Using Wildlife to Learn
One of my greatest loves and passions is spending time with the younger generation, sharing the natural world with them. I have been a teacher for over 25 years and my current job at Michael Drayton Junior School has allowed me to help to create a range of learning environments within the school grounds that nurture a love, understanding and respect for all living things.
I have been at the school on a part-time basis, for 2 days a week, for just over 2 years and in that time, we have developed a Wild Learning Area (Large wildlife resource are with ponds, Bug hotels, Log piles, wild areas, nectar bars….) A Grow Zone (Ambitious growing beds where all pupils get a chance to grow and eat a range of fruit & Veg) and we even keep rabbits, hens and guinea pigs. I also run a Wildlife Club and a Photography Club.
You can find out more about our Wild Learning at www.mdjs-wildlearning.co.uk or by clicking on the image below. I also write a regular blog all about what we do at school.
Recently, we have created a music video to showcase what we do. Taking an instrumental of John Newman’s hit song ‘Love me again’, I contacted Payton Samuels, who created this instrumental. He gave me permission to use it for our musical show reel! I re-wrote the words of the song to reflect our belief at school that pupils should have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the natural world. For them to grow to connect with it, they need to be outside, touching, listening and feeling it… not just learning it from books.
I took my idea to Steve Eardley, our music specialist at school, and explained my vision!! Steve helped me record individual children singing different sections of the song and we taught the chorus to the school so they could sing it too. Steve blended all these recordings together and overlaid them onto the instrumental. I then took the individual children who had sung each section and videoed them singing (and dancing!) their parts. Then came the difficult bit! I then had to merge the whole lot together, matching the children’s recordings up with their mouth movements and link everything together into a video. To achieve this, I used Adobe Premier Pro…. self-taught with the help of lots of YouTube videos!! It took a lot of time, patience and work for us to create a slick and professional final piece!
We were thrilled with what we had all produced… in fact we entered it into the BBC Wildlife Magazine Digital School’s Competition, where we made it to the finals, but didn’t win sadly. The winning entries can be seen HERE.
A massive thank you to all who helped me to achieve the vision I had in my head when I first came up with the idea…. Michael Drayton staff and pupils are always up for a challenge! I am very proud of what we created!