Saturday, December 3, 2016

Mrs. C. and Mrs. Walsh Seager 4's Dec. 3

Our hikes are sometimes planned, dictated by the seasons or the  weather. It might be a color hike, ABC hike, mushroom hike, animal home hike or stream hike. The best ones are influenced by the children’s interest that day or what Mother Nature happens to lay at our feet. 

This one particular day we were “deep into the woods” when we found a fallen nest. At first we thought it was a bees nest, but with the help of google, we discovered it was a Paper Wasp nest.  The outside  paper mache  like material is layered with colors of brown, white and grey.  The intricate design appears to be painted on.  The wasps chew on plant fibers and mix it with their saliva to form a sticky adhesive which they use to create the structure surrounding the cells. Unlike honey bee cells, these cells are only for laying eggs.  It is quite an amazing structure.  While the nest is active, it is strong enough to withstand wind and rain.  We plan on spraying it with several coats of lacquer so we can continue to explore it.
Paper Wasp nest
Mid November, 60 degrees and everyone wore boots!  It was a stream walking day.   Part of the stream was dry and other parts were deep enough to go over the top of their boots. As the children navigated over logs, boulders and  slippery rocks, they questioned why some rocks were so smooth. We talked about how over time the water rushing over the rocks rubs off the rough edges.  

A group of children found a large, recently deceased, grasshopper.  They insisted it was just sleeping.  After being shaken and prodded, they decided yes it was dead. They gave it a proper burial in the dirt at the base of a tree surrounded with pebbles and twigs.   Two days later, they were excited to show us another grasshopper.  They couldn’t fool us, it was the same one! 

Behind the school, we planted a few evergreen saplings.  The children measured and predicted how tall they will get. Looking at our rain graph told us that the saplings had gotten plenty of rain.

Planting saplings
Measuring sapling growth
We think the little plants got enough water for the week.

Our dramatic center was a campground.  Right outside the tee-pee were logs for stacking to make the perfect fire.  They could cook up some food or roast marshmallows (cotton balls on a stick).  If you traveled just past the campfire you came to Ted’s Tackle Shop, ( yes it was “T” week).   There you could purchase fresh worms (curly pipe cleaners) and walk down to the fishing pond to catch some dinner.

The wooden trains were in the block area for creating a train station, or just a circle of tracks to sit in.

It is amazing what they do when given sturdy cardboard pieces.  A few children balanced cars using a tube and ramp pieces, while others built a highway infrastructure.  They are thinking like engineers! They also accepted the “toothpick challenge”  What can we build with toothpicks and clay?

How many cars can we balance?

The children created tree cookie turkeys.  They glued down crumbled leaves, added eyes,a  beak and feathers.  The water colored pictures while listening to the soundtrack to Toy Story. There were pictures of families, rainbows, bridges and a dog with a bone. 
They made pumpkin pies using pumpkin playdough and cotton balls for whipped cream.
Working on fine motor, they tried sewing with embroidery hoops.  We used yarn, large plastic needles and burlap.

In small groups, the children used word puzzles to  match the letters to form simple words.  We introduced 2 new sight words and used tree cookies to spell them.  We are working on last name recognition.

The number line was stretched across the floor.  The children aimed for a number and then hopped to it providing gross motor as well as number recognition.  Using small wood blocks, they measured and compared lengths of various objects, pencils, plastic worms, straw pieces and links.
Thank you for supporting pennies for pies.  The park district purchased 120 pumpkin pies to help make Thanksgiving extra yummy for local families. 

Dates to remember:
Parent/teacher conference---Dec.9
Family Snow Day---Dec. 21.
Winter break starts Dec. 23, classes resume Jan. 11, 2017!

Have a good weekend
Mrs. Walsh and Mrs. C,