Thursday, 12 May 2016

The Game of Now: Our week at the Ann and Sandy Cross Conservation Area

‘When I am hiking here, my heart is full’

The game of now was played each day as my students tromped through the grasslands, climbed the hills and looked closely at the land around them. Our challenge: focus on what was right in front of us and leave those play date plans behind.

The weeks leading up to our visit were frenetic and busy. The emails, letters, lessons all intended to prepare the students for the week seemed endless. Spending a week where the goal was simply to notice ‘who lives here’ was a reminder of the power or place and of being present.

Each day, I noticed my students interacting with each other in different ways – new friendships blossomed, questions deepened and students challenged each other to get feedback. Our sketching practice paid off, as students were comfortable drawing multiple drafts of an animal, adding in labels and texture to capture meaning. We talked about the power of a sign to help protect a place – I have never had a class so eager to get feedback on their designs for new signs for our naturalized area at school. The real treat, though, was hearing the profound statements that we lose as we age: “When I see the leaves around me, it’s like there is magic everywhere.”

This week reignited my motivation to slow down, explore and look for magic in small places.

BIO: Sarah Ketcheson currently teaches grade 1 students at Altadore School.

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