For my first C4T (Comments for Teachers) blog I was assigned to was Jabiz Raisdana's blog called Intrepid Teacher. Mr. Jabiz is a teacher at the United World College of South East Asia, which is an international IB school located in Singapore. It's pretty cool that I was able to read and comment on a teachers blog from halfway around the world. The two posts that I read by Mr. Jabiz were centered on the discussion of nature and how nature can be better incorporated in schools. One of the posts I read and commented on was titled, "Ubiquitous Exposure." I didn't even know what ubiquitous meant until I read this blog and had to go google it. Just in case you don't know either, ubiquitous basically means omnipresent. Mr. Jabiz wants to create schools that give kids ubiquitous exposure to nature. I have never really thought about how nature is everywhere, all the time. In his post, he talked about how he was getting ready to take his mentor group to Thailand for five days of camping, rafting, caving, and trekking. He said that he was excited to "disconnect" from daily life and connect with his students. He was giving them the opportunity to explore nature without all the pressures of cell phones, computers, and social media, as well as the pressures of the classroom. I commented on his post about how as I was reading, I found myself daydreaming of what it must be like to take students on a trip to Thailand. The beauty of nature is often over-looked, and I think it's wonderful that he is giving the students the chance to step away from the daily "worldly" things. One thing that Mr. Jabiz talked about was "1-1 Programs" and how technology is used without even thinking about it these days. I mentioned to Mr. Jabiz in my comment that I had no idea what a 1-1 Program was. He proceeded to discuss the idea of a "Nature 1-1 Program", in which outdoor trips would be an extension of what is done in the school. After reading that, I had to go research it. I found that 1-1 Programs are used to maximize the learning potential of students. It's neat that he wants to create a Nature 1-1 Program that would have goals aimed towards learning about and in nature. At UWCSEA they have five elements of their learners profile and one of those elements is outdoor education. I love this. I commented that learning should never be just restricted to the classroom. Mr. Jabiz wants students to be influenced by nature everyday. He gave numerous ideas, but one that stuck out to me was the idea of an outdoor classroom. I let him know how much I loved this idea and how I thought that it could be tremendously effective. Even if kids don't like the idea of nature at first, the beauty and simplicity of it all will grow on them, I'm sure.
The other post that I read and commented on was called, "Nice To Just Be Outdoors." This post was written after Mr. Jabiz had returned from his trip to Thailand. I commented about how I was waiting to hear all about his trip! More importantly, this post was about how he took his 7th grade "Be the Change" class outdoors to show the kids how they are surrounded by wonder (aka, nature). I commented that so many times we tend to miss out on the awe and wonder of nature and creation simply because we don't take the time to truly notice it. Mr. Jabiz took his students outside to sit on a small patch of grass under the shade trees and the clouds. In my comment, I talked about how taking the kids outside to marvel in the sunlight may not seem like much, but it gives them the opportunity to be observant and appreciate the outdoors. Today's society is all about technology, so a lot of times it's a breath of fresh air to step away from the classroom and feel the cool breeze on your face. Mr. Jabiz posted an exert written by one of his students about that day. Just by reading it, you can tell that the trip outdoors had an impact on the children. I ended my comment by asking him if he had done anything like this again with his students and if so, did the children have different reactions than before to the outdoors? I also suggested that he have the kids write down some things that they see outside that they don't normally notice on a daily basis. By doing something like this, it allows the kids to realize that nature can be more than what meets the eye. I left my twitter address and the link to my class blog, as well as my email address. I really enjoyed reading!