Friday, 8 November 2019

Open Minds' Zoo School - 'Get to know a stick!'

During our Chevron Open Minds Zoo School summer workshop, teachers got to know a stick. They became familiar with its bumps and warts, split ends, and fraying bark while sketching their new friend! Each stick was then mixed up in the middle of the space and the sketches were used by the rest of the group to try to identify each stick.
Since this training in August, I have noticed this same exercise being used in classrooms with students as preparation for their zoo school week, and a learning opportunity to add a new set of skills to the student’s journaling toolbox.
#journalling #naturejournal #studentwork #education #yycCCOM #johnmuirlaws @calgaryzoo @ChevonCR @johnmuirlaws

~ Teegan Bennington Jessop, Zoo School Assistant Coordinator

Thursday, 7 November 2019

2School: An Urban Experience What Creates Communities that Make People Want to Live There?

Grade 1’s from Jennie Elliott School focused on examining what creates communities that make people want to live there. Through the lens of gathering spaces, art, and the many people who help to foster a sense of belonging and add community vibrancy and spirit, they ventured into the downtown to discover answers to their question.

While students explored the community of the Beltline neighbourhood, they began to notice art, specifically murals, filling apartment blocks and brightening up alleyways and parking lots. This discovery got students thinking about how communities can create a sense of safety, belonging and gathering spaces in unexpected and, often, neglected places in our city. 

Students learned how the Beltline Neighbourhood Association worked collaboratively with businesses, building owners, artists, and additional funders and volunteers to add 30 murals over three years to their community. The Beltline Urban Murals Project (BUMP) has grown to become an annual festival event for the community. Students reflected that the art brought beauty, vibrancy, elements of surprise and wonder to the community and that many people helped to make this vision a reality. Students also noted that the murals told a story of place through the eyes of artists.

An unexpected surprise waited for students when they got the opportunity to work with Wendy Lees, a community art facilitator who planned a collaborative pop up mural in the East Village. Students were warmly welcomed to join in the painting and work alongside other people, each painting a square that became part of a larger block in the mural. Throughout the day more people came and added details on top of others contributions, creating layers of communal art. The students reflected that they, in that moment, became muralists and had all the people in the community of the East Village; old, young, residents and visitors to thank for the experience.

The mural, titled “We Are One” was displayed at Central Library and then will make its way into the community of Lakeview at Jennie Elliott School, where it can live there as a colourful reminder of community, life and vibrancy, in its gathering space.

Grade 1’s are excited to see where this work will take them. They have begun to reflect and examine the comparisons between the Beltline community, downtown and their own neighbourhoods, while they continue to examine issues related to community and what makes them great places to live.

Margeaux Montgomery, 2School: An Urban Experience Coordinator