Tuesday, May 12, 2015

A River Runs Through It

The Kindergarten ventured into the city for the last time. This was definitely a bittersweet journey. We have made sense of Our Richmond by connecting the many neighborhoods where we live, play and shop. We realized that a river flowed through so many of these neighborhoods and decided to set out to explore it. ( Although truth be told we have had some heated debates that there may be more than one river flowing through Richmond).

The children immediately noticed the wildlife including the ducks, the geese and the birds that make the river their home. The rocks and the rapids were cause for excitement as well. We walked out on an old railway bridge commemorating the Civil War. It was the perfect spot to view the rapids and the skyline. The location gave us the feeling of actually being in the midst of the river as we felt the breeze and watched the birds swoop and nest.

The excitement was palpable but the children definitely took some quiet moments to absorb it all.  One of my favorite moments during our field trip occurred when we gave each child their City Journals and a black thinking pen. The children became reflective and observant. The children were perched in different locations and positions documenting their perspective. We could glimpse their thinking without interrupting their thoughts. I often think about the long term impact that the simple practice of sketching during observation might have on the children's thought process and expression of understanding.

Dyson's City Journal has pages and pages of sparse abstract pictures of the river landscape including the rocks, churning water and  bridge

N. is our class historian and stopped at the historical markers with a classmate in tow to explain the significance of a memorial or location. Leo listened carefully to the story regarding the burning of Richmond. As his classmates captured the scenery, he recorded the story he had heard. Leo's picture included bombs dropping in the water, the wildlife retreating and President Lincoln looking tired and just plain sad as he watched the destruction.

Some of the confusion regarding the number of rivers in Richmond can be attributed to the canals that often flow beside the river. Anna brought the children closer and relayed some of the stories that she knew to be true about our canal system.

We took a few moments to capture the Kindergarten sitting with their city of Richmond soaring in the background. The children definitely have an investment in the city and an affinity for the neighborhoods and landmarks that are a part of their  mental collage. 

As we reflected on the field trip the children felt that the most memorable moment was dancing and singing on the stage with their classmates. The extroverts paraded first but the introverts found their way to the stage when the audience had dispersed. It was fun to perform as a rock star, Ninja Turtle or a Star Wars bad guy for a few brief moments of fame.

As we were leaving Brown's Island, a train drove above our head carrying  cars filled with coal. We waved and the engineer blew his whistle.

Rockett's Landing brought another surprise. The Nina and the Pinta were docked. We again captured our thinking and perspective sketching in our City Journals. Many of the children's drawings showed the Richmond skyline looming in the background.

We ate lunch near Elina's home and community pool. We all tried to relax in the shade including Baby Sofia and her big brother.

Carter documented the Rockett's Landing neighborhood that borders the James River. It was a great day experiencing this great city that we all call our home. 

Many thanks to the parent photographers contributing pictures to this blog...Molly Booker and Meredith Shields.

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