Spring Break has broken (like the first spring)

Justin discovered a bike path in Berkeley and brought me out to explore it together. We rode up to the beginning of the trail and followed it up to the N. Berkeley BART station. From there, it followed along the BART line all the way through Albany and El Cerrito to Richmond. I think the length of the trail is about ten miles, and it is all pretty pleasant--a dedicated bike/skate trail with a separate paved walking path, so that pedestrians and bikers don't have to be scared or resentful of each other. At the end of the line in Richmond, past the Richmond BART station, the trail was planted with a bunch of flowers.

It was really lovely and what an unexpected glory to find in Richmond (though I suspect that Richmond, like Oakland, has its own charm despite the violence and suffering there).

I have always really liked the iconic symbols on signs, and this was a particularly great sign:
We did some other fun things too, during my break (Justin's was earlier) which I don't have pictures of, including some kite-flying at Berkeley marina with our friend Sanj this last Saturday.

I filled the time with no problem (including with some school activities), and didn't get to half the things I had planned on doing, but it was a relaxing and restful holiday.

We started back to school with a bang--fieldtrips on Monday and Tuesday. Both went really well in my opinion. For the canoe trip, I was just happy to see everyone who came actually get into the canoes, get out on the water and get back to land safely with no major freak-outs, no tipped canoes and no worrisome horse-play. If they picked up any appreciation of the estuary or the importance of the ecology of the bay, then that's a bonus. Maybe I am succeeding in making my expectations more realistic.

There is a great group dynamic developing that I had hoped would emerge sooner, but now that it's happening I don't have to worry that it won't happen at all.

Today's trip, which involved visiting a shopping center built on a site that was previously a (toxic) paint factory, a turn-of-the-century amusement park, an Ohlone village, a middens and a burial ground. The students investigated different points in history and then we watched a documentary about the building of the shopping center and the discovery of the bones, etc. The students were quite moved by the story and really appalled by what they saw as an excess of greed by people who chose to build here even after the skeletons were discovered.

I also received a few excellent student projects today, which made me very happy. I'm looking forward to some students coming in on Thursday to work on projects that are not yet complete. I'm feeling optimistic about this program right now!