Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Co-presenting with a primitive skills instructor

I knew today was going to be fun, because I was going to present — for the first time — with my friend Matt Shull. Matt's not just my friend, he's my teacher, too. I've taken his primitive skills classes, and so I invited him to bring his handcrafted wares with him to two schools, and I'd see if I could work him in.

Well, it went way beyond that. Truth is, Matt stole the show.

Matt, getting ready at IPS 87.
He's got his bow, and he's got his didgeridoo. Me, what do I have? A computer and a slideshow on climate change.

Matt's gonna talk about how animals walk, how to track them, and how to throw a boomerang.

I'm going to talk about recycling.

Who YOU gonna love more?

Seriously, the kids at IPS 87 were great. Fourth graders on up to eighth graders, they were kind and polite and attentive and smart as could be.

Matt with his didgeridoo.
Check out this kid below, hopping like a kangaroo! Matt talks about the Australian aboriginals in his presentations, and animals are always a matter for discussion.

As we were leaving a couple kids came up to Matt and told him he looked like Thor.

As we made our way to our next stop, Gambold High School, we schemed a bit and decided to not do our presentations back to back, but to mix them up a bit. After all, there is an overlap in our respective missions.

What unites our presentations is our belief in the need for caretaking and stewardship, as well as a love for nature.

At Gambold we presented to over a dozen freshmen. I'm telling you, this room was off the chart when it comes to IQ. The students were brilliant.

Some of the materials Matt brings to presentations.

We passed the presentation back and forth like a talking stick. Matt drew diagrams on the whiteboard. I showed fancy animations of albedo effect and Arctic melt. Matt mimed the tossing of a boomerang. I talked about the need for kids to step up, have their voices heard.

And the Gambold kids challenged us — challenged us about facts, questioned us about sources, drew surprising conclusions that showed their remarkable minds are always at work.

I'm already looking for the next opportunity to collaborate with this remarkable teacher.