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?|
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|
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.
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.
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.
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