11 December, 2010

An icy week

This week has been a bit chilly in our area, and I am delighted to report that despite the nip in the air, our class spent some time outdoors, every day.

The children have really embraced the onset of Winter and have enjoyed a variety of cold activities, around the classroom.

We read The Story of the Snow Children by Sibylle von Olfers.  This is a sweet story and nicely simple for my children, who are so excited about Christmas they are a wee bit bonkers!  : )

and a few snow children even came to visit our nature table!

The children also enjoyed some time finding penguin "twins," in our "Find It" table.  (You can read about how I obtained the materials for this table, here.)
I have 2 Safari penguin toobs, so I put all the penguins from both of these into our icy ocean.  The children have so enjoyed finding the matches.  They also love fleeing the orca and her babies, and making the penguins toboggan down the iceberg into the ocean!

We have a few icy practical life activities too:
grasping "ice pieces",

sorting more "ice pieces",

sewing snowman cards,

parts of a penguin puzzle,

snowflake matching cards (in a hand knitted snowy themed pouch),

Christmas transfer with chopsticks,

and our old water works (which have been in the cupboard for a few weeks) including . . .

medium pipette water transfer (which my students call the middle squeezer work)

and a cute Nativity puzzle (given to me by my lovely friend Kara)

Our nature table also has a really nifty Wintery colored (white) skull which I got in a nature table exchange (Thanks, Honey!)

Our little stick fairy is now holding some snowflake dancing scarves which we use when we dance to Waltz of the Snowflakes from The Nutcracker by Tchaikovsky.

And to go along with our Nutcracker theme, we have some really cute nesting nutcrackers.  The children love these!
  • My favorite icy activity this week was one I would never have thought of on my own, so I am especially grateful for Jean at The Artful Parent, surely an astonishing artist and a wonderful blogger.  She recently had an inspiring post on making ice wreaths.  After reading it I decided to give it a try and also tie it to our science studies including . . . 
  • outside v. inside temperatures
  • temperatures in shady v. sunny locations
  • solids v. liquids
  • local plants during Winter (which have leaves and /or flowers and what they look like now)
On Thursday our class grabbed a bundt pan and headed outside to collect materials.  When I asked the children later to recall what items they had gathered, they listed
  • red berries
  • leaves
  • brown leaves
  • seeds
  • orange berries
  • flowers (the children noticed they were a bit brown and shriveled as it is Winter)
  • green leaves
We placed all of these items into the pan, along with one pitcher of water.  We then found a shady place on the playground and left the pan overnight.  We knew how cold it gets outside, and how at night the temperature gets even lower because the sun isn’t shining.  We hoped the water would freeze and become a solid substance, ice!  (Note:  In order to ensure this experiments success, I did give the wreath a little freezing help, in the freezer.)
Friday, before heading outside, we took a vote about what we thought the results of our wreath experiment would be.  11 children and my assistant thought the wreath would be frozen into ice and 2 children and I thought it might still be water.  

The children bounded out to the shady playground spot to check!  It was a little crowded in those bushes, but even in the crowd, the results could be seen clearly.    The wreath was definitely frozen!

We popped it out of the pan, and hung it on a tree in the front of the school.  Here it is!  Isn't it pretty?

The children also checked out the ice wreath made by the class across the hall.  They hung theirs outside their classroom window, a few hours earlier than we hung ours in the tree.  Sunlight streams into their classroom all day long, so my students noticed right away their wreath was dripping!

By the end of the day, ours was dripping a bit too!

And here was what they looked like this morning!
Ours . . .

And the other class' (notice the ribbon now has nothing on it!)

I sent my students an e-mail update with these photos, but next year I will be sure to do this project on a day when we will be in school the next day!  : )

Next week we will continue talking more about temperatures and the differences between solids and liquids.  As a part of this lesson we will be making and using oobleck!  I will post about this fun and very cool project early next week!

Here's hoping all you readers are keeping warm and snug during this "icy" weekend!


  1. Thanks for letting me know.... blogger had put blogger.com in front of all of the links!

  2. Love all of your icy week works. How lovely! Hope that you are having a happy time prepping for the holidays.

    We have your peace card you made us on our tree as an ornament of sorts...Looks lovely and smells great, too.
    Thanks again for making this card for us.

    We are getting excited about pulling out our Stonehenge work that you made for us for when we talk about Winter Solstice too. That is such a cool work. The boys used it when we exchanged packages a while back, but will love using it again when we discuss the concept of Winter Solstice.

    Hope all is well with you. Things are getting better here. Colleen

  3. Nice, nice! I'll probably go and buy a pan just because this wreath - is it so beautiful. Stocking Nutcrackers are amazing - where did you find them? And we love that lil' Canadian girl at the end as well!

  4. I confess, I bought the pan just for this! I'm sure I can find other uses for it too, but . . .

    : ) Thanks!!!


Thank you for your comments. They are always much appreciated. : )