Sunday, March 27, 2016

SPRING!

In celebration of the first day of spring we made spring crowns. We did our own version of Morris Dancing, a tradition from the middle ages in England, often danced in spring. We used bells and chanted. "Wake up the earth."

Who can resist running in big open spaces?

The Sea Otter class had magic wands to help wake up the earth. We went into the Wildlife Sanctuary.


We gently tapped the trees and plants and encouraged them to wake up.

We woke up the flowers,

even the bulbs we planted in the front planter.

We woke up the trees.

Welcome Spring!

March Nature Day

We all look forward to our Nature Days each month. It is interesting to visit new places and spend our day together exploring and playing in the natural wonders. This day we went to Pritchard Park. This park is special for several reasons. First, it marks the place that the Island's Japanese-Americans were taken away to internment camps during WWII. There is a national memorial about this event in the park. Second, it used to be the location of a creosote plant, which polluted the land and the water over the many years it ran. And last, it is the sight of a huge clean up effort to try to un-do the damage that was done to the Earth. This fits right in as we talk about taking care of the Earth. It had rained the days before, and we enjoyed the big puddles.

The beach is sandy, unlike most of our Island beaches. This girl worked hard scraping the sand into this lovely shape as she began to make a place to build a sand castle.

The little village of Creosote was located here where the workers lived. The remains of the bricks the buildings were made of are scattered on the beach. 

We gathered them and laid them in a long line in an attempt to make a wall to keep the water back.

We always pick up litter when we are out. We walked a trail beside a hill of blackberry bushes, a place many have used to throw away their beer cans and bottles. The children worked so hard climbing into the blackberries to get this litter. It was very important to them.

Here is a sandcastle built by two friends.

And, the finished wall. I wonder if it will work?

What a beautiful place we live, and how lucky we are to explore and care for it!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Spring in the Orca Class

Four and five year olds are interested in so much, and so ready to learn. Each child is in their own place developmentally, but they have so much to learn from each other. Here one child wrote a book for a friend, and then read it to him. How inspiring!

One day we danced with paint on our feet. One piece of paper was for fast dancing, and one was for slow dancing.

It made us giggle,

and it was tickly when the mom painted our feet!

Our friends bring in lots of interesting things. This girl brought in some eggs she found in a pond. We discussed what kind of eggs they were. Some thought they were frog eggs, and some thought they might be salamander eggs.

We looked closely at them to try to figure this out. Our friend gives us reports, and told us that the eggs had hatched! She thinks they are salamanders or newts.

We often cook on Fridays. This day we cooked eggs. We compared white store bought eggs with eggs a friend's chicken's laid that were all different colors. We knew right away they were different when we cracked them open. The store egg was yellow, and the home egg was almost orange in color. We scrambled the eggs.

Look! Can you tell which eggs are the store ones, and which are the home ones? We graphed whether we thought the eggs would taste the same or different. More people thought they would taste different, and they did!

We made toast to go with our eggs. It was a yummy snack.

We took our egg shells and made little eggheads. We gave them eyes and a face, and then planted grass seed in them for hair. How long will it take for the grass hair to grow?

There has been some cooking going on on the playground. One group made food for the pirates and invited them to the mud kitchen to eat, and then the pirates made food for us and invited us to their ship. Was there poison in the pirates food? Should we eat it?

We made a big pot of soup with lots of different ingredients.

We stirred and mixed,

and then served it up. Yum!

The pirates caught a dad and put him in jail.

Inside we built Terrific Town. It was very fancy, and we worked togther to build it.

It had a pond with water animals,

and there were lots of trees bringing good oxygen to the town.


But, alas, the people didn't know what to do with their garbage, so they just threw it out in the streets. It went from Terrific Town, to Trashy Town.

We worked hard to gather up the garbage and haul it away.

We read the book Compost Stew to learn more about what foods can and cannot go into our compost bin. Then we made a poster for all of the other classes.

We made our recycle bin more visible by painting the symbol all around it.

Learning about caring for the world is an important thing we do in the Orca class. We also learn the importance of caring for our friends. Here on boy got a bump on his head. The other boy asked him what he could do to help his friend feel better. He was asked to rest his hand on the bump until it felt better.

The Orcas have also been exploring ramps and tubes, here marbles and paper towel tubes.

We have been doing some transient art, or art that is to be enjoyed while we are making it and when we are done, but art that is put away. The children drew with chalks first, and then decorated with loose parts.

This girl made a beautiful heart, and the first letter of her name.

Learning About Decomposers

As a part of our winter goal for Eco School (www.eco-schoolsusa.org) we have been learning about waste and consumption. This has had us looking at what goes in out trash, and learning about reducing, reusing, and recycling. We have a compost bin, and now we also have a worm bin. Both of these need decomposers to work.

We have learned that decomposers are fungus, also called mushrooms, bacteria, which are so tiny you need a microscope, and invertebrates, or animals without a backbone.We went onto the playground one day to see if we could find some decomposers. We decided to look under things.

"Look! A potato bug!"

There were lots of things to find.
"Look! Fungus!"
"Mine has fungus, too."
"A worm!"
"I found a slug."
"I think it might be a beetle."
"It's a black beetle. Them doesn't have pincers. It might be a cousin."
"It's white under here!"

"Bugs have been eating it."
"Maybe bugs are making tunnels and eating their way out."
"If we could cut it open, we would see a lot of bugs!"
"That is a grub."
"I think it is a chrysalis."

"This log is falling apart."
"It's getting soft."
"It's fallen apart a lot since last year."

"It falls apart in our hands!"
"I saw a little bug. It was white."

"It's growing mushrooms."
"The stump is growing a plant."
"It can grow a new tree."