Friday, September 30, 2016

Deer Ears

Deer friends play together on the rock wall between forest and field.
At forest day today we learned about deer and put on Deer Ears to enhance the sense of sound. First we gathered to talk about what we noticed on the way to the forest and share a snack. Next we heard a story about deer called The Fawn at Woodland Way. We practiced cupping our hands around our ears to make "deer ears" to hear better. We pointed our deer ears forwards and backwards, moving them around as deer do, as we tried to hear better. We walked backwards away from a sound using human ears then deer ears to see which way we heard better. During free play time many children became deer with ears and antlers and played fawns, deer, and foxes. Some were carefully sneaking through the forest in a line of quiet deer. Others ran from field to forest, climbed on the rock wall, and built with wood or sticks. Back together in the field we played a listening and matching game. Using good listening and working together, we shook canisters filled with natural objects to find matches that sounded the same. Returning to a previous favorite activity, we played one round of fawns and a fox, where the fawns stay quiet and still to not get eaten, but this time the fawns had their heads and eyes up to watch for the fox. By practicing being still, quiet, and watchful we are building skills the children will use later at sit spots, when they will sit quietly and observe the forest for a few minutes at a time. They were great deer, fawns, foxes, builders, and friends in the forest today!
We find a spider web in the grass on the way to the forest.
Deer Ears help us hear better.
The class listens to directions for the next game.
Deer friends talk in the field.
Children shake and listen to containers with natural objects to match the sounds.
Do the sounds match?
A fox stalks around to catch fawns in the field. Fawns were quiet, still, and watchful as they waited today.
Fawns learn to be quiet as they evade the hungry fox.
Deer play at free play time.
Deer dance with their new ears and tails.
At free play time a fox tries to catch a group of deer.
We build at free play time.
building and playing
navigating the rock wall
Friends play together on the rock wall.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Owl Eyes

owls flying in the field
Today we practiced using our senses outdoors again, concentrating on sight with our Owl Eyes. We heard the book All About Owls, by Jim Arnosky, saw how big our eyes would be if we were owls, and pretended we were owls finding mice as we saw and collected small objects in the field. At playtime some children helped build a wall of sticks for a structure, some took a walk and found a cut log with a cavity where a bird had nested, others played with a pulley and rope to lift a log, and some continued with a game of shooting tent stakes off a taut rope—a game they kept revising due to safety concerns. We ended by talking about something new each saw today.
Thank you to our helper dad and baby brother in the forest today!
Happy first day of fall!
Who has owl-sized eyes? 
owl eyes and owl calls

pulley and ropes

lifting a log

observing a log with a cavity and bird nest inside

exploring acorns

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Beetle, Hawks, Fawns, and a Coyote

Hawks fly around the field before gathering in a hawk circle to hear directions for a game.
This week the class has been learning about the five senses through books, sensory walks, and drawings. We began forest day this morning focusing on the senses, too. As the children walked through the still-wet fields to reach the forest classroom, each had a task that involved seeing, hearing, smelling, or touching. Some listened for and counted animal sounds while others touched objects to notice how they felt. Once in the forest classroom everyone shared something they noticed with their senses on the walk. We shared a snack together, some of the children retold last week's story, and we heard a new story, How the Beetle Got Her Colors. After reviewing safety it was play time, and what a play time it was! The children were very busy with digging tools, ropes, and sticks. A group engineered a zip line, others built forts, one drew and wrote, and another built a trap with logs, trees, and rope. Next we joined together for a game in the sunny, warm field. In this game the fawns lay down and hid from one coyote who was looking for food. Without a scent the fawns were safe unless they moved or made noise, so our fawns practiced being quiet and still on the ground while the coyote prowled. The coyote ate, but not too much as our fawns were very careful. We ended our morning with each sharing something we did today that we'd like to do another forest day. These ideas included improving the zip line, continuing fort building, and playing the fawns and coyote game again. It was a great morning in the forest!
bringing in supplies
choosing tools for play time
testing the zip line
fun with friends
drawing and writing
a trap
a swing
a hawk circle to gather for directions
Fawns hide so they don't get caught by a hungry coyote.
A hungry coyote can't find any moving or noisy fawns.
celebrating not getting caught by the coyote
Bringing the supply wheelbarrow back down to school is fun work!

Friday, September 9, 2016

A New School Year in the Forest Begins!

The new kindergarten class enters the forest classroom!

Kindergartners had their first forest day on Thursday! They were excited, curious, and playful in the forest classroom. We started with a shared snack of apples, cheese, and crackers along with their own snacks. They heard a story called Why Rabbit Has Long Ears and a Short Tail. After talking about the boundaries and expectations, the children had time to play and explore. Next we gathered for a lesson on safe stick play. We played a fox and rabbit game in the field. We finished the morning by each telling something we liked about our time outdoors. Later in the day the children drew and told about something they did at forest day, made before and after rabbits based on the story, made "tree cookie" necklaces, and played a game with forest objects they’d collected outdoors.

Forest kindergarteners and forest teachers enjoyed our first outdoor snack and story together on our sitting logs.
The children watched and listened to a lesson on safe stick play. They were learning how to be stick ninjas! 
Rabbits gathered together while foxes got ready nearby to catch them.
Foxes tried to catch rabbits before they got to their safe burrows.
Kindergarteners passed the talking stick after sharing what they liked about forest day today.
The children spotted this rock that "looks like a snowman."
Catching and observing crickets in the field was a favorite activity today.