This November, the Golden Eagles are settling into their new separate class with its own set of passions and investigations. One pattern which seems to have emerged is an interest in birds. I first took note of this shared interest on a long adventure walk on a crisp autumn morning.
Before our adventure walk on November 6th, I noticed that many of the Golden Eagles had come to our meepting with little spiral notebooks and pens which we had discovered hiding in the Spiky Room that morning. Rather than force these new items to be put away, I asked the students if they would like to take the notebooks on our walk to draw and write about what they find. There was universal approval of this suggestion.
To keep their observations pointed and purposeful, I asked, "What would you like to see on our walk?" Carlos answered, "Big birds in the clouds!" Catherine added that she wanted to see, "the little birds." Rayden suggested, "an egg in a nest."
Eli said, "Grown-up dinosaurs." We had previously shared a private conversation in which Eli used this term, but I asked him to explain what he meant to the group. He said, "Grown-up dinosaurs are just birds!"
On our walk, Louis stopped us, pointing out a large falcon perched high on a rooftop. I invited the group to take the notebooks out of their pockets to write and draw for 5 minutes. Remarkably, the entire group joined in on this activity spontaneously.
As we left, a flock of pigeons zoomed by, and the falcon soared after them. Eli later explained that he had ‘written’ a story in his notebook which ‘read’, "The falcon grabs the pigeon, and a eagle grabs the falcon!" Later on in the walk, Catherine pointed out a pigeon similarly perched above a building, which the group again stopped to draw and write about together.
The spontaneity of this group's shared interest in both talking about and stopping to draw birds makes my feathers stand at attention--clearly, there is something important to investigate here! We are seeing some discussion of different bird species (e.g. “falcons”, “pigeons”, “small birds”, “big birds”), and Eli explained their role in a simple food chain. Perhaps there is an interest in documenting the interactions of a community of birds (sounds a bit like the role that teachers play at Magic Beans!).
Ms. Sonia and I will continue this investigation by searching for bird-related books on our library walks, giving the students ample opportunities to reimagine birds through various art media, and continuing to discuss birds at our meetings. We will peer into what birds mean to the Golden Eagles. Is it flight, feathers, some other feature or behavior, or something else completely unexpected that makes their hearts soar?
Until next time,