My Digital Story

I loved this class and I thank each and everyone of you for contributing to my awesome experience.  I hope to keep in touch.

xoxo

Madi

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Break down of my presentation

 

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In my presentation, our lessons focused on educating children about trees.  Part of our lesson plan involved the children going on a nature hike and looking at leaves and other things you would find in nature.  In the reading No Child Left Insideit focuses on the idea of getting youth outside.  I think our lesson plans are a nice extension of this idea.

In our lesson plans, we understand that children learn best when they can see things first hand and understand things better when they can interact with them.  That is why we chose to include lessons that take place outdoors as well as lessons that incorporate things from nature.

As a future environmental educator I think it is so important to remember that we can talk all we want about nature from within a classroom but children will always learn best when we actually take them outside and show them and allow them to explore.  Children should be seen as capable and competent and in my experience will understand and question much more than we as educators think they are capable of at times.

Environmental Science|| Teachable Moments

Before coming into this class I thought that environmental education was a separate idea taught to children only in science class.  The notion that EE could show up in other classes didn’t occur to me.  I imagined traditional learning.  The idea of interdisciplinary is not something I thought of.

During this class I came to realize  that EE is so much more than just a unit within a science class.  EE can be an over arching theme thought out every class though out the entire school year.  As future educators if we take the time to look we can see environmental education everywhere and within our day to day routines with our class there are many teachable moments.

Teachable moments are another idea that this class has made me consider, especially when talking about EE. As teacher we want to plan everything and stick to our plans, but some of the most important and engaging connections comes from teachable moments that accidentally happen within our classroom.  It’s important to remember that just because a lesson doesn’t go as we planned, it doesn’t mean it’s not still a valuable lesson.

This class taught me to the value of knowing the curriculum and being able to go with the flow, what I mean by this is that environmental education is in everything we do and if we know the content well, we have the ability to teach it to our youth when ever and wherever and in my opinion that’s how you make some of the best connections.

The Importance of Nature

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‘Kellert (2005) has said that connection to nature is important to children’s intellectual, emotional, social, physical and spiritual development.’

In this article it talks about a group of aboriginal children who went into nature to rediscover and learn a new appreciation for this culture.  This was done in part with the process of ‘decolonization and re-membering the traditional ways of knowing.’  In traditional first nation history, nature holds tremendous meaning for them as a people.  They think of nature as being a source of healing and life and it is a very important aspect of who they are.  In the reading, they talk about rehabilitating the children to nature to bring them closer to their culture and to give them a better understanding of what their culture originally was.

As a future educator I see a lot of importance in teaching about and in nature.  I believe that there is much to be learnt about nature and that it can be a very important teaching tool.  Nature can be incorporated into every subject in my opinion.  In the province of Saskatchewan agriculture and farming play a large role in many people’s day to day lives, it also presents a great opportunity to talk about nature and how it relates to agriculture.

 

Childhood Memories

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For this week’s blog I chose to draw a picture of my dugout and the surrounding area.  I grew up on a farm with multiple dugouts on our land.  As a child I saw these dugouts as my own personal swimming pools, each one with different features that made them ‘cool’.  The particular dugout I chose to draw was my personal favourite because it had a large rock that was great point for jumping off of into the water.  Some other cool features of this spot was the tree that was particular easy to climb making it a great look out point to watch the pasture and look out for creatures and cows.  I chose this spot because I spent a lot of time here and I learned a lot about nature from this area.  I saw plants, aquatic life, birds and small creatures and learned a lot about the type of environments they need.  In the reading The Problem of Discipline and The discipline of Problem it says something along the lines of that we don’t teach in the way we see the world, because if we did we would have a department of sky and land, ect.  I connected to this because when I would be sitting in the tree beside the dugout that is exactly how I would categorize things.  I would look to the sky and see all birds and bugs in the sky, and than I would look to the water and see all the bug and animal life that lived there.  I would catorgerize by how I saw things.  It’s interesting to consider how our first instinct is to catorgerize what we see and to try and understand it, I wonder what would happen if we took a step back and just took in everything and saw it in its entirety before we tried to understand it?

Meta Reflection: In The Middle of Things

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To begin this assignment I went back and re-read all my previous blog posts. Initially, it was surprising to how blissfully ignorant I was to many things. I entered this class considering myself to be quite educated on a number of topics surrounding environmental education but as the class progressed I learned that I had much to learn and that learning to understand is better than learning to get a good grade.

One theme I noticed I unconsciously carried throughout my blog entries was my personal experiences.   With each entry I was able to draw connections from personal experiences. In posts such as Creative Journal # 2  and a Proper Thank you is in Order  spoke of past experiences I had with nature. As time has progressed I have been able to deepen my thinking and form questions about environmental education and what it really means to me and move away from relating ideas to experiences. While both are beneficial, I think that questioning my previous ideas and beliefs is indicative of growth, which is ultimately the goal in this course.

An idea that caused a big shift in my thinking was the Newberry Reading . The term “settler invaders” really resonated with me because it was a brand new idea to me and it made me question the way I thought of environment and education. How often had I taught that white settlers were the first settlers to settle land? Completely neglecting that first nation peoples were there hundreds of years previously. The idea of teaching using her ‘settler invader’ concept is important to me as a future teacher because I think it is important that students receive information in a truthful unbiased way.

Throughout the first half of the semester I have struggled to understand what it truly means to be Eco literate, as demonstrated in my first few blog posts. I questioned if my behavior was eco literate or if I even understood what it meant to be eco literate. As time progressed I was able to deepen my understanding and learn more about how eco literacy is a lot of different things and can be have different understandings for everyone.

At this half waypoint in the semester I am able to recognize that I am more eco-literate and more aware of the history of environmental education. Readings such Coyote and The Raven which were initially very confusing to read but as we discussed them I found I understood, this was a common theme through out semester. I have found I understand more than I give myself credit for.

If I were to rewrite my early blogs I would change the way I wrote them, I approached this class timidly, afraid to say what I really thought because I was afraid that my thinking wasn’t the right thinking. As the class progressed I learned that firstly my opinion and ideas are not wrong and that there are no wrong ideas when it comes to environmental education and ESCI 302. I am passionate about nature and living in harmony with nature and this class has only amplified my love of all things organic and eco friendly.

 

 

A Proper Thank-You is in Order

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“Look into nature and you will understand everything better” -Albert Einstein

I have had many opportunities to embrace nature and to ‘disrupt the common sense of wilderness’.  A few stand out in my memory of times  I was able to connect with nature and find meaning in the wild.

The first experience I remember fondly is camping in the summers with my family.  I spend a large majority of my summer camping as a child and as a result I was able to attend many summer programs held by parks.  At these programs I went on nature hikes, watched plays, made crafts and listened to environmental educators talk.  From these programs I learned a considerable amount about conserving the environment and the history of the land.  This disrupted the ‘common sense’ meaning of wilderness because we were able to go more in depth and learn about trading posts, aboriginal culture and facts about the indigenous plants and wildlife.

The second experience I remember is outdoor ed. In my senior year I attended a week long canoe trip.  This trip took place in a remote corner of north Saskatchewan that is completely untouched by humans.  While on this trip I had the honour of seeing cave drawings made by the indigenous people hundreds of years ago.  This experience as a whole was eye opening and life changing.  It showed me the truth in our society in the sense that we destroy beautiful and maginicfiacnt landscapes so that we can feed our consumer driven way of life.  This experience made me like an invader of the land because I saw what our environment looked like before we altered it to fit our wants.

The third and final experience that came to mind for this prompt was my experience as a nature interpreter.  I talk about this experience a lot but I am able to draw a lot of connections from this job.  When I took the job  had minimal knowledge about nature and through researching for my job and learning from training I was able to gain a better understanding about the plants and animals that surround us.  This was a full circle experience for me in the regard that I used to regularly attend these summer programs and now I run them.  It disrupted my idea of common sense because I never realized how delicate and intercaste our eco system is, without one element the other cannot survive.

In conclusion, all these experiences have made me immensely more aware of the reality of our environment. I now see the beauty, complexity and importance of environment.

Eco literacy Braid – What does it mean to you?

 

With each letter I read my idea of what it meant to be Eco literate shifted slightly. To each person the definition means something slightly different. Initially this caused confusion for myself. We talk about eco literacy nearly every class but do I even know what it really means? Thus begun my process of breaking down the definition.

Kelsey’s idea of eco literacy was centred around the idea that to be eco literate one usually shows care, awareness, and experience. This was a similar theme that ran through many other peoples’ love letters. This was also an idea I personally related to, in my own letter, Joe demonstrated all of these qualities and more.  He cared for the environment and showed his compassion for nature by spreading awareness about how to help preserve what has not yet been lost.

Both Amy’s and Kate’s letters referred to farming and how in some instances farmers have eco literate tendencies.  Being raised on a farm that raised grass fed animals and rotational grazed.  I also looked to my parents as being eco literate, simply by making these choices for our farm.  Farmers are conscious of the world around them and how best to preserve it for future farming.

After reading these posts and others I was able begin to construct my own idea of eco literacy.  My fellow classmates viewed eco literacy as making conscious efforts to preserve the environment, while also raising awareness about how others can also help.

Finally I looked to the readings to check out what the ‘professionals’ had to say about eco literacy.  David Orr’s article carried the idea that eco literacy is about actions more than it is about anything anyone can say.  While it can be important to talk about eco literacy, especially in a classroom setting.  It can be equally if not more important to be an example of what it means to be eco literate.

To close, my ideas did change through out this assignment but now I see that eco literacy is more than a definition or idea.  It is about actions, actions that will help preserve a beautiful earth.  Being eco literate is about being the change you wish to see everyone make.

References

Amy Arnal(February 1, 2016). My Ecoliteracy Braid [Blog Post]. Retrieved from  https://amyarnal.wordpress.com/2016/02/01/ecoliteracy-braid/

Orr, David (2004). What is Education for? In Earth in Mind, pp. 7-15. Washington DC: First Island Press.

Kate Paidel(February 1,2016).Ecoliteracy ‘Love’ Letter [Blog Post]. Retrieved from https://katepaidel.wordpress.com/2016/01/27/ecoliteracy-love-letter/

Kelsey Hintze(February 1,2016).Soft Approach Orr Shock Value[Blog Post]. Retrieved from https://kelseylhintze.wordpress.com/2016/02/01/soft-approach-orr-shock-value/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Joe

Dear Joe,

The first time I met you  I was completely captivated.  The way you talked about caring for our forests, you could almost see the passion poring out of your pores.  Your eyes lit up like the stars you described.  It was clear to see you cared for the environment in the same way a mother bear cares and protects her cub.

Thank-you for teaching me the importance of leave no trace and for teaching me how to identify berries and tracks.  Thank-you for being the perfect example of someone who recycles, composts, and advocates for environmental education.

Most importantly Thank-you for opening my eyes to the beauty that surrounds us, if you only take the time to stop, be still and look.  Thank-you for inspiring my love of environmental education, Thank-you for sharing your passion.

Sincerely,

Madisson

 

Creative Blog Entry #2

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For my second blog Entry I chose to make a collage.  The pictures in the collage represent my ecoliteracy journey.  In my senior year of high school I attended a week long canoe trip.  We canoed and portaged through the lakes and wooded areas up past La Ronge.  This was a huge learning experience for me in terms of ecoliteracy.

The majority of the other pictures are from my summers spent working at the lake.  During the summer I teach a lot about ecoliteracy to the campers.  We learn a variety of topics and ideas around the environment and how to keep it healthy.