Friday, 28 May 2010

Rubbish, Rockpools & Singing Paddles!

Yesterday, we had our final After School Club session at Aveton gifford. It has been so much fun and the children a real pleasure to teach and be with!

Week 4. The children met Fred the Monkey and we talked about litter and the effect it has on our environment ad wildlife. They made "rubbish masks" and wrote a letter to their headmaster with suggestions on what to do to reduce the amount of plastic they use. Although, the shcool is an Eco School and already have an impressive attitude towards sustainability!

Week 5. We finally reached the sea on our virtual journey and we had great fun talking about rockpool creatures and discussing some of their gross habits! We then looked at some plankton under the microscope and made some seaweed presses. Finishing off with some final touches to their really impressive artwork!

Again, they made videos which can be seen on You Tube.

They also had the special priviledge of paddling down the Avon from Aveton Gifford to Bantham. They worked so well together and we had a brilliant time. We saw egrets, sheldrake & mullet and the oyster beds! They also made up a funny song about Bigbury's Sea Tractor...again on You tube!

Thanks Aveton Gifford Sea School for being such brilliant students!

Monday, 17 May 2010

News of Fred

If you remember , I said that Fred was off to visit the Marine Conservation Society - well he's been with then all the way to Mexico! You can read about his trip to an international marine litter conference here - GO FRED!!

The River Avon, "Source To Sea"

Aveton Gifford Primary school has been great fun! We have been on a journey from the source of the Avon to the sea at Bantham! I have 10 in the class ranging from ages 9 - 11 and they are all proving to be very entertaining & keen to learn about their local River Avon.

We've had 3 sessions so far and we've been filming the sessions - which can be seen on You Tube.

So, what have we been doing?

Week 1. We started talking about why the Avon was important to us and the children came up with lots of different factors...drinking water, wildlife, sewage treatment, swimming, kayaking, crabs, oysters & many more. We then talked about the Avon Dam built in 1957 and it's influence on our River and lives.

The children were challenged to find something in the room not connected to the sea - but we soon realised that pretty much everything has a link to our watery world - including plastic! We started painting our canvas too which the children will be entering into a local art competition. Each week they will add on new things that they have learned about the Avon.

Week 2. Before the session, I went to the local willow beds by kayak and collected some sustainably harvested willow. I imagine people have been doing this for centuries - the willow beds date back to at least 1884! I filmed the willow beds & some of my trip on the Avon. The children then used the willow to make willow fish - also on film! Whilst doing this we talked about sustainability and waste and how little waste there was from willow. I also showed them a willow lobster pot, as would have been made locally by fisherman. They then had the chance to update the picture.

Week 3. We travelled a little further downstream to the Bigbury Bay Oysters! Similarly, I travelled to see Richard March on his oyster farm to find out a little more about growing oysters. You can see some videos again. So the children were shown how to shuck the oysters & to a 1,2,3!! how to eat them! Sadly, for health & safety limitations I couldn't let the children eat them - but they were delicious! It was such a shame I had to eat all 5 on my own! They then learnt about other molluscs found in and around the Avon. They learned about some strange feeding habits & ways that they stop themselves from drying out. They modelled some great molluscs from clay which we hope might stick to the canvas!

So, sadly we have only 2 weeks left! This week we will be talking rubbish & the children will meet Fred the Monkey! Next week they will venture out to sea and learn about what we can see on the shoreline and further afield who knows what might turn up on Week 5!

It just always seems a shame that the 1.5 hour goes so quickly and we have only 2 sessions to go!

More videos will follow - this Week (Week 3) the children filmed some clips themselves - Steven Spielberg watch out!