It’s been “spring” for about a month here in NZ. While spring here is not nearly as dramatic or exciting as it is in North America, there are still a few signs of the season change which do confirm that spring is in fact amongst us.
I think I may have mentioned before that there are ducks that wander around my school grounds. They come into the cloak bay sometimes to scavenge for food scraps, and from time to time even get into the classroom. The arrival of spring also means that there are baby ducklings scampering, or shall I say waddling, about. So adorable and fluffy they are! And pretty gutsy, as they are not at all afraid of humans. They try to steal bites from kids’ lunches, and wander in and out of feet while kids play. The children are really excited about and protective of the baby ducklings, but are usually pretty good at knowing how to treat them, as I have been told that the arrival of the ducklings is an annual occurrence.
Sadly, one of these young ducklings died a tragic death on our last day of school, when one of the ducklings was accidently stepped on by a large senior child. Smelling the small amount of blood produced by the injury, the other ducklings came over and began pecking out the inner organs of their fellow sibling. It was quite a sad and disturbing sight. Our lead environmental teacher made the call to “put the bird to sleep” by putting it in the freezer. I didn’t know if this was the best thing to do, but it would certainly be less messy than ending its suffering in a more violent way. The kids who witnessed the incident (nearly my whole class) were a bit traumatized, and the boy who stepped on it (who wasn’t in my class) was pretty upset about it, but I think the whole incident was really inevitable, considering how freely the mama duck lets her ducklings wander in and amongst the children. Careless mama duck.
The baby sheep are back on One Tree Hill! I look forward to this time of visiting the baby sheep every year.
When they’re still pretty fresh, they almost have the look and energy of rabbits, scampering and bouncing over the green hillsides. The toddler sheep are a bit more subdued.
But they’re all pretty cute… well, maybe not the old, shaggy ones.
Apparently ear biting is a bit of a popular activity this year. Many of the baby sheep we saw had large chunks missing out of one ear… slightly concerning.
As we walked through Cornwall Park, the large domain where One Tree Hill is located, signs of spring were everywhere. Though NZ does not really lose its “green” feel in the winter, fresh shades of green from newly emerged leaves created a lovely canopy of foliage to walk under.
The third term of the school year wrapped up this past Friday, unleashing another two week break for students and teachers- hooray! We finished off the term with a “3/4 party,” to celebrate being 3/4 done the school year, of course.
The theme tied in well with our current mathematics unit of fractions, and it was a fun and meaningful learning experience to have students encounter fractions through the medium of food.
Now that Spring Break is upon us, we head off tomorrow on a week-long adventure to the South Island. We look forward to exploring some new territory, and taking in some new sights and experiences in some of NZ’s Southernmost regions.