20 March, 2012

Truthful Tuesday

While one area of my classroom does look like this . . .

another area looks like this!  Eeek!

Well, we were busy birds.  : )

18 March, 2012

Nests, Nests, Nests

Spring has come early this year, and with it came our study of birds.  My current class has been really enjoying our bird watching time.  Can you tell what kinds of birds we have seen?

I am so impressed by the children's attention to detail in their bird drawings!

We have used some of the bird materials I made in previous years.  You can read about some of those here.

We used bird calls similar to the ones my class made last year, to call birds as we walked around our school campus. The children also carried clipboards with a piece of paper on which to record the number of each kind of bird they saw.  They were to mark the paper with a dot each time they saw a particular type of bird.  This little fellow decided to make a big dot when he saw a large number of one particular type of bird.  What a good idea!

While we were out looking for birds, a robin buzzed right by us, intent on her destination, her new nest!  She had a beak full of what looked to be dried grass.  The children of course, ran shrieking over to where she was busy building.  Poor Mrs. Robin.  Luckily she chose to build her nest in a high location, on the top of an air conditioning unit!

When we came back inside, one of the children asked if I would reread The Best Nest.  I did, and they all wanted to make a list of what they would use to build their own nests.  

That was all on Friday.  Over the weekend I have been pondering how the children could make their own nests.  I found some links online to marvelous looking projects, but they all looked a bit too big for us to undertake right now.  I scaled down my original idea and came up with . . .

this!  Tah dah!

This is a small nest which I think, with a little help, my students should be able to create. 

My daughter helped me with this project.  Here's how we made our nest.

First we gathered some nesting materials.

Then I twisted three pipe cleaners together, into a 6 pointed star shape.

I began weaving, creating the bottom of the nest with a daffodil leaf, tucking in 
the edges at the beginning and end of the leaf, over, under, over, under.  
Once the bottom was completed, C was able to continue the weaving.

A piece of English Ivy stripped of its leaves, made great weaving material.

A thin branch of flowering quince made a beautiful top of the nest.

I helped C finish up too, folding down the edges of the pipe cleaners, 
wrapping it around any loose or flyaway bits of the nest.

The perfect finishing touch was this sweet little wood burned egg that 
I recently got in a wonderful swap.  Thanks, Hallie!  

I hope my students will like this activity as much as my daughter and I did.  Maybe you and your children (or students) will like it too!  

04 March, 2012

Animals at our School: Beavers

On our fabulous walk Into the Woods, look what I found!  

Yes, it is a stick.  

But what a stick it is!  I picked it up because it was so light in color, I thought it must be from a birch tree.  I said to myself, "Hmmmm.  I haven't seen any birch trees around here."  Then I looked carefully at the stick and noticed . . .

it was covered with tiny tooth marks!  

I found a few more sticks that looked very similar to the first one I picked up, and after we finished our outside time I brought them all inside. The children helped me examine them, and our school's science teacher kindly helped us prove what we thought might be the case.  This stick had been gnawed and stripped of its bark, by a beaver!  

Yup, that's this little fellow here:

See his front teeth?  They're a little hard to see in this picture, but if you look carefully you can see them. They're right in the front of his mouth and they're (sorry Mr. Beaver, but its true) yellowish brown.  

Beavers eat tree bark (amongst other things) and also use their teeth to cut trees for dam and lodge building.  One of the sticks I found was only half chewed.  The children thought maybe the beaver got full and just left some of his food behind.  I hoped we didn't interrupt his meal and then take away his food!  How rude of us!  

Here is the half eaten stick.  

After examining the sticks, I put out the few books I had that referenced beavers, along with a wonderful beaver puppet.  The children of course, went right to work with him, "chewing" up the classroom!

My students are currently pretty involved in their learning about birds and the kinds of trees in our woods, but you never know when someone might want to veer off a bit and learn about another one of our animal neighbors.  So it is wonderful to have this evidence of beavers, who must be living and working nearby.  

Here is a little video of beavers, if you would like to see one.  It gives you a good idea of how our sticks came to look the way they do!  

Ch ch ch ch ch ch ch!