Monday, March 19, 2018

Muddy March Madness on the IAT

The Dargatz Crew had to take advantage of the last weekend of winter to enjoy our favorite trail: the Ice Age Trail.

We kicked the weekend with a trip to our favorite segment so far: Monches. Embry took the lead and made sure to stop for plenty of natural play. Oakley enjoyed the ride.

On the second day of the weekend, we decided to try a new segment. It was a beautiful chunk of the West Bend Segment, but wow, was it muddy.

Embry has certainly become an avid hiker and while we have talked about how enjoyable the silence of a stroll through the woods can e and how it ca help us connect with nature even more, her gems of wisdom as we marched through the mud were too good to

As soon as we got out of the car at the trailhead parking lot, she went off trail reporting, "It's time to adventure!'"

After seeing and stepping through the slop, she said, "Mud is sure yucky. . .but its fun too!"

As we scaled various ups and down in very wet conditions, she encouraged us with "Hikers never quit."

And as we were headed back and going back through the hilly section, she moaned, "I like hiking, but not hills."

Of course, we bopped blazes along the way, took a breather at Cedar Creek Bridge, and stopped for some stick play.

With two daughters, it should be double the fun on the trail from here on out.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Timberwolf Trail - Week 27 - 2017-18 Edition

With this being the last full week before spring takes over, we headed outside to spruce up our school with some much-needed spring cleaning.

With bags in hand, we took a lap around the perimeter of the school building and then along the edges of our outdoor classroom, picking up any trash and recyclables we encountered along the way.

The class was very motivated to find our "treasures" along the tour of the campus. It was fun to watch them "compete" to clean up the most.


Of course, walking it over to chuck into the dumpster was fun too.

The spring cleaning wasn't done as we moved on to clean up some of the muddier spots of the trail with some wood chipping.

After (still a work in progress)

After hard work comes hard play, so off to the fallen tree we went. The class is deeply engaged in creative play at the moment, creating booby traps to catch each other.

The weather continues to play tricks on us as the predicted forecast for next week show the beginning of spring looks a whole lot like a return of winter. Either way, we will make good use of our time in nature.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Bird is the Word 2.0

Although our Birds unit is wrapping up, we still have plenty of learning and exploring left. We have been creating a watercolor mural to adorn our back whiteboard with some of our favorite birds.

With this being Raptor week, we had to explore various non-fiction resources besides online research and our ever-running live eagle camera streaming on the SMARTBoard. I may or may not have shared an episode of a raptor-themed Wild Kratts today to celebrate a weeklong look at raptors.

The highlight of our day was the owl pellet dissection. We enjoyed talking about them, seeing a n owl cough up one, and predicting what we might find. But most of all, we enjoyed dissecting them.

We found various skulls and even a bird foot. Our owl were certainly hungry.

After separating the fur and feathers form the bones, we put the puzzle together, aimed to identify the prey and wrote down some observations in our pellet packet and bird journal.

Another new element of the day was the beginning of our next service learning project for our outdoor classroom. With the winter thaw in full effect, it was a great time to start preparing the trails for spring, Using donated woods chips for our local tree service (Nic and Dan's Tree Service), we found some of the muddier spots and started covering them with chips. This included collaboration, endurance, and strategy, but it also included fun.

We got a portion of the trail covered, but have got plenty of work ahead of us.

When the work was done, it was time for fun, so off to natural play we went.

We will be finishing up our birds unit focusing on migration, transitioning to a new unit that focuses on a main reason for the return of the birds: Insects.