Tag Archives | Book and Media Review

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The Mountain Between Mistakes and Surviving – Sarah Beery

Let me start by saying *SPOILER ALERTS* ahead. The Mountain Between Us is an adventure movie released in October 2017. The movie begins its journey when two strangers discover they are both in need of a connecting flight on the way to their separate destinations after an incoming storm causes a cancellation for their booked […]

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Water: A Natural History – book review by Ikwe Mennen

Water: A Natural History, by Alice Outwater,  is a thorough guide to how humans have dismantled the fragile water systems of the land, and has added so much more depth to my Water Wonders classes. Our class Water Wonders, one of my favorite classes to teach, contains not only basics about the water cycle, where […]

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One Strange Rock: A Media Review – Allison Hanson

One Strange Rock is a ten-episode docuseries hosted by actor Will Smith that tells the stories of the planet Earth. It has beautiful imagery that entices the viewer, and interviews with astronauts about their time in space. Some of the most interesting episodes to me were the ones about the moon, the sun, and the […]

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The Three Questions: a book review – Malcom Moniz

Providing Important Answers to the Important Questions for the Youth The Three Questions is a marvelous adaptation of a story originally written by Leo Tolstoy of the same name.  Jon J. Muth takes the wheel, adapting the timeless story into a format appropriate for young children. The narrative in the adaptation is simple, yet effective. […]

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Planet Walker: A Book Review – Brad Brainard

Have you ever felt small in comparison to the growing problems we face as a society? As one person trying to make a difference on this planet there is not a lot that can be accomplished; you must change the minds of your peers. In order to change the minds of others you must start […]

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H.G. Wells and the Parallels to High Trails – Evan Sawan

The beautiful, winding, scenic, mountainous Highway 38 leading up to High Trails is very much a time portal into another world for our students. To better understand why, I’d like to teach you a bit more about time travel using a story by Herbert George Wells, the author of War of the Worlds, The Invisible […]

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Matilda: a book (movie?) review – Kate Mika

Throughout my life, I have seen many movies created from beloved books from my childhood, including, but not limited to: Holes, The Harry Potter series, A Wrinkle in Time, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, BFG, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Giver, The Lorax, James and the Giant Peach, Stardust, Where the Wild Things Are, The Hobbit, […]

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Desert Solitaire: a book review – Audrey Wheatcroft

Leading students into the forest at night, though exciting for me as an instructor, proves to be a great test of courage for most 5th and 6th graders. When I ask students to, “Please turn off your flashlights.” I am immediately contested with 14 voices pleading against my request. When they finally give in and […]

Environmental Studies

A Shrinking Desert Paradise: Joshua Trees – Nicholas Spinelli

In the culture of the American southwest, it could be said that Joshua Trees enjoy something akin to celebrity status. The deserts of California are filled with them. Their image now adorns t-shirts, stickers, and signs. There are roads named Joshua Tree. There is a town named Joshua Tree. There is, of course, even a […]

Mind Growth

Growth Mindset – Alicia Imbrogna

Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard. -Tim Notke How many times in your life have you encountered a situation that was frustrating or annoying and often appeared too difficult to overcome? Have you ever passed on trying something new because you were afraid you’d look foolish? In Mindset: The New Psychology […]

Educational Books

Welcome to Subirdia: Book Review – Mark Kerstens

Ever wonder how our ever growing suburbanization and development affects wildlife populations? Have you heard that urban development is exclusively bad for bird populations? I thought so, too, until I read Welcome to Subirdia by John M. Marzluff. This book discusses various aspects of the impact of urbanization across the globe on not only bird […]

Outdoor Education Nature Photography

Bald Eagles and Their Comeback! Brandon Bortzer

In 1963, scientists estimated a total of just 417 nesting pairs of bald eagles survived in the lower 48 states. The emblem of the United States since 1782 and the only eagle endemic to North America, the American Bald Eagle, is one of the most majestic birds in the world. This glorious bird our forefathers […]

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What a Planet Needs to Sustain Life – Bryce Bicksler

Have you ever found yourself gazing up at a beautiful night sky and asking yourself if there is any other life out there? Or maybe you ask yourself what makes our planet Earth so special. I find myself asking very similar questions, especially 7000 feet up in the San Bernardino Mountains where the stars are […]

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Jacques Cousteau and High Trails…Trips of Hope – Melissa Mercier

“A trip intended to launch not only learning but hope…” – Jacques Cousteau Jacques Cousteau is known for a lot of different things: film maker, inventor, ‘custodian of the sea’, explorer, and one of the fathers of conservation. In celebration of Jacques Cousteau and the holidays, the Cousteau Society recently released ten documentaries including Cousteau’s […]

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Younger Minds, Clearer Hearts: Book Review – Nora Finch

My choice to follow a career path with children comes from an attraction to their optimism and curiosity. Unlike many adults, kids see the world as a place full of possibilities. The stories from the book, Kids Who are Changing the World, by Anne Jankéliowitch, focus on children who channeled that very curiosity into powerful […]

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Teach with Magic…on the Magic School Bus – Meghan Barrett

“Fee fi fo fum, only plants chow down on air, water, and sun.” These are the words of that eccentric science teacher we all know and love, Ms. Frizzle. From her supernatural approach to her quirky behavior, she has changed the lives of students and teachers across the globe in the classic television show, The […]

The Martian

Can A Mars Movie Make You A Better Teacher? Arthur Tuttle

In the recent Hollywood blockbuster, The Martian, director Ridley Scott focuses his view on potential living conditions for humans on Mars. The movie follows the Ares III astronaut crew as they explore Mars and take samples for analysis from the red planet. A sudden storm forces evacuation, but one astronaut doesn’t make it to the […]

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Can ONE RIDDLE last the WHOLE WEEK? Shane Hyre

It’s the best book of riddles I have ever known. Less about jokes, zingers, and slap-yourself-in-the-head punch lines, The Lateral Logician is a collection of thinking problems with puzzles, clues, and solutions. Here’s a bit from the introduction of this book: “Edward de Bono first coined the phrase ‘lateral thinking’ to refer to a process […]

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The Classic Book Silent Spring – Haley Cushing

When I ask my students during our class on birds, Feathered Friends, what sort of effects chemicals, pesticides, and insecticides might have on an ecosystem, they immediately respond with negative answers. These words trigger reactions about bad chemicals that kill plants, poison animals, and contribute to general destruction of the environment. However, only fifty years […]

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Too Many Computer Screens – Joe Crockett

In 4th grade, my elementary school class was allowed access to the computer room. It was filled with old Macintosh computers, complete with 5 inch floppy drives. For one or two hours a week, we were given the task of typing increasingly complex sentences in a pixilated program that measured our typing speeds, and once […]

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Assembling California – Leslie Urban

Plate tectonics, and the idea that rocks could be “born” in one place then moved to another place to create a completely different environment, has fascinated me for years. I picked up John McPhee’s book, Assembling California, in the hopes of learning more about the geology of our region, and plate tectonics in general, to […]

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Hatchet Book Review – Caroline Blake

I remember going grocery shopping with my dad one time. I begged for a candy bar. He answered with his famous Rolling Stones quote, “You can’t always get what you want.” This was sort of a family joke, but it has stuck with me my entire life. After recently rereading the book Hatchet by Gary […]

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That’s One Thirsty Baby – Robyn Martin

Alaska to Argentina, in a truck, with NO gas??? Everything we need to sustain our lifestyles is all around us. It simply calls for a little inspiration and ingenuity to utilize our earth and create sustainable solutions for our energy needs. Motivated by the desire to travel and get into some of the best white […]

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A Story of Wolves and Rivers – Shane Hyre

“Let me tell you a story of wolves and rivers,” I tell my students, “…Gray wolves of Yellowstone were one of the earliest species in North America to be considered endangered in 1967. Gray wolves had been hunted down to near extinction until they became protected. Then environmental agencies and organizations tried ‘reintroducing’ only 21 […]

Managing For People Who Hate Managing

Do You Hate Managing? Chris Wright

At High Trails, we have lots of staff members who at some time or another have to manage people. We have Directors, Coordinators, Head Cooks, and several Collaborators. Within that group of around 15 people, only a couple have had formal training in how to manage others. The rest of us showed we were good […]

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The Heroes of Olympus Enter the World of High Trails! Quinn Holthaus

“Being a hero doesn’t mean you’re invincible. It just means that you’re brave enough to stand up and do what’s needed.” Rick Riordan – The Mark of Athena The Percy Jackson books have been adapted into movies and have become very popular with young readers and adult readers like myself. I started reading the Heroes […]

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Peachtree Rock Topples – Austin Bunn

We turned right at the stop sign, the last stretch of country road before we turned into the dirt parking lot just outside the preserve. The preserve, a special place to my dad and I, a place where nothing else mattered but discovery. The hustle and bustle of everyday life lifted and a chance to […]

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On the line of Wildfire – Kate Leaf

Exploring the Research on How Fire is Changing the West Late summer of 2013 brought the most destructive day of California’s Rim Fire, when wind and prolonged drought conditions created an inferno that transformed 30,000 acres of dense conifers in Tuolomne County near Yosemite National Park into a moonscape. Ignited on August 17, 2013, from […]

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Place-Based Education – Book Review by Becca Babel

Place-based education is the process of using the local community and environment as a starting point to teach concepts in language arts, mathematics, social studies, science, and other subjects across the curriculum. Emphasizing hands-on, real-world experiences, this approach to education increases academic achievement, helps students develop stronger ties to their community, enhances students’ appreciation for […]

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Rules of Management: Book Review by Alex Kaklamanos

My dad then turned to me and said, “I have to fire this worker. I remember when I was in high school and my dad showed me a picture on the front page of the Charlotte Observer (NC) of construction workers on scaffolding moving a giant organ into a church. He was excited to show […]

Another of Danny's animal encounters.

The Animal Dialogues – Book Review by Danny Walden

Never have I felt fight or flight like this. My only choice, the message going to the thick of the muscle in my legs, is to run. Get as much space between me and danger as possible. The animal is too big, too wild… Uncommon Encounters In The Wild lays bare over fifty heart-pounding encounters […]

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A Walk In The Woods – Book Review by Colette Boylan

Why, then, is it that so many outdoor enthusiasts love the writings of two dopey, naïve men trudging through the Appalachians? Be it Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild or Thoreau’s Walden, extreme lovers of the outdoors enjoy the enchantment and thrill of true adventure novels. Men or women venture out into the deep wilderness, test […]

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Pilgrim at Tinker Creek Review – Book Review by Tamara Perreault

When we lose our innocence- when we start feeling the weight of the atmosphere and learn that there’s death in the pot- we take leave of our senses. Only children can hear the song of the male house mouse. Only children keep their eyes open. In the book Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Annie Dillard provides […]

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