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Weekly Challenge for #EnviroEd # 70 – “1st In Your Class …” Walls

September 27, 2015

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I have spent much of this glorious autumn thus far outside with either my own 6 kids or with students exploring and enjoying the great outdoors. This week I have had numerous kids come up to me having done something they didn’t think was within their realm of comfort. And as is often the case, it only takes one to step up or out for the others to recognize it may not be that silly or frightening.

Then there is the feeling of awe a child has at having been the “first in the class” to do something. It comes like a badge of honour.

As an example, I was teaching my own kids how to climb a certain tree this week. (sidenote: ALL my kids are expert climbers and could teach anyone tree climbing methods but this tree was smaller and we were discussing how to climb it with little impact to the tree itself). I climbed the tree and the branches began to sway.

As soon as they saw Dad in the tree – my six year old decided she had to be the next up and although often the more cautious of the bunch was pleased as punch to be the first taker. For the rest of the day we heard tales of how it felt being the first up there (after Dad) and what it was like being a leader of sorts in her mind.

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Today, we went to the creek and while wadding in the water we quickly came across a crayfish. I picked it up and all the girls, including Mom, were quite fascinated by it. I showed them how to grab it without getting pinched and how to release it without hurting it was well.

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This is when I brought forth the question, “Who wants to hold it first?” My nine year old was the brave soul who did and as you can see by the photo below – the pride is something she is going to be sharing with her class at school on Monday.

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Now not every kid is going to be the first up the tree. Not every kid is going to feel comfortable holding or catching crayfish – but I can guarantee that just about every kid in your class has been the first to do something outdoors and what kind of recognition does this bring to that individual – even those less comfortable outdoors? Being the first to do something and to have other students or the teacher show an interest in it can build such intense pride and passion for something that thy may not have given a second thought to be suddenly makes them feel special.

Perhaps they were the first to jump in a lake, or sketch a dandelion or find clouds in certain shapes. This blog has always been about trying to help students and teachers alike grow in their inquiry in the realm of outdoor learning. As such I wonder what your book, wall or own blog comments might look like with your “1st in Your Class” findings. How will it grow through the year as students share their “firsts” with the class through photos or stories.

A student unsure of their abilities in one activity sometimes just needs to see their other abilities recognized for them to take that step off the dock and into the water!

Please, as always share your thoughts and results!

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