Sasha and Brendan
Today was spent exploring the area around the garden for poetic inspiration! Margaret Mckeon returned to lead us through several different stations throughout the garden and surrounding woods; each asked for slightly more from us until we were writing our own free-verse poems about our experiences by the end.
We began by reviewing a beautiful piece of poetry called after the rain (which turned out quite appropriate for the day!) submitted by a 10-year-old to a national poetry competition in 2003, then we had to apply our sense to some of the local trees and how the felt to touch, what sounds could be heard, and what scents could be smelled. It was great to have read the poem as a primer; it becomes difficult to see a forest as more than a collection of trees, but reading the imagery of "...leaves turned creamy brown..." by the simplicity of rainfall helps reawaken in us something we often forget whilst fulfilling our shopping lists of life: how the world looks to a child. This is no simple task (especially after having trained ourselves to fumble through the halls of academia for so many years), but critical us to reach our students.
After some initial exploration, Margaret led us around the perimeter and into the woods to seek inspiration for alliteration and imagery. My favorite exercise was "what would you step on", where students are meant to pass outside and see how many plants and animals could lie below their feet. We could imagine blades of grass like skyscrapers and ants like civilians all going about their daily business like characters of a Disney movie, and so many inquiry questions could be developed from this simple 5 minute exercise (How many plants are there? Why is this plant here but not there? Why do the bugs like this plant etc).
Finally, we concluded the morning back in the main garden with a haiku session, and 30 minutes to develop some free verse poetry. After so much practice beforehand, the poem practically fell out of my pen with the particular crops of the garden, and yet each crop seemed to emphasize a different kind of feeling. The morning was lots of fun and a great example of a cross-curricular place-based activity. What was most impressive was how well it was staggered from one station to the next, so that each station provided us practice for the next. Although the focus was primarily on English, I'd love to try this in a science class; it would be interesting to see how students observations/poetry would differ!
The afternoon was a time for exploration.
After a long, wet morning in the garden we moved out troop to the coffee shop. We found a comfortable space for conversing about our workshop. While we were discussing the atributes of what we are hoping to have flurish in our Saturday workshop, we explored other avenues of the frendships that we have been creating since the begining of the CFE, or added new growth onto old friendships.
The ideas shared about the workshop allowed us to split into our individuated groupings and begin exploring the aspects of our seperate subject areas. These groupings illustrated how colaboration between two or more subject areas can be accentuated by the differences in the group members. Being as we are all comfortable in our own subject areas, it will be a treat and a challenge to allow for this unification of subjects.
This is a clear advantage to those who are part of this CFE as it allows for all of us to establish and understand the benefits of branching out and creating friendships between courses. While it may be evident that different areas in the school can be influential and effect in the teaching occuring in individual classrooms, it is easy to forget that all of the subjects can intertwine as long as one is willing to allow for cooperation.
This next week should prove invaluable for the simple fact that it will allow for exploration between subject areas without feeling the constricting walls of the school rules binding and overseeing all of the choices that we try to encompass in our teachings.