Thursday, May 31, 2018

May was Marvelous

Here is a look into what we have been up to during the month of May!

Our literacy time has been busy and bustling.  We continue to work on carefully writing our letters and learning sight words.  As we connect letters to the sounds that they make we are growing more confident with our ability to stretch words out as we write and read.

This month we welcomed several Mystery Readers into our classroom for read aloud time.  Family members of our students signed up to read to us and we had the best time.

Our science unit this month focused on plants.  We planted seeds and watched them quickly grow.  
We conducted other plant experiments as well.  We learned about the parts of a plant and compared the stem to a straw.  We placed celery stalks in colored water and watched as the leaves on the celery changed color to match the water.  Similar to a straw, a stem sucks up water to give the entire plant nutrients.  
In our other experiment, we considered what plants need to survive.  We planted seeds with some of those necessary things missing.  One plant was missing water, one was missing soil, and one was missing sun.  It was extremely surprising to see that each plant grew (we created some theories as to why that was)... but it wasn't surprising to see that the plant getting all of the necessary nutrients grew to be the largest and greenest.

As part of our plant unit in science we tried each part of a plant for a snack.  We ate carrots for the roots, celery for the stem, spinach for the leaves, broccoli for the flower, and peanuts for the seeds.  We ate samples of each part and got to vote for our favorite.  Carrots (or the root) was the winner!

This month we were lucky enough to incubate eggs that would later hatch into... chicks!  We learned that it takes 21 days for the eggs to develop.  We followed the journey of the chicks by watching a video periodically so that we could journal about the development.  Seven of our eggs hatched and we fell in love with our fluffy little friends.  It was an experience we'll always remember!

Our math time has been filled with comparing numbers, creating equations, and counting patterns.  We have also been studying shapes more closely as we compare, sort, and describe them.

What's that sound?  It's thunder!  As the thunder storms started rolling in, we got to read Thunder Cake by Patricia Pollaco.  It's a story about a girl and her grandmother gathering ingredients to make a cake before a thunder storm reaches their home.  There was a secret ingredient in the cake that made it extra delicious... tomatoes!  We loved making it and eating it after we read the story.

Ms. Keel continues to come into the classroom for guidance lessons.  We have been talking about personal space, safety, and being kind.  We even made a kindness quilt!  On squares of paper we gave an example or how we have been kind to others.

Our adventures in the forest have continued with experiments and exploring!  We raced ducks, cooked delicious snacks, hiked to new places, and saw many creatures along the way.

We have had many "alphabit" celebrations this year.  Some have included stuffees, pajamas, movies, and recently we celebrated earning 100 "alphabits" with a popsicle party!

We are currently practicing and preparing for our end of the year celebration.  We will be performing The Very Hungry Caterpillar with KR.  We are so excited to show everyone what we've been working on!  Join us in the library at 8:00 next Friday (June 8th) for snacks, a show, and a review of our year in Kindergarten.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Forest Friday, May 25th

 "I hope to see a duck." -Mannered Meadow Vole
 "I hope to see a great crested fly catcher." -Relaxed Red Fox
"I hope to see a toad." -Noble North American River Otter

In Naturally Curious we looked through the entire month of May before beginning our journals.  It was our last day in May to be in the forest.  Some of us chose to write about what we will see in nature while others wrote about what they hoped to play.

This week we were back at our home base for sit spots.  We used our five senses and then shared what we noticed around the fire.  We noticed that it was even more green in the forest and that means that it is less dry and we were allowed to build a fire!  We also noticed that our rain gauge had collected some water.  We measured about an inch of rain water.

There were creatures everywhere in the forest!  We found salamanders, centipedes, and caterpillars.  It's important to handle these creatures with care especially because we were in their homes!  Some of us made little houses for the creatures during play time and were surprised to find they had left while we were having lunch later.

For snack we ate some very green, very delicious asparagus.  We cooked it over the fire with butter, oil, and salt.  Then we grabbed a toothpick and dug right in.  Almost everyone loved it.

Before lunch we went on an adventure to a place of our choosing with a teacher leading the way.  Those of us in Miss Wetzel's group went to the square rock and beyond, pretending like we were various animals along the way.

It was very windy outside today!  We could hear it in the trees and were glad that it kept us nice and cool in the forest.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Forest Friday, May 18th

"I hope to see a salamander." - Strong Snowshoe Hare
 "I hope to see blue-eyed grass." - Mannered Meadow Vole
 "I hope to see flowers." - Noble North American River Otter
"I hope to see a purple flowering raspberry." - Magnificent Moose

In Naturally Curious we looked at more natural happenings in May.  This week we focused on insects and plants but we were allowed to write about anything that we had seen in the May section.  In the journal entries above you can see that we worked hard to use finger spaces between our words, carefully wrote our sight words, and stretched out unknown words.

We were not allowed to have a fire again (because we still haven't gotten much rain!) and we decided not to go up to our home base.  We stayed in the lower section of the forest around the stream.  Our challenge for sit spots was to find a completely different place where we could be by ourselves to observe nature.  When we came back together to share what we noticed some of us shared about watching chipmunks and squirrels, seeing more green in the forest, and feeling the sun where we were sitting.

For snack we made pizza!  Right next to the school there is a pizza oven.  We rolled out the dough, added some toppings, and then placed the food in the oven.  There were some delicious fresh ingredients that we could add to our pizza including asparagus, onion, cucumber, pepper, and also cheese, olives, and pepperoni.  We knew that Martha Stewart says it is rude to pick food off of our pizza so we tried to eat everything we added.  We really loved the pizza!

While some made pizza, others played in the forest!  We noticed that the stream and "Wetzel Falls" was pretty dry with the lack of rain.  We made up a lot of games in the forest.  Some of us chased each other and others played house.  It was fun to explore a new area.
Before lunch we used rubber ducks in the stream once again!  We were hoping there would be more water but we may have to wait until it rains more.  We all made a dam with rocks and sticks to let some water build up and then when we took the dam down the ducks were able to flow easier down part of the stream.  There was even a huge duck that we could play with.

Right before we went inside we went on a little walk.  The walk brought us by a small place where other students had come to learn in the forest.  We also visited a tree that is 200 years old!  It was very large.  

 "I saw the old classroom in the forest." - Wonderful White-Footed Deer Mouse
"I made a pizza." - Glowing Gray Tree Frog

We had a great day in the forest and we enjoyed writing about our day when we came inside.

(Please make sure that you check your child for ticks each day that they arrive home!)

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Forest Friday, May 11th

"I hope to see a red fox." -Balanced Blue Jay
"I hope to see a bear." -Responsible Red Squirrel
"I hope to see a moose." -Bubbly Bobcat
"I hope to see a den." -Energetic Eastern Newt

We took a glance at Naturally Curious again this week, paying close attention to the mammal section of what we will see in May.  It was exciting to think that we could see these animals (or signs of them) in our own woods!  Our illustrations showed our excitement and as you can see we worked hard to add details and realistic colors.

For snack we made pancakes!  Since it was very dry outside we couldn't have a fire and so we made our snack in the cafeteria.  There was a special something in the pancake... a slice of strawberry!  We were all encourage to try the strawberry and we got to dip our pancake in some sweet maple syrup.  One of the tiny pancakes was in the shape of a heart.

After sit spots we shared what we noticed around the circle.  Some of us noticed that the buds on trees had grown fully into leaves.  Magnificent Moose found a feather!  Last week we had set up a rain gauge so that we could keep track of the rain that we get each week.  We were surprised to see that there was no water in the rain gauge... no wonder we couldn't have a fire!
We also noticed that the pine cone bird feeders were gone and all that was left was the yarn that was used to hang the feeders.  We made predictions about what had happened.  Could it have been a bear that wandered over and had a little snack??

We ate lunch around the fire pit and then headed down to the stream where each of us got a rubber ducky to race!  Since it was more dry outside than last week we had to use sticks and other means to help the duckies along.  We're hoping to try it again sometime when the stream is higher and faster flowing.

"We had a ducky race." -Brave Barred Owl
"I found a feather in the forest." -Magnificent Moose
"I did a ducky race." -Mannered Meadow Vole
"I played on the chain." -Relaxed Red Fox

Miss Wetzel was proud of the work that we put into our journals this week.  We are learning that it's okay to make mistakes as long as we try and do the best we can!

Friday, May 4, 2018

Forest Friday, May 4th

"I hope to see a nest."
"I hope that we have Star Wars marshmallows." - Brave Barred Owl
"I hope to see an American toad." - Energetic Eastern Newt

We continue to work so hard on stretching our words to hear sounds.  Naturally Curious has been helping us get excited about what we are going to see.  We think it so cool to read about what we might see outside each month and then actually see it in real life!

In sit spots we were silent and observed what was around us.  When we shared what we noticed around the fire, some of us said that they heard birds, some said that they saw the sun shining, and some said that they felt the squishy ground under their feet.

During playtime many of us made bird feeders!  First we collected as many pine cones as we could.  After grouping them by 10's we counted 115 pine cones.  Then we got to work!  We spread peanut butter on the pine cones and then rolled them in bird seed.  Each person hung them in different places and we can't wait to see if the birds will visit when we are in the forest next week!

Other activities during playtime included pretend barn/horse play in the log cabin, hammer work on our chains, fort building, and salamander seeking.

For snack we fried up some carrots from Mr. Sadowski's garden.  We had to peel and cut them (with the help of an adult of course!) and then added them to the pan with some oil.  So many of us tried them and loved them!  It helped that we had some peppered dip to eat with them.

We also got to eat lunch outside today!  We make sure that we clean up our mess and carry out everything that we carry into the forest.

"I made bird feeders." - Magnificent Moose
"I unhitched the hut." - Brave Black Bear

When we went back inside we wrote in our journals, reflecting on what we had done in the forest.  Some of us wrote about snack, playtime, and the work that we did while outside.  We focused on adding details to our illustrations.