Saturday, June 2, 2007

warm stones and silent walks

Once when I worked at the botanical garden in the Bronx, I was giving a forest tour. They always gave me the hard cases so i had this group of deaf kids. We had a great time! I just pointed at everything, we touched everything, we found cool stuff like the fluff that flies out of princess paulonia pods and incredibly intricate wood carvings by carpenter ants, so smooth.

At one point the kids are acting really quiet and mysterious but the teachers/parents don't know why, and then one of the kids passes me a big pebble, it was very warm, aparently it was warmed in the sun. Anyway they had been passing it back and forth so amazed by its wormth.

Another time I was giving a tour in the woods and these are usually pretty rambunctios kids, 3rd 4th grade etc.. and i decided to try a silent walk for like 5 or 10 minutes. I told them be quiet and LISTEN and then after 10 minutes we'll talk about what we heard. I wasn't so hopefull about this game!

Well it worked pretty good but the surprising thing was that when the 10 minutes were up and I wanted to ask them what they heard, they were so into it that they wanted to do another 10 minutes of silence!

Lots of surprises like that.


Tom said...

Damn Bar that is really cool that they wanted to keep the silence going. You may have really changed those kids' lives, given them some small bit of resistance to being absorbed into a world of perpetual video games and television.

How did you communicate with the deaf kids apart from pointing with the ball?

barry goldman said...

i didn't point with a ball, we HAD a ball. ok, i rewrote it for clarity. communicate? i let the stuff communicate! part of the problem with a lot of nature education is the educator is so full of his ideas and stuff. i just open a space between the kids and the stuff so that a natural dialogue between 'em enssues. it doesn't take much work. nature calls out to us and the kids still remember how to hear.