As a new community, one of the most important ways we build relationships and connections is through shared experiences. Field trips provide our community with a fresh opportunity to get out of the classroom and be together in ways we haven't been before. No matter what kinds of experiences each of us might have outside of the school day, field trips give us an experience that is truly shared, that we can all talk about, relate to, and relive together. After field trips we ALL get to be a part of new conversations that might start like "remember when…" or "wasn't it so cool when we…" Nods, smiles, remarks of agreement, and bursts of laughter come back to the classroom with us and help us to hold on to the feeling of excitement that only comes from a shared experience, from being together in new ways.
At Opal School we feel fortunate to be located in a space with a rich variety of places to explore all within walking distance. Last week, we took advantage of our location and enjoyed our first field trip of the year: to the zoo. The zoo provided us with an opportunity to continue the research we have been doing in Opal 2 around friendship. As we expanded our research we wondered:
Can you find evidence of friendship at the zoo?
How did the people design the zoo to support and encourage friendship?
How does the zoo make people and animals feel invited or welcomed?
Opal 2 students responded with interest and enthusiasm. We hope you will enjoy the story of our trip through images and words.
Child 1: The hill is friends with running feet.
Child 2: They put things together in the cage to help build friendships.
Child 3: People get invited by seeing the animals and having fun.
Child 4: Seals are playing together is evidence of friendship.
Child 5: The penguins sleeping together is a sign of friendship.
Child 5 & 6: Coming to the zoo makes people happy and watching the animals makes us happy. Seeing them makes us talk to each other and inspires us. We are enjoying things and that's what friends do.
Child 7: One was showing the other how to dive. (penguins)
Child 8: The naked mole rats must be friends to sleep all over each other.
Child 9: I'm finding evidence everywhere we go. Unless there's just one.
Child 10: Wow! Now that's evidence of friendship! Two different creatures sharing the same space!
Child 9: I'm not so sure what to write except they share their space.
Child 10: Well by all the time they've been in here, they probably would have made friends by now.
Child 11: Ok, I don't see any evidence of friendship here.
Child 12: But there should be another one.
Child 11: I think there should be another one too.
Child 13: It's kind of like a play structure and you play with your friends.
Teacher: Can you make new friends on a play structure?
Child 13: Yeah, you can make new friends when you invite someone to play and you like them and they like you. It helps you to make new friends.
Teacher: Hmm.. I notice that there are ducks here. Do you think the people who designed the zoo thought the ducks would be here?
Child 13: No. Those birds aren't supposed to be here. This is just for the rhino. But they will get asked to leave soon.
Teacher: Who is going to ask them to leave?
Child 13: The rhino. It's his home.
Child 14: No. The rhino invited them in. Why else would they be here?
What a great provocation! How fun! I like that you included the comment, “I’m not sure what to write.” It seems like a simple provocation, but there is so much in there to navigate and digest and make decisions on–I could see how this student got lost–and how exciting that there are others in the community to spark possibilities!