Reading, reflecting and writing poems on islands near RE
For the second straight year, sophomores traveled by boat to islands off the coast of Ransom Everglades where they read poetry, observed nature and crafted their own poetic works. The class-by-class journeys organized by 10th-grade English teachers prompted reflection and connection to the natural world while inspiring students' creativity.
The trips took place over a two-week period under English faculty members Elisabeth Anderson, Kathryn Bufkin, Elizabeth Cornick, Matthew Helmers and Corinne Rhyner. The sophomores were students in Advanced American Studies and American Literary Movements.
The treks helped students understand transcendental literature and poetry, a key unit of 10th-grade English at RE. Students read and studied Walt Whitman's "A Noiseless Patient Spider" and "I Saw in Louisiana a Live Oak Growing" upon arrival to their island, then found quiet spots for reflection. They made observations about the natural environment, focusing on the sensory experience. Finally, they turned their notes into observational poems that emulated the style of Whitman and reflected transcendental themes.
In the first year of the trips in 2021, the students studied works by Henry David Thoreau.
"It was really fun and we had beautiful weather," Dr. Rhyner said. "We don't always get to the chance to do learning that is experiential in the humanities. We [English teachers] had been talking about making English more fun, competing with all of the science programs. The students enjoyed it. They all commented how quickly the class went."
Founded in 1903, Ransom Everglades School is a coeducational, college preparatory day school for grades 6 - 12 located on two campuses in Coconut Grove, Florida. Ransom Everglades School produces graduates who "believe that they are in the world not so much for what they can get out of it as for what they can put into it." The school provides rigorous college preparation that promotes the student's sense of identity, community, personal integrity and values for a productive and satisfying life, and prepares the student to lead and to contribute to society.