Sunday, 14 May 2017

CFE workshop

Three weeks have flown by and sadly our CFE is complete. Our final workshop went smoother than any of us had hoped for, and we had the chance to celebrate our success and experiences with some of our peers. Everyone who arrived had some connection to education, and all were happy to leave with their own new plant to care for. It was a bittersweet conclusion; we're happy to have succeeded and had such a great learning experience in the garden, yet sad to leave our outdoor offices behind.

We wrote short stories, drew soundscapes, created crops and budgeted stocks; we covered the curriculum from Art to Mathematics. We leave as we came, inexperienced yet inspired, educated yet hungry for knowledge, and tired yet excited for the future that lies before us. Some of us know where we'll be teaching ext year, and others haven't the faintest idea, but we leave having experienced first-hand the value and joy of the incorporation of outdoor education. We already came with the desire to incorporate it into our pedagogy and thanks to the orchard garden, now we have the vision too.

It has been a lovely three weeks and a wonderful community field experience, and I hope that everyone involved has a future career ahead of them as bright and beautiful as the past three weeks have been. Some days it may rain, but so long as the light within each of us shines through it's enough to keep the spirits up.

Happy trails ahead!


"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was teh age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Ligh, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was te winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way - in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only"

Our CFE has come to an end.

The workshop on Saturday was a good end cap for the three weeks that we have spent together. We were able to come together one last time, in both the garden and the classroom settings, and express ourselves. Through the creating and presenting of the workshop we were able to delve into different subject areas, granted it was not a spurlunking but a mere surface skimming. We were also able to come together as friends one last time. It was exciting to be able to witness the creativity of nine different minds melding together to form 1 four hour workshop.

To draw another comparison, it was like Christmas with the family. The food, the surroundings and the people all serve as both comfort and entertainment.

It was also exciting to see that there were other people willing to venture into our presentation, they appeared to have fun and enjoy themselves, I know that my sister came away with some fond memories.

Thank you all again for the laughs and the learning!!


Thursday, 11 May 2017

May 11 - Aboriginal Math Symposium

A Rainy Day at the Aboriginal Math Symposium - Danielle and Joyce

Today instead of meeting at the Orchard Garden, we met at the Sty-Wet-Tan Hall First Nations Longhouse at UBC for the Aboriginal Math Symposium. Half of us took the morning shift and were responsible for setting up and preparing for the symposium and the other half was responsible for the clean-up. We were both part of the morning shift and came early in the morning to help set-up. We put together all the tables, chairs, and food stations for 150 people. 

The symposium began with a song welcoming all the attendees to the symposium. The symposium focuses on connecting and exploring  new ideas, resources and research on Aboriginal/Indigenous mathematics educations K-12. We listened to drumming, singing, and stories. The audience also honoured our animal brothers and sisters by acting out wolves, eagles, and killer whales. 
One of the first activities of the symposium was matching years to important dates and events from Canadian aboriginal history in small groups. We got to participate in this as well and were given a packet that contained rope, paper clips, different years written on pieces of paper and different events on other pieces of paper. The task was for groups to match up the year cards with corresponding event cards.  We were to make a timeline and sequence the events in order. Events ranged from British settlers landing on the west coast, to the installation of Residential schools, to First Nations federal voting rights. 
- discussions made on connections between activity and math
- this activity brings math into cultural context

After the timeline activity, each table was asked to look at and find differences and similarities between 5 maps of the lower mainland that were on each table. Tables had different maps, but all ranged from the years 1850-1980. Tables were encouraged to mingle with other tables to compare maps. Us volunteers had a few maps to look at too and it was interesting to see all of the changes that took place in Vancouver not so long ago.

The following activity focused on deepening mathematical pattern awareness through Cedar weaving. Each attendee were given two pieces of paper consisting of 3 different patterns. Attendees were asked to create and continue the pattern on sheets. After giving attendees some time to complete the pattern, the connections between patterns and math were distinguished. After the discussion, attendees were give cedar barks to create and weave based on a pattern on the sheet of paper. I found this activity particularly interesting and engaging. The activity allows participants to not only exercise their ability to recognize patterns but also to provide hands-on experience.

After the Cedar weaving, multiple educators shared their experience and how their activities shared connections with Aboriginal math. One of the stories I remember in particular is by David Sufrin. He discussed how mathematical scales can be taught through the creation of teepees. Groups were expected to work together as well as observe and make their own teepee. Students were expected to make a well-proportioned model teepee.

May 10 - Final Preparation for the Amazing GARDEN Race!

Jenny Y

Today was the last day of prepping and finalizing details for the upcoming Saturday workshop - The Amazing Garden Race. 

For the past couple of days, we've worked hard and collaboratively on how to make this workshop meaningful and informative yet engaging and fun for all the attendees whether they are current teachers, teacher candidates, parents, or anyone in general. 

I don't want to spoil the details but here is a general idea of how the day will look like. 

So the main theme of all the activities is "Gardening Across The Curriculum". There will be a couple of very fun activities where you will need to work with your teammates to complete given tasks. You will get to explore the garden and experience how it feels to work in the garden! 

Each activity will hit on several curricular competencies of different subject areas and what's exciting is that you can take ideas from the workshop and try it with your (future) students. 

There will be delicious lunch served after the activities (with some ingredients picked from the garden). 

At the end workshop, you will be provided with all the activities that we've planned (with big ideas, content, curricular competencies, etc.), recipes, other resources, and our contact information in case you have any questions. 

So...if you have ever wondered how you can incorporate garden-based learning in Math, English, P.E., Social Studies, ELL, Science, Business Education, and more... this is the perfect opportunity for you to find out. 

Hope to see you all there!

Place: Orchard Garden in Totem Field, 2613 West Mall (just south of Thunderbird)

Date: Saturday, May 13, 10am-2pm

Colin - Math in the Garden Workshop

Observing New Growth
In the afternoon John Mason led a workshop on math in the garden.  We started with an observation​ activity.  We had to look at the new growth of a plant and observe what was there.  After 15 minutes of observations we gathered as a group and discussed what we observed.  Our discussion led us to consider not only the observations, but how we shared our observations with each other, and how this could impact classroom discussions and student understanding.

After the observations activity, we split into groups of twos or threes and thought about whether a swing attached to a tree branch would stay at the same height as the tree grows.  Different groups came up with different solutions and justifications for their solutions, that we shared as a group.  Though we didn't come up with definitive solution, we once again how we move from observations to inferences.

Practicing walking in circles
For the last activity of the session we looked at what happens if a circle rotates along the outer edge of another circle.  After much time practicing how to move in circles a group, we were able to attempt to find a solution.  Modeling the situation, with ourselves forming the circles, we discovered that the outer circle makes two rotations about itself, as it makes one rotation around the inner circle.  

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

CFE May 09


We did get a ton of work completed yesterday and had a very good grasp of what we really wanted people to get out of this workshop. Today we spent our time just refining the little details for our own little stations and the workshop as a whole.

Personally, today was not my most productive day as I was not able to help out a whole lot with preparation of the workshop this Saturday. I had an interview with the Mission School District so I was unable to work with the group the whole time. Before I had to leave, I was able to get on google docs in the morning and help fine tune the math and business stations.

The group has been working very hard to make this workshop fun and still relevant at the same time. It has been easy to work with everyone and our differences. Every single person really seems to be a team player and want whats best for the group as a whole. I feel like this has made this more enjoyable, things get done faster, and we are able to come up with better ideas.

Brendan H.

As Dilpreet mentioned, the day was all about fine-tuning. We are all very excited about the concept of our workshop, but we needed to continually refine our ideas, ask questions, and understand the event thoroughly. We were like worms—very good looking and intellectual worms, mind you—coursing through the foundational soils of our workshop! Not the best analogy, I know, but give me a break.

After the day of planning, we came away with a good understanding of how the day would go. We all realized that there will be instances of improvisation the day of. Much like teaching in the classroom, our workshop will also have to bend to the whims of unexpected variables. Weather, number of participants, the vibes. All that and more can influence how the workshop will be conducted—and really, that is an exciting possibility if not mildly terrifying.

Some of us remained to help Julian out in the garden. We transferred cabbage and bok choy/pak choi into the Orchard Garden from the greenhouse and sang songs from Mulan as we fiercely uprooted the zucchini. Apparently, it was a great day for a transfer. Why? Something to do with the weather. Temperature. Planet alignment. Maybe not the last one, but the other two, yes. This third week of the CFE took us out of the garden so that we could focus on creating our workshop, but a few of us could not help but be compelled to the garden's needy beckoning.

Joyce was able to take a zucchini plant home too. Isn't it cute?

As our CFE comes to a close and with our workshop looming ahead, I believe we're experiencing the culmination of everything we've learned so far. It's like the end of a unit. Everything that we've perceived, discussed, and participated in has grown into something valuable that we'll carry like seeds. And although the plant puns and analogies may be overused, they're quite apt! Hopefully, the exploratory nature of our learning will be conveyed on our Saturday workshop. So, please! Come out! We've put our blood, sweat, tears, love, souls, and other various elements of 'being' into it, so you know it's gotta be good.

Preparing for the AMAZING Garden Race Across the Curriculum Saturday May 13!

Our cohort spent the better part of the day preparing for the upcoming workshop, and it’s going to be AMAZING!

For my part, I’ve been researching the scientific findings that support the cognitive, social, health and well-being benefits that being in nature gives us all.

Check out some interesting links below:

And come out to the workshop this Saturday, May 13, 10am-2pm:

·         1.  experience the benefits of being in nature for yourself!

·         2. learn how to teach across the curriculum in the garden!

      3. learn how to bring the many important benefits of nature to your learners!

     Looking forward to it! 

     Claudia Gillard

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Friday May 5th

Sasha and Brendan

Today was spent exploring the area around the garden for poetic inspiration! Margaret Mckeon returned to lead us through several different stations throughout the garden and surrounding woods; each asked for slightly more from us until we were writing our own free-verse poems about our experiences by the end.

We began by reviewing a beautiful piece of poetry called after the rain (which turned out quite appropriate for the day!) submitted by a 10-year-old to a national poetry competition in 2003, then we had to apply our sense to some of the local trees and how the felt to touch, what sounds could be heard, and what scents could be smelled. It was great to have read the poem as a primer; it becomes difficult to see a forest as more than a collection of trees, but reading the imagery of "...leaves turned creamy brown..." by the simplicity of rainfall helps reawaken in us something we often forget whilst fulfilling our shopping lists of life: how the world looks to a child. This is no simple task (especially after having trained ourselves to fumble through the halls of academia for so many years), but critical us to reach our students.

After some initial exploration, Margaret led us around the perimeter and into the woods to seek inspiration for alliteration and imagery. My favorite exercise was "what would you step on", where students are meant to pass outside and see how many plants and animals could lie below their feet. We could imagine blades of grass like skyscrapers and ants like civilians all going about their daily business like characters of a Disney movie, and so many inquiry questions could be developed from this simple 5 minute exercise (How many plants are there? Why is this plant here but not there? Why do the bugs like this plant etc).

Finally, we concluded the morning back in the main garden with a haiku session, and 30 minutes to develop some free verse poetry. After so much practice beforehand, the poem practically fell out of my pen with the particular crops of the garden, and yet each crop seemed to emphasize a different kind of feeling. The morning was lots of fun and a great example of a cross-curricular place-based activity. What was most impressive was how well it was staggered from one station to the next, so that each station provided us practice for the next. Although the focus was primarily on English, I'd love to try this in a science class; it would be interesting to see how students observations/poetry would differ!

The afternoon was a time for exploration.

After a long, wet morning in the garden we moved out troop to the coffee shop. We found a comfortable space for conversing about our workshop. While we were discussing the atributes of what we are hoping to have flurish in our Saturday workshop, we explored other avenues of the frendships that we have been creating since the begining of the CFE, or added new growth onto old friendships.

The ideas shared about the workshop allowed us to split into our individuated groupings and begin exploring the aspects of our seperate subject areas. These groupings illustrated how colaboration between two or more subject areas can be accentuated by the differences in the group members. Being as we are all comfortable in our own subject areas, it will be a treat and a challenge to allow for this unification of subjects.

This is a clear advantage to those who are part of this CFE as it allows for all of us to establish and understand the benefits of branching out and creating friendships between courses. While it may be evident that different areas in the school can be influential and effect in the teaching occuring in individual classrooms, it is easy to forget that all of the subjects can intertwine as long as one is willing to allow for cooperation.

This next week should prove invaluable for the simple fact that it will allow for exploration between subject areas without feeling the constricting walls of the school rules binding and overseeing all of the choices that we try to encompass in our teachings.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Musical Storytelling - CFE 5/4/17

Danielle and Joyce

This morning’s activities began in the garden, where John led us through some musical storytelling activities. 

We started off by discussing how language can take different forms through sound, gestures, and movement, and how these can vary greatly across cultures.

Next, John had us go around the circle naming our favourite activities from the CFE so far so that we could find a common theme for our musical story production that was to come. The most common favourite activity was “digging in the dirt”, so we decided to create our story about the day in the life of a garden beetle, our collective favourite bug.

Our task was to depict a day in the life of our beetle by drawing pictures on a giant piece of paper. We started off by drawing a timeline across the sheet of paper to provide us with a simple direction. We could then draw out time specific scenarios our beetle would go through in a day. While some of us drew pictures of our beetle tunnelling in the soil, fending off robins, or mating with his female love interest, others wrote the narration for our story on a big white board.

In order for our drawn and written story to match, we communicated frequently on what our intentions were. We mainly focused on drawing out the pictures first and then translating it into written form. 

John emphasized the need to have a fact-based story, and he encouraged us to do research on our phones to keep true to the real life of the beetle. 
Drawing out the spectacular adventures of our beetle

In addition to conducting cell phone research, our group was lucky enough to have a connection with a beetle expert. Susan called her brother-in-law Keith in Kentucky and we were able to ask him our burning questions and receive very informative details about the beetle, which we included in our story. For this type of project in the classroom, you could ask students to become the experts and have them do research on their own and come back with facts ready to be used.

Narration of story with sound cues
After we completed the drawn and written components of the story, we moved onto developing the presentation of the story. John provided us with different objects we could use to produce the sounds involved in our story, We were thus adding the musical component of the storytelling of our beetle. Some of us produced the sounds from the object provided and some of us produced sounds using our body. This process involved a lot of experimenting with different sounds and discussion about what drawn scene would fit with what kind of sound. To ensure everyone's engagement in the musical storytelling, we were each given a role to play and were responsible for producing the sound at the right time. One person was responsible for narrating the story while the rest of the group produced the sounds on cue with the storytelling. 
Making popping sounds using our hands and mouth

As John mentioned, we did this activity in half a day but it could easily be done in a couple weeks with a group of students. This activity incorporates problem-based learning, place-based learning, and it is student-directed. I would definitely consider doing this activity in my future classrooms to develop and enhance students' ability to work cooperatively in groups. 

For our activities in the afternoon, we split up into two groups. Claudia and Dilpreet were responsible for making scarecrows to patrol our garden and keep our precious crops safe from garden predators. The rest of the group were responsible for different parts of the garden. I was part of the 'creating a pathway' group where we basically dug up weeds in order to pave a beautiful dirt pathway. Although the sun was beating down at us, it was extremely satisfying digging up weeds and getting to the very end of the roots.

Lastly, for the final portion of our time in the garden, we got together as a group to discuss our workshop. We focused on the Scavenger Hunt component of our workshop and had a discussion on the different stations we would have. It was a free-for-all where people bounced their ideas off each other. We reached the conclusion that we will have 7 stations and once all the groups has completed all the stations, they will have the required tools and materials to plant a seed in a handmade newspaper pot. Once a group completes the task at a station, they will be given an item. The items include:
- newspaper strip
- wooden pot maker (two parts)
- soil
- spoon
- seeds
- water