This week, I returned to Blair to spend some time with the two grade one classes. First, we showed a few pages from the book One Small Square: Backyard by Donald Silver. There are also Woods, Pond, Tundra, Seashore and many other versions in this series.
Next, Mrs. Sato, Mrs. Quan and I took the students out into the Blair park to look closely at one small space/rectangle. The teachers had made simple frames out of manilla tag but more permanent frames could also be used – made out of twigs or popsicle sticks, framing mats or actual empty picture frames.
The frames really helped the students to pause and focus their observations. I suggested they act like detectives and see what clues they can find about what living things might have been in their small space. Although we didn’t see any animal tracks that day, we did see some tracks from a tractor! A student commented that “When I look closely, I can see square in the tracks, from the tires.”
The students walked around with their frames, looking up and looking down and then taking time to look closely at what they could see.
One student, who took her time noted that she noticed all these things in her small space: mushrooms, leaves, grass, twigs, chewed clover and moss.
The mushrooms were an exciting find. Comments from the students included:
“It’s a family of mushrooms!”
“There’s spikes on there.”
“The mushrooms are golden.”
For the next visit, we hope to take some clipboards outdoors to record our looking closely observations.