In many Spanish classes, students start class with vocabulary quizzes and worksheets. But at Conserve, Spanish class often begins with time al aire libre (outside) to meditate and reflect on un fenómeno del mundo natural (phenomenon of the natural world). Recently, students ventured outdoors with a pencil and notepad to become better acquainted with our neighborly friends, los árboles (the trees).
Here is an excerpt from the lesson:
Take a few moments to engage with the passage below and imagine yourself becoming a tree...
Close your eyes and respirar profundamente (breathe deeply). As you inhale, notice how your lungs fill with air and as you exhale, notice as you breathe out whatever doubts, anxieties or fears that have controlled you.
Feel your cuerpo (body) relaxing little by little from la punta de los pies (the tip of your toes) to your head, passing through your legs, hips, chest, shoulders, arms, and back.
Imagine that raíces (roots) begin to grow from la planta de los pies (the soles of your feet). Las raíces (the roots) grow and penetrate las profundidades de la tierra (the depths of the earth). Notice how your roots become stronger and stronger and now, eres un árbol (you are a tree)…
What kind of tree are you? ¿Abedul? (A birch?) ¿Pino blanco? (White pine?) ¿Arce azucarero? (Sugar maple?) ¿El sauce llorón? (Weeping willow?)
Do you have líquenes (lichens) or musgos (moss)?
What is happening around you? How are your hojas, tronco y raíces? (leaves, trunk, and roots?)
The meditation begins with a reading, followed by quiet observation, and ends with reflective questions. In this multilayered lesson, students get the opportunity for quiet reflection and meditation while practicing environmental stewardship and Spanish vocabulary. Integrative lessons that incorporate elements of environmental stewardship are a mainstay of the Conserve School experience.
Photos contributed By Kathleen O'Connor, Spanish Teacher.