Lesson planning isn't always on the top of my favorite things to do, but when it comes to finding connections with nature, it is very enjoyable. Today, I worked with my kids to "connect the dots" about our indoor and outdoor classrooms.
Work time leads to play time, so to freshen up our minds and bodies, the kids exerted some energy in the forest. Then, w e took a tree trek, reviewing parts of a tree and the life cycle of trees along the way. With many ore leaves blanketing the ground today, we stopped for am impromptu lesson abut how we can use physical characteristics of trees to figure out their type. More specifically, we looked at two different types of oak trees and the subtle differences in their leaves.
We also stopped to locate deciduous "dropping" trees and coniferous "staying" ones before I pointed out a few trees with some interesting characteristics the kids called tree holes. It wasn't until we returned to the oak tree classroom before we discussed the concepts of trees as habitats and identifies the holes as cavities.
Then, to really "connect the dots," we read Wendy Pfeffer's A Log's Life. This story was a beautiful way to connect the life cycle of an oak tree with the fact that trees (especially decomposing and fallen ones) can serve as homes for a variety of wildlife.
|Off Trail Excursion|
But reading isn't the only way we could "connect the dots." We also searched for some examples and evidence of trees used by animals and trees at different stages of life.
Once we had time to investigate in our forest and share our observations, we needed to play. Some ventured off to do some independent activities while others teamed up. After a=some time, we all got back together to play our first (of many) rounds of Hawks & Mice, a game designed to practice curricular objectives and have some good old fashioned fun.
|Looking at the school form the oak tree|
Another week in the books. Next week, even more dots will be connected as we dig into the concept of a forest ecosystem.