Friday, August 15, 2014

Summer Field Trip- Veloventure II

Every year my husband and I try to bike sections of the bike trail system of Canada.
5,000 km of safe passage for bikes on gravel or paved roadways known in Quebec as La Route Verte.
This year my 9 year old daughter wanted to ride this with friends. So we called it bike camp and invited 4 others to join us. In return, the other parents took our daughter on week long adventures. It was a great swap and it gave us an adventure as well. This is our 2nd year taking kids so we thought we would ramp up the mileage.  With another parent, a mini van and our Subaru, we had the opportunity to piece together the best and easiest sections of trail separate from regular traffic. It was a success! 4 days, 2 nights camping and one hotel, we looped from Waterloo to Noyan and crossed the Border in Alburg, Vermont.
You can see that they finished happy. Their big request was to plant one foot in Canada and one foot in the US. And this granite post on the US side of the Border allows for this.

La Route Verte parallels the Chambly Canal. We rode point to point from Chambly to Richelieu.
9 year olds love distraction and they need plenty of space to wobble or sway on their bikes without worrying their parents about oncoming vehicles. I love that the only traffic was other bikers and large boats. Riding side by side also gave the parents a chance to help stragglers. Using the invented, "Tour de France" move, my husband could put his hand on their camel back and ride along side a kid, gently pushing them along at a faster pace. With a bravo! and final push, he could send them speeding past other bikers.  We gave many "Tour de France" on this day. This was our 18km ride, finishing at the Auberge Harris which also had a pool.
Our first day was also a point to point which means, we all rode together and then 2 adults ride back to get the vehicles and drive to the finish.  We chose to start in Waterloo and head toward Granby & Yamaska National  Parc. This was approximately a 30 kilometer day. We had great weather, our campsite reserved so we sped along the old railtrail.  Kids who attended the veloventure last year were ecstatic to find that they were much faster. They kept looking and reminiscing about pit stops made that they no longer needed.  This was my favorite day because I was so happy to listen to bikers chat about the change in their ability and their progress.

When we camped at Yamaska, the kids had the freedom to bike to the playground, to the campstore or to swim in the reservoir. They loved setting up tents and using wheel barrows to retrieve stuff from the car.  We spent one day biking into Granby and out to the zoo. The weather held so we swam in the water parc at the zoo. Some rode home and some jumped in the sag wagon.
All in all 65-75 miles completed by our kids.
And lots of clambering for a new adventure in the years to come.


The infographics world is chock full of visuals that appeal to the teaching and understanding of world history.  From student submissions I can assess at a glance, their ability to contextualize comparisons between historic events or to identify patterns of change & continuity. Why is this important? Students of Advanced Placement World History (#WHAP) know that determining the meaning of words and phrases to present analysis is the difference between zero credit and that perfect score recognized by colleges worldwide. Misinterpretation of what is asked in the standard essay questions can translate into student writing at length to develop the wrong answer.

2011 AP Comparative Essay Question

Analyze similarities and differences in the rise of TWO of the following empires. (Aztec, Mongol & or West African states)

Hundreds of students made comparisons between Aztecs an Mongols but failed to explain how each empire rose to power thereby losing the thesis credit.  So how can this habit be corrected?

The quick access for assembly of Vhemes and objects to illustrate understanding was achieved in one class session and refined for homework. Class critique and analysis allows students to immediately identify what they know and what they need to know to answer all parts of the question. Deciding how to illustrate an idea also pushes students to quantify their collective understanding especially if they publish for larger communities of WHAP students. 


While my example may not the best visual ever created, it and others in the infographic library are available for students to improve upon. That process of editing and redesigning is also giving students the propensity for research that relies on building specific content and in depth knowledge. And that is the habit that educators want students to learn.