Can you see the kids? I couldn’t. I could hear them, though:
“Wow, there are so many rusty paint cans!”
“Hey, there’s garbage down here…”
“Yeah, but it’s good garbage!”
“Check this out! Is this a cave?”
“Can somebody help me find a path down?”
“You can do it, N! Keep going!”
“Look, a toy airplane! And a toy truck!”
“And a bicycle!“
“I’m trying to do what you would do,” I texted Mr. December, “I let them go down into the ravine and explore without me.” After texting I sat on my hands and waited, trying not to think about the fact that coyotes have been seen in the neighbourhood.
It started as a science/nature lesson, with each kid assigned to find me leaves from one type of tree, either deciduous or coniferous. Then R decided she wanted to go down into the ravine. K went with her, and then E joined them. Finally, N made his way down the hill (cautiously, on his butt) to explore with his sisters. What was meant to be a ten-minute exercise turned into a thirty-minute adventure and an exercise in leadership (for K) and teamwork (for everyone else.) Today was fun.
While we were outside, we also took the glacier we made yesterday and pulled it down a slope covered in soil, approximating how fjords were formed. Then the kids wanted to know what would happen if we reset the whole thing and left the glacier at the top to melt in its own time. “Would it make a river?” N wondered. The answer? Not before it’s time to get in the car and go home.
While the kids explored the ravine, I marvelled at what a great experience it was for them, and how sitting in a classroom just couldn’t compare. I have those thoughts a lot these days.
In our writing session I gave the kids a roll of tape each and directed them to label things around the house using their word cards. “It can be ironic,” I told them, “Or it can subvert the meaning of the word, or you can play it straight.”
I knew that R’s labels would be more literal than the others’, and that K’s would skew towards the absurd. The pleasant surprise came from N; his labels showed empathy, insight, and a sense of humour. Here were some of his greatest tags:
TRY …on K’s algebra book
SURVIVE …below the ‘Thursday’ column on R’s schedule board
NEED …on the fridge door
I’m sure I’ll find others tomorrow, but those three stood out for me. The thought he put into this assignment was an unexpected delight after so many months of him refusing to work on writing. I’m hoping I find more surprise words around the house tomorrow. In the meantime, I think I’m going to label myself finished and get some sleep.