The Detective Post #7

With Winter winds beginning to blow, the Nature Detectives have been observing the changing of the seasons all around us! From the abundance of crunchy leaves on the ground as opposed to the trees, to that bright winter sun, the preschoolers have been hoping for snow on a daily basis!

 

With the sunlight dimming and moonlight coming ever quickly, we finished off our Planet Pal unit by meeting Moonbeam, Sunny Ray and Starbright! The students were easily able to connect with the brighter winter Sunlight we were playing under, as well as discussing how we are all noticing that the moon is coming out earlier. The afternoon class was even able to observe the moon in its different phases, over our playground!

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On our Naturalist hikes, we also explored the ideas of sunlight and what might happen when the moon is out! Ms. Julie took the AM class on an animal track hunt, searching the mud in the pond for tracks that may have been left by animals during the nighttime! In the afternoon, Ms. Gail brought back her trusty measuring stick, and the Detectives took turns measure their heights in that winter sun! She showed the class different pictures of how our shadows change as we spin towards the sun throughout the day.

 

With the surprisingly warm sunlight, the PM class enjoyed a few all outdoors days, taking advantage of the preschool parking lots to experiment more with tracing our shadows. The AM class took the woods to their ever favorite, “Log Area,” where their planet pal super hero play was beautifully inspired by the backdrop of a bright, winter Sunny Ray

 

 

Indoors, the students also were kept busy by exploring more of the natural science behind our Planet Pal friends! At our meetings, we discussed that while Moonbeam is made out of rock which is a solid, Starbright and Sunny Ray are made out of gas! Since gas is invisible, we did an expirement where we mixed vinegar and baking soda together in a bottle, to which we then popped a balloon on top of the bottle to collect the gas! The students made lots of different hypotheses on what would happen to the balloon, and were all excited to see our Starbright balloon fill up with gas, just like it does up in the sky!

 

The classroom was also full of Planet Pal inspired play, from building Planet Pal headquarters in the block area, to experimenting more with the science aspects of orbiting with magnets in the lab table. We also did lots of hands on discoveries, creating stars and moons in the play dough, as well as using yellow shaving cream to create our own Sunny Ray inspired art!

 

We ended our Planet Pal unit with a scavenger hunt in the woods for all of buddies we have met over the last two weeks, followed by creating our very own Planet Pal class book!  On our hike, the students searched for Mother Earth, Breezy, H2O, Fluffy, Green Bean, Moon Beam, Sunny Ray and Starbright, using clipboards and charts to collect their findings. Indoors, the students had the chance to create their own Planet Pal, or write about their favorite one for our class book. It was so wonderful to watch their imaginations create new Planet Pals with our conversation ideas, and see them putting all of their science knowledge into action!

 

 

This past week at Woodend, we have been diving into what the different animals that call Audubon their home are doing to prepare for the coming winter weather! This past week we focused on the concepts of adaptation and migration.

 

We began the week by meeting a new animal fried- Bella the deer! Bella was dressed in warm winter clothes, which we all agreed was quite silly as we’ve never seen wild deer wear coats and hats! The Detectives thought of ways we adapt to stay warm, some ideas being: wear a warm coat, go inside, and enjoying hot chocolate! While those are things we might enjoy, we learned that deer adapt by growing warm coats and storing fat, as well as losing their antlers which take lots of energy to grow. To exemplify this idea, the Detectives experimented with an “Adaption Mitten,” which was a pretend mitten coated with a layer of Crisco to act as animal fat. The students were able to put one”Adaptation Mitten” on one hand, while the other stayed bare. The Detectives proceeded to put both hands into chilly water- observing that the “Adaptation Mitten” kept their hands nice and warm in the cold water!

 

The Detectives also took to the woods to play a deer antler hide-and-seek game! The students were able to take turns being a winter buck, and “lose” their antler in the woods for other students to find.

 

With less leaves on the trees, the birds have much easier to spy as pops of color up in the tree tops! We took to the woods to observe which birds are wintering here at Woodend, while others will migrate south to warmer weather. The students were also excited to leave sunflower seed out for the migrating birds, as they often take a stop off at Audubon to rest on their flight south! Indoors, we also created our own bird feeders with cereal and pipe cleaners to hang in trees.

 

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To prepare for our winter celebration, the Detectives capped off the week with pine cone hunt in the woods! We learned that some birds that winter here have just the right beaks for pecking into those pine cones for a tasty winter snack! Indoors, each student got the chance to decorate a pine cone with white snow and glitter, that will hang from the ceilings for our winter celebration.

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The students also enjoyed playing with trains indoors, as well as covering themselves in shaving cream snow! We also opened up a warm winter den in the dramatic play, as well as practiced building them in the block area.  The AM class also got to enjoy a felt board version of one of our favorites- It Looked like Spilt Milk, while Ms. Susan brought the PM class her giant map, where the students got to look at migration patters. The Detectives are rearing and ready to go to finish out our winter animal exploration next week and conclude with our exciting winter celebration!

 

 

Books we Read:

There’s No Place Like Space! By Tish Rabe

Planet Pals Book by the Nature Detectives

When It Starts To Snow by Phillis Gershator

Those Darn Squirrels Fly South by Adam Rubin

Crow in the Snow by Lesley Sims and Fred Blunt

Moon Cake by Frank Asch

 

Weekly Top Hits

Moon Moon Moon 

Moon moon moon shining bright

Moon moon moon my nightlight

Moon moon moon I can see

Moon moon moon you’re taking care of me

 

Look up it’s the moon

Look up it’s the moon

Look up it’s the moon up in the sky

It’s big and round and I have found

That it looks just like a pizza pie!

 

Sun Salutation Song 

Sun salutation, dance for the sun
sun salutation, dance for the sun
sun salutation, dance for the sun
I can do it,
you can do it,
we can do a sun salutation!
stretch up high -reach for the sky, hang down low – tickle your toes
feet jump back – just like a frog
belly on the ground – look toward the sun
now downward dog
and breathe, and breathe
feet jump up – just like a frog
hang down low – tickle your toes stretch up high – reach for the sky, now mountain pose – look what you’ve done (repeat)
sun salutation, dance for the sun
sun salutation, dance for the sun
sun salutation, dance for the sun
I can do it,
you can do it,
we can do a sun salutation!

Audio version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_SZ0A7iXA8

 

Winter Animals (She’ll Be Comin Round the Mountain)

Winter animals stay warm, yes they do!

Winter animals stay warm, yest they do!

They grow fat for adaptation,

Sleep long for hibernation,

and fly south for migration, yes they do!

 

Spoiler Alert: Next week we will be learning about hibernation and prepping for our Winter Celebration!

 

 

Oaks News from the Wild #6

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“Tree Caving’

 

Joy and Wonder

We spend our days as a class laughing, exploring, reading, wondering, talking, climbing, drawing, writing, singing, building, counting, imagining, creating, observing, playing, and otherwise living and learning joyfully.

Giving Thanks

Before Thanksgiving, we read beautiful books including “Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message” and drew and shared about what we are thankful for.  We sang “Oh, the Earth is Good to Me,” and we each made our own version that included some things we are thankful for.  The children also made beautiful cards for their families.

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Sunny Ray Planet Pal

We introduced a 2nd planet pal this week- Sunny Ray.  We talked about her “super powers,” sang a song about her (based on the Raffi song “Mr. Sun”), played a sun ball game, traced our shadows in chalk, made solar prints with natural objects, and enjoyed the folktales “Grandma Spider Brings the Sun” and “The Story of the Sun.”

 

 

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Telling the story “Grandmother Spider Bring the Sun”

Indoor Experiences

 

We introduced some new materials this week; the marble race tracks were definitely a hit!

 

 

 

Playground Activities

Creative and cooperative play abounds on the Oaks’ playground and on our Friday morning visits to the Saplings’ playground.  Sure, conflicts do occur, but we work through them together.  And there are opportunities for alone time as well (whether it’s coloring ginkgo leaves to make fairy fans, being a planet pal superhero complete with cape, or concocting a dish in the mud kitchen).

 

 

Exploring more of the 40 Acres of Woodend

We continue to love going to Hilltop Home 2-3 times a week.  Fairies, ninjas, transformers and aliens continue to visit there as well.  : )

This week we ventured to the Far Corner of Woodend to the hollow log and the hollow tree (or the “possum pouch” as one child dubbed it).  What a unique and amazing adventure.  Many, but not all children, climbed into the tree to explore the “tree cave” inside.

 

 

Exploring the hollow tree and log made for a truly amazing day, and just when we thought it couldn’t possibly get any better, the Pied Piper of Audubon appeared and serenaded us through Woodend!

 

 

That was the best day ever!  Except maybe for this day…

It was a perfect fall day at Woodend, under a red canopy of Japanese maple tress.. Some children explored, climbed on logs, swung on branches, while others sat by a tree observing insects and creating little nature books.  At the end of the day, the children lay down and looked up at the wondrous sight of the fall leaves overhead.

 

 

Finding Animals and Mushrooms

 

Volcanoes at Audubon!

Some students have expressed interest in volcanoes, so we decided to make our own with sand and pieces of bamboo and with baking soda and vinegar “lava.”  Many volcanic eruptions occurred that day at Audubon!

 

 

 

We have begun to learn about ways that animals prepare for and adapt to winter.  We are looking forward to continuing this study and also learning about nocturnal animals.  And our winter celebration with families is just around the corner!

Books We Read

Every day we read wonderful books throughout the day.  A typical morning might start with a group of kids gathering around a teacher singing from song books on the Oaks playground.  Later in the classroom, other children perch on a counter top window seat and share giggles over an Elephant and Piggie book.  In the afternoon at Hilltop Home, a master naturalist volunteer shares a beautifully illustrated nature book, and later on, next to the fairy house, a few children listen again to the story of “Twinkle”, the fairy who causes quite a ruckus when trying to cast spells with her wand for the first time.  Some favorite books we have read recently include:

“I’m Thankful Each Day!”  by P.K. Hallinan

“Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message”by Jake Swamp

“Grandmother Spider Brings the Sun” (Cherokee story)

“The Story of the Sun” retold by Ned Jensen

“Moon Glowing” by Elizabeth Partridge

“Time to Sleep” by Denise Fleming

“Miss Suzy” by Miriam Young

 

Songs We Sang

“We’ve Got the Whole World in our Hands” (with signs and gestures)

“Oh, the Earth is Good to Me” (with signs and gestures):  Oh, the Earth is good to me.  And so I thank the Earth. For giving me the things I need- the sun and the rain and the apple seed. Oh, the Earth is good to me.

“The 4 Seasons Song” (with gestures)- Winter, spring, summer, fall. Winter, spring, summer, fall. Winter, spring, summer, fall. There are 4 seasons in all.

In addition, we sang “Sunny Ray” and many songs from song books including “Puff the Magic Dragon,” “Catalina Magdalena,” “5 Little Monkeys Jumping on a Bed” and “5 Little Monkeys Sitting in a Tree.”

 

The Detective Post #6

What a busy couple of weeks it’s been here at Audubon! After the long break for conferences, we were so glad to see the Detectives back in action. Along with the Detectives, we also welcomed some new friends to our days at school: the Planet Pals! Members from this group of eco-friendly superheroes have been making their way into our classroom each day and bringing us helpful information about how we can use our powers to help protect the Earth!

 

Our first Planet Pal, Mother Earth, taught us about the ground beneath our feet. We thought about the soil that helps to nourish and grow plants, and which gives us a space to walk and play.

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With this idea in mind, the Detectives hiked around Woodend searching for different types of soil, and even made their way to the compost station to think about how soil is created. In the classroom, we read a poem about the earth, made a fresh batch of Earth-colored play dough, and decorated our own version of Mother Earth!

 

 

 

Breezy blew into our classroom with a message about the air we breathe, reminding us of the importance to keep the air clean and fresh. The Detectives, eager to spot this invisible pal, set out on a hike to listen to the rustling of leaves on a blustery day, and even made some breezy movements of their own with the parachute. Some kids played a game of A Big Wind Blows, and imagined a strong wind blowing them across the meadow! In the classroom, we explored different ways to use the air we breathe by making bubble art with straws!

 

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Our search for Mother Earth and Breezy made us eager to find more Planet Pals out in nature. The Detectives activated their “green plant detectors” and set out on a search for plants growing out of the ground. We found huge trees, teeny tiny sprouts, and plants of all sizes in between! Inside the classroom, a letter from our pal Green Bean let us know that we can help take care of the growing plants, and the in return, we’ll have fresh oxygen to breathe! What a team!

 

 

 

The short week brought us two Planet Pals who arrived together: besties Fluffy and H2O! The Detectives got to know this dynamic cloud-and-water duo as they learned about the water cycle, and imagined turning into little water droplets that evaporated, condensed into a cloud, and then precipitated down as rain.img_0022-4

We searched for different cloud types in the sky, followed water trails through our woods, and ran down the meadow while pretending to be rain, making our way from the highest to the lowest point. Along the way, a Detective eagerly exclaimed, “Look, I see Green Bean! She’ll be happy to have this rain!” With more and more knowledge about how to protect the earth, these Detectives are turning more into eco-heroes of their own each day!

 

Songs We Sang
We Are The Planet Pals
We are the Planet Pals, the mighty mighty Planet Pals
Everywhere we go, people want to know
Who we are
So we tell them:
We are the Planet Pals, the mighty mighty Planet Pals
GO-O-O Planet Pals!

Water Travels in the Cycle
Water travels in a cycle, yes it does
Water travels in a cycle yes it does!
It goes up as evaporation
Forms clouds as condensation
Falls down as precipitation
Yes it does!

Books We Read
Why Should I Protect Nature? by Mike Gordon
Gilberto and the Wind by Marie Hall Ets
The Rain Stomper by Addie Boswell
It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Charles G. Shaw

Spoiler Alert: Next week we will continue to meet Planet Pals!

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Oaks News from the Wild # 5

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When environmental conservationists were asked what factors influenced their life’s work, one thing stood out: many childhood hours spent in nature with a caring adult. We teach them about seasons and spiders, but mostly we let their hearts fill with love, knowing that’s what they’ll carry with them.

Looking at the photos from the last two weeks, I am also awed by the creativity we see, inside and out. We provide some interesting things and watch the play explode.

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Tunnel bridge

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Power ring

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Making a “bamboo crusher machine”

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Man and machine

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Ship captains

And the play continues inside…

And it’s easy to see how work is play and play is work.

As the leaves burst into color and then fell, the Oaks explored, learning about why leaves change color, how to find spiders, and the best places for slugs, worms, millipedes and Bess beetles.

At Hilltop Home, we played Meet a Tree, worked on the fairy playground (the fairies write back!), settled into Sit Spots, and played, played, played.

At the end of this week, we made Journey Sticks. The children each chose a special stick, added rubber bands and cloth. We went on a longer hike around Woodend, collecting small memories as we went. We added a colorful leaf or a turkey tail mushroom or a piece of licheny bark to our Journey Sticks, and then told our stories at closing circle and in journals the next day.

We celebrated a birthday, with a Circling the Sun ceremony. We read, and read and read some more.

We had a visit from our first Planet Pal, Mother Earth, who rapped about being green, then led the Oaks in a lively discussion about things we can do to take care of her. “Pick up trash!” “Take care of the animals!” “Drive an electric vehicle!” As a first step, we decided to let our class toads go live a happy toad life in the woods, so they have time to get ready for winter. This was hard, but we read the marvelous book The Bog Baby and got some encouragement from Mother Earth. Then the Oaks found some choice spots near the pond and stream bed and watched Mama and Papa Toads hop away.

Since Mother Earth also reminded the Oaks that their first job is to love her,  we gave them lots of time to do just that. And no outdoor play in Autumn would be complete without some flying leaps into piles of leaves!

The Detective Post #5

How time has flown by! We are so thrilled to be getting the chance to sit down with all of you to discuss our adventures with your little ones. The Nature Detectives have been busy in the woods these last two weeks, rounding out our fall unit with squirrel dreys, less sunlight, and colder temperatures! With parent-teacher conferences this and next week, this post will be a picture rich documentation of our most recent adventures inside and outside the classroom. Enjoy!

Animal Dress up day was a blast! The Detectives were excited to take to the woods as their different, respective animals.

We enjoyed visits from Ms. Julie and Ms. Gail, learning about camouflage and owls!

Both classes enjoyed fall scavenger hunts in the woods, looking for some of our toy stuffies, as well as colored leaves, pumpkins, spiders and more!

We enjoyed some much needed rain- creating puddles for stomping and lots of water play ideas.

With the advent of daylight savings, we noticed less sunlight during our days, and more moonlit nights. The detectives took our parachute to the woods, pretending it was a moon, cut into many wacky tasting slices of moon pie!

The detectives were also introduced to two, larger scale outdoor games this week- What time is it Mr. Fox (or, What time is it Simon Squirrel), and Duck, Duck, Goose.

Indoors, we created squirrel drey’s in the block area, making snug, warm, winter homes for the toy squirrels.

With less daylight upon us, the Detectives enjoyed learning a silly song about the moon entitled Moon, Moon, Moon, loosely based on said song by the Laura Berkner Band. To accompany the song, we also learned a few sun, star, and moon inspired yoga poses!

The estimating jar returned last week, full of small, toy pumpkins! The detectives were excited to see the pumpkins resurface in our discovery table, where they were used to investigate cause and effect with the class scale.

The students also worked hard this week on creating their self portraits. Given mirrors and markers, the detectives created their visions of themselves!

We couldn’t round out a fall unit without breaking out a class favorite- Sneaky Snacky Squirrel! The students practiced turn taking and fine motor movements when embarking in this silly game to fill their stump with colored acorns!

Spoiler Alert: Next week we embark on our Planet Pals unit!

Oaks News from the Wild # 4

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During the past few weeks, the Oaks class has enjoyed many wonder-filled fall days at Woodend.  We have gotten to explore even more of the 40 acre grounds, though we make sure to return to our favorite outdoor space, Hilltop Home, several times each week.  When we go to Hilltop Home, we always start by gathering to share a carefully chosen book.  After the read aloud, the children visit their “sit spots” to have a little peaceful time alone in nature.  When play time begins, children are free to explore, build, create and imagine however they like.  Often small groups of children play/work together on projects, such as constructing the fairy playground, writing notes to the fairies, building forts, digging for critters, pretending to be ninjas, aliens and more.  None of us want this time to end, and we always look forward to returning to continue playing in this special place.

Trees, Leaves and Fun in the Fall

In support of our study of trees in the fall, several master naturalists, Carol, Nancy, Ann-Mari and Barbara, shared their expertise with the Oaks class.  How fortunate we are to have these wonderful volunteers at Audubon!  Nancy led us on a leaf collection and tree identification walk.  Using the leaves we found, we made beautiful leaf rubbings, and Ann-Mari helped the children create lovely leaf prints.   We also made our own fall leaves using droppers of watercolor paint on coffee filter paper leaf shapes, and then hung them on a tree branch in the classroom.  Then Barbara read a book about trees chasing through the seasons, and she took us on a nature walk measuring the circumferences of different sized trees and doing bark rubbings.


Fall Celebration

All last week our class prepared for our celebration of fall.  We made leaf decorations for the classroom, wove natural materials and little decorations into crowns, and practiced singing and signing seasonal songs.  Before the parents arrived Friday morning, the children created hiding places on the playground and made notes to trick their parents into thinking they were “eaten by black mambas,” “flamed by fireball,” and “lost in the woods.”  When the celebration began, the parents and children shared laughs as the children were found on the playground.  Next we gathered in a circle and shared three beautiful seasonal songs with the parents (using voice and American Sign Language)- “Round and Round the Seasons Go,” “Fall is Here,” and “The Leaves on the Trees are Falling Down.”  Following the singing, the children enjoyed a picnic snack with their families.  Next we all went inside where everyone was enthralled by the book “Leaf Man,” read by a parent.  Inspired by the leaf collage art work in the book, the children made their own leaf creations by placing leaves and other natural materials on contact paper.  The celebration concluded with a closing circle outside, and the singing of “Go Now in Peace,” as each child received a little golden acorn and walked carefully with family members through our bamboo labyrinth.

Pumpkin Carving

On the day before Halloween, we carved a pumpkin, saving the seeds and roasting them for a delicious snack.  The children drew jack-o-lantern designs, and we combined ideas and carved our class jack=o-lantern.  The children then added pipe cleaner spiders and shells for teeth.

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Animal Dress-Up Day on Halloween

What fun we had dressing up as animals for Halloween!  In the morning, the children drew and dictated their thoughts about their animals in their journals with Carol’s help.  After lunch, we acted out the story of “The Enormous Pumpkin” with the children dressed up as animals becoming the characters in the story.  In the afternoon at Hilltop Home, some children enjoyed making dens for their animals, and at the end of the day, we played a hide and seek animal camouflage game.  What a great day!

 


Beetles and Salamanders and Chicks- Oh My!

The children continue to find lots of creatures around Woodend.  They look under logs, dig and search for the animals living in the great outdoors.  Just today the children found our first salamander and discovered that bess beetles make sounds.  And, on this same day, Shannon brought her family’s baby chicks, much to the children’s surprise and joy!  The children observed these precious little creatures and loved touching their soft feathers and laughing as a few chicks lightly pecked at their fingers.

Indoor Time

We spend around an hour and a half in our beautiful indoor classroom space everyday (except Friday).  When we first go inside after playing on the Oaks playground, we gather on our campfire rug for our morning circle.  After that, the children draw and share their thoughts and stories, read books, chat and eat snack, build ships, rockets, and parking garages, count, sort and make patterns with natural materials, engage in pretend play (often with toy animals and dress ups), and enjoy special projects. Happy chatter fills the room and teachers guide children in resolving conflicts when help is needed.

Artist’s Visit

We are fortunate that a father of one of the children is an artist, and he offered to come to Woodend to paint and share his skill and love of art with the class.  The children got to see his beautiful painting and then climb up on his stool to look at the painting and see the mansion and grounds from the same perspective.  The children learned about looking closely at what they see and mixing paints to match what is seen.  Then the children chose things around them to look at carefully and draw.

Birthday Celebration

We had our first birthday celebration at school!  The birthday child made a crown and got to play with “Birthday Raccoon” all day.   We read a silly book, Elephant and Piggie’s Happy Pig Day book and giggled as we sang the tune of the birthday song using pig language- “oinky oink oink oink oink….”.  All the children contributed a page to make a book for the birthday boy which we read aloud when it was complete.  And at the end of the school day, the birthday child held an Earth ball and walked in a circle around a sun candle for each year he has been alive as we all looked at his growing up photos that his dad shared with us, and we sang, “The Earth goes round the sun.  The Earth goes round the sun. The Earth goes round the sun, and ____ turned five!”

Books, Books and More Books

The Oaks enjoy reading lots of books at school, inside, on the playground and out in the woods.

BOOKS We Read

Round and Round the Seasons Go by Rozanne Williams

Leaf Man by Lois Ehlers

Ska-tat by Kimberly Knutson

Big Wolf & Little Wolf, The Leaf that Wouldn’t Fall by Nadine Brun-Cosme & Joy Sorman

Pumpkin Trouble by Jan Thomas

Elephant and Piggie’s Happy Pig Day by Mo Willems

Ish by Peter Reynolds

There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly

& more
A Special Story We Told

We told the children the story of “The Enormous Pumpkin” (a version of the folk tale “The Enormous Turnip”) and the children helped us act it out with puppets for the characters of a farmer, his wife, their daughter, a dog, a cat and a little mouse.  Then on Animal Dress-Up Day, we told the Oaks’ version of the story with the children dressed up as animals becoming the characters that “pulled and tugged and tugged and pulled” until all together they snapped the pumpkin off the vine and turned it into a jack-o-lantern.

 

SONGS We Sang

“Round and Round the Seasons Go”

Round and round the seasons go.  Winter comes, cold while snow.  Round and round the seasons go.  Spring comes, flowers grow.  Round and round the seasons go.  Summer comes, hot and slow.  Round and round the seasons go.  Fall comes, leaves blow.

“Fall is Here”  (Tune: “Frere Jacques”)

Fall is here.  Fall is here.  Time for fun.  Time for fun.  Piles of leaves for jumping.  Carving out the pumpkin.  Blackbirds fly.  Apple pie.

“The Leaves on the Trees”  (Tune: “London Bridge is Falling Down”)

The leaves on the trees are falling down, falling down, falling down.  The leaves on the trees are falling down, red, yellow, orange and brown.

“There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly”

& more

The Detective Post #4

News from the Outdoors

As the autumn leaves began to fall, the nature detectives took to the woods to search for seeds, fruits, and brightly colored leaves! As the school year has progressed, we have begun exploring deeper into the trails and wooded habitat that Woodend has to offer. We have continued our observational learning by comparing and contrasting different  sized acorns, to seeing how different leaves floated in our pond.

With the gorgeous fall days, the Detectives decided to spend a few days all outdoors! We did out meetings outdoors, and enjoyed tasty snacks on the stage. The students took art outdoors as well- creating squirrel puppets to scurry around the playground, along with drip-drop leaves with which to decorate our classroom!

Both classes enjoyed visits from our naturalists, Ms. Julie (AM) AND Ms. Gail (PM). Ms. Julie brought in her magnifying glasses, and the detectives took to the woods to investigate log dwellers. Ms. Gail brought in her giant measuring stick, and helped the detectives measure leaf lengths, as well as the rain fall in our pond. Both classes enjoyed seed/fruit hunts, where each child was given a bag to fill with seeds, fruits, and anything else falling from the trees that a squirrel might enjoy munching on!

As you can already tell, the Detectives were thinking a lot about squirrels with the advent of the fall weather!  Seeing them scamper around Woodend is very exciting, so we dug a little deeper into the science of squirrels and their food. We learned about the differences between red and grey squirrels, that while grey squirrels scatter their food and share it between friends, red squirrels hoard their food in one spot for the winter. The Detectives turned into squirrels on our hikes, collecting acorns and hiding them respectively, even hiding the treasure in our sand box like different colored squirrels!

On one of our all outdoors days, we introduced our estimating jar. This time, the jar was filled with- you guessed it- acorns! The students became squirrel detectives, each making a hypothesis to how many acorns could fit into our special jar. The guesses ranged from 1 to 131, after counting discovering 30 acorns fit just right.

One of the most exciting parts of our last few weeks at school has been all the construction happening around Woodend! We noticed the different machines around to build the new gates, as well as getting to see some tree workers taking down large branches! After some tree work was done in the woods, we noticed there were some new, fallen tree logs to balance on by our eagles nest. Both classes immediately jumped into action, clearing brush, rolling stumps, and building new forts in which to play! We organized many games of hide and seek, and even brought the toy squirrels out to practice balancing on the large logs.

News from the Classroom

With our multiple all outdoor days, we spent less time inside the classroom these last two weeks. Our indoor time was spent getting the classroom ready for our ever exciting- fall celebration!

Through our meetings and stories, we continued our fall exploration. The classes learned three new songs, I’m a Nut, Grey Squirrel and Falling leaves, which corresponded to our observations outdoors as well as our stories indoors.

Introducing our squirrel blocks to the block area gave the detectives a chance to practice that squirrel balance indoors as well as outdoors! After floating the fallen leaves in our pond outdoors, also introduced ideas of sinking v. floating in our lab table.

Noticing the different colored leaves outdoors, we conducted a leaf experiment with some Japanese Maple leaves inside the classroom! We used a coffee filter to extract different colors hiding inside the still green leaves. Upon checking the following day, we found brown and yellow stripes on our paper- who knew those colors were hiding under the green all along!

To top off this past week, we spent two days creating our very own acorn hats to sport at our fall celebration! To start off, every child rolled acorns and paint over brown construction paper to make the base of our hats. Once the paint had dried the following day, we cut our acorn art into strips, before stapling them together to create an acorn hat!

On our celebration day, every child got to be their very own acorn- and grow right in front of our eyes! We had such a blast singing, snacking and creating with all who were able to join, a huge thanks to everyone who helped out! Whenever grown ups and families are able to come to school is so special for the kids, we couldn’t have had such a successful celebration day without all of you!

Weekly Top Hits

Falling Leaves (Tune: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star)

Falling, falling, falling leaves

Mother Nature did you sneeze?

Red Ones, Yellow Ones, Orange and Brown

Swirling, Twirling, towrads the ground

Falling, falling, falling leaves

Mother Nature did you sneeze?

ACHOO!

 

I’m a Nut

I’m a nut (3x)

That’s me,

Gonna grow into a big oak tree,

I may be small,

but someday I’ll be tall,

wait and see!

 

Grey Squirrel

Grey Squirrel, Grey Squirrel, shake your bushy tail, (x2)

Use your paw to grab a nut,

Use your teeth to munch it up,

Grey Squirrel, Grey Squirrel, shake your bushy tail!