Thursday, November 17, 2016

First Fire

The children enjoyed popcorn cooked over our fire in the forest.
   Today we had our first fire in the forest classroom this school year. We began with our traditional fire story told aloud, about a child who gets lost in the forest and follows Grandpa Jack's advice to stay in one place. While there the child falls asleep and wakes to see Grandpa Jack has found her due to the smoke from her fire. But the fire is a mystery to the child who does not remember making one but dreamed about friendly animals making a warm fire nearby, including chickadees bringing chickadee-sized sticks, mice bringing mouse-tail sticks, and a lumbering beaver carrying beaver-sized sticks. They return home, safe and happy, to a warm dinner, with more knowledge about making a fire.
   We spent a few minutes sitting at our new sit spots spread across the forest classroom. Then we had morning meeting with a greeting, sharing, and weather report. The children began predicting if the temperature would be warmer or cooler than the previous week, something we will continue to do. Along with our regular snacks we enjoyed popcorn cooked over the fire. We read the book Every Autumn Comes the Bear by Jim Arnosky, an author whose nature stories we've been reading this week. We are thinking of animals preparing for winter.
   The children had an active playtime with lots of stick-play, breaking apart rotten logs, and making a doorway between two trees. We ended the morning by each sharing something we're thankful for in the forest or about the day. Later in the classroom the children completed their journals about forest day.

Weather Report:
The temperature at 10:00 is 46º F. 
The weather is a little bit windy and cold.

The children walk to the forest with their orange on for safety during hunting season.
 Sit Spots:
Some sit quietly at sit spots.
Some actively enjoy their sit spots. 
Some decorate their sit spots with natural materials.
 Morning meeting:
One explains what he touched with his raccoon hands on the way into the forest while others listen.
The children used their hands to show how they liked sit spots so far: up high for a lot, medium for medium, and low for not very much. The group talked about ways to make sit spots their own and enjoyable. 
 Play time:

Reflecting on the morning:
While one talks about the morning while holding the talking stick, others listen. The reflection question today was to say something about the forest for which you are thankful or just something about the day.  

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Preparing and Playing

silly fun with friends in the forest
Before gearing up and heading outdoors today the children drew their plans for forest day. Today we brought some more supplies to the forest, had morning meeting, ate snack together, enjoyed a good book, cleaned up our fire pit to use soon, had an active playtime, and listened to some seasonal poetry. Back in the classroom we shared experiences from the day aloud, journaled about what we did, and returned to the poems we heard earlier to compare and contrast them.

Weather Report:
The temperature at 9:25 is 39ºF. 
The weather is bluish, it feels cold, and the sun's out.
We heard the book Pumpkins, by Mary Lyn Ray, about a man who saves a field he loves by growing pumpkins to ship all over the world and using the money to buy the field. At the end he saves seeds to give to someone else who wants to save a field. 
listening to the book
listening to the book
We tried out different "sit spots" again, with almost everyone finding a perfect spot for themselves to sit, enjoy, and observe throughout the school year.
After some raking and moving and cleaning, the fire pit is ready to use safely.
We compared and contrasted the poems “Geese” and “Something Told the Wild Geese,” both about geese flying south for the winter. The children noticed several differences such as one rhymed, and the other didn’t; one was longer, and one was shorter; and one had an illustration while the other did not. One group of students with an adult noticed that some words in one poem rhymed with words in the other poem! We will build on the idea of migration as we learn how animals prepare for winter.
Free play:
Ms. Cote gave us this beautiful easel which we will enjoy using in the forest classroom.
engineering their own toys
working on a friend's sit spot 
hanging around with buddies
finding more messages written on logs
making a trap 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Rainy Day

It was a rainy morning. The children did an excellent job planning ahead for the weather, getting prepared to go out, and being outdoors. We enjoyed a walk through the fields into the forest, with each child fulfilling a challenge such as counting the trees with leaves still on them, finding two different shaped leaves, touching a bumpy tree, or counting rocks they saw. They also found some great holes and puddles in the field to investigate (photo above). At morning meeting we greeted each other, shared our observations from the walk into the forest, and had a weather report. Next everyone had ten-second trials of potential "sit spots." They ran to find a new spot, checked it out, sat for a moment, and then moved on. Some are sure they've found their sit spot for the year, others are still looking, and everyone seemed to enjoy the trials. After eating snack at our log circle, the children listened through the increasing rain to a story about a coyote who brings peace to all the animals with his songs. Next was free play time, and the rain did not seem to slow them down as they built, climbed, and zipped through the forest. We ended a bit early and talked about the morning after getting dry and warm indoors.
a wet greeting at morning meeting 
checking the temperature, warmer than last week
Weather Report:
At 9:25 the temperature is 48 ºF. It is rainy, cloudy, and foggy.
catching rain drops
building with friends
playing with ropes in trees
We shared about forest day later indoors using our newly-decorated talking stick.

   from forest day journals:
   "This is me testing my sit spot."

        I am playing in the rain.