Closeup image of baby owl

Posted: October 30, 2017

HOPE/JOY: Whoooo can it be?

Ms. Ziesmer’s 1st graders reading StellalunaAt a recent board meeting, Director Julie Rotz commented on how the high level of intention with which teachers plan lessons to engage students in learning. And then she mentioned how flexible teachers are to take advantage of serendipity–those unplanned but rich-with-learning moments that occur outside of the lesson plan.

The example she described brought us to Helen Baller to learn more. It seems that one recent morning, Ms. Amanda Ziesemer’s first graders were digging into their day when a Baller parent motioned through the window that there was something very interesting right outside the classroom. Being the natural investigators that first graders are, they walked with their teacher to a large interior window where, just outside, they saw…an owl! They were so very excited – and were careful not to disturb the owl through the glass.

The Audubon Society was called and sent a volunteer to come check on the owl. In the meantime, Ms. Ziesemer’s class discussed the many reasons why an owl might be sitting outside in broad daylight. They had been reading Stellaluna, and some students knew that the owl was nocturnal. Ms. Ziesemer describes the rest of the discussion and what happened next here:

“Students suggested that it might be injured, maybe it flew into the window, and even a much deeper topic, loss of habitat/home. We talked about the fire from the beginning of the school year and the impact humans have on the environment/animal habitats. It was awesome! A volunteer from The Audubon Society came and checked the owl overstating that she didn’t see any visible injuries. She took the owl to get checked out and if everything clears, they will release it back into the wild. Such a COOL DAY!”

Hope and joy often come in unexpected, unplanned moments. Great appreciation to Ms. Ziesemer and each of you who see the moments and make room for them as they arise.