Happy 2015 to you all. I have been avoiding this space [apologies] as it has been a busy time over the Christmas, New Year and Summer holidays.
But this doesn’t mean that I haven’t been busy thinking, making or teaching – I just haven’t had the time to reflect and document, but here it goes.
On December 1st 2014 it was Antarctica Day, so to celebrate, I ran some workshops at a local primary school in Wellington NZ to consider our icy neighbour. At the request of Hanne Neilsen I ran a ‘flag making’ workshop for 6-9 year olds. First I talked to the kids about some of the main facts relating to Antarctica. Most of the kids are familiar with how our local weather is affected by the continent as the Southerly wind that Wellington is so famous for travels swiftly here without any obsticle.
I find it really important to reinforce to the students how interconnected everything is and how our actions have consequences. These mini ambassadors are inheriting this earth and the more knowledge they have now, the better human beings they will be.
Antartica has no flag of its own, so after our initial discussion that includes geography, topography, history, science and wildlife, the kids set about designing their own personal Antarctica flags on post-it-notes:

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Then the kids formed groups of 4-6 where they discussed the best ideas presented in each of their designs and together came up with a plan for a group flag.
The students worked on taped out areas on the floor and with recycled scraps of paper from my stash and from their classroom’s resources.
In the form of a temporary collage – ie, nothing was stuck down, the kids cut and tore the elements of their designs in the four colours provided – red, blue, white, black and their final works were incredibly thoughtful and original.

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As you can see, the results are fantastic, but the best thing was what happened in the classrooms after I had finished the workshops.
The effect of the only one hour workshop continued as did class led enquiries into Antarctica. Here are some of the results from both classes:

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There is much power to providing a genuine experience to young learners. I am painfully aware there is only so much that I can share with the students during the workshop time, but it would seem in all occaisions, a very potent seed is planted that allows for further investigation and learning.
I love my job!

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