Thursday, December 3, 2009

We're Wriiiiii-ting in the Rain...

The sixth graders from Wells were here today for a journaling class...all six of them (two were out sick). It was pouring rain when they arrived, so we spent the first half of the program inside, learning about journaling, and making some hand-sewn journals. After lunch the rains had let up a bit, mostly misting, so we donned our coats, grabbed our journals and pencils, and hit the trail.

It didn't stay misting for long...soon it was raining pretty steadily. Still, a little rain is not enough to deter determined naturalists. Our first stop was the overlook along the lake's outlet.

The bridge over the outlet was a hit - until the rain became more insistent. When we came back at the end of the program, however, the rain had turned to fog, making the view quite attractive.

We ended up at the beaver pond...because in my opinion this is a gold mine for journaling...even in the rain. With the rain we've had in the last 24 hours, water levels were up significantly.

We could hear the water rushing over and around the dam from a distance. Once there, we could see water rushing where no water has rushed before.

Across the way we could see the lodge, hard by the bank. Freshly chewed sticks made it stand out like a beacon in the damp grey light.

Despite the damp conditions, the kids did their best to record their observations.

Journaling has become quite popular in recent years, which is great, considering the decline in our society's ability to actually write. Too often I read the writings of students in grades 6-8 and find that they are barely writing at a second grade level: they can't string together coherent sentences, they haven't got a clue about grammar, and forget punctuation. Computers and text messaging, I fear, spell doom for the written language.

So, let's encourage kids to keep journals; it'll get them writing, and, if they are nature journals, it will get them observing - two skills that we should do our best not to lose.


  1. This reminds me of Seton Spots!

  2. Anything that gets kids outdoors is a good thing. Disappointing when it rains, though. As for language skills, those have been going downhill for years. My adult kids have friends who were in university with them and can hardly string together a sentence. And penmanship! Yikes! Talk about forgotten skills!

  3. What a nice job you have! Such important work! I wish I had had someone to guide me in such a way as a child!Thank you!

  4. W.E. - Ah, yes - the Seton Spots! So many of the kids seemed to rebel at these - they just hated to sit still and observe. Maybe I'll do a post on these - share the idea with others.

    Barefootheart - I can excuse my own bad penmanship on being hurried when I write (I know I can do better if I slow down and pay attention), but you are correct that penmanship today has gone right down the toilet. Who needs to know how to write legibly when everything is done on a computer today?

    Jackie - thanks! There are days when it is really rewarding and I am grateful that this is what I do for a living.

  5. Well, I will let you know, penmanship, grammar, and sentence structure is thoroughly covered in our school to the point where my students grumble at me (okay, we homeschool, but it's still school ... and yes, they are my children ... but you'd laugh if you heard them correcting other children!). I agree wholeheartedly about the lost art of language. We are even diagramming ... it's fun (at least I think so) and I wish it had been covered when I was in school. Anyway, my two cents ... and thank you for increasing the desire among young students to take this course and learn how to journal. (Is anyone correcting the grammar/spelling in these journals?) (time not taken to spell check this comment)

  6. Eliz - how nice to hear from you! No, I don't think anyone checks the spelling, grammar etc. I cringe when I read/hear some of the entries, and really want to correct them, but I don't want to embarrass them or squash their interest, so I don't say anything.