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 Forum Index > H.W.F. Goes Wild in the Schools > School Classrooms
 2012/13 Gordon Terrace Elementary School
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By: SMW (offline) on Wednesday, October 03 2012 @ 10:20 PM EDT  
SMW

Thanks for your kind words. You can find out more about our school on our website at: http://gtes.sd5.bc.ca. I look forward to hearing more about you and your class.


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By: SMW (offline) on Wednesday, October 03 2012 @ 11:08 PM EDT  
SMW

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Today's walk to school was a little different. The temperature was close to zero and there was a slight dusting of snow.

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This maple leaf lying on a carpet of snow was just begging to have its picture taken.

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With the approach of Thanksgiving this weekend in Canada, we wondered what Bob, our imaginary class chimpanzee, might be thankful for. We generated a number of ideas.

When someone mentioned that Bob would be thankful for trees it reminded me of one of the stories Dr. Jane had shared during her presentations on the weekend. She noticed that the hills around one of the National Parks she was visiting in Africa were bare of trees because the people had cut them down for fuel. That made her realize that she could not hope to save the endangered chimpanzees until she addressed the people's problems, which eventually developed into Roots and Shoots.

Coincidentally I had a copy of Planting the Trees of Kenya telling the story of Wangari Maathai. I shared this story with the students. They were surprised at how quickly the land changed after trees were cut down during the five years that Wangari attended university in America. As we studied the pictures, and I asked them questions to direct their thinking, they began to realize the impact of cutting down trees and clearing the land to grow tea. With trees gone, there was nothing to hold the topsoil as it dried out, whenever the wind blew. Any rain that fell added to the erosion. There were also fewer animals. The people were now worse off because they had to buy expensive food from stores because they had stopped growing their own food. My students began to realize that both the people and the land were not as healthy as they had been before.

On her return from America Wangari was saddened and deeply shocked to learn what had happened. She told the people that they could make a difference by taking action. She explained how they could make a difference by planting trees and taking care of the land. She showed them how to collect seeds and how to care for the seedlings after they were planted. From small beginnings her Green Belt Movement grew.

Wangari Maathai (who died last year) was as passionate as Dr. Jane Goodall in her desire to help people develop the skills and the means to help the environment, its people and animals.


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By: SMW (offline) on Thursday, October 04 2012 @ 11:02 PM EDT  
SMW

Today Mr. Wilson brought a surprise for Show and Tell
But we had to guess what it was.
We discovered that
"They were heavier this morning,
Living,
Dark-coloured,
Connected to water,
Not red,
Green."
Then someone guessed correctly,
"Trees for us to plant."

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We got to choose our own.
We each held our baby tree,
And examined it closely
So that we could remember it later.

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Then we could choose to draw it
Or write about it first.
Some of us liked to hold our tree
While we drew or wrote.

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"This is my tree Shademaker. He has too many needles (probably because each child was encouraged to count how many needles were on each tree). He has 207. He looks perfect in my opinion at least. He's medium-size. It looks like he has a moat of trees. How beautiful Shademaker looks. I could look at him all day! I wonder how long he will survive?"

"My tree's name is Ramona. My tree is going to become an awesome tree. What you need to take care of a tree is water, soil, sun and shade. But the most important thing is care. She has 13 needles. Some needles are brown."

"I picked a good plant because it is tall. I like Zekrom because he is strong like me."

"My tree is named B.Bo. She's my favourite. Today we're going to plant B.Bo and all the other trees. B.Bo has 10 branches. I hope she grows big and strong and all the other trees (too). B.Bo has lots of little pine needles. B.Bo is so special. I hope she likes me like I like her."

"My tree's full name is Loch Ness Lord of the Trees. My tree can shoot extremely high-powered poison needles, which can push a woolly mammoth back one mile and kill it. If in danger, it creates an invisible force field. If you worship it kindly AND say the secret code, your wishes can come to reality. It is also invincible and immortal, and has 7 branches.
P.S. It can talk.
P.P.S. It doesn't need to eat or drink.
P.P.P.S. It's male and 23 cm tall.
P.P.P.P.S. It can also use telekinesis."

"My tree is as tall as my pencil. She's called Muffy. She is prickly and green. I hope she will grow big and strong like my cherry blossom in my garden."


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By: SMW (offline) on Thursday, October 04 2012 @ 11:18 PM EDT  
SMW

In the afternoon we walked to Elizabeth Lake. It's been three weeks since our last visit. We walked to the far side of the lake where there is a small stand of ponderosa pine trees. Some of them have mountain pine beetle disease and may die. So it seemed the perfect area to plant some baby spruce trees. While one of the dads prepared several sites, some parents went off to fetch some water. Then we each found our own tree from the row of baby trees lying on the ground, each with its distinctive colour of wool tied around it. Then we chose our own spot, poured in some water, planted our tree, packed some soil around it, added some more water, then surrounded it with pine needles to keep down the weeds. Then we said farewell to our trees until our next visit.

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By: SMW (offline) on Thursday, October 04 2012 @ 11:28 PM EDT  
SMW

We had just enough time left to pick some rosehips. After last night's frost it was important to pick as much of the fruit as we could in the time we had left before it spoiled. Then we celebrated our harvest with The Chimpanzee Call that Mr. Wilson taught us, which he had learned from Dr. Jane last weekend. When we got back to school we put the bags of rosehips in the freezer until it is time to make rosehip jelly.

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By: SMW (offline) on Thursday, October 11 2012 @ 10:44 PM EDT  
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Yesterday we heard the story of The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry, and how all the animals that depended on the tree were threatened when a man with an axe walked into the tropical rainforest.

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Today each of us chose our favourite animal from the story and we made a graph showing which was the most popular choice.

This afternoon we were asked to write the story as if we were one of the characters in the story.

The Miracle
"One day a man went into the forest to cut down a big, strong tree. It was really thick. He got tired from cutting the tree. He fell asleep for a long time. Lots of animals came to talk to him so he wouldn't cut the tree down. When he woke up he was surrounded by animals from the tree. He got scared and his heart was pounding. He didn't know what to do. Then a little boy (from the Yanomamo tribe) came to tell him what he was doing was wrong. So the man talked to the boy for a little bit. So the man thought he should stop. He went to his boss and told him it was wrong to cut trees down. "It will kill animals that live in the trees." So he went home feeling good that he stopped."

"My favourite animal is the jaguar and it lives in the kapok tree. I would be very sad if the wood cutter cut the kapok tree down because it helps everyone breathe."

"If I was a toucan living in the kapok tree I would fly every day. I eat nuts and bugs. One day a man came and he was cutting down the tree. All the animals said, "This is my home. Please don't cut down the tree." The man thought about it and he didn't."

The Great Kapok Tree
"The great kapok tree has a jaguar,
And a tree porcupine,
And a toucan,
And a tree frog.
The earth needs trees and soil.
We need oxygen to breathe.
The soil holds the earth together.
The earth is important.
We need the earth to help us.
We can't breathe without trees
And the earth too
Because everything is important."

"The jaguar must have seen the story like this:
The jaguar was in the middle of dinner when a sound disturbed him - CHOP! CHOP! CHOP! He suddenly left his dinner and followed the sound and saw ...... a human chopping down his food source! His food source was called the great kapok tree. The jaguar was just about to eat the man but ..... he ran and told his friends. The man was asleep when they got back but he woke! The animals were startled but the man dropped the axe and went away."


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By: SMW (offline) on Saturday, October 13 2012 @ 11:16 AM EDT  
SMW

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Friday, October 12
Yesterday at lunchtime I got a surprise visit from a parent, who is also a local conservation officer. He had just come from Elizabeth Lake where he had shot a nuisance bear, which was getting into people's garbage and had lost its fear of humans. He wondered whether I would like him talk to the children about what had happened and if they would be interested in seeing the bear, which was in the back of his truck. First I had a look at the dead bear. Then I talked with other teachers. We thought that this was a unique learning opportunity for interested students, especially as we'd been made aware that there was a bear in the area earlier in the week during morning announcements, and some of the primary classes had just had a visit from a local nature expert, who had talked about bears and being Bear Aware.

When the conservation officer talked to our class, he explained that he had received several phone calls from local residents concerned about a bear in their neigbourhood. He told us how sad he felt that he had to shoot the bear because, if some people had been more careful with their garbage, the whole situation could probably have been avoided. I reminded everyone about being respectful of one another and the bear while we took a walk to the truck. I didn't want anyone to feel pressurized into going near the bear. As it happened, most of the students were naturally curious.

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Most had never seen a dead bear.

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We learned that bears' paws are not unlike our hands.

When we got back to class, students had a chance to speak to one another before we began our daily writing. Everyone got to choose her/his own topic. About half the class chose to write about the bear. Here are some examples:

"Today we got to see a bear but it was dead. The bear was found at Elizabeth Lake. The person who shot it was a conservation officer. It got shot in a tree. It had to be shot because it was a danger to people. I live right by Elizabeth Lake but I didn't see the bear when it was alive."

"I saw a bear. I thought it was funny when I saw the tongue hanging out. The paws were almost like ours. He had big teeth. His eyes were interesting for me. The bear's tail was puny. I felt bad for him."

"Today one of my classmates' dad came to our school. He's a conservation officer. He told us about this morning. He told us that today he had a call from a lady. In that lady's yard there was a bear. Next time there was (a call about) a bear, (and it was) the same bear, he had to shoot it. I was sad, really, really, really sad!!!!!!!"


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By: SMW (offline) on Thursday, October 18 2012 @ 10:35 PM EDT  
SMW

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As part of Waste Reduction Week, today's field trip with Mrs. Bedell's grade 2s started off at the local Transfer Station where all our garbage is taken before being transported to the Regional Landfill. Members of the public can also recycle paper, cardboard, tin and aluminum, and plastics (#1 to #6) in the yellow recycling bins. There are also special bins for food grade container glass (used for food and beverages).

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We were all encouraged to bring a recyclable item to put in the yellow bins.

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A few of us needed some adult assistance.


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