Over the weekend I accompanied my cousin to the Toronto Botanical Gardens for a walk. I have been to the gardens a number of times and, while there, have always admired the flowers and the feeling of being surrounded by nature. In one of the flowerbeds in the gardens, we saw a message had been planted to encourage people to stay safe during the COVID-19 crisis.
Not all of my time, however, was spent walking among the pristine gardens. The enjoyable part of the walk is when we pass the streams and untamed parts of the trail.
I love listening to the sound of trickling water and the sound of life near the water. I also enjoy seeing the wild flowers that grow near the edge of the streams.
The sight is really beautiful to behold and always lifts my spirits. Even the steel frames of man-made bridges are made to look beautiful.
Our walk ended as we moved through the controlled gardens once again. The beauty of the flowers may be contained, but they are a sight to behold nonetheless.
I enjoyed our late afternoon walk in the gardens. I am sure that we will go back soon another time.
A friend of mine has a YouTube channel, Under 300 Calories, on which she posts nutritious recipes. Her most recent post inspired me to follow her instructions and make my own chocolate fruit:
I purchased ripe cherries and baking chocolate as well as fresh strawberries. I decided to take the opportunity to cover some of these berries in chocolate as my daughter does love eating them like this.
My friend melts her chocolate in the microwave but I prefer melting mine in a bain marie on the stove. I feel I have more control over the chocolate this way – and I have less chance of burning it!
I washed my fruit carefully before drying each piece with a paper towel. I decided to take the pits out of the cherries and followed the advice given in the video.
Using the technique described by my friend, I covered the fruit in chocolate. I lay the pieces straight onto the pan as I did not have parchment paper. Next time, though, I will have to purchase a roll as it would make it easier to take the cooled down chocolaty fruit off of the pan.
As expected, the chocolate covered strawberries were a delicious treat after supper. But the cherries were even more so. This is definitely a treat worth taking the time to make – and I will certainly make them again.
As part of my participation in the bookstagram community on Instagram, I often take pictures of book covers. I take these pictures outside sometimes so that the background to the book may look a little interesting.
I take these photos no matter what the weather:
Sometimes I take them at home and surround them with silk flowers:
Or I place the book next to my potted plants and pair it with a snack,
or even a drink.
Sometimes I photograph the book with only the potted plant accompanying it, showing off its green leaves
and sometimes its flowers.
From time to time, I pair a book cover with some of my students’ work:
Recently I have taken to listening to audiobooks during the social isolation period and have even shared these tops with the community.
I enjoy opening the covers of the books I read and often try to think of ways in which I can show off the work created by the artists who designed them.
This morning the wind was blowing eerily between the city buildings and I did not want to go out in it. Instead of walking, this morning I placed a Zumba DVD that I have into my DVD player and danced in our living room.
After building up a sweat, I wanted something juicy for breakfast and a bowl of freshly cut fruit was the perfect solution. I topped the sweet fruit with a layer of trail mix.
The added nuts were crunchy and delicious. I often feast on fruit (with a yummy topping of trail mix) for breakfast. This meal normally keeps me going for a couple of hours until I eat an early lunch.
In grade 1 and 2, children are introduced to the concept of area. The learning goal of the activities I prepare for them is for them to measure the surfaces of objects using non-standard units of measure and in class I usually offer them math manipulatives such as pattern blocks and interlocking cubes. Parents, however, do not have these resources at home so I had to be a little creative with my task when planning a lesson for my students to do at home.
The curriculum does not state precisely what unit of measure children are to use, so I instructed the children to use a household object. I showed them an example that I did in which I used forks:
In addition, I gave my students the sentence starter to use when they wrote down their response. Translated, the sentence states: I measured a(name of object). The surface of the (name of object) is (number used) (name of household object used).
I liked seeing my students’ innovative choices of units.
Food played a role in some responses:
As did the games they play with:
Other responses included the use of business cards, Lego, and toilet paper rolls (I loved this one!).
I am sure these children will not forget what it is to measure the surface area of an object – even when thy have to use standardised units of measure in the higher grades.
What would you use to measure the surface of an area?
A couple of weeks ago, I wanted a change of background for my Bookstagram photos. Packing a couple of books inside a bag, I set out for a nearby stream that I often walk past.
On arriving at the stream, I saw the top of a tree stump that would be perfect to place my books on for a shot.
Unpacking my books, I placed them on the space. Luckily I had gone out early in the morning so there were not many people around to interfere with the aesthetic of my photo.
While at the stream, I decided to walk a little as I have always enjoyed this spot.
The stream ripples along quite a bit a the bottom of this ravine and I followed along with it until I could no longer.
Stones have been placed alongside the stream to prevent erosion and, as I walked along, I wondered if the stream ever becomes a gushing river.
In all the years I have lived in this neighbourhood and walked this way, I have not seen the level higher than this.
My curiosity is peaked though and I think to myself I need to come by here the next time we are issued with a flood warning. In the meantime, though, my task was done and my walk at an end. I will return another time to enjoy the sight of the stream.
Do you have a stream nearby your home that you can enjoy?
Before schools were closed in response to the COVID-19 virus, my class and I had almost finished the unit on Communities. We had explored mapping and had competed a number of tasks. Unfortunately I am unable to introduce them to the final activity that I had planned for the class but I did come up with an alternative.
Using the Google Maps application, I encouraged them to explore the aerial view of their neighbourhood (we had explored the school’s neighbourhood in class). Once that was done, I asked them to to draw a two block radius of their own neighbourhood using Google Maps as a reference. When assigning the task, I listed the success criteria for them so that they would know my expectations. The task was a perfect way for them to put into practice what we had been learning in class.
The children have done a magnificent job. Here is a section of the first submission I received:
I could see that the student had spent a long time on the task and that she had replicated her neighbourhood block accurately. Another student did not draw her immediate surrounding area but instead chose a block that was more interesting to draw:
I love that she coloured it in so beautifully and her legend showed a knowledge of the area. My favourite aerial map submitted took the student over a week to draw:
Her map followed all of the success criteria and shows an excellent understanding of mapping. If we were in the classroom, her map would have been pinned to the board outside:
I am currently thinking of another long-term assignment that my students can work on. Next week is an oral one – but the week after? I am not sure yet.
Remember last week I shared with you a house in our neighbourhood that has a moose on its roof? It seems that these home owners are not the only people in the neighbourhood who share a love of animal art on their homes.
A few blocks away from the stone Canadian caribou, I pass a house that has ants crawling over it.
These giant ants may not be real but they sure do look like they belong in a scene from a horror movie. When I pass this home, I cannot help but think that the owner has a sense of humour.
I love the uniqueness of this home art – it definitely makes one look at the house twice!
Would you decorate the front of your home with ants?
Last week I started walking every morning to ensure that I get some exercise and breathe in a little outside air. Walking in the morning has made going outside more regular for me instead of waiting for the afternoon to go out. By the afternoon, my energy is spent and I have no desire to go out. At least morning walks prevent me from spending day after day within our apartment walls.
Besides the exercise, another benefit of going outside has been the chance to see the signs of spring. Slowly the grass has turned green and, a few days ago, I saw that the daffodils in gardens have bloomed.
The sight of the yellow flowers is a cheerful one – especially when they are surrounded by plants that have not yet woken up from winter.
Each morning I pass these clusters of daffodils and I cannot help but smile. I now look forward to seeing the tulips flower.
Have you noticed any daffodils flowering on your daily walks?