Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Horse Expert for the Day

My daughter asked me to be a "horse expert" for the day and let her first grade students interview me about horses through a video conference.  The lesson was regarding who, what, where, how, why, when questions, and my job was to answer most of them appropriately, but throw in a couple of incorrect answers and see if the kids catch the incongruity between the question that was asked and my answer.  So, if they asked a "when" question, I might answer with a "where" response.

I decided to do the video conference from the barn so that the kids could see the horses behind me.  I cleaned up all the manure and groomed them a little bit beforehand only to turn around to find Gabbrielle pooping right when I planned to do the interview, and rubbing rust stains all over her white fur.  That horse undoes everything I do so fast.  All that work I did to shore up the barn in preparation for flooding during storms has already been dug up by Gabbrielle, and Gabbrielle only.  She just seems hell-bent on doing the opposite of what I do.  She's like a rebellious teenager.

Anyway, I cleaned up the manure again, and set up a chair in a stall that Lostine was standing in, then closed the gate so that none of the other horses could come in.  The other three are really bad about trying to climb into my lap when I'm sitting in a chair.  Lostine and Rock did a good job standing still behind me so that the kids could see them in the background.  Gabbrielle was the first to start causing problems by banging the metal latch around on the gate, demanding that I let her in.  When I ignored her, she ran around into the stall next to us and tried poking the tablet over the railing with her nose.  She could hear the kids' voices and wanted so bad to be involved in the discussion.

I got up to show the kids some hay, because they asked what horses eat, and on the way back into the barn, Gabbrielle was hanging all over me.  I decided to just stand with her head over my shoulder so that she could ham it up.  She got a really good reaction out of the kids.  They were all saying, "Awwwwww!"

Gabbrielle's ears were as far forward as they could go, so she looked pretty cute.  I also used her to show an example of how horses are trained.  I was talking about the pressure and release method, by saying that you ask the horse to do something and stop asking once it gives the right answer.  Right then Gabbrielle was pestering me by rubbing her muzzle on my arm and working her way down to eat the tablet, so I said, "Back!  Back!  Back!" while waving my hand at her chest, and as soon as she took a few good steps backwards I stopped and showed that I rewarded her by letting her rest, which also told her she gave the right response.

I don't think the kids could see much, because I had to hold the tablet while I was doing that, but they got the idea.  I probably should have set up a little table in the barn and set the tablet on it so they could see a wider view.  This turned out more like those funny videos of BatDad where his eyes are always in the corner of the screen while the action is happening in the background.  I just tried to get my smile in frame so that the kids would know I'm friendly.

They had come up with the questions in advance, and the kids came up to the computer one at a time to read a question off the board.  It was good practice for them in both reading and speaking, because they had to speak clearly and loudly for me to hear.  They had one unplanned question in the end, which was, "What are those things on the horse's faces?"

So, I got to talk about fly masks and eye infections.  I considered taking the fly masks off the horses for the video conference, but then I thought the kids might find the masks to be entertaining, like the horses are going to a costume party.

My first incongruent answer was too subtle, so they didn't catch it.  So, I tried the same technique a second time, but in a more obvious way, and they did catch it that time.  I was going to mess up a third question in a different way, but before I could catch myself I had given the correct answer.  Oh well.  It was a fun exercise.  I felt like I was on the "What's My Line" game show, trying to trick everyone with my answers.  If Gabbrielle could speak, I'm sure she would have taken over the entire interview.  She's such a ham-horse.


ellie k said...

What a great idea for the kids and also fun for them. Your daughter is a great teacher to let them learn while having fun and not knowing it was a lesson too. I think you might have enjoyed it too.

Optimistic Existentialist said...

This post made me smile :)

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

ellie - Yes, I enjoyed it. I filled out an application and got fingerprinted to volunteer in the schools in January, but our school district puts volunteers way down on their priority list so they never completed my background check. I find it rather disgraceful, because the teachers are in desperate need of help, but the district doesn't make an effort to get it for them even when it's free. In addition to being one of the school districts with the lowest pay in a state that already had one of the lowest average teacher salaries, it's no wonder why they have such a low teacher retention rate.

Optimistic - I'm glad.

Linda said...

The wonders of technology! That was an excellent idea and sounds like a lot of fun for you, too. I wish they'd had things like that when I was growing up, I would have loved to have seen you with the horses!

Crystal said...

Oh that sounds like it was a lot of fun!

I agree with them being slow, they are here too takes forever and a pile of stuff to be done before they will accept any help meanwhile complaining of being overworked.

ellie k said...

I worked in school food service for 25 years and really enjoyed the kids but the system could be improved. We do have what is called The great American teach in and people from all walks of life and go to different class rooms and talk and answer questions about there line of work. We have had the zoo bring a small animal, farmers bring tractors, office people talk about there work and firemen and police come. Even firetrucks and police dogs get to come to school. This is a big day twice a year and the food service feeds them so I usually go to meet the ones that deccided to stay. Usually these people bring a small token of there work for the students. they might get an orange, free fries from a fast food or trading cards from the zoo, fire men or just some sort of little gift.