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January 19, 2012
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Expeditionary Learning Mountain FilmFest in Eagle-Vail Saturday

The third annual Mountain FilmFest is one of those events that demonstrates how good things can be when you go for it.

Take Christina Gosselin, for instance.

Gosselin is a science teacher at Red Canyon High School, one of two local expeditionary learning schools. Homestake Peak in Eagle-Vail is the other.

Gosselin traveled to Telluride to select the films for Saturday's EL Mountain FilmFest. She sat through the Telluride Mountain FilmFest and watched 28 films in one day, making sure each film was a fit for Saturday's local event.

Expeditionary learning is sort of like that. Students and teachers get out of their chairs and into the world. Sometimes the world comes to them.

"Expeditionary learning is project based, applicable teaching based in real life. It's more hands on than a traditional classroom and it requires more training," Gosselin said.

It goes in depth on topics, and they still meet the academic standards in the rest of the district, Gosselin said. Expeditionary Learning schools base classwork on in-depth investigations. Learning includes fieldwork, service learning and inviting experts into the classroom.

They take their classrooms into the field constantly, getting students into the world they're studying. They bring experts into the classroom for a wide-ranging list of subjects.

For example, when they taught a class on genocide they brought in Holocaust survivors. When homelessness was the subject, they loaded up the kids and took them to a homeless shelter so they could experience a day in the life of a homeless person.

Local military veterans are regulars, teaching students about the realities of military life and how it doesn't necessarily match the recruiting posters.

It takes training, and training takes money. So they're raising some, Gosselin said.

This year's Mountain FilmFest is aimed at three different target audiences:

Family-Friendly films: 90 minutes of humorous and motivating short films geared toward a younger crowd. Those films begin at 5:30 p.m. Families are encouraged to bring chairs, blankets, and other items to go with the picnic theme.

FilmFest Favs: That's an hour and a half of favorite films from the past several years, starting at 7:30 p.m. Between films, local moderators, along with current and former students, will share work, experiences, and what they took from expeditionary learning.

Adventure Sport films: An hour and a half of adventure films about the challenges that extreme adventurers face on mountains, in oceans, or in their everyday lives. Those films also start at 7:30 p.m.

Food will be available and there will be a silent auction.

Staff writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at rwyrick@vaildaily.com, or 970-748-2935.


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The VailDaily Updated Jan 19, 2012 05:44PM Published Jan 19, 2012 05:38PM Copyright 2012 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.