ECO SCHOOLS SERVICE – Trash Pickup

On the 3rd of March, the eco schools group went out to collect trash in the nearby area of school. It was an event we had planned for a while prior as a course of action to help promote sustainability and aid the local community. We all put on yellow vests to show that we were part of school, and divided ourselves into two separate groups that walked along two different paths to pick up trash. We primarily found plastic and similar waste, but among the waste were some batteries and glass which we did not know what to do with. After a while, the entire eco schools group walked along the same path and we managed to effectivise how much trash we could pick up.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Working Collaboratively with others – We worked together as a service group and divided ourselves into groups where we picked up different types of waste
  • Initiative and Planning – We planned out and organised where the trash goes, so that we could sort the waste effectively into different bags. Great Success

Giving to the Community

Service – Giving to the community

With the recent start of services at OSC, I have felt much more engaged with tasks that serve a greater purpose. This includes Eco Schools, a service offered at OSC that focuses on achieving various goals such as decreased pollution, more biodiversity and reduced impact of climate change. In the most recent session of service, we decided to recycle paper that was placed in the various classrooms around the school. This was a joint effort with the recycling and sustainability service, where we headed into different classrooms around the campus to collect their recycling paper. It was successful, and we managed to dispose of the paper in a sustainable way.

The learning outcome achieved through this was global engagement. Through this activity, we learned how to make more responsible decisions that contributed to the overall welfare of earth. It proved to me that achievements that aid the earth are not only made individually, but as a collective as well.

Morning Workouts

Recently, I have been focusing more on the “Action” aspects of CAS. This I mainly do through exercise every day. It is important to exercise, as your muscles will shrink and become less effective if they are not exposed to any challenge or tension frequently. Muscles contraction is a result of neurological signals between the brain and the muscles. Your muscles adapt to tasks that you complete daily, and so your muscle tissues are not exposed to any tension when they are completing trivial tasks. Due to this, I think it is vital to expose my muscles to work every morning in order to prevent them from shrinking. I try my best to complete pushups, situps, jumping jacks and squats each morning. I record my heart rate after working out, in order to determine the intensity of the workout. I believe this repeated daily exercise in the morning is under the CAS learning outcome “showing perseverance and commitment.”¬† If you have a healthy routine every morning that you stick to, it is unlikely that you will deviate from said routine. Not deviating from this fixed routine grows your commitment to the task, and since you are more committed to a healthy task it is less likely that you will forget it. Through this, you show commitment by repeating the exercise regimen despite potential setbacks, meaning your commitment to the task will help you stay focused and make everyday consistent.

A Melodic Afternoon

A Melodic Afternoon

My classical guitar

Recently, I have been investing more time in improving my guitar skills after coming home from school. It is a nice pastime to invest time in, as it stimulates my creativity as well as my

dexterity. It is also a great method of “learning by doing” as I am physically exploring the sounds the instrument

makes, and get my ears better adjusted to differentiating between various pitches.

Usually, when wanting to pursue a new song, I find a song I like and that would be interesting to play in front of others. After I have decided the song I want to learn, I find the tabs for the song and attempt to learn it. In recent times, my interest in working with old acoustic songs has increased. I feel that they’re fun to play as they offer more interesting guitar techniques and different things to gain from knowing guitar. While playing, I experience that it requires hard work and dedication to fully master a song. While guitar may seem like a simple instrument on a surface level, there is a lot going on that is not apparent at a surface level.

Guitar playing and the pursuit of an instrument fits under the “Creativity ” aspect of CAS and is under the learning outcome challenge and skills. By committing yourself to a hobby, you are challenging yourself while gaining new skills that interest you. It is rewarding when you overcome challenges, especially while doing something you enjoy. A hobby like music increases the amount of challenges you are exposing yourself to, since there is a lot of theory to learn and difficult techniques. However, when you have overcome these challenges, you gain new skills as a result and trigger rewards systems in your brain. This sense of accomplishment fills you with drive and purpose to keep focusing on the hobby and be more productive. For instance, when I am learning a new song on guitar, it can be frustrating when I cannot get the sound quite right. However, once I finally play it the proper way and break the song into simpler steps, I feel much more accomplished and motivated.

 

My Experience with WEEK WITHOUT WALLS

I grew as a person on this trip by exposing myself to new foods and attempting to eat with my hands. I tried eating pol sambol, various curries and combining different curries with other foods. This contributed to me being more open-minded as I learn to step out of my comfort zone in regards to food. The joining of an egg hopper with dhal curry was considered unconventional, but I found this “bold” move to be successful.

Day 1 of WWW – Kahandamodara

After a long trip on the bus, we had arrived inKahandamodara as our first resting place. Everyone got together to organise rooms and where we were going to sleep. I stayed in a room with Luke and Harry from MYP5, and the installation went successfully. We had to eat lunch immediately after arrival, and I explored with new ways to enjoy food. I was taught how to eat with my hand, and how eating with your hand improves the taste of the food. After lunch, we hung out near the rive

r. Peter was photographing the wildlife he observed. Time passed, and we went out to explore the nearby beach. At the beach, we played games together and waded through the waves. Then, we went back for dinner. The dinner served was a selection of Sri Lankan food. I especially enjoyed the pol sambol. The darkness came on, and we decided to go out for a evening walk as the sky turned dark. We saw small geckos in the wild, and a spider that we tried to photograph. Mr. Lockwood asked us to switch all our flashlights off and enjoy the night sky with stars. It was incredibly beautiful to observe all the constellations in the sky.

 

Day 2 of WWW – Situlpawa and Bundala

On this day, we got up early as we were travelling to Situlpawa. After a long bus ride to Situlpawa, we noticed several stupas in our field of view. We travelled from the base of a hil

l to the top of it, which had a stupa. We had to take off our shoes near the stupa to pay our respects. We hiked down the hill back to th

e base, and we learned about the architecture and the history of the area as well as their relationship to kings in Sri Lank

a. We went to Bundala national park, and appreciated the biodiversity of the area. I especially took note of a colourful bird, whose name was (name.) I got several photos on the trip to Bundala.

 

Day 3 of WWW РRainforest Ecolodge in Sinharaja 

We woke up early on Day 3 in order to travel to Sinharaja, at the Rainforest Ecolodge that was present there. The site we arrived at was beautiful, with greenery everywhere and a beautiful view. We ate lunch immediately when we arrived, and I kept enjoying the Sri Lankan food that was served there. The rooming groups were kept the same as the rooms we had at Kahandamodara. After a while, we decided to venture out into the forest that was near our rooms. We walked down a narrow pathway, with trees, plants and animals at every corner. Towards the end of the journey in the forest we got to an area filled with fishes that would massage you. I tried sticking my hands in the pond with the fishes, and it was a strange, tickling sensation when they were nibbling on my hand. We went back to the ecolodge afterwards, and enjoyed some time to unwind. We went out on a night walk to photograph frogs. I got a few pictures of various frogs and plants in the area. Then, we went back to the lodge to have dinner. After dinner, we headed straight to bed and got a good night’s rest.

 

Day 4 of WWW – Into the Forest

On this day, we had an opportunity to sleep in and wake up later than usual. It was nice to hang out in the lodge and drink tea with everyone in the morning.

DP1 Orientation & Science Trip to Kithulgala

After a long night of rest and waking up with the sun (or in this case, the clouds), two separate buses embarked on their journey towards Kitulgala. The road-trip proved worthwhile, as we got to a beautiful location fairly high in the mountains. The instructors were informative and well-versed in the process, and helped guide as safely during the rafting trip.

Upon sitting down in the raft, there was a sense of unity among the group. We navigated the raft in the direction of the beach as a group, on our way to the informed instructors who were going to go through the steps we had to complete to ensure our safety.

As an exercise, the instructors made us slowly go into the freezing water, it almost felt like I would die from hypothermia upon my descent into the water. The instructors made everyone hold hands and create a large circular chain. Our bodies eventually adjusted to the freezing water, making it much more comfortable.

The instructors informed us on all the preliminary information needed to embark on our rafting journey. They told us about different words and phrases they would say. All of them meant different things, for instance “paddle faster” meant we had to speed up our paddling, “stop” meant we had to lay the paddle on our thighs and firmly hold the paddle in our hands. Bearing all these instructions in mind, we embarked on our rafting journey with the group. The currents were strong, and we were dragged along by them as we progressed in the raft.

Despite this, it was a memorable and enjoyable experience. I feel that what I gained from the experience was the importance of team-building and bonding with classmates. There was a strong sense of unity and cooperation while paddling against the tides. This sense of unity contributes to a feeling of group and a a sense of self within the group.

After the rafting, we ventured further into the jungle into an area with many small rivers and cliffs. This was were we did the canyoning activity, which involves leaping from great heights into the water. The very first jump we had to complete was a small one, but since it has been a while since I last participated in canyoning, the jumpy feeling of a new experience was still present. After mustering up the needed courage, I jumped into the small pool of water in front of me. It felt refreshing once my body was in the water. It felt like a meaningful moment because not only was it a literal leap into unknown waters, it was also somewhat of a metaphorical one. I gapped the bridge between the nervousness and excitement, and managed to go past my comfort zone in order to experience something new.

The final thing we did on the orientation day was let our bodies float with the currents till we reached our huts. We had been out of the water for a while, so it was freezing when we entered it again. Once again, there was a strong emphasis on building teams and increasing the sense of group harmony. I was selected as the leader, so I decided that the entire group needed to stay within proximity of each other. When we were floating, we were taking in the beautiful scenery that surrounded us. It was in the afternoon and I could see the sun above the horizon, with vegetation and plants crowing the entire area. It was an incredible sight, and taught me about how it is important to sometimes slow down and gauge the beauty of what surrounds you rather than rush through everything life throws at you like it’s a challenge.

Through this activity, I felt that I focused on the learning outcomes of increasing my skills by experiencing new challenges through rafting and canyoning. Additionally, working collaboratively with others was essential during the process of this trip. The entire group relied on each other during the rafting as well as when we floated on the river to the huts. Developing these skills is helpful because in the future, it will be essential that you can come to terms with the group and know how to increase efficiency by collaborating.

The group together! Rainforest hike day for Bio & ES&S (photo courtesy the cool ES&S teacher)

 

CAS Goals – DP1

For my Creativity goal, I aim to practice playing the guitar and increase my skills with instruments. I feel this is important to do because having skills within an instrument can increase your dexterity as well as creative skills. In addition, when you perform and demonstrate your skills to others it contributes significantly to your confidence. Another aspect I enjoy about music is that it is an activity that you can do alongside others, by playing together. This can help with learning how to work collaboratively with others and helps you increase your skills by challenging you in the sense that two musicians playing together have to keep a consistent and similar rhythm.

For my Activity goal, I wish to improve my health and physical condition through spending more time in the sun as well as walking/going on jogs more frequently. By participating in physical activity more often, I can contribute to the learning goal of physically challenging myself and gaining new skills. A healthy body that dedicates time to physically exercising and completing mindfulness activities after contributes to an increase peace of mind. Once stress has been drained out of the mind, it is much easier to tackle the challenges presented by life.

For my Service goal, I am joining eco schools to contribute to the local community. I feel that awareness in regards to the environment is fundamental in today’s world, and that it is definitely a global issue. Its impact is felt all over the world, and we are all indirectly contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. With the relevant knowledge and effort, the burdens of this issue will become less intense. I think participating in a service will satisfy the learning outcome of global engagement as well as working collaboratively. Developing both these skills is essential in a world under constant change.