In our writing we are working on adding not one or two, but LOTS of labels. Some of us even have sentences too.
Gemma: “I like ice crystals. They are really cool. Look. Me.”
Amelie: “I built a pile of pine needles and pinecones and leaves and sticks.” She labeled “ice crystals,” “me,” “sun,” “clouds,” “hats,” and “hair.”
Jackson: “Jack and I threw a rope into the tree and it got stuck.” He labeled “stuck,” “Jack,” “rope,” “tree,” and “me.”
Here’s how we eat lunch safely in the cold. We keep our mittens on, or we trade off with one hand out and one hand in. We eat quickly! We sit on our backpacks to stay off the cold ground and put our food on the bench.
When I asked this afternoon what we should write about tomorrow from our Forest Day, the answer was mostly, “All the different things we played.” No mention of the soppy snow, makeshift tarp over the fire circle, steady rain, or sopping wet mittens. Most adults wouldn’t want to spend half an hour out in this weather, but these kindergarteners don’t blink an eye at spending hours. I couldn’t stop telling them how tough they were to be out in the rain, and all they wanted to tell me was how they were playing Elsa and Anna (how ironic in the dripping wet, of course).
We’ll see if I can inspire them to write about THIS tomorrow. Two years ago my class and I found tracks and a body print of this animal, where it had jumped out of a tree. And this year, in almost the same place, loping across a ridge…
…were the tracks of a large adult fisher. Laurel asked me, “Do they fish?” And I had to tell her they do not. A fisher is a large weasel, a predator, known for its agility and ability to catch and kill porcupines. We’ll have to learn about fishers soon!
Like all weasels, fishers have five toes, which distinguishes them from both dogs and cats (foxes, coyotes, bobcats) that have four. You can see the claw marks nicely here. And a kid’s hand for size– this track was about 5 inches long.
Today we put up some hooks too, for hanging up teacher bags and teaching materials.
Sound busy enough yet? Matt Tavares, our visiting NY Times Bestselling children’s book author and illustrator, also came to visit our woods. He asked us, “Did you guys fly here like Dasher? We didn’t see any tracks as we walked in!” And we had to explain that we walk the “long way” through the woods.
A chilly, overcast December has greeted us, but we were happy to have the dusting of snow from last night. Our sliding hill got so much use that it is now hard-packed, clay-smooth, frozen dirt. (Sorry about all the dirty jackets and snowpants…)
The high was 29 in the woods today. We had a much-needed fire, and Nora’s dad, Mr. Smaha, came out to be our fire tender.
A highlight of the day:
You can see that we are working hard to draw with realistic detail AND to hear more of the sounds in our words.
In Real Life (and, bonus, you can see the tree that has been excavated by woodpeckers over the years in the background!)
Our little woodpecker close up. We learned today about the difference between male and female woodpeckers. This one is a male because of the red on the back of his head.