Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Timberwolf Trail - Week 10 - 2015-16 Edition

What a difference a week makes! From 45 degrees and drizzly to 70 degrees and sunny. . .in November. The forest kindergartners took advantage of what might be the most pleasant day out and about until springtime. Today, the students became teachers and we had an amazing time.

Given a mission, students broke into two groups. The first group found their sit spot and added to their nature journals. The second went on a nature hunt for five specific things before we switched groups.

Children were shown five pictures of items of nature before given the opportunity to go search for them. The items were moss, fungi, birds, squirrel/chipmunks, and insects. At the end, we did some brainstorming to figure out what all these items needed to thrive: trees.

They were also given tools to help them on their quest. They had long paper rolls used as telescopes, hand lenses for up close observation, and bug catching boxes for any creatures they caught on their journey.

Along the way, hints were provided to help the students, though it was evident they really didn't need too much support, They were natural outdoor investigators. We chatted about looking up into the trees, digging through the leaves, and picking up fallen sticks and logs to see what they noticed.

Both groups found all five things and so much more. Woolly bear caterpillars. Worms. Spiders. Seed pods. Fuzzy plants (possibly Lamb's Ear). A birds nest. Even a black cat. It probably was a local farm cat, but it certainly spooked my kids, especially this close to Halloween.

Spider time

Close investigation of a rotten log
Students were greatly interested in many things they hadn't really noticed before. When a child picked a pretty rotten log, it split right down the middle, exposing a colony of ants and other critters.

Checking out some missing bark
Children noticed some trees where the bark was rubbed off. They had some interesting ideas as to how that happened. We had guesses of angry birds, bears, deer, and my personal favorite, teenagers.

Lamb's ear?

While the morning lesson and investigation was wonderful, the rest of our time was probably the most worthwhile. As budding nature experts and forest kindergarten regulars, they had the responsibility of leading the other classes through the nature search they had just completed. I couldn't be more proud of their hard work. Seeing the smiles of all our other kindergarten friends was a very exciting and proud moment as I have hoped forest kindergarten would help instill a joy and fondness for the outdoors for my students.

Bird nest

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