Learning continues in the edu-chanted forest. Today, literacy, mindfulness, sensory exploration, soil composition, art scavenger hunting and still life photography class. What was really neat was being able to use the wifi at Jaffa to be able to participate in an Ontario-wide student twitter chat (something we’d committed to as part of Digital Citizenship Week).
I’m really enjoying the morning in the forest where we are able to take time with our tree buddies, read, reflect and focus on our senses with a few yoga stretches. It is here where we can really look closely at the life everywhere around us. After our hike yesterday and a focus on soil today, students will really be noticing things in their space that they didn’t even consider before.
We decided to start eye-bombing today. With some small pieces of sticky tack we can temporarily attach googly eyes to bushes, rocks, … anything really. The purpose? To humanize the living and non-living ‘members’ of our habitat. Giving a tree a voice allows a student to practice taking a different point of view or perspective. The next step is to put these photos into the ChatterPix app and literally give these plants a voice. What story would a tree share after watching students and animals interact in a forest all day? What might an invasive species say? Would they be able to defend their actions?
Our enviro leader, Dan, cooked up a pot of soil. The students were keen to learn about the various elements that go into creating soil. We also did some soil sample coring and compared our samples to some typical soil type benchmarks. Microscopes let us ‘dig in’ (oh, boy) a little deeper and really make connections to the dirt they all had on their pants and hands. This was a tech-free activity and it was great to get a little dirty. Now, being an ed tech guy, we followed up the activity with a Flipgrid vlog response back in the classroom.
A cookout lunch is always a treat. The smell of a fire never disappoints. The wind picked up and we noticed that nature can sometimes be louder than us.
We ended our busy day with an art focus. Using Popplet, we created a flowchart to fill with photo evidence of various art elements (e.g., line, value, space) and text labels. We scoured the forest floor for the perfect representation of scratchy textures and cool colours.
Our final forest task was (not-so) still life photography. In partners we framed photographs with black construction paper. When the image is taken with a black background, we focus on the spectacular colour in the plant. Later, with photo editing and filters, we can fine tune our images for more polished prints. There is so much we can later do with these photos – green screen backgrounds for poetry slams, wallpaper for texts on parts of plants, or simply reflection rubrics on the elements of art present in the photographs.
Alas, day two came to an end and maybe I came to the realization that all outdoor education days should end with mandatory naps for all. 😁😴🌳🌲