News from the Outdoors:
With some weather that somewhat resembles Spring the Nature Detectives fully submerged themselves in exploring Woodend in all its birdy, budding, flowering, often rain-soaked glory. The warmer weather means that we start seeing more living things around… especially things with more than four legs!
For the past two weeks the Nature Detectives have been learning a lot about bugs, insects and the differences and similarities between the two. There is hardly a log to be found in the woods that hasn’t been rolled over to see what kind of bugs and insects are underneath. We often see pill bugs, centipedes, ants, worms, bess beetles, and slugs, but occasionally we spot slug eggs, millipedes, and even salamanders! Both the AM and PM classes has have had good salamander luck lately and spotted a few varieties: red-backed salamanders, yellow spotted salamanders, and a white spotted salamander!
Thanks to a couple of big rain storms the pond and creek have filled right up with water, which makes for interesting exploration. Both wood frogs and bullfrogs have been spotted in the pond and more wood frogs have been spotted in deeper pools along the creek. One day the Nature Detectives got out the ponding gear (nets, water cups, buckets and I.D. cards) and scooped around in the pond for aquatic life. They hauled out a bunch of dragonfly nymphs, aquatic worms, water striders, and we even spotted some bunches of frog eggs that we left undisturbed! Later in the week, with some warmer weather the PM class was even able to net a small wood frog that we then put in a bucket so we could check it out for a bit before returning it back to its watery home.
The kids also played some parachute games, used buckets full of water to transform the slide into a waterslide, and spotted a red bellied woodpecker that seems to be nesting in a tree snag near the pond!
News from the Classroom:
With the Spring celebration just around the corner the Nature Detectives were busy in the classroom as well. They used crayons and watercolor paints to create their own bug art that is now displayed on the gallery wall in the cubby room. They also used eye-droppers and water color paints to create giant raindrops to hang from the ceiling in the classroom for Spring Celebration decorations. Their final décor efforts went into creating their grassy, bug-covered crowns for the Spring Celebration.
The Nature Detectives weren’t done on the creative front though, as they worked on a new bug-related journal entry, and made bug-shaped creatures out of “Magic Nuudles” (colorful packing-peanut looking things that stick together when you get then slightly wet). They also did some gaming…Buggo and The Ladybug Game have become big hits in both classes. They also enjoyed a new made up game called “Bugsketball” which involves trying to make the plastic hopping bugs hop into a small basket!
The Nature Detectives also enjoyed some yoga stretches that tied into the life cycle of butterflies, performed some insect interpretive dances in the classroom, and learned about mindfulness coping skills in regards to new environments from a puppet! They also perfected their pitch, (and plotted their surprises) in preparation for the concert portion of the Spring Celebration!
Another major highlight was the visit from Kay the Bug Lady. She brought in lots of cool bugs for the kids to hold, and learn about. They got to compare their bodies to the size of a 350 Million year old dragonfly, and explore lots of cool bug specimens with magnifying glasses. As an added bonus, Kay left us four Tomato Hornworms for us to keep in our classroom! These caterpillars are pretty fun to examine as you can see their breathing holes, heart, six legs, and tail horn!
Books we Read:
Up in the Garden, Down in the Dirt by Kate Messner
A Butterfly is Patient by Dianna Hutts Aston
And Then it’s Spring by Julie Fogliano
From Flower to Honey by Robin Nelson
The Rain Stomper by Addie Boswell
Life Cycles: Salamanders by Robin Nelson
Countdown to Spring by Janet Schulman
Weekly Top Hits:
Deep and Wide
Deep and wide (x2)
There’s a river flowing deep and wide
da dada da-da-da
deep and wide (x2)
there’s a river flowing deep and wide
Head, Thorax, Abdomen
Head, thorax, abdomen, abdomen (x2)
Two antennae, and six legs
Head, thorax, abdomen, abdomen!
When we get back from Spring Break we’ll revisit some Planet Pals and Celebrate Earth Day!