Walking with Lesson Stones

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Along our walks, Silke and I have painted several stones with animals, gnomes, etc. The children know them very well. At each one, we stop and have a simple lesson. There is the rhyming pig, which helps us with phonics and sounds, the wise buffalo, who gives us a thought for the day. There is gnome plus (ever happy) and gnome minus (always sad), who ask us to count children, clouds, fingers or whatever might be at hand. There is the silly bird, the "eye spy", the question queen, the owl (who can answer any question), and more.

These visitors can help a struggling child make the long walk, creating natural stopping points along the way and giving motivation to walk "just a little further till we reach tortoise, who can tell us something." It also adds structure and lessons to our walks, so that the children hardly even know they are learning something. To them, it's just something fun they look forward to. And if Silke or I walk past without taking notice, the children will shout forcefully to remind us, "you missed gnome A!", the snake, or whatever it happened to be.

See photos for more detail. These are only about half of our gnomes. Someday I can post more. They change throughout the year. The children can even participate in making them.

This is the rhyming pig - dancing a jig with a yellow wig next to a twig with a big fig. He has blue shoes with golden toes and has a beautiful red rose. Whenever we visit, we rhyme children's names, or something we happened to see or do. The pig, and all our visitors, also help the children with memory tasks, as we will often ask the children if they can remember all the rhymes, or what we rhymed that morning, or the day before.

This is the rhyming pig - dancing a jig with a yellow wig next to a twig with a big fig. He has blue shoes with golden toes and has a beautiful red rose. Whenever we visit, we rhyme children's names, or something we happened to see or do. The pig, and all our visitors, also help the children with memory tasks, as we will often ask the children if they can remember all the rhymes, or what we rhymed that morning, or the day before.

The wise buffalo says, "Four hoofs on the ground, two horns in the air - this makes for a good life." He tells us about paying attention, about listening to our friends and classmates, or just the weather. Sometimes, we ask the children to speak for buffalo and share some of their own wisdom. Super fun.

The wise buffalo says, "Four hoofs on the ground, two horns in the air - this makes for a good life." He tells us about paying attention, about listening to our friends and classmates, or just the weather. Sometimes, we ask the children to speak for buffalo and share some of their own wisdom. Super fun.

Gnome minus. His brother, gnome plus, is red. Every time we stop, we do counting or subtraction games.

Gnome minus. His brother, gnome plus, is red. Every time we stop, we do counting or subtraction games.

So sad :(

So sad :(

The owl answers any question, like why the sky is blue, why people need to breath, or "do we HAVE to sing?" Silke answers like a magician. Joe is a bit more technical. But the proper answer is not exactly the point. The point is to ask.  The owl got a visit from jumping jack a month ago, who often invites us to stop and hop over the rope, run through, or jump for bubble gum. The rope can be used for a variety of hopping tasks - one foot, two feet, running with a friend.

The owl answers any question, like why the sky is blue, why people need to breath, or "do we HAVE to sing?" Silke answers like a magician. Joe is a bit more technical. But the proper answer is not exactly the point. The point is to ask.

The owl got a visit from jumping jack a month ago, who often invites us to stop and hop over the rope, run through, or jump for bubble gum. The rope can be used for a variety of hopping tasks - one foot, two feet, running with a friend.

Tortoise. So stoic, yet stable. He teaches us patience, persistence, and reminds us that carrying our packs allows us to be quite comfortable wherever we happen roam.

Tortoise. So stoic, yet stable. He teaches us patience, persistence, and reminds us that carrying our packs allows us to be quite comfortable wherever we happen roam.