Educational Philosophy

Education is a social process. Education is growth. Education is not a preparation for life; education is life itself.

~ John Dewey

Our simple educational philosphy: we learn as we live and we celebrate what we learn!

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Just So Stories

The girls just wrapped up a project where they wrote their own Just So Stories in a style similar to Kipling's. The next step in the project is to rewrite their own stories in Spanish. Here are their final stories:

How the Dolphin Got Its Click by T

Once upon a time a long time ago, dear friend lived a dolphin in an ocean so wide, so long, and as blue as the sky mind you. The dolphin was quite forgetful. Many a times he lost his way, but many more times he lost his belongings. You can imagine, dear friend, that in an ocean so wide, so long, and as blue as the sky mind you, it would be hard not to loose ones things. No matter what his friends said, no matter what his motherly malphin said and his patient palphin said, Dolphin couldn’t keep track of his things. They kept slip sliding out of his grasp. One time, he lost his ocean-okey base-ball bat, after tying it to his fin, and of course it was the day of the game dear friend. His coach said that he was irresponsible, and that he couldn’t play because of it. Dolphin had to miss the game against the Ferocious Fintails.

A couple days later, after loosing his ocean-okey base-ball bat, he set out for the swimmiest swishiest school around. He got unfortunately lost in the bad part of town, and although he had been lost many a time, that time he had been lost with the slicing sluicing sharks. And Dolphin had barely escaped from the terrible teeth of the slicing sluicing sharks. So malphin, after being terrified, and ripping her hair out looking for Dolphin, gave him a colossal compass and she told him that it would help Dolphin to never be lost again, and it had worked until Dolphin lost it. Dolphin asked malphin if she knew where his colossal compass was and she said, “Dolphin, it is time you learned to keep track of your things.” Well, dolphin didn’t know where his colossal compass was, and he knew his malphin wouldn’t help him find it, so he went to his palphin. “Palphin,” he said with great confidence, “Can you help me find my colossal compass?” Palphin looked at his son and said, “Dolphin it is time you learned to keep track of your belongings.” Dolphin begged, and begged he even put his fins together like he was praying for his palphin to help him but his patient palphin would not budge.

So, Dolphin started off to the swimmiest swishiest school of all the P’aci’fic ocean without his colossal compass. He was so busy playing daydreaming about the beautiful Paliphine that he lost his sense of direction. He didn’t know which way was north; he didn’t know which way was south; and he didn’t know where all those places were in between. Oh how Dolphin wished he had his colossal compass, without it there was no possibility of getting home, or to school. He had lost his way, and this time something bad could happen to him. What if this time the enormous anemones got him or worse, what if the slicing sluicing sharks returned? “Oh no. Oh no,” Dolphin said and his lip started to quiver.

Dear friend you must understand, Dolphin was quite scared. He didn’t know what to do. He just couldn’t go anywhere, which was quite horrid dear friend. He swam around in circles still not knowing where to go and not knowing what to do. In the end, he decided he would be brave he let go of his fear and he started swimming in the direction he thought was north, but in fact it was really south.

Dolphin swam and swam. The more he swam the lonelier he became. He thought about how lonely his ocean-okey base-ball bat must have felt when he lost it. He thought about the swimmiest swishiest school around, and he couldn’t stop thinking about his malphin and palphin. What were they doing? Were they looking for their Dolphin? Was malphin ripping her hair out again? But even worse was when he wasn’t thinking about his malphin and palphin, or all of his lost belongings, and when he was thinking that there was nobody in the ocean which was so wide, so long, and as blue as the sky mind you, that he knew. Which was quite confusing?

Finally, he was so befuddled, and muddled and so troubled he asked someone for help. He looked up and he looked down. He saw a spunky sparkly starfish, and he asked oh so quietly and quizzically for help, “Oh little star of near and far what shall I do? I’ve lost my path, in more ways than one. Please help me. Please do.”

The starfish lifted up his legs and said in a very small voice, as small as a starfish could have, “Head that way kind sir that is if you are looking for Mr. Homo Sapien.”

Dolphin thought and he thought, and then he thought some more. Who was this Mr. Homo Sapien? Well, Dolphin said in a teeny tiny voice, so quietly that nobody could hear “But I am lost.” Then maybe just maybe, Dolphin thought, Mr. Homo Sapien could help me swim through the ocean, sticking to my path, and never straying from it again. So, Dolphin headed in the direction of Mr. Homo Sapien was supposed to be. Of course, in an ocean so wide, so long, and as blue as the sky mind you, Dolphin lost his way. He once again wished he had his colossal compass, but he stopped by a fishy-fish and asked for directions. “Hello fishy-fish. I would like to ask for directions, to Mr. Homo Sapien, because I have lost my way. Please help me please do.”

The fishy-fish swung his head from side to side, and said in a very fishy voice “Kind sir its not far just follow me and you’ll see. It is the magic you seek.” Dolphin didn’t know what he was seeking, but finally, after swimming, and swimming and swimming ten times the distance from your house to the pool and a hundred times wetter dear friend, the fishy-fish and Dolphin arrived at a wooden skiff, and they stopped and they plopped and the fishy-fish gawked.

The skiff they came across, which belonged to Mr. Homo Sapien, dear friend, was as big as the coconut cream cake Dolphin had for his birthday two years ago. It made Dolphin so happy he jumped up to the sky, for the skiff was one thing he found with the help from a few passersby. Urgently, before the fishy-fish could leave, Dolphin thanked him profusely for the directions, and the fishy-fish went lickity-split back from whence he came.

Dolphin swam once, then twice around the skiff, trying to see Mr. Homo Sapien. He came to a stop when he saw a sign that read, “Please wait here. I’m out at sea.” Dolphin thought that was odd, because another name for the ocean was sea, and that was where they were, but he waited patiently. After what seemed like a million trillion years plus and eternity (that’s a very long time dear friend), Mr. Homo Sapien spoke. “Dolphin what can I do to please you?” His voice was as kind and gentle as the lullabies you hear at night. It almost lulled Dolphin to sleep, almost.

Dolphin stuttered and spluttered and muttered, “Mr. Homo Sapien please help me please do, I’ve lost my way, not to mention my things… oh garfunkles, I’m trying to ask if you could help me. Please help me. Please do.” Mr. Homo Sapien looked at Dolphin who had strong fins, and a smile as big as the sky popped onto his face.

Mr. Homo Sapien said in that lullaby voice, “So you have lost your path?”

Dolphin mustered, clearly flustered, “Oh yes, Mr. Homo Sapien in more ways than one. I woke up this morning with a purpose and now I have none.”

Well, Mr. Homo Sapien volunteered to take Dolphin back home but that was not what Dolphin wanted. He was stubborn yet strong on this matter. He just wouldn’t budge, not even a smudge. He wanted Mr. Homo Sapien to make a change in him, so he would never ever get lost again, dear friend. So, he stuttered and spluttered and muttered once more. “Please Mr. Homo Sapien that’s not what I want. I would like you to help me.”

Mr. Homo Sapien spoke, “Oh I see, you want me to help a porpoise find his purpose.” It was here he stopped talking dear friend and sat down on the skiff, with his legs crossed crisscross applesauce. With a flick of his wrist, Mr. Homo Sapien made the skiff swirl and whirl. And Dolphin swirled and whirled and twirled too. When all the movement stopped, Mr. Homo Sapien spoke, in a voice even more majestic and calming than before, if that is possible dear friend, “I have used some magic on you kind fellow. Hopefully now you won’t loose your path, for I have given you a gift, a gift that I cannot take back. Try it out and you’ll see how easy it is to be Dolphin, one who knows where he’s going.” With some more magic, the skiff disappeared, and so did Mr. Homo Sapien.

Dolphin was more befuddled and muddled and so much more troubled than before, but he set out. He started clicking his tongue to the song, “You don’t know what troubles I’ve seen” He was clicking his tongue to the beat, and in no time at all, dear friend Dolphin found that with the click of his tongue, and the flick of his tail, he could go anywhere. He clicked his tongue and turned in a circle. He could see in tiny winy dots which formed intertwining shining paths. With just thinking about where he wanted to go, whether it was his home, or the swimmiest swishiest school around, he could get there. He swam left, he swam right, and each time he clicked his tongue, and thought as hard as he could about where he wanted to go, a line of dots would appear and he found his way there. He was so enthusiastic, excited, and ecstatic, that he jumped out of the water for joy. He shouted to the stars, he shouted to the sun, he shouted thanks to all who would hear. Then he started off. First he thought hard about his ocean-okey base-ball bat, and clicked his tongue and he saw the dots leading him there. Next he clicked his tongue and thought hard, about his home. The dots this time were stronger and brighter. Dolphin thought that the dots must become stronger with practice. Soon, Dolphin was on his way home.

Dolphin, with the help of others along the way, learned a valuable piece of information dear friend. If you should ever lose your way in life, keep searching and searching, enlist the help of your friends, and soon you’ll find it again.

How the Platypus Got Its Bill by H

A long time ago in the land down under, where the animals all lived, there was a plappy platypus. Now remember it wasn’t the great Balia, or the crunchy Cralia, but the wet, mucky, slimy, sloppy, Australia. And, in this great land called Australia all the animals lived peacefully and playfully together. The platypus lived in the wishy-washy watery stream, where there were tons of animals, large and small. The platypus would eat everything from silt to lizards. But his most favorite food of all was the ‘licious lizard.

The platypus had an enormous, ginormous, gigantous bill. The bill was much larger than a pill and it was used at will, my dear friend. Inside that bill were teeth as sharp and large as the river itself. They could crunch and munch anything. Every animal feared the platypus. But when he wobbled around on his otter feet while his broad flat beaver tail dragged on the ground, the ‘licious lizards would poke their heads out of their hiding places and watch where he would go next.

Now, dear friend, the ‘licious lizards were slower than the platypus, even with his awkward wobble. The lizards’ tails always seemed to leave them behind. Whenever the platypus would chase them he would say, “What are you running from?”

The lizards would reply, “Nothing we are just running from your loverly teeth.”

“You mean me, Prince Platypus?” the platypus said in a dignified voice.

“Yes sir,” the lizards always answered, always shuffling their feet.

“I am better than all of you. You are meek and week and dumb and scum,” platypus yelled for all to hear.

Every time, without fail, platypus bent down and grabbed a lizard by his tail and threw it into the sky. The lizard would come tumbling down like hail, but the platypus would catch him in his mouth by the tail and chew and chew until the lizard was deep within his belly. Then platypus always chuckled, “You aren’t anything anymore. You are worth nothing.” “Does anyone else want a piece of me?” he would growl.

“No sir, Prince Platypus,” the littlest lizard said, scurrying away.

“Well, that’s better,” the platypus said, resting his head on a log.

He didn’t sleep very long, dear friend, because he could smell the lizards a mile away and one was approaching at quite a fast pace. He was instantly alert. There she was the lizard queen, Joanna the Goanna, sitting atop the long log. Her skin was grayish, greenish, blackish, and she had splotches and speckles and freckles. She had magical glands not far from her hands which she could use to squish and shrink any animal around. But the platypus was better than she, and he thought she had no place in the world, dear friend. He thought he could defeat her and he would.

Joanna was the first to speak, “My dear friend, Mr. Prince, Platypus, how are you today?” “I am fine thank you,” he said. Then he whispered under his breath, “You slime breathing snot hag, you are worth nothing.”

“What was that you said Prince Platypus?” Joanna said calmly.

“Nothing,” he growled, suddenly furious.

“Now Prince Platypus, the reason I have come to you today is because you are killing all of my friends, all of my kingdom with your enormous, ginormous, gigantic, sharp, pointy, chewy teeth,” she said firmly.

“My dear Joanna your people are worth nothing; why would you mind me killing them?” Prince Platypus said, gently turning his head and wobbling closer to Joanna so he could surreptitiously grab her tail and chomp on it.

“First of all, Prince Platypus, no one is worth nothing, everyone is a someone; everyone has a place in the world, even you,” she said twisting her hands.

“Sure, sure,” he said inching closer.

“Prince Platypus what do you think your place in the world is?” she said inching back a step still moving her hands, which remember dear friend, weren’t far from her magical glands.

“My place is to eat all the animals,” the platypus said. “No, your place is to have friends,” she said moving her hands faster now.

“Yeah,” the platypus said sarcastically. As he was saying this, Joanna the Goanna bounced and pounced on the Platypus. Her hands grabbed his bill, instantly shrinking it two sizes smaller. She then opened his small bill and cranked and yanked his teeth out.

“Now Prince Platypus you are never going to eat my people ever again. You are sentenced to eating krill only as big as a pill,” she said.

As the days progressed, the platypus drank and ate, but nothing more. He had never felt this before; it seemed that everything that he knew was falling through. He was all alone and quite embarrassed about his shortened stubby bill that couldn’t hold anything but krill. Every once in a while platypus would run his tongue around his mouth but he no longer felt teeth. Instead, it was smoother than some of the rocks that had been at the bottom of the river for centuries.

Finally, after two weeks of waiting and eating hardly a drop of food, he stepped out of his tangly, camouflaged home on the side of the riverbank. The animals were all together in a group outside of his house and instead of running from him when he hobbled out, they slopped and flopped in the mud and played and played all day. “You know, you aren’t so bad after all,” the lizards said.

“Yeah, I think I like the new me,” platypus said smiling. They slapped him on the back, gave him high fives, and smiled back. He was no longer Prince Platypus; he was Playful Platypus, a kind animal. He learned not to be a mean lean fighting machine, but to love like a dove.

So the Platypus learned his lesson that day. Everyone has a place in the world; his wasn’t eating everyone.

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