Sunday, 25 June 2017

Summer Solstice

Today for our community field experience we had to host our event. Our event was the Summer Solstice at the Orchard Garden. Therefore, our team had to arrive bright and early at the garden to begin set up. We arrived at 8 am to start off our beautiful morning. The sun was shining and it was wonderful! We couldn’t have asked for better weather. Soon after we began to set up the tents and tables at which we each had an activity. Our activities for the event were as followed; one station we had paint chips and the children or adults were to find in the garden matching colours. The second stations were making newspaper pots and planting out own seed. The following station was sketching some vegetables from the garden while the last station was making your own herbal bouquet to take home.

Once the stations were set up the next step was setting up the food. This was our biggest task for the day. We wanted to celebrate the garden, so we harvested some fresh vegetables to make a salad for the guests as well as herbs to flavour our water. The rest of the food was homemade goods and dips to go along with the wonderful bread we were lucky to have donated to us!

Soon after the set up was completed our guests began to arrive, one of the first ones being the UBC Osprey daycare centre. They arrived with six eager children who we rotated around to tour our stations. In the time they had we were able to have them make their own herbal bouquets and make newspaper pots. We also had an opportunity to give them a tour of our garden and read them a story in the shed for a while deserved break from the sun.

We had many other wonderful guests who were able to join our celebration. Our guests included members of the community, as well as students and faculty me,bets of UBC. Although our event took place on the 23rd, we were still celebrating the Summer Solstice/ longest day of the year. Our event included posters, informational material and education talks surrounding the significance of the solstice as well as the value that the Orchard Gardens has to the UBC community. As future educators, we learnt the value of hosting an event, and providing education on a subject that is so strongly tied to place and the Earth. We hope that all of our guests left with new knowledge and perspective that they did not have before! 

One of the highlights of our event was the opening speeches and the wonderful Solstice celebration dance that engaged all guests and Teacher Candidates. The event was informative, unique and fun! For our future career in teaching, we have also gained valuable knowledge on how to integrate the community into our teaching and learning. I believe that we will all take away the importance of being part of a community and place, and how these connections can help teach children!

The event was a success and we are grateful for everyone who came!

Meg and Laurence


Thursday, 22 June 2017

CFE Day 13 National Aborogianl Day June 21st 2017


Happy National Aboriginal Day! Today we celebrated Canada's Indigenous Peoples at Trout Lake. It was a beautiful event on the lake that hosted many Indigenous vendors, artists, and musicians. The intricate artwork and jewelry the vendors were selling were amazing to see up close - such detail and care! One of my favourite artworks that I saw that day were some beautiful button blankets made by a wonderful Haida Elder. Before I started teaching in my practicum, my class was learning about salmon and the importance of them in Haida culture. As an activity, they created their own button blankets with a salmon design on them. They turned out amazing and the students were really proud of them. It was quite special to see an authentic button blanket in real life after doing this activity in my class. They are so beautiful and I can appreciate the care and time it takes to create them.

It was an incredible experience to see Indigenous peoples being celebrated, honoured, and supported in our community. I was trying to describe my experience to a friend later that day and I had a difficult time putting into words the vibes and the feelings that radiated from the park that day. It was a powerful feeling of  community - people greeting one another, embracing each other, meeting new people, being proud of who they are and what they created. It was a sincere honour to be a part of it. I couldn't help but think about how happy everyone looked, how this is what their everyday lives may have looked like if settlers had not come, and what a tragedy it is that this event only occurs once a year. I left with mixed emotions - National Aboriginal Day is a step towards reconciliation but it is not enough. I am eager to participate, learn, and above all, listen, to ways in which we can move forward on our path to reconciliation. 

Lexi,

I went to participate in National Aboriginal Day in Musqueam on Unceded and Traditional Territory of the Musqueam people. The pride my community demonstrated is quite an honor being part of a strongly connected community. The morning started out with a Honoring our Elders Ceremony, for elders born in the 1940's. The guests in attendance are witnesses to the ceremony, and Musqueam's recognition is part of teaching traditional cultural protocols about respect for elders to all people.

Learning about the cultural events that take place in the community are extremely important learning opportunities for our Musqueam youth. Children of all ages are constantly reminded of who we are as Musqueam people through culturally significant events. Community gatherings provide the ability of Musqueam people to show the collective cohesiveness, and how we all come together to teach, instill, share and make meamingful relationships. A fresh seafood lunch, music, games, and information tables allowed for many opportunities to engage in various activities throughout National Aboriginal days events in Musqueam. We learn everyday and we continue to learn constantly throughout our lives.  

Thanks,
Sara. L

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

CFE Day 12

Today was primarily a planning day for both the Summer Solstice and the Gardening Workshop events that will occur this upcoming Friday June 23rd and Saturday June 24th. We started off the morning with Susan reviewing final details in order to make the appropriate adjustments prior to the events. As we are a part of the Solstice group, our blog post will focus primarily on how our day went and our planning progress.




Our group members decided we would able to cover more material if we distributed our work evenly amongst ourselves. Two members of the group went to the Orchard Garden to do inventory and insure that everything we need for the event is there. The rest of us stayed behind at Scarfe creating posters containing facts and a poem about the solstice. This planning process parallels unit and lesson planning because there are plenty of little details/ factors to consider. For example, food, advertisement, music, materials necessary for our stations, etc. Very much like unit and lesson planning, organizing these events involves a lot of team work and collaboration amongst team members. After today, as a team, we feel prepared and are excited for our event on Friday.


 



Hoda and Sara.T

Monday, 19 June 2017

CFE - Day 11


Our Monday morning started with a lesson on rope making and braiding from Susan. We took long, dry leaves, soaked them in water, then - using the reverse wrap method - we braided them into rope which can then be used as bracelets. It was interesting to see how material that would otherwise be discarded or used as compost can be fashioned into something useful or decorative. I also thought that this would be a great activity for fidgeters such as myself.



We also watched a video which pointed out how rope is perhaps one of humankind's earliest inventions, apparently dating back around 20,000 years ago. During the Middle Ages, rope making machines were developed. Even now, I would imagine the process of making rope is not much different from how it was done back then.



After creating several lengths of rope, we did a dance somewhat like what is done around a maypole. As we danced, we held a length of ribbon tied around a stick, which resulted in a braid. Depending on what dance was performed, different types of braids were formed. When we danced in a circle, we formed a round braid, while dancing in a line formed a flat braid.



Several aspects of these activities can be incorporated into our classrooms. For one thing, it was satisfying to create something practical and interesting by hand using natural materials. For another, the dance activity teaches physical education, rhythm, and braiding techniques which can be transferred to ribbons or hair. Since rope is an ancient technology, history and science can also be taught.


In the afternoon, Margaret McKeon spoke to us about how outdoor education can be cross curricular and how we might create a cross curricular project that brings in outdoor education. Speaking from her own experience, she discussed how community, the environment, and the classroom can come together to create a project that is cross curricular, experiential, action oriented, place-based, sensory, empowering, and student led.

In our own groups, we discussed how we might create a project that covered 1-2 main subjects in the curriculum (as well as including pieces from other subjects) in a way that would be place-based, community oriented, and student led. Thinking back to my practicum, our final science project for my grade 3 class was to do research and present the findings on a sea creature that could be found in the Vancouver Aquarium. We visited the aquarium during a field trip and used it as an opportunity to do further research before the presentations.  This project tapped into some of the ideas we discussed today, and I have come away with some other ideas of how this could incorporate more outdoor activities, be more place-based, and involve the community.  For example, having the class focus on animals native to our area would have been one way to make it more place-based and likely that the community played a role or had knowledge about the environment and the animals that lived there.

Margaret encouraged us to not be afraid to get outside, to work at making as many community connections and partnerships as you can (but to realize it takes time), and to think about ways that the project can be action-oriented and have a real purpose. It was an inspiring and useful talk and I look forward to taking this knowledge into my future projects and practices.




Sunday, 18 June 2017

Day 10- Eco-poetry

Today we met Margaret in the garden to explore the concept of eco-poetry in the outdoors. After a brief introduction to the topic, Margaret led us to different sports in the garden to inspire our writing.

Using Descriptive Words to Describe a Tree
The first stop was the Birch tree forest, and we were encouraged to use our senses to brainstorm adjectives about the trees based on Smell, Feel, Sound, and Sight.  We all thought this was a great exercise to practice coming up with adjectives for something tangible. Some textural words we used were:hard, solid, rough, flakey. We also tried to characterize the trees with short phrases, showing what our own connections to the trees were.

What words could you use to describe this tree?
For when the majority of us finished, Margaret would play her flute in the distance to signal that it would be time to transition into our next activity.  We all really loved this idea as a call for students to gather as it was so much more relaxing than a bell or clap as well, it provided time to finish work and have a peaceful end of each creative process.

Alliteration
In the next station, we wrote short verses with alliteration in them, using the grass as inspiration. It was nice to spread out and sit quietly in the sun with our thoughts to ourselves. We noted that grass is something that is very common in the city, but we rarely seem to take time to notice its characteristics and details. Taking the time to sit and focus on such a small, menial plant, put into perspective how we should slow down to appreciate the intricacies of nature. Using alliteration, you can notice that the rhythm and flow of the words themselves mimicked the sound in nature, there is rarely a sound that only happens once when we listen.

Beautiful Buttercups Basking in the Bright Sun
Haiku
Next, our exported adventure took us back into the Birch forest, where we used the trees, leaves, sun, branches, twigs and ground around us as inspiration to write haikus. As Elementary School Teachers we were quite familiar with haikus and as a result many of us wrote more than one.

We found that it was interesting to see how a Japanese poetic form has been translated and used so frequently in schools. As we have seen in last week's visit to Nitobe Memorial Garden,  there is an apparent respect for nature, its state of being and the balance that comes forth from simply observing and noticing natures subtleties.

Story Response
Margaret lead us to the grassy field and shared with us two stories of Eagles. We were told to respond through drawings. We found it fascinating how a verbal story could provoke so many different images. Many of us just spread out and just stared and each movement in the trees, sky, and the ground. We were immersed in the process of creating rather than focusing on the product that was to be created which brought a sense of peace which made everything much more natural.

Free Verse
As we followed the " Path to Verse" going through each station, we were invited to create a free verse poem using the different words, alliterations, and phrases that we had previous created. Given that there were no rules, it was nice to be able to play with words, moments, and moods. We could see how this was a closing piece to the journey that we had taken today, many of us adopted the practice of spreading out into our own spaces in the garden to complete this activity. As a cultural connection, teachers could look at other works of poetry based on nature to form connections based on content or style.

Closing
At the end of our eco-poetry session. We debriefed an shared some of our poems with each other and also what we liked about the activity. We all agreed that it was really helpful to have a general focus on what to write on and to be in the space helped us create our poems. We also all liked the level of loose structure that the activity had, in that we knew what the boundaries were, what sound to listen for when to come back, and a general idea of what should inspire our writing. However, the activity was not overly structured as we were allowed to wander and find our own independent peace to write in. This would definitely be a fun way to incorporate outdoor learning into a poetry unit and to build on the core competencies.

We briefly talked about how to organize and create a safe space for learning opportunities like these to occur. Keeping in mind: boundaries, accountability, safety hazards, permissions, and preparations. In light of this conversation, we saw that it required a process to set these experiences up, but when established, they would be easy to maintain.

- Kirstie and Natalie

Orchard Garden Saturday workshop #7: Flax to linen

On Saturday June 10, we were thrilled to have guest artist Rebecca Graham of EartHand Gleaners teach a hands-on workshop on flax processing and linen thread spinning with drop spindles.

Rebecca used flax we had grown in the Orchard Garden last summer and flax from EartHand gardens, brought to campus in the new willow Weaving Wagon and towed behind an electric bike! Participants learned how to ripple, ret, break, scutch, hackle


and spin fibres from home-grown flax plants to make a fine linen thread -- the original 'line'.

John Ames, Julian Yeo and Ele Hendriks organized and ran the workshop, and a great group of teacher candidates participated. Photos below!









Uhill Elementary


Today we starting off by meeting at University Hill Elementary to join in Kate's Foreman's "Outdoor Learning" class. We were welcomed into the Uhill classroom with open arms. When we first arrived we were like a fly on the wall, observing the instructional time and classroom management from Kate.

Kate started off her class by asking the children to reflect on their previous knowledge and to make connections to previous learning from their other classes. The classes focused on learning about slugs, a subject that many students already had a strong background knowledge on. Kate supported the gaps in student learning by oral, visual and written information on the Smartboard in front of the class. The necessary information on slugs and expected behaviour was given to the students in the classroom, before we went outside.

As future educators, we found this time especially interesting. It has showed us that time in the classroom does not have to be isolated from outdoor learning, and instead it can be used as a way to support outdoor learning. For example, the children learnt the features of slugs before going out into nature to find the slugs themselves and identify the features. Had they not had the instructional time in class before hand then the outdoors experience would have been less learning focused. Furthermore, the students are encouraged to let the teacher know with a non-verbal cue when they have made a connection in their mind (by linking their two thumbs and index fingers together). This encourages the students to reflect individually on their learning and independent knowledge.

Once we were outside in Pacific Spirit Park, the goals and expectations for behaviour were clear. The class would be based in their "secret spot" and would be allowed to wander around the park so long as they were within ear shot to hear the "coyote" call from Kate. The children were encouraged to explore, inquire and play until they found slugs. Once a slug was found, the teachers would put a hula hoop around it to keep the boundaries clear. The children loved this time outside!

This teaching method has helped us as teacher candidates to see outdoor learning in action. We learnt the value of setting boundaries and rules to support the learning, to encourage creativity and curiosity, and how to ensure that all students are involved and interested. It was a wonderful experience. There has been tons of learning by the children and us, and we are grateful for the opportunity to attend Uhill!

-Meg and Laurence