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Students get out of routine

Showing off their tuck form, Danica Greer, from left, Justine Peters, Kyley Foster, Mackenzie Foltz and Kaitlyn Stalberger try out cross country skiing at Maplelag.1 / 3
Bryson Redgrave, holds a 30-pound young adult beaver during fur bearer trapping;2 / 3
Brooke Bahr, chose her own design and painted on a henna tattoo.3 / 3

How often do we hear "This is the best day of my life!" on a school day? Probably not as much as we'd like.

It was, however, a repeated sentiment on Friday, Feb. 5, at Detroit Lakes Middle School as students and staff embarked on Exploratory Day 2010.

For over 15 years, Exploratory Day has been offered at DLMS to encourage students to step out of their routines, try something new and explore areas that may not normally be available to them. As an integral part of middle school philosophy, it encourages both the students and staff to discover new facets of one another, as well as prospects available to them for once-in-a-lifetime events, possible hobbies or even future careers.

Exploratory Day is a stretch for students and teachers alike. While the students try something new, the teachers take on a new role for the day. No longer the math or special education teacher, they become multi-dimensional people who get to know students on a completely different level.

Jake Blow, health and physical education teacher, heads up the Exploratory Day planning committee.

"Every year I'm amazed at the creativity and talents in our teachers and community that our students simply would not get to see without Exploratory Day. Everyone buys in -- from student fundraising efforts to our teachers preparing their class to community experts donating their time -- it's just incredible," he said.

Among the 40 different course offerings this year, students could choose to create tie blankets and scarves, spearfishing decoys or turkey calls; experience fur bearer trapping, scuba diving or cross-country skiing at Maplelag; expand their cultural knowledge by tying a dreamcatcher, beading a feather, painting henna body art or playing the Native American Hand Game.

Pictures of Exploratory Day 2010 can be viewed on the DLMS Web site. If you would like to contribute to Exploratory Day 2011 with your time or talents, contact Jake Blow at Detroit Lakes Middle School.