... Living inspired by the beauty of life, one post at a time.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Mission accomplished

One afternoon this week we were pleasantly surprised by the arrival of this little guy in our back yard. (I think the stork might have dropped this little bundle in the wrong nest!)

Actually, we think a crow ungraciously removed him (out of his little home in the old eucalyptus tree over the fence) and in the ensuing struggle dropped him in our yard. After a bit of frantic hopping and plaintive chirping (and a great deal of panic from the kids intent on rescuing the abducted chick), he finally curled up in a tightly wound ball of fluff and feathers, closed his eyes and shut out the harshness of the world. ('No, he is not dead' came my gentle soothings to an overwrought child.)

Then, when he had calmed down, our rescue mission began. My panic stricken daughter gently picked him up and cradled this scrap of duck down. Embracing him in the palm of her hands, she held him close ... sheltering him from harm. Carefully he was bundled into an abandoned shoe box and delivered safely to the animal shelter. Mission accomplished!

Afterwards, when we had traipsed home and ended our little rescue operation ... my heart was distracted by a thought. My soul became suspended on a nudge willing me to pause.
I  marvel at this gift of serendipity entwined with ribbons of grace and favour, my heartbeat races a little faster at the thought that suddenly cuts me right through. 
This is how He reminds me that he is there, always there in the storms that gather incessantly, in the dark clouds that loom ominously  ... there is a waiting, an intentional watching over ... for the heart in need of hope, the soul finally staying before the scooping up and holding close of delicate fragility. 

Much later I wonder at the lessons that come so unexpectedly. 
Do I always see the message in the mayhem? 
In the small things that flop in and flutter around me, 
in the here and now ... am I truly aware, 
awake to the seemingly insignificant 
so full of heavens fervour?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Extension tasks for 'Highly Able Students'

Farmyard Antics
I am a teacher, this is my job but it is also a calling. I am called to this sphere of influence. There is nothing I love more than growing young minds and taking students on a journey of discovery. I really do have the best job in the world!

Our goal this term was to expose our 'Highly Able Students' (Those students identified as working significantly above our grade level expectations and showing proficiency and ability in one or more academic areas) to content beyond the borders of the regular school curriculum. This meant extending thinking and investigations to broader areas of learning in student directed and teacher facilitated tasks.

This term our Integrated Studies unit explored the topic - 'Life on the Farm'. In order to expose students to a broader theme I thought it might be fun to investigate micro habitats. So, our students investigated other types of farming and ant farming proved most popular! ... and ended up being the easiest to implement. (It was also highly successful - if not somewhat challenging... collecting ants became a lunch time obsession for all our Grade One students!!) 

During the term we ended up purchasing ant farms for each of the Grade One classrooms so students could study a micro habitat in a more in-depth and hands on way. As part of the whole class learning process we developed a schema chart of things we already knew about general farming and things we were discovering to keep track of what we were learning. 

Extension students added learnt facts to our slowly growing 'Tree of Knowledge'.

Students were encouraged to put together an annotated diagram (prior knowledge, showing us what they already knew about farms in general) before they set about gathering information on their chosen area of interest and undertaking more in-depth research. We were delighted with the effort of our students who happily put together posters and Power-points (at home and in class) to share at our grade level assembly. (Purposeful show and tell can be very informative!!) 

Throughout the term we worked on a variety of 'Higher Order Thinking' tasks with students presenting what they were learning to their peers along the way, becoming resident experts on their chosen topic. The flow on effect saw other students in the class also engage in their own discovery learning which was celebrated at regular intervals. Having a real purpose (creating the ant farm) and audience (their peers) meant that students were fully engaged in learning processes as they analysed, synthesised, created and evaluated what they were doing. 

Some very interesting facts were discovered along the way about these amazing little critters as students showcased their learning alongside the formal school curriculum. (Did you know that an ants sense of smell is just as good as a dogs!!)

Drawings of ant delicacies in the jars - Investigating what ants like to eat!
Investigation - What do ants like best ... sand or soil?
At the end of the term students reflected on their learning, discussing and highlighting factors that impacted on an animals habitat, suggesting ways to better improve the needs of living things ... and most importantly life on our ant farm to ensure continued survival of the species!

Click here to go direct to this blog.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Treasures of the soul

Treasures of the soul - Precious memories

          Memories are treasures of the soul kept safe in the depths of our heart. - k.weight

These photos brings back such sweet memories because my little munchkins are not so little any more. It just feels just like yesterday and if I shut my eyes I can still picture them. Laughter and giggles ... sweet sloppy kisses, grubby little hands and tiny wee bodies that fit snuggly into my lap ... ahhh, how I miss these days.

"Memory is a way of holding on to the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose.” 
Kevin Arnold.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Learning to draw

Teacher Talk - Grade One

Drawing with little people is so fun. They don't have preconceived ideas about how things should look. They don't over evaluate their work and are proud as punch when they are done. I love that I get to encourage creativity at its best - colour, style, freedom, possibilities, purpose ... and yes, this is my real every day life,  it doesn't get better than this!

This term in Grade One we have been learning about farms and micro habitats. Just for fun we had a go at drawing a few farm animals to develop our artistic skills. 
Drawing a cow seemed like a good place to start. I showed my students how to follow the step by step instructions on the media screen in the classroom and then I had a go on the whiteboard, showing them how easy it was. They loved how simple it was to add detail one step at a time. Not so overwhelming when we can break it all down into bite size pieces. (Even for me!!!)

My students were rather impressed with their efforts. I loved seeing the awe on their faces as they discovered that they can draw better than they at first imagined. Their little faces deep in concentration were a delight to behold. I encouraged their efforts, reminding them that creative ability developed with practice. My affirmations opened up the next bout of frantic scribbling as they tried to get the form they were drawing down on paper. They revelled in this ability to create, to cause something to take on shape from somewhere deep inside of them. As I watched the creativity in progress, I paused in the uncharacteristic lull of the classroom and contemplated the creative force within all of us. 

How is it that such creative capacity slowly goes to sleep over time? Why do so many of us think we are not artistic ... or creative ... or imaginative, when we are born with this limitless potential?

It reminded me to purposefully embrace this way of living, teaching and being. To capture, celebrate and cherish the gift of infinite originality and unique individuality!

So, embrace the creativity that makes you uniquely individual!

Later I showed them how to use pastels to build up the colour on their drawing using a few different techniques. We began with blending two colours in the background and later added detail to the image bit by bit.

Not bad for little people .... 
and below are a few more we had a go at drawing too.

'A work of art is the unique result of a unique temperament ...
the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known.' - Oscar Wilde

More Tales from the Classroom here.

Linking up with Studio JRU
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...