Monday, 24 September 2012

Is that really how it grows?

After waking at 4am with the sound of the rain on my roof tiles, I donned my thermals ready for an aftenoon filled with very soggy children and multiple reminders on the importance of keeping wellington boots outside of the classroom. Luckily, following a morning of dropping Alice and the White Rabbit from the ceiling and pondering the potential of the Cheshire Cat's gravity defying abilities, (all in the name of our forces investigation,) the sky appeared to run out of water - phew!

The children were really excited to read their blog live for the first time and the authors, although proud, could see ways to improve it. Saying that, they did well considering they only had 5 minutes to type it before the excitement of an Olympian in class! They'll be even more impressed when they see the map which shows who's been reading - they've got 4 countries coloured in already (I've also got the atlases on stand-by in anticipation of them wanting to find out which ones!)

It was the final group's first chance to garden today, and most seemed keen to crack on. The fact that a younger class* had made fantastic progress on the weeding last Wednesday meant they had something to aim for.

As the girls were pulling up the "anti-weed" carpet, which had become a small ecosystem; the boys in the group came across some more evidence of previous veg. patch activity. Nestling amongst the thistles were six yellowing maize plants - all with fruit. The excitement of some of the group to see the stucture of the plants was fascinating, calling other groups over to share what they'd learnt. I often forget that, although these children are from rural backgrounds, they are of the generation where food comes pre-packaged from the supermarket and requires no more thought. I hope that soon, I'll be able to share with them the importance of growing, not just on a local scale but for their understanding of the wider world and the communities the Pinapple Project, Grower's Nation's sister project, is hoping to help.

*You should hear from Year 4 very soon - expect to hear things described as "epic!" fairly frequently!

Monday, 10 September 2012

Wonderful weeding.

It was the first session outdoors for my Year 5 class today (age 9,) and one third of the children had their first taste of gardening. The sadly neglected allotment area at our Forest School was only distinguishable from the rest of the area as the lack of grass had allowed the weeds to grow taller than the majority of the children!

The children worked hard for the afternoon, digging and weeding and made a good start of clearing the area. "Miss, I've found a potato!" was quickly followed by "Oh wait, no. It's a rock!" We did find a very small bulb which smelt of onions, which together we decided was probably a shallot; we left it for the slugs to eat, seeing as they were out in force because of the rain.

When feeding back to the rest of the class, I asked the children to decide upon two adjectives which described their task. "Dirty and disgusting!" said one half of the group which was quickly matched by "Muddy and marvelous!"from the other. I wonder if they'll always alliterate their adjectives... we'll have to see! Hopefully they'll start their blog next week.

Monday, 3 September 2012

One day to go...

Officially back to school tomorrow, after two days of unofficially being in schools sorting forests and bouncing ideas off colleagues. Lovely to see everyone again. The sun has finally returned, just in time for an introduction to outdoor learning. It'll be nice to finally put the 120+ names to faces as I meet my newest classes in the coming week.

The veg patch at our established site has grown amazingly over the summer - I just need some recipes for dandelion, nettle and tomato delicacies and cooking is sorted for the next month! There were also some very impressive looking onions and some giant carrots poking through the soil, all credit to MW and the children who worked hard on the veg patch last year!

Time for a cup of tea, a bit of reading, then an early night before tomorrow's early start!