Thursday, October 27, 2016

Timberwolf Trail - Week 7 - 2016-17 Edition

Welcome to autumn in Wisconsin. Though the colors are spectacular and the cool breezes inviting, 40 degrees with torrential downpours isn't the best mix for outdoor adventures.  It didn't stop us, it just taught us a new lesson.

Taking advantage of the less than stellar weather, i improvised and focused on our social studies unit of wants and needs.  In hindsight, having the weather be so dismal actually helped as it helped my class appreciate the "better" days while also motivating them to help our animal friends.

Earlier in the week, we introduced wants and needs. We also read Mousekin's Golden House, by Edna Miller. It describes how a mouse ended up using a discarded Jack O' Lantern as a snug winter home. We also took some time to practice spelling strategies by making  a list of natural items we might use to make our very own mouse house. We also sketched them out.

Because of the weather conditions, we decided to continue this project. After reviewing the difference between wants and needs, we took out our sketches and practiced making it using materials from the classroom. Before long, the classroom was a blossoming subdivision of "mouse houses" made of legos, blocks, paper, toilet paper rolls, and any other items students found in our classroom.

Then, after cleaning up our constructions, we watched a short video on specific needs of animals. It also included a silly song the kids seemed to enjoy. Once we were familiar with the needs of animals, we discussed how we could help our animal friends with their needs in the upcoming winter months. I was happy to see the kids connected the "mouse house" constructions to the need of shelter, so my class was especially excited when I reminded them that we would soon be collecting natural items from our outdoor classroom and creating winter homes for the animals.

The students also brought up the idea of creating feeders for the animals after I showed them a variety of material;s (toilet paper rolls, peanut butter, bird seed, etc). So since the weather outside was still much less than ideal, we worked on our first round of toilet paper roll seed feeders.

Mother Nature was calling us. It was nature day and even if it was wet, our love of the outdoors couldn't keep us trapped inside. With our newly-created feeders in hand, out we trekked, rain gear and all.

We placed our feeders on low lying branches and shrubs in our wooded area and made predictions about who might come to enjoy our snacks. We even saw a cute little mouse scamper on and around the fallen tree, though he was too quick to be captured in a photo.

As the rain continued, some kindergartners took shelter under the fallen tree and others did something they hadn't done before, they complained about being cold and wet. This was a perfect time to discuss resiliency and the end to be prepared. I took this as a lesson for the class and we briefly chatted about how we are planning on working and learning in nature through all weather so we need to take how we feel in this cold and wet conditions and use that information to prepare for the next week and the future. As a few of our nature kindergarten mottos states, "water will dry" and "there is no such thing as bad weather if you are prepared for it."  I have a feeling my class will be better prepared the next time it rains.

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