Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Timberwolf Trail - Week 24 - 2017-18 Edition - Retzer Visit #4 - Fine Feathered Friends

Our good friends from the Retzer Nature Center joined us today to help us learn more about our Fine Feathered Friends.

Before splitting off in smaller groups, we all united to learn about different flight methods. From quick start wings to high speed wings, gliders and soarers, students learned about and practiced different ways to fly.

We then enjoyed a wonderful picture book Baby Wren and the Great Gift before working on our winter bird call identification skills.

We then headed to the classroom to meet Gracie the dove and see flight in action.

Gracie wasn't the most cooperative today, but she did enjoy the rocking chair.

After giving Gracie a break, the students enjoyed working with various artifacts including nests, skulls, feathers, and wings.

Then it was on to working with lard, bagels and birdseed to create delicious bird treats.

We headed outside to hang our bagel treats and look for bird activity. It was a bit icy so we had to navigate carefully. As we walked off trail, I saw a few boys huddle excitedly under an evergreen tree. Once I got there, they shared the reason for their excitement.

It was a nest.

We saw a red-tailed hawk soar up above us as we explored frozen tracks and rivers of ice. It was great to see our Retzer friends and great to be outside.

Bird is the Word- February unit -update one

Lesson planning can be a very exciting and excruciating experience. With my goal of infusing nature into the curriculum as much as I can in an integrated fashion, it has been a joy to create nature-filled, project-based units. In February, the class and I are digging deep into birds to find out a potential answer to the essential question:

How can learning about birds help us understand the world around us?

Our unit is filled with immersion in literacy and hands-on activities. We tend to try and answer some mini questions along the way, read about them in both fiction and non-fiction stories, incorporate technology, engage in experiments, and write about our experiences in our bird journal. Of course, we also make connections to birds in our outdoor time. Below is a small sample of some of our activities so far. Much ore to come!

Exploring various bird artifacts to generate interest and spark questioning

Measuring wingspan

Testing our avian eyesight (the sheet on the wall had a letter on it)

Practicing flight styles

Bird journaling

Nest building with our live bald eagle cam on the SMARTBoard

Beak types

Bird Buffet :)

Practicing eating like a bird

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Timberwolf Trail - Week 23 - 2017-18 Edition

It was great to finally have snow that stuck around. You better believe we took advantage of it! On Valentine's day, we focused on things we love, so naturally, we had some natural play time.

The kids named this the eagle tree since this is where the eagle we encountered last week was perched. Besides naming trees, we also made snow angels, climbed trees, and experimented with the snow.

With temperatures above freezing, we made an observation that the snow was very "watery" and easy to pack, so what better way to practice pacing than with snowman creations. It all started with the Book The Biggest Snowman Ever, by Steven Kroll. After enjoying a great story, we wondered about the actual biggest snowman even and found the video above. Then we figured we might try and make our own "biggest snowman ever."

First, we cut and glued a four picture sequencing sheet and then wrote out the step in sequence sentences. Then, it was outside to put our writing into action.

The snow creating was great. Lots of problem-solving, strategy, and communication led our outdoor lesson and the results were wonderful. the class is excited to get some decorations from home tonight so we can complete our snowpeople tomorrow.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Timberwolf Trail - Week 22 - 2017-18 Edition

We finally got snow that has stuck around for a few days. However, with out 100 Day celebration and a snow day, we didn't get as much outdoor snow time as we would have liked. I have a feeling we'll make up for that this week.

We did have the opportunity to do some snow art. Using red, green, and blue markers or crayons on white paper, we drew a basic picture. Then, after mixing water with food coloring, we aimed at re-creating that same scene on our snow white canvas.

It definitely took some practice and trial and error with fine motor control, but the results were impressive and the class seemed to enjoy this activity.

In the classroom, we have focused our project-based unit on the essential question, "What can learning about birds teach us about the world around us?" Through lots of reading, discussions, observations , investigations with various bird artifacts, and daily viewings of a live bald eagle camera, birds are becoming an important part of our daily ritual.

It was very exciting to see our newest nature kindergarten visitor in the video above. We hope he/she comes back again soon