating a skill or activity provides space for students to build upon prior learning, assess their skills, and increase competency. Doing an activity twice can be an effective way to revisit a skill, reflect on changes, or try new strategies or ideas. Begin and end a unit with the same activity and invite students to notice where they’ve grown, or revisit big ideas that came up pre-program with differences of experience post-program.

Group activities that look like fun-n-games are intentionally designed to get students practicing skills in real time, when the stakes are high. Well, higher than just talking it out. It’s important to let students struggle through these activities. You might see disagreement, failure, quitting, or frustration. That’s OK! Use these emotions and responses to reflect on afterwards.

You’ll find a “Reflection and Wrap Up” section for each lesson. This section is critical to most, if not all, of the sessions. You may find that the lessons seems to drop off suddenly during the “step by step” instructions. That’s because what you’ll find in the Reflection portion of the lesson is where much of the learning happens.

Research shows that progressive skill building is the best way for students to develop strong social and emotional skills. By doing pre work in class, students begin the process of building upon previous experience, forming ideas, and gaining background knowledge. Allowing time for students to discuss and try out skills at school, they will be more competent and confident to use them on their Outward Bound program!

Looking for reflection activities once students are back in class after their Outward Bound Program? Search for “Post-Program Reflection” under Activity Type. These lessons are designed to bring out some of the learning from their expedition.

As you’re searching for lessons, you’ll find that you can filter by several common, nationally-based standards. If this isn’t your thing, filter by one (or some) Social-Emotional Competencies. These competencies are recognized by CASEL as vital to whole child development. You’ll see a few Outward Bound specific additions to these competencies as well. We find that students utilize various communication and peer-leadership skills in addition to the CASEL competencies, and you’ll find a bunch of lesson options under these filters.

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