Today, we had some special guests at the Nook: my friend Heather from New Hampshire, and her three children, Owen, Olivia and Lucas. Lucas and Leila joined the other kids in preschool art, where they made a birds-and-nest collage with paper cut-outs and yarn. Simple and clever project, I love the way they turned out—perfect for spring! And next on the schedule was birdwatching.
But before we could get to that, Mr. Quinn agreed to shear a sheep for us. It’s not the first time we’ve seen him do this, but I’m always impressed by how he can flip the sheep over and hold it while shaving off the wool, singlehandedly. We’re going to buy this wool from Mr. Quinn because a member of the Nook knows how to take it from this raw state all the way to spun wool, which will go to our knitting circle! I’m very excited about this whole process.
While we were wrapping things up with the sheep shearing, Ryan led a group into the forested area on Notre-Dame-de-Fatima for some birdwatching. They found owl pellets and the site of a blue jay kill. Ryan also taught them about some budding trees before heading back to the farm.
After lunch, it was time for creative writing, which was the highlight of my day. How could I not be joyful about this big group of kids, crowded around a couple tables in the back of the room, scribbling away eagerly in their notebooks when I give them the 15 minutes of silent writing time. Today, we talked about setting. I read them a few book excerpts of particularly well described setting and then asked them to imagine a scene of their own. I prompted them with a few questions (What is the weather like? What geographical features are present? What animal life would one encounter in your setting?), and then we went around the table to share. Some kids had written a full page; others, slower writers, had nonetheless put a lot of thought and effort into the exercise. They read what they had and then just kept going, explaining their settings to their peers with so many interesting details. I was really impressed.
And the little writers I came home with just kept going. They were writing after dinner, curled up on the couch together, giving each other ideas and constructive criticism. Even 6-year-old Olivia kept at it.
As I told some of the other parents there, what I’m most impressed by is these kids’ love for learning. No one is making them sit around that table. No grades will be handed out. They’re writing for the pure pleasure of writing, and what’s more—they’re excited to share it with their peers. There’s nothing more rewarding than that for a teacher!