Thursday 18th January 2018
Before I start filling you in on our second Teach on the Beach session I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read the blog so far. It was really kind of so many of you to get in touch with such lovely messages of encouragement … I really appreciate it! I’ve been reading others blogs for a while now, usually travel or educational ones so it’s nice to be giving it a go myself. One of my all-time favourites is 365 Days of KLommers … written by a teacher who used to work on Barra, it follows her blogging journey every day over the course of 2015. She discusses many subjects that centre around her family life and her interest in sustainable living … I loved reading it, her style is really upbeat and honest and is definitely worth a look for those of you interested in that sort of thing!
Anyway, back to our second session … one of the things the children showed a keen interest in on our first trip to the beach was the wildlife they encountered. When we came back to school I looked for ways that I could develop this further and came across the upcoming RSPB Bird Watch. I suggested to parents for their child to bring along a pair of binoculars and/or any bird books that they may have at home. On our afternoon out we spotted several large birds gliding above the hills at the back of the school as well as different types of gull on the shore. The children worked well together, using the books that had brought to identify the different types of birds. We have several keen bird watchers in the community who have been kind enough to come in to talk to the children about the variety of birds they have seen on Barra. Everything from lapwings to fulmars to the different types of eagles and the children’s knowledge is improving all the time. I think I will be calling on them again as this is definitely not my area of expertise! I have a feeling I will be doing this A LOT with this project and that is no bad thing … the children get the benefit of a real expert’s knowledge and I get to learn too! As a teacher, sometimes the children look to you as “the oracle” … the person who knows everything about everything and I think that it is a very healthy thing for them to know that this is absolutely not the case!!
Recently, our school has also been fortunate enough to secure funding as part of a Local School Nature Grant which we applied for to help us purchase materials to attract more birds into the garden. In addition to this staff are going to be receiving a 2 hour training session from a member of the Learning through Landscapes team. This training is scheduled to take place in February so I’m really looking forward to that!
I think my favourite thing about getting outdoors more with my class is watching how naturally creative they are and how quickly they use their own initiative. For example, on our walk down to the beach Robbie started making a tally chart to count the birds he was spotting. Rachel quickly cottoned on to this and she began working on a similar idea but instead recorded her results in the form of a pictogram. When we arrived at the beach several of the children ran over to seaweed that was stuck in the sand, they began pulling it out which left big pools of water and they then started playing a game they called “Mad Scientists.” At the same time my little P1s had taken spades and started using them as writing tools to practise writing their names in the sand. All of this was completely unprompted by me … I promise!!
They are so caring and responsible too. The weather hasn’t been great over the last week and many of the children commented on the amount of litter there was lying around. We had a quick chat about it and they decided that in future we will get into the habit of trying to collect at least three pieces of litter each before we head back to school.
Next week will be very busy as I will have not one but two blog posts to share with you … one of which will have all the information about our very first star gazing night! I cannot tell you how excited I am about this … to say my class were obsessed when we covered the topic Space last year doesn’t even come close … I had P1s who could tell me not only the names of the planets but had researched dwarf planets, constellations, famous astronauts, it was unreal so I know this is going to be good!