Thursday, March 23, 2017

Snowshoe Hares, Lynx, and Sap

   It was very cold this morning so we adapted yet again and had our morning meeting indoors and took our time getting outdoors. The children were bundled well against the cold, and by the time we went out, the temperature had gone up and the sun was warming. We played Coyotes and Mice on the way, and our little mice were so quiet and careful that our coyote remained pretty hungry. We had sit spot time which was not very quiet and calm, and then we practiced one minute of quiet, still time. We were back to our regular meeting spot at the logs this week since the ice has melted away, and we checked the weather, ate snack with warm apple cider, and enjoyed a story about How Snowshoe Hare Got its Winter White Color. We pretended we were lynx trying to find snowshoe hares in the snow. We saw how camouflage works when it was harder to find the white hares and easy to spot the brown ones. We reviewed the words "camouflage" and "contrast," which the class discussed in Art yesterday. We learned that snowshoe hares can jump as far as 12 feet! On the way back to school we found a good maple tree to tap, hung a bucket, and immediately saw sap flowing. We look forward to checking our bucket for sap soon! 
   Later we pretended we were lynx searching for hares in the classroom. These hares were camouflaged very well, and some are still hidden. We also looked at photographs of hares and lynx and saw the size of hares' hind feet. 

Weather Report by Mindful Moose:

The temperature at 10:20 is 22º F.
The weather is sunny and windy, 5 inches of snow.
We are enjoying the snowshoe hare story with snack and warm apple cider.
Can you spot all the snowshoe hares? (Hint: There are 3 white and 4 brown.)
The lynx caught snowshoe hares.
"Look what I found!"
We found a nice maple tree to tap.
We are watching the drips of sap.
Thank you to Gret for help with snack and cider! 
Thank you to Kate for lending us your drill!

Books we consulted in class today included: 
Naturally Curious: Day by Day, by Mary Holland,
Tracking and the Art of Seeing: How to Read Animal Tracks and Sign, by Paul Rezendes, and
Mammal Tracks and Scat: Life-Size Tracking Guide, by Lynn Levine and Martha Mitchell.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Mannequins in the Forest

There have been so many changes out here since last time we were out for Forest Day, two weeks ago due to vacation. Everyone was asked to notice changes on the way into the forest classroom, and we shared our observations at morning meeting. These included water in the field, much less snow, it was colder, it was icy, and we could see leaves on the ground again.
A big change was how icy our regular meeting spot was. For safety we made a new meeting spot for the day.
We created a makeshift meeting spot in an area with no ice, and everyone adapted easily.
morning meeting greetings
Weather Report by Courageous Crow:
The temperature at 9:40 is 32º F.
The weather is windy, icy, and cold.
Temperature guesses included: colder, 20, 32, and 40º F.
 sit spot

a movement game to keep warm
play time:
Breaking ice was a major play activity today. The children got quite far with it. This activity, along with the addition of a few new tools, necessitated practice sharing and working out conflicts—an important part of kindergarten play and work.
Motivated Marten noticed this hole containing leaves and pine needles and wondered if it was a nesting cavity. 
Courageous Crow, Caring Catamount, and Perceptive Peregrine Falcon played in the last pile of snow, sharing and trading tools. They solved a mystery about why this pile of snow was still here when other snow had melted away.
balancing, supported by friends
All Aboard! Three friends took turns driving this "train."
an ice sculpture
working with ice chunks
Along with the rest of the school, kindergarten participated in the Mannequin Challenge this week leading up to Winter Carnival. Of course we were mannequins in the forest! The children were great and had fun. We thank Simone for creating our video. See it here: K Mannequin Challenge.
passing the "talking stick" while sharing aloud their thoughts on the morning

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Snowshoeing in the Sun

We are wearing our brand new neck warmers donated by Turtle Fur in Morrisville, VT. Although the weather wasn't very cold today, we will need them again to keep toasty warm on cold winter days. Thank you Turtle Fur!

We enjoyed a warm winter morning snowshoeing in the fields above school. We snowshoed through the fields, circled up and had morning meeting, took a break for snack and cocoa, had free play time in the fields and trees, and got back in snowshoes to visit the pond then return to school. The children shed layers as the morning warmed up with a blue sky and bright sunshine. We thank Christa for helping and the preschool for lending us their snowshoes!

Setting out: 

Observing on the way: 
 Morning meeting:  
 Play time: 

At the pond: 
  On the move:

Our snowshoe hike map:

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Lots of Snow

Each child is given a challenge to think about while walking to the forest. They might be looking for an animal sign, listening to the surrounding sounds, touching two different textures, finding a tree with leaves, thinking of a word to describe the snow, or counting the clouds. They share their observations and ideas with the group at morning meeting. Today the last group into the forest took their time walking, talking, falling, getting up, and challenging themselves to "walk where it's hard," walking off, rather than on, the well-stomped path through the fields. 

Weather Report by Perceptive Peregrine Falcon:
The temperature at 10:08 is 26º F.
16 inches of snow, cloudy, snow.
Temperature guesses: 22, 32, 33, 44º F

our weather station 
Our sitting logs and fire pit were buried from this past week's snow.

We began by trying to find 100 dots dropped in the snow around the forest classroom.

Everyone searched and found lots of dots.

We worked together to count the dots. We used 10-frames to help. We found 88 at first. After more searching at free play time, we were up to 90. We still have 10 more to find. The children did the math, of course.

morning meeting greeting

While eating a snack warm from the fire, we listened to our fire story told aloud, this time from a different character's perspective. 
Play time!

Back indoors we reviewed ways to keep warm outdoors in winter.
We began by dressing a person for cold weather, from bottom layers to outer layers.
After dressing our person well, we discussed the behaviors that keep us warm and those that make us cold. Later everyone drew and wrote something they'll do to keep warm at Forest Days for the rest of this winter.