Thursday, May 19, 2016

Timberwolf Trail - Week 35 - 2015-16 Edition

Seventy degrees and forest kindergarten is a beautiful combination. While the summer-like attire did require extra tick checking, I don't think the students minded all too much. It was wonderful to soak up the rays and experience nature in a more personal way.

Before we focused on the day's lesson on roots, we were compelled to enjoy some butterfly fun including our butterfly body parts song, our life cycle actions, and the grand finale, the release of our painted lady butterflies. With our research showing they only had a two-week lifespan, the class didn't want them to waste any of their time inside when they could flutter and frolic amongst the flowers. Giving each butterfly a name, the one we named Gary Jr. stuck around a little longer, providing all that wanted a chance to see and hold a beautiful butterfly.

The time for fun was over. It was time to work! We read a non-fiction book on roots and had a healthy discussion about invasive species and weeds and how we need to remove them by the roots so they can stop "stealing" the soil, sun, space, water, and air that all our native plants need to survive.

We went to our school garden on a mission: a dandelion destruction mission. After learning some safety tools about some new tools, we went to work and took out dozens of dandelion plants. In the adventure, we found worms, snails, a coin, some worms, a broken robin's egg, and some more worms. After finishing up this service opportunity, we relaxed in the shade with the book The Enormous Carrot, by Vladimir Vagin. We enjoyed the silly story and even made predictions about what might grow that enormous in our own garden.

After a snack and some natural play, we met up at our oak tree classroom to connect our poetry writing lessons to nature as each child worked on their own nature poem. Watching them use their creativity and dig right into their own poems was amazing to see!

In the afternoon, we worked on some favorites like stick champion, and garden yoga while trying out a new prediction activity (which also focused on teamwork and following directions). Using various sticks, we made predictions and created a long chain to see how many times we would have to connect sticks to get through a designated portion of the trail.

We ended the day with some more natural play. Lately,play time has been a throwback to more classic games like Hide and Seek and Duck, Duck, Goose.

Then, my class transformed to teachers as we taught a fellow class of kindergartners about roots and how to remove them. Dandelion Destruction Party round 2! While both classes were working hard at removing dandelions, my colleague turned to me and said, "Wow!They got right to work and they are so happy!"

I can't think of of a better way to promote forest kindergarten than that.

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