Thursday, October 22, 2015

Birdman Visits Kindergarten

Here are the K-3 students visiting with Birdman.
Birdman, Timothy Barksdale, is a filmmaker who is said to have shot more bird video than anyone else in the world.  He has traveled the world filming birds.  I met him via email four years ago when the Snowy Owls were abundant in our area.  I had reported them to the SD Birds Listserv and he contacted me to see where would be a good place to film them.  After a few emails, I had mentioned that I was just getting into birding and that I was teaching my students about birds along the way.  Several months later we chatted and I told him how many birds the kindergartners knew as a class and I sent him a short video of a boy naming birds off of flashcards.  

He was impressed saying that bird education for young children isn't being done successfully anywhere else that he knows of.  He said that this was something unique, so that spring he made a trip to our school and we met my bird bander/ornithologist friend, Dave Swanson, at the refuge.  The students watched bird banding and went birding with us.  It was great fun!  Those students are now the current 3rd graders and were the first class to be filmed.

Tim came back for the next two years filming more footage.  That next year he had filmed the current 2nd graders and we went to the refuge in March to see all of the Bald Eagles.  Filmmaker, Jason Kessler was along to film, so that Tim could be in it.  They got a lot of footage of activities in the classroom as well.  That class and the 3rd graders were also interviewed by Tim.  Last year's kindergarten class started the "Pennies for the Prairie" collection.  

Today Tim had planned on filming the kindergartners, but he was not feeling well, so he said that he will return this spring and do some of the final filming for the show.  He hopes to bring a small team of people to do the final touches on the show with certain K-3 students. He will do interviews with the older kids to see how bird studies we did in kindergarten and the bird club lessons stuck with them.  {Hopefully it has!} The plan is to get the show funded, completed, and eventually aired on PBS.  It is a long process to complete it and it will take a lot of keep your fingers crossed!

Birdman spoke with the K-3 kids right away in this morning.  The kids were such an awesome audience!  We have great kids here and I was really proud of them!  Tim did an outstanding job talking to the kids about birds, science, being aware of nature, conservation, our responsibility to the land and he reminded the kids to get outdoors more. 

He told the kids that we weren't expecting them to grow up to be birders naturalists or biologists, but the hope is that they will learn to love and appreciate nature.  During this process of teaching students about birds they are learning to notice details, compare and contrast, and be more aware of their surroundings.  Maybe one of the best parts is that they have an interest in something scientific and it challenges students to do some deeper thinking and ask questions.  I have noticed that students love knowing something that most people know little about.  They like being the experts!  Birding however, can be a life long activity that you can do anywhere.  

Later, he spent time getting to know the new batch of kindergartners.  The kids did some bird identification where Tim took time to explain some interesting facts about birds. We played a round of bird bingo and we did an activity where the kids named off the birds in each family group.  I think Tim was impressed that they knew so much after only nine-weeks of school!  All in all it was a really educational morning and we had fun too!

No comments:

Post a Comment