This week, I tried two new-to-me things. I knew others had attempted them with much success but I wasn't sure it would work. I wasn't sure what the end result would look like. It would take a lot of assistance from others to make it happen. In the end, it was a feast for the eyes and delightful for those who weren't part of producing it but could enjoy it nonetheless. The good weather contributed as well.
Today's title reveals what these two events were. The first was the School Expo / Open House on Thursday, May 25. It was too soon to have a second concert, as our first was in March of this year. We also wanted to share the workload and feature all the amazing things our students do regularly as part of their learning. That way, it wasn't an "add on".
In the library, instead of a Book Fair like we typically have for Curriculum Night, I got to showcase some actual examples of curriculum. I played a video of the "Make A Machine" movement compilations by the Grade 1s and 1-2s that I see for dance and drama. I also had out the Pokémon cards that the students created as part of their media literacy unit. I also gathered with the Ukulele Club to make our public debut, playing "Mary Had a Little Lamb".
We will discuss and reflect on this more in depth at our upcoming staff meeting, but in my eyes, this was a success. The free flow nature of an open house meant that people could spend as long or as short a time examining the displays as they wanted. It altered the dynamics of the educators and families; teachers didn't have to spend as much time enforcing rules or shushing audience members, which made for a more positive, friendly experience. The Expo also allowed other subjects that aren't performance-based to shine. Classes showcased their math/coding tasks/games, their students' history projects, their STEM/STEAM builds, their poetry/non-fiction books students wrote, and their artwork. The kindergarten classes highlighted inquiry projects that I was privileged to be included on, as the teacher-librarian. One of my favourite moments was when a parent asked me if schools were now encouraging children to bring Pokémon cards to school, and not only was I able to reference my signs (in Chinese and English) with sources touting the benefits, another parent mentioned that his business deals with distributing Pokémon cards. The parent with the original question agreed that her eldest child would find assignments like this highly motivating.
The second experience (rather than event) was my attempt at gardening. I am not a gardener. I can appreciate a well-maintained flower bed or the produce generated from a cared-for vegetable garden, but that's not my thing. Back in 2017, the gardens at my house got a much needed face-lift. My father's past, ill-advised overexuberance led to some very poor choices planted in our front garden and other bushes destroyed in our back garden.. We decided to dig up those front garden plants and replace them with new ones. For some reason, this time around, I was actually interested in planning what flowers to buy. As the official chauffeur of the house (since I'm the only one with a driver's license), I drove to a few garden centers with my hubby to select the plants. We chose some marigolds, some impatient flowers, a lily, some hydrangeas, some black eyed Susans, and I even got daring and bought a strawberry, cucumber, and lettuce plant to attempt a small fruit and vegetable garden. We got a lot accomplished, despite having to dispose of many weeds and other unwanted growth in the garden beds.
Hopefully my interest in the plants isn't a passing fad and I'll be able to even eat from my harvest, if they flourish. I'm sure I could have made a lot more connections between my gardening attempts and the school open house, with comments on growth and nourishment, but I'll leave it there. June is soon!