Thursday, April 2, 2015

B is for Botany









One of the main lessons taught in Waldorf schools in Grade Five is Botany. We start the block looking at mushrooms, and since our school is in a rainy valley mushroom hunting is extremely satisfying. The children loved drawing them and setting them on white paper to see the spore patterns.

Mushrooms are often thought of as the baby of the plant world because when you see a fairy ring of mushrooms it is because under the ground there is a whole network of connection linking the mushrooms that we see standing on their own above ground.

It is miraculous how after a rain the forest blooms and comes alive with new mushroom life.

Mushroom hunting was always a joy with my own children and one I was glad to share with my boisterous class of Grade Five students.


B is also for the Bighouse.

In Grade Four we spent the night in a First Nations Bighouse. We all received our Squamish name, learned to cook by putting hot rocks into large bentwood boxes filled with vegetables and rice, wove cedar bark and wool, gathered herbs and berries to make tea, heard the coyotes call us from across the river and listened to stories around the Bighouse fire while we learned to cook (and eat) bannock. We were gifted this beautiful wooden salmon and painted it on return to the classroom. This salmon followed us through the years, and now it is in the high school classroom watching over them as they continue there education without me.

I am glad this square was included.

I hope one day they return to the river where we learned so much.



8 comments:

  1. I don't remember school being such fun when I was younger! How lovely to go looking for mushrooms :-)

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  2. Our school prides itself on lots of outings, field trips, hands on kind of learning.

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  3. Very nice. I'm reminded of a cruise I took out of Seattle to a nearby island. I think it was Eagle Island. We were treated to clam nectar, a salmon bake, and native dance. You also convinced me I can draw mushrooms....and I'm not an artist!

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    1. Yes, teaching this block helped me realize I could draw better than I imagined.

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  4. Love to read about how your students EXPERIENCE to learn!

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    1. Thank you. You can see from the squares they made almost all of them were when we did something with the lesson as opposed to just listening to me blather on and on ;)

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  5. Oh this brought memories rushing back of studying fungi in Grade 5 myself. We were allowed to go into a part of the school grounds that was generally out-of-bounds to do our searches and surveys. And mushroom prints! I loved those. Wild mushies grow at our place and when they do, you can bet I'll be using a few to make those gorgeous artworks. Thank you, yet again. xx

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    1. When we studied lichen and moss the class got to go back to the grade one playground cause that was where the best examples were growing.

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