Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A Nature Break

Sometimes it's nice just to take a break outside after a long test.

We are in the thick of MEAP (Michigan Educational Assessment Program) this week.  After a long morning of math "meaping," we are enjoying a break outdoors on our wetland overlook.  Sometimes it's just good to take a break outside without any study at all, just plain rejuvenation.

One of my favorite quotes from Liberty Hyde Bailey comes from his book entitled The Nature-Study Idea, 1905.  He is answering the question, What may be the results of Nature-Study?  I love his answer:

"Its legitimate result is education--the developing of mental power, the opening of the eyes and the mind, the civilizing of the individual.  As with all education, its central purpose is to make the individual happy; for happiness is nothing more nor less than pleasant and efficient thinking.  It is often said that the ignorant man may be as happy as the educated man.  Relatively, this is true; absolutely, it is not.  A ten-foot well is not so deep as a twenty-foot well; and although the ten-foot well may be full to the brim, it holds only half as much water as the other."

Sometimes, in these high-stakes testing times, I think we forget that ultimately learning is a joy and "an opening of the eyes and mind."  And teaching the joy of learning and the happiness of thinking is our goal as educators.  Happy teaching and learning to all of us outdoor learning enthusiasts!   

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Class Pet for a Day: Experience of a lifetime

Due to the generosity of Ilse Gebhard (butterfly expert and caterpillar gifter) we watched, fed and learned about monarchs in our classroom.  This one actually came out during class!  We let them go in our butterfly garden, knowing that they have a long journey ahead of them before the snow flies. 

Our Monarch, just out of her chrysalis

Drying her wings on my finger
Just about ready to fly