The Detective Post #23

Wild places are closer than you think! As we finish up the school year here at Audubon, we couldn’t be more thankful for all of wonderful families and fun-filled adventures we had this year. We finished the year with some wet weather- accompanied by our stuffy, wheels and water days! Thursday we were overjoyed to see you all at our Summer Celebration, and cannot wait to hear about all the adventures you all have in store for the coming months. Although school may be ending, Audubon is always open- and we hope to see you all at weekend walks in the woods, summer camps and other preschool events in the near future! Thanks again to everyone for an amazing school year!

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Specials Days!

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Summer Celebration!

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The Detective Post #21

News from the Outdoors

The Nature Detectives returned from Spring break with gusto, examining Woodend to see what had changed since we had been gone! We noticed buds on the trees, birds singing, as well as frogs and ducks in the pond.

The Detectives were excited to prep for Earth Day at Audubon, thinking about all the ways we know how to take care of the planet! On the sanctuary, the Detectives dove deeper into natures recyclers on a Naturalist hike with Hummingbird. We visited the compost station, and went on a hunt for decomposers in the forest. The Detectives have become expert slug, worm, and millipede wranglers!

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Slugfest

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Hands on Learning

 

We also thought more about the word conservation, and how we are mindful experts of the world around us. We expanded those thoughts onto the idea of invasive species, and took to the trails to hunt for a local invasive- garlic mustard! The kids filled an entire trash bag (no small feat) of the plant, and were quite proud of themselves!

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Conservation Connections

 

We ended that week with our very own Earth Day celebration, in the form of a Planet Pal parade! Each kid got create their own Planet Pal cape and recycled instrument, with which we marched and sang at the Mansion!

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AM Planet Pal Parade

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PM Planet Pal Parade

 

The Preschool also partners with the Audubon Birdathon this time of year! Both classes embark on a birding unit, where the children learn to identify different birds by their colors and calls! We began the unit by discussing things we already know about birds, constructing a giant birds nest in the Amphitheater!

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Nest in Show

 

On our Naturalist Hike with Hummingbird, she introduced us to different types of bird beaks- and how they can be used to identify what different birds eat! The Detectives hiked around Woodend, looking for different types of bird foods, and discerning which type of bird beak might enjoy said food as a tasty snack.

Both classes also enjoyed a birds of prey lesson, thinking about which hooked beak and talon sporting birds we have here at Audubon. The AM class enjoyed bringing a stuffed, great horned owl down from the Mansion, while the PM classes played a giant game of Hawk-and-Seek, where the seekers transformed into hawks, while the hiders pretended to be mice!

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Wingin’ it!

 

News from the Indoors

Inside the classroom, we had a variety of recycled art and bird themed projects! In preparation for Earth Day, the Detectives were greeted by two new Planet Pals during meeting. We met a super decomposer named Squirmy Wormy, as well as an expert in mindfulness- Peace Pal!

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The Great Detective Caper

 

The students had lots of fun creating their capes for our Earth Day celebration. By adding fabric scrapes and paint, the kids transformed into their very own planet pals! To add to the excitement, the kiddos were also able to create shakers out of recycled cardboard tubes and seeds!

For our Mindful Monday lesson this go around, the Detectives learned a new mindful game to play! The kids had to practice their mindful bodies, while passing claps, silly noises, and even imaginary balls around the circle.

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Pumpkin the Bunny visits the AM

 

Birds found their way into the classroom this past week, by building nests in the block area, finding worms in the lab table like robins, and practicing our identification skills with a bird matching game!

Continuing our beak investigations, we created hummingbird inspired art with water colors. The students were able to emulate how the hummingbird drinks its nectar by using eye droppers to paint their creations!

Both classes were very interested in the birds of prey lesson, creating paper airplanes and hawk/owl/eagle kites to take to the skies! It was so interesting to watch the children work, meticulously adding different colors to create Red shouldered hawks, great horned owls, and even golden eagles!

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Prey it Forward

 

Books we Read

The Peace Book by Todd Parr

Duck and Goose by Tad Hills

Have you Seen Birds? by Joanne Oppenheim

ZooBooks about Birds of Prey

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Weekly Top Hits

Reduce, Resuse Recycle (The More we Get together)

Reduce, reuse, recycle, recycle, 

Reduce, reuse, recycle, recycle, 

It’s easy to do!

Cus’ your trash and my trash

Make up way too much trash! 

Reduce, reuse, recycle, recycle, 

It’s easy to do!

 

This Old Earth (This old Man)

This old earth, needs our help,

to stay fresh and clean and green,

with a pick it, pitch it in, toss it in the can,

this old earth needs a helping hand!

 

I met a Bird

I met a Cardinal at the playground gate,

that cardinal was my playmate,

that cardinal said..Birdie Birdie Birdie (x3)

…Woodpecker…Peck Peck Peck…

…Dove…Coo Coo Coo…

…Robin…Cheerup Cheerily…

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Spoiler Alert: The next two weeks we are finishing our bird studies and examining planting!

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Detective Post #20

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!

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Tree huggers

 

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!

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Checking the Bird Boxes with Hummingbird

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Here’s the scoop

 

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.

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Butterfly Yoga

 

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.

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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!

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Drop it like it’s hot!

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A firm grass of the situation

 

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!

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Story Time!

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More Monet more problems.

 

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!

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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

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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!

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Mindfulness Monday

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Spoiler Alert:

When we get back from Spring Break we’ll revisit some Planet Pals and Celebrate Earth Day!

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Spring Break! Woo!

The Detective Post #19

News from the Outdoors

March has been a wacky month for the Nature Detectives at Audubon! While we prepped for our Spring Celebration, Mother Nature had a different idea. Since we follow the seasons, the class pivoted, to experiment and investigate the incoming snow.

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Ice See You!

After Audubon was covered in a sheet of white snow, the Detectives had an amazing time exploring the melting and slippery aspects of the snow fall. We pretended to be penguins, sliding down hills on our tummies, as well as watched as the snow became easier to manipulate with the help of Sunny Ray!

We took our art projects outdoors, using paints to create patterns on the white snow! The snow was transformed into a color-mixing art museum,where the snow was white no more. The children also chiseled the ice and snow into different tools with which to use in different ways on the playground.

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Oh snow you didn’t!

After the snow, Spring finally started to arrive! This past week we began our investigation of bugs around Woodend. With the snow melting off, we were overjoyed to see our pond water levels return to normal. We cannot wait to investigate and find more frogs and pond bugs once the weather gets even warmer.

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Muddy Buddies

The kids had bugs on the mind, finding places to creep and crawl all around Woodend. The Detectives pretended to be worms and millipedes by crawling through tunnels, and spiders and ants on top of large logs!  We also took to the trails for some log rolling, spying slugs, spider webs, worms and even a salamander!

We enjoyed our last visit from our winter Naturalist, Blue Crab, where he took us around Woodend to explore signs of spring. The Detectives showed him “the far corner” where the kids enjoyed some log tunnel fun.

News from the Classroom

The snow prompted some chilly day indoor activities, including cooking up warm treats in the dramatic play, as well some snowy shaving cream.

The classes enjoyed a Mindful Monday game this go around, practicing our mindful eyes with a What’s Missing style game. The Detectives had to focus and try to spy which items were moved around. It was quite a hit!

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Mindful Monday

Once the snow melted, we jumped straight into our bug unit inside the classroom. Bugs found their way into every area of the classroom, prompting much insect inspired play! Spider webs were found covering our carpets, and the bug puppets were spotted hopping all around.

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For your flies only

The Detectives dug for worms in the discovery table, created their own bug inspired creations with the play dough and made their own small worlds with the toy bugs in our classroom bug hotel!

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Insector Gadget

Many bug creatures emerged  from the art table this week. The Detectives enjoyed creating their own bugs with Popsicle sticks and pom-poms, as well as decorating many legged spider hats.

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Creature Creation

We introduced a new game this past week at preschool- Buggo! It is a combination of a memory and counting game, and the kids were excited to rack up the bugs and look for that tricky, spider buggo card.

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Playing Buggo!

Books we Read

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

The Mitten by Jan Brett

Bob and Otto by Robert O. Bruel

I Love Bugs! By Philemon Sturges

Bugs are Insects by Anne Rockwell

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A very realistic painting

Weekly Top Hits

Little Groundhog (I’m a Little Teapot)

I’m a Little Groundhog, furry and brown,

I pop my head out of my hole and look around,

If I see my shadow I’ll go back down,

For 6 more weeks of Winter underground!

 

Never Ever Squash a Bug (Row, Row, your Boat)

Never ever squash a bug,

They’re Mother Nature’s friends,

Catch them in plastic jar,

And let them go again! 

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Spoiler Alert: The next two weeks we are finishing our Bug unit and prepping for the Spring Celebration!

Detective Post #13

News from the Outdoors:

What do the animals of Woodend do during the Winter time?

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Trees company!

 

That was the question that the Nature Detectives set out to answer this week. We started out by thinking about birds and talking about how some birds migrate, while others stay for the winter, and also how some birds like robins, we see year-round…but the robins we see during the winter are robins from Canada and our Maryland robins head further south. With this knowledge in mind the Nature Detectives set out on a hike around Woodend to scatter some birdseed on the ground for the birds to have a tasty meal during the cold winter days.

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Feeding birds with corn is a-maize-ing!

 

While hiking this week the kids spotted quite a few deer in the woods. We talked about how deer are out and about in the winter and that their bodies adapt for the cold weather. They store up more body fat, grow a thicker, warmer winter coat of fur and hang out in groups. The males also lose their antlers, so on Tuesday we took a hike through the woods to look for antlers and as luck would have it, we even found an antler in the woods! As an added bonus, we noticed some clues that some small rodents (probably mice) had been chewing on the antler.

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Looking at pictures of animal adaptations with Ms. Lisa

 

Lastly we talked about how some animals hibernate during the winter. The animal that comes to mind for hibernation most often is bears, but we don’t have any of those at Woodend, but we do have some other hibernating animals like bats, frogs  and woodchucks. So we talked about those animals and while we were on our hike with Ms. Lisa our Naturalist, we played the Hibernation, Migration Adaptation Game!

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Hibernation, Migration, Adaptation game!

 

To wrap up our last week of school for the 2016 year we bundled up to brave the freezing temperatures and walked to the pond to see if it had frozen overnight. The AM Nature Detectives had fun using sticks to test the thickness of the ice. Much to their disappointment, it was not thick enough for us to walk on!

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Ice, it was water before it was cool.

 

News From the Classroom:

With the Winter Celebration coming at the end of the week, the Nature Detectives found plenty of Winter-themed activities in the classroom. They explored with animals in shaving cream, built hibernation dens for some bears in the block area, and went camping in the tent we set up in the dramatic play area.

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Building Bear Town

 

The Nature Detectives also worked on bird puzzles, used the Build-a-bird toys, created animals, ships, robots and more with the connectagon toys and made deer antler hand print art with finger paint.

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Some serious detecting going on.

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Rescue Ranger

 

We also made our winter hat style crowns for the Winter Celebration and practiced the songs, and worked on hand signs for the concert portion of the Celebration. Some PM kids also created some fancy beaded jewelry to bling out their Winter Celebration style.

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Crowning Achievements

 

Lastly, we ended the week and the 2016 year in style with a fabulous (and festively frosty temperatures) Winter Celebration! Big Thank Yous to all the families for attending, volunteering for set up, reading, photos, snack-making, art, clean-up and everything in-between! Thank you for helping to make the celebrations and the first portion of a school year a double thumbs-up success!

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Weekly Top Hits:

Winter’s Coming

(Tune: Frere Jaques)

Winters coming, winters coming,

It is cold,

It is dark,

I am bundled snug and warm,

Animals sleep safe and warm,

Sleds and snow,

Cold winds blow!

 

Feed, Feed, Feed the Birds

(Tune: Row, row, row your Boat)

Feed, feed, feed the birds in the winter time

When the weather’s dark and cold

Food is hard to find!

Feed, feed, feed the birds til the Spring has come

Scatter birdseed on the snow

feeding birds is fun!

 

Hibernation (Bat Verse)

(Tune: Alouette)

Hibernation, time for hibernation

Hibernation, time to go to sleep

In the winter where’s the bat?

In a cave is where it’s at!

Where’s the Bat?

Where’s it at?

Oooooooh – Oh! Hibernation, time for hibernation

Hibernation, time to go to sleep!

-zzzz-

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Sand Angels!

 

Books We Read:

Going Home by Marianne Berkes

The First Day of Winter by Denise Fleming

When Winter Comes by Nancy Van Laan

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All smiles in the cold!

 

Spoiler Alert!

When we return…Nocturnal Animals

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Tree you next year!

Detective Post #11

News From the Outdoors:

The Nature Detectives dove into another week of Planetpals by meeting Breezy, a Planetpal that represents wind and fresh air. For our hike we headed to the Stumps and played The Big Wind Blows, a game of making connections and best of all, running around.

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Getting ready to play The Big Wind Blows

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H2O-no you didn’t!

 

On Tuesday, we had to get into full rain gear for our outside portion of the day. We walked up to the Amphitheater to check out the flying squirrel feeder, and roll some logs. On the way there some of the kids picked up new copies of the Naturalist Quarterly, which has a map of Woodend on the cover and the kids had fun locating where some of their favorite spots are on the map! While hiking in the afternoon, some of the PM kids spotted the elusive fox that has been seen hanging around Woodend!

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Streaming, offline

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Nature Preschool: never too mainstream

 

Heavy rains again on Wednesday made for some fun river/water pipe creation on the playground and some soggy hikes around the grounds. The week of fun in the outdoors was capped off on Thursday by heading up to the Rain Garden where recently, lots of construction has been happening. A landscaping crew was there to do some planting and the Nature Detectives got to pitch in and help by planting some Golden Ragwort and Rush!

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Say hello to my little frond.

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Gettin’ diggy wit it!

 

News From the Classroom:

With this being our final week of Planetpals, it was a busy week in the classroom as well. The kids made kites to play with in the breeze with Breezy, used puff balls to make craters on the moon for Moonbeam, played Planetpal Bingo after meeting Starbaby (as named by the AM class)/Starbright (as named by the PM class). Starbaby/Starbright also taught us that our other Planetpal, Sunnyray is ALSO a star, just much closer to us, so it looks bigger than the other stars we see in the night sky.  Lastly, we met Recycle Girl on Friday and talked about all the different ways we can reduce, reuse and recycle at school and at home.

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Piece out

 

The Nature Detectives also added another page to their journals when they wrote about different ways in which they themselves are Planetpals and help the earth. To cap off the Planetpal unit, each class made a Planetpal class book filled with pictures of their favorite Planetpals, and/or created their own new Planetpals!

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Planetpal Bingo

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These moons are out of this world!

 

The AM class was happy to see Ann-Mari return from her travels abroad when she joined the class on Thursday and shared a fun book with the class about the wind. Ms. Susan also brought a fun book about compost stew to share with the PM class. After reading that book we then took a hike up to the Audubon Compost bins to drop off the school’s compost and make some compost stew of our own! The PM class also created not one, but two birthday books this week!

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Reading with Ann-Mari

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Creating new Planetpals

 

Books we Read:

Gilberto and the Wind by Marie Hallets

Mooncake by Ashe

Not a Stick by Antoinette Portis

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Compost, because a rind is a terrible thing to waste.

 

Weekly Top Hits:

I see the Moon:

I see the moon and the moon sees me

Under the shade of the old oak tree

please let the light that shines on me

shine on the ones I love

Over the mountains and under the sea

back where my heart is longing to be

please let the light that shines on me

shine on the ones I love

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

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Waterslides!

 

Spoiler Alert!:

Next week we’ll start our camping unit!

The Detective Post #10

News from the Outdoors

Despite the shorter week, the Detectives were able to fit a lot into only two days at Audubon! We continued our Planet Pals unit, meeting the Planet Pals named Fluffy and H2O. On Monday the classes went looking for H2O at Woodend! The AM class hiked along the creek beds, finding leaves, an old well, but no water until we hit the pond. While the PM class experimented with mud at the pond, using different sized sticks to determine how deep down the muddy mud goes!

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Well, well, well, look who we found here!

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Measuring mud with sticks!

 

On Tuesday both classes enjoyed reading It Looked like Spilt Milk before cloud gazing! While we couldn’t find a ton of clouds, we looked for the objects the clouds had also made in the story.

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Tricky Fluffy

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I-Spy Sunny Ray!

 

News from the Classroom

This week the Detectives continued our Planet Pal discovery inside the classroom. In our Planet Pal mail during meeting, we learned about how Fluffy and H2O work together in the water cycle. We continued our discovery of the two by adding water and sponges to the water table, having the water evaporate into sponge clouds and rain back down into the table below.

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H2O-Yeah!

 

On Monday we also learned a new Mindfullness trick- “take five!” This can help when any feeling starts to get too big, and to help calm our bodies. You hold one hand out, and with the opposite pointer finger trace the outside of your hand. While tracing up, you breath in, and when you trace down, you breath out! We also got a chance to make our own, Fluffy Fidgets! The kids used funnels to pour flour into balloons to create soft and colorful clouds to squeeze in their hands.

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From tunnels to funnels!

 

We continued building with zoobs at the block area, and added more corresponding Planet Pal capes in the dramatic play. We added Planet Pal themed stamps to the play dough we made last week, as well as opened up a new Planet Pal matching game on the campfire carpet!

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Making clouds is cirrus business

 

At the art table this week, we created Planet Pal inspired pieces! On Monday we made sea creatures with eye dropper water colors, oil pastels and stickers. The shaving cream came out in spades on Tuesday to help us create our own shapes in the clouds.

Books we Read

Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty (AM)

Are you a Ladybug? by Julie Allen (PM)

It Looked like Spilt Milk by Charles G. Shaw

The Magic School Bus: Wet All Over by Joanna Cole

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Weekly Top Hits

I’M THANKFUL

(tune of Mary Had a Little Lamb)

I’m thankful for my family, family, family,

I’m thankful for my family and everyone I love

I’m thankful for my friends at school, friends at school, friends at school,

I’m thankful for my friends at school and my teachers too

I’m thankful for all animals, animals, animals,

I’m thankful for all animals and all insects too

I’m thankful for the trees and plants, trees and plants, trees and plants,

I’m thankful for the trees and plants and everything that grows

I’m thankful for the earth I love, earth I love, earth I love,

I’m thankful for the earth I love and all the planet pals

The Water Cycle

(Tune: She’ll be Comin’ Round the Mountain)

Water travels in cycle, yes it does (x2)

It goes up as evaporation,

forms clouds of condensation,

falls down as precipitation,

yes it does!

 

Spoiler Alert: When we come back from our break we will be finishing up our Planet Pals unit!