Four-fifths ~ Our 4th Daily Dose of Nature

Forest School continues.  T-shirt weather in October.  Dry soil and fragrant vegetation. Un-ending streaks of bright white sun dapple a hundred different values of greens and browns in every direction.  This is not typical for mid-Autumn and we are soaking in every minute.

Our sensory descriptive poems grow with more expertise as we pose and stretch with our tree buddies (they’re really good listeners, by the way).  We are less distracted by the insects and mini-creatures that fill the forest floor as we get really close and focus on our own breathing.  The only real sounds that are out of place during literacy time are my crunching footsteps as I travel from tree to tree, checking in on the learning.

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We regroup and focus on the word ‘stewardship’.  We create visual texts about enjoying Jaffa respectfully.  Plants have feelings too…we think.

Grade 3’s need to know how to use a coordinate grid map. What better way to practice this skill than with an authentic map of forest!  We each selected five locations that we’ll visit tomorrow to capture sounds for a ‘forest soundscape’ (Thanks Ms. McCready!). We mapped them with coordinates and practiced our compass rose directions.

We then excitedly found amazing spaces in the forest to document in VIRTUAL REALITY! The Google Streetview app allowed us to create 360 photospheres of various parts of the Jaffa forest.  I published mine to google maps, and anyone around the world can now take a 360 peak into our special forest classroom. Techy-geeky session to the extreme. I still can’t wrap my brain around the fact that we have this capability at our fingertips now. Incredible.

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We built up a big hunger by now, and good thing because it was potluck day! It was a feast of delicious spoils. Thank you families for your contributions.  Dan manned the open-fire cooking area and toasted fresh garlic toast and sautéed potatoes.  We even used real plates to cut down on waste and used the environmental centres’ composting and recycling program to limit our trash impact.  It was a classy affair, but students had to earn their lunch and complete a photo scavenger hunt of the buffet table and look for packaged vs. unpackaged foods.  What might have been on an early settler’s or first nations people’s table 210 years ago?

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If anyone ever needs help advertising why forest school is fantastic learning, please let my grade 3’s know! We feel we’ve almost done it all here.  We are sad that tomorrow is our last day, but know that we’ve had an unforgettable opportunity.  Tomorrow will be jam-packed with more tech-enhanced learning in our outdoor classroom.  I hope our tree buddies don’t miss us too much!

PS – Shout out to our favourite app, piccollage.  It is so enjoyable sharing our learning with text and visuals in such impactful ways.  Google comes in a close second place with the incredible-in-your-hands mapping and virtual reality capabilities.  All free! Play!

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