Saturday, June 14, 2008

Teaching in the Outdoors - Day 1

Today was he first day of class for my Teaching in the Outdoors class. We've had a full, long day and as I write this I'm sitting in Panera bread (free wireless wohoo) sipping a chai and trying to remember the entire day as well as I can.

We started with the typical introductions, then went outside. The first activity was a silent walk, we walked from the entrance of the Harris Center to a tree-shaded lawn. As I listened to the typical noises of morning birds waking up to song, we all heard one that we weren't expecting. It went hoo-ho-ho-HOO... hoo-ho-ho-HOO and come to find out it was a pair of Bard Owls. How neat is that?! It's so rare for them to sing during the day so they must be gathering food for new chicks. I could tell that this would be one of those special classes at that. We played a few great group games before going down to the lower part of the field to journal using all of our senses (see previous entry for an excerpt).

Another neat activity followed when our teacher brought out paint swatches (the kind you can pick up at the Hardware store) and asked us to find that color in the open field below us. I first got yellow and found a yellow leaf and a dandelion, then a purple card had me picking other purple wildflowers. Each person in the class took their find and laid it out on a white bandanna, and it really tuned us into the colors other than the dominating green in the grass. I love how with the conscious attention of the mind, our senses can be so much sharper, more discriminating. Throughout the rest of the day I felt my eyes picking out sudden flashes of color - the yellow butterfly's wing glinting, the bright green beetle on the rock, the wildflowers within the grass.

After that, we were allowed to take plants in the area and smudge them onto small pieces of paper to make a drawing. I took an Indian Paintbrush and created what turned out to be a very beautiful sunrise (or sunset, depending on who you ask) behind mountains made with clover leaf smudging. I'll try to scan it if I get a chance.

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