Back in the Classroom – Fabulous Funscape

Our week of hard work and assessments ended with a rewarding two days of FUNSCAPES.  Parents, I am sure your little girls have told you all about it and I will be getting them to report back on what they did early next week – so watch this space. For me FUNSCAPES was just fabulous.  Imagine being able to use two school day to indulge my passion – BIRDS.   I was delighted to hear that my club – Bird Watching – A Hobby for Life was filled very quickly.  Those who did not get in – Don’t worry, it will be offered again next year. Twenty-one girls and boys from Grade 1 to Grade 5 entered my classroom on Thursday morning and when I asked – “Why did you choose Bird Watching as your Funscape this year?  – these were the replies. ‘I see birds all the time and I like watching them.’ ‘I went to a place with my family once and saw all these birds and ever since then I’ve wanted to learn more about birds.’ ‘I like all animals and I think birds are interesting because they are so pretty.’ ‘My grandpa loves birds and so do I.’ ‘Well, I have two reasons – no actually three reasons.  I think birds are interesting.  I like all animals and a bird is an animal and I want to save the birds.’ Every one of these kids was there because something inside them made them interested in birds and they had a hunger to learn more.  The weather forced me to have our first day in the classroom instead of going on an excursion to Rondevlei.   I have used this programme before but it was geared to Grade 3 and above. There was a lot to pack into those four hours and I had a mixed age group – how to manage the content to suit them all was a challenge. Putting them into mixed groups of three was the answer.   I made each session short – first a PowerPoint presentation on bills and beaks followed by a group activity – then an outdoor break and back to feet and legs and a group activity on that.   Last of all a PowerPoint presentation on the birds we were likely to see followed by creating a card game to help us learn their names.  All their handouts were given to them in a Flipfile and one of them said – Do we get to take these flip files home?  ‘Of course,’ I replied.  “Cool!”   One satisfied customer!

 

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I think I know the answer
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The older ones helped the smaller ones

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What do you think the answer is?

Contemplating the answer to a tricky question

The weather today was not much better but our destination was The False Bay Ecology Park.  The ponds here are home to a huge variety of birds.  Had the weather been better I would have had the children out of the cars but it was wet and freezing so in the cars we stayed using walkie talkie radios to communicate.  The roads were muddy and at one point we had to turn around for fear of getting stuck! My husband was helping with lifts in the Fortuner and went to investigate which roads would be suitable and in his brief separation from us, found a spotted eagle owl.  The youngsters with him were over the moon.   “Not fair,” I said “that they got an exclusive sighting!”  “Tough!” said my deviant husband!

Owl

The exclusive sighting – Spotted Eagle Owl in his usual spot.

In spite of muddy roads and inclement weather we had a very successful trip.   The children were keen to get the 30 or so target birds on their tick lists and except for a few that eluded us they did very well.   They were also thrilled to see a little slender mongoose while we were sitting still eating our lunch.  I told the children that we were unlikely to see a pied kingfisher – but I was wrong – right at the end, kingfisher was called! Take a look at some of the amazing birds we saw.   As one little lass said – It’s like a bird paradise here!

The best place to find Flamingoes

The best place to find Flamingoes

Red-knobbed coot

Red-knobbed coot

Cape Shoveller

Cape Shoveller

The Gulls Flushed into the air caused great excitement

The Gulls Flushed into the air caused great excitement

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Purple Swamphen

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A tricky bird to find – but he appeared just as I’d lost hope of seeing him

Thank you very much to the three parents who gave up their precious time and braved the muddy roads to assist us on this outing.   It is really very much appreciated.  A big thank you too to my hubby who took the day off from work to help us.  Of course he didn’t listen to any of my instructions and spoilt the kids rotten!

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