Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Rolling with the Chaos! A week with chicks...

Does your day often differ to the one you had planned? 
Another class using the hall scuppers your plans for an amazingly outstanding Numeracy lesson? 
A child being sick all over your carpet mean you have to wave goodbye to your classroom for the best part of the morning? 
The photocopier breaking down means you can't use that scoot activity you had planned?
I don't know why I'm asking these questions because I know the answer is
'HELL YEAH!!!!' 

Let's face it… thinking on your feet is a crucial part of the job and no 2 days are the same. 
It's part of the stress charm of teaching and how we respond to these surprise events can often make a huge difference to a child's enjoyment of learning that day.
Thanks to Keep Calm-o-matic
Well this week we had one massive change to our plans occur…..10 eggs arrived! 
'Oooooo exciting!' I hear you squeal and indeed it has been but they were due to arrive in May!!! 
IN MAY! 
When I would deliver impeccably planned lessons with egg'tastic resources and cross- curricular learning the likes of such the world has never seen before! 
This was not to be….our lovely eggs arrived right in the middle of our theme on Fairytales… perfect! 
THIS WAS NOT ON THE PLAN!

The thing is… it has been perfect! 
I learnt a long time ago to roll with the punches and embrace the chaos! 
So whilst the children were in assembly I quickly printed an 'Egg Diary'
(lets face it, they were never going to concentrate on my planned activities with 
such an eggciting arrival in class!) 
We spent time discussing what was going to happen over the next few days.
 I carefully and sensitively explained that most likely not all of our 10 eggs would hatch… unplanned lesson numero uno- coping with loss. True enough not all of our eggs did hatch and one of our chicks was unwell and passed away. My 6 and 7 year olds amazed me- they took the news in such a mature manner because we had taken the time to discuss what could happen, the reasons for it and the   emotions they might experience. This was such a poignant lesson for my class as, even at such a young age, several of them have already had to deal with such experiences on a much larger scale. This was a subject we would probably only have discussed through a text (such as The King of Tiny Things) but here we were all living through the experience together thanks to the unplanned arrival of the eggs. 

As the week has gone on the children have eagerly taken responsibility for monitoring the living conditions of the chicks, cleaning their bowls and measuring out their food and they have learnt the importance of taking care of animals….unplanned lesson number 2!
For some of my children, especially those who are on the Autistic Spectrum, the change to our routine has been a challenge but they have risen to it. They have understood that at some points, the needs of the chicks outweigh the needs of the children and they have happily stood by and watched as new chicks have hatched or poorly chicks have been looked after. Lesson 3 has been a huge learning curve for my littlies- putting others needs before your own!!! 

One of the most magical parts of having the eggs in class has been getting to watch the chicks hatch first-hand! It has been such an amazing thing for the children to see and my heart has melted each and every time! 
The look of awe, pride and compassion on their little faces has blown me away- having the chicks in class has most certainly taught my children that life is an amazing thing and nature is truly magical… unplanned lesson number 4 in the bag!

Our observation skills have been on overload this week- sitting watching the chicks has not only been therapeutic (believe me… I've pulled up a chair several times!) but has also prompted our inquiry skills. Every day there is something new to take notice of and the children have enjoyed making up their own investigations to gather even more information on the chicks.

A favourite has been 'What is their favourite colour?' I have no idea if the chicks see in colour but my children can say with confidence that they like white!! How do they know? Well they tested them of course!! They cut pieces of different coloured paper and then moved them up and down in front of the Brooder window, the only piece of paper they followed was the white one!! I'm not sure about the scientific reliability of their results but heyho… they devised it, carried it out and made a conclusion… an unplanned science lesson in action! 

This week the chicks are finally big enough to be handled and it has amazed me to see just how brave some of my more hesitant little friends have become. I have watched with pride as a few of my 'lively' little ones have learnt to be quiet and calm around the chicks so as not to scare them and all of them have totally understood the importance of our 'kind hands' classroom rule! Now to see if they can apply unplanned lesson number 6 in their everyday lives…hum!

It has been amazing to have the chicks in class this past week- even if their arrival was unexpected and we will miss them so much when they make the move to a friend of the school's farm on Friday.
There are a million more lessons we have learnt over the past week too- all of them unplanned- such as how many days a chicks hatching cycle is, the importance of washing our hands after handling them, the fact that before they are even 7 days old they begin to grow feathers and (disgustingly) that their poo sticks to their bottom and that's just part of chick life! 


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