As a first-time Week Without Walls participant, I can't stop thinking about how incredible of an experience this opportunity was for me, as well as the kids. Our group of junior school students and teachers (JK to grade 6) learned outside the walls of the Linden school for the entire week, and had many diverse experiences. The girls did an incredible amount of walking, as well as bussing, subway-ing, and streetcar-ing around Toronto. Take a look at what we got up to:
MONDAY: Animal habitats & shelter building at Evergreen Brickworks
The JK to grade 4 girls are all putting on their "deer ears" to make sure they can hear the instructions that the leader from Evergreen Brickworks, "Skunk", is giving. They used these throughout the week to be better listeners.
M is using her "owl eyes" to focus in on the animal habitats she sees high up in the trees. Holding our hands like this helps to block out our peripheral vision, which often distracts us from seeing smaller details.
G is collecting dripping rain water to help her group build an animal shelter. You can tell that she doesn't mind the rain at all!
M is happy to show us her dirty hands from playing in the Children's Garden at Evergreen Brickworks. She was transporting water, building an animal home, and experimenting with different natural materials.
M and G puddle-jump before changing into dry clothing at the end of the day.
TUESDAY: Inclusive games and sports at Variety Village
M is always keen on new experiences, and is willing to try something new.
The JK to grade 4 girls playing wheelchair soccer. They became quite good at maneuvering their chairs throughout the game.
Z finding a creative way to travel (with the help of G) when her arms got tired. The girls learned the important lesson that although using a wheelchair is fun for a short period of game-focused time, it can become difficult or tiring after continued use, and we should make sure we think about these perspectives of those with different physical ability levels.
WEDNESDAY: Nature scavenger hunt and playing in the park at High Park, then a robotics workshop at MakerKids
G is getting some help from the grade 6 girls on the monkey bars. She is determined to complete the course.
G slides down the slide on her tummy, still making sure that she is going feet-first.
THURSDAY: Improv at Second City and then learning about nutrition and cooking at Loblaws
The girls are getting some tips on creating a still photograph from our instructor at Second City.
The JK to grade 4 girls are learning about the important components of a nutritional meal - 1/4 plate protein, 1/4 plate grains, and 1/2 plate fruits and vegetables. They are also learning how to identify nutritious grocery items vs. non-nutritious ones by the stars on the shelf labels. The older girls are helping the younger girls stay focused and participate appropriately.
G is doing a fantastic job chopping cheese for the "sweet potato mac & cheese" that is being made in the Loblaws cooking school kitchen. The girls also chopped up sweet potatoes into small cubes to be cooked down and pureed into a sauce.
Z is focused as M carefully adds frozen bananas to the smoothie blender. The fruit smoothies are made using frozen blueberries and raspberries, sugar-free fruit juice, yogurt, ground flax seed, and frozen bananas.
Z gives a big thumbs up for the smoothie!
FRIDAY: Hip-hop and puppets at the Harbourfront Centre
Z is working on her "attitude pose" in our hip-hop workshop. Every good hip-hop dance ends with this pose.
The group practices changing levels and using the space differently to add interest to their hip-hop dance.
We learned that hip-hop culture has 4 elements: street dancing, DJs, graffiti, and rapping. The girls are hard at work graffiti-ing their names with bubble letters, and then filling in the letters with different patterns to make them stand out.
G adds some final details to her rod puppet after it has facial features, clothing, and rods moving its hands.
G is proud of the puppet she has made, and excited to share it with the group.
A sample of the two-faced rod puppets that students in JK to grade 4 made at Harbourfront.