During a rainy-day trip to "our" forest in October, the children used a digital camera to take pictures of whatever interested them.
It is always a gift to see the world through the children's eyes. Upon viewing the photos, I found that they were quite poetic, more evocative than informative. I believe they captured the children’s response to their first trip to the forest perfectly…full of movement, with a broad, sweeping view at times and acute closeup at others.
The next day we showed the children the images they'd taken, and I invited them to describe the pictures as we looked at them…focusing not on what they actually represented, but on what the images reminded them of. I wrote the children's words as they spoke them. What emerged was as poetic as the images. The result was the poem the children called "The Forest."
Shooting stars in the sky
Colors on the trees
Leaves falling on a canoe in the water
A stick looks like a checky check
Fireworks in sand and water in the night
Leaves falling on the bridge
Stepping in mud in my rainboots
Animal faces in the roots and dirt
It looks like leaves in snow and ice
Fireworks in a snowstorm
Beautiful blowing wind
We are all climbing a tree
In order to put the pictures and words together, we used the iPad app, "Explain Everything," which allowed a small, self-selected group of children to present the poem in their own voices. The girls narrated the videocast, made a title page, and eagerly shared the movie with anyone who would watch. If you were walking into our school right now, the children would say, "We hope you enjoy 'The Forest.'"