I saw a beautiful moth (see URL above for picture) on one of the storage sheds outside a classroom as I was walking the campus today. That was after I followed an army of ants, some of them carrying crumbs of food, to a hole in the ground where they were living. I saw that after I watched a bird fly into one of the classroom windows and slickly fly away as if to say, "I MEANT to do that!". We must have used Windex!
Big deal? Yes, big deal! As I've been immersing myself in reading and thinking about how to lead our school to fulfill its vision to inspire children to the highest levels of academic achievement through a rigorous curriculum that integrates the wonders of the natural world, I've been making a conscious effort to "stop and smell the roses." Used to be I probably wouldn't have stopped to take a picture of a moth or watch ants, or even notice that a bird hit the window.
Look at the moth once more. Do you notice the incredible symmetry of its body? Look again. See it now? Do you see the different angles that form as the wings overlap? How is it that the moth doesn't just slide down the side of that shed? What is the moth's role in the food chain or, in an even larger sense, in the whole scheme of things? I've only really thought of moths in a negative context, like eating holes in my wife's clothes because I left them out in the garage (!). Do you see the different shades of orange, the variety of textures, the lines, and the curves?
Now, look once more at what I just wrote in the paragraph above. Do you see the math? The science? The social studies? The language arts? (I wrote it and you read it!) Respecting environment? (I didn't crush it like I used to when I was a kid.) Appreciating and learning in place? (I didn't have to go far because nature often comes to us.) Agriculture? (Do moths eat holes in leaves like they do in clothes?) Art?
Do me a favor. It won't cost you anything and it won't take up much time. In fact, you'll probably enjoy it! Look for 2 or 3 things tomorrow in the natural world and spend a minute or so observing each one. Then do it the next day and the next day, etc. Let's see what happens. Share with me if you feel like. I'd love to hear from you.