Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Timberwolf Trail - Week 7 - 2017-18 Edition

We took advantage of some beautiful fall weather and enjoyed a variety of outdoor activities today. To review our recent work with ecosystems, we created a new chant. Next time you see me, make sure I share the following with you as we practice it a few times, increasing the volume as we go:

we all are connected
we all live together
we all need each other

Of course, after blasting out a few loud rounds of our newest chant, we took the noise down a few notches and practiced silent steps in nature with our book. The Listening Walk. Essentially, it was focused on noticing and taking in all the sounds around you by hiking without talking.

We hiked around our trail, stopping at various places to jot down some sounds we heard and sketching a quick picture. With our phonics focus being the identification of beginning and ending sounds, this was a natural fit.

With a new subdivision just tot he west of our outdoor classroom, I was worried the only things my class would hear was the beeping and thunder of the heavy machinery, but it was a calm day and the construction vehicles were nowhere to be seen (or heard).

Instead, my class had a long list of sounds they heard while they walked, mostly in silence. From crunching leaves to whispering wind, honking geese, to laughing children, and footprints to airplanes, they noticed quite a bit of sound.

Then, to continue our work with collections, we collected various natural items for a special art project. We collected twigs, leaves, and goldenrod fluff.

Then we took them inside and turned our twigs into bare trees. We ripped our leaves into shreds and added them to our trees, We then took the fluff and created wildflowers.

After some hard work (and a bit of a mess), the class had fall scenes created from natural materials.

Later on, it was back outside to continue to add to another collection: our leaf pile. Only a few more days until our fall celebration where a certain teacher may be covered in leaves.

Of course, a day of hard work in nature could only end with some natural play. We checked out

the fallen tree,

the gravel pile,

and the rock pile. All this work and play was exhausting!

We did muster up enough energy to check for bugs before heading in. The natural fun continues as we kick off our collaboration with the Retzer Nature Center tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Timberwolf Trail - Week 6 - 2017-18 Edition

Our first rainy nature kindergarten day was successfully wet. After spending some extra time inside preparing our lockers for the upcoming influx of fall and winter gear, we read The Busy Tree by Jennifer Ward before heading out.

Though today was a tree review day, we couldn't help but enjoy a few puddles along the way to the trail Once on the trail, we trekked while reviewing our unit on trees,including tree parts, the tree life cycle, identifying different trees, and the forest ecosystem. Having already discovering the importance of trees for the wildlife in the area, today we zoomed in on the prevalence of trees in our own lives.

High fiving trees

We started off looking at how we needed trees to do our work as students. Besides having a school built of lots of wood, we use pencils and paper everyday in our classroom. To thank the trees, we gave them a high five.

We then walked to the oak tree classroom area and learned about how we need trees to live. Besides using them for shelter and having them support the plants and wildlife we use as food, we talked about oxygen and carbon dioxide. We thanked out trees by talking to them.

We made a third stop in the hidden forest to talk about how as a nature kindergarten class, we needed the trees to play. In fact, we expressed our LOVE for the ability to play with our trees by giving them a  big tree hug.

Of course, besides a good tree squeeze, we celebrated out love of trees by playing on them.

Playing until our boots fall off

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Tyke Hike #44 - Pike Lake

Mother Nature has really played hard ball with the 2017 Tyke Hike schedule. whether it be oppressive heat or severe thunderstorms, it feels like every hike this year has been held under questionable weather. Today was no different. While the clouds persisted throughout the day the rain held off until the start of the hike. Under the cover of Pike Lake's beautiful forest, eleven hikers avoided a good soaking (for the most part) on our way to the tower.

With some experienced tyke hikers and a couple of new friends, the kids certainly led the way, racing through the serpentine trail to the top of Powder Hill

Even without the peak in fall colors a few weeks away, the sights from the top of the observation tower were stunning. The rain seemed to hold off while we enjoyed the views as well.

On our way back, the rain picked up. The sound from underneath the canopy was soothing, but the pelting drops when the cover was sparse was forgettable. Despite the rain, we stopped to play at one of our favorite trees and posed for a "wet and miserable " photo before showing our true feeling after a wonderful, albeit wet, walk in the woods.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Timberwolf Trail - Week 5 - 2017-18 Edition

This year, we will be working as Forest Friends Pen Pals with a kindergarten class in Vermont. Though we just sent our first set of letters, we decided to send more. Working through our first video project of the year, we chose to share this video with our new pen pals. Our video focused on the life cycle of  a tree. Students found examples in our outdoor classroom. Students brainstormed sentences. Students posed for pictures. Students choreographed the life cycle stages.

Some students showed off seeds.

Others found saplings.

Some students located adult trees.

Others found old age trees.

Some found decomposing trees.

Others found the soil from these decomposing trees. Then, after finding real life  examples, we choreographed and recorded our life cycle of a tree actions.



Adult trees

Old age trees



After finishing up our video, we focused on a new topic: ecosystems. Using nature-themed sentences, that built off each other and pictures detailed in those sentences, we linked together as we read the sentences. We discussed how everything in nature is connected and needs to be protected and respected.

We ventured over to a part of our outdoor classroom we haven't spent too much time in: the natural play area.

While some built and some balanced, others explored off trail, hiding among the goldenrod. I have a feeling this will quickly become a class favorite.

This week, we also started our Collections in Nature unit. We decided to start a class collection of leaves by making the world's largest leaf pile. After two days of finding, collecting, and piling up the leaves, a nice pile is developing. However, with many more October days ahead, this collection will certainly grow.