Tag Archives: teaching

Teaching outside

My buddy Steve hired me to work some weekend programs for kids. One of my favourite things is coming up with fun and exciting ways to wake them up in the a.m., because we take away their watches. Steve dressed up as a dragonfly with a fox tail, and me as a bear with moose antlers. Both our costumes were home made! Steve
Played guitar while I danced in the twilight, and I think it set the tone just right for the rest of our wilderness adventure. Steve turned to me on the first morning and said:” how could they be expecting this?” Exactly. That’s the whole point! Act in a way that blurs the boundary between kid behaviour and adult behaviour, to show that adults can and still do play. I love my job!

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Play Dough

Not just for kids. It’s really fun to make home made play dough and then do some sculpture. And you can make it with things already in your pantry!

1 part flour

1 part water

1/2 part salt

drop of oil

heat in a pot at low heat and mix until its at play dough consistency. Let cool, add food coloring, and model away!

Fun With Food

I hate the saying: “Don’t play with your food”. If food can’t be fun, then whats the point? I always encourage my students to have fun with everything they’re doing. This includes chugging competitions ( a great way to get kids to drink water), handless jello eating competitions, and, my favourite one so far, encasing bow drill kits in jello, getting my students to get them out without their hands, and then having them make coals out of it. Woohoo! I love getting tasty and nutritious food into bodies, in a memory forming way.

(Photo by Suzy Wimbourne)

Bear Suit

I’m a fairly avid knitter. This is a mostly wool bear suit costume that I knit without a pattern. I did knit a butt flap into it, which unfortunately does not line up when I’m sitting down. However, it is extremely warm and thick, and serves as a wonderful under layer. It took me 3 months to finish. I love to wear it in the woods, when I’m teaching, or just for shits and giggles.

(Photos taken by my wonderful community school students! miss you guys)

Giving Thanks

Once, a few years ago, I dreamt I was a hired belly dancer/magician for my friend Pam’s wedding. My job was to make an evergreen tree grow. As the crowd made a circle around the tree, and I tried to make it grow, I failed over and over again. Then I remembered to give thanks. As I began to give thanks out loud in front of the whole group, the tree began to grow, its branches covering all those who surrounded the tree.

Giving thanks is an incredible mentoring technique. I use it with all the groups I teach. Even if my students never return to the woods, they might have gained an understanding as to how lucky they are to have a roof over their head and a bed to sleep on. Walking with a sense of thankfulness also helps me live in an upright way. How can I be upset or angry, when there’s so much abundance around?

So, in the spirit, I feel thankful for all the wonderful mentors in the world, for my ancestors, and for the future generations. I’m thankful for all the things, seen and unseen, that support me, and that great mystery that teaches me what questions to ask, everyday.