• Mushroom


    Field Guide to the Fungi of Opal Creek Ancient Forest

    Courses Natural Resources, Ecology, Digital Media, English Language Arts
    Content Area(s) CTE Digital Design, Science, English Language Arts

    Joseph Ferguson, Amy Taramasso

    Alliance HS @ Meek Campus

    Students and staff from Alliance @ Meek spent several days at the Opal Creek Scenic Recreation and Wilderness Areas east of Salem Oregon. Students began by establishing basecamp in Jawbone Flats. Over the course of several days students and staff became researchers, photographers, documentarians and writers. Together they explored the ancient forest around them while hunting, gathering and documenting the fungi that surrounded them. Students learned important techniques for fungi identification and were even able to enjoy the fruits of their labor by sampling edible mushrooms they had collected.

    After returning to school, students worked together to create a Fungus Guide for the Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center. The 48 page booklet combined multiple content areas and resulted in a print quality, full color guide for visitors to purchase while exploring Opal Creek.

    This project was a unique and immersive experience that allowed both students and staff to step away form the classroom and submerge themselves in the outdoors. Meek is an urban school, so for many students this project presented a unique opportunity to explore nature.
    Project Length
    12 Weeks

    Project Deliverables
    Digital Book 

  • Common Core Standards

    11-12.RL.6 Analyze a case in which grasping point of view, or understanding a perspective or cultural experience requires distinguishing what is directly stated in a text from what is really meant

    11-12.RL.7 Analyze multiple interpretations of a story, drama, or poem, evaluating how each version interprets the source text

    11-12.W.1 Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.

    11-12.W.1a Introduce precise, knowledgeable claim(s), establish the significance of the claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that logically sequences claim(s)

    11-12.W.1b Develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly and thoroughly, supplying the most relevant evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both in a manner that anticipates the audience’s knowledge level, concerns, values, and possible biases.

    11-12.W.2a Introduce a topic; organize complex ideas, concepts, and information so that each new element builds on that which precedes it to create a unified whole; include formatting, graphics, and multimedia when useful in aiding comprehension.

    11-12.W.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.

    11-12.W.3b Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, description, reflection, and multiple plot lines, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters.

    11-12.W.3c Use a variety of techniques to sequence events so that they build on one another to create a coherent whole and build toward a particular tone and outcome.

    11-12.W.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1–3 above.)

    11-12.SL.1 Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 11–12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

    11-12.SL.1a Come to discussions prepared, having read and researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence from texts and other research on the topic or issue to stimulate a thoughtful, well-reasoned exchange of ideas.

    11-12.SL.1b Work with peers to promote civil, democratic discussions and decision-making, set clear goals and deadlines, and establish individual roles as needed.

    11-12.SL.1c Propel conversations by posing and responding to questions that probe reasoning and evidence; ensure a hearing for a full range of positions on a topic or issue; clarify, verify, or challenge ideas and conclusions; and promote divergent and creative perspectives.

    11-12.SL.1d Respond thoughtfully to diverse perspectives; synthesize comments, claims, and evidence made on all sides of an issue; resolve contradictions when possible; and determine what additional information or research is required to deepen the investigation or complete the task.

    11-12.SL.2 Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media in order to make informed decisions and solve problems, evaluating the credibility and accuracy of each source and noting any discrepancies among the data.

    11-12.SL.3 Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, perspective, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, assessing the stance, premises, links among ideas, word choice, points of emphasis, and tone used.

    11-12.SL.4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence, conveying a clear and distinct perspective; ensure that listeners can follow the line of reasoning, alternative or opposing perspectives are addressed, and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and a range of formal and informal tasks.

    11-12.SL.5 Make strategic use of digital media in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest.

    11-12.SL.6 Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating a command of formal English when indicated or appropriate. (See grades 11–12 Language standards 1 and 3 for specific expectations.)


    In the future I would put even more ownership in the hands of students. Spring of 2021 we are planning to create a field guide on the pollinators of Opal Creek.