The Lunchbox Note and Storytelling: Lifetime Lessons

A Teacher's Reflections

Lunchtime in the classroom with fifteen preschoolers is very busy.  Once containers are opened, hot foods are heated, milk straws are inserted into their boxes, and napkins are found, things change.  Drastically.   Lunch becomes intimate.  Not quiet, but a place of comfort where children (and teachers) share their stories.  Children talk about their dogs and cats, their grandparents, their sleepovers.  They share what is on their mind, and also in their heart.  It’s how we become a family– we are a family at school!

Lunchbox notes are a special treat for children.  I make sure that I read the note to the child: “Happy first day of school, Ella” or “Have a fun day today at school, Josh.”  Last week Savannah had a special lunchbox note:

My goodness– it was a song.  And, it was Savannah’s favorite song.  I knew this was special, so I started to sing the…

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Waiting for … ? WPC

Wishing and …

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Hoping and …

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Planning and …

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Dreaming … Bilbo will appear!

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Dusty Springfield and Dion Warwick used to sing Wishin’ and Hopin’. Remember singing along with those dreadful lyrics? I honestly didn’t hear the words till much later … then  I got wise!

……………………………………………………………….

This blog of images and text by Meg Philp – Story Twigs the Imagination! – is Copyright © under Australian Law.

 

Waiting

Plant Life: WPC

This week’s Photo Challenge ‘Elemental” had me casting my eyes heavenwards … and then down to the window-sill. Elements of fire, earth, water and air are all captured here, as a winter sun pours into the house.

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Simply put,  Planet Earth thrives because of plants. They provide food, oxygen, medicine, and products, as well as creating and preserving the soil.

There’s a potted history in the three flower types this little posy -Violas were herbal medicine used by the Greeks as early as 4th Century B.C. Edible Nasturtiums were found in Mexico and Peru and taken back to Spain by the Conquistadors in the 16th century.  Petunias were also discovered about the same time in Argentina. Scots explorer James Tweedie sent purple ones back to the Edinburgh Royal Botanic Gardens in the 1830s.

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Plant collecting expanded with the British Empire. Edinburgh’s ‘Physic’ gardens and Royal Botanic Gardens flourished from 1653 on.

The British ‘landed gentry’ arranged the education of their off-spring in birth order. Their first son, as heir, was destined for university or would study law,  as might their second son.  Other younger sons would go into the Priesthood, the Military or  (Dear me!) Trade and apprenticeships. By the 1800s, with the expansion of the sciences like Botany in the Age of Enlightenment, a dedicated few became plant explorers, travelling to exotic places, Asia, Australasia,  and the Americas, they brought back rare species for the gardens of the great estates, like Crarae Garden in Argyll, Scotland.  There, you may walk amongst Nepalese, Chinese and Tibetan trees and shrubs sent back by botanist Reginald Farrer.

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Camellia, member of the Tea Family from China.

There’s so much about plants that is taken for granted – more stories to tell … Just grow some, water them, care for them!

For more info about the Golden Age of Botany, see PlantExplorers.com. There you’ll find out about how other intrepid explorers battled the elements to bring back rare specimens … See Joseph Banks (1743-1820) who sailed with Captain Cook … or Scotsman  George Forrest (1873 – 1922) from Falkirk, who discovered over 1200 plants in China, Tibet and Burma and then introduced hundreds of them into western cultivation.

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Superfoods

See also this List of gardener-botanist explorers of the Enlightenment


Sources

DAVIES, Amanda.The History of the Petunia in “Thompson & Morgan” (Blog) Feb 12, 2016. Downloaded 10 August, 2017.

Pansy. Aggie Horticulture, Texas AgriLife Extension Series. Downloaded 10 August 2017

PlantExplorers.com; the Adventure is Growing. Downloaded 10 August, 2017.

PERRY, Leonard. (Dr.) Nasturtium; a favourite old-fashioned flower. in “The Green Mountain Gardener.” University of Vermont Extension, Dept of Plant and Soil Science. Downloaded 10 August, 2017.

‘Reginald Farrer.’Wikiwand. Downloaded 10 August, 2017.

Wallis, Patrick (and) Webb, Cliff. The Education and Training of of Gentry Sons in Early Modern England. ISE, London, (forthcoming). Downloaded 10 August, 2017.

Elemental

All text and photos by Meg.

Story Twigs the Imagination! by Meg Philp is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

This blog of text and images is Copyright © under Australian Law.

Satisfying End: Weekly Photo Challenge

Dropped in to visit a friend at the end of the last school holidays … gazed from the verandah … listened to the waves … smelt the salt air … on a perfect winter’s day at the beach.

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How great it is to have her grandma to play with…

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… to feel safe by the sea…

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to swing in the shade and watch the Fairy Wrens together, darting among the Banksias … and to catch this on the verandah rail.

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Another happy ending!

Satisfaction

All text and photos by Meg are Copyright © under Australian Law.

Story Twigs the Imagination! by Meg Philp is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

 

Delta Pattern: Weekly Photo Challenge

A challenge to find one photo to illustrate this topic. Oh my!

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OK. After heavy rain last month, I spotted this pattern in silt from a run-off on the footpath. It’s a water splash. Or was I looking down on the planet from space? Guess.

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All text and photo by Meg.

Story Twigs the Imagination! by Meg Philp is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

This blog of text and images is Copyright © under Australian Law.

Passing Through: Weekly Photo Challenge

In,

over,

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through,

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(Oops! Missed some.)

and out.

Read this many years ago. Presume it’s from the Sufi tradition of teaching stories.

Years ago, a young backpacker set off travelling to new places.

Arriving in an distant city, he learned that a famous sage was speaking that night in the great hall. The young man decided to go along. An audience of over a thousand people heard the sage talk and many were as inspired as he was. They gathered outside in the square to talk late into the night about what they had heard and to plan their future.

Over the next two days, the traveller asked everyone he met how he might meet the sage in person. Three days later, he was taken to the place where the man had lived all his life. He rang the bell tentatively.

Stepping in the doorway, the young man noticed the home’s bare walls and basic furniture. The sage came forward and greeted him warmly. Together they sat by the fire to drink tea and talk.

After some hours, the traveller stood to thank his elder and bid him farewell. His host was curious to know what was had surprised him the most.

“You are so famous. People shower you with gifts. I expected you to live in grand style. ”

“You arrived with only a backpack!” retorted the sage.

“Yes, but I am only passing through,” muttered the young man.

“So am I,” replied his host.

Transient
All text and photos © Meg Philp are protected by Australian Copyright Law. If you wish to use any images. Please contact me thru Comments. Pass the story on. Thanks.

PS. And then there’s the song a Canadian teacher sang to me on the verandah of the Migrant Hostel in 1975 – the chorus is stuck in my mind.

 “Passing through, Passing through, … Glad that I ran into you, Tell the people that you saw me passing through.”

Google now tells me it was written by Richard Blakeslee and sung by Pete Seeger! … Learn something new every day!

Story Twigs the Imagination! by Meg Philp is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

Stacks in Order: WPC

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Fuel chopped and stacked by Rob

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Flower head stacked – Hydrangea

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Fibonacci stack – 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13 …

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Feather stack – overlay

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Fern stack – spiral

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Kids heard stacks of folktales told that day.

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Fleecy stack – Flock

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Famous Fiction stack.

(… getting a bit carried away!)

Puzzle story

A man had to ferry a wolf, a goat and a cabbage across a river. The only boat was so small, it could just hold the man and one other thing. In what order did he manage to get everything to the other side, without the wolf eating the goat, or the goat eating the cabbage? Clue – He made seven trips.

Order

For more on Fibonnaci

All text and photos by Meg.

Story Twigs the Imagination! by Meg Philp is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

This blog of text and images is copyright under Australian Law.

 

Be a Friend – Read Stories Aloud

Listeners of any age are drawn into another world by an expressive reader, with a good book.

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Not everyone is a storyteller. We can, however, read books aloud with feeling. As a human experience, reading loud arouses curiosity and is essentially interactive, pleasure-able, and informative.

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Reading aloud fluently puts the life back into words on the page. It’s a step towards oral storytelling, creating a strong bond between reader and listener.

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Babies in the womb pick up voice vibrations at 16 weeks. Singing nursery rhymes and reading picture books to the baby from that time on … works! Oracy  – all that spoken interaction – is the vital foundation for literacy.

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Reading “with expression,” or fluently, is an acquired skill.  We learn by listening to a fluent reader who engages us, using the ‘melody’ (intonation) of their voice.

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New research into young learners shows that listening to a text read aloud is more instructive than everyday talking – the imagination is stimulated, more parts of the brain “fire” at once, while memory, as well as vocabulary, increases.

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As my friend Naomi B. commented so eloquently, listening to stories

“helps them hear the language and its patterns, and eventually it will help them understand the structure and elements of a good story. I believe that growing up hearing stories all the time, every day, helps them recognise and appreciate the stories all around them, and it is much more likely that they will learn and love to create and tell stories of their own.”

Thank you, dear Friend

And,  just in case you have the time to watch a 9:29 min TedX talk

“Why We Should All Be Reading Aloud To Children | Rebecca Bellingham | Tedxyouth@Beaconstreet” YouTube. (9.29) Dec, 2015. Web. 29 Apr. 2016.

See also this week’s inspiring post ‘1-800-Viola Swamp’ in A Teacher’s Reflections by Jennie. Please click the link to learn the power of reading aloud in her Early Years classroom.

Reference:  REESE, Elaine. Tell Me a Story: Sharing Stories to Enrich Your Child’s Life. Auckland, OUP, 2013.

All text (except quote) and photos in this post by Meg (except B&W and second last image which are published with permission) are Australian Copyright protected. © 2017 Meg Philp

Story Twigs the Imagination! © Meg Philp

Flicker: WPC Evanescent

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Soft , warm breezes move across the bay.

A silver fish cascade is pulled up at the end of the pier: an unfair end.

Here and gone – evanescent flicker.

A Norse myth ‘The Apples of Immortality’ tells how their gods could live forever.

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When the gods of Asgard began to show signs of ageing, they simply sought out the goddess Idunn and asked for one of the golden apples she kept in a wooden box.  From the first bite, aches and pains disappeared; youthful looks and vigour were regained. Of course, it’s a story where the trickster cunning of Loki thwarts all their ‘best laid plans.’

Have just read Neil Gaiman’s latest book where he retells selected Norse Myths. I find his interpretation of these tales refreshing, especially with regard to some of our current leaders – politicians, celebrities, moguls and the like.

Check out the SMH review. I’d add that all the myths involving the trickster, are standouts eg. The Children of Loki, The Death of Baldur, The Apples of Immortality, The Master Builder.

Loki has a distinctive kind of evanescence. You have to be quick to catch or confront Loki’s lies, schemes and betrayals. Sometimes he does the right thing!

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All text and photos by Meg

Story Twigs the Imagination! by Meg Philp is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

Get a Wriggle On: WPC

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This week’s Photo Challenge is reflecting.  The stainless steel facade of the Len Lye Centre, opened in 2015, does just that. This landmark building, part of the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery in New Plymouth, celebrates Lye’s artistic aim ‘to create an art of motion.’

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Len Lye was ‘a highly original photographer, poet and theorist.’  He also created kinetic sculptures, paintings and experimental, animated films – all from an unusual angle. He left New Zealand and worked in England, as well as New York. Just before he died, in 1980, bequeathed his works to the people of New Zealand.

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In 1941, with his life-long friend, British writer Robert Graves, Lye wrote a wartime manifesto for they were ‘deeply disturbed because they felt the Nazis were winning the propaganda war. Winston Churchill and other leaders were not explaining clearly what the Allies were fighting for.’

This recently discovered, 76 year old, manuscript explains an artist’s perspective of what freedom and democracy really mean, as well as the value of individuality. Now published, it is available for $12NZ from the Govett-Brewster Gallery/ Len Lye Centre shop entitled Individual Happiness Now.

Better ‘get a wriggle on‘ before it’s too late.

Reflecting

All text, except quotes, and photos by Meg.

Story Twigs the Imagination! by Meg Philp is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License