Strata Update: Sept. 29 – Oct 3 2014

The Strata students continued their photography unit with Sylvia this past week. You will remember from the last update that they turned one of their classrooms into a giant camera obscura.

“From there they built their own camera obscura,” said Sylvia.

Read on to see some pictures.

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“Some of them took it home and made it really quickly,” Sylvia explained. “Some needed some guidance and we had others that were helping them, and we all really enjoyed it. Next they will be building their own pinhole cameras. We have been painting boxes.

“Today we are going to the Carnegie Gallery in downtown Dundas to see an exhibit by a lady named Dianne Bos who is a photographer who works with pinhole cameras.

“A great thing is, I have found the formula you use to calculate the exact measurement of the pinhole that we need when we make our own and Sarah has integrated that into her math lessons. So it becomes a part of everything we are doing.”

“It’s an artisitc expression and it has morphed over into math and science and French,” added Chris, “and it’s been a real lightning rod for all the kids who have just totally been won over by making camera obscura.”

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Strata students spent a lot of time outside of the classroom this week, travelling to the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinburg, Muskoka Montessori in Huntsville, and an urban farm in Kitchener.

“It was a great trip,” said Strata guide Chris of the venture to the McMichael. “An amazing level of engagement from the kids, having this quick lesson from an expert in some oil techniques, and relating it to some work on the Group of Seven and the great art and artists that emerged from that.

“This feel of it being real, which is what we do,” said Chris, “trying to make it feel real so you’re not just sitting in a classroom and someone’s telling you to ‘Draw this.’ We’re out. We’re learning about it. We’re sitting down with real materials and recreating what artists like Tom Thompson did. It’s a perfect example of giving them a realist introduction to something. We do that in science. We do that in math. But even in art, the engagement that comes out of it, and it is real.”

You may notice Strata dog Arlo went on the trip too.

“Arlo had a rough time,” said Chris. “He got sick. He went to the vet. We don’t know if he ate something or he had a reaction to his rabies shots, but he had a bit of an emergency and had to get rushed to a vet. He was there for a couple of hours getting some treatments, but he’s come through it ok, he seems to be himself.

“He got a new training regimen this week,” Chris continued. “We have four kids who are responsible for the dog and they’ve been introduced to a new routine for him. He’s coming off basic commands so the kids came out to the training facility, and they were there when he was in the veterinarian’s care. They bring the training instruction here and share it with the rest of the kids.”

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“I missed this,” said Chris of the visit to Muskoka Montessori’s adolescent program, “because I was in the emergency care with Arlo. I missed the dinner and everything, but I heard it was a great time.

“They played ultimate with the kids from Muskoka, a mixed game.”

Chris further explained the purpose of these trips:

“A lot of time in Montessori, the kids are doing jobs not because they know what they are doing it for; it’s imprinting an idea that comes to them later. They’re building a Pink Tower because of the geometry and the mathematical consistency of it, the relationship between the different sizes. The kids are just building a tower, but it’s mathematically precise. It’s the same thing here. We’re taking them to things and the concepts that, to them it’s an outing and it’s a trip, they may not understand today what they’re there for, but it’s part of this 3-year plan, and beyond.

“From this trip, it’s not just about going to another school and seeing an art gallery, it’s about the idea of nature and the pleasure it gives, the predominance of it. Seeing the art gallery and the Group of Seven work — real Canadiana and the idea of people who loved this art so much they donated this property and built this collection because it was so important to them at the time even though they had no idea how valuable the art would be.”

Strata WkSept29 2014 chick

Not so sure about holding a chicken.

Strata also ventured to Kitchener to visit an urban farm this week.

“It’s a friend of mine from Kitchener,” said Strata guide Sarah. “Basically, she lives in a normal city house but she has turned it into a sustainable homestead in the city. She has rabbits and chickens and quail and bees, so we went to go talk to her about how she does that. Her yard is full of gardens and she preserves stuff for the winter, and she spins and knits. She’s just one of those people that does everything.

“We went to talk to her because we have students doing a chicken occupation, students who are doing a rabbit occupation, students who are doing a bee occupation, so they brought questions for her, and she was able to provide information even above and beyond what they asked her. She shared a lot about what she is doing and the sustainability of what she is doing. They build a lot of stuff with pallets, they use what people are throwing out and they make it work for them. It was a learning tour.”

A reminder: if you haven’t signed up for a Strata Student-Parent-Teacher conference yet, you can do so by clicking right here.

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